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Monday, 14 May 2018

14 May ND: ​ Citizenship bill triggers protests across Assam, allies threaten to quit/ BJP leaders’ firm that bought Nagrota land owes Rs 29.31 crore to J&K Bank, account NPA/ Javadekar's 80,000 'Ghost' Teachers: RTI Activists, MHRD Dispute Status of Probe


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY  
14 May 2018:27 Shaban 1439: Vol:10, No:20
INDIA
​ Citizenship bill triggers protests across Assam, allies threaten to quit
Guwahati:  A proposed law that would give citizenship to illegal migrants from Bangladesh has stirred up the northeast against BJP, which rules 6 of the 7 states in the area. Illegal migration is a sensitive issue in states like Assam and some of BJP's alliance partners are threatening to withdraw support from the coalition Govts. Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from the minority communities -- Hindu, Christians and Jains --of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan eligible for citizenship after 6 years of stay in India. It was a promise by Narendra Modi ahead of the 2014 general polls in which the BJP swept to power.But the idea has had the residents up in arms in Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, which share a porous border with Bangladesh. Assam's BJP CM Sarbananda Sonowal is under extreme pressure from regional ally AGP which propelled it to power in the state in 2016. Ahead of the state elections in Assam, the BJP had taken a tough stand on illegal migration. Now, AGP is threatening to quit the alliance if the centre goes forward with the bill.The powerful All Assam Students Union, which led the Assam agitation of the 80s against illegal migrants, is spearheading the agitation against the bill in Guwahati and Shillong, which erupted over the weekend.Yesterday, as posters with "CM Sonowal is missing" mushroomed across Guwahati, Sonowal said, "I have no reason to continue as the CM if I can't protect the interests of the people...'.Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma said that his NPP, which leads NDA govt in Meghalaya, is opposed to the bill. "The entire cabinet feels that the bill is undemocratic and against the interests of the country," he added.Barring Mizoram, other 6 states in the northeast - Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal, Manipur and Sikkim -- are now with BJP, which would make it especially tough for the party to garner support as the general elections scheduled next year draws close.NDTV
Javadekar's 80,000 'Ghost' Teachers: RTI Activists, MHRD Dispute Status of Probe
New Delhi: Months after Prakash Javadekar, Union HRD minister, had claimed during the release of All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2017-18, that about 80,000 ‘ghost’ teachers had been detected through Aadhaar, RTI activists say the Govt  appears to have lost interest in either identifying them or proceeding against them.MHRD, however, has said that it is ‘incorrect’ to say that no action has been taken.Addressing the media while releasing the AISHE findings on Jan.5, Javadekar had said that a campaign was on to detect the bogus teachers. He added that while some teachers were found using proxies to be enrolled in two colleges, some were “very active and seen in 3-4 colleges”.From the next year, he said the Centre would “do random verification” of the data so that no one is able to furnish false information. The minister had also sought to link the issue with the welfare of the masses. “This is taxpayers’ money and money of the poor which has gone into higher education. We have to help them so that the children of the poor also gain,” he had said triumphantly.However, but for his loud proclamations nothing has happened in the probe and it appears to have run cold. 2 RTI applications filed by Satark Nagrik Sangathan members Anjali Bhardwaj and Amrita Johri have revealed HRD ministry’s lack of interest in the matter. They had both filed their applications on Jan.10, 2018.thewire
BJP leaders’ firm that bought Nagrota land owes Rs 29.31 crore to J&K Bank, account NPA
Jammu:Himgiri Infrastructure Development Limited, company incorporated in 2000 by senior BJP leaders in Jammu which was used to buy land next to Army ammunition depot in Nagrota, owes Rs 29.31 crore to J&K  Bank. And its account was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in Dec.last year, records investigated by the Indian Express show. Days later, on January 5 this year, present Deputy CM  Kavinder Gupta and Assembly Speaker Nirmal Singh (he was Deputy CM then), his wife Mamta Singh and BJP Lok Sabha member Jugal Kishore, along with nearly 20 shareholders, promoters, directors and guarantors, received a notice from the bank under Section 13(2) of SARFAESI Act.As Indian Express reported on Friday, Singh’s wife and Gupta also owned land next to the Army depot. Singh received a strong letter from the Corps Commander of Army’s 16 Corps, Lt General Saranjeet Singh, telling him to halt construction on the plot since it was illegal and a security risk to the ammunition depot and to the personnel who lived there.The bank’s Assistant Vice-President Joginder Pal Sharma, who is shown to have served the notice, declined to comment.According to the notice, a term loan of Rs 18.50 crore along with a cash credit facility of Rs 56.83 lakh was sanctioned to Himgiri by the bank’s Link Road, Jammu, branch in 2012, for part financing of a power project to be set up in Himachal’s