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Thursday, 30 November 2017

30 Nov.ND: Modi Govt aims to make amends to Shah Bano Act, make triple talaq criminal offence/Govt to roll back move to ban sale of cattle for slaughter



Evening NEWS DIGEST
30 Nov.2017: 10 Rabial Awwal 1439:Vol:9, No:61
Modi Govt aims to make amends to Shah Bano Act, make instant triple talaq criminal offence
New Delhi: Govt is looking to make triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat a criminal offence among other changes in the existing law in a bid to make amendments to Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 or more commonly known as the Shah Bano Act, according to Indian Express report. Officials said that making amendments to Muslim Women Act was discussed in a meeting attended by Group of Ministers (GoM) who will take the final decision to draft a law to make triple talaq a criminal offence. Other than drafting a ‘new preamble’ for the Shah Bano Act, Govt is considering to make changes to Section 125 CrPc (order for maintenance of making wives, children and parents) to provide safety for women who are abandoned via instant triple talaq.The meeting that took place last week was headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh where External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj suggested changes to Act whereas Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad broached suggestions to alter provisions of CrPc and IPC. The Supreme Court in its August verdict banned instant triple talaq. The court had then suggested Govt to draft a new but Govt  virtually ruled out framing of a new law and indicated that existing laws including law dealing with domestic violence were sufficient. The move to make amendments to Shah Bano Act enacted by Rajiv Gandhi-led Govt will help shed light for the ruling BJP Govt to take ahead the discussions on Uniform Civil Code. However, once the law is passed, the Muslim clergies will have no role in talaq cases and women can move court or approach the police to lodge complaints. Ministerial committee also felt that law regarding Dowry Act and Domestic Violence Act was misused and reforms to the law are needed.Indian Express
To make instant triple talaq a crime, Govt looks to change Shah Bano law
SC rejects Centre's plea for extension of time for publication of draft National Register of Citizens Assam
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today rejected the Centre's plea seeking extension of time for publication of the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam, as Govt termed fixing of the deadline as judicial overreach and an "encroachment" into the executive domain.The top court said that on the expiry of the midnight of Dec. 31, the draft NRC pertaining to 2.38 crore claims, will be published. NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam.The court said it has been monitoring the process of updating the NRC for three years now and it was the "sheer inaction on the part of the executive in dragging the matter".A war of words was also witnessed between the bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman and Attorney General KK Venugopal after the court refused to extend the time as sought by the Centre.Rejecting the prayer for extension of the deadline, the bench said "On the expiry of the midnight of Dec. 31, 2017, draft NRC pertaining to 2 crore claims which have been verified or likely to be verified by the said date and the additional 38 lakh claims, will be published".It listed the matter for further hearing on Feb. 20, 2018.When Justice Nariman asked the AG if the prayer for extension of time was granted, could it mean further extension could be sought by the Centre, Venugopal said it was an executive function and if the need arose, further time could be sought and this possibility cannot be ruled out. He said that fixing a date for publication of the draft NRC was really an executive function and an order to this effect by the Court "would be an encroachment on the executive domain and violation of the doctrine of separation of powers".To this, the bench said, "the contention advanced before the Court for the first time overlooks the fact that over a period of three years the Court has been monitoring the matter and fixing appropriate timelines for the completion of different phases of the exercise of updating NRC".It said that even on the last hearing on July 13, when Dec.31, 2017 was fixed for publication of the draft NRC, "the contentions now advanced of judicial overreach were not made before the court.""That apart, it is the sheer inaction on the part of the executive in dragging the matter for a period of over three years and the absence of any justifiable cause to hold back even a partial publication that has led the Court to direct publication of the draft NRC on or before Dec. 31, 2017," the bench said.The Attorney General then said that part publication of the draft NRC could result in a law and order situation as a large segment of the people would understand that their names have been excluded.The bench refused to agree with the contention, saying it did not see how such a situation could even remotely arise.It said that claims of 47 lakh persons (where doubts have arisen in respect of their parental linkage) and of 29 lakh people (kept in abeyance of married women who have given a certificate of Gram Panchayat Secretary) were still pending and would be subject to verification and covered by publication of another draft NRC subsequently.NRC of 1951 is being updated for Assam in accordance with the tripartite agreement between the state and central Govt’s and All Assam Students Union, which was arrived at in 2005 to implement the 1985 Assam Accord.
