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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

03 April : Supreme Court stands by its SC/ST Act judgment/ A day after protests, Dalit slums targeted in Rajasthan’s Hindaun, dalit politicians’ houses burnt



Evening NEWS DIGEST  
03 April 2018:14 Rajjab 1439:Vol:9, No:157
INDIA
SC/ST Act: No interim stay on March 20 order, Supreme Court says did not dilute provisions
New Delhi:Refusing to grant an interim stay on its March 20 order, the Supreme Court Tuesday clarified that it had not read down the provisions of the  Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act but had only sought to protect innocent people from arrest. On the violence that has gripped several states on Monday, the court said that the people protesting may not have read its order or may have been misled. Appearing on behalf of Centre, Attorney General K K Venugopal pleaded for a stay on the apex court’s directions to law enforcement authorities to conduct a preliminary inquiry before registering an FIR under the Act and also seeking prior sanction before arresting an accused. The Maharashtra government has also prayed that they the directions be kept in abeyance till the next date of hearing.A bench of justices AK Geol and U U Lalit said it has taken note of the government’s plea for review and will examine its previous order which imposed stringent safeguards on arrest under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The bench had clarified that its judgment won’t stand in the way of awarding compensation which is due to affected parties or registration of FIR in instances of conjoint offences. indianexpress
Supreme Court stands by its SC/ST Act judgment
Curfew in Rajasthan’s Hindaun City after houses of Dalit MLA, former minister set on fire
Jaipur;A day after one person died and several others were injured in Rajasthan in wake of the Bharat Bandh called by Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe outfits, Hindaun City in Karauli district saw fresh violence on Tuesday. According to the police, people from other castes who were miffed over Monday’s protests, allegedly damaged property and set on fire the houses of two Dalit politicians in Hindaun City on Tuesday morning.“Yesterday a crowd of around 15-20 thousand protesters who were in favour of the bandh had created ruckus in several areas such as Gangapur City in Sawai Madhopur and Hindaun City in Karauli. Today, traders, businessmen and non scheduled caste people took out a rally against yesterday’s violence,” Alok Kumar Vashishtha, inspector general of police, Bharatpur range told The Indian Express on Tuesday.He added that the crowd tried to attack a settlement of Dalits, particularly people from the Jatav community. “After yesterday’s incident, there was a reaction from the business and market associations and people not belonging to SC/ST communities. Defying the orders of section 144 imposed in the area, they tried to go into Jatav settlement and the police had to intervene,” said Vashishtha.He added that the crowd set on fire the houses of incumbent MLA from Hindaun City Rajkumari Jatav and former minister Bharosi Lal Jatav. “A crowd of around 3-4 thousand people attacked the houses of the MLA and former minister and the police were outnumbered. The houses were set on fire by the protesters and several police personnel were also injured. There haven’t been instances of civilians being injured,” said Vashishtha.He added that so far around 45 people have been arrested for Tuesday’s violence at Hindaun City while around 50 people have been held for protests that rocked the Bharatpur division on Monday.“Curfew has been imposed in Hindaun City and internet services are also suspended in the district. We are identifying the miscreants and some of them have been already picked up. Extra police personnel have been deployed and at the moment the situation is under control,” he said.The police said that throughout Rajasthan around 1,000 people have been arrested for the violence caused on Monday during Bharat Bandh. “We have arrested around 1,000 people and 172 cases have been registered till now against the mob across the state by the police and people whose property was damaged. At present the situation is slowly returning to normalcy,” said additional director general of police NRK Reddy.He added that internet services remained suspended in around 18 districts of the state. “The crowd in Hindaun City wanted to go towards the Jatav settlement but were dispersed by the police but the houses of the two politicians that were damaged came into their way,” said Reddy. Bharosi Lal Jatav, ex minister in the previous Congress government in Rajasthan, whose house was allegedly set on fire by the upper caste mob alleged that the police remained ‘silent spectators’ during the attack.indianexpress
A day after protests, Dalit slums targeted in Rajasthan’s Hindaun, dalit politicians’ houses burnt
Houses of MLA, ex-MLA, both Dalits, set afire in Rajasthan; death toll rises to 11

Amend SC/ST Act after SC ruling: Congress
Blaming the Modi govt for violence during protests by dalits after the Supreme Court ruling on SC/ST Act, Congress has demanded the Centre bring an amendment to the said law in Parliament or file a "curative petition" in the apex court.The opposition party also claimed that the Centre was not interested in addressing the issues faced by the dalits, backward classes, minorities, poor, youths, and farmers, while it was only interested in those "who make money".IANS