Chamba district. Nirmal Singh was Power Minister and Deputy CM  since 2015 till he was made Speaker in a reshuffle last month.Himgiri, with an authorised share capital of Rs 50 lakh and paid-up capital of an equal amount, was incorporated as a private company in Sept. 2000. It got a 3 MW hydel power project in Chamba district in 2001 when Prem Kumar Dhumal was CM of Himachal.Records show that in 2015, the bank sanctioned an additional term loan of Rs 6.60 crore to meet an estimated cost run and another loan of Rs 4 crore in 2016.When contacted, Nirmal Singh admitted having received the notice from the bank. Kavinder Gupta, when contacted, said that he had resigned as director of the company in 2014 after winning the Assembly elections from Gandhi Nagar constituency. He admitted having received the notice and said “we are looking for a partner for finances so as to complete the remaining work” on the power project. Among others who have got a notice from the bank are Jyoti Parkash, Executive Director of Himgiri who has been an RSS pracharak in Bhaderwah, and Chairman Surinder Mohan Gupta, who is associated with Dr Hedgewar Smarak Samiti.The bank’s notice has asked them “to clear the entire liability of Rs 29,31,13, 578indianexpress together with costs, penal interest and other charges within 60 days from the date of notice”.indian express
SC to hear Kathua witnesses plea alleging police harassment on May 16
The Supreme Court will hear the plea of three witnesses in the Kathua gangrape and murder case, alleging that they are being harassed by the state police, on May 16.A bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud on Monday agreed to hear on Wednesday the plea of Sahil Sharma and two others, who are college friends of the juvenile accused in the case.According to their plea, they had already recorded their statements before the police and the magistrate. 3 witnesses had in their statement before the magistrate said they gave their statement to the police under coercion.PTI
SC defers hearing on petitions challenging Article 35A
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has deferred hearing on petitions challenging Article 35A of Indian constitution which permits only subjects of J&K  to get employed in state Govt  and allows them to buy property in J&K.Centre told the bench that the matter is very sensitive and since the interlocutor is making efforts for a solution, the court should not pass any interim order at present as it would be counterproductive. Representing J&K Govt, advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said SC has already settled the issue by ruling that Article 370 of the Constitution has already attained permanent status."In any event as the issue required interpretation of various constitutional provisions, let there be no interim order," Dwivedi appealed to the bench.Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, counsel to a petitioner, countered and said:"It is a strange situation in J&K as persons from Pakistan can come and settle in the state under a law but those who have been staying for generations cannot even get a Govt job."SC asked parties to complete pleadings in the case and posted it for hearing on August 6.TOI
Watching terror videos, reading jihadist literature do not make one terrorist, Kerala HC grants bail to Riyas
Kochi: A person cannot be accused as a terrorist only because he watches videos related to terrorism, the Kerala High Court has observed in a judgment. Many such videos are available in the public domain, the court pointed out.A division bench comprising justices AM Shaffique and P Somarajan said in the judgment, “As far as the appellant is concerned, he is detained on the ground that he might have involved in terrorism. The fact that he has seen certain videos and speeches as aforesaid by itself will not be a reason to implicate him as a terrorist, unless there are other materials to establish the same. Many of such videos, speeches, etc are in public domain. Merely for the reason that one sees such matters, it may not be possible for any person to establish that the accused in involved in terrorism.” The court’s observation came on a petition seeking bail filed by 26-year-old Muhammed Riyas of New Mahe, who is facing an NIA investigation in a ‘love jihad’ case in which the woman has alleged that he lured her, converted her to Islam, and tried to take her to Syria to join IS.NIA informed the court that the investigation team got two laptops from the petitioner that contained certain literature regarding the jihad movement and videos, speeches of Zakir Naik and jihad organisations, and videos of war in Syria. As of now, no other link with any terror organisation has not been established, NIA’s counsel M Ajay submitted.Advocate Sunil Nair Palakkat argued that the petitioner is not at all involved in any terrorist organisation and allegations have been raised against him by the woman on account of the matrimonial dispute or under the influence of some other persons. The petitioner is being unnecessarily detained in prison and he will get bail only after 180 days as UAPA has been invoked, the counsel submitted.Setting aside an order by NIA special court denying bail, the HC said it is granting bail as no materials are forthcoming even after 70 days of imprisonment of the petitioner.TOI
Watching terror videos, reading jihadist literature do not make one terrorist: Kerala HC
NIA court convicts 18 of organising SIMI camp in Kerala
