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Media bodies seek action against J&K MLA for threatening press



New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Media organisations on Sunday demanded strict action against Jammu and Kashmir BJP MLA Choudhary Lal Singh over his “threatening and intimidating” remarks directed at journalists in the Valley.

The Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India, Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs of India said in a statement that Singh, a former J&K Minister, had warned journalists at a press conference in Jammu to “draw a line”.

He openly threatened them with consequences and warned them of a fate similar to that of Shujaat Bukhari, the Editor of Rising Kashmir who was shot dead less than a fortnight ago, the statement said.

Bukhari’s assassination was condemned by people in general, besides a number of journalist organisations.

Condemning his remarks, the statement said that Singh also blamed Kashmir journalists for creating a “wrong atmosphere” and told them to control themselves.

Singh resigned from the state cabinet in April following his participation in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in January in support of those accused of rape and murder of a young girl in Kathua.

“We demand that strict action be taken against the lawmaker for making threatening remarks hinting possible violence at journalists in the Valley,” the statement said.

It said that such remarks were nothing short of criminal intimidation and a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

“They also serve to vitiate atmosphere and endanger the lives of journalists who work and live precariously in conflict situations,” the statement read.


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Karnataka villages open defecation free, says CM (Lead)



Bengaluru, Nov 19 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday said the southern state was open defecation free in its rural areas.

“Earlier statistics showed that only half or one-third of the rural households had individual toilets, but presently, all the 70.2 lakh rural households in the state have been provided with individual toilets, thereby reducing open defecation,” Kumaraswamy said at a state government’s event here.

The state’s Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department has built 45 lakh toilets in about five years, said Kumaraswamy at the event held to mark the World Toilet Day in Bengaluru.

The United Nations observes World Toilet Day each year globally to tackle sanitation crisis.

The 45 lakh toilets were built since October 2014 across Karnataka’s 6,022 local bodies (gram panchayats) in all the 176 taluks (sub-districts) of the state’s 30 districts, an official statement said.

“While the central government has been pushing for ‘Swacch Bharat’ Mission (Clean India Mission) to make the country open defecation free, Karnataka has executed it ahead of time,” Kumaraswamy claimed.

“The 45 lakh toilets in rural areas were built at a cost of Rs 6,300-crore,” an official from the Rural Development department told IANS in a statement.

The official, however, admitted that while the southern state’s rural parts have been declared open defecation free, its towns and cities were not.

The state had aimed to become open defecation free by 2018, a year ahead of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara said on the occasion.

Cleanliness and sanitation has a positive impact on the lives of people in the state, said the state’s Rural Development Minister Krishna Byre Gowda.

“All sections of the society must contribute to making the state a model by staying open defecation free. It will have a strong, positive impact on the lives of women and children,” Gowda said.


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