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Thursday, 12 July 2018

12 July ND: 'Assault on Democracy': Hamid Ansari Rejects 'One Nation, One Election', backs ‘Sharia court’ proposal/ Homosexuals do not receive proper healthcare due to inhibitions, says SC


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY  
12 July 2018:27 Shawwal 1439: Vol:10, No:64
INDIA
'Assault on Democracy': Hamid Ansari Rejects 'One Nation, One Election', backs ‘Sharia court’ proposal
New Delhi: Former vice-president Hamid Ansari has opposed the idea of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, dismissing the ‘one nation, one election’ theory as an “assault on India’s democracy”.In an interview to News18, Ansari said, “India is a diverse land. To have the thought of one big country our size having one election is just an unworkable idea. You require security to move in multiple phases even during an Assembly election. So how are you going to provide security across the nation if polls were to be held simultaneously.”He  was also quite vocal about the ‘first past the post’ system of electoral victories in India.“The problem is that majority of leaders get elected despite not securing more than 50% votes. How can they then claim to represent the entire constituency?” he asked.Ansari’s view comes even as the Law Commissioner is preparing a report on simultaneous elections after a discussion with political parties. Ansari also spoke at length about the “environment of insecurity” among India’s minorities. “We must understand that even after so many years, Sachar Panel recommendations haven’t been implemented in full. This environment of creating the ‘other’ hurts our democracy,” he said.On the specific proposal of seeking reservations for Dalits in minority institutes like AMU, he, who is an alumnus of the prestigious university, said, “People must look at the law carefully. It’s mentioned very clearly which is the agency which can manage funds for any university.” With a number of lynching incidents reported in recent times, he said that nobody should take law in their own hands. “I think public reaction says it all. Nobody has the right to take a law in their own hands. There is a law in this country,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. The former VP’s comments come on the back of reports of a number of incidents of lynching in the country in the name of child lifting rumours. Ansari also backed All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s (AIMPLB) proposal to set up Sharia courts in each district of the country and said that he said that each community has the right to practice its own personal law, “People are confusing social practices with legal system. Our law recognises that each community can have own rules. Personal law in India covers marriage, divorce, adoption and inheritance. Each community has a right to practice its own personal law,” he said.news18/ANI/financial expresss
Hamid Ansari backs Sharia court proposal, says each community has right to practice own personal law
Hamid Ansari backs Tharoor's 'Hindu Pakistan' comments
SC To Begin Polygamy, Halala  Hearing From July 20
New Delhi: Hearing on Muslim personal law dealing with Nikah Halala and polygamy is all set start in Supreme Court from July 20.  News18 has learnt that a petition filed by Farzana through Advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma has been listed for hearing on July 20. This is one among several other petitions in the top court demanding to scrap these "Muslim Personal law practices". A bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra and justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud considered submissions of senior advocate V Shekhar that the petitions be listed before a 5-judge constitution bench for final adjudication. "We will look into it,"bench had said.The bench, meanwhile, allowed Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, to file a response to the petition on the issue.news18
Viral test busts fake posts about Muslim Personal Law board "demanding" another partition: indiatoday
New Delhi:In less than a day an image of 3 Muslim men, with one of them holding a microphone in his hand, had more than 7,000 shares and around 800 comments. This, because it carried a provocative caption that the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has demanded "another partition" of India. "Hamein sharia adalat nahin diya ja sakta to mussalmano ke liye alag desh diya jaye," read the message in blue below the photo of AIMPLB members identified as Maulana Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani and Maulana Umrain Mahfooz Rahmani.But when India Today's Viral Test team investigated Facebook post, the findings exposed the mischief -- AIMPLB, which advocates for Islamic laws, had made no such sensationalist demand. Right-wing Facebook users, the Viral Test discovered, lapped up an old photo of the 3 board members in order to generate a negative narrative around the Muslim community in the wake of the AIMPLB announcing plans to expand Sharia courts across the country.Remember, board secretary Zafaryab Jilani had told India Today on Sunday that the organisation would meet on July 15 to create more Dar-ul-Qaza, or Sharia courts, in India. Since 1993, a number of Dar-ul-Qaza have been engaged in resolving martial and religious disputes among Muslims, Jilani explained. They are headed by a qazi, or an Islamic adjudicator. If the issues are not settled amicably at Dar-ul-Qaza, stakeholders can take them to regular courts should they wish, Jilani added.India Today's team reached out to Jilani again, this time to fact check the Facebook posts about partition demands linked to the AIMPLB. The board secretary refuted the social media reports as fake news."Indian Muslims," he said, "have suffered a lot because of the partition (of 1947). We don't want to live anywhere else other than India. We are committed to the Indian constitution."india today
Darul Qaza only arbitration centre, not court; fake news promoters must check facts: AIMPLB
SC observations on Section 377: Homosexuals do not receive proper healthcare due to inhibitions, says court