SC Raps Centre For Seeking More Time To Update Assam NRC 1951, Indo-B’desh Border Fencing
NRC Issue: SC Raps Assam Govt for Making Sweeping Statement
The Supreme Court has pulled up the Assam govt for making a “sweeping statement” that 15 per cent of the state population were tribals who have not participated in modernisation and were away from the mainstream. The top court said it was a “dangerous statement” on the state’s behalf and was neither good for the health of the people, nor the government as 15 per cent population was a huge chunk.“You are making a sweeping statement. You are the state. How can you say so? You are making dangerous statement that 15 per cent population is tribal and they are not in the mainstream,” a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman said. The court’s observation came after Assam’s counsel referred to this issue and said the government was trying to make them come forward in the ongoing process of updation and publication of draft NRC in the state.“This is not the way to do it. From where you are making these statements. These kind of sweeping statements are not good for the health of the people and health of the state. 15 per cent is a huge chunk. If you say 15 per cent population is not in the mainstream, we will ask what have you done in this regard as a state,” the bench said.NRC of 1951 is being updated for Assam in accordance with the tripartite agreement between the state and central governments and the All Assam Students Union (AASU), which was arrived at in 2005 to implement the 1985 Assam Accord. The apex court was earlier told that as on November 22, a total of 3.29 crore claims have been made for inclusion in the NRC, which is being prepared to identify illegal migrants.During the hearing, when Assam’s counsel told the court they would file an affidavit on the issue of tribals, the bench shot back, “When? We are finishing the matter”. northeasttoday
Govt to roll back move to ban sale of cattle for slaughter
New Delhi:Centre has decided to withdraw its controversial plan of notifying a ban on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, a senior official from Ministry of Environment and Forests said.The move comes after Ministry sought feedback from states on its May 23 notification on changes made to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017.“We sent a file to Ministry of Law earlier this week, stating that we are withdrawing the notification due to several issues and will be revising it,”official said, adding that a time-frame for the process has not yet been decided.After the notification in May, BJP-led-NDA govt came under severe criticism for attempting to impose the nationwide ban on ideological grounds.Subsequently, several instances of harassment and assault by cow-protection groups were reported from various parts of the country.Farmers, too, opposed the move to restrict trade in markets only to animals meant for agricultural use, saying they cannot directly access slaughterhouses. Farmers normally bring their redundant animals to livestock markets from where traders purchase and transport the cattle to abattoirs.In Sept., Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan indicated for the first time that the Centre may lift the ban. At the time, he said the rules were a “regulatory regime” for preventing cruelty to animals and the Govt  “did not intend to directly or indirectly affect slaughterhouses or harm farmers” or “influence the food habits of people”.It was then that the Ministry asked states to send their opinion on the notification that prohibited the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets. Ministry had sent 2 sets of letters to states — the first was soon after the SC stayed the ban — reminding them to respond. It had also attached a copy of the notification and said that a new draft would be framed based on feedback. Ministry also held consultations with animal rights activists and traders on the issue.Govt’s decision in May had sparked outrage, notably from states such as Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya on the grounds that it related to an issue under their jurisdiction. Indian Express
After 30 Lynchings, Govt Bows to Farmers Demand to Withdraw Sale Ban on Cattle for Slaughter
Centre considering making rules banning sale of cattle at  markets 'more acceptable'
No media reporting on Sohrabuddin killing trial: CBI Court
The special CBI court in Mumbai which is conducting the trial in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati alleged fake encounter cases today barred the media from reporting the court proceedings till further order, following a plea from the defence counsel.Raising security issues, the defence lawyers referred to a media report on the death of a judge who had dealt with the case and said "misreporting has already caused prejudice to both sides". They said it was a "sensational" case and some untoward incident could happen if publication of reports was allowed.Special judge Sunilkumar J Sharma, who also allowed the journalists who were present in the court to put forth their stand, said, "It may happen that publication (of reports) may create security problem for the accused persons, prosecution witnesses, defence team and the prosecution as well. I, therefore, find justification in the request of the defence team of lawyers."Considering the sensitivity of the matter, there was a likelihood of some untoward incident happening which may affect the trial, the judge said.The trial was to start today. However, one of the defence lawyers moved an application in the morning seeking a ban on the publication of reports of the court proceedings till the judgement is delivered.Publication of (reports of) proceedings will