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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

31 OCT.ND: Hashimpura massacre: 16 cops, acquitted earlier, get life term for killing 42 Muslims/ SC seeks Rafale deal price details in 10 days, Centre objects to sharing cost of jets/RBI vs Govt : Urjit Patel may resign as governor after Centre invokes never-used powers


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY 
31 OCT. 2018: 21 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:46
INDIA
UP’S Hashimpura massacre: 16 cops, acquitted earlier, get life term for killing 42 Muslims
New Delhi: 16 former police personnel have been sentenced to life for killing 42 people of a minority community in UP in 1987. Delhi High Court called the Hashimpura massacre in Meerut as "targeted killing" of unarmed and defenceless persons and overturned the trial court's verdict which had acquitted the accused.The HC convicted 16 ex-Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel for murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence. All of them have to surrender on or before Nov.22."This is a case of targeted killing of members of the minority community by state forces. The statements of the accused prove their presence beyond reasonable doubt. The compensation paid and conviction after 31 years is still a miscarriage of justice for the victims," the court said.Killings took place during a riot in Meerut when the victims were picked up from Hashimpura by PAC during a search operation. The charge-sheet was filed in 1996.The Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi in 2002 following a petition by the families of the massacre victims and survivors. The first witness testimony was recorded in 2006 -- 19 years after the massacre. During this time, 3 of CID investigating officers died and couldn't testify.19 people were named as accused and 17 of them were charged for murder, attempt to murder, tampering with evidence and conspiracy the same year. However, in March, 2015, a trial court acquitted the 16 giving them benefit of doubt, saying their identification could not be established due to lack of evidence while one died during the trial.All the 16 convicts have retired from service.The verdict was challenged by UP,NHRC and some others including a survivor of the massacre in the Delhi HC.NDTV
HC sets aside acquittal of 16 cops for Hashimpura mass murders, sentences all accused to life term
Hashimpura case: HC nod to Swamy petition to make police report public
 SC seeks Rafale deal price details in 10 days, Centre objects to sharing cost of jets
Union Govt today raised objections to sharing the pricing/cost of 36 Rafale fighter jets with the Supreme Court in a sealed cover, saying it was not divulged even to the parliament.CJI Ranjan Gogoi, heading 3-judge bench, told Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal to file an affidavit spelling out the Govt 's objections to disclosing the price fixed for procuring the 36 aircraft from France's Dassault company."Please file an affidavit saying why you are not sharing... if you have any difficulty, say so. We will hear that," CJI Gogoi told Venugopal. The Govt  protested after the court recorded in its order that it "would also like to be apprised of the details with regard to the pricing/cost and advantages, if any". Later, one of the petitioners, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, said the price of the aircraft should be disclosed."Do you know the price?" CJI Gogoi asked him.When Singh replied in the affirmative, CJI said: "You keep it to yourself... you are one of the fortunates who know the price".Besides Singh, the petitioners include former union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie — who were at the court, advocates Prashant Bhushan and M.L. Sharma — who had filed the first petition in the SC against Rafale deal. The petitions, the court pointed out, have not raised questions about the "suitability" of Rafale fighter jets or its "utility to the Indian Air Force"."What has been questioned is the bonafide-ness of decision-making process and the price/cost of the equipment for which the same has been procured," CJI explained the ambit of the various petitions in  the court's order.Bench, also comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph, said it has perused the note/report given to the court in a sealed cover by the Govt , detailing the various stages of the decision-making process leading to the award of the 36 fighter jets.The court ordered the Govt  to share with petitioners and parties such information contained in the note which could be "legitimately put out in the public domain". Again, Bench directed Govt  to make available whatever information which could be "legitimately placed in the public domain" about the induction of the Indian off-set partner, if any, in the Rafale deal.The petitioners had raised questions about  “how a novice company viz. Reliance Defence came in picture of this highly sensitive defence deal involving Rs. 59,000 crore without having any kind of experience and expertise in making of fighter jets”. They had sought an explanation on why Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd was removed from the deal.The SC clarified in its order that any information in the note which is either strategic or confidential in nature may not, at this stage, be furnished to the petitioners or parties. Venugopal submitted that many details in the note may be hit by Official Secrets Act and exempt from public disclosure."Please read our order, Attorney.We said 'whatever information which can be legitimately placed in public domain'," CJI responded.The SC gave the Govt 10 days to share the necessary information from its note with petitioners.They, in turn, can filed their responses in 7 days thereafter. It fixed the hearing for Nov.14.the hindu
SC seeks Rafale price details in 10 days, Centre says can't
CBI Addl SP Gurm approaches Delhi HC against Asthana; says he is misleading court