The Supreme Court on Thursday observed that homosexuality was not an aberration but a variation and that once Section 377 is decriminalised, the stigma attached to the community will also go. The court, which is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Section 377 of IPC that criminalises homosexuality, also reflected on trauma that the community has to face and the lack of medical facilities as well. A five-judge bench comprising CJI Dipak Misra, Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, is hearing the matter.The bench, headed by CJI Dipak Misra, asked lawyer Maneka Guruswamy, who was appearing for a petitioner, whether there was any law, rule, regulation, bye-law or guideline that barred or restrained homosexuals from availing any right available to others.“There are no such provisions,” she said. “Once the criminality (under section 377) goes, then everything will go (all the bars, social stigma and others),”bench added.Justice Indu Malhotra observed that members ofLGBTQ community are discriminated against and, therefore, neither do they seek healthcare nor do they get proper access to it Malhotra also said that LGBTQ community is forced to bow down to the family and societal pressure and marry someone of the opposite sex. Justice D Y Chandrachud referred to section 21A of the Mental Healthcare Act which says “there shall be no discrimination on any basis including gender, sex, sexual orientation, religion, culture, caste, social or political beliefs, class or disability”.“So Parliament itself now recognises that that sexual orientation cannot be a ground for discrimination,” he remarked.indianexpress
 Govt urges SC to stick to constitutionality of Section 377
Different faith organisations unite to save Section 377, which criminalized homosexuality
New Delhi:The Supreme Court is hearing hearing various pleas seeking scrapping of Section 377, which criminalized homosexual acts. While, Christian and Muslim organisations are vowing to oppose any move to legalise homosexual acts. RSS has termed such acts as socially immoral and against the ethos of Indian culture but however is against criminalization. The religious groups are unanimous that Indian society disapproved of homosexuality, no religion can approve it, and the Delhi High Court's 2009 decision de-criminalising homosexual acts was based on "international trend and western influence".They argue that there is a vast cultural difference between India and other societies of the world. "Homosexuality is an abomination as per the Bible. The act of sodomy, as per the Christian philosophy, faith, belief and sentiments of Christian religion as a whole is a most contemptuous sinful act," said Manoj V George, lawyer for Apostolic Churches Alliance set to file a petition opposing the demand to scrap section 377. AIMPLB member Dr. Qasim Rasool Ilyasi, told Mail Today: "We will become a party in the case and oppose the plea. Homosexuality is unethical and is against all religious faiths. If it is legalised, it will create problems in society."Echoing the same sentiments, Maqsood Ul Hasan Qasmi, of Imam Council of India "After some years we may find some people who want to do animal sex. Do we think it is their right to choose what they want? Will it be correct if some people demand to legalise it? SC is hearing petitions filed by 32 individuals, including celebrities, IITians and LGBT activists for scrapping Section 377 of the penal code.indiatoday
Khaleda Zia's British counsel Lord Carlile denied entry to India
New Delhi: India on Wednesday night did not allow entry to British national and lawyer Lord Alexander Carlile, a counsel for ex Bangladesh PM Khaleda Zia after he landed at Delhi airport on the grounds that he did not have a valid visa and his intended activity was ;incompatible with the purpose of his visit."Lord Alexander Carlile, a British national, arrived in New Delhi on July 11 without having obtained the appropriate Indian visa. His intended activity in India was incompatible with the purpose of his visit as mentioned in his visa application. It was therefore decided to deny him entry into India upon arrival," MEA spokesperson said here on Thursday.Mr Carlile was scheduled to hold a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday afternoon. Independent observers of Bangladesh affairs maintain that Carlile is known to have links with Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.UNI
Iran says remark on Chabahar port misquoted, tells India it is flexible on oil supply
New Delhi:Iran has said it will continue to be a reliable energy partner for India and adopt a flexible approach to ensuring secure oil supplies. At the same time, however, a statement issued by the Iranian embassy underscored the need for India to expedite its investments and to push partner companies to accelerate the execution of projects linked to the development of the strategic Chabahar port.The statement came a a day after Iran’s charge d’affaires Massoud Rezvanian Rahaghi was quoted as telling a seminar in New Delhi that India had not fulfilled its promise of making investments in Chabahar and that New Delhi stands to lose “privileges” if it cuts imports of Iranian oil due to pressure from the United States.The statement clarified that Rahaghi had been misquoted and said: “Iran understands the difficulties of India in dealing with the unstable energy market and it has done and will do its best to ensure security of oil supply to India through offering various flexibility measures which facilitates our bilateral trade in particular Indian export to Iran.”It added: “Iran has always been a reliable energy partner for India and others, seeking a balanced oil market and rational prices of oil which ensures the interests of both…consumer and supplier.”HT
Kulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan to file second counter-memorial in ICJ on July 17
Pakistan will file its second counter-memorial on July 17 in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the conviction of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court in April last year on charges of espionage and terrorism, a media report said on July 12.On Jan. 23, ICJ gave a timeline to both Pakistan and India for filing another round of memorials in the case.Pakistan’s memorial will be in response to pleadings filed by India in the Hague based ICJ on April 17.Top attorney Khawar Qureshi, who pleaded Pakistan’s case at the initial stage, briefed PM Nasirul Mulk about the case last week, Express Tribune  reported. Attorney General for Pakistan Khalid Javed Khan and other senior officials also attended the meeting.According to the daily, the counter-memorial has been drafted by Qureshi. After the submission of the second counter-memorial, ICJ will fix the matter for hearing, which is likely to take place next year.PTI
Never promoted terror in my 25-yrs of lecturing on Islam, peace:Zakir Naik:
New Delhi: Zakir Naik, who is currently staying in Malaysia, said the media was unable to find any "evidence" against him and resorted to "doctored video clips, out-of-context quotations and a host of dishonest schemes" to accuse him of terrorism, hate speech and even money laundering.Hitting out at the "some sections" of the media, he said they have attacked him for his supposed ‘incitement to terror’, and it would be naive not to assume that this was done with a broader objective of demonizing Islam and Muslims."Over the last few years, thousands of ‘news’ articles, YouTube videos and social media posts have attributed to me appalling statements that I did not make. Often these lies come in the form of images displaying a message alongside a photograph of me. To anybody who does not want Islam to be presented as a religion of peace, this is a quick and dirty way to discredit the faith," Naik said."I implore anybody who comes across such material to verify it before jumping to conclusions. Because the simple truth is that any statement ascribed to me that is against humanity is a fabricated statement. Time and time again, I have reiterated that a Muslim cannot be a good Muslim unless he is a good human being."He said in his 25 years of lecturing on "Islam and peace", he has never promoted terror in the name of Islam or otherwise.Naik reiterated his assertions that none of his speeches was objected to by non-Muslims in India until 2012."In fact, not a single lecture out of the thousands that I have delivered has ever received objections from non-Muslims in India until in Sept.2012, when a group of religious fanatics sought to tarnish my image," Naik said.He said his aim has always been to foster communal peace and harmony, the exact opposite of the accusations hurled at him.abplive
Rahul Gandhi Meets Muslim Leaders, Addresses "Soft Hindutva" Concerns
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday met Muslim intellectuals and is believed to have told them that his party would adopt an inclusive approach for all sections of the society, addressing concerns that it was adopting a "soft-Hindutva" agenda.Gandhi met the delegation at his home in Delhi and told them that the Congress had no specific agenda for any particular religion or section. It would have an "agenda for all" centred around providing justice, a source told PTI.The intellectuals told Gandhi that the Muslim community was feeling threatened as the party was now adopting a "soft-Hindutva" approach to win back Hindus who had moved towards the BJP in the last elections, PTI reported.Gandhi assured them that the party would not compromise on its core ideology and would not allow injustice to anyone. He said that while BJP's thought process was of division, the thought process of the Congress was of inclusiveness as it had to take everyone along, the source said.The meeting with Muslim intellectuals was part of a series of interactions planned by the party ahead of Lok Sabha elections due next year. Congress chief said the narrative that BJP was building, including lynchings and beating up of Dalits and Muslims, was to create a divide among people and divert their attention on emotional issues as the ruling party and PM Narendra Modi had nothing to show.Among people who attended the meeting on Wednesday were Historian Irfan Habib and Prof Abusaleh Shariff, retired IAS officer MS Farooqui, Zafar Mahmood, industrialist Junaid Rehaman, ex-president of AMUSU ZK Faizan, Supreme Court lawyer Fuzail Ayyubi, social activist Farah Naqvi, writer Rakshanda Jalil, JNU professors Zoya Hasan and Gazala Fareedi, ex-planning commission member Syeda Hameed, Harun Ali Khan and educationist Ilyas Malik. Ex-minister Salman Khursid and Congress minority committee head Nadeem Javed were also present. According to Mumbai Mirror, a functionary of All India Muslim Personal Law Board- Maulana Md Fazlur Raheem Mujaddeedi -  also attended the meeting. Rahul Gandhi was particularly impressed with views articulated by Fuzail Ayyubi who said that the community, more than anything else, wants justice."Muslims want vikaas with insaaf. When they go to police stations, to the courts, from the prosectuion, the only thing they expect is justice," Ayyubi told Mirror. He cited what has been happening to Muslims residing in Assam because of the on-going process of compiling of National Citizens Register in the state.AICC Miniorities Cell Chief Nadeem Javed told Mirror "Rahulji urged the community to speak up, be more assertive on host of issues. He asked them to speak up if any wrong is done unto to them. Be it the special status of the AMU. He assured the Congress will also speak for them."NDTV/mumbaimirror/PTI
Congress President Rahul meets Muslim intellectuals
Hindu seer banished from Hyderabad over ‘anti-Muslim comments’
Hyderabad:Telangana police has banished Hindu seer Swamy Paripoornananda from Hyderabad for six months over alleged inflammatory comments against Muslims, using the provisions of the Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act, 1930, two days after it used the same law to banish Dalit activist Kathi Mahesh for a similar period of time for insulting Lord Ram.The law allows the police to banish people through so-called externment.Paripoornananda was picked up from his residence at Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills, forced into a vehicle and sent to Kakinada in East Godavari district, where he runs a spiritual centre called Sri Peetham.He was banished two days after the police put him under house arrest. An “externment order” issued against him late on Tuesday night said he was being banished for 6 months. Paripoornananda is accused of making inflammatory comments against Muslims at meetings of his Rashtriya Hindu Sena , which he founded in November 2017.The police had earlier banned Paripoornananda’s 60-km ‘Dharmika Chaitanya Yatra’ from Hyderabad to Yadadri temple in Bhongir district on Monday.Paripoornananda had announced the yatra to protest popular Dalit film critic Kathi Mahesh’s comments against Lord Rama and Sita during a TV debate last week.HT
Vanzara mastermind of Sohrabuddin encounter, says slain gangster’s counsel
Mumbai:Ex-Gujarat ATS chief DG Vanzara was on Wednesday accused in the Bombay high court of being “mastermind” of the “fake encounters” of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife Kausar Bi and aide Tulsiram Prajapati.The allegation was made by the counsel for Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Shaikh during hearing of a plea against the discharge of senior IPS officers Dinesh MN, Rajkumar Pandian and Vanzara in the alleged fake encounter case.Rubabuddin’s counsel Gautam Tiwari claimed before the bench of Justice AM Badar that Vanzara orchestrated the fake encounter killings.“He was heading the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad which abducted and killed Sohrabuddin and others. Though Vanzara himself wasn’t present at the site of the abduction or killings, it was under his instructions that his officers executed the plan. Vanzara was the mastermind...,” advocate Tiwari said.Prajapati, who, as per CBI, was an eye-witness to the killings of Shaikh and Kausar Bi, had narrated the whole episode to several prosecution witnesses, the lawyer said.PTI
UP: Being harassed by accused to withdraw murder case, alleges family of Muslim man who was thrashed to death