prejudice the case of the prosecution or the defence and may create security problems for the accused, prosecution, witnesses and defence lawyers, the defence lawyers contended.The case has a chequered history and "misreporting has already caused prejudice to both sides",they said.Journalists vehemently objected to the defence lawyers' demand, saying they were reporting on proceedings in good faith so that the public at large knows about the progress of the case.Media persons too have faced attacks in discharge of duty, they pointed out.The defence lawyers maintained that the matter was "sensational" and some untoward incident could happen if publication of reports was allowed.Referring to a report in an English magazine, defence lawyers said that "natural death" of an earlier judge who had dealt with the case was portrayed as a murder.The judge said he appreciates mediapersons' hard work and their role in educating the public. However, the (prime) accused in this case are police officials, the judge noted.In the past 4 years, ministers from Gujarat and Rajasthan and high-ranking police officials have been discharged, and the matter appears "sensational", he said, upholding the defence lawyers' request. Charges have been framed against 22 accused, including police officials, and today the trial was to commence but the prosecution could not produce witnesses, the judge noted.BJP president Amit Shah, Rajasthan Home Minister Gulabchand Kataria, former Gujarat police chief PC Pande, Additional DG of Police Geeta Johri are among those who have been discharged in the case.PTI
Can attend but not report: media gag in Sohrabuddin trial
UP cracks down on madrasas: registration deadline ends, 75 in just 3 districts to lose 'recognition'
The madrassas which had not submitted documents can still issue certificates to students,but these would not be recognized by the Govt .According to instructions issued by the state Govt , it is mandatory for all madrassas to register on the designated website. Institutions were to upload the required documents on the website by Oct.30."There are a total 134 madrassas in Muzaffarnagar, out of which 116 have submitted documents required, while 18 have not. These include Jamia Husania, Fazul Islam, Maqtab Maulana Azad madrassas. This means they do not want to be registered with the Madrassa Board," said Bharat Lal Goud, Muzaffarnagar minority welfare officer.In Saharanpur, 17 madrassas have not uploaded their documents. "We have investigated the functioning of these madrassas, and we discovered that they were running only on paper. The verification process of documents uploaded on the website is still on. Once it is complete, we will take further action,"said Saharanpur DM PK Pandey. According to officials, 92 madrassas have been verified so far and 62 are being verified.In Bareilly district, 30 madrassas out of more than 350 have not submitted their documents, according to district minority welfare officer Jagmohan Singh Yadav."However, all the 192 madrassas in Badaun have submitted their documents and verification process is ongoing," he added."We are currently verifying the details of 16,500 madrassas in the state which have uploaded their information on the portal. In the next phase, we will serve notice to those madrassas which have failed to provide information online and will ask about the reasons for it. Govt  will take action accordingly," said Rahul Gupta, registrar, UP Madrassa Board.TOI
UP cracks down on madrasas
Sc order in Hadiya case baffles Muslim leaders, activists
New Delhi: The Supreme Court’s silence on Kerala woman Hadiya’s contested conversion and marriage with a Muslim man while setting her free from her Hindu parents’ custody has surprised some Muslim community leaders. “It’s very strange that Hon’ble judges of the Supreme Court have questioned the guardianship of a married woman,”said Navaid Hamid, President of Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat. Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission, shared his sense of unease saying:“I am baffled how the Hon’ble court refused to allow Hadiya to go with her husband…”“We were expecting the SC would decide all 3 aspects of the issue. The annulment of her marriage and right to profess a religion of her choice are two major questions under threat after the Kerala High Court judgment. But instead of deliberating those aspects which contradict the fundamental rights of a citizen, the SC has unfortunately decided not to give its verdict or opinion on them,” said Navaid Hamid, President, AIMMM.When she was asked to name any guardian in Tamil Nadu, she had said her husband Shafin Jahan would be her guardian.But Justice DY Chandrachud rejected this suggestion saying husband cannot be guardian of wife. The judge’s views have surprised Hamid.   “What SC did is just transfer of her custody from parents to an institution. She is still not free. It is just transfer of confinement of an independent citizen. It also gives an impression that she is still not a free citizen. She has been given limited freedom of leaving her parents’ house to resume of her studies in confinement of an institution,” he said.Dr Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission, said:“I am baffled how Hon’ble court refused to allow Hadiya to go with her husband and how the court ordered her to resume her studies. The issue at hand was her right to convert and to marry whomever she wanted as an adult but, curiously, this fundamental right was overlooked in this case.”“The court by not allowing her to go with her husband and, instead, allowing her something she did not request, has not reinstated a fundamental right under the Indian constitution,” said Dr Khan. Not only Muslim leaders, human rights lawyer and activists have also raised similar point.“Amazing that the SC did not set the brave 25-year-old Hadiya free to live with whoever & wherever, & had appointed college Dean as her guardian!”, tweeted SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan."I appreciate her bravery and courage that she remained with her stand. Really, Islam is related to heart, nothing can be forced. If one accepts it under pressure, he/she cannot remain with it much longer. Hadiya endured all the difficulties all these months, she must have been put under pressure also and mentally harassed to change her opinion, yet no change in her stand shows her true and strong faith in Islam.She got strength by reading, understanding and believing Islam from heart,”said Salim Engineer, Secretary General, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.CaravanDaily
