11 December 2017

11 Dec.ND: Pak minister’s presence at Chabahar port opening indicates shift in ties with Iran: Report/ In 1st winter stay, 1800 Chinese troops camping at Doklam/Chinese Foreign Minister in New Delhi to attend RIC meet

11 Dec.2017: 21 Rabial Awwal 1439:Vol:9, No:69
Pak minister’s presence at Chabahar port opening indicates shift in ties with Iran: Report
Islamabad: The participation of a Pakistani minister at the inauguration of the first phase of Iran’s Chabahar port - even though the country is not part of the strategic project - represents a “significant shift” in the two neighbours’ ties, a media report said on Monday.As Iranian President Hassan Rowhani inaugurated the first phase of the Chabahar port last week, Pakistan’s minister for ports and shipping Hasil Khan Bizenjo was standing next to him.“This was no coincidence, as Hasil Khan Bizenjo was asked to stand next to Rowhani in a carefully choreographed move,” the Express Tribune reported regarding the minister’s presence on the occasion despite the fact that Pakistan is not part of the project.“The objective behind this move was clear - Iran wanted to send a message that it would not allow India or any other country to use Chabahar against Pakistan,”a senior Iranian diplomat reportedly told the daily on condition of anonymity.Such a firsthand account of close cooperation between Pakistan and Iran is unusual and represents a significant shift in the 2 neighbours’ ties, which have often been marred by a trust deficit and mutual suspicion, paper commented.The turnaround is also important when seen alongside Pakistan’s participation in the Saudi-led counter-terrorism coalition, it said.Iran, which is not part of the grouping, considers the initiative an attempt to further Saudi’s agenda in West Asia.That is one of the reasons that Pakistan has been treading a careful path on the issue as it has the potential to undermine ties with Iran, the report said.Pakistan, according to official sources, has assured Iran that Islamabad would not become part of an initiative that targets Tehran.Tehran, in return, has pledged that it would not allow any regional country, including India, to undermine Pakistan’s interests, the report said.The Chabahar port opens a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan, while bypassing Pakistan, and reflects growing convergence of interests among the three countries.The port is considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi.PTI
In 1st winter stay, 1800 Chinese troops camping at Doklam
New Delhi: Around 1,600-1,800 Chinese troops have now virtually established a permanent presence in the Doklam+ area, near Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction, with construction of 2 helipads, upgraded roads, scores of pre-fabricated huts, shelters and stores to withstand the freezing winter in the high-altitude region.Indian security establishment sources said while India "achieved its strategic objective" of not letting China extend its existing road in Doklam southwards towards the Jampheri ridge, the fallout has been "the almost permanent stationing of People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the region "."Earlier, PLA patrols would come to Doklam, which is disputed between China and Bhutan, between April-May and Octr-Nov. every year to mark their presence and lay claim to the area before going back," said a source."Now, after 73-day eyeball-to-eyeball troop confrontation at Doklam between India and China ended on Aug. 28, PLA troops have stayed put in what we consider to be Bhutanese territory for the first time this winter. But the status quo prevails at the earlier face-off site," he added.This fits in with what the Army chief, General Bipin Rawat, meant when he warned in September that China would continue with its efforts to nibble away disputed territories through "salami slicing", muscle-flexing and other measures.With Indian troops deployed in tactically dominating positions in the trijunction region, China is keen to usurp Doklam to add strategic depth to its narrow Chumbi Valley, which juts in between Sikkim and Bhutan. timesofindia
After Doklam withdrawal, Chinese troops 'camping' on Doklam near Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet trijunction: Report
Israeli-made drone, operated by India, crashes in China: Jerusalem Post
Just weeks after India cancelled a massive missile deal with Israel, an Israeli-made drone may be in the middle of an international spat, this time between India and China, after a Heron drone operated by the Indian military crashed in China. China’s Defense Ministry said that the drone which crashed last week in China’s Chumbi Valley after crossing a line of control between the two countries, violated China’s sovereignty and that Beijing would “resolutely defend” China.“This action by India violated China’s territorial sovereignty. We express strong dissatisfaction and opposition,” Reuters quoted Zhang Shuili, a military official in China’s western battle zone command, as saying in a ministry statement, adding that “China’s border defence forces took a professional and responsible attitude in conducting an inspection of the device.”News of the crash comes just weeks after India reportedly cancelled a half a billion-dollar missile deal with Israel. The missile contract with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems allowed for India to purchase Spike anti-tank guided missiles. Instead, the Indian Govt  has asked the country’s DRDO to nix the deal and develop its own “home-grown” anti-tank missile, in an attempt to build up its own defense industry.India’s Economic Times reported that the Heron drone, made by Israel Aerospace Industries, had taken off from a base in the Siliguri Corridor on a training mission over India when it developed technical problems and crashed near the Doklam Plateau and where there is a concentration of Chinese troops."The drone's communication link broke with the ground control station, it was regained and then lost again, preventing it from being controlled, before crashing in the Chumbi Valley," Economic Times quoted a top Govt  official as saying."The drone's DAS based at the control station has been sent to IAI to check what went wrong. The analysis will be out in a  few weeks," the official added. Heron is IAI’s most advanced drone with a 40h endurance, maximum take-off weight of 11,685 pounds and a payload of 2,204-pounds. They can be used for both reconnaissance as well as combat and support roles and can carry air-to-ground missiles to take out hostile targets. Indian Air Force already operates close to 180 Israeli-made UAVs, including 108 IAI made Searchers and 68 unarmed Heron 1s for surveillance and intelligence gathering as well as a fleet of IAI produced Harpy UAVs, which carry a high-explosive warhead and self-destructs to take out targets such as radar stations. jpost
