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Wednesday, 28 February 2018

27 Feb. ND: Proposed revision: Govt relaxes rules on cattle market, drops reference to slaughter/ HCjudge, who questioned CBI’s approach in Sohrab case, removed



Evening NEWS DIGEST  
27 Feb.2018:10 Jamadiul-2 1439:Vol:9, No:130
INDIA
Proposed revision: Govt relaxes rules on cattle market, drops reference to slaughter
New Delhi; In a significant rollback, the Centre is all set to remove any reference to the term “slaughter” in its new version of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017, according to a draft of the notification being vetted by the Law Ministry.The original version, dated May 23, 2017, had notified a ban on sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, triggering an outcry over its effect on trade across the country. The diluted version is being vetted by the Law Ministry prior to its notification by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.Indian Express had first reported in Nov., 2017, the Centre’s intention to withdraw its controversial plan. According to the new version, “no unfit animal or young animal shall be sold in an animal market”. Further, it states that “no person shall permit an animal to be offered or displayed for sale in an animal market if it is likely to give birth while it is there or during its transportation to or from such animal market”.In its notification last May, the Environment Ministry had restricted the sale of cattle and stated that “no person shall bring a cattle to an animal market unless upon arrival he has furnished a written declaration signed by the owner of the cattle or his duly authorised agent… stating that the cattle has not been brought to market for sale for slaughter”.Further, it had stated that the “purchaser of the cattle shall… not sell the animal for purpose of slaughter”. However, the rules invited controversy with NDA govt coming under criticism for attempting to impose a nationwide ban on ideological grounds. Farmers opposed the move to restrict trade in markets 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.The decision had also sparked outrage in states such as Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya on the grounds that it related to an issue under their jurisdiction.MoEF’s plan to rollback the controversial rules followed its move to seek feedback from states. The ministry had sent 2 sets of letters to states, the first after the Supreme Court had stayed the ban. Ministry also held consultations with animal rights activists and traders on the issue. The new version sets down rules to constitute what is now “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Committee”, replacing what was earlier referred to as “district animal market monitoring committee” or “animal market committee”. The committee, which will comprise of DM, a representative of the State Animal Welfare Board and the district Superintendent of Police among others, will “take all necessary steps to ensure that no unnecessary pain and suffering is caused to animals in animal markets in its jurisdiction”.indianexpress
High Court judge, who questioned CBI’s approach in Sohrabuddin murder case, removed
In a shocking development, Justice Revati Mohite Dere, who slammed the CBI’s approach in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauser Bi, will no longer hear the case. She was hearing the revision applications in the Sohrabuddin encounter case at the Bombay High Court.As per the new sitting list effective from Feb.26, 2018, Justice NW Sambre will be hearing all the revision applications, reported Live Law website.Justice Dere’s removal from the case assumes significance in light of her recent outbursts against the CBI in the fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin.In January, she had dismissed a CBI judge’s earlier order banning the media from reporting on the proceedings in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh’s fake encounter case. In September last year, Justice Revati had slammed the CBI asking the federal probe agency why it had not challenged the trial court orders discharging senior IPS officers in the alleged fake encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati.Justice Revati Mohite-Dere said that the CBI should have been “equally aggrieved” with the trial court’s order. She asked the federal probe agency whether it was planning to challenge the trial court orders of August 2016 and August 2017 discharging IPS officers Rajkumar Pandiyan, DG Vanzara, and Dinesh MN. BJP President Amit Shah was a key accused in the alleged fake encounters of Sohrabuddin and his wife. CBI judge, BH Loya, who was presiding over the fake encounter case had mysteriously died in Nov. 2014 in Nagpur. jantakareporter
Sohrab case: HC says change in judges' roster is routine
Assam: 20 lakh Muslims likely to lose nationality
New Delhi: The percentage of Muslim population in Assam is 34 pc; the majority of them are Bengali Muslims who have settled here from the past 100 years. Most of them are poor, illiterate and agricultural labours, but RSS, ruling BJP and their like-minded local parties say that lakhs of illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh have settled in Assam.Election Commission has marked them in the voters’ list as ‘doubtful voters’, who could not produce proof of their citizenship.A list of all residents of Assam is being prepared under the supervision of Supreme Court for identification of illegal Bangladeshi infiltrators. The final list of National Register for Citizens (NRC) will be released in June.State Coordinator NRC, Shri Prateek Hajela told that ‘D voters or those who have been declared foreigners will not be included in the NRC. Besides 29 lakh women have submitted Panchayat certificate, their nationality will also be scrutinised. He says it is hard to say how many people will be removed from citizenship and nationality. This is a test whose result is inappropriate to declare now. According to civil society and human rights groups, lakhs of Bengali Muslims can be expelled after the NRC is released. Abdul Batin Khandkar of Justice Forum says the number of D voters and declared foreigners is nearly 5 lakh; their children would be around 15 lakh. They will not be included in the list. He fears that at least 20 lakh Bengali Muslims will be deprived of citizenship and nationality. siasat
UK think tank cites Zakir Naik over extremists’ abuse of charities: hindustantimes
London: A new report by a London-based think tank on Islamist extremists exploiting charities and NGOs for funds and support for terrorism mentions Indian preacher Zakir Naik, who was banned from Britain in 2010 but remains the chair of a UK-based organisation.The report by the Henry Jackson Society, titled “Wolves in sheep’s clothing: How Islamist extremists exploit the UK charitable sector”, assesses that in the last year, more than £6 million of taxpayers’ money was given to such charity organisations. “Review found that some organisations were ‘purposefully vague’ about their activities and charitable status, portray themselves as charities to increase their credibility and exploit the Islamic duty to give to charity, and that those donating money may not be aware of the organisations’ agenda,” it said.The figure of £6 million, it said, represents “only the tip of the iceberg”. The report said that despite more than a decade of attempts to improve the regulation of the charitable sector, “a concerning number of UK-registered charities continue to fund and support extremism”. The report noted that Naik, whose UK visa was revoked in 2010 when Theresa May was home secretary, was invited to speak in Birmingham in June of that year by the Islamic Dawah Centre International. His Peace TV channel had been banned in India, Bangladesh and Canada, it added. “Though there is no evidence of Naik’s direct involvement in terrorism, there are concerns about the radicalisation potential of Naik’s lectures,” it said, and reproduced some of his controversial remarks, as well as those of Satya Pal Singh, former Mumbai police commissioner who reportedly investigated Naik’s activities. hindustantimes
