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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Evening NEWS DIGEST
07 May 2017: 10 Shaban 1438: Vol: 8, No:184
 500 saffron-clad Jan Sena 'trained' stone-pelters leave for Kashmir to fight alongside Army
Lucknow: A saint in Kanpur has claimed that about 500 saffron-clad trained stone-pelters will go to Srinagar on Sunday from Kanpur to support Indian soldiers against 'paid' pro-Pakistani stone-pelters in the Valley.Jan Sena Founder Balyogi Arun Chaitanyaji Maharaj said he has given training to about 2,000 followers at Siddhnath Ghat in Kanpur recently. He is now sending the first batch of about 500 trained Jan Sena stone-throwers to Kashmir to launch a counter-offensive against pro-Pakistan stone pelters. These trained stone-pelters will assemble at Nana Rao Park in Kanpur andafter performing a 'Victory Yajna' will move to their destinations in the Valley by train and other modes of transport.Significantly, these volunteers will also carry special stones in their backpacks and bags. These stones were specially crushed for the purpose at a crushing factory in Bundelkhand. About a truck-load of sharp-edged stones have already arrived in Kanpur and the same will be distributed to volunteer before they board Srinagar-bound trains.These Jan Sena members were given a week-long special training at Siddhnath Ghat in Kanpur. For hours they were made to practice at targets to hone their stone throwing skills. They were specially trained to target head and vital body parts of pro-Pak stone pelters with an aim to paralyze them with one stone. Among those who had undergone training for a week, about 10 best stone throwers from each ward in Kanpur were selected for the first batch which will move on to Srinagar on Sunday."Our main aim is to give a befitting reply to stone-pelters in Srinagar and remind them that Army jawans are not alone in crushing the separatist movement in the Valley," Jan Sena Founder Balyogi Arun Chaitanyaji Maharaj."When jawans use pellet guns against stone-pelters then a propaganda is launched in the name of human rights. What about the families of martyred jawans?" he asked. dnaindia
To support Army, Jan Sena off to J&K: Kanpur ‘saint’ to fight stone-pelters
Pak channels, Zakir Naik’s Peace TV go off air in Kashmir after govt order
Srinagar: Pakistani and Saudi channels went off the air in most parts of Kashmir on Sunday triggering sarcasm in social media, a day after the J&K govt ordered cable networks to remove 34 channels from their platforms.The government’s order signed by principal secretary (home department) RK Goyal, said the transmission of these channels was against the cable TV rules and district magistrate had the power to seize the equipment in case of a violation. Moreover, it added, such channels have the “potential to encourage or incite violence and create law and order disturbance in Kashmir Valley”. Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, Muneer ul Islam told HT that in his district the ban was successfully implemented and soon after receiving the order he had asked the cable operators to adhere by the same. He added that most of the channels on the list were not being transmitted for a long time now. Topping the list are the Urdu and English channels of Peace TV of Zakir Naik.Some of the channels are from Pakistani networks such as ARY, PTV and GEO. Several Islamic channels like Karbala TV, Ahli-biat TV, Noor TV and Hadi TV are also mentioned in the order along with a sports channel, two culinary channels and a music channel. Cable operators cannot beam channels not permitted by the information and broadcasting ministry. Private cable networks, which beam a lot of Pakistani and Saudi channels, are popular though satellite services such as Tata Sky and Airtel are also available in the Valley.On Sunday afternoon, authorities told HT that the ban was being implemented while residents, subscribing to different cable networks, gave a varied response regarding the channels they were not receiving.Some Srinagar residents said most Pakistani news channels were not accessible while Peace TV English and Urdu both were, while others said none of the 34 channels were displayed. Some, however, said all the 34 channels were still being transmitted while sources say by Monday blanket ban should be implemented completely.“ Cable operators had stopped broadcasting Pakistani channels-- mostly 24x7 news like the ARY group—after the unrest began post killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani. The channels were back recently before being taken off air after the Saturday’s order,” a Srinagar resident said.On social media, many Kashmiris criticized the move by arguing that such channels were not responsible for fueling protests.“This is hilarious. Pakistani sports channels and drama serials incite violence,” tweeted political analyst Gowhar Geelani.HT
J&K govt asks dy commissioners to act against 34 channels
Deadly attacks hit Kashmir: Aljazeera
Fighters have carried out an attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that killed at least three civilians and a policeman, the latest violence to hit the valley, according to authorities.They said one of the fighters was also killed while attacking policemen clearing the site of a road accident late on Saturday near Kulgam district."A police party was at the accident site when they were attacked. In the crossfire, one policeman and three civilians died. One of the attackers also died," a police source told the AFP on Sunday.SP Pani, senior police officer, confirmed that a police unit came under fire on Saturday night as it reached a road accident site on a key highway connecting the valley with the rest of India.In the same Kulgam district, five Indian policemen and two civilians were killed when fighters attacked a bank van, and two soldiers were killed in an attack along the de-facto border with Pakistan.And on Sunday, thousands of local residents gathered to mourn the dead separatist fighter at a funeral where his comrades fired shots into the air as a mark of respect. In another Kashmir-related development, Pakistan's army said Indian troops shot and wounded at least four Pakistani villagers.
