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Thursday, 1 November 2018

01 Nov. ND: Assam NRC: SC extends deadline to Dec.15, allows 5 additional documents/ Bribery case: In possession of ‘incriminating’ documents against Asthana, CBI tells Delhi HC/Delhi Minority panel's says no terror funding in construction of mosque in Haryana; finds many holes in NIA Theory


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
01 Nov. 2018: 22 Safar 1440: Vol: 11, No:47
INDIA
Assam NRC: SC extends deadline to Dec.15, allows 5 additional documents
New Delhi :The Supreme Court today extended the deadline for filing claims and objections of people whose names were not included in the final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) to Dec. 15 and also allowed claimants to rely on 5 additional documents, beside the 10 permitted earlier, which were objected by NRC coordinator, subject to “rigorous verification”.A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi rejected the concerns of forgery and photoshop which State coordinator Prateek Hajela had raised initially in his report to the court. Many stakeholders, including Assam Govt, had demanded inclusion of all 15 documents in their affidavits.5 documents that Hajela had requested court to exclude from his report are 1951 NRC, voter lists up to March 24,1971, citizenship certificates, refugee registration certificates and ration cards issued prior to March 24, 1971.The SC also fixed a timeline for issuance of notice to claimants as Jan.15  and verification of documents as Feb.1, reported PTI.Over 40 lakh people had been excluded from the final NRC draft published on July 30 and have been given an option to file fresh claims. Read| 60-day window to file claims by those left out of draft NRCEarlier a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and RF Nariman set a date for filing claims and objections beginning Sept.25 for 60 days. indianexpress
For Assam Citizens' List, Deadline Extended, 5 More Documents Allowed
Assam govt demands re-verification of NRC draft
Guwahati: Govt  in Assam has reiterated its demand for a sample re-verification to ascertain the credibility of the complete draft NRC, citing flaws in the design of the process and possible misuse of documents by illegal immigrants.A similar demand for a complete re-verification has been made by the Assam Public Works in the Supreme Court.“The recent report submitted by state coordinator to the SC is an admission of the lacunae in the design of the exercise,” LS Changsan, principal secretary at the home and political department, said on Wednesday,adding the state Govt has submitted an affidavit in the SC which is monitoring the process.HT
Bribery case: In possession of ‘incriminating’ documents against Asthana, CBI tells Delhi HC
New Delhi :Opposing Special Director Rakesh Asthana’s petition to quash an FIR against him, CBI Thursday told the Delhi High Court that the allegations against him show cognizable offences, and that it was in possession of several incriminating documents against him and others in the case, PTI has reported. CBI also told the high court that it was handicapped as certain files were being scrutinised by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The high court had earlier pulled up the CBI on Monday for not filing a reply to the petition. Asthana had moved court seeking quashing of an FIR lodged against him and 3 others on Oct.15 under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act.Asthana is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 3 crore to avoid action by CBI in an investigation against meat exporter Moin Qureshi. An accused in this case, Hyderabad-based businessman Sana Sathish Babu, had said that Asthana, among others, accepted the bribe, according to an FIR registered on Oct. 15.Asthana has alleged that this FIR showed “how the highest officer of the premier investigating agency of the country” was trying to falsely implicate him, the second most senior officer of the agency, to hide his “own criminal misconduct of influencing investigations in exchange for money”.CBI’s statement in the High Court comes a day after the agency told a local court in Delhi that it cannot find Babu. CBI’s new investigating officer in the bribery case Satish Dagar Wednesday said: “The complainant (Sana) was not available and he did not turn up against the summons issued… We could not get anything other than what is already there (against Kumar).”indianexpress
Asthana named after ASG’s ‘favourable’ opinion: No prior approval needed for FIR
New Delhi :In pursuing the matter at the heart of the ongoing controversy in CBI, naming its special director Rakesh Asthana as an accused in an FIR of bribery a fortnight ago, the agency had sought and received a favourable opinion from the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) that no “prior approval of the competent authority” was required under Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018.In response to specific queries sent by the CBI without naming anyone, ASG PS Narasimha said in a detailed reply that “for clarity, I reiterate that registration of FIR/ PE [preliminary enquiry] will not await the previous approval required under Section 17A”.This opinion of Oct. 15, which has been accessed by Indian Express, led to Asthana being named accused in an FIR filed by CBI the same evening.indianexpress
Delhi Minority panel's says no terror funding in construction of mosque in Haryana; finds  many holes in NIA Theory