Nirav Modi case: PNB fraud rises to Rs 12,700 crore, more unauthorised transactions detected
New Delhi: The quantum of unauthorised transactions by diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi has increased by Rs 1,300 crore, PNB said in a stock exchange notification late on Monday night. Total amount of fraudulent transactions now stands at Rs 12,700 crore.The financial fraud, one of the biggest in the banking sector, was unearthed after an internal inquiry by the PNB. It was found was the two Mumbai-based diamond jewellers had been allegedly duping foreign banks with fake Letters of Undertakings from PNB for several years.The development comes at a time when the Enforcement Directorate is planning to move the Supreme Court to obtain non-bailable warrants against the diamantaires after they failed to appear before the agency despite the repeated summons.Meanwhile, CBI has written to at least five banks — Axis Bank, Allahabad Bank, State Bank of India, UCO Bank and Union Bank of India — asking them to share details from their international divisions on buyer’s credit availed by firms which are part of the Modi and Choksi groups.With PNB fraud coming to light, the CBI has registered cases against several companies in instances of wilful loan default in last one month; the most recent being the case against Simbhaoli Sugars Ltd for allegedly defaulting loans to the tune of Rs 97.85 crore. The bank named Deputy General Manager Gurpal Singh, who is the son-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, as one of the accused in the case. Expressing concern over the increasing number of wilful defaulters in the banking sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley blamed the bank management and auditors, internal and external, of failing to do their jobs.“Bank frauds which have now come to surface if you periodically have this kind of incidences, I think the entire effort of Ease Of Doing Business itself goes into the background and therefore these are scars on the economy which take the front seat,” Jaitley said. indianexpress


Bank of Baroda’s role in South Africa’s Gupta scandal
Johannesburg:Senior Bank of Baroda (BoB) officials suppressed numerous alerts filed by junior officials at the Johannesburg branch about transactions in accounts controlled by the Gupta brothers of the Sahara group, whose financial dealings resulted in the resignation of South African President Jacob Zuma.These alerts or suspicious activity reports (SARs) were voided by BoB managers and thereby never reached the South African Financial Intelligence Centre, an investigation by The Hindu and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has found.Over 17,000 transactions of the BoB’s South African operations since Jan.2012, as well as internal communications, show that the bank continued to allow the Gupta brothers to operate a web of accounts to create a complex corporate maze even as the political scandal about their influence on Mr. Zuma was playing out.This continued even after other banks terminated their dealings with the brothers in 2016. Their accounts received payments from state-run enterprises against bills that are under scrutiny, moved large sums of money abroad and shifted equally large sums between accounts of a clutch of shell companies.President Zuma’s fourth wife Bongi Ngema Zuma, who was gifted a house by the Guptas, was on the payrolls of a Gupta firm for a staggering $12,300 monthly salary, making her one of the higher paid private sector executives in the country.South African government’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) told a local court on Feb. 23 that much of the money that the Guptas received in the BoB accounts was illegal.thehindu
  To Foster Communal Harmony, SSP Muzaffarnagar Urges People to Follow Prophet Muhammad's Example on Holi
 Lucknow: With the festival of Holi falling on Friday, the police and administration are on their toes to keep the celebrations peaceful, especially in the areas which are prone to communal tensions.The SSP, Muzaffarnagar, Anant Deo has urged people to keep calm and to follow the path shown by Prophet Mohammad. The SSP Muzaffarnagar had ordered distribution of pamphlets in which an incident has been mentioned where a Yahudi woman used to dump all her garbage on Prophet Mohammad while he used to pass by from her house. Prophet used to ignore it. One day when no one threw garbage over him, he enquired about the woman in the neighbourhood and came to know that she was ill. Prophet asked the woman if he can bring medicine for her. On this, the woman started crying realising her mistake that she used to throw her garbage on him every day and bowed down to him. The pamphlets reads: "Brothers, I request you all to follow the path shown by Prophet Mohammad and adopt his ways." It is also requested in the pamphlet not to douse fire by fire. It cautions that for dousing fire you need water. It also advises people to think before doing anything else "Shaitan will take over your brain". news18
Indians study hard and get MBA, may be buy Mercedes but lack creativity: Apple co-founder Steve Woz
New Delhi:Indians can't be creative. A lot of people, many in India too, have suspected this. Now this is an opinion of Steve Wozniak, the other Steve from Apple. Wozniak aka Woz who is the man behind Apple's first ever computer Apple 1 and the company's co-founder with Steve Jobs, says that Indian education system is based around studiousness and doesn't encourage creativity.In an interview, Wozniak also said that he does not believe that there will be any big tech company or breakthrough in India similar to Google, Facebook or Apple.According to Woz India has just Infosys as an example of the big tech company and even that is not innovative. He does not expect Infosys to be in the league of global tech giants anytime soon.When asked to comment on tech innovation in India by the Economic Times, Wozniak said, "I am not an anthropologist and I don't know the culture of India well enough. I don't see those big advances in tech companies. What is the biggest tech company here, Infosys maybe? I just don't see that sort of thing coming out of Infosys and I have done keynotes for them three times."indiatoday
'RSS' Muslim youth group, AMU students at loggerheads over President Kovind’s visit: TOI