47,000 cases of crime against SC/ST registered in 2016: Govt
As many as 47,338 cases of crime against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were registered across the country in 2016, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said as per the information provided by the NCRB, a total of 40,774 cases were registered under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and other sections of law over alleged crimes against SCs and STs in the year 2016.PTI
Jharkhand Police 'Weakened Case' Of Gau Rakshaks Lynching Muslim Cattle Traders: probe report
An "independent investigation" into the killing of two Muslim cattle traders allegedly by gau rakshaks in Jharkhand's Latehar district in 2016 has claimed that the state police "weakened" the case.The report, brought out by a group of NGOs, including those based in the US and the UK, was today launched here in the presence of the family members of the victims."Not only did the police not fully investigate the crime on the basis of eyewitnesses accounts and testimonies, but also failed to press appropriate charges against the accused. This has considerably weakened the case," alleged the report.The victims -- Mazloom Ansari (32) and Imtiaz Ansari (12) -- were beaten and hanged with a tree in Latehar allegedly by gau rakshaks on March 18, 2016. They were carrying eight oxen to a cattle fare when the incident occurred."The main accused has not been arrested in the case and police did not charge the accused for abduction, loot and criminal conspiracy, thus supporting them in the case," said lawyer of the victims Abdul Salam.Senior lawyer of Supreme Court Prashant Bhushan said that the lynching allegedly by gau rakshaks were "endangering" the democracy and civilisation of the country."Such incidents have increased in the past four years and there is no action despite availability of witnesses and videos of such incidents," he alleged."In this case of Latehar, all the accused are on bail and the main accused has not even been arrested which speaks about support of police to them," he alleged.The family members of the victim alleged that the accused had issued a threat to Mazloom to stop cattle trading or face the consequences."Two of the accused, along with 5-6 other people, had come to our place before the incident. Mazloom had told me that they had asked him to stop cattle trading or he would be killed," alleged Mazloom's widow Saira Bibi.(PTI)
Hanged by Gau Rakshaks, Denied Justice by State – probe Report on Jharkhand Cow Lynching Released
BJP fully protecting 'Gau Rakshaks': SC advocate Prashant Bhushan
Allahabad HC Mosque can't be just asked to move out: Supreme Court told
New Delhi: Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for the Sunni Central Waqf Board in the Supreme Court on Monday said the mosque inside Allahabad High Court premises had been there for several decades and it can't be just asked to move out.Waqf Board has moved the apex court against the high court verdict by which it had directed for removal of a mosque situated in the high court premises. The Waqf Board had challenged the November 8, 2017, order of the high court which gave it three months to move out of the premises, according to PTI.The SC had earlier directed the parties to arrive at a consensus upon where the mosque should be constructed.The Allahabad High Court however told the Supreme Court that it does not have alternate land for relocating a mosque situated in its premises and the state government may consider shifting it to another land.Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the Allahabad High Court said that as far as high court is concerned, there is no alternate land for relocating the mosque. He said the high court has already very less space for parking of advocates' vehicles and there is no alternate land where the mosque can be shifted.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud then sought the view of the Uttar Pradesh government and asked the Sunni Central Waqf Board to serve the copy on the counsel for the state govt.ummid.com
Mosque in Allahabad HC: SC seeks view of UP govt
No alternate land to relocate mosque in premise: Allahabad High Court to Supreme Court
Article 370 not a temporary provision;Supreme Court
New Delhi:Supreme Court has said that Article 370 of the Constitution which gives special status to J&K is not a temporary provision. The SC said that in its earlier verdict of 2017 in SARFESI case, it has been already held that Article 370 was “not a temporary provision”.“The issue concerned is covered by the judgement of this court in the 2017 SARFAESI matter, where we have held that despite the headnote of Article 370, it is not a temporary provision,” a bench of justices AK Goel and RF Nariman said.During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre said that the matter be heard after some time as similar matters are pending before the court and are to be listed shortly.Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan and advocate Shoeb Alam appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir government clarified that other matters which are pending before SC relates to Article 35 A of Constitution and not Art. 370 as submitted by ASG.PTI
Fake news order: PM Modi wants guideline spiked; Irani says more than happy to engage with Press