Bulandshahr:The family of a Muslim man, who was killed allegedly by members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini last year, claimed that the accused were putting pressure on them to withdraw the case of murder.The family members of Ghulam Ahmad claimed that they had decided to leave their Soni village due to the harassment by the five accused who were recently granted bail by a local court recently.He was beaten to death on May 2 last year after a Muslim youth allegedly kidnapped a Hindu girl.The accused had dragged Ahmad, who was related to the youth, from a mango orchard to a secluded spot where they beat him to death.His son, Shakil, claimed that the accused, after returning to the village, were putting pressure on them to withdraw the case of murder.Shakil's wife, Sitara, claimed that they were being harassed and so the family of 13 had decided to move out of the village today.SP Rais Akhtar said that they were aware of the matter and required action would be taken.PTI
Tharoor: India will become Hindu Pakistan if BJP sweeps 2019
Kochi :Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said that if BJP goes on to mark a repeat of their current strength in the Lok Sabha in 2019, then it will pave the way for the tearing up of the Indian constitution and result in the creation of a ‘Hindu Pakistan’. The comments came while he was addressing a lecture on ‘Threats faced by Indian democracy and secularism’ in the state capital. Tharoor stated that three factors stand in the way of the BJP to follow through on what their heroes like Veer Savarkar dreamed of with respect to a new constitution.indianexpress
No sense in ‘Eminence’ status for Jio Institute:academics
New Delhi:Centre’s decision to grant the status of institute of eminence to Reliance Foundation’s proposed Jio Institute — provided it commences academic operations within three years — has not gone down well with the academic community, with teachers’ associations and veterans of the field wondering why the step was taken.The Centre has on its part said this was done under the greenfield — or, yet to come — category, which is different from the public and private institutions’ categories.Former JNU V-C and eminent scientist S.K. Sopory said the very idea of a future institution being seen as institution of eminence did not make sense. “Most surprising is Jio Institute. It hasn’t even come up, which means there is no way of it proving itself,” said he, saying that eminence required a reputation an institution has earned.“They could have supported such institutions in some other way but ‘eminence’ is not the right terminology for an institution that has not come up and, thereby, not proved itself. The terminology should have been different even if they wished to support yet to come institutions in any way.”thehindu
Not organising Namaz or Quran recitation in Ayodhya: RSS Clarifies
RSS on Wednesday, summarily rejected news reports that the Muslim wing of the organisation, Rashtriya Muslim Manch, was organising a grand Namaz and a recitation of the Quran in Ayodhya.RSS, on its official Twitter handle, quoted Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh Arun Kumar, saying that the news reports were totally "baseless and untrue".Earlier in the day, Raza Rizvi, the national media convener of the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, had told News18 that it was going to a be a grand event to which more than 1,500 Islamic scholars and clerics would be invited."They will perform ablution with the running water of the Saryu river in Ayodhya since the running water is pure. They will then offer prayers, to be followed by the recitation of the Quran to give a message of peace and brotherhood to the world," he had said.The leader of the Rashtriya Muslim Manch, Shabana Azmi, had said that it was a misconception that Muslims are not allowed to practice their religious rituals."The other misconception is that the RSS is against Muslims. This event is being organised to give a message that Ayodhya is a place for both Hindus and Muslims," she was quoted as saying by News18.The Quint
Rift in JDS? Prominent Muslim leader BM Farooq plans to quit Kumaraswamy's party:indiatoday
Bengaluru:JDS's prominent minority leader BM Farooq is planing to quit the party. Sources confirmed that Farooq is contemplating his next move as he is under pressure from his community leaders to quit for not being inducted into the present Karnataka cabinet.JDS workers feel that minority community should be given representation in the cabinet. CM Kumaraswamy, before elections, had promised that a Dalit and a Muslim representative would be made the deputy CMs. Muslim community leaders feel that Kumaraswamy has gone back on his word by ignoring the lone standing Muslim leader in JDS. Meanwhile, he was made an MLC in order to strike a balance.JDS has a history of minority leaders moving away from the party, erstwhile JDS leader and former Union Minister CM Ibrahim, Zameer Ahmed, Iqbal Ansari all quit the party and joined Congress. Sources said that JDS national president had earlier requested Farooq to refrain from quitting party like other minority leaders. CM Kumaraswamy reacting to the growing dissent in JDS said, "I will answer the party workers soon."A faction of JDS workers feel that the secular credentials of the party will take a hit if a minority member is not accommodated in the Govt . They pointed out that there is no minority bureaucrat in CMO and in the recent budget the CM has not allocated any revised money for the minority department. Sources said that all these reasons have irked the community members and are mounting pressure on BM Farooq to move away from the party.indiatoday
J&K: Kupwara Shuts Down After Youth Shot Dead
Srinagar: Amid a complete shutdown and e-curfew, a 22-year-old youth, who was shot dead by the Army last evening in retaliation to a stone-pelting incident, was laid to rest at his ancestral village in north Kashmir today.According to reports, thousands of people, shouting ‘freedom’ slogans, participated in the last rites of Khalid Gaffar Malik who was shot dead by army last evening in Trehgam village of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.Khalid, whose brother also works in the Indian Army, was killed after soldiers fired indiscriminately following an incident of stone-pelting at the Army convoy some distance away from the scene of shooting last evening.Family members of Khalid, a shopkeeper by profession, and eyewitnesses told The Citizen that he was not involved in the stone pelting and was sitting at the shopfront when the Army convoy, which was pelted with stones, opened fired at him.thecitizen
Centre may hold civic polls in J&K under Governor’s rule