CBI Additional SP SS Gurm alleged in the Delhi High Court today, that Special Director Rakesh Asthana, who has filed a petition seeking the quashing of an FIR against him in a bribery case, was misleading the court by placing "selective" facts before it.Gurm, who was transferred along with other CBI officials in the feud between CBI Director Alok Verma and Asthana, has sought to be made a party in the petition filed by Asthana. The officer, who was transferred from Delhi to Jabalpur, has sought an opportunity to be heard in the case.In an application before the high court, the additional SP claimed he has "reasonable" apprehension that CBI is seeking to protect and support Asthana and may not effectively contest the petition.He has also sought dismissal of Asthana's petition.The separate petitions of Asthana, DSP Devender Kumar and alleged middleman Manoj Prasad seeking to quash FIR against them are scheduled to be heard by Justice Najmi Waziri on Thursday.In a related case, ex Supreme Court Justice AK Patnaik is actively supervising a probe by the CVC against CBI Director Verma, who was removed at midnight after he allegedly refused to listen to NSA Ajit Doval’s request of not probing the Rafale deal.The benched CBI Director had also made up his mind to arrest Asthana, who has reportedly been accused of being involved in an extortion racket, transferring police funds to BJP during his time as top cop and obstructing investigations potentially adverse to PM  Narendra Modi, among other allegations.nationalheraldindia
CVC says Commission is examining all records in inquiry against Alok Verma
RBI vs Govt : Urjit Patel may resign as governor after Centre invokes never-used powers
The rift between RBI Governor Urijit Patel and the Central Govt reportedly widened with Central Bank’s Governor considering to resign from the post of the Governor. Following development surfaces soon after there were reports of a rift between RBI Governor and Govt. Reports add that the Central Govt has invoked some powers mentioned under RBI Act in order to issue directions to the RBI Governor Urijit Patel. The directions reportedly come on the matters related to the public.As per a report by Economic times, in recent weeks, separate letters have been sent to RBI Governor Urijit Patel.The letters were relating to the issues of capital requirement for weak banks, liquidity for Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) and money lending to SME’s. The following development surfaced a few days after RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya, during a public address, said that the interference by Centre in the working of RBI could result in disastrous consequences. He further sought independent working of the Central Bank.The Centre has invoked Section 7 of the BI Act that empowers it to give instructions to the RBI Governor in order to act on certain issues. The issues which were called upon by the Centre were reportedly in public interest. What’s interesting is that the following Section of RBI Act has never been used by any Govt  post the independence of India.NewsX
As RBI Calls for Board Meeting, Tense Debate on Liquidity, Bad Loans to Assume Centre Stage
New Delhi: RBI governor Urjit Patel has reportedly called for a board meeting on Nov. 19 to discuss a range of contentious issues that deepened the divide between the central bank and Centre at the meeting held last week.In calling for the next board meeting, it appears that Patel may decide not to resign, as was speculated by a handful of media publications.Over the last month, the Modi Govt  escalated the current stand-off with RBI by invoking rarely-used powers available to it under the Section 7 of RBI Act. These powers allow the Govt  to issue directions to the central bank governor.Section 7 of RBI Act, when invoked, allows the Govt  to consult with and give instructions to the RBI governor on issues that it feels are serious and in public interest.Govt  action, thought within its constitutional remit, could end up hurting latter’s credibility among investors, fear economists. Experts that The Wire spoke to felt that the current turf war between Govt  and RBI was due to their differing approaches to tackling the bad loan problem, and not because of any conflict in their basic policy goals. Govt  thinks that the banking sector’s NPAs have piled up due to economic slowdown. If growth is revived, loan repayments would improve, leading to a reduction in NPAs. If that happens, banks will be able to step up lending, thus creating a virtuous cycle of high growth and low NPAs.Needless to say, Govt stands to benefit politically from the desired virtuous cycle as it goes into next general elections. Conversely, if growth continues to flag, NPAs situation could further worsen, forcing banks to turn off the credit tap.That would create a vicious cycle of low growth, bank recapitalisation and high NPAs.But RBI thinks that NPA problem has arisen from bad investment decisions and the situation could further aggravate if it eases Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) norms for banks following Govt’s advice.thewire
PMO Rebuffs Parliament Committee on Fraud NPA Cases, Deploys Ministers to Meet Joshi: The Wire
New Delhi: PM  Narendra Modi’s office and finance minister Arun Jaitley have refused to provide any information on “Rajan list” of “high profile fraud cases of non-performing assets” to the estimates committee of parliament headed by senior BJP leader and MP Murli Manohar Joshi.Instead, senior ministers have been deployed to meet Joshi privately to discuss the committee’s work, a development that constitutional experts say crosses the line of propriety.As RBI revealed in response to an RTI query from The Wire, ex governor Raghuram Rajan wrote to both PMO and Jaitley’s office on Feb.4, 2015 with a list of fraud cases that needed coordinated investigation. Parliament has statutory oversight over the executive and Govt’s refusal to provide high-powered committee with details of action taken on the “high profile fraud cases of NPAs” suggests Modi either took no action at all or has little to show despite the passage of over three years since the receipt of the list.Angry at the snub to parliament, Joshi now plans to ask Rajan to provide the estimates committee with the list he gave since the former RBI governor is not bound by the kind of confidentiality or banking clauses Modi Govt has cited as the reason for refusing to cooperate. In a shocking and unprecedented development, 2 members of Modi’s cabinet – minister for railways Piyush Goyal and health minister JP Nadda, called on Joshi at his residence around Dussehra and tried to discuss two reports of the estimates committee with him. One of those is the NPA report and the other the controversial one on GDP growth.thewire
Embarrassment for govt after RTI reply by RBI confirms that Rajan alerted PMO about bank defaulters in Feb.2015
