United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

India, US stand-off over “Religious Freedom”

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar revealed that Center had denied visa to United States Commission on International Religious Freedom teams that sought to visit India in connection with issues related to religious freedom, as a foreign entity like it has no locus standi to make a pronouncement on Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights. 

The minister said ”USCIRF has been known to make prejudiced, inaccurate, and misleading observations regarding the state of religious freedom in India.

We have also denied visa to USCIRF teams that have sought to visit India in connection with issues related to religious freedom, as we do not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens constitutionally protected rights”. 

Mamata Banerjee rejects Amit Shah’s charge

Amit Shah and Mamta Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee denied having called ‘Shramik Special’ trains, ferrying migrant labourers back home,”Corona Express” as revealed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, insisting it was the people who gave that name to crammed-to-capacity trains.

Mamata said, “More than 11 lakh migrants have returned to Bengal. I never called the migrant special trains ‘Corona Express’. It was the common people who gave them that name,”

Her comments came a day after Shah, addressing a virtual rally for West Bengal, accused Banerjee of “insulting” migrant workers returning to the state on Shramik Special trains by calling the trains ‘Corona Express’, and asserted that migrant workers will ensure the “exit” of her government in the 2021 assembly polls.

DMK MLA Anbazhagan dies of COVID-19 

Karunanidhi and Anbazhagan File Picture

After battling COVID-19 for eight days, DMK legislator and the main opposition party’s noted articulate member in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, J Anbazhagan died at a private hospital. 

Anbazhagan, who had co-morbidities including chronic kidney disease was put on ventilator support on June 3 -a day after his admission- as his respiratory distress worsened.

A three-time MLA, Anbazhagan, born on June 10, 1958 incidentally died on his 62nd birthday today and he is the son of late Pazhakadai Jayaraman, a veteran Dravidian movement and DMK leader here.

Expressing shock, Stalin said Anbazhagan slogged without respite to carry out the anti-COVID-19 people’s welfare initiatives of the party. 

The MLA contracted the virus during his fully dedicated work for the people during the times of the pandemic, Stalin said.

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