AGRA: Muslim youth association, an organisation in Aligarh claiming to be the “followers” of RSS ideology, has announced that 11,000 youths from the community will welcome President of India, Ramnath Kovind, at forthcoming convocation of AMU, with saffron flag, if authorities fail to take action against students who had threatened to show black flags to him.Even Former Vice President, Hamid Ansari's wife, Salma Ansari, has joined issues with the former AMUSU vice president, Nadeem Ansari, who called for a black flag welcome to the President, and said that his call for showing black flags was “Insulting to the office of the President of India". She went on to say that the "insult to the president is an insult to all of us".In a letter to AMU vice chancellor, Tariq Mansoor, president of the Muslim association, Mohd Aamir Rashid, said that the entry of students who threatened to show black flags to the president should be banned in the campus.Meanwhile, Salma Ansari also criticized the Aligarh Muslim University Students Union for objecting to invitation being sent to people with “RSS ideology”. She said that it is unacceptable that an institute like AMU will allow anyone to do something like this.She said, “What is Sanghi thoughts. Sangh is just an organization and whether you agree with their ideology or not, it is one’s personal view”. No one should have an objection on who will accompany the President of India, if he is visiting to the institute.timesofindia
Ram Janmabhumi: We have ‘valid’ ownership papers, claims Dharm Das Maharaj
 Mathura: One of the main plaintiffs of Ram Janmabhumi dispute, Dharm Das Maharaj said he was confident that the Supreme Court would rule in their favour as they had “valid” ownership papers.Das is also the Mahant of the Akhil Bhartiya Panch Ramanandi Nirmani Ani Akhara.Since the apex court has clarified that only land dispute would be settled without going through the sentiments, and since we are in possession of valid ownership papers, we are confident that the decision would come in our favour, he said in Govardhan.Das also said that the title of the land was in favour of Ramlala.He was here to attend a two-day congregation of seers at the Shankaracharya Ashram for chalking out a strategy for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya.Das said he would pay obeisance to Goverdhan Maharaj, by performing ‘parikrama’ of the Goverdhan hillock.The parikrama is for the construction of the temple, he said, adding that a delegation would soon meet the prime minister on the issue.Shankaracharya Adhokshjanand Tirth Maharaj said the congregation of seers was for constructive approach on the Ram temple issue.PTI
'Won't tolerate attempt to change Sharia law': Thousands of Muslim women protest Triple Talaq Bill in Rajasthan
Thousands of Muslim women took to the streets in Jhunjhunu Tuesday to protest a draft law that proposes the abolition of instant triple talaq.The women said they wouldn't tolerate changes to Sharia law, a set of principles based on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of interfering, and of hurting Muslims' sentiments.Sympathy for Muslim women should translate into education schemes instead, they explained."Islamic Law is a law that has come from the sky and till today, we have not made any change in it, neither will we let it happen," said Shaukat Ali, a cleric.Both women and men marched to the district collectorate in Jhunjhunu. indiatoday
AIMPLB: Silent march in Rajasthan against triple talaq bill
Rajasthan: Muslim women stage silent protest against Triple Talaq Bill
People Like Owaisi Influenced By 'Jinnah's Ghost', They Wish To Divide This Nation: Union Minister Giriraj
Union Minister Giriraj Singh on Sunday hit out at AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi over his statement on Babri Masjid and said people like him are influenced by the "ghost of Muhammad Ali Jinnah" and wish to divide this nation.Singh's statement came after Owaisi claimed that the Babri Masjid will be once again built in Ayodhya and the Supreme Court will give the decision in favour of Muslims."Muslims in India are neither descendants of Babur nor they are foreigners. They are the descendants of Lord Ram. We all have one predecessor although rituals of worship may be different. But, the ghost of Muhammad Ali Jinnah has entered into the hearts of people like Owaisi and therefore, they want to break his country. They will go to Mecca- Medina but where will we go? Will there be a Ram Temple built in Pakistan," he questioned.ANI
Muslims in India descendants of Lord Ram: Union minister
CBI Still Clueless About Missing JNU Student Najeeb’s Whereabout:Newsclick
New Delhi: CBI said on Monday that it had a “fresh and very important lead” in the mysterious disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed, but the premier investigating agency apparently failed to walk the talk when it told the Delhi High Court that it was awaiting forensic results of call details, WhatsApp messages and location details of 9 students who are accused of assaulting Najeeb prior to his disappearance. CBI, which was handed over the probe on May 16, 2017, after Delhi Police failed to trace the young man, had said the same on the previous date of the hearing that had taken place on November 14, last year.Najeeb (27), a JNU student, had gone missing from the Hostel in 2016 following an alleged scuffle with students associated with ABVP, previous night.Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves,counsel for Najeeb’s mother Fatima Nafees, argued to put on record the fact that the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police caught a random auto driver and peddled a false theory of him going on his own to Jamia Millia Islamia  university. CBI had on Nov. 14, 2017, placed this fact on the record of the court that the Crime Branch officers had randomly picked up an auto driver and forcefully extracted a false statement from him.As the hearing resumed on Tuesday, the counsel for CBI referred to Monday’s demonstration outside the CBI HQRS, alleging that the protesters blocked CBI gates. Students of JNU, Delhi University, JMI, AMU and others had on the call of Fatima Nafees staged a protest outside CBI HQRS, alleging that the agency is not doing enough to trace Najeeb. CBI SP SS Gurum had assured the protesters that agency has fresh and very important leads which they would present before the court in today’s hearing. HC bench comprising Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta told the CBI that this was a “democratic expression of the anxiety of the people” since the case is dragged on for so long. CBI – said Advocate Colin – has not pursued the investigation with the much-needed urgency and now they came to court requesting an order to speed up the process. He alleged the police wasted one year pursuing the concocted story of the auto driver.He reiterated an earlier prayer for a court-monitored inquiry. He requested that a retired judge should be appointed by the court to monitor the case and look at all the documents submitted by the Crime Branch and the CBI. The judges have put this plea on hold to look at the CFSL reports.“The probe has not moved an inch since the incident took place.CBI has done nothing except force me to run from pillar to post in the last one-and-a-half years. Instead, fake stories on Najeeb having joined ISIS are being circulated without any evidence,” Fatima Nafees told the gathering at the protest venue on Monday.The court has set April 3 as the next date of hearing.