Handling of Doklam shows importance of India-China ties: Wang Yi
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said India and China’s strategic interests outweigh “partial frictions” and handling of the Doklam standoff through diplomatic means reflects the importance of bilateral ties.Ahead of his visit to India to attend the Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers’ meeting to be held in New Delhi today, during which he would also hold talks with top Indian officials,  Wang said China always values good neighbourliness and friendship between the two countries as “we are each other’s big neighbours and ancient civilisations.” He said India-China strategic interests outweigh differences and “partial friction.”“We have handled the issue of cross-border incursions by the Indian border troops into China’s Donglang area through diplomatic measures,”  Wang told a symposium here last week, maintaining Beijing’s stand.PTI
Russia urges India to line up behind China's Belt & Road initiative: Reuters
New Delhi;Russia threw its weight behind China's massive Belt and Road plan to build trade and transport links across Asia and beyond, suggesting to India on Monday that it find a way to work with Beijing on the signature project.India is strongly opposed to an economic corridor that China is building in Pakistan that runs through disputed Kashmir as part of the Belt and Road initiative.India was the only country that stayed away from a May summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping to promote the plan to build railways, ports and power grids in a modern-day recreation of the Silk Road.Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said New Delhi should not let political problems deter it from joining the project, involving billions of dollars of investment, and benefiting from it.Lavrov was speaking in the Indian capital after a three-way meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at which, he said, India's reservations over the Chinese project were discussed.
Don't drag us into your domestic politics, win victories on your own: Pak to India over Modi’s remarks on Guj polls
Pakistan today said India's politicians should not drag the country into its domestic politics during campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls."India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on own strength rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible,"Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said.India should stop dragging Pakistan into its electoral debate and win victories on own strength rather than fabricated conspiracies, which are utterly baseless and irresponsible.PM  Narendra Modi claimed at an election rally that there was an attempt by Pakistan to interfere in the Gujarat polls.Modi also raised questions about the alleged appeal by ex-DG of Pak Army Sardar Arshad Rafiq for making senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel CM  of Gujarat.PTI
Pakistan on alleged interference in Gujarat polls: It’s a ‘fabricated conspiracy’
Former Indian army chief exposes PM Modi’s ‘lies’ in Gujarat election rally
Ex-Army Chief General (retired) Deepak Kapoor has exposed PM Narendra Modi’s ‘lies’ during an election rally in Gujarat. Modi, in an election rally sensationally alleged that Pakistan was interfering with Gujarat polls.To support his elections, he had said that few Congress leaders had held a meeting in Delhi Pakistani officials to work out a strategy to ensure BJP’s defeat in Gujarat. Meeting indeed took place at the suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. But those who attended the meeting included ex-PM  Manmohan Singh, ex-army chief,Gen Deepak Kapoor and ex-Pak foreign minister, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.Also present were ex-foreign minister K Natwar Singh, and former diplomats Salman Haidar, TCA Raghavan,Sharat Sabharwal, K Shankar Bajpai and Chinmaya Gharekhan, among others. Bajpai, Raghavan and Sabharwal had served as Indian High Commissioners to Pakistan. Confirming that that he was part of the meeting at Aiyar’s residence, General Kapoor told Indian Express, “Yes, I was part of the meeting and we discussed nothing more than India-Pakistan relations.”Kapoor was the 23rd Chief of Army Staff and retired in March 2010. Another close aide to Aiyar said that Kasuri and Aiyar had been friends have met on several occasions in the past.Modi last week had alleged, “There were media reports yesterday about a meeting at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. It was attended by Pak’s high commissioner, Pak’s ex-foreign minister, India’s ex-vice president and ex-PM  Manmohan Singh,”Modi was quoted by PTI. jantakareporter
Gujarat elections: Manmohan says Modi must apologise for Pakistan collusion remark
New Delhi:In a sharp counter-offensive on PM  Narendra Modi over his ‘conspiracy with Pakistan’ remark, former premier Manmohan Singh on Monday said he was setting a “dangerous precedent” with his “ill-thought transgression” and asked him to apologise to the nation.In a strongly-worded statement, Singh rejected as “innuendos and falsehoods” Modi’s comments, saying he did not discuss the Gujarat elections with anyone at the dinner hosted by Mani Shankar Aiyar for Pakistan’s former foreign minister Kurshid Kasuri here.“I sincerely hope that PM  will show the maturity and gravitas expected of the high office he holds instead of concentrating his energy solely on erroneously conceived brownie points.“I sincerely hope that he will apologize to the Nation for his ill thought transgression to restore the dignity of the office he occupies,” he said.Singh said he was “deeply pained and anguished” by the “falsehood and canards” being spread to score political points by the PM  in what he said was a “lost cause” in Gujarat.“Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of PM  to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. Sadly and regrettably, Sh. Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a former PM  and Army Chief,” he alleged.PTI
Manmohan: Pained at PM Modi spreading falsehood to score political points
‘Just to win elections anyhow’: Shatrughan takes potshots at PM Modi for alleging Pakistan hand in Gujarat polls
New Delhi :BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha, who is the saffron party’s in-house critic, on Monday whipped up yet another controversy after he targeted PM  Narendra Modi over his reference that “Pakistan is interfering in the Gujarat election” and opposition party members met Pakistani officials at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s house. Actor-turned-politician took to Twitter this morning and posted two tweets without naming anyone in particular. However, his tweets did not leave much room for doubt, inviting a flurry of reactions from Twitterati. indianexpress
