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Sunday, 21 October 2018

21 OCT.ND: CBI books its spl Director & Centre's top appointee Asthana for bribing, a setback to Modi Govt image; RAW official under scanner too/Disclose corruption complaints against serving ministers: CIC to PMO/Amritsar Tragedy: Madrasa Students Donate Blood for Injured


NEWS DIGEST, MID-DAY 
21 OCT. 2018: 11 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:37
INDIA
CBI books its spl Director & Centre's top appointee Asthana for bribing, a setback to Modi Govt image; RAW official under scanner too

New Delhi: In an unprecedented development, the consequences of which may singe Modi Govt , CBI has booked its own special director and number-2 in the organisation, Rakesh Asthana, in a bribery case. Asthana, who is named as the prime accused in an FIR that was filed on Oct.15, is alleged to have received kickbacks, amounting to Rs2 crore, from a businessman, Moin Qureshi, to settle a money laundering case against him. FIR also mentions Samant Kumar Goel,a special director at India’s premier external intelligence body, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), as aiding the illegal deal between Asthana and Qureshi. However, the CBI has not named the 1984 batch IPS officer from the Punjab cadre as an accused in the case as yet. His role is currently being probed.Asthana, it is alleged, received bribes through a middleman named Manoj Prasad, who was arrested by CBI’s anti-corruption unit on Oct.16, a day after FIR was filed. CBI officials told The Indian Express that the Dubai-based Prasad admitted, in a statement to the magisterial court, to have paid bribes to Asthana on behalf of Qureshi. He has also reportedly named Goel as the one facilitating the process.CBI is said to have submitted “telephone intercepts, WhatsApp messages, money trail and a statement”– all allegedly pointing towards Asthana’s culpability – to the magistrate.The bribery case goes back to Feb.2014 when Income Tax department raided the office of Qureshi, a meat exporter.His BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) messages showed that he was directly in touch with former CBI director APSingh. Consequently, Singh was forced to resign from his post-retirement sinecure as a member of UPSC. In Feb.2017, CBI registered the case and handed it over to a SIT led by Asthana. Subsequently, in Aug.2017, Moin Qureshi, a meat exporter, was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate under various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He was accused of laundering money for a number of public servants. Asthana’s own role came into question when a Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Satish, who was being probed in the Qureshi corruption case by CBI SIT headed by Asthana himself, gave a statement before a magistrate on Oct.4 that CBI special director was trying to suppress the case against Qureshi in exchange for money.Indian Express reported that Satish named Asthana, Manoj Prasad and his relative, Somesh Srivastava in his statement and “gave details of how he had paid Rs 3 crore over a period of 10 months from Dec.2017 to stay away from CBI case”. Satish, according to the paper report, also claimed that “he was harassed by CBI officers to pay more”. Following his arrest, Prasad, in his statement, has reportedly said that he was paying bribes to Asthana on behalf of Qureshi. He also is said to have alleged that Goel, currently RAW’s number two and in-charge of the spy agency’s West Asia’s desk, met Qureshi quite often in Dubai and helped him get in touch with Asthana. The allegations against Asthana come on the heels of massive infighting within CBI, between the agency’s director, Alok Verma, and his number two. Asthana has accused CBI director of interfering in a corruption case against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav which he is investigating.On the other hand, Verma alleges that Asthana’s charges are “frivolous” and that he is using those as cover to divert attention from the serious accusations against him. Asthana is currently being probed in 6 cases including accepting bribes from the controversial Sterling Bitoech group and jailed journalist-cum-fixer Upendra Rai. Asthana’s appointment on Oct.22,2017 had happened in controversial circumstances. The selection committee comprising the CVC K.V. Chowdary – whose own role was questioned in the investigations related to Sahara-Birla diaries – two vigilance commissioners and the secretaries to the home ministry and the department of personnel and training (DoPT) appointed him unanimously.However, it was then reported that Verma had objected to Asthana’s elevation in the organisation. While CBI director is not a member of the selection committee, Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, under which CBI operates, says that the director has to be compulsorily consulted before appointing any person above the rank of superintendent of police.However, the Supreme Court had then thought that it should not interfere in the Govt  functioning, giving Asthana the benefit of doubt.thewire
Clash within CBI intensifies with case against its number 2 officer
CBI names its No. 2 Asthana as accused No. 1 in bribery case; lens on RAW official
Disclose corruption complaints against serving ministers: CIC to PMO
New Delhi: Central Information Commission has directed PM 's Office (PMO) to disclose complaints of corruption received against Union ministers between 2014 and 2017 and action taken on them.Chief information commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur, while deciding a plea of Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi, also directed the PMO to share information about the quantum and value of black money brought back from abroad during the tenure of Narendra Modi dispensation, along with records of efforts made in this direction. The order asked PMO to disclose information related to deposits made by the Govt  in bank accounts of Indian citizens from the black money brought from abroad.PMO had termed the questions asked by Chaturvedi, in his RTI application related to black money, as not covered in the definition of 'information' which can be accessed under the Right to Information Act, but the commissioner rejected the