 ‘No progress’ in Najeeb case, protests outside CBI HQ
HC relief for doctoral students in JNU
New Delhi:In a huge relief for JNU students who had taken admission in PhD courses in 2016, the Delhi High Court on Monday quashed 2 circulars issued by the varsity in 2017 making an MPhil degree mandatory for candidates keen on pursuing PhD retrospectively from the 2016 academic session. Justice Rekha Palli said that once the admission process has started, the condition cannot be altered to the detriment of the students.The judge said that the 2009 UGC regulations, which was the eligibility condition in force when the prospectus was issued in Feb. 2016, would apply to the students who took admission in 2016.The students had challenged the circulars issued on Sept. 21, 2017 and Sept.25, 2017 by JNU in which a condition was laid down that candidates who wish to pursue a PhD programme must have an MPhil degree. The students contended that the condition was not present in the admission brochure, under which they took admission.The students — both Indian and foreign nationals — said in their pleas that the two circulars were based on UGC regulations of 2016 which came into effect in May 2016, while their admission process started in Feb.2016.“When the students had applied for their respective courses and were issued admit cards, the 2016 regulations were not even notified by UGC,” one of the petitions filed by advocate Abhik Chimni and Govind Manoharan said.thehindu
Junaid Khan lynching: Haryana police ‘well equipped’ to probe case, we are not needed, says CBI
Chandigarh: Opposing the appeal filed by murdered teenager Junaid Khan’s family, who sought a CBI probe into his killing, the agency told the Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday that trial in the case was at a “crucial point” and that Haryana police was “well equipped” to investigate the case.15-year-old Junaid, his brother and two cousins were attacked on a Mathura-bound train by a mob, which also hurled communal slurs at them. The teenager was stabbed to death during the attack in June, 2017.The murder trial was stayed by a division bench of the High Court in Dec. after Junaid’s father Jalaluddin filed an appeal against an earlier single bench judgment, which dismissed their plea for a CBI probe.“Chargesheet has already been filed before the concerned court at Faridabad and proceeding of trial is at a crucial stage in prosecution evidence,” said CBI in its response filed through counsel Sumeet Goel.CBI also told the HC that “State Police of Haryana is well equipped and has the requisite resources at its command to conduct investigation of the case properly under supervision of senior officers”. It has also said the agency was already “over burdened” with investigations of cases handed to it by various courts.indianexpress
Shuhaib murder case: Kerala government backtracks on CBI probe, CM Pinarayi Vijayan saids no need for investigation
2 days after the Kerala govt said it was open to any probe, even one by the CBI, into the murder of a Youth Congress worker in Kannur, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said there was no need for an investigation by the central agency.Unhappy with Vijayan's statement in the assembly on the murder of 30-year-old Shuhaib in Kannur on Feb.12,the entire opposition went into protest mode, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House for the day.As Kerala Assembly began its session on Monday at 8.30 am, Congress-led opposition walked into the House wearing black badges.When question hour began, the party demanded suspension of House proceedings and a debate into Shoaib's murder that took place at an eatery near Mattanoor -- 4 persons in a car hurled bombs and then fatally injured Shuhaib, slashing at him with a sword. But Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan was in no mood to relent, worsening the situation as angry opposition members trooped near Chair's podium and shouted slogans. Sreeramakrishnan was then forced to adjourn the House.IANS
Ludhiana municipal corporation election results 2018: Congress wins with 62 wards, SAD-BJP reduced to 21
New Delhi;Continuing its winning streak in Punjab, Congress on Tuesday wrested control of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation from BJP-SAD alliance.Party won in as many as 62 wards, reducing SAD-BJP combine to merely 21 wards. SAD and BJP were relegated to second and third position, with 11 and 10 wards, winning respectively.The voting, which was held on Saturday, saw clashes between the Congress and Opposition party workers amid allegations of booth capturing. As many as 494 candidates were in the fray for a total of 95 wards. Meanwhile, Punjab Election Commission had ordered repolling in 2 booths of wards number 44 on account of bogus voting and booth capturing. Re-polling was held in booth numbers 2 and 3 of ward number 44 from 8 am to 4pm Monday. indianexpress
Defence ministry ‘report’ picks holes in arms-buying procedure
A defence ministry document purportedly picking holes in India’s arms-buying procedures has painted a grim picture of how unreasonable delays are hindering the military’s modernisation, at a time when several key programmes are running years behind schedule and some remain stuck on the drawing board.Only 8-10% of the 144 deals initiated during the last three years came to fruition within the stipulated time period, an NDTV report said on Monday, quoting from an “internal report prepared in late 2017 by minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre”.HT could not independently verify the contents of the purported report and a defence ministry spokesperson did not immediately confirm or deny the report. However, it is no secret that several projects have been hit by inordinate delays, experts say. These include the purchase of assault rifles, light machine guns, artillery guns, fighter planes, mid-air refuellers and submarines.“I cannot comment on the authenticity of the report but the fact is that several of our projects are floundering at one stage or the other,” said a person tracking the military’s modernisation.The development comes days after India dropped a plan to locally produce single-engine fighters in collaboration with a global defence contractor to expand the scope of the competition by including twin-engine fighters too. The Centre is preparing to launch a fresh hunt for fighter aircraft to sharpen the combat edge of the Indian Air Force, more than 10 years after it floated a global tender for the jets.hindustantimes
Radical Sikh groups want Vatican status for Golden Temple, PM’s apology for Operation Blue Star