Kashmir: At funeral, militants give ‘gun salute’ to insurgent killed in Kulgam
Srinagar:A group of militants appeared at Sunday’s funeral of a slain insurgent, Fayaz Ahmed alias Setha of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, and fired a volley of bullets in the air as a form of gun salute.Militants had come to funerals of slain comrades in the past. But the latest incident followed Thursday’s anti-insurgency search with around 4,000 troops, helicopters and drones in south Kashmir’s Shopian district —biggest combing mission against militants for more than a decade.Ahmed of Qaimoh was among the militants that attacked a police convoy in Kulgam on Saturday evening, which also left three civilians and a policeman dead.Photos of his funeral, which were shared extensively on social media, show at least four militants in a crowd of mourners and firing their automatic weapons.An officer said police were trying to identify militants. Hindustantimes
Gujarat polls: Supreme Court seeks Centre's response on suspicious EVMs
New Delhi: Supreme Court has sought response of Centre and the chief election commissioner on a plea filed a Gujarat Patidar leader seeking the use of either ballot paper or electronic voting machines with paper trail for the upcoming Assembly election in the state.A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul issued notice to the Centre, the CEC, the Gujarat government and the state election commission, and sought their response in four weeks.The apex court posted the matter for hearing to the first week of July.Petitioner Reshma Vithabhai Patel, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was in the forefront of the Patel quota agitation, claimed that EVMs were not "fully reliable, foolproof, tamper-proof or hacker-proof".The plea was dismissed by the Gujarat High Court on April 12.PTI
Bombay High Court Calls For A Forensic Test Of EVMS used in 2014  assembly elections
Mumbai:  Amid the opposition allegations of Electronic Voting Machine tampering, the Bombay High Court has ordered the forensic examination of EVMs used in 2014 for an assembly election in Maharashtra. Such forensic examination is a first for EVMs -- which had replaced ballot papers across India for nearly 2 decades.Election Commission contends the machines are beyond tampering and has responded with a challenge to unbelievers to try and hack into machines. But on May 4, the Bombay HC ordered the forensic examination of EVMs used in the assembly election for Maharashtra's Parvati constituency. The order came after Congress candidate AB Chajed appealed to the court, contending that he had done a booth analysis and believes that the voting machines were tampered with. Chajed, who lost the election to BJP's Madhuri Misal, told NDTV, "People have come forward to tell me that they have voted for the Congress".Mr Chajed said he has got affidavits from 63 people, saying they voted for him. But according to records from that booth, he had got only 52 votes. NDTV
Muslim Personal Law
SC Lists Triple Talaq Matters For Hearing From May 11, No Mention About The Bench.
