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Khalistan movement reviving in Punjab: Congress MP

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Picture credit: dailypakistan.com

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By Brajendra Nath Singh  

New Delhi: Congress parliamentarian from Ludhiana, Ravneet Singh Bittu, said on Monday that the terrorist attack in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district was an attempt to revive the Khalistan movement in the state and urged the Punjab and central governments to immediately take necessary steps to stop it.

“The terrorist attack in Gurdaspur is a very serious threat to the nation. Since the last few months, there have been attempts to revive the Khalistan movement but the state and central agencies were continuously ignoring it. After this attack, both the Centre and state governments should act tough against such elements,” Bittu told IANS.

He said that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, Khalistani and other terrorist groups have joined hands in support of the Khalistan movement.

“Yesterday (Sunday), pro-Khalistan slogans were raised in front of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. For the last few months, these activities have increased but were not dealt with properly by both the governments,” he added.

Bittu said that the “wrong policies” of the state and central governments gave an opportunity to Khalistan supporters to revive their movement.

“The central government is shifting terrorists lodged in different parts of the country to Punjab. There was no need for it. Why are terrorists from Bengaluru and Bareilly being shifted to Punjab jails,” asked Bittu.

The Congress leader also accused the Badal government in Punjab of “adopting soft approach” towards Surat Singh Khalsa, who is on a hunger strike since January this year to seek permanent release of Sikh political prisoners.

He said that bowing to the demands of Surat Singh, the Punjab government had released many political prisoners and this mistake of the government had boosted the morale of Khalistan supporters.

He demanded that the Punjab government immediately end its soft approach towards Surat Singh Khalsa and try to end his hunger strike.

Bittu said that he will soon meet union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and present the related facts to him. He also said that he will request the home minister to visit Punjab to take stock of the rising activities of the Khalistan supporters.

The Congress parliamentarian said that it was wrong to link the terrorist attack in Gurdaspur to the Mumbai serial blast convict Yakub Memon’s impending hanging.

“It will be a mistake to link the Gurdaspur terror attack to Memon. I am from Punjab and I know what is going on there. If the government doesn’t learn lessons from this attack, the situation in Punjab is going to become worse,” he said.

He said Punjab needed to be more alert and vigilant. “We have seen the darkest decade not long ago and lost thousands of precious lives and we cannot afford that again,” he warned.

(IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

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FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)