MJ Akbar in court: Ramani defamed me by calling me ‘talented predator’ and an expert on ‘so-and-so’
Editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar on Wednesday appeared before a Delhi court where his statement was recorded in connection with a defamation suit filed by him against journalist Priya Ramani who had accused him of sexual harassment. The court has fixed next date of hearing on Nov.12.Akbar began his testimony by telling the court about his journalistic credentials, before venturing on to his political career. “I’ve filed a criminal defamation complaint against Priya Ramani for a series of tweets that she published. First one came to my notice on my return from my official tour. The tweet had a link to an article in a magazine called vogue,” he said, adding that her tweets dated Oct.10 and Oct.13 were picked by various media organisations and did rounds on social media, causing defamation. indianexpress
#MeToo: All India Radio Fires 9 Women Employees Who Accused Official of Sexual Harassment
New Delhi: In what appears to yet another #MeToo case, a report in the Times of India has said that the services of nine women employees of All India Radio in Madhya Pradesh have been terminated following their complaint of sexual harassment against the station’s assistant director. According to report, assistant director (programming), Ratnakar Bharti, remains in position at AIR’s HQRS in New Delhi (although under the ‘strictest vigilance watch’), in spite of AIR Internal Complaints Committee having declared him guilty over a year ago.The names of the complainants and the time of the allegations are not yet known.Bharti is reportedly facing proceedings under section FR 56(j) of the Central Civil Services Pension Rules notified by the department of personnel and training, where he may be compulsorily retired.TOI report quoted Fayyaz Shehryar, director general of AIR, as saying, “Every incident that has been reported has been probed by the Internal Complaints Committee. In the Shahdol instance, after ICC verdict, Bharti was transferred immediately from Shahdol and he remains under the strictest vigilance watch at the DG Headquarters.” He has also said that the lodging of complaint against Bharti and the termination of services of the women employess were unrelated.thewire
Govt should construct Ram temple like Sardar Patel got Somanath temple rebuilt: RSS’s Vaidya
New Delhi : RSS Joint General Secretary Manmohan Vaidya Wednesday said the Govt  should enact a law and construct the Ram temple in the same way Sardar Patel got Somanath temple rebuilt. “Ram temple is a matter of national pride and glory.Just like Sardar Patel got Somanath temple rebuilt, the Govt  should acquire the land and hand over it for Ram temple construction. Govt should make law for that,” RSS Sah Sarkaryavah said.On Tuesday, a day after the Supreme Court deferred hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit, UP CM Yogi Adityanath said: “sometimes, justice delayed is equivalent to injustice”. He said he was of the opinion that the issue should be resolved at the earliest. On the demand that the Centre bring a legislation to allow construction of the Ram temple, he said there are “other options”, and the best step should be considered.Asked about the ordinance route, Adityanath said a solution through consensus is the best option, but there are other options too, and the best step should be considered. indianexpress
Enact law to pave way for Ram temple, matter of national pride: RSS
PM inaugurates Statue of Unity amid boycott by tribals
While PM  Narendra Modi today unveiled on the bank of the Narmada river the world’s ‘tallest’ bronze statue of Sardar Patel costing ₹2,989 crore, hundreds of Adivasi homes did not light their hearths to protest the wasteful extravaganza when people were facing dire scarcity of food and drinking water.Hundreds of Adivasi hamlets scattered all across the hilly eastern track of Gujarat from Ambaji in the north on the Rajasthan border to Ahwa of Dangs bordering Maharashtra observed a near total bandh even as ‘guests’ invited by Gujarat Govt  for the inaugural function witnessed a colourful song and dance event and listen to Narendra Modi lambasting the Congress party for having not paid due respect to Sardar Patel.The venue, ‘Sadhu Bet’, and the nearby Kevadia colony and the district town of Rajpipla wore the looks of a high security fortress with the deployment of police and para military forces.Over 500 Adivasi village leaders were taken into preventive detention a day before and freed only after the inaugural function got over.The Statue of Unity as it has been officially named is the world’s tallest statue at 182 metres built in honour of India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The statue stands on Sadhu island on the Narmada is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in US.Various social activist groups, including the Narmada Bachao Andolan, in a protest memorandum to Gujarat Govt have condemned the arrest of Adivasi leaders. “Sardar Patel, who fought for the farmers, the poor, and the nation as a whole, would have been deeply pained at the kind of wanton destruction of natural, human and financial resources seen here. Tens of thousands of trees have been chopped off for road widening, houses pulled down, people summarily thrown out,” to set up the Statue of Unity complex which houses a park, a museum and tourist resorts,” activists said.Justifying the protest by the Adivasis, the activists pointed out that none of the villages acquired by the Govt  for setting up of the Sardar Sarovar project and the Statue of Unity complex have not got benefits promised to them by the Govt.  “Govt has denied the Adivasis their due because they are believed to be docile, voiceless, 'uneducated' who could be pushed around,”activists said. nationalheraldindia
Gujarat police detain tribal activists ahead of Sardar Patel’s statue inauguration
UP: Owner issued notice, police report warns of ‘riots-like’ situation if meat shop allowed to stay