The Supreme Court has put out a circular regarding the commencement of hearing of petitions challenging practices like triple talaq, polygamy and nikah halala from May 11 but has surprisingly not mentioned the name of the judges who will be part of the constitution bench. The circular dated May 5, 2017 uploaded on the SC website merely says“take notice that the matter shown below which is to be heard by constitution bench consisting of honourable judges will be listed from 11 May, 2017”. Recently Justice Chelameswar had refused to participate in the vacation hearings citing personal reasons. Taking ahead its hearing on batch of petitions, one of them taken suo motu by it on the contentious issue and recurring complaints of gender discrimination suffered by Muslim women arising out of several rules in its personal laws, the Supreme Court  said it would decide issues pertaining to legal aspects of the practices of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims and would not deal with the question whether divorce under Muslim law needs to be supervised by by courts as it falls under the legislative domain. LIVELAW
Muslim women ignorant of their faith, says JIH
Lucknow:While accusing the media and “anti-Islam forces” of showing Muslims in a negative light, prominent Islamic organisation, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, says the current debate on ‘triple talaq’ and objections raised on Muslim personal laws are a consequence of the “rot” and religious ignorance in Muslim society.In a 16-page booklet titled “Problems Facing Muslim Women and their Solution,” released as part of the Muslim Personal Law awareness campaign, the organisation lays the burden of preserving Islamic family tradition on the Muslim women.Terming Muslim women as “supervisors” and “managers” of the family, the JIH says the “un-Islamic customs and traditions prevalent in society today are due only to the women unaware of her din (faith).”The JIH also says those Muslim women who approached the Supreme Court against ‘triple talaq’ and polygyny are “irresponsible and ignorant of Islamic teachings” for thinking they are “oppressive to women.” It also justifies polygyny among Muslims claiming it is “compatible with human nature.”While declaring that is a “great sin” for a man to pronounce three talaqs in one go, the booklet says it is not desirable if a man makes “haste in bringing his matrimonial life to an end.”Even as it claims that both men and women have rights to divorce under Islamic Law, the booklet discourages Muslim women from divorcing their husbands.However, it acknowledges that women are being deprived of their rightful share of inheritance under Quranic laws.It argues against taking disputes to court, saying that “when the cases are made public, anti-Islam forces get a chance to point fingers against Islam.” the hindu
Women start awareness drive on Muslim personal law
New Delhi: The women’s wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), a social and cultural outfit, has started a campaign to educate Indian Muslim men and women about the issues surrounding the “controversy” about the Muslim personal law in the country. The social outfit has started the awareness campaign with the hope that if people know the “right interpretations” of Quran’s prescribed laws, the current misgivings, malpractices and misuse of Shariah will phase out eventually.Atiya Siddiqua, heading the JIH’s women wing, said, “During our tours in various states, all our workers emphasised that there is utter misinterpretation and lack of right information on Muslim personal law among men and women alike. Yes, there is misuse, but it is not as widespread as it is being made out to be.”According to JIH, the Muslim Personal Law Awareness Campaign (MPLAC) that started on 23 April till 7 May was taken to the grassroots level by senior workers of JIH to 23 Indian states.Clarifying that this campaign is not a reaction to prevailing controversies, Shaista Rafat, state president, Delhi and Haryana, JIH said, “We have been organising such campaigns as part of our 4-year term plans. So, this is not the first time that such a campaign has been launched. Yes, the scale is huge this time because we wanted to reach as many people as possible.” sundayguardianlive
Muslims protest against India TV for ‘fabricated’ Halala Operation
New Delhi: Hundreds of Muslims today staged a protest Dharana against India TV at Jantar Mantar. They were protesting against the telecast of what they called a ‘complete fabricated’ story run by the TV channel in the name of ‘Operation Halala’.They alleged that programme showed Muslim men and women in bad light and degrading their dignity using impersonate persons.The alleged anti Muslim programme was telecast on April 15.The protesters with banners against TV channels in their hands, said the programme was nothing but a huge conspiracy to malign Islam and Muslim community of India.The Dharna/protest was organized by Management Committee Madarsa Taleemul Quran Society Seelampur Delhi. The TV Programme was allegedly shoot near the madarsa run by this society. The society has also lodged complaint against the India TV at local court, CBI and Delhi police demanding stern action against the channel.Muhammad Shafiq, the convener of the madras society stressed that protest was not only against India TV but against those channel which are trying to malign Islam and Muslims of India through fabricated means.INDIAN AWAAZ