Srinagar:After the fall J&K Govt  in June, Centre is planning to hold urban local body and panchayat polls with the state still under governor’s rule, people familiar with the plan said on the condition of anonymity.The elections, scheduled to be held in January, were deferred after PDP-BJP coalition Govt  led by Mehbooba Mufti told the Centre that the situation was not conducive for the polls.The previous panchayat polls in the state were held in 2011; urban local body elections have not been held for eight years.During his visit to Srinagar to review security and governance in the state, Union home minister Rajnath Singh had hinted as much when he spoke about strengthening the grassroots institutions. A notification on the polls may be issued soon after the culmination of the Amarnath yatra, people cited above said.“It seems the Centre is now serious in holding these elections and these polls are the first priority over the formation of a new Govt  in the state,” a top official privy to the plan said. “Centre wants to hold these polls under the governor’s rule.”HT
Kejriwal blames Modi govt for I-T raids on Yogendra Yadav’s family, calls it vendetta politics
Delhi CMArvind Kejriwal blamed PM Narendra Modi-led BJP Govt  for raids by the Income Tax department at two hospitals run by Yogendra Yadav’s sisters in Rewari town of Haryana and said the Govt  should stop such vendetta politics.“We strongly condemn victimisation of Yogendra Yadav’s family by Modi govt thro the use of agencies like IT. Modi govt shud stop such vendetta politics,” Kejriwal said.indianexpress
Bihar to dilute Prohibition law
Patna :Under fire over alleged misuse of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016, the state Govt  on Tuesday cleared amendments to the law which will dilute some of its stringent provisions.Sources said that at least 5 provisions under the law could be watered down, including those related to arrest of first-time offenders, “arrest of all adults” of a family, and seizure of house/ vehicle where liquor is recovered.The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, and the amendments are set to be tabled during the monsoon session.“The cabinet has given its nod to the proposal for amendments in the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016,” said Principal Secretary Arun Kumar Singh. He, however, did not give details of the proposed amendments.indianexpress
War room leak: Retired Captain gets 7 years in jail
New Delhi:Stating that an offence committed against national security did not “deserve” lenient punishment, a Special Court on Wednesday sentenced Captain (Retired) Salem Singh Rathore to seven-year rigorous imprisonment in connection with the 2006 Navy war room leak case.Pronouncing the sentence, Special Judge S K Aggarwal said the documents found in Rathore’s possession belonged to Defence Ministry and had the potential of being “directly or indirectly useful to the enemy in one way or the other”.indianexpress
Hyderabad: Once a graveyard, now a garbage dumpyard
Charminar: Graveyards in Old City, which are already in a dilapidated condition owing to high-handedness of land grabbers, are now turning into dump-yards.Daily, garbage carriers are wheeled into the graveyards, where huge amounts of unsegrated garbage are dumpedeither right beside the graves located inside or on top of them, or outside, at the boundary walls of cemeteries.Taqya Allahu Ghani graveyard at Ziaguda, Masjid Abdulla Khan graveyard at Rahimpura, Masjid Miyan Mishk graveyard at Puranapul and Toli Masjid graveyard at Karwan are the worst affected. Residents and local activists say they have explored every avenue to have the garbage dumped by the civic body and locals cleared. Frustrated with the level of civic apathy, residents, who have been trying to solve the problem for years, have now threatened to take their protest to the streets. “Graveyards have turned into garbage transfer points. At times, the waste is set on fire, releasing toxic fumes. Many houses are located near these graveyards. It has become impossible to keep the doors or windows open,” said Rasool Khan, a resident of Ziaguda.TOI
Mukhtar Ansari feels threatened after Bajrangi's murder
Lucknow: 2 days after gangster Munna Bajrangi was shot dead in a prison in Baghpat, the family of don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari, who is lodged in a Banda jail for his alleged role in the 2005 murder of BJP legislator Krishnanand Rai, voiced concerns on Wednesday over his safety. Sources said that owing to the perceived threat to his life, Ansari has not come out of his cell for the past two days.His brother, former MP Afzal Ansari, said that several people had apprehensions about Mukhtar’s safety. But seeing how Mukhtar’s aide Bajrangi was killed days after his wife expressed fear over his safety, there was no point in approaching the Govt , Afzal added.“There is every possibility that he may be killed. Several people have apprehensions. However, if a person in judicial custody is killed in jail, what isthe Govt  doing? They still have not been able to explain what happened with Bajrangi,” said Afzal.The family had similarly expressed doubts after a heart attack that Ansari suffered in jail in January this year, claiming that he had been poisoned. The incident occurred when Ansari’s wife was visiting him in Banda jail. Both of them had complained of chest pain while they were reportedly having tea and were rushed to a hospital.TOI
WORLD
Israel to Russia: Assad’s safe from us, but Iran must quit Syria
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told Russia on Wednesday that Israel would not seek to topple its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Moscow should encourage Iranian forces to quit Syria, a senior Israeli official said.Netanyahu conveyed the message in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the official said, just hours after Israel shot down what it described as a Syrian drone that had penetrated its airspace, underscoring the frontier’s volatility.Israel has been on high alert as Assad’s forces advance on rebels in the vicinity of the Golan Heights, much of which Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and annexed in a move not recognised internationally. Israel worries Assad could let his Iranian and Hezbollah reinforcements entrench near Israeli lines or that Syrian forces may defy a 1974 Golan demilitarisation.“They (Russia) have an active interest in seeing a stable Assad regime and we in getting the Iranians out. These can clash or it can align,” said the Israeli official on condition of anonymity.“We won’t take action against Assad regime,” the official quoted Netanyahu as telling Putin in Moscow.Israeli official who requested anonymity said Russia was working to distance Iranian forces from the Golan and had proposed that they be kept 80 km away but that this fell short of Israel’s demand for their full exit along with that of Tehran-sponsored militias.Since turning the tide of Syria’s civil war by intervening militarily in 2015 on Assad’s behalf, Russia has turned a blind eye to scores of Israeli air strikes against Iranian and Hezbollah deployments or arms transfers, while making clear it wanted Assad kept immune.Israel said a Syrian drone, apparently unarmed and designed for surveillance, entered its airspace and was downed with a Patriot missile near the Sea of Galilee on Wednesday. The interception set off sirens on the Golan and nearby Jordanian border.Israel has signalled openness to eventual ties with Assad, a tacit acknowledgement that he is re-consolidating power as he routs Syria’s rebels.Under Assad family rule, Syria held direct negotiations with Israel in US in 2000 and indirect talks mediated by Turkey in 2008. Netanyahu’s Govt has made clear it would not now cede the Golan and has been lobbying for US recognition of Israel’s claim of sovereignty there.MEMO