New Delhi:Radical Sikh groups in other countries, engaged in secret talks with the govt, put forward three main demands, including an apology at a global forum for the 1984 military operation in the Golden Temple and a special status for the Akal Takht and Harmandar Sahib on the lines of the Vatican, according to two people familiar with the developments.One of them, who was familiar with the process to reach out to Sikh groups since its inception, said contact was initially established with UK-based Sikh groups through London-based interlocutor Jasdev Singh Rai, director of the Sikh Human Rights Forum, shortly before PM Narendra Modi visited London in November 2015 and formal talks began after Rai and some 30 Sikh leaders met Modi during the visit.“The interest by India to start talks predated the Modi govt but with his government coming in, it picked up speed,” said another person.In the course of subsequent contacts, the Sikh groups put forward two “preliminary steps” and three main issues for the dialogue, the first person quoted above said.The first two steps — sought as a show of goodwill and sincerity — were to take radical Sikh activists abroad off a “blacklist” that barred them from visiting India, and the release of some 20 political prisoners.The three key issues, raised by interlocutor Rai with the Indian side, included an apology from the Indian prime minister to Sikhs worldwide for Operation Blue Star, the exercise to flush out Sikh militants holed up in the Golden Temple that resulted in more than 500 deaths. hindustantimes
J&K Police told to crack down on big militant funerals
Srinagar;Citing “glamourised funerals” of militants as a reason for recruitment of local youths into militancy, J&K Police’s intelligence wing has asked the state police to take steps to prevent “massive and multiple” funerals of militants in the Valley.“Funerals of killed militants have become a fertile ground for recruiters,” reads a confidential report sent by IGP, CID, to DGP SP Vaid.The report states,“(The) massive gatherings that are being witnessed in funerals of killed local militants post-2016 unrest is a serious concern which has to be addressed…. These gatherings romanticise and glamourise the terrorists and give boost to militancy.”Citing many examples of young men who have joined militant ranks after attending the funeral of a slain militant, the report says that militants have been successful in glamourising militancy by appearing at such funerals and offering gun salute.The report, prepared two months ago, states: “It has been noticed that soon after burial of killed local militant(s), one or two local boys, who have participated in their funerals, join militancy. By giving regular appearance at funerals to give gun salutes, or to put forth their point of view/ideology, active militants have been successful in glamourising subversive activities. The massive turnout at funerals of killed terrorists is an indicator of the radicalisation level.”The report calls for keeping an eye on potential recruits living in the locality of the slain militant and the need to keep them away from such funerals. These youths, “who have inclination towards militancy”, should be called to the police station concerned and directed to remain there until the burial is over, the report suggests. “The process should be initiated while the encounter is going on.”indianexpress
Demands for justice grows louder a month after rape and murder of 8-year-old tribal girl in Jammu
A month after an eight-year-old tribal was raped and murdered in Rasana village of Kathua district in J&K, the protests over the incident are only gaining momentum. On Feb.16, right-wing group Hindu Ekta Manch took out a protest rally carrying the tricolour and shouting pro-accused and anti-government slogans in Kathua district.The protests were organised following the arrest of a Special Police Officer Deepak Khajuria by the Crime Branch, who was earlier investigating the case following the girl’s disappearance.Talib Hussain, a tribal activist who has been spearheading the protests for ensuring justice to the family on Jan. 30, two weeks before the arrest of the SPO in an interview with TCN had claimed that more than one person was involved in the rape and murder of the girl. On Monday, All Traders & Manufacturers Association also organised a protest march and sit in at Lal Chowk, Anantnag and submitted a memorandum to CM seeking exemplary punishment to those involved and sought composition of a time-bound Judicial commission by Chief Justice of J&K. Mohammad Yaseen Khan, Chairman of the Kashmir Economic Alliance has alleged government of hushing up the case by handing it over to CBI. twocircles
CBI forced me to frame accused:J&K sex scandal victim to HC
Chandigarh: 12 years after a sex scandal that allegedly involved the rich and powerful of Srinagar, the victim and prime witness in the case has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, claiming that the CBI forced her to depose against the accused persons in 2006. She has pleaded that the trial court proceedings be stayed and it be directed to re-examine her as a prosecution witness.The victim has filed the appeal against the special CBI court order dated Feb.25, 2016 by which her application for recalling her as a witness was dismissed by the trial court.Arguments in the appeal case began Monday and will continue Tuesday.CBI counsel Sumeet Goel maintained that “the accused and prosecutrix have now connived with each other”.In 2006, residents of a locality in Srinagar had approached police with a video that showed the victim nude. J&K High Court transferred the probe to CBI from the J&K Police after a hue and cry over the alleged sex racket. A number of influential people including 2 ministers, top police officers and others were accused in the case.indianexpress
Mussoorie traders agree to let Kashmiris stay, operate in town
Dehradun:At a peace meet called by Mussoorie administration Monday, the local traders’ association agreed to let traders from Kashmir continue with their businesses. Local traders and right-wing groups had earlier demanded that Kashmiri traders, who sell garments from rented shops, leave the town.The meeting was held two days before 11-month contract between Kashmiri traders and their shopowners would end. It was attended by the shopowners, president of Mussoorie Traders & Welfare Association Rajat Aggarwal, members of right-wing groups, politicians and Kashmiri traders. The meeting was called after the Kashmiri traders wrote to local BJP MLA Ganesh Joshi and sought his intervention.SDM Minakshi Patwal, who along with Circle Officer Jaya Baluni, presided over the meeting, said: “Local traders finally agreed to let the Kashmiris continue with their businesses.”The Sunday Express had reported about the traders’ body asking the Kashmiri traders to leave. The same day, Aggarwal met traders from the Valley on the issue. Kashmiri trader Altaf Hussain Khowja (34) said, “He (Aggarwal) told us today that the traders’ association will not bother us anymore.”Trouble between local traders and those from J&K began in June last year, when India lost to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy final. Some local residents alleged that a group of Muslim youths raised “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans following which local traders demanded that the Kashmiri traders leave.indianexpress
Dead get cash, bills are fudged: Maharashtra financial assistance scheme for poor is ailing