18 of the 35 people accused of organising a secret camp of the SIMI in Kerala’s Wagamon that was found to be the source of several terror attacks later were convicted by a NIA court on Monday.NIA court in Kochi acquitted 17 others after holding the trial through video conference, connecting different jails in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bhopal and Bengaluru.The quantum of punishment for the convicted will be announced later.The secret camp was held in Thangalpara of Wagamon in Idukki district of Kerala from December 10–12, 2007. Hindustantimes
Maharashtra ATS arrests terror suspect Faisal Mirza
Mumbai: Maharashtra ATS Saturday said it has arrested a man allegedly trained in Pakistan to carry out terror attacks in India. ATS said the accused, Faisal Hasan Mirza (32), was helped by another man who is wanted in connection with another terror attack in India.According to a senior officer, Mirza is an associate of Amir Reza Khan. Sources say Mirza was ordered to plan an attack in Mumbai.Mirza, an electrician, was picked in a joint operation by ATS and Kolkata STF. “After staying in Sharjah for a few days, Mirza is believed to have moved to Dubai from where he traveled to Karachi,”said officer.indianexpress
Communal clash in Aurangabad: Day after, victims’ families blame police
Aurangabad;A day after 2 persons, including a minor, were killed in communal clashes, Aurangabad limped back to normalcy Sunday under heavy security in the old city’s riot-hit areas. While senior police officers visited and reviewed the situation in the city, families of those who died in the clashes demanded action against the police. While the family of 17-year-old Mohammed Abdul Haris Kadri, of Navabpur, who died in police firing on Saturday morning, initially refused to accept his body, relatives of Jaganlal Bansile, killed after a petrol bomb was hurled at his house alleged that police had not prevented rioters from running amok.Kadri’s body was buried Sunday after intervention of local AIMIM MLA Imtiyaz Jaleel. Kadri’s relatives said he was not involved in the riots and demanded action against his killers and the main conspirators behind the violence. His family said Kadri had recently cleared his SSC exams and had left the house to bring his brother back home. He is survived by his parents and younger brother. His father runs a used-car business.  Bansile (72), was killed after a mob allegedly threw a petrol bomb at a house in Shahganj. While speaking to political leaders who visited the affected locality, Bansile’s family questioned the role of the police as nobody prevented armed rioters from hurling petrol bombs. Over 50 people were injured in the clashes, while several shops, houses and vehicles in the area were set afire by rioters. While Kadri died in police firing, at least 4 others suffered bullet injuries.indianexpress
Namaz in open spaces: Identifying properties for Friday prayers, says Haryana Waqf Board
New Delhi: Haryana Waqf Board has decided to allow Muslims to offer the Friday namaz on its properties to end a controversy that began after Hindutva outfits opposed prayers outdoors in Gurgaon, it said today.A few people disrupted the Friday prayers a few weeks ago in Gurgaon, saying namaz should be offered only in mosques.Muslim groups say there are not enough mosques in the city.The board said it has started identifying properties and found 20 in Gurgaon where Muslims can offer Friday namaz.Some of these properties are encroached upon, however. "We are identifying our properties in the state where Friday prayers can be offered. In Gurgaon, we have found 20. Some of these have been encroached upon but were working with the administration to get them removed," Rahish Khan, the board's chairman said.PTI
Ministerial status to chairman Haryana State Waqf Board: order challenged in Court
Haryana Govt’s order to provide the status equal to the Minister of State to Chairman of Haryana State Waqf Board, Raheesh Khan, MLA, has been challenged in the Haryana and Punjab High Courts. Advocate Jagmohan Singh filed the writ petition in this connection and alleged that the number of ministers is already more in Haryana in proportion to the members of the assembly. The whole matter is pending with the court. In this situation giving status equal to the Minister of State to Chairman of Haryana State Waqf Board will add to the already increasing number of ministers. It must be noted that the number of Haryana MLAs is 90 proportionately 14 members could become ministers.However, there are 16 ministers including Waqf Board Chairman. On the other hand, Muslims are also opposing Govt order which states that Khan would be entitled to all the facilities being provided to a Minister of State. All the expenditure involved would be borne by the Waqf Board itself.Hafez Murtuza Tyagi who leads the protestors says that no other minister of state is bound to spend then why the burden is laid on Waqf Board. siasat
Telangana:Waqf land worth Rs 100 cr sold for Rs 35 lakh
Hyderabad:A 5-acre waqf property in Malkajgiri, worth overRs100 crore, was clandestinely “sold away” by a senior Waqf Board official for only Rs 35 lakh. Though the alleged deal took place in May 2017, it came to light on Sunday.Stung by the scam, Telangana State Waqf Board has decided to write to the state Govt to order a CID inquiry into the deal. The parcel of land, spread over five acres, belongs to Mir Mahmood Pahadi, Attapur. The waqf institution has parcels of land in Attapur and Malkajgiri.MA Mannan Farooqui, who had served as CEO of the Waqf Board till recently, issued NOC to a private person, handing over 5-acre land. He allegedly took Rs 25 lakh bribe to issue NOC. Another Rs10 lakh was given to a middleman in the deal.Waqf Board chairman Mohammad Saleem said that the board meeting would be held on Monday to discuss the scam. TOI