 Hadiya was very happy after talking to her husband over phone:college dean
Guardian lets Hadiya speak to husband; her father to move SC seeking ban on her meeting media, Jahan
'Love jihad': Under 'Beti Bachao, Bahu lao' campaign, Sangh affiliate wants to bring in '2100 girls in 6 mths'
New Delhi: A Hindu fringe group has come up with a new idea to counter the issue of 'love jihad'. Rajasthan woman elopes with Muslim boyfriend, refuses to marry until he converts to Hinduism.  Hindu Jagran Manch is encouraging Hindu youth to marry Muslim women and convert them to Hinduism. Group is also planning to launch an awareness programme in schools so that Hindu girls do not get lured by Muslims boys.Their catchline for this campaign is 'Beti Bachao, Bahu Lao'. Ajju Chauhan, chief of Manch, argues that the programme would protect Muslim women from triple talaq and polygamy. “Love jihad has become a huge problem in our country. Even young girls are being lured into this, with Muslim youth targeting Hindu girls and trying to convert them to Islam...Now, they are worried because they feel their daughters are being eyed by jihadis.”“To counter this, Hindu Jagran Manch has instructed its workers to run the campaign for a year. In the next six months, we will try to get 2,100 girls.” The campaign is to give a befitting reply to love jihadis, added Chauhan. timesnownews
Rajasthan: Muslim man, Hindu woman elope; VHP, Bajrang Dal protest
Jaipur: Members of VHP, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Jagran Manch and other organisations protested outside Jodhpur’s Maha Mandir police station on Tuesday after news spread that a Hindu woman had eloped with a Muslim man.“Pooja Joshi, 20, was missing since Sunday, and her brother Deepak Joshi has submitted a missing person’s complaint.We traced her and her neighbour Mohsin Khan, about 23 years old, to Bikaner, and brought them back to Jodhpur a day later,” said Sita Ram Khoja, SHO of Maha Mandir police station. The two, however, declined to go back to their homes and were kept in police protection for the night. No untoward incident was reported, the police said. Jodhpur ASP Shriman Lal Meena said the two were produced before a magistrate Tuesday where the girl said she wanted to stay at her uncle’s place.The girl reportedly told the magistrate she wasn’t taken away forcibly and would marry Mohsin once he converted to Hinduism. indian express
Rajasthan HC concludes hearing on inter-religion marriage, reserves judgement
Jaipur: Rajasthan High Court has concluded the hearing on the religious conversion and inter-faith marriage without any law and reserved its judgement.The high court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Chirag Singhvi, who alleges that his sister – Payal Singhvi, who is now known as Aarifa – was coerced into converting to Islam and that her marriage papers are forged. The police had produced Payal alias Arifa before the court on Nov. 7, when the court had allowed Payal (22) to live according to her own wish. The state Govt had, however, asked the court to clarify the legal status of conversion and inter-faith marriage.Mahesh Bora, counsel for Payal’s husband Faiez Modi told the court that Arifa (Payal) and Faiez are adults and they got married by mutual consent. He cited the SC’s judgment and said that in the hearing of habeas corpus petition, the court can only order the corpus to be produced. If the corpus is an adult, he or she can live with anyone according to the person’s wish.Bora added Aarifa has been living with her husband with the permission of the court, so the habeas corpus petition has now become infructuous. After hearing all the parties, the HC reserved the order.HT
India has given ‘no evidence’ against Hafiz Saeed: Pak PM
New Delhi: PM  Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said India has provided “no evidence” against Hafiz Saeed, days after the US warned there would be repercussions for bilateral relations if Pakistan Govt does not re-arrest and prosecute JuD chief. Noting that Saeed had recently been freed from house arrest by a judicial panel because there were “no charges” against him, Abbasi told Bloomberg in an interview that Saaed should be prosecuted internationally if the charges against him could be substantiated. “The court, a 3-judge bench, has released him (Saeed) saying there are no charges against him, the country has a law you know,” said Abbasi.“Prosecute him internationally if there is substance to these charges -- these are accusations only. No evidence has been provided by India,” he said, without giving details.HT
5 BJP ruled states have highest crime rates against Dalits, reveals NCRB data