contention."Respondent (PMO) has wrongly stated in his reply against point nos 4 (black money brought from abroad) and 5 (deposits made in bank accounts of Indian citizens from the black money recovered from abroad) of RTI application that 'request made by the appellant is not covered under the definition of 'information' as per Section 2(f) of RTI Act'," Mathur said while ordering their disclosure.In his RTI application, Chaturvedi had also sought information on various schemes of the BJP Govt  such as 'Make in India', 'Skill India', 'Swachh Bharat' and 'Smart City Project' which were transferred to the ministry concerned by PMO. Not getting satisfactory response from PMO, Chaturvedi filed an appeal before the Central Information Commission, the highest appellate body on RTI matters.During hearing, Chaturvedi told commission that he had sought specific information regarding certified copy of complaints submitted to PM  against corruption of serving union ministers which should be provided to him."Commission further observed that the respondent (PMO) has not given correct and specific reply/information to the appellant on point numbers 1(b) (corruption complaints against ministers), 4, 5, 12 & 13 (related to corruption in AIIMS) of RTI plea," Mathur noted.The commission also directed PMO to disclose action taken on a letter of Chaturvedi alleging corruption against officials of AIIMS and purported role of a union health minister in it.PTI
Amritsar Dussehra Tragedy: Madrasa Students Donate Blood for Injured, Mosque Holds Prayers
Amritsar:In a commendable show of humanity, students from Madrasas here have been asked to donate blood for scores of Hindu brothers and sisters who were wounded in the Dussehra tragedy here on Friday when a train mowed down over 60 people. Meanwhile, the Shahi Jama Masjid in Ludhiana also held a prayer for the recovery of the injured.“All Madrasas in Amritsar have asked their students to donate blood for the people injured in the Dussehra tragedy here and not to let blood supply shortage.They are not merchants of hate who are crying for two days that if there were namazis on the track the incident would not have happened,” tweeted journalist Samir Abbas, popular TV face of News18 Urdu channel.Meanwhile, the Shahi Jama Masjid in Ludhiana held a mass prayer for the recovery of the injured persons.“All are sad at the train tragedy that occurred during Dussehra in Amritsar. At this time of sorrow, we are with the families of those killed or injured,”said Maulana Habibur Rahman Usmani, Shahi Imam of Punjab, in a media statement on Saturday. His mosque sent a copy of the statement and photos of the prayers to Caravan Daily.He also demanded action against the organizers of the event and administrative officers. Reports say that among those killed was Dalbir Singh, who minutes before had played the role of Ravana at the same event. He died while trying to save others as the train rammed into them.caravandaily
No right to use Muslim name: Religious body to activist Rehana Fathima over Sabarimala temple row
Kochi: Activist Rehana Fathima, who had made an attempt to enter the Sabarimala temple, has been expelled from the Muslim community for "hurting the sentiments of lakhs of Hindu devotees", the Kerala Muslim Jama'ath Council said.Initiating action against Ms Fathima, Kerala Muslim Jama'ath Council president A Poonkunju said in a press statement on Saturday that she had been expelled from the community. He said the Council has also directed the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama'ath to expel her and her family from the membership of Mahallu."Her act hurt lakhs of Hindu devotees," the statement said. Pookunju said Ms Fathima, who had participated in the "Kiss of Love" agitation "has no right to use a Muslim name".The activist's house was allegedly vandalised by unidentified people while she was away trying to climb the holy hills on Friday. She made a failed attempt to reach the temple with heavy police protection.The attackers reached Ms Fathima house in Panambilly Nagar here while she was attempting to reach Sabarimala.PTI
Sabarimala protests:Was sure to reach shrine, sought police help as return was unsure:Rehana
Kashmir’s polls: “9 votes were cast, i got 8 votes, I won!”:  the citizen
Srinagar: BJP has managed to open its account in an election battle in Kashmir by winning 100 seats in urban local bodies even as the elections are being described as a ‘farce’ due to dismal, 4% turnout in the Valley. Amid an unprecedented security cover, of 624 seats in 40 municipal bodies across 10 districts of the Valley, officials said polling was held only in 208 seats while 416 seats did not require voting because only one candidate was in fray or there was no candidate at all.“185 wards will remain vacant as no nomination forms were received from there and hence there was no contest,” Shaleen Kabra, J&K’s chief electoral officer, said.While the independents scored maximum victories with 178 wards in Kashmir, Congress came second with 157 wards. In Srinagar Municipal Corporation,49 independent candidates backed by Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference (PC) and ex minister in PDP-BJP coalition Govt , sealed their victories.Junaid Mattu, who resigned from the National Conference to contest as an ‘independent’ candidate, was claimed by Sajad, his former boss on Twitter.“Congratulations to PC Mayoral Candidate @junaid_mattu and the victorious candidates from PC for heralding a new change in Srinagar and thanks to Irfan Ansari and all my senior colleagues for his successful campaign management during the ULB elections,” Sajad tweeted.BJP was contesting on 72 wards in Srinagar but won only four wards while the Congress won 15 wards out of 46 from which the party had fielded its candidates. The election results have given the party a reason to celebrate the victory in not only Kashmir but Jammu too where it was facing infighting and desertions.Defying all the commentary, the party, going by the election results, has strengthened its grip in Hindu-majority Jammu region where it emerged as the single largest party with 212 wards followed by independents with 185 and Congress’s 110 seats.“Maiden century for BJP in Kashmir Valley. Out of 439 Urban Body seats, BJP has won 100.It will be in control of at least six municipal bodies. Hearty congratulations to BJP winners for holding India’s flag high when others simplay surrendered to anti-national forces n ran away (sic),” Ram Madhav, BJP’s general secretary and point-man on Kashmir tweeted.In some cases, the election results were hilarious and entertaining. One candidate, perhaps for the first time in the history of electoral democracy, knew he won the election even before the results were declared, “I already knew that nine votes were polled in my ward of which I got eight, so nothing surprising,” Bashir Mir, who won from Bagh-e-Mehtab, said. thecitizen