SC refers Wasim Rizvi's PIL seeking ban on hoisting of “Pak Muslim League-like” flags in India to another bench
A Supreme Court Bench today said “another bench will hear” the petition filed by Syed Waseem Rizvi, Chairman of UP  Shia Central Waqf Board seeking a ban on hoisting of green flags with crescent and star, akin to that of Pakistan Muslim League atop buildings and religious places in the country. The petition was listed before a bench of justices N V Ramana and Abdul Nazeer which without specifying any reason said another bench will hear it.The petitioner had termed the hoisting of such flag“un-Islamic”.livelaw.in
Waseem Rizvi to launch first Shia political party today
Lucknow: Controversial Shia leader Waseem Rizvi is all set to launch the country’s first Shia Muslim political party in Delhi Monday, an attempt to carve a separate political identity for the minority Muslim community ahead of 2019 general polls. The idea is to assert Shia identity and differentiate it from the Sunnis, said Rizvi, who is the head of UP Shia Waqf Board. “Traditionally, vote bank politics has only catered to the Sunnis in India, since we are in minority…But when there are riots in the country because of Sunni extremism, we also get targeted due to our Muslim identity,” he said ahead of the launch of the ‘Indian Shia Awami League’.“Shia-Sunni conflict is irreconcilable…They (Sunnis) don’t even consider us Muslims, but because of them our identity is under threat,”he said, adding that party cadre is already in place across 16-17 states. “If everything goes well, we will fight 2019 polls…we have spoken to all Shia leaders across the country,”he added.theprint
We will win legal battle on Ram Mandir in SC: swami
Lucknow:We will win the legal battle on Ram Mandir in the Supreme Court, there is no doubt. Muslim women voters voted us in the power and they will do so in the coming election. This was stated by BJP leader and MP Rajyasabah Subramanyam Swami while addressing a congregation of workers of Mahamana Malviya Mission on the topic Mahamana and Hindutva. Swami said the SC will start hearing from coming July and the decision will be in the favour of Hinuds. He advocated that Hindu should have a right to do puja at the Ram Janma Bhoomi. “Right to property, as was being advocated by the opposite party in the apex court, is a simple right in our constitution. But nobody can raise question or restrict belief of a community in offering puja,” he said while striking a chord with those attending the annual meeting of national committee of Mahamana Malviya Mission. Dailypioneer
Indresh visits dargah, seeks Muslim support for Mandir
Bijnor: Mobilisation in support of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya was on the agenda as senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar showed up on Saturday at Jogirampuri Dargah in Bijnor’s Najibabad, where he offered a ‘chadar’ at the famous shrine for Shia Muslims. He was seen garnering support for Ram Mandir claiming that a temple at the birthplace of Lord Ram could not come up anywhere else. Kumar has been spearheading the efforts to garner support of Muslims on Ram Mandir and attempts at reaching a consensus.Ahmedpur Sadat, also known as Jogirampura is situated 8 km from Najibabad. TOI
Jinnah portrait row: AMU alumni brave rough weather to protest against right-wing attack on varsity
New Delhi: Braving the dust storm and rain that hit the national capital today, the alumni of AMU gathered here in the evening to protest the attack on the students of the institute, allegedly by members of the right-wing Hindu Yuva Vahini group.Despite the rain and strong winds, close to 100 former students of the university staged a sit-in in a lane opposite FICCI auditorium at Barakhamba Road.Members of the alumni association of the Jamia Millia Islamia as well as the JNU also joined the "silent protest".Holding placardsm, denouncing the attack on the university and its students, AMU Old Boys' Association (AMUOBA) and others alleged that the incident was politically motivated to disrupt communal harmony.AMUOBA president Irshad Ahmed, while speaking to mediapersons, sought a judicial enquiry into the attack earlier this month over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the university campus.They also demanded the suspension of the police officers who allegedly assaulted the students when they had gone to lodge an FIR against the attack, allegedly by the Hindu Yuva Vahini.PTI
AMU suspends official for felicitating Hindu Jagran Manch leader: ‘You’ve hurt students’: Indian express
Lucknow :AMU has suspended an employee for felicitating a Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM) leader who was booked for violence at the varsity over a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. University authorities said weightlifting instructor Mazharul Qamar, who served in the University Games Committee, was suspended after he could not give a satisfactory reply to the showcause notice issued to him over the event that was held at D S College in Aligarh on Friday.At the event, HJM leader Amit Goswami, who was out on bail in the case, was felicitated.