Rahul Gandhi elected Congress president unopposed, to take charge on Dec16
New Delhi;Along expected lines, Rahul Gandhi was elected as Congress president unopposed on Monday, signalling a generational shift in the Grand Old Party, which his mother Sonia Gandhi shouldered for 13 years. The announcement was made by Congress’ Central Election Authority chairman Mullapally Ramachandran.Ramachandran said the 47-year-old leader would formally take over the reins of the party on Dec. 16, two days before the declaration of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results.Sonia Gandhi will officially hand over the mantle of the 132-year-old party to her son around 11 am on Dec. 16 after which Rahul will meet leaders from across the country at the Congress headquarters, party leaders said. A press release from the Congress said a total of 89 nominations were received in Rahul’s favour and they were found to be valid during scrutiny. indianexpress
Candidate should not contest elections from 2 seats: EC tells SC
New Delhi;Following a petition seeking a ban on contesting elections from two constituencies, the Election Commission told the Supreme Court on Monday that a candidate ideally should not do so.The court was hearing a petition filed by one Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who sought a prohibition on contesting elections from two constituencies at all levels – Parliament and state assemblies. Upadhyay has challenged Section 33(7) of the Representation of People Act that allows a person to contest polls from two constituencies.indianexpress
Mayawati warns of embracing Buddhism if BJP, RSS don’t stop communal propaganda
Nagpur: For second time in 2 months, BSP supremo Mayawati warned of replicating Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in embracing Buddhism along with crores of her followers, if right wing organizations like BJP and RSS, fail to stop its casteist and communal propaganda against poor Dalits, tribals, Muslims and other backward classes.Lashing out at saffron organizations' plans of building a Ram temple at disputed site in Ayodhya, she said it would not bring any benefits to the deprived sections of the society but would led to more poverty and unemployment.Addressing a mammoth rally at the historic Kasturchand Park, ex-UP CM challenged the saffron parties to change its mindset towards these deprived sections of the society, else she would be forced to follow Dalit icon, who embraced the Buddhism at Deekshabhoomi on Oct.14,1956, with lakhs of followers."Before leaving the Hindu religion, Dr Ambedkar requested saints and seers like Shankaracharya to remove discrepancies like casteism and untouchability which alienated those from the reserved category, on Oct.13, 1935. He granted them a long time of over 21 years to improve the system and plug loopholes. It was only after their failure that the Bharat Ratna was forced to take the ultimate step," she told the huge gathering of her activists, arousing loud cheers. Besides Maharashtra, BSP activists from states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, thronged the venue in large numbers braving scorching heat for nearly three hours, as the Mayawati arrived late.Taking a dig at Fadnavis-led BJP-Sena Govt, she said due to pro-poor policies of her regime, not a single case of suicide was recorded in UP, while Maharashtra and particularly Vidarbha, witnessed highest number of farmers ending their lives. "Farming community here are in dire straits due to sheer neglect of centre and state. Both are giving false assurances to the poor farmers, but doing nothing in a reality." Accusing BJP, NDA and RSS of forcefully implementing their Hindutva agenda, she said they were exploiting Dalits, tribals, farmers, and businessmen through their wrong policies."BJP Govt failed to fulfil even 1/4th of their assurances made after Lok Sabha polls. GST and demonetization had added to the people's woes. NDA is facing opposition to its policies from its own constituents.New India can't be built by just 'Jumlebazi'."TOI
SC says it cannot ask J&K Govt  to form minority commission
The Supreme Court on Monday said it cannot ask the J&K  Assembly to pass a legislation to set up a minority commission in the state, Live Law reported. Instead, the court said the Centre will discuss the subject.“How can we ask or direct the state legislature to legislate in a particular manner?” Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra told the petitioner, Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma. “The Centre says they will deliberate on it and get back to this court.”The Supreme Court bench then adjourned the hearing for eight weeks, ANI reported.On May 1, Govt had told the Supreme Court that a high-level committee of senior officials of the state and central Govt s had been formed to consider setting up a minority commission for J&K .On August 8, the Supreme Court had criticised a state Govt  affidavit, which said its officials were unable to find time to discuss the subject with the Centre. The bench gave the state and Centre three more months to make a decision. scroll
Ex-CJI RM Lodha condemns killings over cow protection, inter-religious marriage
New Delhi;Ex-Chief Justice of India R M Lodha condemned killings in the name of cow protection and “love jihad”, and threats to artistic freedom. He said the laxity in police action “is shaking me every day”.Speaking at an event on Human Rights Day, he said: “In the name of cow protection, human beings were slaughtered. Cow vigilantes are mushrooming everywhere. Sedition charges are being invoked against activists. Cartoonists, actress and students were charged with sedition charges.”On violence in the name of inter-religious marriages, he asked: “Should religion be a factor when two adults fall in love?”He said: “People have been killed in the name of love jihad”. He said “the violators of human rights are not accountable to society” but that “there is laxity in the police action. This question is shaking me every day.” indianexpress
Rajasthan hacking: ‘Some forces trying to destroy communal harmony in society’