Victory after winning just a single vote in farcical J&K civic poll
J&K governor favours fresh assembly polls in state
Srinagar: J&K  governor Satya Pal Malik has favoured holding of early election to the Assembly, saying he does not think a popular Govt  can be formed out of the present house after the collapse of the BJP-PDP coalition dispensation in June.The state has been under governor's rule since PDP president Mehbooba Mufti resigned as CM  in June following the withdrawal of support by the BJP to her Govt. There have been speculations about behind-the-scene efforts to put together a new Govt . No party enjoys a majority in the 87-member Assembly, in which the PDP has 28 MLAs, the BJP 25 and the National Conference 15.Putting such speculations to rest, Malik told PTI in an interview here that he would not be part of any shenanigans.Asked if a popular Govt  can be formed out of the present Assembly, the governor replied, "I don't think so. At least, I will not be part of any 'dhandli' (shenanigans). I have not been given any such indication either by the PM or by any other central leader."To a question on holding of fresh elections to the Assembly whose tenure ends in December 2020, Malik said that he wished that the elections were held at the earliest."The decision will be taken by the Centre and the Election Commission. My job is to discharge dual responsibility (of Governor and administrator) which I will continue to do... I wish that elections are held at the earliest," he said. PTI
JK:3 militants, 6 civilians killed in encounter in Kulgam
Srinagar:3 militants were killed and 2 soldiers injured in an encounter in south Kashmir's Kulgam on Sunday. 6 civilians were also killed in a blast at the encounter site after the operation was called off.A police spokesman said the 3 militants were hiding in Larnoo village of Kulgam and the area was cordoned off in a pre-dawn operation. The search party and the hiding militants established contact early in the morning, triggering an encounter, said the police."3 militants were killed and their identity is being ascertained," said the police. Initial reports suggest two slain militants were from Pakistan and one is local.Two soldiers were also injured in the initial exchange of fire.The injured were evacuated to Army hospital in Srinagar.Meanwhile, 6 civilians, one identified as Ubaid Laway from Laroo, died in an explosion at the encounter site. Laway died immediately, while the others sustained grievous injuries in the blast. Locals said the explosion took place after the security forces and the Army called off the operation and withdrew from the site.thehindu
3 soldiers killed during encounter with Pakistani intruders near Line of Control in J-K
Jammu: 3 soldiers lost their lives in a bloody gunfight with a group of heavily-armed intruders from Pakistan near the Line of Control in J&K’s Rajouri district on Sunday. A fourth soldier, seriously injured in the encounter, has been evacuated to the army command hospital, Udhampur.The intruders, believed to be part of Pakistan’s Border Action Team, had reportedly ambushed the army’s patrol party. Two of the intruders were shot by the soldiers.Defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand said the incident took place at about 1.45 pm.“Indian Army in Sunderbani Sector on the Line of Control had a fierce encounter with heavily armed Pakistani intruders very close to the Line of Control. The patrol killed two intruders and recovered warlike stores including two AK-47 rifles,” he said.Lt Col. Anand said other Indian posts had also acted and effectively cordoned the area. “The search and destroy operation is in progress,” he said.HT
Lawyer-activist at the centre of Kathua row accused of rape, again
Jammu:Bakerwal activist Talib Hussain, who was recently released on bail after spending two months in jail on charges of rape by a close relative of his estranged wife, has been accused of rape by another woman.The Firstpost published an anonymous account Saturday by a woman who alleged she was raped by “a man leading the protests against the Kathua sexual assault”.Account did not name Hussain. Subsequently, in a public statement, senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising announced that she intended to stop appearing on behalf of Talib Hussain, a decision she had taken in “view of full support of the #MeToo movement”.Jaising wrote: “Although the survivor has not named the person who raped her, the obvious reference is to Talib Hussain.” She quoted the “Cab-Rank rule”, and said that “it states that ordinarily no advocate will withdraw from engagements once accepted without sufficient cause. In my opinion the allegations made in the FirstPost article are sufficient cause for me to take the decision to withdraw from this case.”Former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid, who tweeted about the incident naming Hussain, told The Sunday Express: “I don’t know the survivor but the charges made against Talib Hussain in her account are very serious and these warrant action. The police should take suo motu cognizance of the charges. The survivor should know that all of JNU stands with her and she would get all necessary support if she reached out to anyone.”Hussain could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.Hussain shot into prominence after the rape-murder of a Bakerwal girl child led to religious polarisation in the Jammu area, and he spearheaded an agitation seeking justice for the victim. Hussain was attacked at Udhampur, and the Supreme Court ordered the police to protect him.In her statement, Jaising wrote:“My social commitment to the #MeToo movement overrides my professional engagement, and therefore I have taken a conscious decision to stop representing Talib Hussain in any court.”indianexpress