Israel launches air attacks on three Syrian military facilities
Israel has attacked Syrian military positions after an unmanned drone entered its airspace near the occupied Golan Heights on Thursday.The Israeli military acknowledged in a statement that three Syrian army positions in Quneitra province were targeted overnight, saying it was in retaliation for the entering of a Syrian drone into its airspace a few hours earlier."The IDF holds the Syrian regime accountable for the actions carried out in its territory and warns it from further action against Israeli forces," the Israeli army statement said.Syrian state media said the Israeli air attacks on the southern province inflicted material damage but had caused no deaths or injuries, adding that the country's air defences had managed to intercept at least a few missiles.aljazeera
Putin to talk Khamenei top adviser on Syria
A top Iranian official is visiting Moscow as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is set to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Syria conflict.Putin's meeting with Netanyahu on Wednesday in Moscow will centre on the conflict in Syria and Iran's role in the war-torn country, according to news reports and the Israeli Govt."This is very important for the national security of the state of Israel," Netanyahu told reporters at an airport in Tel Aviv before leaving for Moscow, according to an official transcript.Israel deeply resents Iran's presence in Syria, where Tehran has military presence along with Moscow, which intervened in the eight-year-old conflict in 2015.A top foreign policy adviser of Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,Ali Akbar Velayati, is expected to arrive on Wednesday to deliver an "important message" to Putin from the Supreme Leader, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.Al Jazeera has learned that Velayati will meet Putin on Thursday, and will stay for another day to hold other meetings with Russian officials.An Iranian foreign office spokesman said that the visit was in line with Tehran's diplomatic outreach after the US pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal."After Donald Trump's strategic mistake to exit the multilateral and international accord,JCPOA, Iran decided to dispatch a number of its special representatives to other countries," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, referring to the Iran nuclear deal. "Velayati's visit to Moscow would also take place in line with such a policy and he would also travel to China," he said.Moscow has managed to maintain its relationship with Israel, despite its dominant role in the complex conflict.aljazeera
N. Korea demanded $1bn from Israel to end Iran missile sales: defector
North Korea threatened to keep supplying Iran with missile technology unless Israel handed Pyongyang a billion dollars, according to a new book by a defected former Korean diplomat. The offer was made in 1999, according to ex-diplomat Thae Yong-ho - who was involved in the negotiations and defected to South Korea in 2016 - in extracts of his book seen by the Wall Street Journal.According to Thae, North Korea's ambassador to Sweden Son Mu-sin approached his Israeli counterpart Gideon Ben Ami with the offer in a Stockholm cafe.Thae, who allegedly served as translator at the meeting, writes that Israel declined to part with the $1bn cash, though it did offer food aid in its stead a few days later, without success.Instead, North Korea kept its agreements with Iran and western diplomats have accused the countries of developing a close relationship on missile technology. American diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 claimed that 19 North Korean ballistic missiles had been transferred to Iran at the time. The negotiations followed the deaths of more than 2 million people from famine in North Korea since 1995. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ben Ami confirmed the 1999 meetings in a televised interview with the Israeli network Kan last week, but neither he nor Son have confirmed the $1bn demand.middleeasteye
Irish senate backs bill banning trade with Israeli settlements
Irish Senate gave its support on Wednesday to a legislation prohibiting the import or sale of goods and services produced in occupied territories around the world, including Israeli settlements considered illegal under international law.The proposed law - passed 25 to 20 - to make it an offence to trade in such goods and services was introduced by an independent senator and drew support from all Ireland's major political parties except the governing Fine Gael party.The bill will now go to the lower house of parliament for a debate and vote. If passed, the bill will have to go through several more stages of review and amendment before it is signed into a law.Saeb Erekat, senior leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organistion, called the move by Ireland's upper house, Senead, "historic" and urge other countries to do the same."Today the Irish Senate has sent a clear message to the international community and particularly to the rest of the European Union: the mere talking about the two-state solution is not enough without taking concrete measures," Erekat said."Those trading with Israeli settlements are complicit in the systematic denial of Palestinian right to self-determination," he added."This bold action by Ireland sends an important message to Israel that its occupation of the West Bank and its explicit support for illegal settlements will not continue to go ignored by the international community," said Barry Trachtenberg, Rubin Presidential Chair of Jewish history at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.aljazeera
Likud may alter ‘Jewish nation state’ bill amidst concerns at global fallout