Mumbai:On June 17 last year, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’s office deposited Rs 90,000 in the official bank account of a heart hospital in Mumbai. Sanctioned under the CM’s Relief Fund (CMRF), a popular financial assistance scheme of the state government, the money was for the treatment of Ashok Pandurang Bhosle, a 45-year-old resident of Ahmednagar.There was one problem, though.An investigation by Indian Express, based on documents obtained under RTI Act, show that no one bothered to verify the patient’s status while depositing the money. Bhosle had died on May 27, 2017 — 21 days before the money for his treatment was deposited. The application  for assistance in his name was submitted on June 6 — 10 days after his death.The investigation found how a well-intentioned scheme to help the poor was being corrupted during the implementation stage, with stolen identities, fake records, proxy applicants, inflated medical estimates and dubious income certificates being used to claim benefits.It also showed that the Medical Assistance Cell (MAC) in the CMO continued to approve funds to hospitals across the state even after red flags were raised by a senior official linked to the scheme.The findings assume relevance and significance at a time when the national rollout of a flagship health insurance scheme for the poor is being worked out by the central govt in association with states.indianexpress
Delhi High Court to hear plea on Jama Masjid Imam’s title
Delhi High Court today will continue hearing a plea restraining the Waqf Board from using the title ‘Shahi Imam’ for Jama Masjid’s Imam. Earlier, a plea was filed seeking to remove the word “Shahi” from the title of the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid. Following this, the court in November last year had issued a notice to the Delhi Waqf Board and Ministry of Minority Affairs. The petitioner in his plea cited Article 18 of the Constitution, which prohibits Indian citizens from receiving titles from any foreign state, thus barring the use of “Shahi” or an officer appointed by an Emperor (Shah), which used to be accorded during the Mughal Period. The plea also argued that there was no space for artificial distinctions in a true democracy.ANI
AP can fill Wakf Board with legislators quota: HC
Hyderabad:A division bench of the High Court on Monday permitted the Andhra Pradesh government to fill the quota meant for MLAs and MLCs while constituting the governing body of state Wakf Board.The bench of acting chief justice Ramesh Ranganathan and justice K Vijaya Lakshmi was dealing with an appeal made by AP Wakf Board challenging the order of a single judge who had asked the government not to take into consideration the categories of MLAs and MLCs quota while constituting the governing body of Wakf Board. Earlier, petitioner Mohd Musthafa Shaik of Guntur challenged the notification issued on August 10, 2017 for conduct of election to AP Wakf Board, contending that the impugned notification was issued in violation of the Wakf Act, 1995 and AP State Wakf Board Conduct of Election Rules, 1996. He submitted that election to Wakf Board should be conducted under four categories i.e. MP, MLA, Mutawalli and Bar Council members. There was scope to have two members from each category. However, the government had issued notification with a mala fide intention and contrary to the rules. The government intended not to allow the opposition party members into Wakf Board, he alleged.newindianexpress
BJP instigating communal hatred in India: Prakash Rai
MYSURU: Cinema actor and director Prakash Rai said he was very embarrassed by the Mohammed Nalapad Haris incident and will be cautious and check a person’s background before speaking about him at public meetings.At an interaction organized by Mysuru District Journalists Association (MDJA) at Press Club here on Monday, Rai said he attended a function last month organized by various organisations at Shantinagar. “As I had adopted a few villages in Talakad and Chitradurga, MLA Haris’ son extended a Rs 2-lakh donation at the function. I said such youths are an inspiration to society. But I realized his character only after hearing about the assault. I immediately returned the money.”Rai said a few leaders from the ruling party are instigating communal hatred among citizens. “I cannot leave my country in the hands of leaders who speak vulgar language against women and religion. I demanded action against them from PM Modi who is yet to respond,” Rai said. He also expressed his displeasure against Modi’s comment in Meghalaya where he said the NDA government helped Christian missionaries taken hostage in West Asia. “Modi should have said the government had saved Indians instead of Christians,” he said.timesofindia
‘Mr PM, Please Clear Your Air India Bills’
 New Delhi: A lone fight by a conscientious retired military officer Commodore Lokesh K. Batra has succeded to the point where the Central Information Commission has finally directed Ministry of External Affairs to disclose the records related to the expenses born by Air India in ferrying PM Narendra Modi on his foreign trips. CIC RK Mathur directed MEA to collate the bills, rejecting its plea that this was not possible as the records were scattered and voluminous.Cmdre Batra said that he had filed the RTI after he came across figures to show that the travel bills of PMs were not cleared often for three or more years, with Air India and the taxpayers bearing the brunt of the delay. The interest lost was born by taxpayers, and hence he decided to find out exactly what were the costs incurred to Air India as well as to the public at large.It has not been an easy battle, with the retired naval officer running into Ministry blocks. In fact, “rude” lawyers he encountered asking him repeatedly to verify his credentials compelled him to prepare a lengthy brief about himself. And get past the official language, to keep RTI going despite the refusal of the concerned Ministries to supply him with the information that should have been posted on the websites as he pointed out. thecitizen   
Maldives declines India's invite for 16-nation mega naval exercise
New Delhi:  After ignoring India's repeated appeals to roll back the emergency it imposed earlier this month, Maldives has declined New Delhi's invitation to participate in a naval exercise next month.As India gears up to host navies from 16 countries, Maldives was also sent an invite to attend 'Milan', an eight-day naval exercise, but it has declined, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said today. "Maldives has not given any reason for the decision," the Navy Chief said.The biennial naval exercise, that was first held in 1995 with just five navies, aims to expand regional cooperation and combat unlawful activities in critical sea lanes.Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand and Oman are among the countries that have confirmed their participation in the joint activity that starts March 6 in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The latest development is a reflection of a strain in ties between India and Maldives, which recently extended the state of emergency by 30 days. New Delhi had termed Maldives' decision a "disturbing" development and tried to persuade the tiny island nation to restore democracy. NDTV
Shiv Sena asks Muslims pilgrims to make dua for party