UP: Hundresds of Muslim women take to streets against attempt to fiddle with triple talaq, shariat
Bijnor: Amid ongoing debate on triple talaq across the country, as many as 600 women took to the streets in Chandpur block of Bijnor district protesting against "attempt to fiddle with the triple talaq practice".In memoranda to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which was submitted to Chandpur SDM Azad Bhagat Singh, the protesting women objected to proposed changes in the tripal talaq custom.BJP local leadership described the protest as "politically motivated", citing the presence of BSP leader Mohammad Iqbal. On Saturday morning, Muslim women gathered in large number at the house of former BSP MLA Mohammad Iqbal, and marched to tehsil under his leadership, raising slogans in favour of triple talaq.Their memos read as: "In India only one aspect of triple talaq is being highlighted and only false facts are being presented. Those women who are approaching the Supreme Court are also in a quandary. They are in very small number, and are not representatives of the Indian Muslim women.The apex court, while giving justice to these women should also consider the rights of majority of Muslim women as above 99% Indian Muslim women think that it is against their basic religious rights. At no cost we will like any intervention in triple talaq."TOI
RSS’s Muslim arm to hold meets on triple talaq, cow
Haridwar: A 2-day meet of the RSS-affiliate body Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) concluded at Piran Kaliyar near Roorkee on Saturday. Addressing the inaugural session of the meet, Indresh Kumar, organisation's margadarshak (founding president) appealed to both Hindus and Muslims to "come forward together to protect the cow."He also spoke extensively about the practice of triple talaq and said that "over a crore Muslim women are immensely suffering as a result of it." He added that over 3,000 meetings would be soon held across the country to sensitise Muslims on triple talaq. timesofindia
Triple Talaq: Ahead of Supreme Court hearing on May 11, women commission holds consultation session
Mumbai: Maharashtra State Women’s Commission (MSWC) in association with the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) organised a consultation session on Saturday for women who have been given triple talaq. The Supreme Court is set to hear the triple talaq issue from May 11.As part of the session, several women who had been given arbitrary oral triple talaq shared their opinions on the practice. indianexpress
Maharashtra Women’s panel meets triple talaq victims
Forced to utter triple talaq, man tries to kill self in Chhattisgarh:TOI
Raipur: As the debate over triple talaq rages on across the country, a 22-year-old man attempted suicide by hanging himself in a Chhattisgarh district on Friday after he was allegedly forced by his in-laws to divorce his wife by uttering the word 'talaq' thrice on phone. He has been admitted to the district hospital where his condition is stable.Natives of Sultanpur district in UP, Chandan Khan and his 19-year-old wife shifted to Korba seven months ago after they got married against their parents' wishes. According to police, the girl's parents arrived in Korba on April 10 and forcibly took her away after failing to convince her to leave Chandan.According to his statement to the police, Chandan's in-laws talked to him over phone on April 14 and asked him to pronounce triple talaq on phone. When he refused, they started thrashing his wife. Chandan said, in his statement, that in a bid to save his wife, he uttered the word 'talaq' thrice."But it didn't end there. I got a call on May 4 from her parents who forced her to say 'talaq' thrice on phone. She did so and disconnected while crying over the phone," Chandan said in the statement, adding that the girl's parents made her utter the three words on gunpoint.
OTHERS
RSS wing project for fair, tall ‘customised’ babies as 'mentioned in shastras'
New Delhi: 3 months of “shuddhikaran (purification)” for parents, intercourse at a time decided by planetary configurations, complete abstinence after the baby is conceived, and procedural and dietary regulations. According to the Garbh Vigyan Sanskar project of the RSS’s health wing Arogya Bharati, this is what is needed for a woman to deliver an “uttam santati” — a perfect, “customised child”. Top office-bearers associated with this ambitious programme said it was launched in Gujarat over a decade ago, and taken up at the national level in 2015. Today, the project, assisted by the Sangh’s education wing Vidya Bharati, has around 10 branches in Gujarat and MP, with more units to come up soon in UP and West Bengal.“Our main objective is to make a samarth Bharat (strong India) through uttam santati. Our target is to have thousands of such babies by 2020,” said Dr Karishma Mohandas Narwani, national convener of the project.According to the office-bearers, the project was inspired by Germany, which they claimed had “resurrected itself by having such signature children through Ayurvedic practices within 2 decades after World War II”.