Lucknow :Weeks after police closed down a meat-seller’s shop in Bijnor’s Kasampur Bilauch village amid protests by local residents, the district administration, which had suspended his licence soon after, issued him a notice seeking an explanation as to why he had not fulfiled certain norms. The move was based on a report sent by the police which claimed that a “riots-like” situation may arise if the shop is allowed to remain there, said the district food inspector, adding that if the meat-seller, Khursheed Khan (35), does not respond to the notice, his licence will be cancelled.The Indian Express had on Oct. 9 reported about police ordering closure of the meat shop after Hindu residents of the village allegedly protested when Khan opened it near his house. The police had also ordered an inquiry to check whether all formalities were completed and a NOC was obtained from the departments concerned before Khan was issued a licence to sell meat. The food inspector had suspended the licence soon after.“License was issued to Khursheed Khan after obtaining NOC from concerned authorities including police. Now, police have sent a report stating that a riots-like situation may occur if a meat shop is opened at Kasampur Bilauch village. Acting on the report, we initially suspended Khursheed’s licence. Information about the same was sent to him recently,” said Food Inspector, Bijnor, Kamlesh Yadav. He further said,“A district administration team had visited the site of the shop and found that Khursheed was not meeting some norms.”Khan however claimed that neither the police nor district administration had informed him that his licence had been suspended. Indian express
12 Islamic pundits, 62 Christian bishops with us on Sabarimala: BJP
The state leadership of the BJP on Tuesday launched the second phase of its agitation against entry of women of all age groups to Sabarimala temple, with party state president P S Sreedharan Pillai terming it as a fight between “believers” and “atheists” and predicting a thumping victory for the former.Pillai, who led a protest near the police headquarters to condemn the mass arrest of “Ayyappa devotees”, also said that CM  Pinarayi Vijayan, “with the way he is handling the Sabarimala issue”, will soon become liquidator of the CPM in the state.“‘Rath Yatra’ planned on Nov. 8 has the blessings of hundreds of sanyasis, 62 Christian bishops and 12 Islamic scholars. We cannot be stopped and the believers will trounce the ‘atheists’ led by the CPM,” Pillai said. BJP MLA O Rajagopal, inaugurating the protest, said that the CM’s actions, including “the arrest of innocent devotees”, would only help BJP gain ground in the state.The protest also witnessed participation of CPM leader MM Lawrence’s grandson Milan, a Plus Two student, who was introduced by Pillai as the first one from families of CPM leaders to join the agitation. TOI
Rajasthan minister booked for seeking ‘Hindu votes’
An FIR has been lodged against Rajasthan minister of state for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development Dhan Singh Rawat for allegedly saying that if Muslims can unite and vote for the Congress then Hindus can also vote for BJP.According to the police, Rawat made the alleged statement in Banswara district on Oct.27.“If Muslims can vote unitedly for Congress then all Hindus can also unite and go with the BJP and make it win with a thumping majority,” Rawat is heard saying. indianexpress
PM Modi’s brother to support TMC in 2019 polls, will launch anti-Namo campaign from Varanasi
Prahlad Modi, brother of PM  Narendra Modi, has extended his support to All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) for 2019 general polls.Prahlad Modi, President of the Fair Price Shop Owners Federation, has extended Federation's support to AITMC for Lok Sabha elections. This announcement was made during a meeting at the Rabindra Bhawan at Dumdum organised to discuss the Khadyo Sathee Scheme of the Mamata Govt .Jyotipriyo Mallick, State minister of food and MP from Dumdum Sougata Roy, were also present at the meeting. According to a TOI report, Biswambhar Basu, secretary of the Fair Price Shop Owners Federation said that the members will start anti-Narendra Modi campaign throughout the nation for general elections. He also said that the federation will support AITMC to throw out BJP Govt .Members of Fair Price Shop Owners Federation will launch anti-Namo campaign from Varanasi and Prahlad will be present during the launch.The federation is also planning to honour CM  Mamata Banerjee for the success of Khadyo Sathee scheme.nationalheraldindia
Rahul backs Ilaiah over DU’s move to ban his books, calls it RSS move to disempower Dalits
Hyderabad:Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has expressed solidarity with academician-activist Kancha Ilaiah over the alleged move by Delhi University to ban three books written by him, calling it an attempt by the RSS to keep Dalits “disempowered” and propagate a “unilateral view of Hinduism”. “I write this letter to express my solidarity against the majoritarian move being made by the Delhi University by recommending the ban of three of your books from the university’s political science curriculum,” Gandhi said in a letter to Ilaiah, a Dalit rights activist. Ilaiah shared the letter with PTI.RSS’ “fascism” is apparent in the move, Gandhi alleged.“Their aggressive move to propagate a unilateral view of Hinduism is deplorable,” he said. Gandhi said Ilaiahs books were a part of the university’s syllabus for over a decade, without any questions being raised on their impact on the minds of students.PTI
Days after Amit Shah claimed ‘consensus’ on seat-sharing, Kushwaha signals all not well in NDA
4 days after BJP head Amit Shah and Bihar CM  Nitish Kumar addressed the media together and underscored the ostensible “consensus” among NDA partners over seat-sharing in Bihar for next year’s General Election, ally and Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha on Tuesday indicated that all is not well within the ruling coalition.Kushwaha met BJP general secretary in-charge of Bihar Bhupender Yadav on Tuesday to apparently discuss seat-sharing, and said the discussion was “positive but still incomplete — talks will happen again”.Kushwaha reportedly met Union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan at the latter’s residence later.On Friday, Shah, in a joint press conference with Nitish, had said that all allies would have to make sacrifices to accommodate a new partner — referring to the return of JD(U) to NDA. Kushwaha, whose relationship with Nitish is known as not exactly cordial, today said, “I respect his (Shah’s) statement. We are ready for sacrifice. (But) all partners should share all benefits and losses. I understand that the alliance with JD(U) has benefited the NDA.Then why can’t we share benefits in Bihar?…Partnership should be equal in profit as well as loss.” indianexpress