New Delhi:After PM Narendra Modi’s intervention, I&B Ministry on Tuesday withdrew its press release which stated that journalists who “created” or “propagated” fake news would have lost their accreditation with the govt.In a “clarification” issued on Tuesday, the ministry said, “This is to inform that the Press release on Fake news regulation issued yesterday i.e.,02 April 2018 stands withdrawn.”Following the withdrawal of the press release, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani tweeted that the PIB accreditation guidelines asking Press Council of India and News Broadcasters Association to define and act against ‘fake news’ have generated debate. “Several journalists and organisations have reached out giving positive suggestions regarding the same,” she said. Irani said I&B Ministry was “more than happy to engage with journalist bodies or organisations wanting to give suggestions so that together we can fight the menace of ‘fake news’ and uphold ethical journalism”. The minister said “interested journalists and/or organisations” were free to meet her at the ministry.Sources said PM, had “directed that the press release regarding fake news be withdrawn and the matter should only be addressed in Press Council of India”. On Monday, the ministry had issued a release that stated on receiving any complaint of a journalist pushing instances of fake news, the print and television regulatory bodies, PCI and NBA, respectively would determine the veracity of the news and if found to be fake, the journalist’s PIB accreditation could be cancelled permanently.indianexpress
Modi Scraps Controversial I&B Ministry Order on ‘Fake News’ After Angry Protests By Journalists
RSS leader Rakesh Sinha picked up ‘by mistake’ by Noida police
Noida:In a case of mistaken identity, RSS leader Rakesh Sinha was picked up in Noida’s Film City area on Monday evening when a local police team was on the lookout for suspects in vandalism cases which happened earlier in the day. With thousands of protesters staging demonstrations against the alleged dilution of SC/ST Act in parts of Gautam Buddha Nagar district, throwing traffic out of gear and pelting stones and bricks at an Uttar Pradesh Roadways bus, police teams had been formed to look at those behind the violence.“Our teams were looking for people when they saw him in Film City area and mistook him for a protester in the case. He was let off as soon as we realised our mistake,” said Anil Kumar Shai, SHO, Noida Sector 20 police station.Sinha said he was outside the office of a news organisation in Noida Sector 16A when he was picked up. indianexpress
AIMPLB to hold silent protest in Delhi tomorrow: Women wing to submit memorandum to Prez as it finds fault with his speech on triple talaq bill
New Delhi: The women wing of All India Muslim Personal Law Board has expressed its “disappointment” with President Ram Nath Kovind’s speech during the joint parliamentary session on Jan.29 where he spoke about how the triple talaq legislation would “emancipate” Muslim women. Dr Asma Zehra, executive member of AIMPLB, told News18 that an official memorandum would be presented to the President or his secretary tomorrow where the women members have stated that they “are safe within their personal law and that they do not need any kind of emancipation.” AIMPLB member Dr Zehra said that “this is nothing but a direct attack on the principles of Islam, which is the first among the world's religions to give equal rights regarding dignity and respect to the woman.”“The entire concept of divorce, inheritance, women's share in property, was given by Islam in 610 to 630, 1440 years ago. We regret to submit that the remarks have hurt the sentiments of Muslim women and are disrespecting because in Islam Muslim women do not want this emancipation. We are very happy with our personal law and appeal to take back this bill as it is against Constitution of India, women rights, and gender justice,” reads the official memorandum. Dr Zehra also said that the statements coming from the President has made it a serious issue and that “in no way was it liberating for Muslim women”.“The bill is anti-children. This law vests woman with the right of custody and bringing up of children. At the same time, husband will bear the maintenance of children. However the Present guardianship and wards act places premium on the child's interest. Husband or wife, whoever can protect interest better will have custody,” states the memorandum. AIMPLB has also recently organised a lot of protest marches across the country airing its grievance with the impending legislation.The board will hold a silent protest in the capital tomorrow before the memorandum is submitted to President Kovind. news18
Rampur: At triple talaq bill protest, men-women united by cause & faith, separated by gender
Rampur:Hundreds of Muslim men and burka-clad women from across the state, and beyond, gathered here today to protest against a proposed bill to abolish the practice of instant triple talaq in Islam.While the protesters were joined by the cause and the faith, they were separated by their gender -- curtains between male and female protesters, and separate microphones and daises for them.All the female participants had their burkas on and those who addressed them had also their faces covered in the traditional Islamic way.They said they saw the proposed bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha, as an "assault" on the Shariyat, and by separating men and women this way they wanted to emphasise their firm belief in the "ideals formulated by preachers of pious ideology".The arrangements were in accordance with Islamic traditions, said one of the organisers, explaining the symbolism.PTI