Govt clears Rs4 crore grant for Centre of Excellence at AMU
 Aligarh: Central Govt has approved a grant of Rs 4 crore to establish a "Centre of Excellence" for research on Bioinspired Nanomaterials and Drugs at AMU."Translational Research on Bioinspired Nanomaterials and Drugs from Endophytes" will be done in active collaboration with researchers from various national institutes.newindianexpress
Haryana Minister wants AMU to be renamed after Jat king
Chandigarh: Amid a row over Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait on AMU campus, Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu demanded the university be named after ‘Jat king Mahendra Pratap Singh’.“I demand AMU should be named after Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh,” the Minister said while addressing a gathering at the ground-breaking ceremony of a Jat dharamsala in Rewari.He claimed the king had “donated” the land for the university. “His contribution in the field of education cannot be forgotten,” the Minister said.thehindu
With Karnataka elections over, Jinnah will go back to his grave: Azam Khan
Bareilly:Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, taking a dig at BJP, said that as voting in Karnataka elections was now over, MA Jinnah, over whose portrait at AMU a row had erupted, would no longer be an issue.“During Karnataka elections, BJP didn’t have any issue to fan sentiments for polarisation of votes. That is why they exhumed Jinnah from the grave by taking up the issue of his portrait. Now the elections are over and Jinnah will also be sent back to his grave,” Khan said. TOI
 ‘Over 2,400 VVPAT machines malfunctioned’
Bengaluru:A “very high” percentage of VVPAT machines deployed in the elections on Saturday malfunctioned either minutes before polling started or during the polling. The Election Commission put the figure at 4.18 % of the total 57,786 VVPAT machines deployed.“The percentage of VVPATs that developed snag is very high. However, the percentage is still lower than the acceptable limit of 5%,” Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told reporters here on Sunday. In all, 2,419 VVPAT machines developed technical glitches, of which 1,702 were during the polling. Instances of polling getting disrupted owing to glitches in VVPAT machines or EVMs had been reported from across the State.In fact, the malfunctioning of a VVPAT unit at Gandhi Vidyalaya Kannada and Tamil School at Lottegollahalli in Hebbal constituency has been termed as “first of its kind” in the electoral process that forced the election authorities to announce repolling on Monday. The button against serial no. 9 on the EVM, which had been allotted to an Independent, got stuck and even before anyone pressed a button to cast vote, VVPAT machine was generating the paper slip.There will be repolling in 3 booths — one in Hebbal constituency of Bengaluru and two in Kushtagi in Koppal district — on Monday, in which 3,127 voters will have an opportunity to cast their votes again.thehindu
Centre mulls putting SC/ST Act in Schedule IX of Constitution to insulate it from judicial scrutiny
Govt is planning to bring an ordinance to overturn the Supreme Court verdict putting safeguards on arrests under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and subsequently introduce a bill to insulate it from further judicial scrutiny. Govt is likely to introduce bill in monsoon session of Parliament to incorporate the legislation in Ninth Schedule of the Constitution, laws under which cannot be challenged in courts. Through the ordinance, Govt will reintroduce provisions of the act which it feels were diluted by the Supreme Court verdict in March this year.The “dilution” triggered massive protests by various Dalit and political outfits, during which nearly a dozen people were killed. “While the bill is a permanent arrangement to ensure that the SC/ST Act’s provisions are not diluted again, the ordinance is an interim arrangement to overturn the ruling,” a senior Govt  functionary explained. The proposed ordinance would make it clear that notwithstanding any judgement or any other law in force, the provisions of the act shall remain valid.PTI
Bhim Army man’s killing: 6 Dalit youths held, police say revenge plan to create caste unrest
Meerut:Meerut police arrested 6 Dalit youths on Saturday night, claiming to have busted a conspiracy to create caste violence in western UP  through the murder of an upper caste leader, to avenge the killing of the brother of Bhim Army’s Saharanpur district head Kamal Walia. Sachin Walia had been shot on Wednesday in Saharanpur.Police also claimed that Sachin had died in “accidental firing” and there was no caste angle to it.Police said that the six arrested — Rahul, Deepak, Satveer Singh and Ravindra Kumar of Meerut; and Nitin and Bunti of Ghaziabad, all in their 20s — were Bhim Army sympathisers. The arrests were reportedly made from the Hastinapur police station area in Meerut. While no weapon was recovered from the 6, police said they had seized seven cellphones from them.While Kamal Walia refused to speak on the matter, Bhim Army Saharanpur city president Paveen Gautam denied that the 6 were its sympathisers. Meerut unit of the Bhim Army had been long dissolved, he said.indianexpress
 JKLF condemns slapping of PSA on J&K Jamaat leaders
Srinagar: JKLF chairman Yasin Malik has said that incarcerating people for participating in funerals amounts to interference in religious affairs of Muslims. “Mainstream politicians who deliver sermons of democracy and tolerance on daily basis should feel some shame on this anti-people policies. Incarceration of Jamat-i-Islami leader Bashir Ahmad Lone and Tehreek I Hurriyat leader Muhammad Rafiq Shah Owaisee under PSA and prolonging the incarceration of ailing JKLF leaders Siraj Ud din Mir and Abdul Rashid Magloo detained for similar charges and Hurriyat leader Mir Hafizullah languishing in jails from 2016 is highly condemnable,” Malik said in a press statement. Terming the arrest of Jamaat and Tehreek Hurriyat leaders on charges of participating in funeral prayers of a slain youth as most deplorable, JKLF chairman said that earlier Baramulla Police also arrested and booked ailing JKLF deputy chief organizer Siraj Ud din Mir and JKLF district president Baramullah Abdul Rashid Magloo under PSA on the same charges.greaterkashmir
Dr APJ Abdul Kalam barely knew how to make N-bombs: Scientist K Santhanam