Gujarat: Rape Case Anger Subsides, But Migrant Workers Cite Fears Of 2002 Riots To Delay Return
Ahmedabad:50 thousand workers from Bihar and UP  fled Gujarat in the first week of Oct., after a migrant worker was accused of raping a baby girl in Sabarkantha district.But their fear, workers confessed in recent interviews to HuffPost India, wasn't prompted by the immediate aftermath of the rape, but the memory of the Gujarat riots of 2002 — in which over 2,500 mostly Muslim residents of the state were killed as then CM  Narendra Modi, and his state administration, failed to contain the violence."The migrant labourers were scared that there could be a repeat of the situation like 2002. It was this fear that drove them to their native states,"Shyam Singh Thakur, head of Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad in Gujarat said. "The threats came from Thakor Sena and thakor community people."Thus, despite no reported deaths, production in workshops and small factories across the state has been disrupted, and the local economy has been hit in the run-up to the crucial festive season.This Oct. exodus suggests that the 2002 riots continue to haunt the state, despite the Gujarat Govt  spending crores to rebrand the state as a safe, progressive, investment destination, and that the social and economic effects of the breakdown of law and order have significant long-term effects that linger well after the event has passed.huffingtonpost
SC frees EC hand to fight paid news: ET
In a breather to the Election Commission of India, days before five states go to elections, the Supreme Court has stayed a Delhi High Court order that questioned EC’s remit over content of speech and hence paid news. A SC bench, in a hearing held on Friday, stayed Para 77 of the High Court order, which effectively tied the hands of the Election Commission from acting on any instance of paid news.The stay is crucial to upcoming state elections as it will now allow the poll panel to crack down on all instances of paid news in the 5 states.EC had filed a special leave petition before the SC challenging the Delhi High Court order in the Narottam Mishra paid news case in May, arguing that “motivated propaganda” by politicians published in newspapers cannot be considered part of their fundamental right to free speech. Para 77 of the division bench order said “Election Commission’s remit cannot ordinarily extend to judging content of speech; it is only to adjudge whether the election expenses incurred by the candidate or someone on her or his behalf, under her or his authority have been accounted” for.TOI / ET
US political candidate Padma Kuppa endorses Hindutva agenda of supremacy
News that Padma Kuppa, an Indian-American is running for Michigan’s State House of Representatives, has raised concern among other Indian Americans because of her right winged ideologies.Her writings reflect shades of Hindu nationalism and anti Muslim and anti-Christian stance.She is said to support Indian laws which criminalize people who change their religion without Govt permission which is a direct violation of the fundamental constitutional right of religious freedom. Through her writings she has clearly explained her beliefs. One can see the kind of communal feelings she harbours when she writes about conversion of people into Christianity saying that this actually makes the Hindus intolerant and defensive. Besides she attributes westernization of daughters to conversion to Christianity which is worrying other Indian Americans.  Kuppa has even called 2002 pogrom of Muslims in Gujrat as “retaliatory violence in Gujarat, where both Hindus and Muslims were killed.”But HRW findings say that it was anything but spontaneous.2002 genocide was state sponsored according to HRW findings. Padma Kuppa’s support for Indian laws which criminalize people who change their religion without Govt permission is an assault on the fabric of a free society,” remarks Arvin Valmuci, a spokesperson for Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI). “UN and US have warned about these laws, which lead to violence and pogroms, especially against Indian Christians. But it doesn’t matter to Kuppa: she’s busy demanding American votes and seeking the $70,000 salary of a Michigan state representative.”TCN
Kashmiri student at centre of Sharda row missing: police
New Delhi :Kashmiri student from Sharda University, a video of whose assault within the campus had gone viral earlier this month, has been missing since Sunday, confirmed police. On Tuesday, a missing person complaint was registered at Greater Noida’s Knowledge Park police station regarding the disappearance of Ahtisham Bilal, a first-year student of Medical Imaging Technology at university.According to SHO Knowledge Park, Arvind Pathak, the complaint was filed by Bilal’s cousin on Tuesday morning, following which surveillance personnel attempted to trace his phone location.Pathak said that Bilal’s father has been approached by police in Srinagar. According to Aabid Hussain,Bilal’s friend and his fellow student at Sharda University, he had not talked about any plans of going to Kashmir. “He had not told us anything before leaving the university on Sunday morning. Later we found out that he had told his parents that he was going to Delhi for a visit. In the evening, too, he called his father and said that he’s returning to the university. He also called his cousin who studies at Sharda, and told him that he would return to the hostel by 8.30 pm. But afterwards, our attempts to call him failed as we couldn’t reach him,” he said. Indianexpress
Sniper active in Valley killed, was nephew of Masood Azhar: J&K Police: indianexpress
Srinagar:J&K  Police said that a militant, Usman Haider, allegedly involved in a string of recent sniper attacks on security personnel was killed in a gunfight in south Kashmir’s Tral. According to police, Haider is the nephew of JeM chief Masood Azhar.Officials said that the killing of Haider is a major success for security agencies, particularly after he was identified as the deputy of the Jaish’s sniper squad that has recently entered the Valley.“So far bodies of two terrorists have been recovered,”J&K Police said on Tuesday night. While the police are silent about the identity of the killed militants, Jaish in a statement to a local news agency confirmed that Haider was among the two militants killed in the encounter. Jaish has also released a picture of Haider carrying an American M4 rifle.