“The parents may have lower IQ, with a poor educational background, but their baby can be extremely bright. If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have fair complexion and grow taller,” said Dr Hitesh Jani, national convener, Arogya Bharati.Jani, a veteran RSS swayamsevak who also heads the panchkarma department at Gujarat Ayurved University in Jamnagar, said the procedure to get an “uttam santati or a customised child is mentioned in the (Hindu) shastras”. The project claims to have ensured the delivery of 450 “customised babies” so far, and its target is to have a Garbh Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, a facilitation centre, in every state by 2020. According to Narwani, Arogya Bharati has held several seminars and counselling sessions on Garbh Vigyan Sanskar in Delhi and Mumbai, and smaller cities such as Udupi in Karnataka, Kasaragod in Kerala, and Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada in AP.“Ayurveda has all the details about how we can get the desired physical and mental qualities of babies. IQ is developed during the sixth month of pregnancy. If the mother undergoes specific procedures, like what to eat, listen and read, the desired IQ can be achieved. Thus, we can get a desired, customised baby,” she said.Dr Ashok Kumar Varshney, an RSS pracharak for over 30 years and national organising secretary of Arogya Bharati, said that apart from the university in Jamnagar, two other institutions have incorporated Garbh Vigyan Sanskar in their curriculum: Children’s University in Gandhinagar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University in Bhopal. Varshney said the project was inspired by the advice a senior RSS ideologue received over 40 years ago in Germany.“He was told that it was due to a woman called ‘Mother of Germany’. When he met her and asked about this resurrection, she told him, ‘you have come from India, have you not heard of Abhimanyu (the son of Arjuna in the epic Mahabharata)?’ She told him that the new generation in Germany was born through Garbh Sanskar and that is why the country is so developed,” said Varshney.In the Mahabharata, Abhimanyu is described as having learnt the art of breaking the “chakravyuh” (a circular trap) inside the womb of his mother as his father narrated the method. indianexpress
Nexus between slaughter houses & Ahmedabad based Gauraksha Samiti uncovered: Alt News
A nexus between the slaughter houses and Akhil Bharatiya Sarvdaliya Gauraksha Mahaabhiyan Samiti, Ahmedabad, has been uncovered. A truck full of cows and calves was seized from ‘Golden Chowkdi’, Vadodara by police based on a tip received by Animal Welfare worker Jatin Vyas. The cows and the calves were sent from the Shrinathji Gaushala – Ahmedabad via Vadodara to a slaughter house outside Gujarat with the permit papers signed by Babu Desai, the National President of a Gauraksha organisation. The so called gau-rakshak was found allegedly involved in the process of sending cows to the slaughter houses. Animal Welfare Officer of Animal Welfare Board, India and resident of New VIP Road, Vadoodara, Jatin Jitendra Vyas had received the information that a truck filled with cows and calves was being sent to a slaughter house outside Gujarat in the name of transferring the animals to a ‘Panjarapol’ (animal shelter) outside Gujarat and possible involvement of Babu Desai. He got information from a reliable source that on evening of 2nd May, truck, no. GJ-24 V 8851 is dispatched. Hence, he immediately informed the local police officials. The Harni area police station arranged a watch on Golden Chowkdi, and caught the mentioned truck when it passed. When, police and the Animal Welfare volunteers checked the truck, they found 12 cows and calves tightly bonded with rope. There was no arrangement for food or water for the animals. Alt News / Gujarati Sandesh
Violence against Dalits: When a death, rumour lit Saharanpur spark: indianexpress
Saharanpur: On Saturday afternoon, 85-year-old Parmal Jatav and his 80-year-old wife Tungli sit outside their half-burnt house, staring at the smoke billowing out of the haystack. Inside, the room is bare, except for a few soot-covered utensils. The couple said their two sons had been admitted to the district hospital with injuries. “Kuchh nahi bacha, beta (There is nothing left, son),” says Tungli. “Ab is umar mein kya karein(What do we do at this age).”Across Shabbirpur, a village in Saharanpur district that was the site of a clash on Friday afternoon between Dalit and Thakur communities and which saw the death of a Thakur, there are similar stories — of a pregnant woman who had jumped off the first floor of her house, of Dalits and Thakurs who had fled the village, of women and the elderly who were attacked. And sights — ransacked grocery stores, a buffalo with burns, charred remains of TV sets, motorcycles and utensils in the Dalit homes.Around 15 Dalits, who were attacked allegedly by the Thakurs with rods and other sharp objects, are currently undergoing treatment at the Saharanpur district hospital and around 22 Dalit homes stand charred. Police said three FIRs have been registered and 17 people — 11 Thakurs and 6 Dalits — have been arrested so far. Among the Dalits arrested is village pradhan Shiv Kumar. Station Officer (SO) of Badgaon police station, under whose jurisdiction the village falls, has been sent to the district lines.The two communities had clashed over a procession that the Thakurs