Responding to concerns that the pending “Jewish nation-state” bill may cause Israel significant damage internationally, Likud legislators are reportedly preparing to dilute aspects of the legislation, according to various media reports.According to Haaretz, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit “warned PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday of possible implications for Israel in the international arena” if the bill is passed “in its current form”.Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Ran Nizri made a similar point in the Knesset yesterday, stating: “We are doing our job in closed rooms where we speak to the relevant political officials and there, more is said about the international implications.”President Reuven Rivlin also warned yesterday that the legislation in its current form “could harm the Jewish people worldwide and in Israel, and could even be used as a weapon by our enemies”.middleeastmonitor
Palestinians blast UN relief agency’s downsizing plans
GAZA CITY:Dozens of Palestinians and employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) demonstrated outside the UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters on Thursday to protest planned reductions to the agency’s services.Established in 1949, UNRWA provides essential services to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, who have been displaced by Israeli occupation and conflict. “We are protesting today… to send a message to UNRWA that its plans to dispense with some employees is unacceptable,” Amal Batch, deputy head of UNRWA's employees’ union, which helped organize Thursday’s demonstration, told Anadolu Agency.“UNRWA’s downsizing plans will not solve its ongoing financial crisis,” she said.Anadolu Agency
Hamas delegation heads to Cairo for talks
A Hamas delegation set out for Cairo from the blockaded Gaza Strip on Wednesday to hold talks with Egyptian officials.The delegation is being led by Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas’s deputy leader in Gaza.According to group spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, delegation members will meet with Egyptian officials to discuss “bilateral relations and recent developments in the Palestinian and Arab arenas”.Egypt recently invited leaders of the Gaza-based resistance group to Cairo to discuss prospects for inter-Palestinian reconciliation and ongoing tensions along the Gaza-Israel security fence.At least 137 Gazan protesters have been martyred by Israeli army gunfire since Mar. 30, when Palestinians began holding mass rallies along the security fence.middleeastmonitor
Amnesty calls for probe of torture claims in Yemen prisons
An international rights group is calling for an investigation into alleged disappearances, torture and likely deaths in prisons run by UAE and allied militias in southern Yemen.Amnesty International said in a report today that it has documented "systemic enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment, amounting to war crimes" in the facilities.The report said "some (detainees are) feared to have died in custody". Based on more than 70 interviews, the authors said "cruel and unlawful" practices were being committed in those prisons. Amnesty called on Emirati Govt  to immediately stop the torture, and to release detainees.aljazeera
Pakistan secular party defiant after its leader killed in blast
Pakistan's Awami National Party (ANP) has vowed to fight against armed groups after its senior leader Haroon Bilour was killed in a suicide attack a day ago in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.The attack on Tuesday at an election campaign event organised by the ANP also killed at least 20 people. Their funerals were held in the KPK provincial capital Peshawar on Wednesday. Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.Bilour was a provincial assembly candidate for the July 25 general elections. His father, Bashir Bilour, also a prominent ANP politician, was killed by a suicide bomber in 2012."We want peace on our soil and will stand with our people," said senior party leader Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who lost his only son in a armed attack eight years ago.ANP's insistence that Pakistan should have a secular Govt  instead of rule by Islamic law has made it a target for the Pakistan Taliban.aljazeera
Islam takes backseat in Kosovo politics: I’m Albanian. I’m not Muslim. Religion is not my first identity, says PM Ramush Haradinaj
Pristina: "I’m Albanian. I’m not Muslim. Religion is not my first identity. The truth is we’ve existed for more than 2,000 years, before even Mohammed or Jesus. We have a memory, we know who we are, we lived as Christians for very long and we adopted the Muslim religion through Ottoman administration. We are a Euro-Atlantic nation. When we were in trouble, the US and NATO [were] with us, so we belong to this club," said PM Ramush Haradinaj, who still walks with the swagger of a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) hero from its 1998-99 battle for survival against attacking Serb-led Yugoslav forces.S peaking with Middle East Eye and other news outlets from his airy office in Pristina, Haradinaj stressed that Kosovars inhabit "another world" than their Muslim brethren in the nearby Middle East.While more than 90 percent of the country’s 1.8 million people are Kosovar Albanian and Muslim, secular institutions are cherished, mosques are less ostentatious than those in parts of the Middle East, and there is less appetite for Islamic law. By one analysis, this is more than just a cultural trope. As Kosovars aspire for membership of NATO and the EU, they may be playing down an Islamic identity to ease their way into a club of countries with Christian roots. This tiny Balkan breakaway region of Kosovo, stands out as a rare pocket of the Muslim world where American leaders of yesteryear are revered.Its capital, Pristina, lionises the Arkansas statesman Bill Clinton with a 3.5-metre statue, his left hand outstretched and flashing a smile across a drab, Soviet-era plaza. Odder still, the beaming bronze stands only 1km from the corner with George Bush Street.Striped American flags are still seen flapping in the breeze across Kosovo, 19 years after NATO military operations halted Serbian massacres and other atrocities there, and 10 years after the mostly Muslim province declared it was splitting from Belgrade.middleeasteye
US Congress weighs terror label for Muslim Brotherhood: washington times