Unbelievable as it may sound, but Shiv Sena recently indeed asked Muslim pilgrims going to attend Ijtema (mass congregation) in Aurangabad to pray for the party. The party had placed a huge billboard with the message reading, “Request for dua (pray) to all brothers, who are going to attend the Ijtema.” The billboard also had photos of Bal Thackeray, Uddhav Thackeray and his son Aditya Thackeray prominently displayed. The party had also reportedly lifted the toll tax for the Muslim pilgrims arriving to attend the 3-day Aurangabad ijtema, which concluded on 25 Feb.Nearly 50 lakh pilgrims had reportedly attended the event.The party warming to Muslim event is in sharp contrast to its questionable role in communal riots against them. Bal Thackeray was widely blamed for being responsible for anti-Muslim riots in Mumbai in 1992-93, when hundreds of people, mostly members from the minority community, were killed.The photo of Sena wooing Muslims has gone viral on social media with many finding the party’s stand a touch ironic. Journalist Rana Ayyub wrote, “Tableeghi jamaat ijtema attended by close to 50 lac muslims in aurangabad.All welcomed by a Sena hoarding which asked them to pray for the party. Sena also waived toll tax for all vehicles headed to the ijtema. we lived to see this !”Ayyub added, “Ironic this is the same party that coined the term Landya for muslims in the 90’s asking for the community to be wiped out during the 92 riots.”The photo also did not go unnoticed by many other social media users, who too found the change in Sena’s stance quite bewildering. jantakareporter
WORLD
Saudi King fires top army chiefs in military shake-up
Saudi Arabia's King Salman has fired his top military commanders and reshuffled his cabinet in a shake-up of key security and government ministries.Those dismissed by royal decree overnight on Tuesday included the Saudi army's chief of staff, and the heads of the ground and air defence forces. First Lieutenant General Fayyad bin Hamed al-Ruwayli was appointed the new chief of staff, while Tamadur bint Youssef al-Ramah was appointed as deputy labour minister in a rare senior post for a woman in the kingdom.Prince Turki bin Talal - the brother of Alwaleed bin Talal - a billionaire businessman who was detained for months by the government on allegations of corruption - was also appointed to a deputy governor position.No official reason has been given for the overhaul, but it comes as Saudi Arabia faces growing criticism against the military coalition it leads in the Yemen war.The developments also come amid a series of changes led by country's 32-year-old Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), who has vowed to transform both Saudi Arabia's culture and economy. MBS was appointed crown prince in June 2017 when King Salman, his father, implemented a major govt shake-up. Mahjoob Zweiri, a professor of Arab politics, said that while many see a link between the Saudi reshuffle and the war in Yemen, the move signals changes to come within the kingdom's internal politics. aljazeera
Saudi King Removes Chief Of Staff, Commanders In Big Military Shake-Up
OIC slams Israel plan to tax Jerusalem churches
Jeddah:Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has blasted an Israeli plan to start taxing church property in occupied East Jerusalem.“We reject these measures, which are part of ongoing efforts [by Israel] to change the status of Christian and Muslim holy places [in Jerusalem] and systematically restrict their existence,”OIC said.It went on to voice solidarity with Jerusalem’s churches, warning against “the seriousness of these unprecedented Israeli actions which constitute a flagrant violation of international law and conventions”.OIC also urged the international community to “exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to compel it to abide by its responsibilities under international law and the Geneva Conventions and immediately reverse these illegal measures and continued violations against the city of Jerusalem, its people and holy sites”.On Sunday, Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher closed its doors to protest Israel’s new tax policy, which, if implemented, would subject the city’s churches to a property tax. “The church will remain closed until further notice,” Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III told reporters.Jointly administered by several major Christian denominations, Jerusalem’s iconic Church of the Holy Sepulcher is considered one of Christianity’s holiest sites. Anatulu Agency
Israel's military courts 'humiliating charade' for Palestinians
Nabi Saleh:Across from the home of imprisoned Palestinian teen Ahed Tamimi in Nabi Saleh, the red-tiled roofs of Israel's illegal Halamish settlement dot the adjacent hilltop.Residents of Halamish, along with some 600,000 other Israelis, reside in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law. Despite living on occupied Palestinian territory, settlers are subject to Israeli civil law, while Palestinians to Israeli military law.A person's nationality and ethnicity determines which set of laws applies to who in the West Bank, rights groups have noted. Tamimi's case has made headlines worldwide and has shined a spotlight on these inequalities, which many scholars and analysts have characterised as tantamount to apartheid.The teen was arrested in December after a video of her slapping two Israeli soldiers outside of her home went viral. Shortly before, her 15-year-old cousin was severely wounded when Israeli forces shot him point-blank in the face with a steel-coated rubber bullet. Her village of Nabi Saleh, known for its activism against the occupation, is a constant target of raids and arrests by Israeli soldiers. aljazeera
Israel Sentences Jewish Convert to Islam over IS Ties
Jerusalem: An Israeli court has sentenced a Jewish convert to Islam to 38 months in prison for seeking to join the Islamic State in Syria.Valentin Mazlevski, 40, a Belorussian immigrant who moved to Israel in 1996, was the first Jewish-born Israeli to be charged for having IS ties, according to the Shin Bet domestic security service. He was arrested in Feb.2017, a few weeks after a failed attempt to fly from Israel to Turkey, from where he allegedly planned to cross into Syria to join IS forces. Nazareth district court said in its ruling that Mazlevski had "one goal: to join the organisation". He acted "out of identification with the organisation's ideology," in the process "violating the law and endangering the state's security," it said.In 2000, while performing compulsory service in the Israeli military, Mazlevski converted to Islam after meeting the Israeli Arab Muslim woman who would become his wife and mother of his five children.Mazlevski, who became interested in IS and frequently viewed its online content in recent years, joined the jihadist group's internet forums, Israeli authorities said.AFP
Syria's war: Eastern Ghouta ceasefire violations kill two