New Delhi:The latest data released by NCRB may give the Opposition a shot in arm for the Gujarat polls. The latest data for 2014-16 reveals that BJP ruled states recorded highest crime rates against scheduled castes.NCRB data, released today says that the 5 states that recorded the highest crime rate in the category of "crime/atrocities against scheduled castes" during 2014-16 were all ruled by BJP directly or in alliance with other parties. MP occupies the top position in crime against scheduled castes in terms of crime rate, which is defined by the incidence of crime recorded per one lakh population. MP registered 3,294 incidents of crime against scheduled castes in 2014 followed by 3,546 in 2015 and 4,922 last year. MP is followed by Rajasthan, which recorded 12.6 % of total number of crimes recorded against scheduled castes in the country in 2016.Rajasthan recorded 6,735 incidents of crime against scheduled castes in 2014, which declined to 5,911 in 2015 and 5,136 in 2016. Goa holds third position in terms of crime rate against scheduled castes. With 5,701 incidents of crime reported against scheduled castes last year, Bihar stood fourth in the table.  Election-bound Gujarat was at the fifth rank in terms of crime rate against scheduled castes. Gujarat has seen an increase in number of incidents of crime against scheduled castes since 2014.NCRB data shows that Gujarat registered 1,094 incidents of crime against scheduled castes which increased to 1,322 in 2016.With 10,426 incidents, UP  reported the highest number of cases of atrocities against scheduled castes accounting for 25.6 %  followed by Bihar with 14%  and Rajasthan with 12.6 %  in 2016.IndiaToday
Gujarat Polls: Another communal video surfaces, shows man with skull cap slaughtering cow, threatening PM
As the dates for Gujarat Assembly polls draw closer, different forces have gone aggressively to work behind the scene to exploit all means for electoral gain. They are leaving no stone unturned to polarise the electorate, preferably on communal lines.With an aim to incite communal hatred against Muslims, a gruesome video of cow slaughter is being circulated on WhatsApp in the state that will go to polls on Dec.9 and 14. A man wearing skull-cap can be seen – in the video – sitting on a severed head of a cow.He can be heard hurling threats to PM  Narendra Modi. “Modi, we will continue slaughtering your mother. This war will continue until you are finished,” the man says in the video.He goes on threatening by pointing at the cow’s horns, nostrils and tongue. Pointing at the skinned body of the cow, he says, “Look, we have even removed the clothes of your mother.”At the end of the video the man can be seen putting his feet on the severed head of the cow and chanting 'Allahu Akbar'.Interestingly, the man is speaking in Kashmiri accent that shows the video is not from Gujarat. The authenticity of the video is not known either.Though the authenticity of the video cannot be vouched for, it is being widely circulated in the state, particularly among Patidar groups who are opposing the ruling party for using massive force on their community members demanding quota.“The video is, of course, provocative but we know why it is being circulated. These tricks won’t work anymore,” said Rahul Patel,an Ahmedabad-based leader of PAAS said.NewsClick
Somnath temple: Rahul Gandhi’s name figures in ‘non-Hindu’ list, Congress claims visitors’ book is ‘fake’
New Delhi: As Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi returned to the election campaign trail in Gujarat, his visit to famous Gir Somnath temple on Wednesday hasn’t gone unnoticed.A member of Gandhi entourage allegedly entered his name in the temple’s “non-Hindu” visitors book. Secretary of Shree Somnath Trust, Pravin Laheri, said: “We have a rule that all non-Hindus have to register their names. Somebody entered the names of Ahmed Patel and Rahul Gandhi in this register. The temple has nothing to do with it.”Meanwhile, Congress party claimed that Rahul Gandhi never signed the register and alleged it is fake.indianexpress
PM Modi has quit Hinduism and imbibed Hindutva: Kapil Sibal on 'non-Hindu' row
Assam: Police complaint against former AIUDF MLA for 'hate' speech
Guwahati: Sheikh Shah Alom, ex-MLA of AIUDF has been booked  for allegedly trying to incite communal disharmony in the state during a public meeting on last Sunday.In the complaint lodged at the Panbazar police station, rights activist Kamal Kumar Medhi has claimed, "Alom's speech is a threat to the communal harmony of the state. Strict action must be taken against such people and activities." Medhi has also demanded that Alom should be booked under NSA.Alom, while attending the public rally organised by Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF in Goalpara, had allegedly said the minority community people should unite to attack those who have been trying to harass them. He said, "Muslims have ruled the country for over hundreds of years and people from other religions never faced any trouble. But in the last 70 years, minority communities are being harassed by the rulers. It's time to be offensive and take command."AIUDF general secretary Champak Kalita said, "Party immediately slapped a show-cause notice upon Alom. He has resigned from party."TOI
Telangana: Jamaate-Islami to hold 2-week ‘Seerat’
Hyderabad:Telangana Zone of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) has decided to launch a two-week Seerat Campaign from Dec.3 throughout the state to pass on the message of Prophet Mohammed. Hamid Mohammed Khan, president of Jamaat's Telangana state and Odisha, told mediapersons Milad-un-Nabi marked an important day in the Islamic calendar as it referred to the birth of the Prophet.He appealed to the Muslim scholars, intellectuals and students to cooperate in successfully organising the campaign. Majlis Tameer-e-Millat  stated that it would organise celebrations on Dec.2 and 3 at Nizam College Ground in city.Deccan Chronicle.