Training jets assembled in India using inferior engines: recent audit
New Delhi:Pilots training to join IAF and the Indian Navy are flying jets fitted with inferior engines and “Category B” or “second-hand components” that seriously affect the “quality of the aircraft”, a recent audit by the Comptroller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) says.Faced with an ageing fleet of intermediate jet trainers, India bought 123 Hawk - 106 for IAF and 17 for the Navy from British company BAES in 2004. 28 of these 123 jets were to be bought in flyaway condition whereas the rest were to be assembled by the state-owned HAL with the engines being made by it based on technology transfer.The total value of the deal was about $2 billion. The aircraft were ordered in 3 phases, starting March 2004.The problem is with the aircraft assembled here, according to the audit.In addition to using inferior engines, “a large number of second-hand components and parts have been fitted in the aircraft,” according to the audit report, which has been seen by HT.And, although India specifically bans using agents, a middleman was involved, the inquiry found.The audit estimates illegal commission worth Rs 500 crore was paid.HT
SC: Women of easy virtue too have a right to say no
Even if the victim/prosecutrix is a professional prostitute or a woman of easy virtue, she has the right to refuse to submit herself to sexual intercourse to anyone, said the Supreme Court bench on a sensitive case filed by the victim restoring conviction of 4 men accused in the gang rape case and sentenced them to 10 years of imprisonment.The case is 20-years-old and was filed in 1997. A woman was raped in Delhi by four men. On Tuesday, a bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee asked the four convicts to surrender themselves to the court within four weeks and complete their sentence.During the case’s hearing in the trial court, the accused in their statement under Section 313 CrPC, had said in their defense that the prosecutrix was of bad character and she was indulging in prostitution.Though they told the court that a complaint against her was lodged by them, nothing was produced before the court. Trial court then convicted them considering evidences provided by the victim. In view of the additional evidence by the accused, the HC overturned the trail court’s decision saying that the trial court erred in saying that the accused failed to prove the making of previous complaints against the prosecutrix.nationalheraldindia
Excluded from NRC, 9,000 Assam residents seek duplicate admit cards of Board Exam held before 1973
Kolkata: Around 9,000 residents of Assam, reportedly excluded from the complete draft of the NRC, have applied to West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) for issuing duplicate admit cards of higher secondary examinations held before 1973 to them, a senior board official said today. WBBSE president Kalyanmoy Ganguly said the board had issued and dispatched admit cards to 6,000 applicants, who actually hailed from Tripura and later migrated to Assam. They had passed the higher secondary examination under the West Bengal board before 1973."We are in the process of screening the remaining applications on a war footing," Ganguly told PTI.The applicants were residing in Tripura before 1973. Since there was no secondary school education board in the north-eastern state at that time, the schools there were affiliated to WBBSE, Ganguly said.news18
After apology to Manmohan, Kher resigns as FTII chief
Veteran actor Anupam Kher said today, that he has resigned as the Chairman of Film and TV Institute of India (FTII), Pune, due to his commitment to his international assignments."It has been an honour, a privilege and a great learning experience to be the Chairman of the prestigious FTII. But because of my international assignments, I won't have much time to devote at the institute. Hence decided to send my resignation," Anupam tweeted. Earlier, Kher, a known right-wing supporter, had said that he had “wrongly judged” ex PM  Manmohan Singh.He had tweeted that history will not misjudge Manmohan.nationalheraldindia
WORLD
Dissident prince & King Salman's lone brother 'returns to Riyadh' amid Khashoggi crisis
The only surviving full brother of Saudi Arabia's King Salman has reportedly returned to the kingdom, amid an international outcry over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz flew back to Riyadh from London on Tuesday, according to three Saudi sources close to the prince cited by New York Times, in what some analysts are calling a potential challenge to the authority of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.Sources told the Times bin Abdulaziz arrived in the Saudi capital around 01:30 on Tuesday and was warmly received by his nephew, the crown prince, who greeted him at the airport.London-based Middle East Eye also reported bin Abdulaziz's return, quoting a source close to the prince as saying his return is intended to shake up the kingdom's leadership."The prince wants to play a role to make these changes, which means either he himself will play a major role in any new arrangement or to help choose an alternative to MBS," the source was cited as saying.One of the most senior members of the royal family, bin Abdulaziz - who has been living in the United Kingdom - is said to have agreed to return to Riyadh only after receiving security assurances from the UK and United States.Reports say the prince had been afraid to return after publicly challenging bin Salman on several occasions.  In Nov. 2017, bin Salman conducted a sweeping purge of senior ministers and princes as part of purported anti-corruption measures. The supposed return comes almost a month after Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov.2.The younger brother of King Salman, bin Abdulaziz, now in his 70s, is one of the most senior members of the Saudi royal family. His position as the king's brother lends him a special importance in the kingdom.He and the king are the last remaining members of the powerful "Sudairi 7", a bloc comprised of the seven sons of King Abdul Aziz - considered the kingdom's modern founder - and his favourite wife Hussa bint Ahmed al-Sudairi. The brothers banded together to ensure the throne and important ministries passed between them and stayed out of the reach of the king's dozens of other sons. Bin Abdulaziz served as deputy interior minister for decades and briefly as interior minister in 2012, but has been in retirement since then, spending most of his time in London. Mahjoob Zweiri, director of Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University, said the apparent arrival of bin Abdulaziz in Riyadh could signal a change at the top of the Saudi leadership. He caused controversy in Sept.when a video of him speaking to protesters in London sparked concerns about his loyalty to bin Salman.aljazeera
Exclusive: Saudi dissident prince flies home to tackle MBS succession
Saudi prince: Coup against King Salman ‘imminent’
KSA:Postponement of Al-Ouda’s trial to next week
The Specialised Criminal Court in Riyadh postponed, on Tuesday, the trial of cleric Salman Al-Ouda to next Monday for reasons it described as “an extra period of time to complete some of the procedures.”Prisoners of Conscience Twitter account said in a Tweet that “Specialised Criminal Terrorism Court has delayed the hearing of the trial of Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda to next Monday morning after the prosecution requested what it called an extra period of time to complete some procedures.”The same account said in a previous tweet that “Al-Ouda is at risk of being sentenced to death for 37 false charges.”Specialized Criminal Court has accused Al-Ouda with 37 terrorism-related charges, while the prosecution demanded a Discretionary Penalty against him.Al-Ouda was arrested last year as part of a series of arrests that included prominent Saudi clerics and thinkers. Sheikh Al-Ouda has been suffering from deteriorating health conditions during his detention that has been ongoing for more than a year, which he started at Dhahban Political Prison in Jeddah before being transferred to Al-Ha’ir Prison in Riyadh.MEMO
US defence chief demands Yemen ceasefire; peace talks in 30 days: aljazeera
Top American officials called for a ceasefire in Yemen and demanded warring parties immediately come to the negotiating table.The comments came as the Saudi-Emirati-led military coalition deployed more than 10,000 new troops towards a vital rebel-held port city in the run-up to a new assault.James Mattis, the Pentagon chief, said the US had been watching the conflict "for long enough", adding he believes Saudi Arabia and UAE - who are in a US-backed coalition fighting Houthi rebels - are ready for talks."We have got to move toward a peace effort here, and we can't say we are going to do it sometime in the future," He said."We need to be doing this in the next 30 days."