 India’s top nuclear scientist and coordinator of the Pokhran-II tests, K Santhanam, described former President APJ Abdul Kalam an overrated scientist, saying he had no contribution in nuclear testing or in making of the device.While detonation of nuclear device in May 1998 was a team effort involving scientists from different setups, certain individuals and organisations have since then claimed sole credit to further their interests and careers, he said.Santhanam particularly named Dr Kalam and BARC having successfully projected themselves as sole minds behind India’s major technological accomplishment. “Pity that some people used this for their own publicity. APJ Abdul Kalam had mastered over it. He never published any single paper in his life. What did he [Kalam] know about extracting, making explosive grade? He didn’t know a thing,” he said.Santhanam claimed that his (Kalam) religion helped him grow and climb the ladder to even becoming a President.“He relied on atomic energy to gain additional stature,” said the scientist. He further said that leave alone nuclear science, Kalam didn’t know anything about physics. Besides BARC, which provided the core platform that is bomb, the scientist said, other organisations equally played crucial part.dnaindia
Thunderstorm kills over 60 across 4 states; heavy rain, dust storm to continue for next 72 hours
New Delhi:At least 62 people were killed on Sunday in UP , West Bengal, AP and Delhi after dust storms and thunderstorms wreaked havoc in multiple parts across the country. High-velocity winds coupled with rain and lightning uprooted trees and disrupted rail and flight services and brought traffic to a standstill.38 people were killed in UP , while 12 died in West Bengal and nine in AP, PTI reported. 3 deaths were also reported from the national capital.According to IMD, the rain accompanied by strong winds will continue for the next 72 hours across the country, though the intensity might not be as strong.“There is a circulation of a western disturbance in northwest India. We had forecast that weather will be adverse for 2-3 days. This thunderstorm will continue for the next 48-72 hours,” said IMD. indianexpress
West Bengal gram panchayat elections LIVE : 4 killed as violence escalates across state
At least one person has been reported to be killed and several others injured after sporadic incidents of violence between rival groups marred the panchayat elections currently being held in West Bengal. Around 12 %  of voting was recorded till 9 am, reported PTI. Reports of clashes and booth capturing were received from pockets of South 24 Parganas, West Midnapore and Cooch Behar districts. In South 24 Parnagas’ Bhangar the ‘Jomi, Jibika, Bastutantra O Poribesh Raksha Committee’ accused armed miscreants of TMC of kidnapping their Panchayat Samiti candidate Sariful Mullick and terrorising the voters.At least 20 people were injured in Cooch Behar district while another 20 have been reported to sustain injuries after a crude bomb exploded in Amdanga’s Sadhanpur in North 24 Parganas, reported ANI. Around 71,500 armed personnel are on duty, manning every booth, reports IANS. Armed forces have also arrived from Assam, Odisha, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh to strengthen security arrangements.indianexpress
 ‘Jobless’ Muslim husband asked to deposit Rs 50,000 for Hindu wife and child’s future: Bombay HC
Mumbai: In an interesting case of inter-caste marriage, in the face of opposition from the girl’s family, the Bombay High Court recently came to the rescue of a couple. The HC asked the ‘jobless’ Muslim husband to deposit an amount of Rs 50, 000 as a surety, vouching that he would look after his wife, who is a Hindu, and their eight-month-old child.The order was passed by a division bench of Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Justice Prakash Naik while hearing a writ of habeas corpus filed by Jan-e-Aalam, a resident of UP, alleging that his legally married wife was separated from him by her family.In his petition, Aalam claimed that he had married Sita(name changed), his neighbour in Itawa, UP, way back in Jan.2017 in an Arya Samaj temple in Lucknow. During course of hearing, it was revealed that Aalam presently has no source of livelihood and was instead helping his brothers in the scrap business in Uttarakhand. He informed the judges that he has a house in Uttarakhand also and intends to reside there with his wife and child.Having considered the facts of the case, Justice Dharmadhikari said, “Petitioner (Aalam) states that he will take care of his wife and son and provide for their medical and other needs, including the child’s education, in future. He intends to open a joint account of his wife and son and also deposit Rs 50, 000 in their name.”The judges have accordingly adjourned the matter till June 7.freepressjournal
Moneeza, Faiz Ahmad Faiz's daughter, withdrawn as speaker at Asia Media Summit
New Delhi: In a last-minute change, eminent Pakistani television and media personality Moneeza Hashmi was withdrawn as a speaker at 15th Asia Media Summit which concluded on Saturday in New Delhi.She is the daughter of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, who is celebrated on both sides of the border for his stirring Urdu poetry.Ms. Hashmi was supposed to speak during the inaugural day of the two-day summit, on May 10th, at a session on ‘Should all good stories be commercially successful?’ along with 3 other speakers, including popular actor-turned-writer Twinkle Khanna. Her name, however, was missing from the final list of speakers released by the Govt of India. I&B Ministry were the co-hosts for the summit along with AIBD. Organisers here have completely denied any knowledge of this last-minute change. Over 200 foreign delegates participated in the summit, spread over two days, and there were 54 speakers who spoke on various issues. But there was no speaker from Pakistan.This is the first time that India hosted the summit. AIBD, Kuala Lumpur, comes under UNESCO umbrella. thehindu
Domestic Violence Act for divorced women too: SC
Domestic Violence Act — meant to punish men who abuse women in a relationship — extends to all man-woman relationships, and also protects divorced women from their former husbands, the Supreme Court has upheld.A 3-judge Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, R. Banumathi and Naveen Sinha confirmed a Rajasthan HC ruling that the term ‘domestic violence’ cannot be restrained to marital relations alone.The SC’s recent order, based on a question of law raised by advocate Dushyant Parashar, found no reason to differ with the HC’s conclusion that ‘domestic relationship’ includes “consanguinity, marriage, a relationship in nature of marriage, adoption or as family members living together as a joint family”.