Muslims need Muslim Family Law: Women's body
New Delhi:A Muslim Family Law is the need of the hour, a Muslim women's body said on Monday, urging the government and the opposition to stop politicising the issue so as to ensure a balanced and comprehensive law."This government must now listen to the voices of progressive Muslim women," the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) said in a statement."It has so far not heeded the amendments that the BMMA has been demanding to the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha."A balanced law which ensures protection of women and at the same time deters the men is required and the BMMA has done the needful by presenting this amended version to the government. Why is this government stonewalling the voices of women who have been working since the last decade to ensure Muslim women's Quranic and Constitutional rights?IANS
Islam does not permit women to come out in public spheres: Kerala Sunni leader
Kerala Sunni Muslim leader Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musaliar has once again kicked off a controversy with his sexist remarks. Kanthapuram who is also the Chief of Sunni Youth Society has said that unlike men, women should not come out in public spheres."If women come forward that could lead to violence and disaster", he added.Kanthapuram said, "women, unlike men, should not come out in public spheres as Islam has not permitted so and it has certain reasons. If woman come forward that could lead to violence and disaster and there are examples to substantiate this view".Kanthapuram is one of the strongest Sunni Muslim leaders in Malabar region of Kerala. This statement comes just weeks after a Kerala professor said that Muslim girls were not wearing hijab correctly and intentionally exposing their chests like 'sliced watermelon'.Though a case was registered against the professor based on the complaint filed by one of the female students, the police have made no arrest yet.indiatoday
Chennai:Students, activists launch 10-day rally for secularism
Chennai: In a reaction to the 'fascist divisive atmosphere' in the country, People's Platform Against Fascism (PPAF), a newly launched group of students, activists, artists and intellectuals, launched 'March for Secularism', a 10-day rally from Chennai to Kanyakumari on April 1. Identifying itself as a group carrying forward the legacy of Kaniyan Poongundran, Periyar and Ambedkar, PPAF launched the march with the idea, 'Defeat Fascism and Unite for Democracy'. "It is in response to the Sangh Parivar's Ram Rajya Rath Yatra. There is a fascist movement happening across the country. We felt it was necessary to raise our voice. This march is our first step," says Kavitha Gajendran, theatre person and a PPAF member. Ram Rajya Rath Yatra by VHP reached Tamil Nadu late last month. PPAF cites the demands of VHP activists as a major bone of contention. These include addition of Ramayana in school and college syllabus and construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya. PPAF has laid out its demands that include safeguarding the academic integrity of educational institutions, safeguarding livelihood of coastal communities and farmers, and an end to atrocities against backward classes.The march, initially planned from March 21 was denied police permission but got a go-ahead from the Madras high court on March 28. As of April 2, about 30 people, had covered Kancheepuram, Vaniyambadi, Jolarpettai and Tirupattur, with groups including SDPI, SIO and WPI,lending support.TOI
Curfew imposed, internet services suspended in violence-hit Jaitaran
Jodhpur: Situation is gradually turning normal in Jaitaran in Pali district where a communal violence had erupted on Saturday during stone pelting on Hanuman Jayanti procession. Curfew has been imposed and internet services have been suspended in Jaitaran and three other sub-divisions in the vicinity considering the sensitivity of the issue.“We have already imposed curfew in Jaitaran town and suspended internet services to curb inflammatory messages on social media,” said IGP (Jodhpur range) Hawa Singh Ghumaria. A heavy police deployment, including senior cops, in Jaitaran and nearby areas has been ensured.According to Ghumaria, 750 policemen have been deployed in Jaitaran and its neighbouring towns considering their communal history. Meanwhile, close to 50 persons from both the sides have been arrested so far and the number may shoot up further as cops are tracing more suspected persons.TOI
Bihar communal clashes: ‘Over 200 incidents’ since Nitish joined NDA
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is facing a barrage of criticism from his political opponents over rising incidents of communal violence in the state. The recent incidents of violence during Ram Navami rallies and failure on the part of the administration in maintaining law and order situation have forced the government on the back foot. A report by Indian Express claimed that since July last year, when Nitish Kumar quit the Grand Alliance and joined the ranks with BJP to form govt, the state has seen a spurt in incidents of communal tensions. Based on its scrutiny of official records, the report said that over 200 cases of communal tension have been recorded by the police, including 64 in 2018, since Nitish switched allegiance to the NDA.The report said that a scrutiny of last 6 years of police data shows that close to 900 such cases have been registered across state. In 2012, 50 such incidents were reported; in 2013, 112 cases were registered; in 2014, 110 cases; in 2015, 155 and in 2016, 230 cases. In 2017, the state had recorded maximum number of270 cases.financialexpress