Kolkata:Protest marches under the banner of Bangla Sanskriti Mancha were held in Kolkata and Kaliachak on Monday, demanding strong punishment for the accused in the murder of West Bengal migrant labourer Mohammad Afrazul. In Kolkata, a peaceful protest rally was taken out from Jadavpur to Dhakuria, which was attended by academicians and students, among others.In Malda, 2 rallies were organised — one from the house of the victim in Saiyadpur village, another in Kaliachak block. Both witnessed huge participation. Several participants demanded the death sentence for the killer of Afrazul, who was murdered in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand. President of Bangla Sanskriti Manch, Samirul Islam, said, “Our protest is against the radicalisation of a section of the country. All of us Hindus, Muslims have lived together in harmony  and peace. There are forces trying to destroy the communal harmony of our society.”Another participant at the Kolkata rally said attacks were organised not only against minorities, but against anyone daring to raise their voice against the Govt . “From Akhlaque to Gouri Lankesh, no one is safe. Govt  is not taking action against perpetrators of such attacks, which is very concerning for all of us,”college student said. indianexpress
Delhi: Students, Activists Protest Against Killing of Muslim Labourer Afrajul In Rajasthan
UP: Hindu outfit demands effective law against ‘love-jihad’
Agra: Activists of a Hindu outfit ‘Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha’ have demanded effective law to check the cases of love-jihad.They had gathered at the collectorate on Saturday and also submitted a memorandum addressed to CM .While allegedly justifying the brutal killing of a migrant labourer Afrazul who was hacked and then burnt in Rajasthan a couple of days back, the recently appointed national spokesperson of the Mahasabha Ajju Chauhan said that such reaction could be expected from a person who has lost his daughter or sister because of love-jihad.“There is need for effective law against ‘love-jihad’. Although the anti-Romeo squad had brought down such cases, they still continue to happen. The incident like the one in Rajasthan should not happen, but such action is very likely from a person in a fit of rage,” said Chauhan.“We have demanded the CM  to bring up an effective law to check the incidents. National president of the Mahasabha Rakesh Limaye has prepared a draft to permanently stop the cases of love-jihad,” said Chauhan.“The couples from different faiths who intend to marry should be required to submit joint application before DM or SDM and this should accompany the affidavit of parents so that it can work as ‘no objection certificate’. The authenticity of this affidavit should be verified to ensure if it is not given under pressure or threat,” said Chauhan in the memorandum submitted on Saturday.Known for making controversial statements, Ajju Chauhan had recently given a call for promoting marriages of Hindu boys to well educated Muslim girls ‘as answer to love-jihad’.HT
MP: Saffron agenda push through quiz competition draws flak
Bhopal: An attempt by the ruling BJP’s youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), to further saffron agenda through an international quiz competition in schools and colleges across Madhya Pradesh has met with criticism from the opposition Congress and educationists.Titled ‘Mere Deendayal’ after Deendayal Upadhyay, founder of BJP’s progenitor Bharatiya Jana Sangh, quiz seeks to raise awareness about him (50%) and the schemes of BJP-helmed state Govt  (30%) and Centre (20%).While the competition is not compulsory, BJYM is pushing to get 30 lakh students to participate, and has asked Govt teachers and professors to extend support. Congress and educationists have raised their voice against it, citing politicisation of education although the organisers said it would help students learn about Upadhyay and the Govt s’ schemes, whereas Govt  said it was a motivational move.“We are not providing any aid to them. The quiz competition is a motivational thing for students and there is nothing wrong in informing students about beneficial schemes,” minister of state for school education and technical education Deepak Joshi said.Noting that till now, Govt  was using students for increasing crowd in their programmes, Kunal Chaudhary, president of MP Youth Congress, said now, “they have started misguiding students by asking them to learn about BJP and its leaders”.Educationist Zamiruddin questioned why they were mixing politics and education, and reasoned that it could be because they want to change the students’ mindset. “It is very dangerous for the future of students. Are they afraid of their failure of providing good education and infrastructure to students?” he asked.The organisers are charging Rs 10 per participant. Govt  teachers and professors have been asked to motivate students to take part in good numbers and get registered themselves.Interestingly, they will also provide booklets to the participants in a few days and ask them to prepare in 20 days for the competition, that is being organised on Jan.23, the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.Sources said the booklet, which is in the final stages of preparation, contains information glorifying Jana Sangh heroes and the various beneficial schemes of the state and central Govts. hindustantimes
Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Bhat expelled for meeting Centre’s representative
Ex-All Parties Hurriyat Conference  and Muslim Conference senior leader Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat was removed as the party president on Sunday, days after meeting with Govt  of India special representative Dineshwar Sharma and expressing willingness to talk to New Delhi.“As you know, Bhat’s secret meeting with  Sharma has been a cause of concern for the party. In this backdrop, a meeting of the Muslim Conference leaders was held in Srinagar. It was decided that Muhammad Sultan Magray will be the new president of Muslim Conference for the period of 6 months,” read the letter written by Muslim Conference to APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.thehindu
Handwara encounter: 3 militants, one civilian killed in overnight operation by security forces
Srinagar: 3 militants and a civilian were killed in an overnight operation by security forces in North Kashmir’s Unisoo village, close to Handwara. The search operation is still going on. Around midnight, Army and special operation group of JK police launched an operation at Unisoo.Forces had information that a group of militants is hiding in one of the houses in the village. Around 4 am, the militants opened fire on the forces while they were zeroing in on them and this triggered an encounter in which three militants were killed.A 25-year-old woman, identified as Mysra, was also killed in cross firing during the encounter, said a senior police officer. indianexpress
In Assam’s Sipajhar, Bengali Muslim residents claim they were targetted in eviction drive