Tripura king’s son to move petition in SC seeking NRC
New Delhi :Pradyot Debbarman, son of the last king of Tripura Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya, will move a writ petition in the Supreme Court on Monday demanding NRC in the state, days after the apex court issued a notice to the Centre on a similar plea. Oct. 8 notice was issued on a plea by a forum called Tripura People’s Front (TPF).Debbarman, working president of the Tripura Congress, said there cannot be “different rules for different states” in India when it comes to citizenship.The demand for a separate state will be negated if NRC is implemented, he said. “Implement NRC and the demand for a separate state will dilute, people demanding Tipraland are doing so because they feel they have lost all rights within the state of Tripura,” he said over telephone. Debbarman was recently appointed the All India Congress secretary for Sikkim, Senior Supreme Court advocate and former Union minister Salman Khurshid will represent Debbarman.indianexpress
Red Fort facelift comes under scrutiny as global body red flags ‘violations’
New Delhi :The current facelift being carried out at Red Fort by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has raised concerns from the global monument conservation body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which has said that a part of the work is being done in violation of international norms. The body has urged ASI to “review the interventions” being carried out at Red Fort.A massive renovation exercise is currently on at the monument, which also includes, as per officials, a new red sandstone pathway being built over the existing quartzite stone pathway near the Chhatta Bazar and Naubat Khana buildings. Conservationists say this is being done in violation of the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) of the Red Fort.On Sunday, PM  Narendra Modi will visit the monument to inaugurate the Azad Hind Museum — dedicated to Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army — and hoist the Tricolour to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Azad Hind Govt . ASI is also planning three other museums in the complex as part of the makeover. Gurmeet Rai, vice-president, ICOMOS, said, “We urge Govt to review these interventions as they are in violation of the originality of the monument. Red Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so best practices in site management plan need to be adopted.”In May, a debate had ensued after Red Fort was “adopted” by Dalmia Group. Less than a month later, ASI earmarked Rs 50 crore for restoration of the monument, including building toilets, providing drinking water, signages, landscaping and horticulture, and illumination of the facade — all that the Dalmia Group, which is to spend Rs 25 crore in five years, had pitched in its vision document to the Ministry of Tourism under the ‘Adopt A Heritage’ scheme. However, Rakesh Lal, Additional Director General, ASI, told The Indian Express, “Dalmia Group is not doing anything inside the complex. Whatever work is being done, it’s being done by ASI.” Lal added that he is not aware of the “exact nature of renovation being carried out inside the complex”. The ASI says it has involved NBCC and CPWD (Central Public Works Department) for the current round of the facelift.In 2003, a PIL was filed in Supreme Court against “the manner in which the Red Fort was being restored by ASI”. Following this, the SC had asked CPWD to stop renovation work, and CCMP was put in place instead. Experts fear the current round of renovations is a rerun of that event.indianexpress
10 vehicles torched in Jharkhand clashes
Ranchi: 10 vehicles were torched and more than 11 people were injured in clashes that broke out between two communities during the idol immersion procession of Goddess Durga in Jharkhand’s Palamau district, police said on Saturday.“Prohibitory (Section 144) orders have been imposed. Additional forces have been deployed. Compensation will be given to those who suffered losses in the clashes,” said Palamau SP Indrajeet Mahta in a press conference.According to the police, tension still prevailed at the Chando and Bakoria villages of Palamau district. 10 people have been arrested.TCN
NIA arrests main accused in Nagrota attack:TOI
timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/nia-arrests-main-accused-in-2016-nagrota-terror-attack-from-igi-airport/articleshow/66299460.cms
New Delhi: NIA has arrested a key absconding accused in 2016 Nagrota attack case, Abdul Hamid Khandey, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here while he was trying to escape to Saudi Arabia via Sri Lanka.A resident of Achhan village in Pulwama district of J&K, Khanday was detained by the immigration authorities on the basis of a lookout circular that NIA had issued against him. According to NIA sources, Khandey had carried out a recce of Army camp to facilitate Jaish-e-Mohammad’s plan to unleash a fidayeen strike there.The other three arrested accused are Sayeed Munir-ul-Hassan Qadri, Tariq Ahmed Dar and Mohd Ashiq Baba. Khandey was working as an accountant for Tariq Ahmed Dar, a timber merchant from Shopian. TOI
NIA’s ‘Most Wanted’ list has 258 names but it badly wants this man
New Delhi :Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin, and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi are some of the high-profile names that figure in NIA’s ‘most wanted’ list. While these Pakistan-based terrorists don’t carry a bounty on their head, NIA has put the maximum reward on a Maoist leader from Telangana. On Saturday, the agency, requesting leads from the public, shared on Twitter a link to the list of ‘most wanted fugitives’.  NIA also assured that the identity of those offering tips will be protected. The list includes a total of 258 fugitives out of which around 15 are women. Most of them have an Interpol notice issued against them and are wanted for carrying out “terror activities”, “training militants” or “planting explosive devices” in the country. Few of them named in the list are Maoists who are wanted for “conspiring to wage war against Govt of India,” and “carrying arms and ammunition and a huge cache of money.” A total of 98 absconders have an RCN issued against them and a red dot beside their picture denotes the same.57 names on the list also carry a bounty on their head. Indian express