Many religions, one India’ campaign from tomorrow: SIO
Udupi: Udupi district unit of the Students Islamic Organisation of India will be launching its “Many religions, one India” campaign from Dec.1 to 31.Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Jishan Akhil, campus secretary of the State unit of the organisation, said that it was essential to unite people. They should be told to respect all religions and live in harmony in society. It was the responsibility of all citizens to take the country towards progress. Hence, the Students Islamic Organisation of India would be carrying out the campaign in the district. As part of the campaign, marathons, mohalla meetings, corner meetings, cycle jatha and seminars would be held to promote harmony among various communities.An inter-religious conference will be held here on Dec.16, he said.
NIA frees Cuttack man after grilling: orissapost
Cuttack: NIA raided a house in Samantarapur village in an area coming under Kishorenagar police station here Wednesday, and detained a man suspected to have links with LeT. The agency, however, released the man later after questioning. A six-member NIA team detained the suspect, Akhtar Hussein Khan, from his rented house and took him to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
WORLD
Pope heads to Bangladesh as rights groups criticise his silence on Rohingya crisis
Yangon: Pope Francis wrapped up his visit to Myanmar on Thursday with a Mass for young people before heading to neighbouring Bangladesh where Muslim Rohingya refugee crisis was expected to take center stage.Francis has so far refrained from speaking out about Asia’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades out of diplomatic deference to his hosts in Myanmar, who consider the Rohingya as having illegally migrated from Bangladesh and don’t recognize them as their own ethnic group. Vatican has defended Francis’ silence, saying the pope wants to “build bridges” with the predominantly Buddhist nation. But human rights groups and Rohingya themselves have expressed disappointment that Francis, an advocate for refugees and the world’s most marginal, refrained from condemning what the UN has said is a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis took seriously the advice given to him by the local Catholic Church, which urged him to toe a cautious line and not even refer to the “Rohingya” by name during his trip.“You can criticize what’s said, what’s not said, but the pope is not going to lose moral authority on this question here,” Burke told reporters on Wednesday.AP
Europe's growing Muslim population could triple by 2050: Pew report
Brussels: Muslim population in some European countries could triple by 2050 while it will barely change in others, according to new projections. Projections were in a report titled "Europe's Growing Muslim Population" released on Wednesday night by Washington-based Pew Research Centre. The report shows a stark west-east divide. Muslim share of Germany's population could grow from 6.1% in 2016 to 19.7% in 2050 if high migration continues, whereas over the border Poland's share would change from 0.1% to 0.2% in the same scenario. Even if all current 28 EU members, plus Norway and Switzerland, closed their borders to migrants, the Muslim population share in the west would continue to grow owing to a younger age profile and higher fertility rates, but remain very low in the east. According to Pew's data, Muslims made up 4.9% of Europe's population in 2016, with an estimated 25.8 million people across 30 countries, up from 19.5 million people in 2010.IANS
Muslim population in Europe to grow regardless of migration levels, claims study:AFP
Ex-Egypt PM Ahmed Shafiq 'blocked from leaving UAE'
A former Egyptian PM  says he is not being allowed to leave the UAE, the country where he has resided since 2012 after losing the Egyptian elections to Mohamed Morsi.The reason for his travel ban is unknown, Ahmed Shafiq said in an exclusive video statement to Al Jazeera on Wednesday."I was surprised to know that I am prevented from leaving UAE for reasons that I don't understand and I am not willing to understand," he said.Earlier in the day, Shafiq had announced that he intended to run in 2018 presidential polls against President Abdel Fateh el-Sisi.Shafiq, who also participated in the 2012 Egyptian elections, said he wanted to head back to Egypt in the coming days."I have announced my intention to run the upcoming presidential elections and I was planning to start a tour among the Egyptian communities living abroad before going back to Egypt in the next few days," he said. aljazeera
El-Sisi orders `brute force' operation to pacify Sinai
 Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered the military to restore security in northern Sinai within three months, authorizing the use of “brute force” days after militants carried out the single worst terrorist strike in the country’s recent history. Addressing an audience of Muslim clerics, El-Sisi said he had told Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Mohamed Farid Hegazi: “You are responsible, you are responsible within three moths to restore security and stability in Sinai.”Bloomberg