“My father would have been alive had those Bangladeshis been evicted before,” said Kalyan Das, a student of Class 11 who lives in Sipajhar in Assam’s Darrang district.The body of his father, 58-year-old Ananda Das, was found next to a wetland in the area on the afternoon of Nov. 23. Das, a farmer, had gone missing two days earlier.According to Mukut Ali, the police officer investigating his alleged murder, the body bore “no signs of external injuries”. In over 2 weeks, there has been no medical confirmation of the reasons and circumstances that led to Das’s death. On Dec. 7, Ali said that the post-mortem report was still pending. The local police, however, is treating the death as a case of murder. “Since his body was found next to a water body, we suspect he was asphyxiated underwater,” said Ali.Das’s death set off a chain of events, which started with mob violence and ended with the eviction of 60 families who were allegedly encroaching on Govt land.The discovery of Das’s body plunged Sipajhar into turmoil almost immediately. In a matter of hours, residents of Upper Kuruwa village, where Das family lives, descended on Gondhiyapathar, neighbouring village, where the body was found, and burnt down three houses. The irate mob contended that Das had been killed by people from Gondhiyapathar.Also in the fray were local activists from All Assam Students’ Union and the Prabajan Virodhi Manch, which describes itself as “a forum against infiltration”. The term “infiltration” refers to illegal immigration. According to Ali, who was present when the houses were demolished, there was “little the police could do”.“We were comprehensively outnumbered, it was a mob of around 2,000 people,” he said.By evening, the district administration stepped in. Announcements were made on loudspeakers that people living in Gondhiyapathar must vacate their houses within a week. District administration said they were illegally occupying Govt  land. But the bulldozers arrived sooner than that. By the afternoon of Nov. 24, sixty-odd houses were
Karnataka: Muslims, Jains and Dalits extend support to Lingayat cause
Vijayapura: The mega rally organised at the Ambedkar District Stadium on Sunday for demanding religion tag for Lingayat was supported by people from different faiths and communities, including Muslims and Jains, and Dalits.Though the organisers of the rally had organised food and water for participants at different places in the city, the leaders of Muslims and Jains also made their contribution.Several groups of Muslims and Jains who had put up their stalls on the stadium premises offered mineral water, bananas, bread and other eatables to the participants.“We have been supporting the demand for Lingayat religion as we feel that their demand is justified; therefore, we have decided to extend our support by offering eatables and water to those coming from the far-flung areas of the State,” said Irfan Shaikh, a member of Begum Talab Parisara Rakshana Samiti.He said that several Muslims and Dalits were ideologically with the campaign as they believed that the preaching of the 12th Century social reformer Basaveshwara matched largely with the belief of Islam and Ambedkar.“Islam and the ideologies of Ambedkar do not believe in the caste system and they both propagate equality; Basaveshwara also followed similar belief in his life and preached them through his Vachanas. Thus, many organisations of the two communities decided to extend their support to the cause,”  Shaikh said. thehindu
‘Ghar wapsi’ of deserters revitalises Congress in poll-bound Tripura
Agartala:Considered a sinking ship not so long ago, the Congress in poll-bound Tripura has received a shot in the arm by a ‘ghar wapsi’ of a different kind.On Friday, about 1,000 members returned to the Congress after less than two years with TMC. They had followed six Congress MLAs who had joined TMC in June last year to protest the party’s alliance with the Left Front for the West Bengal assembly polls.The six, led by former state Congress chief Sudip Roy Barman, quit TMC to join Bharatiya Janata Party in August this year.Tapan Datta, a BJP leader returned to the Congress too. He was a former Congress district president and a close associate of Barman.“I was misguided by some workers to join the Trinamool. I realised my mistake and returned to my own party. I am now committed to work for better prospects of the Congress,” said Mujibar Islam, a former Congress general secretary and state president of the NSUI, the student wing of the party.HT
RSS leader Indresh Kumar demands law to punish those who disrespect India, tricolour
Jaipur: RSS leader Indresh Kumar on Sunday said those who do not love India should leave the country and a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the tricolour.Alleging that the Congress divided the nation, he said it was a big lie that it helped India attain Independence.“If you cannot love Bharat then leave Bharat. And, a law should be enacted to punish those who disrespect the country or the national flag,” Kumar said at an event here. “It is a fact that the Congress divided India and it is a big lie that it helped the country attain Independence. Who divided the nation - Jawaharlal Nehru. Who united the nation - Vallabhbhai Patel,” he said.Kumar said there was no “temporary article in any constitution in the world like Article 370 in the Constitution of India”.There was a need to bring the people of Kashmir into the mainstream, he said.PTI
Few Indian Muslim women opt to go for Haj unescorted
New Delhi: For the first time ever, Indian Muslim women above 45 will be allowed to travel in groups of four or more without a male guardian following recent changes in the national Haj policy. But instead of a flood of applications, the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) has received barely a trickle.Of the total applications for Haj 2018, the proportion of women opting to go without a male guardian (mehram) is not even one % . Most of these 1% applications are from Kerala. Not even one application under the revised norms has been received from many states and Union Territories, including Lakshadweep, Assam and Bihar – regions with a relatively high proportion of Muslims. Maqsood Ahmed Khan, CEO of the Haj Committee of India said most applications received from Kerala had been online, and that such applications are processed immediately as compared to offline applications. newindianexpress
Indians urge US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem
Indian citizens and community leaders have written a letter urging the US to withdraw its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.In a public address released yesterday and signed by “concerned Indian citizens, especially from leaders of the Indian Christian community”, the signatories appeal the decision, citing the relevance of Jerusalem to all three Abrahamic faiths.The letter reiterates the stance of the international community against the declaration and reflects on how the decision will impact the Palestinian population.“[The decision should be revoked] considering that this kind of irresponsible decision and disparate and impulsive action would accelerate tension in Palestine and would worsen the life and livelihood situation of the marginalised, especially the aged, otherwise abled, women and children in the occupied territories.”  The signatories of the letter include leading members of the Delhi Minority Commission, National Council of Churches in India, Vidya Jyothi Centre for Christian-Muslim Relations and the ISI-Indian Social Institute. middleeastmonitor