Mumbra couple resolves family conflicts through Happy Life Programme
Adding to the ongoing movements that aim to empower women around the world in various walks of life, a small change-of-lifestyle programme is brewing in Mumbra. Mumbra-based residents are learning to solve their family problems amicably through Happy Life Programme, which ensures respect and dignity to women.Started 3 months ago by professor Mohammed Jawed Shaikh, who teaches mechanical engineering in a Panvel-based college, the programme has managed to help over 70 couples to solve their issues. Shaikh says that being a member of the Sharia adalat (court) helped him understand the need for this programme. "Being on the adalat, I learned that many husband wife/family issues can be resolved positively if someone intervenes without being interfering," says Sheikh.Thus, he collaborated with Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind (JIH) and started a counseling centre for Muslim couples in the vicinity. "We listen to couples and through workshops help them learn life skills on how to stay happy; conflict resolution; anger management, etc," he said. This has helped over 70 couples to either reconcile or separate amicably without any grudges. "When couples come to us and we understand that they are eager on separation/divorce, we make them realise how going to court, police, etc., will waste their time and money. And at the end they have to sit across the table and find the solution. So why not sit now and resolve," he added. Shaikh's wife, Fauziya, who is a home-maker, is an equal partner in this programme.dnaindia
WORLD
Air attack 'kills dozens of children' at Afghanistan’s Kunduz madrasa
Dozens of civilians, including children, have been killed in an Afghan air attack on a gathering at a religious school in the northern province of Kunduz, eyewitnesses and an official said.A religious school in Dasht-e-Archi district of the Kunduz province was targeted by air raids late on Monday, resulting in the death of at least 70 people, including top Taliban commanders, a district official said on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to media.Ministry of Defense spokesman, Mohammad Radmanish, told Al Jazeera that the air raid was aimed at "top Taliban commanders". "The air strike killed more than 30 Taliban fighters, including nine commanders," he said."Taliban training centre was bombed and no civilians were present." Taliban denied its fighters were present at the school during the time of the attack. Witnesses said that the gathering included "a lot of civilians" and the families of those killed in the attack "were devastated". "There were children as young as 11 or 12 years old in the ceremony who were to be presented with awards and gifts for the completion of their religious courses," Mohammed Abdul Haq, who witnessed the attack, said. "Mothers are wailing and crying outside the hospitals for the death of their children and everyone is crying with them," he added. Other witnesses said that over 100 people were killed in the attack. "I was working in my farm when I heard helicopters and jets bombing the madrassa  where Taliban were gathered alongside new Qaris to recognise them with awards," Haji Ghulam, a witness, said. "Taliban are active in the area, but the ceremony was attended mostly by children and young boys."Haji said when he went closer to the area, there were many children who were killed and wounded."It was a disaster. Blood everywhere," he said, adding that the "many" people were killed.Images circulating on social media purportedly showed a number of children'ss bodies, accompanied by the phrase:"I am not a terrorist".Al Jazeera could not independently verify the images. Taliban said the air raid killed around 150 religious scholars and civilians, mostly children, while maintaining that no fighters were present during attack.Al Jazeera
Afghanistan air strike 'kills civilians' at school:BBC
UN probes school bombing that killed 50 in nort Afghan
UN said it was probing "disturbing reports of serious harm to civilians" in an Afghan airstrike on a religious school that Afghan security sources said killed or wounded dozens of children.A village resident told DPA the number of civilian casualties has risen to more than 50 following the attack on an alleged Taliban gathering in northern Afghanistan's Kunduz province.dailysabah
Saudi crown prince: Israelis have right to their own land
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has declared that Israel has the right to its own land alongside Palestinians. In an interview with the US-based The Atlantic magazine, the 32 year old heir to the Saudi throne declared: "I believe that each people, anywhere, has a right to live in their peaceful nation." The crown prince said that "there are a lot of interests" his country shares with Israel."Israel is a big economy compared to their size and it's a growing economy, and of course there are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan."Bin Salman also said that while his country has "religious concerns" about the holy mosque in Jerusalem and the rights of Palestinians, it has no objection "against any other people"."I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations."Bin Salman also said Saudi Arabia "does not have a problem" with Jews, saying that Islam's Prophet Muhammad "married a Jewish woman".Recent developments in Riyadh, however, have indicated that ties between the two countries are warming up.aljazeera