WORLD
Tensions rise ahead of US embassy opening in Jerusalem: Israeli gunfire wounds over 20 Palestinians as protesters prepare to cross fence
Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are preparing to cross the highly fortified fence separating the enclave from Israel, as part of the Great March of Return movement.Over 20 people were wounded on Monday morning after Israel forces fired live ammunition at protesters assembled near the fence, east of Gaza City. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have already arrived to participate in the rally. Monday's protest comes ahead of the annual commemorations of the Nakba, or "catastrophe", when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, which led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages.The protests were also planned to coincide with the moving of US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in line with the US' recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, furthering stoking tensions and angering Palestinians.The demonstrations are part of a weeks-long protest calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948. Organisers of the Great March of Return say they are expecting as many as one million people to join the demonstration and attempt to cross the fence with Israel from various points across the border. Afanah's death takes the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the protests began to at least 49.aljazeera
Most foreign envoys absent as Israel, US launch embassy festivities
Israel has launched celebrations for US Embassy’s relocation to Jerusalem, a move whose break with world consensus was underscored by the absence of most envoys to the country from a reception hosted by PM  Benjamin Netanyahu, Reuters reports. Most countries say Jerusalem’s status should be determined in a final peace settlement, and say moving their embassies now would prejudge any such deal.Addressing dignitaries at the Foreign Ministry, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and the president’s daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Israeli PM  urged others to follow Washington’s lead.“Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it’s the right thing to do,” Netanyahu said.“Move your embassies to Jerusalem because it advances peace, and that’s because you can’t base peace on a foundation of lies.”Netanyahu said that “under any peace agreement you could possibly imagine, Jerusalem will remain Israel’s capital”.Israel said all 86 countries with diplomatic missions in Israel were invited to the event, and 33 confirmed attendance. Among those present were delegates from Guatemala and Paraguay, which will open their own Jerusalem embassies later this month.MEMO
Tensions rise ahead of US embassy opening in Jerusalem
For Palestinians, US embassy move cements occupation status quo
Palestinian calls for declaring E.Jerusalem capital of Palestine
Spokesman of the Palestinian Govt, Youssef Al-Mahmoud, has called on the countries around the world that believe in freedom, peace and stability as well as those who do care of upholding the resolutions of international legitimacy to declare East Jerusalem the capital of the State of Palestine.memo
Haniya visits Egypt ahead of US embassy move
Senior political leader of Hamas Ismail Haniya has travelled to Cairo with a high-ranking delegation to hold talks with senior Egyptian officials about "developments" in Palestine and the region.A Hamas statement on Sunday said the delegation had accepted an invitation extended by neighbouring Egypt.The agenda will include talks over the controversial US embassy move, scheduled to take place today. Haniya is also expected to discuss the rekindling of the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement that has largely been at a standstill for months, according to Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum.aljazeera
Erdogan: 'East Jerusalem is Palestine's capital'
“East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” despite all steps taken to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said.Erdogan’s remarks came during a dinner organized by TURKEN Foundation in British capital London. Speaking of the US administration’s decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem, a move expected to come today, Erdogan said 128 countries voted clearly against this decision at UN general assembly. Anadolu
US recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital: Muslim bodies to protest at US consulate in Hyderabad
Hyderabad: Several Muslim organisations in the city will be staging a protest in front of the United States Consulate at Begumpet against the US recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and opening an embassy there.Muslim groups see this as a step to scuttle the peace in the area and strengthen claims of Israel on occupied areas of Palestine.D. Chronicle
US embassy move in Jerusalem 'worthless': Hezbollah
The Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah has dismissed the US decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem as a “worthless” unilateral step, Hezbollah’s TV reported.Reuters
Charity led by US ambassador to Israel gave money to Jewish terror group: Reports