Radicalisation must be fought on battlefield as well as in mind: M J Akbar at India-ASEAN connectivity summit
New Delhi;India today called for a “war” against terrorism and said radicalisation must be fought on the battlefield as well as in the mind. Addressing the India-ASEAN connectivity summit here, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar also said India recognises that existential threat comes from ideologues that believe in faith-supremacy.Talking about connectivity, he emphasised on the need for ensuring freedom of navigation in all waters, seen as a reference to China’s expansionist behaviour in the South China Sea.“We believe in pluralism, and equality of culture and faith; and we recognise that the existential threat comes from ideologues who believe in faith-supremacy with their evil, barbaric terrorist militias,”he said.PTI
Hyderabad student is a victim of gun culture in Chicago; Mohammed Akbar is recuperating after surgery
Hyderabad: Chicago's gun culture resulted in a 30-year-old student from Hyderabad suffering a bullet injury in the Albany Park neighbourhood recently.It was not just Mohammed Akbar who was shot at on that day on December 6. In shootings that happened in different parts of the US city, as many as 13 people were injured. One victim died in the shootings. However, police find no connection between the shootings. Why Mohammed Akbar was shot at, however, still remains a mystery. According to Chicago police sources, the assailant with a weapon walked up to Akbar and shot at him around 8.45 am.The incident took place in the 4700 block of North Whipple. According to Itefaq Shareef, who hails from Hyderabad and lives in Chicago, Akbar has been operated upon at the Illinois Masonic Hospital. Akbar had been shot on the left cheek and after the surgery is said to be doing well. "He cannot talk for another two weeks," he informed MBT leader Amjed Ullah Khan at whose request he had gone to see Akbar.TOI
European Govts refuse to follow Trump on status of Jerusalem
European foreign ministers have strongly rejected calls by Israel’s PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, to follow Donald Trump’s example and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Opposition from across the European spectrum came as Netanyahu made the first official trip to EU by a sitting Israeli premier in 22 years.Even the Czech Republic, one of Israel’s closest allies, warned that the US president’s decision was bad for peace efforts, while France said Jerusalem’s status could be agreed only in a final deal between Israelis and Palestinians.Netanyahu called on European Govt s to back a much-mooted US peace initiative despite the fact that Trump has yet to reveal any details about it.Making clear that the EU would not write a blank cheque for an unseen Trump peace plan, France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, urged Washington to disclose what was being drawn up by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East envoy, and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.“We’ve been waiting already for several months for the American initiative, and if one is not forthcoming then the European Union will have to take the initiative,” Le Drian warned.The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, reiterated the bloc’s commitment to a two-state solution, telling Netanyahu that it would continue to recognise “international consensus” on Jerusalem. EU would increase its peace efforts and hold talks with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, next month, she added.theguardian
Despite furor over Jerusalem move, Saudis seen on board with US peace efforts:Reuters
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia pulled no punches when it condemned President Donald Trump’s move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But Palestinian officials say Riyadh has also been working for weeks behind the scenes to press them to support a nascent U.S. peace plan.Arab officials privately say that Riyadh appears to be on board with a broader U.S. strategy for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan still in its early phases of development. 4 Palestinian officials, who spoke on condition they not be named, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed in detail a grand bargain that Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, are expected to unveil in the first half of 2018.One official said Prince Mohammed asked Abbas to show support for the U.S. administration’s peace efforts when the two met in Riyadh in Nov.Another Palestinian official said Prince Mohammed told Abbas: “Be patient, you will hear good news. This peace process will go ahead.”Kushner, 36, whose father knew Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, has also nurtured strong personal ties with the 32-year-old crown prince as he asserts Saudi influence internationally and amasses power for himself at home.The Saudi royal court did not respond to requests for comment. A White House official said Kushner did not ask the crown prince to talk to Abbas about the plan.Palestinian officials fear, and many Arab officials suspect, that by closing the door on East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state, Trump will align with Israel in offering the Palestinians limited self-Govt  inside disconnected patches of the occupied West Bank, with no right of return for refugees displaced by Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967.The Palestinian officials said they were concerned that the proposal that Prince Mohammed communicated to Abbas, which purportedly came from Kushner, presents exactly that scenario.As told to Abbas, the proposal included establishing “a Palestinian entity” in Gaza as well as the West Bank administrative areas A and B and 10 % of area C, which contains Jewish settlements, a third Palestinian official said. Jewish settlements in the West Bank would stay, there would be no right of return, and Israel would remain responsible for the borders, he said.The proposal appears to differ little from existing arrangements in the West Bank, widening Palestinian control but falling far short of their minimum national demands.“This is rejected by Palestinians. Abu Mazen (Abbas) explained the position and its danger to the Palestinian cause and Saudi Arabia understood that,” the official said.
