Chandigarh, Sep 20: Congress leader Sunil Jakhar on Monday questioned AICC general secretary Harish Rawat's reported statement that the upcoming state elections would be fought under the leadership of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Jakhar, who is also the former Punjab Congress chief, dubbed Rawat's statement as baffling, saying it is likely to undermine the authority of the chief minister.

On the swearing-in day of Sh @Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats's statement that 'elections will be fought under Sidhu', is baffling. It's likely to undermine CM's authority but also negate the very 'raison d' tre' of his selection for this position, said Jakhar in a tweet.

Rawat had reportedly said that the Punjab Assembly polls next year will be fought under Sidhu.

Jakhar was one of the frontrunners for the post of new Congress Legislative Party leader after Amarinder Singh was nudged into quitting ostensibly over his failure to fulfil the promises made by the party in the 2017 assembly polls.

However, the Congress finally picked Channi for the post and it was learnt that Sidhu backed it.

Reacting to Jakhar's tweet, BJP leader Amit Malviya called it as huge insult to the Dalit community.

This is a huge insult to the entire Dalit community if Charanjit Singh Channi has been made the CM, only to hold the seat for Navjot Singh Sidhu, the chosen Gandhi family loyalist. This completely undermines the Dalit empowerment narrative being peddled by the Congress. Shame, said Malviya in a tweet.

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.