At least 2 civilians have been killed less than two hours into a truce in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, activists said, as Syrian government forces launched fresh attacks in the rebel-held Damascus suburb. Syrian warplanes launched several air strikes in Douma and Harasta on Tuesday, Mahmoud Adam, a spokesman for Syria's Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, told Al Jazeera. In Douma, one of Eastern Ghouta's main towns, two people, including a woman, lost their lives and several others have been wounded, Adam said. Alaa al-Ahmed, a local activist, said that the attacks started at 9:30am on Tuesday, 30 minutes after a Russia-backed ceasefire began.  The truce was meant to allow civilians to evacuate from the rebel-held enclave, which has been under continuous aerial bombardment since Feb.18.aljazeera
Czech court releases Kurdish leader, preventing Turkey extradition
A court in the Czech Republic has released Salih Muslim, a former Kurdish Syrian leader, despite Ankara's official request for him to be extradited.Muslim, a prominent former leader of Kurdish PYD in Syria, was arrested in Czech capital of Prague on Saturday at Turkey's request. "We are very satisfied because the judge did not consider it necessary after hearing the arguments to decide to retain the custody of our client. Our client has promised that he would be at the disposal of the court. It is traditional this way as the proceedings have only started. It will take some time," Miroslav Krutina, Muslim's lawyer,said.Turkey had asked authorities in Prague to extradite him with a file explaining the arguments for the request, Turkey's Deputy PM Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.aljazeera
Russia vetoes resolution blaming Iran for arming Houthis
Russia has vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution based on a UN report condemning Iran for violating an arms embargo by sending weapons to Yemen's Houthi rebels. Backed by the United States and France, the British-drafted resolution was supported with 11 votes in favour on Monday, before Russia used its veto and other member states abstained from voting.The US had repeatedly called for the imposition of a renewed embargo on Iran, claiming it was sending Iranian manufactured missiles to Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.It also claimed that these missiles were used to launch an attack on neighbouring Saudi Arabia - which along with several Sunni Arab countries - have been fighting against the Houthis since March 2015, when the Kingdom intervened to push back the rebels and reinstate the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.aljazeera
Yemen's cholera epidemic likely to intensify: WHO
WHO has warned that Yemen's cholera epidemic could escalate in the next couple of months.Although the spread of the disease has been contained since its outbreak in 2016, expected rainfall in the coming months could lead to a surge in cholera cases, according to the UN agency."The real problem is we're entering another phase of rainy seasons," WHO's deputy director for Emergency Preparedness and Response, Peter Salama, told reporters. Aljazeera
Veto-holding members of UNSC like criminals:UN rights chief
Geneva:The outgoing UN human rights chief accused the veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council of being second only to criminals who kill and maim when it comes to responsibility for some of the world's most egregious rights violations.Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein delivered one of the strongest and clearest denunciations yet from a top UN official about certain uses of Security Council veto, which gives extraordinary powers to the five countries that wield it: Britain, China, France, Russia and the US.Speaking to the Human Rights Council, Zeid didn't mention specific vetoes. But the comments were an unmistakable allusion to the war in Syria, over which Russia, a major backer of President Bashar Assad, and China have repeatedly used the veto to block efforts such as to hold war criminals to account or punish Assad's government for alleged use of chemical weapons.Zeid instead spoke more broadly and decried "some of the most prolific slaughterhouses of humans in recent times"— Syria's Eastern Ghouta region, the Ituri and Kasai regions of Congo; the embattled city of Taiz in Yemen; Burundi; and Myanmar's northern Rakhine state.He denounced "minimal action" taken even though his office has repeatedly exposed human rights violations that "should have served as a trigger for preventive action." "Given this is my last address as high commissioner at the opening of a March session, I wish to be blunt," Zeid said. The outspoken Jordanian prince isn't seeking a new four-year term when his current one expires in August.Zeid insisted the five permanent, veto-wielding council members "must answer to the victims" if the veto is used to block any action that could reduce human suffering.AP
Facebook Removes Page of 'Buddhist Bin Laden' For Spreading Hate Against Rohingya Muslims
Yangon: Facebook has removed the page of a Myanmar monk once dubbed the "Buddhist Bin Laden" for his incendiary posts about Muslims, the company confirmed, as it faces pressure to clamp down on hate speech.Wirathu, a prominent face of Myanmar's Buddhist ultra-nationalist movement, had amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on the network, using it as a platform to attack Muslims, singling out the stateless Rohingya minority.Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since last August following a military crackdown in Rakhine state that has been likened to ethnic cleansing by the US and the UN, but which has been applauded by Myanmar nationalists online.A Facebook spokesperson told AFP late yesterday that Wirathu's page had been removed. news18
Lanka shops, mosque damaged in Buddhist-Muslim clash
Colombo:- At least five people were wounded and several shops and a mosque damaged in a clash between majority Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims in eastern Sri Lanka, police said on Tuesday.Renewed tension has been growing between the two communities since last year, with some hardline Buddhist groups accusing Muslims of forcing people to convert to Islam and vandalising Buddhist archaeological sites.Police had been deployed in the eastern town of Ampara to control the unrest after a Sinhalese mob attacked a mosque, four shops and several vehicles late on Monday, spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara said.Gunasekara said no arrests had been made so far.Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL), an umbrella body that includes most Muslim organizations in the country, condemned the attack and requested the government to conduct an impartial inquiry into it and arrest the perpetrators.Reuters
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
Finding Small Rays of Sunshine 16 Years After Darkness of 2002 Gujarat Riots:J.S. Bandukwala
A Month After The Kasganj Communal Violence, A Love Story Hangs In The Balance: Betwa Sharma
Sridevi’s death has brought out the worst in Indian media, crossing the line between journalism and exploitation:Karishma Upadhyay
How Hindi became Arunachal Pradesh’s lingua franca:Adrija Roychowdhury
A Tale of 2 Modis;NIKHIL WAGLE
Kashmir journalist Kamran Yusuf faces life imprisonment: Rifat Fareed , aljazeera
Eastern Ghouta: What is happening and why

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 12:10 PM)

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