The Muslim Brotherhood still poses a significant global threat and ought to be officially designated a terrorist group by the Trump administration, a trio of experts told Congress on Wednesday.The group has long been a polarizing force in the region, with some saying it represented a path to a more moderate Muslim-centered politics while others said it served as a front and smiling public face for more radical, violent movements in the region. Whether the group should be placed on the US terror list “has been a topic of debate here in Congress in recent years, Rep. Ron De Santis, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Oversight national security subcommittee, acknowledged at Wednesday’s hearing.Muslim Brotherhood critics in Congress hoped to use the hearing to kick off a drive to designate the group as a terrorist organization, a move initially blocked by the Obama administration State Department. Several witnesses told the panel there was ample evidence the Brotherhood deserved the terrorist tag.“Brotherhood certainly means to be global and it means to be a threat,” said Dr. Hillel Fradkin, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute think tank, testified.Rep. Jody Hice, Georgia Republican, said that the threat of the Brotherhood cannot be ignored at home and abroad.“Muslim Brotherhood is alive and well, and they have had a number of splinter groups that have been birthed out of the main group that are present right here in the United States,” Hice said in an interview.washingtontimes
Intelligence chiefs of Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan discuss IS threat
 Intelligence chiefs of Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan gathered in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss measures against the threat of aggregation of the Islamic State militants in Afghanistan, Russian news agency TASS has reported. The official confirmation of the meeting came from Sergei Ivanov, chief of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service’s press bureau. The Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergei Naryshkin, represented Russia.“The discussions focused on the dangers arising from a build-up of the Islamic State on the Afghan territory,” Ivanov said.“The conference reached understanding of the importance of coordinated steps to prevent the trickling of IS terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan from where they would pose risks for neighboring countries,” he said.Sources in Delhi told The Indian Express that India has bilateral engagements with all the relevant agencies in Russia, China and Iran, especially on intelligence-sharing and counter-terrorism. While New Delhi and Islamabad have not had bilateral engagement with each other on counter-terrorism cooperation, sources said they have cooperated under the rubric of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the past six months.Interestingly, all four countries which met in Islamabad on Tuesday are members of SCO, but sources said the meeting was not under the rubric of SCO.indianexpress
India deeply worried on reports of Islamic State acquiring chemical weapons
The Hague:India is “deeply worried” about reports of the so-called ‘Islamic State’ or ISIS acquiring chemical weapons and has asked the chemical weapons watchdog OPCW to closely monitor this threat.“India shares the widespread concern over fresh allegations on the use of chemical weapons coming from different parts of the world,” Ambassador and Permanent Representative of India to OPCW, Venu Rajamony, said, addressing the 88th session of the Executive Council of the Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday.He said: “We are saddened to learn about the tragic loss of life of a UK citizen in Amesbury following the exposure to a toxic chemical. We express our deepest sympathies to all victims of chemical weapon attacks and their families.”PTI
Israel, Saudi, UAE among world’s top 10 most powerful countries
Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Egypt have been ranked among the 25 most powerful countries in the world by the US News and World Report.The annual rankings are based on surveys that ask participants for their opinions on 80 countries with some 65 indicators in nine categories, including a strong military, strong international alliances, economic and political influence, and leadership.Israel ranked highest of all Middle Eastern countries, in eighth place worldwide, with the report citing its military might and diplomatic support from US. It was closely followed by Saudi Arabia in ninth position and the UAE in tenth, surpassing South Korea and Canada. Iran and Turkey followed, ahead of both India and Australia, with their economic potential noted.Qatar was also included in the list, three places ahead of last year, despite being blockaded by its Gulf neighbours since last summer. Egypt secured the last 25th position, described by the report as “one of the world’s earliest and greatest civilisations”, which highlighted the country’s growth in tourism and manufacturing. US, Russia and China topped the poll, with Germany and UK in fourth and fifth position. Middle Eastern states ranked lower in terms of the overall “Best Countries” classification, with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar occupying positions in the mid-thirties. UAE was deemed the twenty-third best country in the world, ahead of Israel in thirtieth place. Tunisia, Jordan and Iran also scored low in the general ranking, with Algeria in last place of 80 states considered.MEMO
NATO Summit Turns to Afghanistan After Trump's Spending Demands
Brussels: NATO leaders will try on Thursday to move beyond US President Donald Trump’s demands for higher defence spending, and focus on ending the long war in Afghanistan, in the second day of a summit in Brussels underscored by transatlantic tensions.On a trip that will also take Trump to Britain and to Helsinki to meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the president spent the first day of the NATO summit lambasting allies for failing to spend the targeted 2 % of GDP on defence and accused Germany of being a prisoner to Russian energy.Trump, in a late-night post on Twitter, wrote: “Billions of additional dollars are being spent by NATO countries since my visit last year, at my request, but it isn’t nearly enough. US spends too much.”It followed an uncomfortable first round at the summit where anxious Western allies were subjected to the US president’s “America first” approach. His comment that Germany was controlled by Russia earned a rebuke from Berlin.Reuters
Afghanistan: Landslide kills 10 people, destroys hundreds of houses in Panjshir
At least 10 people have been killed and hundreds of houses destroyed in a landslide in Panjshir province of Afghanistan, officials AFP on Thursday. The local administration has deployed search and rescue teams to locate those reported to be missing.National Disaster Management Authority Omar Mohammadi said the personnel were giving top priority to those trapped in the debris in Peshghor village, Thomson Reuters Foundation reported.scroll.in
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