Saudi crown prince: Israelis have the right to a homeland


Africans in Israel voice concern over new resettlement plan
African asylum seekers in Israel have voiced concern over Tel Aviv’s agreement with the UN to resettle half of them in Western countries.A number of African migrants and asylum seekers told Al Jazeera they remain sceptical that the new plan could bring any real change for those who are to stay in Israel.On Monday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced that Israel had reached an unprecedented understanding with the UN to help resettle at least 16,250 African migrants in “developed countries like Canada, or Germany and Italy,” instead of Africa.Hours after the announcement, Netanyahu said he would suspend the new plan, which was denounced by right-wingers in his government.Netanyahu wrote in a Facebook post on Monday night that he was putting the agreement on hold until he meets with representatives from south Tel Aviv - where a large number of African asylum seekers live - along with Interior Minister Arye Dery.aljazeera
Israel cancels UN deal on African migrants
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has nixed a deal with UN refugee agency UNHCR regarding the deportation of African migrants and asylum-seekers.In a statement on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he held meetings with Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and representatives of residents of southern Tel Aviv to discuss the agreement. “After evaluating the advantages and the disadvantages, I decided to cancel the agreement,” he said.On Monday, Netanyahu’s office said Israel and UNHCR had signed a deal under which Israel scrapped plans to deport thousands of African migrants and asylum-seekers.Under the deal, Israel would have sent 16,250 African migrants to western countries, while thousands more would have been granted temporary (5-year) residency in Israel.Israel is currently home to some 40,000 asylum seekers, including 27,500 from Eritrea and 7,800 from Sudan, according to UNHCR figures.worldbulletin
PA will only go to Gaza if Hamas hands over control all at once
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has insisted that his government will not go to Gaza unless Hamas hands over control in one package, Safa news agency reported on Monday.“We are ready to take up all responsibilities in Gaza,” Hamdallah said while attending a function in occupied Nablus, “but this will not be applicable if the responsibilities are handed over one by one.”Hamdallah’s remarks came a year after the PA imposed punitive measures on the Gaza Strip, which has been under a decade-long Israeli siege. The measures included slashing the salaries of PA employees in Gaza by 30 per cent, reducing electricity supplies to the enclave, cutting the number of medical referrals and forcing thousands of public servants into early retirement.“Taking up responsibilities in Gaza,” Hamdallah stressed, “is materialised by the full handover of all security, legal, administrative and financial powers.”Such a precondition, however, contradicts the agreement with Hamas which was brokered by Egypt last year. The deal stipulated a gradual handover of the Gaza Strip with the PA paying salaries for public servants in the territory.middleeastmonitor
Gaza hospitals: 'Israel was shooting to kill or cause disability'
Gaza: Mohammad Othman, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, lies on a hospital bed at the intensive care unit of al-Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip - the oldest and biggest medical facility in the besieged enclave.Othman is one of more than 1,500 Palestinians wounded on Friday when the Israeli army unleashed a storm of live ammunition, tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets on thousands of people protesting along the Gaza Strip's eastern border with Israel, killing 18.Speaking to Al Jazeera, Othman, whose bed was lined with Palestinian flags and flowers from relatives and friends after he sustained a bullet to the back of his head, says he never expected to be targeted. aljazeera
Sisi wins 97 percent of vote in Egypt election, official results show
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been re-elected as Egypt's president with 97 percent of votes, the exact proportion that brought the former military commander his first term four years ago, Egypt's election commission announced on Monday.Also on Monday, US President Donald Trump expressed his "sincere congratulations" to Sisi in a call, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported.Trump said in the call that the US was keen on strengthening strategic relations and continuing to coordinate on key issues, MENA reported. The turnout in last week's election was lower than in 2014, at 41 percent.Sisi had long been virtually guaranteed victory after all serious opposition pulled out of the contest earlier this year. Others were arrested or threatened with being discredited.Some 23 million of 60 million registered voters turned out during the 3 days of polling that ended on Wednesday, state-owned newspapers al-Ahram and Akhbar el-Youm, and the official MENA news agency reported last week. According to al-Ahram, 2 million voters spoiled their ballot papers, inserting the names of candidates who were not among the only two approved.Sisi ran virtually unchallenged after the other serious candidates were arrested or pulled out.Sisi's only opponent, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, a Sisi supporter, gained 721,000 votes,al-Youm and al-Ahram reported. Opposition groups had called for a boycott of the week's vote which they labelled a charade.  middleeasteye