Secret no more: Israel's outreach to Gulf Arab states
It was a scene unthinkable just weeks ago: an Israeli Cabinet minister, tears of joy filling her eyes, proudly singing her country's national anthem at a sports event in the heart of the Arab world.The spectacle of Miri Regev singing "HaTikva", which describes the Jewish yearning for a homeland in Zion, was just one in a series of taboo-busting public appearances by Israeli officials in Gulf Arab states that have thrust the once-secret back channels of outreach into public view.PM Benjamin Netanyahu has for years boasted about warming ties with key Arab states that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. But those ties - still largely unpopular among Arab public - were rarely visible.That changed on Friday when Netanyahu made an unannounced visit to Oman, where he met longtime ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said.It marked the first visit by an Israeli leader in over 20 years to the tiny Gulf state, a US ally that has in past facilitated negotiations between US and Iran.aljazeera
Arab states reject Israel proposal to control Gaza
Arab states reject Israel’s proposal to control the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Channel 7 television station reported. “Hamas had harsh attacks,” Israeli channel claimed, “and the Israeli Govt is planning to strike Hamas with more attacks at the appropriate time.”Israel, the report added, will “stop the demonstrations [at Israel-Gaza fence] and the rocket attacks on the Gaza peripheries.” “Israel lives a state between a truce and an escalation,” it added, stressing that it does not adopt the policy of “self-control” regarding Hamas.“Israel hopes that its policy would lead to stopping the demonstrations, rockets, incendiary balloons and achieving calm,” the channel said, “therefore, it does not want to allow humanitarian crises to take place in Gaza or any explosion that leads to an offensive.”MEMO
Egypt remands Qaradawi daughter in custody for 45 days
Cairo:An Egyptian court has remanded the daughter of prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi in custody for a further 45 days pending further investigation into charges against her, according to Egypt’s official MENA agency.Along with her husband, Ola al-Qaradawi, 55, was arrested from her home in June of last year by the Egyptian authorities, who later accused her of having links to Muslim Brotherhood. On Tuesday, a Cairo criminal court ruled to prolong the couple’s detention by an additional 45 days amid accusations that they had helped fund “terrorism”, MENA reported. 15 other individuals in the same case had also had their detention extended. Earlier this month, the al-Qaradawi family said that Ola’s health had deteriorated while in detention.Anadolu
Crash of Afghan military chopper claims 25
Kabul:A military helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan on Wednesday near the border with Iran, killing at least 25 officers and officials on board, with the Taliban claiming responsibility. Nasir Mehri, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the chopper crashed in the village of Anar Dara in the Farah province. He said the casualties include Gen Nematullah Khalil, deputy commander of Afghan National Army’s 207-Zafar Corps, and Farid Bakhtawar, chairman of the provincial assembly. Local Salam Afghanistan radio reported that the ill-fated chopper was one of two military helicopters en route from the restive Farah province to ANA’s 207-Zafar Corps headquarters in the Herat province. Taliban claimed responsibility for downing the chopper. A month ago, 6 soldiers were killed in a similar incident in Farah’s Khak-e-Safaid district near Iran. Afghan officials in Farah have accused Iran of supporting terrorists, an allegation Tehran denies.Anadolu
Bangladesh Jamaat Islami: EC’s move to cancel registration politically motivated
A move by the Election Commission (EC) to cancel the registration of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami was politically motivated, the party’s leaders said.The EC released a gazette to terminate Jamaat’s registration, effectively taking away their ability to contest the upcoming 11th national election. “We are appalled by the actions of the Election Commission (and) condemn the gazette, and ask the Election Commission to cancel it immediately,” Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Dr Shafiqur Rahman said in a press statement on Tuesday.The release also said Jamaat has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court regarding the matter, which is still under process. “It is against the law for the Election Commission to release a gazette to cancel the party’s registration, and is an affront to the court,” the release said. Jamaat first registered as a political party on Nov.11, 2008. dhaka tribune
Bangladesh Jamaat expresses concern over cabinet approval of EVMs
Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami has expressed concerns over the cabinet’s final approval of three amendments to the RPO 1972; allowing for the use of EVMs in the upcoming 11th national election. Proposed Representation of People’s (Amendment) Act 2018 was approved on Monday.Assistant Secretary General of Jamaat, Maulana Rafiqul Islam Khan said:“I am expressing my concerns over cabinet’s approval of RPO amendments in favour of EVMs, ignoring the opinions of most opposition parties, civil society, and experts. “I have no doubts that Govt has ill intentions regarding the use of EVMs in upcoming parliamentary election—disregarding the opinions of almost every quarter.”Alleging that Govt and Election Commission are engaged in a conspiracy to ensure Awami League’s victory in the next election, Jamaat said: “Govt  and the commission have ulterior political motives for using EVMs. “They want to deceive the people and win the polls by any means necessary.”Jamaat also complained that during the test phase, many EVMs suffered technical glitches, making it unfeasible to use them in general election. Jamaat concluded, urging the authorities concerned to scrap the decision to use EVMs in the next parliamentary poll, and warned that the public will reject the initiative if it is forced upon them.dhaka tribune
US: Kansas militia men blame Trump rhetoric for mosque attack plan