Difficult for Cong to come to power on its own: Khurshid
Kolkata :Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid feels it is difficult for the party to come to power on its own in the present situation, but opposition alliance must not be formed at the “cost of containing Congress”. The allies should also be ready to make sacrifices and adjustments for defeating BJP in the 2019 general elections, he told PTI here in an interview.“All our leaders have made it very clear that an alliance (is needed) to change the country’s Govt . BJP must go.Whatever it takes to sacrifice, adjust and negotiate to make the alliance a reality, Congress is willing to do. But it is only fair that it should be the same attitude of other (opposition) parties. The alliance must not be for containing Congress, the alliance must be for removing BJP and we are willing for anything,” Khurshid said. When asked whether it is possible for Congress to come to power on its own, the former external affairs minister said,“it is obviously difficult today”. “If that is the objective (majority on its own) then we will have to work over a period of 5 years. Because you cannot work towards an alliance for three years and then suddenly say we will fight to win (on our own). You have to fight for 5 years. Today we are committed to the alliance and we will do our very best to ensure that the alliance succeeds,” he said.indianexpress
Rebels in Goa BJP call for disbanding state unit
Unhappy with the induction of 2 Congress MLAs - Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte in BJP without proper consultation, founders of the Goa unit of the BJP have called for dissolution of the state unit.As per reliable sources, senior BJP leader and former CM  Laxmikant Parsekar, former speaker Rajendra Arlekar and former minister Dayanand Manderkar have criticised state leadership, demanding a full-time president and re-constitution of the nine-member core committee.It is important to note here that all three senior BJP leaders are part of the core committee, but they were not taken into confidence before the induction of the Congress defectors, told an observer to National Herald. According to the observer, Parsekar and Arlekar have demanded Vinay Tendulkar’s resignation from the post of the president also, citing “one person, one post” formula.However, their demand could not yield any result as Vinay Tendulkar is still holding  the post of Goa BJP president, besides being a member of the Rajya Sabha from Goa.Demanding a new president in place of Vinay Tendulkar, BJP rebels also targeted Vijay Puranik, who is state general secretary (organisation).According to the reports, the BJP rebels have blamed state leadership for “betraying local BJP workers.” Analysts believe that the rebellion by three three most senior leaders in Goa BJP is a sign of ongoing power struggle between two factions – one led by CM Manohar Parrikar and the other led by the old guards.“It shows that the internal feud has reached its climax now,” said observer. According to an insider, although Parrikar’s control over the party remains unshaken, the old guards feel that it is the right time bring about a change.nationalheraldindia
BJP should confess its inability to build Ram temple, says Uddhav Thackeray
Pune :Needling his saffron ally, the ruling BJP on the Ram temple issue yet again, Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday dared BJP to come clean and confess before the public that building Ram Mandir at Ayodhya was not possible for them.“Since 1989, the party has been giving slogans for erecting a Ram temple at Ayodhya. Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had helped BJP by evoking enthusiasm for the temple in Maharashtra. Yet, after all these years, why is the project still in limbo?” Thackeray said, addressing a rally of Shiv Sainiks in the temple town of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district, 200 km from Pune.The Sena chief’s visit comes on the heels of PM Modi’s Shirdi tour last week. Rally marks Thackeray’s start of campaigning for 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “Why keep deceiving people on the Ram Mandir issue? Like all false assurance of Modi Govt, it ought to finally acknowledge that the Ram temple construction assurance, too, was false,” remarked Sena chief, speaking with an eye to steal the hardliner Hindu votes from the BJP.thehindu
Urdu poet Hashim Firozabadi attacked with acid after confronting men for harassing school girl, 3 held
New Delhi :Firozabad police Sunday arrested three people who had allegedly beaten and thrown acid on noted Urdu poet 42-year-old Hashim Firozabadi in Rasoolpur area of Firozabad district on Friday.While his condition is stable, Hashim suffered 15%  burn injuries on the right side of his face and chest. “Arrested persons are Sunny Khan and his two brothers Musaif and Saif, residents of Nala locality.Police is looking for other accused,”said ASP, Firozabad, Rajesh Kumar Singh. He added that medical examination of Hashim is being done by a panel of three doctors.It is alleged that the incident occurred when Firozabadi opposed the men, who used to tease girls passing through Nala locality. Hashim came to know about harassment when few local residents visited him. “A man came to me yesterday and said he won’t send his daughters to school as they are regularly molested by some miscreants who also make obscene phone calls to them. He was scared to go to the police and asked me to talk to miscreants. It’s a result of my attempt,”Hashim was quoted as saying by ANI. However, the assailants escaped from the spot when local residents gathered on hearing the noise. Later, police was informed which rushed Hashim to the hospital. indianexpress
Odisha: 9-yr-old boy's head severed by his brother to appease goddess Durga