Saudi coalition air attack kills 12 in Yemen, including seven children
An air strike by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen killed 12 civilians, including seven children, in the costal city of Hodeidah on Monday, medics and a witness said.Medics and a witness who saw the wreckage said the air strike had destroyed a house in al-Hali district, where displaced civilians from other provinces were settled.12 victims were all from the same family, they said. Pictures shared on social media - too graphic to republish, showed the remains of several small children and a baby among those killed.A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition told Reuters: "We take this report very seriously and it will be fully investigated as all reports of this nature are - using an internationally approved, independent process."While this is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further."The coalition repeatedly denies it has committed war crimes in Yemen, and its investigations have been slammed by human rights campaigners as not credible."No coalition member can claim clean hands in Yemen until all its members explain their role in scores of documented unlawful attacks,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, last year."It borders on the absurd for the coalition to claim its own investigations are credible when it refuses to release even basic information like which countries participated in an attack and whether anyone has been held accountable.” Hodeidah is home to the impoverished country's biggest port from where most of the humanitarian aid reaches millions of civilians on the brink of famine.middleeasteye
Families leaving Eastern Ghouta take prize possessions
Abu Jawad was among thousands of Syrians who left their homes and underground shelters in the shrinking rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta to one of the last remaining rebel-held areas in northwest Syria.With dozens of daily convoys of buses making the 320km journey to the Idlib province since late March, families have been forced to take only the most essential items. "We left with nothing; we just took our feelings of despair and heartbreak with us," the 27-year-old from Hammoudia told Al Jazeera as he explained the pain of leaving the town he had grown up in his whole life.aljazeera
12 people tortured to death in Syria in March
Syrian Network for Human Rights has said that 12 people have been tortured to death in Syria by regime forces in March.The network noted in a report published yesterday that the majority of the victims were from the governorate of Daraa.The network has documented 26 cases of death by torture since the beginning of 2018 by the main parties to the conflict, including 24 deaths by the Syrian regime.The network called on the UN Security Council and the United Nations to reiterate their demands to Syrian regime to stop torture and to immediately demand the release of the remaining victims.middleeastmonitor
International commission to sue Israel over killing Palestinian protesters
Head of the Coordinating Committee of the Great March of Return Zaher Birawi announced yesterday the formation of an international legal committee of law experts who will attempt to prosecute Israel over killing unarmed Palestinian protesters during the first day of the march, Quds Press reported.In a statement, Birawi said: “The committee is to exert its utmost efforts in cooperation with Palestinian and international rights groups to prosecute the soldiers and leaders of the Israeli occupation army over committing war crimes against unarmed civilians.”Birawi reiterated that international law guarantees the right to peaceful protests, stressing that opening fire on the protesters while they were calling for the implementation of UN resolutions related to their right to return is a war crime.middleeastmonitor
China pledges to protect freedom of religious belief
Beijing: China pledged to continue to respect and protect its citizens’ freedom of religious belief in a white paper published on Tuesday. As a socialist country under the leadership of Communist Party of China (CPC), China adopts policies on freedom of religious belief based on national and religious conditions to protect citizens’ right to freedom of religious belief, build active and healthy religious relationships, and maintain religious and social harmony, said the white paper published by the State Council Information Office, titled “China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief”, Xinhua reported.“Religious believers and non-believers respect each other, and live in harmony, committing themselves to reform and opening up and the socialist modernization, and contribute to the realization of the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation,” the white paper said.Protecting freedom of religious belief, properly handling religious relations and adapting them to the times, and curbing religious extremism are common tasks facing all countries around the world, said the white paper.China will uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to the socialist society, it said.IANS
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 5:58 PM)

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