At least 800 civilians killed by US-led coalition strikes in Iraq, Syria: Report
Baghdad: At least 800 civilians have been killed in strikes in Iraq and Syria by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State since the campaign began in 2014, according to a report released by the coalition on Thursday.The estimate in the monthly report, which said coalition strikes had unintentionally killed at least 801 civilians between August 2014 and Oct. 2017, was far lower than figures provided by monitoring groups. The monitoring group Airwars says a total of at least 5,961 civilians have been killed by coalition air strikes.Reuters
'Winter without food, firewood or diesel' in Syria's besieged towns
 Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel capital in coming days:report
Us President Donald Trump is set to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel within days and is considering how to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Ynet News.Reports from inside Israel allege that pressure from the Republican Party and Evangelical Christian groups is encouraging the Trump Administration to assess how to fulfil the president’s election promise and avoid signing the waiver that would leave the embassy in Tel Aviv.Renewed every 6 months, the waiver is signed by the heads of both US political parties to prevent the embassy being moved from the Israeli capital to Jerusalem, and has been signed by every US president for the past 2 decades.The latest report comes just 2 days after US Vice President Mike Pence said that Trump was “actively considering” how to move US embassy to Jerusalem, reiterating that “America will always stand with Israel”.MEMO
Hamas blames Fatah’s dominated Govt  for chaos in Gaza ministries
Palestinian Movement Hamas placed responsibility for chaos in Gaza’s ministries on the Fatah-dominated Govt  of national accord, Shehab news agency reported.Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said in a written press release that this “chaos came as a result of the irresponsible Govt ’s decision, which violates the Cairo agreement, to call on the employees who have sat at home since the division to go to their work.”In a statement, the Ramallah-based Govt said: “Palestinian cabinet stresses the need of the return of all old employees to their positions,” giving its directions to the ministers to arrange for the “immediate” return of these employees.In response to this call, the Syndicate of Employees in Gaza called for the ministries not to allow any employee to return to his position until this issue is sorted out by the administrative committee agreed upon in the Cairo agreement. middleeastmonitor
10 US senators urge Netanyahu not to demolish Palestinian villages: middleeastmonitor
10 US senators have written to Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu urging him not to demolish Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The letter, initiated by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.,and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,states: “we have long championed a two-state solution as a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. “Yet, your Govt’s efforts to forcibly evict entire Palestinian communities and expand settlements throughout the West Bank not only directly imperil a two-state solution, but we believe also endanger Israel’s future as a Jewish democracy”.
Israeli plan to set up new settlement city in West Bank
Israeli occupation authorities are planning to set up new large settlement city on the western borders of the occupied West Bank, Israeli media reports reported on Wednesday.According to Quds Press, Israeli news site 0404 revealed that a special committee was assigned by the Israeli interior ministry 6 months ago to prepare for the plan.The committee offered its recommendations on Wednesday, the Israeli site said, noting that the committee recommended bringing a number of settlements together to create a large settlement city applicable for expansion. According to the news website, the settlements in question are Oranit, south of Qalqilia, Sheari Tikva, in the east, Etz Efraim, in the villages of Qalqilia and Elkana in the west of Salfit. middleeastmonitor
Israeli army imposes ‘severe restrictions’ on Palestinian communities near Hebron
Israeli military has been imposing “severe travel restrictions” on four Palestinian communities in the Masafer Yatta region of the southern occupied West Bank, according to NGO B’Tselem. The area’s Palestinian residents “have been suffering incessant harassment by Israel for decades”, B’Tselem states, since “Israel does not allow them to connect to infrastructure and repeatedly demolishes their homes, in an attempt to drive them out of the area”.Since 9 Nov, however, the military has restricted movement in four communities in the Masafer Yatta region of the South Hebron Hills – Khirbet al-Halawah, Khirbet Jenbah, Khirbet al-Fakhit and Khirbet al-Markez – which are home to some 600 people, half of them minors.In particular, Israeli occupation forces have blocked off roads connecting the communities and leading to the main road, “forcing residents to walk a fair distance to the main road”. middleeastmonitor