wanted to take in honour of Rajpur ruler Maharana Pratap. Thakurs in seven villages in the area, including Shabbirpur, were to take out separate processions that were to end in Shimlana, a neighbouring village. Before the procession could start in Shabbirpur, the Dalits allegedly objected to the loud music being played by the Thakurs. Villagers say they were already upset with the Thakurs for allegedly preventing an Ambedkar statue from being installed in the village.Saharanpur Range DIG Jitendra Kumar Shahi said the SO of Badgaon police station was informed and he went to the spot to stop the music. However, this irked the Thakurs, who called the Thakurs of Simlana village and soon, a crowd of 50 people gathered in the area. “Then, a few people from the Jatav community pelted stones at the Thakurs and there was chaos. Amidst all this, one person named Sumit Rapjput collapsed. Though the initial medical report says he died out of suffocation, his death set off rumours that the Jatavs had killed a Thakur. Soon, more Thakurs from nearby villages poured into Shabbirpur – there were more than 500 of them,” said Shahi,adding that the mob started ransacking Dalit homes and “torched a few”.Dalit families, however, disagree that they pelted stones at the Thakurs. They say that most of the Dalits work as labourers on land owned by Thakurs and that they would never have attacked them. Kamla Devi, 50, who is in the emergency department of the district hospital with a deep cut below her eyes, says, “Thakurs used caste slurs against us and ransacked our Baba Ravi Das temple. They even broke the glass casing of the idol and desecrated our God.” There are around 3,000 voters in this village, of whom 600 are Dalits.
Criminals Rule Roads In Yogi's UP, 8 Men Tie Up Husband And Gangrape A Woman On Highway
Eight men allegedly gang-raped a woman before her husband in a vehicle on Thursday night in Jalaun district. The couple was then robbed and dumped on Auraiya-Jalaun highway. Police said the Jalaun based couple was travelling home from Jaipur, where they work as artisans. They reached Auraiya by train around Thursday midnight and were looking for a public transport, when the driver of a loader van offered them a lift.Shortly afterwards, the vehicle halted at a liquor shop from where some other men boarded it. It was then driven to a secluded spot, where eight men took turns to rape the woman after tying up her husband. The duo was also abused and threatened against raising an alarm, cops said.The couple was then dumped on the highway after being robbed of their belongings. They somehow reached out to Jalaun cops around 3 am on Friday, and lodged an FIR, following which the woman was sent for medical examination.TOI
AMU's answer to minority tag is nanotech, solar research
Aligarh: AMU, a nearly 100-year-old institution born out of the independence movement and the quest to modernise Muslim education, has often been a victim of minority politics that attracted negative media attention. But what is little known is the kind of path-breaking research the institution is doing in the areas of nanotechnology and solar energy. The AMU has taken up fresh scientific research projects, including on how to solve the water crisis using nanotechnology and recycle waste water using an eco-friendly and low-cost methods. And its outgoing Vice Chancellor, Lt. Gen. Zameer Uddin Shah, a former deputy chief of the Indian Army, hopes the it will be "among the top 200 universities in the world by 2020" when it celebrates its centenary."AMU has a very bright future," the retired general, the elder brother of Bollywood veteran Naseeruddin Shah, told IANS in a wide-ranging interview at his office, speaking about the university, how it is striving to be at par with modern educational institutions and, of course, allegations of financial impropriety against him. IANS
Jehangir’s mom was Portuguese Christian, maybe Jodha Bai never existed: New book
New Delhi:Fascinating as Akbar’s life was, if a new work of history is to be believed then the most known woman in his life might have not existed at all, while the most important woman in his life might have missed the pages of history altogether. Luis de Assis Correia, the London-based writer who has been independently researching on Portuguese and Christians in India for the last several years and has produced six books till now, has just released his latest book, “Portuguese India and Mughal relations (1510-1735)”. The book dwells at length on the matrimonial alliance between Akbar and the Portuguese Maria Mascarenhas, a union which he maintains is conveniently missing from Mughal, Portuguese and English sources.The story of Maria Mascarenhas, as narrated by Correia, starts when she along with her younger sister Juliana Mascarenhas embark on a journey from Lisbon to Goa in September 1558. “In that era it was the responsibility of the king of Portugal to take care of the orphans of noblemen killed in the service of the monarch, and girls of marriageable age were sent to the colonies,” writes Correia in his book. Somewhere on the way, however, the ship is captured by pirates, who take the two ladies to the court of Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat. Bahadur Shah in turn presents the two to the Mughal court. “The moment Emperor Akbar cast his eyes on 17-year-old Maria Mascarenhas he fell in love with her and could not resist the desire to make her his wife,” he says, adding that the emperor soon decides to marry her.indianexpress