Odisha Police has claimed to solve the case of a nine-year-old boy whose severed head was recovered from a riverbed in Bolangir district.The victim, according to police, was murdered by his brother and uncle in order to "appease Durga for the fulfilment of their wishes"."We started the probe suspecting it to be a case of human sacrifice. During the interrogation, one of 2 accused confessed to the crime," Titlagarh SDPO Saroj Mohapatra told reporters.The incident took place on Oct.13 at Sundhimunda village which comes under the jurisdiction of Sindehekela police station in Bolangir district. Superstition and black magic are not new to this part of the country. A similar incident was reported from the region during Durga Puja celebrations last year (2017).In many instances, local tantriks (holy men) are responsible for inciting people to engage in such heinous acts. In many parts of rural Odisha, blind superstition and deep prejudice are still rampant. indiatoday
Dalit man beaten to death in Rajasthan, 2 arrested: police
Jaipur :A 22-year-old Dalit man was allegedly beaten to death by members of another caste in Rajasthan’s Churu district on Thursday, officials said. Police said that while they were investigating reports that the motive behind the attack on Asaram Meghwal (22) was a rumoured love affair between the victim and a girl from another caste, preliminary probe suggests that the cause of the assault was trespass. Meghwal and the accused are residents of the same village, Satra, in Churu district. Two of them have been arrested while one is absconding. “I received a call from an unknown number on Thursday afternoon. The caller said that my brother was brutally beaten and dumped on a road. When I rushed to the spot, I found him grievously injured. He was lying on the road near a house where people from Jangid caste live,” said Hanuman Prasad, Meghwal’s elder brother. Prasad said occupants of the house also threatened him. “I saw residents of the house standing near the gate. When I asked them about my brother, they said that they have beaten him and threatened to assault me as well,” he said.Meghwal’s family members had on Friday staged a protest, seeking Rs 25 lakh as compensation and Govt  job for his kin. They have consent for post-mortem only after officials of the district administration intervened.indianexpress
Buy US-made F-16s to avoid sanctions, Washington tells New Delhi after S-400 deal
ow can India avert the US sanctions following the mega million S-400 Triumf deal? Ahead of the deadline, there are reports that Washington has offered a solution to New Delhi.According to an Indian Express report, the US has told India to buy the F-16 fighter jets to avoid the sanctions.However, the report also added that this offer was made earlier in October and not during meeting between Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her US counterpart James Mattis in Singapore recently. It should be noted that the waiver report comes days after US President Donald Trump had cryptically said that ‘India will soon find out’ about his decision of the sanctions. dnaindia
Prayagraj divides Allahabad
Lucknow:Soon after UP  Cabinet on Monday proposed to change the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj, Akshat Lal Srivastava changed his last name on Facebook. As a mark of protest, the civil service aspirant added “Ilahabadi” to his name, a reference to the faithful of Allahabad. “My message to [CM] Yogi Adityanath is that, ‘You can change the city’s name, but not mine. You cannot kill Allahabad, it is alive through my name’,” said Srivastava. Over the past week, Srivastava has started an online petition and a door-to-door signature campaign to gather support for the continuation of the name Allahabad.“This is the city of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb representing the diverse culture of Hindu-Muslim unity. Making it Prayagraj would appease just one community and fundamentalist groups, and it would damage universal fabric of Allahabad,”read the petition, addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind. Swami Narendra Giri, the head of Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad, body of 13 top Hindu sects in the country, however, welcomed the move, rejecting Allahabad as a “name of slavery.”The decision to rename Allahabad has met with mixed response in the city, with some welcoming it and others calling it an assault on the social fabric of the Sangam city.Zafar Bakht, who runs a prominent career coaching centre near the famous Company Bagh, was depressed by the name change and believed it to be a part of BJP’s agenda to transform India into a “Hindu Rashtra.”Meanwhile, KK Roy, an Allahabad High Court lawyer, said he was drafting a PIL to challenge the Govt  decision. Roy said his plea would be based on a 1975 Govt notification according to which the “names of places of historical importance should not be changed” and on the documented historicity of the location. “Prayag and Illahabad are separate entities. Prayag was a pilgrimage site, Allahabad was a city. It reeks of communal agenda to say that Akbar changed Prayag to Allahabad,” said Roy.thehindu
WORLD
Jamal Khashoggi Was Choked To Death, Says Saudi Official's Latest Account
Riyadh:As Saudi Arabia faced intensifying international scepticism over its story about the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior Govt  official laid out a new version of the death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul that in key respects contradicts previous explanations. The latest account, provided by a Saudi official who requested anonymity, includes details on how the team of 15 Saudi nationals sent to confront Khashoggi on Oct.2 had threatened him with being drugged and kidnapped and then killed him in a chokehold when he resisted. A member of the team then dressed in Khashoggi's clothes to make it appear as if he had left the consulate.After denying any involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi, 59, for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning said he had died in a fistfight at the consulate. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold, which the senior official reiterated.Turkish officials suspect the body of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was cut up but the Saudi official said it was rolled up in a rug and given to a "local cooperator" for disposal.Asked about allegations that Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded, he said preliminary results of the investigation did not suggest that. Saudi official presented what he said were internal Saudi intelligence documents which appeared to describe an initiative to bring dissidents home to Saudi Arabia, including the specific one involving Khashoggi. He also showed testimony from those involved in what he described as the 15-man team's cover-up, and the initial results of an internal probe. He did not provide proof to substantiate the findings of the probe and the other evidence.This narrative is the latest Saudi account that has changed multiple times. Authorities initially dismissed reports that Khashoggi had gone missing inside the consulate as false and said he had left the building soon after entering. When the media reported a few days later that he had been killed there, they called the accusations "baseless."Asked by Reuters why Govt's version of Khashoggi's death kept changing, official said the Govt  initial account was based on "false information reported internally at the time."US President Donald Trump said he is not satisfied with Saudi Arabia's handling of Khashoggi's death and said questions remain unanswered. Germany and France on Saturday called Saudi Arabia's explanation of how Khashoggi died incomplete.Reuters
Amid scepticism, Saudi official provides another version of Khashoggi death
Saudi explanation of Khashoggi death not credible:UK
London:Britain on Sunday said Saudi Arabia's account of the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its Istanbul consulate was not credible and the culprits must be “held to account”.“I don't think it's credible,” Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC, adding there was a “serious question mark over the account that has been given”.“We support the Turkish investigation into it, and the British Govt wants to see people held to account for that death.”AFP
Saudi official gives new version of Khashoggi killing: Report
Khashoggi killing: All eyes on Turkey as calls for answers mount
After more than two weeks of denials, Saudi Arabia admitted that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.In a statement read out on state media - in the middle of the night, on a weekend - the Saudi attorney general's office claimed the 59-year-old died in a "brawl".18 men were in custody over the killing, the kingdom said, as it also announced the sacking of two top aides of MBS as well as three other intelligence officials.However, the admission, which came amid increasing pressure on Riyadh, has done little to ease international demands for accountability. After Turkey said it would not allow a "cover-up", Germany called Saudi account "inadequate" while the UN stressed the need for "a thorough and transparent investigation".Rights groups, meanwhile, urged the UN to get involved in the probe, saying they were worried about a "Saudi whitewash" of the circumstances around Khashoggi's killing.aljazeera
Trump decides to terminate decades-old N- arms treaty with Russia
New Delhi :US President Donald Trump has announced to terminate the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, a decision that may lead to an arms race across Europe similar to that of the 1980s when the agreement was initially signed. “Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,” Trump told CNN.The treaty, signed on Dec.8, 1987, by ex US President Ronald Reagan and USSR General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, required both countries to eliminate ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between approximately 300 and 3,400 miles. It did not cover sea-launched missiles. Offering protection to the United States’ European allies, the treaty was a watershed agreement between two nations at the centre of an arms race during the Cold War.Trump also wondered why his predecessor Barack Obama did not negotiate or pull out of the treaty earlier. “And I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to, we’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honoured the agreement. But Russia has not, unfortunately, honoured the agreement. So we’re going to terminate the agreement. We’re gonna pull out,” he said.indianexpress
Maldives SC upholds president's vote defeat
Colombo:Maldives' top court on Sunday ended weeks of uncertainty by rejecting President Abdulla Yameen's controversial bid to annul last month's election results, upholding his landslide defeat to an opposition candidate. 5-judge Supreme Court bench unanimously ruled that Yameen had failed to prove his claim that the election was rigged and a fresh poll was necessary in the Indian Ocean archipelago.Under international pressure, Yameen initially conceded defeat after Ibrahim Mohamed Solih emerged the winner in the September 23 poll.But the strongman ruler then filed an appeal this month, throwing the island nation into turmoil and attracting warnings from the United States and regional superpower India to respect the outcome. AFP
Israel delays Palestinian village Khan al-Ahmar demolition order
Israel has announced it was putting on hold the demolition of a Palestinian Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank for a "short, fixed period of time". In a statement made by Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday following a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, he said Khan al-Ahmar will soon be "evacuated"."This is the decision of the court, this is our policy and it will be implemented," Netanyahu told reporters."I don't intend to postpone it until further notice contrary to what has been reported, but [make it happen] within a short, fixed period of time. The duration we will give to evacuate it in consent will be decided by the cabinet."Khan al-Ahmar, located northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, has been under threat of demolition for the past few months.Netanyahu's remarks came a day after sources in the PM 's office told Israeli daily Haaretz that the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar will be delayed until further notice.aljazeera
DRC rebels kill 13, abduct a dozen children in Ebola epicentre
Congolese rebels have killed 13 civilians and abducted a dozen children in an attack at the centre of the latest deadly Ebola outbreak, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's military said.Allied Democratic Forces rebels attacked Congolese army positions and several neighbourhoods of Beni in the DRC on Saturday and into Sunday, a senior army official told AP.The rebels have killed hundreds of civilians in recent years and are just one of several rebel groups active in the DRC's far northeast.aljazeera
