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Building to come up at Nehru’s erstwhile residence

The opening of the museum on Prime Ministers of India that is being set up on the premises of Jawaharlal Nehru’s erstwhile residence Teen Murti Estate could be delayed by a few months, sources in the Union Culture Ministry said.

The museum, the foundation stone for which was laid on October 15, 2018 by the then Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, is likely to be constructed by the Central Public Works Department as per its deadline of March 2020, senior ministry officials said. However, the targeted opening in October 2020 could be pushed due to the work on the exhibits inside the museum, including the digital content that is being created, they said.

While one official said the opening could be “a few months late”, a top ministry functionary said it would be likely by March 2021.

Speaking at the launch of a book on former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the museum would be dedicated to all former Prime Ministers. He asked the families of all former Prime Ministers to share things related to them for the exhibits.

Teen Murti Estate, which is spread over 25.5 acres, houses the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library dedicated to Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. According to the Culture Ministry, the existing museum building occupies 4,286 sq m and the library building is built on 4,552 sq m — that’s about two acres together. The NDA government had decided to use the remaining area for a museum on all Prime Ministers, including those in the future.

The new museum will take 10,975.36 sq m over a basement, ground and first floor, with galleries on all three levels, a government statement had said on October 15, 2018. The museum will include interactive features for visitors to learn about the contribution of former PMs over the years.

‘Andhra Pradesh CM must address the issue during his Anantapur visit’

CPI(M) district secretary V. Rambhupal addressing the media in Anantapur on Tuesday. R.V.S. Prasad

Highlighting that farmers’ issues in the district need immediate attention of the Andhra Pradesh government in the wake of reported suicides, Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary V. Rambhupal on Tuesday said Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy must deal with it during his scheduled visit to Anantapur on August 8.

This is Mr. Reddy’s maiden visit to the district after assuming office.

‘19 cases since May 1’

Mr. Rambhupal said 19 farmers had resorted to the extreme step in the district since May 1. He alleged that the district administration was not willing to accept the cases as suicides driven by farm crisis, attributing the deaths to other reasons without looking at the underlying problems.

“During the rule of previous TDP government, 566 farmers ended their lives in Anantapur district, but only 79 farmer families were given compensation. The YSR Congress Party, which had announced ₹7 lakh compensation after coming to power, was behaving in no different way by giving only ₹50,000 to each family for farmer’s suicide,” Mr. Rambhupal pointed out.

Hitting out at the State government for the reported decision to conduct fresh surveys on the causes of reported suicides of farmers before paying compensation, the CPI(M) leader observed that it would take at least three months to sanction compensation if a fresh survey was conducted, adding to the suffering of the bereaved family members. “The YSRCP did not make any complaint about the causes for suicide. Why is it suggesting a fresh survey now?,” he asked.

Attributing the farmers’ deaths to the drought situations prevailing over the district for the past 10 years, Mr. Rambhupal said the kharif this year was the worst season for sowing.

Their applications had been rejected by the concerned department in Karnataka for not fulfilling norms

S.R. Srinivas

During his brief tenure as Karnataka’s Primary and Secondary Education Minister, which lasted less than a month, S.R. Srinivas approved eight pre-university colleges across Karnataka although their applications had been rejected by the Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) for not fulfilling the required norms.

The State government, though, has not issued the relevant order as the powers of giving permission rest with the Director of DPUE.

When the matter came up before him, Mr. Srinivas had reportedly said that these applications should be given approval in the interest of students as there are no colleges in the vicinity, said sources. He had even cited the D.M. Nanjundappa committee report on redressal of regional imbalances and stated that colleges in backward taluks should be given permission.

Officials adamant

Many of these applications had been rejected as the management did not have the necessary land. Department officials are firm on their stance and have decided not to give permission for these colleges.

Mr. Srinivas told The Hindu that while he had given the approvals, the department is free to issue government orders based on rules and regulations.

Several BJP MLCs questioned the Minister for approving applications that were rejected by the director as well as the Principal Secretary of the department.

“We demand a proper inquiry,” said Arun Shahapur, MLC, alleging rampant commercialisation of PU college and inadequate checks and balances.

The department has been lenient to PU colleges, and tweaked rules and regulations for applicants in terms of land norms this year.

According to the new rules, colleges in BBMP limits need to have land ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 square metres. In other areas, however, the land requirement ranges from 2,000 to 4,000 square metres.

Permission given

Initially, of the 407 applications this year, only 29 were given permission to open for the 2019-20 academic year after scrutiny.

But later, the number rose up to 60 as the people behind many of the applications which were rejected fulfilled the norms and asked the department to re-examine their applications.

‘You have lost the confidence and trust of 1.5 crore people. History will not forgive you,’ says Anantnag MP

Making a point: National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.PTI-

Opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday questioned the Centre’s right to alter the status quo in Jammu and Kashmir without consulting stakeholders.

They were discussing the Bill that bifurcates the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

“Today you have lost the confidence and trust of 1.5 crore people. The route that you have taken to bring in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 is an assault on the Constitution and neither history nor the people of Kashmir will forgive you for this,’’ said Hasnain Masoodi of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference Party, representing Anantnag.

Earlier in the day, while the Opposition demanded to know where MP Farooq Abdullah was, DMK MP Murasoli Maran said: “An MP is missing and we would like to know from the Home Minister and the Speaker about his whereabouts?’’

Members also held placards demanding to know about Mr. Abdullah.

T.R. Baalu, DMK said: “We would like to know if the government has thought this through? With your majority you will get these Bills passed but what are you going to do about the security problems of the region and the porous borders? Clearly this is a move that is good for your party and not the people of this region.”