WORLD
Bill to declare Israel a Jewish state back in Israel’s cabinet
Israel’s cabinet breathed new life on Sunday into efforts to anchor in law the country’s status as a Jewish state, legislation Palestinians have described as an obstacle to peace.A ministerial committee approved a revised version of a bill first proposed in 2011 that declares the “State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people”, its author, Avi Dichter of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, wrote on Facebook.The legislation still has to go through further drafting by the Justice Ministry and pass several votes in parliament in what could be a lengthy process.But the cabinet-level step – two weeks before a visit by US President Donald Trump – could help Netanyahu shore up relations with far-right members of his govt and underpin his campaign to press Palestinians to recognise Israel as the “nation-state” of the Jewish people.Such acknowledgement has been a key Netanyahu demand for reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that collapsed in 2014 and which Trump has pledged to pursue.Palestinians say accepting Netanyahu’s call could deny Palestinian refugees of past wars any right of return. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has characterised such “nation-state” legislation as putting “obstacles in the way of peace”.In meetings in Israel, Trump will discuss how he plans to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a goal that has evaded many previous administrations. He is also scheduled to meet Abbas during the trip.Critics have described the proposed legislation, which also declares that the “right to self determination” in Israel is “unique to the Jewish people” as impinging on the rights of its Arab minority, who make up some 20 percent of the population.“The nation-state law is tyranny by the majority and ‘legally’ turns us into second-class citizens,” Arab legislator Ayman Odeh wrote on Twitter after the cabinet committee’s decision. middleeastmonitor
Israeli panel backs law demoting status of Arabic
New Hamas chief to remain in Gaza: Spokesman
Gaza:Palestinian resistance group Hamas said new group leader Ismail Haniyeh would remain in the Gaza Strip. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim said Haniyeh will leave the strip “if the necessity dictates”. “Haniyeh’s new position could require him to go on tours outside Gaza,” he said. “His departure from the Strip will be assessed by the Hamas leadership in accordance with future evaluations,” spokesman said. Anadolu
Ex-Nusra fighters to be evacuated from Syria’s Yarmouk camp, says  al-Manar TV:Reuters
Beirut:Agreement has been reached to evacuate wounded fighters of the hardline Islamist group formerly known as Nusra Front from Yarmouk, in the southern suburbs of Damascus, to rebel-held Idlib province, Hezbollah-affiliated al-Manar TV reported on Sunday.The deal is the second phase of an earlier deal to evacuate people from two towns besieged by rebels, and two towns besieged by pro-government forces, the first phase of which was implemented last month, al-Manar reported. Wounded fighters and some others accompanying them would form a group of about 50, reported the television channel, which is based in Lebanon. Hezbollah, also from Lebanon, is a close military ally of Bashar al-Assad.
Boko Haram releases 82 Chibok girls in prisoner swap:Reuters
Abuja/Lagos: oko Haram militants have released 82 schoolgirls out of a group of more than 200 whom they kidnapped from the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2014 in exchange for prisoners, the presidency said on Saturday.Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) helped secure the 82 girls in “lengthy negotiations", the presidency said on its Twitter account.President Muhammadu Buhari will receive the girls on Sunday in the capital Abuja, it said, without saying how many Boko Haram suspects had been exchanged or disclosing other details.
French vote for new president in crucial election:  Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen?
French voters are picking a new president, choosing between Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist, and Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader, in an election crucial for both France and the European Union.The battle for the top job at the Elysee Palace has been the most divisive in a generation.Sunday's vote pits the pro-Europe, pro-business Macron, 39, against anti-immigration and anti-EU Le Pen, 48 - 2 radically different visions that underline a split in Western democracies. Le Pen has portrayed the ballot as a contest between the "globalists" represented by her rival - those in favour of open trade, immigration and shared sovereignty - versus the "nationalists" who defend strong borders and national identities."The political choice the French people are going to make is clear," she said in her opening remarks during a heated debate between the pair on Wednesday night.
FLASH: NEWS & VIEWS
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 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:41 PM)


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