US Jerusalem move: Fury spreads from Jakarta to Rabat
A wave of anger against a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital has spread from Asia, through the Middle East, to North Africa, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets to denounce the controversial move.Protesters filled central avenues and squares in a number of major international cities on Sunday, waving the flag of Palestine and shouting slogans to express their solidarity with the Palestinians, who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 157 people were injured on Sunday in confrontations with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. At least 4 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the US declaration. Clashes also erupted on Sunday at a protest in Beirut, where demonstrators fought with security forces outside US embassy in the Lebanese capital. Demonstrators set fires in the street, torched US and Israeli flags and threw stones at police officers, who responded with tear gas and water cannon. Adnan Abdullah, a protester in Beirut, said Trump's Jerusalem decision "will not happen as long as there are people like us".Another demonstrator, whose face was hidden behind a black mask, held up a tear gas canister and condemned Lebanese forces for "defending America".Arab foreign ministers, in a resolution on Sunday, urged Trump to rescind the decision and have called for a UNSC condemnation of the shift in US policy.Meanwhile, more than 5,000 Indonesians rallied outside the US embassy in Jakarta to vent their anger for a second day. Protesters carried Palestinian flags and banners saying "Pray for Palestine".In Turkey's Istanbul, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets again, transforming the city's Yenikapi Square into a sea of Turkish and Palestinian flags.  In Rabat, Morocco's capital, protesters yelled slurs against Trump and carried banners saying Jerusalem belonged to Palestine. aljazeera
4 killed, 1,632 wounded by Israel in 4 days

Palestinians burn photos of Saudi king, crown prince:Press TV
Palestinians come out in force in the Gaza Strip to protest US recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital,” burning the pictures of American and Saudi heads of state.The rally, organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), drew thousands in the besieged enclave to protest the most serious inroad in recent years to the third holiest site in Islam.  The protesters set fire to American and Israeli flags as well as portraits and effigies of US President Donald Trump, and tore up pictures of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Palestinian Samanews website reported.“Al-Quds is Palestine’s eternal capital and not an inch of it will be conceded,” to Israel, Jamil Mazhar, a PFLP leader, told the rally.The protesters also condemned what they called Arab states’ alignment with Washington, which is Israel’s oldest and strongest ally, and held up placards  reading “Down with Al Saud.” Presstv
Palestinians refuse Bahrain delegation entry to Gaza
Palestinians have refused a Bahraini delegation from entering Gaza after the group visited Israel amid ongoing controversy over the US decision on Jerusalem.The interfaith "This is Bahrain" civil society group defended its visit to Israel on Monday, a day after its trip was reported, as a gesture of tolerance. 25-member group, which is on a 5-day tour, includes Sunni and Shia Muslim leaders, Christians, the leader of a Hindu temple, and a Sikh.It aims to visit Islamic, Christian, Jewish and other holy sites, the group said, according to a statement carried on Bahrain's state news.Ater widespread outrage, a coalition of various political factions condemned the group's attempt to visit the besieged Gaza Strip, home to two million Palestinians.In a statement on Monday, Palestinian National and Islamic Forces in Gaza said there was no place for those who normalise relations with Israel in Gaza - or any other place of the occupied Palestinian territories.It added that the people of Gaza would prevent the delegation from entering the enclave. aljazeera
Malaysian army ‘ready to perform its duty’ towards Palestinians
Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) is ready to perform its duty towards the issue facing Jerusalem, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.“We have to be prepared for any possibilities. ATM has always been ready, waiting for instructions from the top leadership,” the Malaysian state news agency Bernama quoted Hussein.“Let us pray that this dispute would not lead to chaos,” Hussein added. middleeastmonitor
Erdogan Calls Israel 'Terrorist State'
Istanbul: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday described Israel as a "terrorist state" and vowed to use "all means to fight" against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the country's capital."Palestine is an innocent victim... As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!" Erdogan said in a speech in the central city of Sivas."We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children."Turkish president has used his position as the current chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to call a summit of the pan-Islamic group on Wednesday."We will show that applying the measure will not be as easy as that," he added on Sunday.AFP
Middleeastmonitor exclusive source: US secretly handed Saad Al Jabry over to bin Salman
An exclusive source for The New Khalij confirmed that the US authorities have secretly handed over the former Saudi minister Saad Al Jabry to Saudi Arabia.According to the source, who preferred not to be identified, Al Jabry, who is described as the right hand of the former crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef, was able to leave Saudi Arabia for the United States but when the new crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman requested his return back to Saudi Arabia, he refused with the excuse of being ill, saying that he will return after he finishes his treatment.The source said that Al Jabry’s long-term stay outside the kingdom angered bin Salman, who fears that Al Jabry would form a lobby against him.The famous Saudi Twitter user Mujtahidd had published rumours that, Saad Al Jabry – a former Minister of State and member of the Council of Political and Security Affairs  who was by King Salman bin Abdulaziz.  Mujtahidd said that Al Jabry was very close bin Nayef and that bin Nayef had been relied on him as an adviser who eventually rose to such prominence that he was responsible for 80% of the Ministry of Interior’s sensitive work.