Trump criticized in Britain and US for sharing anti-Muslim videos
President Donald Trump, who campaigned to bar Muslims he sees as a security threat, on Wednesday shared anti-Muslim videos posted on Twitter by a far-right British party leader, drawing condemnation from Britain, US Muslim groups and some members of Congress.The White House defended Trump’s retweets saying he was raising security issues. As president, Trump has issued executive orders banning entry to some citizens of several Muslim-majority countries, although courts have partially blocked the measures from taking effect.“Look, I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters. “The threat is real and that’s what the president is talking about is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things. There’s nothing fake about that.” middleeastmonitor
Muslim Holds Ancient Key to 'Jesus Tomb Site' in Jerusalem:Reuters
Jerusalem: As dark falls, Adeeb Joudeh, a Muslim, makes his way through the stone alleyways of Jerusalem‘s walled Old City cradling the ancient key to one of Christianity’s holiest sites.Centuries ago, the imposing iron key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified and buried, was entrusted to his family, one of Jerusalem‘s most prominent clans, says Joudeh.He dates the arrangement back to the time of Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized the holy city from the Crusaders in 1187.“Honestly, it’s a great honour for a Muslim to hold the key to Church of Holy Sepulchre, which is the most important church in Christendom,” Joudeh, 53, said.Another of the city’s oldest Muslim families, the Nusseibehs, were entrusted with the duty of opening and closing the church doors, a task they perform to this day. It requires firm fingers: The key is 30 cm long and weighs 250 grams.
Ex-Israel soldier heading child prostitution ring deported from Colombia
A former Israeli soldier was deported from Colombia for alleged links to a criminal network suspected of drug trafficking, child prostitution and tax offenses that spanned across several countries in Latin America.43-year-old Assi Moosh was expelled by Colombia and returned to Tel Aviv under escort by immigration officers last weekend. In a statement confirming the deportation, security officials said: “Police in Santa Marta, capital of the Magdalena department, hereby announce the removal of an Israeli citizen who owns a spa hotel frequented by many foreign tourists. Deportation procedures have been commenced as per law and will be carried out due to the Israeli’s conduct, which has harmed Colombia’s national security.”Colombian news agencies reporting on the deportation revealed details surrounding the expulsion of Moosh who was exposed as being part of a group of ex-Israeli soldiers that had turned a small fishing village in Taganga into a “sex and drug den” from their base in a luxury resort that was known to locals as “little Israel”. middleeastmonitor
Suspected US drone targets Haqqani militants in Pakistan, killing 4
A suspected US drone strike on Thursday targeted a hideout of the Haqqani militant network along Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan, killing four people, officials said.If confirmed, it would be the fourth such US strike inside Pakistan since President Donald Trump took office in Jan. 2 Pakistani intelligence officials and a local govt officer said an unmanned aerial vehicle dropped two missiles on a compound housing militants under the command of a senior network commander, Abdur Rasheed Haqqani.Villagers initially reported a blast in the Upper Kurram area to authorities, said one of the officials, adding, “We got it from our informant later that it was a US drone strike that targeted Haqqanis.”It was not clear if the commander was among those killed, added the officials, who sought anonymity as the issue is a sensitive one.Reuters
Theresa May: Saudi blockade on Yemen must be eased
British Prime Minister Theresa May has called on Saudi Arabia to ease the siege on Yemen "as a matter of urgency" to avert "a humanitarian catastrophe".The statement, published by May's office on Thursday, said the British leader met King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman late on Wednesday during her three-day tour of the Middle East."They discussed Yemen, where the prime minister made clear that the flow of commercial supplies on which the country depends must be resumed if we are to avert a humanitarian catastrophe," the statement said. aljazeera
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
No justice in sight for many prisoners jailed without conviction:Iftikhar Gilani
Let Hadiya take charge of her life:Brinda Karat
Why has Hadiya not been allowed to join her husband?Seema Mustafa
In 21st century India, Supreme Court is treating an adult woman like she’s her father’s property: Anjali Mody
Hadiya: no one has the right to separate a married couple:Humra Quraishi, Milli Gazette
The Supreme Court Has Failed Hadiya – And Maybe Rest of Us Too:Vakasha Sachdev
Question to SC: Does an adult woman not have a right to privacy and autonomy?Kavita Krishnan
Telescope: Secret mission of Ivanka Trump:Shailaja Bajpai


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 5:53 PM)