Afghanstan extends voting after polling stations fail to open
Afghanistan's electoral commission said it was extending voting in the country's parliamentary election to Sunday after several polling stations failed to open.The extension was due to lack of voter materials at some polling stations or problems with the electronic voter system, Independent Election Commission (IEC) said on Saturday.Polling stations across country opened at 7am  and are set to close at 4pm."The polling centres that opened later than 7am will remain open until 8pm. The polling sites that remained closed until 1pm, will be opened tomorrow and people can cast their vote tomorrow. No one's vote will be wasted," Abdul Badi Sayad, the electoral commission chief, told a press conference in Kabul.Meanwhile, several polling stations across the country were targeted by explosions.In Kabul's PD15 district, an IED explosion killed one police officer and injured a civilian and a policeman, a spokesman for the city's police chief said.In Kunar province, two women were killed as they were heading to a polling station in Manogi district, said Aziz Ulrahman Sapay, a health official.2 other people were also killed in Kunduz province, a security source said.Al Jazeera
Deadly suicide bomber strikes polling station in Afghan capital
A suicide bomber blew himself up in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 15 people as voting concluded in parliamentary elections that were overshadowed by the threat of attacks and serious organisational problems.Voting should have been concluded by the time the attacker struck in an area to the north of Kabul, but polling stations were kept open longer than normal to cope with large numbers of people who had been unable to vote.10 civilians and 5 police officers were killed when the bomber tried to enter a polling station and more than 25 were wounded, a senior security official said.The attack appeared to have been the most serious of a day marked by a series of smaller-scale incidents that caused dozens of casualties across the country.There was no immediate claim of responsibility.aljazeera
Afghanistan: Roadside bomb blast kills 11 in Nangarhar
At least 11 people, including 6 children and a woman, were killed in a roadside IED blast in Afghanistan, a provincial official said. The roadside bomb struck a vehicle on Sunday in the Nangarhar's Mamand area of Achin district that was carrying civilians, Attahullah Khogyani, spokesperson for the provincial governor, said.No one immediately claimed the attack.
Coalition airstrikes kill 22 civilians in eastern Syria
At least 22 civilians have been killed in US-led coalition airstrikes in eastern Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor province, according to local sources on Saturday, reports Anadolu Agency.The sources said a coalition airstrike targeted a mosque in the town of al-Susah in eastern Deir Ez-Zor during the weekly Friday prayer, killing 16 people.6 more civilians were killed in another strike that hit a local religious institute in Hajin city in the same province, the sources added.Hajin has been the scene of constant clashes between YPG/PKK and IS.Since Wednesday, 65 civilians have been killed in Deir Ez-Zor province in airstrikes carried out by the US-led international coalition. On Thursday,30 civilians, including two children, were killed in a coalition airstrike on Ammar ben Yasir mosque in Al-Susah. 13 more people were killed in the same town on Wednesday.MEMO
55 dead after market row in northern Nigeria: presidency
55 people were killed this week in clashes between young Christians and Muslims in northern Nigeriafollowing a dispute in a market, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday.Sources told AFP fighting broke out between Hausa Muslim and Adara Christian youths in the town of Kasuwan Magani's market following a dispute among wheelbarrow porters.2 people were said to have been killed in the market fracas on Thursday. The violence was temporarily halted by police but Adara youth later mobilised and attacked Hausa residents, burning homes, the sources added."Most of the killings were done in the second attack which took the Hausa community off guard," said Muhammadu Bala, a Kasuwar Magani resident who lost his home.In a statement the presidency said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the latest communal violence in Kasuwan Magani in Kaduna State which claimed 55 lives.”AFP
Woman asked to shun hijab at workplace or resign in Pak
A woman worker of a software firm in Pakistan was told to either stop wearing hijab at workplace or resign, in perhaps the first incident of its kind in the Muslim-majority country.The incident caused an uproar on social media, leading to the resignation of CEO Jawwad Kadir of the Creative Choas company. She was told that she could keep her job only if she took off her hijab by her line manager who said that wearing hijab would spoil the company’s image as an “all-embracing” workplace.The woman said that she was offered alternative jobs in two Islamic banks if she left. Kadir initially tried to downplay the incident by issuing an apology. “Yesterday, a senior member of our staff asked a colleague to resign on unprofessional and unethical grounds. She was told that her obligations may come in the way of her performance,”Kadir said.“Not only is this action disgraceful but shows extremely poor moral judgement by her hiring manager.I take full responsibility for this failure and am deeply ashamed that a colleague was put through distress and trauma,” he said.PTI
17 killed in Taiwan rail accident: authorities
More than 70 people had also been injured in the accident in northeastern Yilan county.At least 17 people have died after a train derailed and flipped over in Taiwan Sunday, authorities said. Taiwan Railways Administration confirmed the toll and said more than 70 people had also been injured in the accident in northeastern Yilan county.At least 5 carriages had flipped over and were lying on their side, according to AFP reporter.AFP

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