Saudi to allow cinemas from early 2018
Jeddah:Saudi Arabia said on Monday that the process to license public theaters has begun, and the first cinemas were likely to open early next year.“As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom,” the Ministry of Culture and Information said in a statement.“We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018,” it said.A resolution was passed on Monday in a meeting under Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad paving the way for licenses to be granted to commercial movie theaters.“This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom,” the ministry said.Work in the cinema sector is expected to generate more than SR90 billion which will be added to the country’s GDP and will help create more than 30,000 permanent and more than 130,000 temporary jobs by 2030, the statement said.The ministry made it clear that the content of movies will be subject to the parameters of the Kingdom’s information policy.Saudi Gazette
Putin orders beginning of withdrawal from Syria
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a surprise visit to a Russian base in Syria and ordered his troops to start withdrawing from the war-torn country.Syrian state TV reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Putin at Khmeimim Air Base, southeast of Latakia, on Monday morning.Russia's state news agency Novosti cited Putin as saying that "in general, the combat work in this territory is completed by the complete eradication of terrorists".Putin made the stop in Syria on his way to Egypt, where he met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi later on Monday.As the Syrian Govt 's main ally in the war, Russia started its intervention in Sept.2015, after an official request by the Syrian Govt  for military help against rebel groups.Since then, Russia mainly conducted air strikes against groups opposed to the govt, including the Syrian National Coalition, ISIL, al-Nusra Front, and others.In addition, Russian military advisors and special operations forces are stationed in Syria. aljazeera
UN urges immediate evacuation of 137 Syrian children
UN children's agency has called for the immediate evacuation of scores of sick Syrian children from a besieged rebel-held enclave on the outskirts of Damascus, amid continued violence. 5 children in Eastern Ghouta have reportedly died, while 137 others require immediate medical assistance, UNICEF said in a statement on Sunday.The children, aged seven months to 17 years, are unable to access medical help for conditions ranging from kidney failure and severe malnutrition to wounds sustained from conflict."The situation is getting worse day by day," said Fran Equiza, UNICEF's representative in Syria. aljazeera
Rohingya Muslims: Rape of persecuted minority by Burma’s soldiers 'methodical', investigation finds
The rape of Rohingya women by Burma's security forces has been sweeping and methodical, the AP found in interviews with 29 women and girls who fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. These sexual assault survivors from several refugee camps were interviewed separately and extensively. They ranged in age from 13 to 35, came from a wide swath of villages in Burma's Rakhine state and described assaults between Oct. 2016 and mid-Sept.Foreign journalists are banned from the Rohingya region of Rakhine, making it nearly impossible to independently verify each woman’s report. Yet there was a sickening sameness to their stories, with distinct patterns in their accounts, their assailants’ uniforms and the details of the rapes themselves.The testimonies bolster the UN’s contention that Burma's armed forces are systematically employing rape as a “calculated tool of terror” aimed at exterminating the Rohingya people. The Burma armed forces did not respond to multiple requests from the AP for comment, but an internal military investigation last month concluded that none of the assaults ever took place. And when journalists asked about rape allegations during a Govt -organised trip to Rakhine in September, Rakhine’s minister for border affairs, Phone Tint, replied: “These women were claiming they were raped, but look at their appearances — do you think they are that attractive to be raped?”Doctors and aid workers, however, say that they are stunned at the sheer volume of rapes, and suspect only a fraction of women have come forward. Medecins Sans Frontieres doctors have treated 113 sexual violence survivors since August, a third of them under 18. The youngest was 9. Many women said the uniforms bore various patches featuring stars or, in a couple cases, arrows. Such patches represent the different units of Burma's army.AP
Jeremy Corbyn, Noam Chomsky win peace prize amid media silence
UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been awarded the Sean MacBride Peace Prize along with Noam Chomsky and Japanese anti-military base activists, yet the award received scant coverage in the British media.The International Peace Bureau presents the Sean MacBride Peace Prize to individuals, organizations or movements for their work in the areas of peace, disarmament and human rights.Corbyn, along with renowned scholar Noam Chomsky and the All Okinawa Council Against Henoko New Base, were deemed this year’s recipients. Corbyn received his award in Geneva  Friday.The Labour leader was recognized for his “sustained and powerful political work for disarmament and peace.” His longtime work with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK and the Stop the War Campaign was commended, as was his efforts for peace as a
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:07 PM)


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