3 Kansas militia members who were convicted of plotting to bomb the mosque and homes of Somali immigrants should be granted leniency in their sentencing because they were inspired by Donald Trump’s rhetoric encouraging violence, lawyers for the men said in court documents. The defense lawyers, in filings made in federal court in Kansas, said court had to acknowledge Trump’s “rough-and-tumble verbal pummeling” in 2016 election campaign that “heightened the rhetorical stakes for people of all political persuasions.”One of the lawyers said that Trump continued to stoke Islamophobia. The sentencing memorandums, filed, are just the latest instances of people blaming Trump’s nationalistic rhetoric for encouraging right-wing extremists. Reuters
Manhattan subway bomber was not part of IS: lawyer
New York:The man accused of detonating a bomb in a New York City subway passageway on behalf of Islamic State last December was a troubled individual who committed a serious crime but not a terrorist, his lawyer told jurors in a Manhattan federal courtroom on Tuesday. In her opening statement on the first day of Akayed Ullah’s trial, Julia Gatto readily told jurors that they should find her client guilty of setting off the bomb, which did not kill anyone. However, she said they should acquit him of the charge that he supported Islamic State, which is designated a terrorist organization by US authorities. “This case is not about a foreign terrorist organization planting an operative in our midst,” Gatto said. “What this case is about is a deeply troubled, isolated young man who wanted to take his own life.”Ullah, a 28-year-old immigrant from Bangladesh, was arrested last December after detonating a homemade bomb in a pedestrian tunnel connecting two subway lines and a bus terminal in midtown Manhattan.Reuters
Jail term suspended, ex-President Nasheed set to return home to Maldives tomorrow
nding his exile from the Maldives, the country’s Supreme Court Tuesday suspended a 13-year jail sentence handed to former President Mohamed Nasheed who now plans to return to Male as early as Thursday. Maldives President-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, who defeated President Abdulla Yameen in the recent elections, is expected to accompany Nasheed from Colombo to Male. Nasheed said it was “very satisfying” to hear the news of the suspension of his jail term. “I am going back to my country after three years to see a democracy that is showing signs of strength. Of course, this is a transition stage, it is a long process. But I would say that Maldives democracy is getting strengthened now,” he said.Nasheed said Solih is expected to reach Colombo today. “Yes… I might travel with him. It is so happy to meet everyone after a long time, our leaders, party men. Moreover, mine is a typical South Asian family, a large extended family with a lot of relatives, so many uncles, cousins. I am happy I will meet all of them after a long time,” he said.indianexpress
Pak SC clears Christian woman in blasphemy case
Pakistan's Supreme Court has acquitted a Christian woman convicted for blasphemy, prompting protests by far-right groups that have been demanding her execution for years.Aasia Bibi was cleared of all blasphemy charges and authorities were ordered to release her after nine years on death row, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar announced in the capital, Islamabad, on Wednesday. This appeal is allowed.The judgements of High Court, as well as the Trial Court, are reversed. Consequently, the conviction as also the sentence of death awarded to the appellant is set aside and she is acquitted of the charge,"Nisar said. Bibi, 53, a native of the central Pakistan village of Ithan Wali, was accused by 2 Muslim women of having insulted Islam's Prophet Muhammad and the Quran during an argument sparked by their refusal to drink water from the same vessel as her in 2009.She was convicted and sentenced to death by a trial court in Nov.2010, with Lahore High Court upholding her conviction four years later.Rights groups and Bibi's lawyers, however, argued that there were numerous fair trial concerns in her case, one that became emblematic of such concerns in many cases under Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws. Today, judges said they agreed that Bibi had not been tried fairly, noting "glaring and stark" contradictions in the prosecution's evidence, and ordered her immediate release. Justice Asif Khosa, writing in the full verdict, issued shortly after today's announcement, said the truth had not been fully revealed during the trial.Following the announcement, protests broke out in various cities on the call of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a far-right political and religious group led by firebrand Muslim leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi that has long called for Bibi to be executed. TLP leaders, including Rizvi, gathered outside Govt  buildings in the eastern city of Lahore, while smaller groups of protesters blocked roads in the southern city of Karachi, the capital Islamabad and various towns in Punjab province.TLP called for the deaths of the judges who overturned Bibi's sentence, as well as the ouster of PM  Imran Khan's Govt . In the capital Islamabad, hundreds of protesters gathered to block the main Faizabad highway interchange, a key entry point into the city.Aljazeera
Norwegian diplomat to be new UN envoy to Syria
UN chief Antonio Guterres has informed the Security Council that he wishes to appoint Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen as the next special envoy to war-torn Syria."I am pleased to inform you of my intention to announce the appointment of Mr Geir O Pedersen as my Special Envoy for Syria," Guterres wrote in a letter seen by AFP."In taking this decision, I have consulted broadly, including with the Govt of the Syrian Arab Republic," the letter said.aljazeera
US illegally transferring IS suspects from Syria to Iraq for trial: HRW
US forces have been handing over suspected members of the Islamic State (IS) group captured in Syria to authorities in Iraq, where they face torture and botched trials, HRW has said.New York-based organisation said on Thursday that US had transferred suspected members of IS for trials in Baghdad, some of which had already taken place."Prosecuting [IS] suspects is crucial for their countless victims to obtain justice, but that won't be achieved by transferring detainees to abusive situations," HRW's Nadim Houry said."US should not be transferring IS suspects from Syria to Iraq or elsewhere if they will be at risk of torture or an unfair trial."International human rights and humanitarian law prohibits the transfer of detainees to countries where they are at serious risk of torture and mistreatment, the organisation said.middleeasteye
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:47 PM)