The US ambassador to Israel was president of an American charity that donated money to a Jewish group designated a "terrorist organisation" by US, Israeli media has reported just days before he was due to open a new embassy in Jerusalem.David Friedman was the president of American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva Center between 2011 and 2017, which raises about $2m a year for settler-linked programmes, particularly in Beit El and its Beit El Yeshiva religious school Friedman attended as a young man.The settlement is also home to the Qomemiyut Movement, an alternative name for Kahane Chai, designated a "terrorist group" by the US State Dept in 1997 for alleged links to a deadly shooting in 2005 and harassment of Palestinians and Israelis who want illegal Israeli settlements dismantled.middleeasteye
Sudan calls on Gulf States to end conflicts, confront Israel
Ibrahim Al-Senussi, a counsellor to Sudanese president, has called on Arab Gulf states to end their disputes and achieve unity in order to confront Israel, which is occupying the Palestinian territories.“We do not appreciate the disagreement between the Gulf states and the siege imposed by UAE, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia on Qatar,” said Al-Senussi during a speech to the Palestinian community in Khartoum on Saturday, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Nakba.He added: “We call on our brothers in the Gulf to renounce their disputes and be unified to confront the real enemy of the Arab nation, which is the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”middleeastmonitor
UAE and Bahrain normalising with Israel
At a critical moment for Palestinians Abu Dhabi and Manama are moving ahead with normalisation with Israel, just as Riyadh did before them. AP and the Washington Post have reported that UAE ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba and his Bahraini counterpart Abdullah bin Rashed Al Khalifa met with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at a luxurious restaurant in Washington on March.AP reported that Al Otaiba and Al Khalifa met at Cafe Milano restaurant in Georgetown, Washington, with US adviser and State Dept official Brian Hook and a number of US journalists. Netanyahu and his wife then joined them,“They had friendly conversations and laughed together out loud.” According to the Washington Post, their dinner highlights one of the worst kept secrets in Arab world. They are “quiet relations between Israel,UAE and some of its Arab neighbouring countries which are getting closer to Israel, although they do not officially recognise its existence.”MEMO
Mahathir, Anwar meet as tensions flare within Malaysia's ruling alliance: Reuters
Malaysian PM  Mahathir Mohamad and jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim tried to ease a rift within ruling alliance on Sunday after differences erupted between their supporters over cabinet positions.4-party alliance scored a historic victory in Wednesday’s general election over the long-ruling BN Govt, but the emergence of a rift so soon is raising questions about unity of what was always an unlikely coalition.In a statement from his hospital bed, Anwar said he had told members of his PKR to ensure that Mahathir’s Govt “remains strong and stable”.But he also said that, in a conversation with Mahathir, he had raised PKR’s demand for “more inclusive negotiation”, a reference to the formation of the cabinet. Mahathir is the alliance leader and Anwar’s PKR has the majority of seats in parliament won by the group. PKR won 48 seats out of 113 won by the alliance in the May 9 election. Among other members of coalition, DAP won 42, Mahathir’s Bersatu party won 12 and Amanah party won 11.
Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr leading in Iraq’s election
With over half the votes counted, powerful Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has emerged as the leading contender in Iraq’s parliamentary elections, a remarkable comeback after being sidelined for years by Iranian-backed rivals.While final results for Iraq's parliamentary election are expected later on Monday, early results show Iran-backed paramilitary commander Hadi al-Amiri's bloc to be in second place, and PM  Haider al-Abadi’s list in third.Results from eight provinces are yet to be announced, including from Nineveh - which has the second-largest number of seats after the capital Baghdad. aljazeera
Mumbai attack: Pak Army to meet, Sharif says quote ‘grossly misinterpreted’
Ex Pakistan PM  Nawaz Sharif, who is facing criticism from all quarters following his admission on the 2008 Mumbai attack, has claimed his remarks were “grossly misinterpreted” by the media.Pakistan Army will today hold a high-level meeting to discuss the “recent misleading media statement” about Mumbai terror attack made by the ousted PM .indianexpress
FLASH: VIEWS & NEWS
As Land Acquisition Continues Unabated, Gujarat Farmers Seek Permission to Die:Damayantee Dhar
Saying prayer for our India, best land in world:Apoorvanand
Forget Proportional Representation – Alternate Voting is What India Needs:Nilakantan R.S.
Namaz at public spaces: More than what meets eye
That 14 of 15 most polluted cities in the world are in India points to a public health emergency;
Darryl D’Monte
Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016; A Ticking Time Bomb for Assam — Tahmina Laskar
Don’t entangle the brutality of Kathua in senseless debates:Apoorvanand

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 3:24 PM)

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