He said with the bifurcation the government has created two municipalities. “You have broken a State into Union Territories…who does that?’’ he asked.

Congress leader of the House Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary asked how the Jammu and Kashmir issue could be considered an internal matter when so far it had been considered a bilateral issue.

Home Minister Amit Shah responded stating that Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India and this cannot be legally disputed. He also added that Mr. Abdullah isn’t under house arrest or detained and is at home of his own free will. “According to Article 370(3), the President may, by public notification, alter Article 370, provided the Constituent Assembly of the State concurs. This provision has been utilised twice by the Congress,” said Mr. Shah.

Manish Tewari of the Congress said that it was Jawaharlal Nehru’s government which had protected Jammu and Kashmir when it was under attack from Pakistan.

“According to the Indian Constitution, before altering the boundaries of any State, concurrence of the Legislative Assembly of the State is mandatory. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana bifurcation was done with complete concurrence of the State Legislative Assembly by the UPA government. What happens to the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir now?” he asked.

Speaking during the discussion, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said: “The process of consultation will be in shreds... You have changed the constitutional relationship of the people of J&K to India without consulting them. You have unleashed upon us the political equivalent of demonetisation.”

It goes back to the Dixon Plan of 1950, which was not accepted by India

Sheikh Abdullah, Jawaharlal Nehru and others at the open session of the All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference in Srinagar on September 24, 1949.THE HINDU ARCHIVESTHE HINDU ARCHIVES

The idea of dividing Jammu and Kashmir into two or more parts has a chequered history, tracing its origin to the Dixon Plan of 1950.

Owen Dixon — an Australian jurist chosen by the United Nations to mediate between India and Pakistan on the J&K issue — in his report of September 1950, suggested a package that did not find acceptance from India.

According to columnist A.G. Noorani in his article in Frontline of October 2002, the Plan had assigned Ladakh to India and northern areas and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to Pakistan, besides splitting Jammu between the two. It had proposed a plebiscite in the Kashmir valley.

A year later, B.R. Ambedkar, after quitting as Law Minister from the Jawaharlal Nehru Ministry, had suggested the formation of three zones: the area held by Pakistan, the Valley and Jammu-Ladakh. He had also favoured a plebiscite only in the Valley.

In September 1952, when the demand for separating Jammu and Ladakh from Kashmir was made in certain quarters, Sheikh Abdullah, who was then Premier of the State, had opposed it.

Karan Singh, now a senior leader of the Congress and then J&K Governor, in an interview to a foreign newspaper in August 1966, had mooted the idea of separating Jammu from Kashmir and merging it with Himachal Pradesh, which was then a Union Territory. Dr. Singh later said he “disliked” the observation.

The then Home Minister G. L. Nanda told the Rajya Sabha that the government had “no intention” of separating Jammu from Kashmir.

In 1983, former President R.Venkataraman, who was Defence Minister in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet, floated the concept of trifurcating J&K – Ladakh as a Union Territory; Jammu as a State and the Valley as a “separate entity”. He had recorded this suggestion in his book, My Presidential Years (1994).

In August 1996, veteran leader of the Communist Party of India (CPI) Indrajit Gupta, as Home Minister in the United Front government, was reported to have told BBC that he was in favour of trifurcation of J&K — the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh.

When this sparked a row, Mr. Gupta said that he had been misunderstood.

A few years later, when a report of the State Autonomy Committee, formed by the J&K government, had triggered a nationwide debate, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had renewed the idea of trifurcation. In October 2000, after attending an official meeting in Srinagar, L.K. Advani — the then Home Minister in the Vajpayee government at the Centre — rejected the RSS demand.

With Parliament adopting a Bill to make Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories with the carving out of Ladakh, the proposal of dividing the State has become a reality.

Hours before fatal heart attack, she had expressed happiness at removal of special status for J&K

Former Union Minister Sushma Swaraj passed away here on Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest. She was rushed to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation was administered but doctors were unable to revive her, hospital officials said. She was declared dead at 10.50 p.m.

Just a couple of hours earlier, she had expressed happiness at the removal of special status for Jammu & Kashmir, thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making it possible “in her lifetime” to see the event.

Long career

Ms. Swaraj, 67, had a long career in politics. She was known for her skilled oratory and was, at 25 years, the youngest-ever Cabinet Minister in the Haryana government led by the late Devi Lal. A lawyer by training, she was part of the legal team put together by the Opposition when socialist leader George Fernandes was arrested during the Emergency. Since she and Swaraj Kaushal, who was also involved with the Socialists, were part of the legal team and had to travel to Mumbai together, their law professor and later Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand suggested that they get married, a story later recounted by her with much relish.

While she was considered a latecomer to the BJP, having started out in the socialist ranks, she held the confidence of top leaders and was chosen by the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to take on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in 1999. While she lost that election, she won hearts, narrowed the victory margin of the Congress and provided a foothold to the BJP in that area.

She was variously Information and Broadcasting, Parliamentary Affairs and Health Minister in the Vajpayee government and also served as Delhi Chief Minister in 1998, a position she lost to Sheila Dikshit who also passed away recently.

Ms. Swaraj and Ms. Gandhi tangled again in 2004, after the UPA came to power, with the former threatening to shave her head and live on berries if the latter became PM. As the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha between 2009 and 2014, however, the two did repair their relationship.

Ms. Swaraj was seen as part of the old guard of the BJP but fit in well as a responsive Minister for External Affairs, who nevertheless ceded the limelight to Prime Minister Modi in foreign policy.

A kidney transplant some years ago saw her opt out of electoral politics, and later from the Cabinet formed by Mr. Modi in his second term.

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