New Delhi: A fact-finding committee of Delhi Minorities Commission has stated that it has “not come across any evidence to state that terror-funding was received for the construction of Khulafa-e-Rashideen Masjid” in Palwal district of Haryana. The committee was constituted after recent media reports had quoted NIA as stating that it had been funded by terror outfit LeT-linked charity Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF). The committee was constituted by DMC as one of the accused in the case, the Imam of the mosque Mohammad Salman, was a resident of Basti Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi and with regard to him, the NIA had been quoted as saying that he was “among the arrested accused” and that “money was allegedly being distributed” by him.Comprising well-known human rights activist Ovais Sultan Khan as coordinator, ex member of Delhi Minorities Commission A.C. Michael, advocate and human rights activist Abu Bakr Sabbaq and member of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, Sardar Gurminder Singh Matharu, fact-finding committee toured the area and met the police, administration and panchayat officials, as well as other citizens.In its report, the panel said it was on Oct.15 that the media reported the alleged case of terror-funding related to construction of Masjid in Palwal’s Uttawar village.“The reports were based on a NIA source. It was reported that NIA probe has led investigators to at least six instances where funds from terror outfit LeT-linked charity FIF were distributed through a “hawala” network among poor families in Haryana’s Mewat region to build goodwill for the terror group,” the committee recorded. It further stated that NIA officials were quoted by the media as saying that “we suspect that the charity was done to create a base for Lashkar or FIF activities in the area. The idea was to generate goodwill by distributing money for organising weddings and the Masjid – to be encashed at the right opportunity”.The agency also claimed that it had “found records of around Rs 70 lakh being sent to India in instalments by FIF network” and that it had “seized books from the office of Masjid to verify its accounts.” Further, unnamed officials were quoted as saying that “money for construction of Masjid may have been given by others in the area as well, but we believe that part of the funds came from FIF”.The committee said the mosque was searched by NIA officers on Oct.3, just days after the agency arrested 3 men, including Mohammed Salman.The panel said it was also reported by a section of the media that in Uttawar village few buy the NIA story and most believe it is a result of a court battle between the villagers and some families occupying the masjid land. It said Khalid Hussain, who was present at the mosque when it was searched and is the son of former Uttawar headman Akhtar Hussain, was quoted as saying that “because we are trying to evict them, it appears someone has given this wrong information to the police. No one in the village can believe such a thing. Salman comes from a very reputed family in the village. No one from his family has ever had a criminal case against them.”The committee recorded how during its visit to the region, it learnt from many that even Hindus had contributed to the construction of the mosque. It noted that the village has a population of about 25,000 of which about 85% are Muslims and that it had a history of communal harmony.the wire
No terror funding in construction of mosque in Haryana: Delhi govt panel
Sanatan Sanstha faces heat as Maharashtra relooks old blasts case
Mumbai:Hindu right-wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha, whose members are under investigation for the murders of left-wing intellectuals and rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh, is facing fresh trouble over bomb blasts in Mumbai and Goa more than ten years ago.According to sources here, ATS of the Maharashtra Police has questioned several past and present members of the Sanstha regarding the bomb blasts in Mumbai and Goa in 2008 and 2009. Crude bombs were set up in theatres in Thane and Navi Mumbai where plays and the movie Jodha Akbar, opposed by outfit, were featured. 2 Sanstha members who were arrested in the case were subsequently acquitted.Similarly in 2009, crude bombs that were to be planted at a Diwali celebration in Goa exploded while being transported. 2 members of the organisation lost their lives in the incident.Sources say the recovery of explosives from premises of a Sanstha activist near Mumbai last August has led investigators to look into the 2008 blasts case in Maharashtra as well. Police officials had earlier said that members of Sanstha and the Hindu Jangruti Samiti were planning to set off bombs at the Sunburn Music Festival in Pune.Several members of the organisation have been arrested so far and are being questioned by police teams from Maharashtra and Karnataka.tribuneindia
Time's up for Sanatan Sanstha? Maharashtra govt to reopen case after incriminating evidence emerges
Bhima Koregaon violence: Relief from arrest to Navlakha, two others till Nov.21
New Delhi :Bombay High Court today extended interim protection from arrest to human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde and activist Stan Swamy till Nov.21, for their alleged Maoist links. The court was hearing a petition moved by Navlakha, Teltumbde and Swamy seeking that FIRs lodged against them by the Pune police in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence be quashed.On August 29, 5 activists — Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha — were put under house arrest following an apex court order. Earlier, the court had restrained Pune police from arresting the activists until Nov. 1. Stan Swamy was also granted relief till Oct. 31. Lawyer Yug Mohit Chaudhry, who is contesting for Navlakha, told the court that the Pune police have arrested eminent people and distinguished scholars but no evidence has been produced before any court.indianexpress
Rafale deal: SC admits petition naming Modi as respondent in CBI probe
                                                https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/corruption/rafale-deal-sc-admits-petition-naming-modi-as-accused-in-his-personal-capacity
Supreme Court has admitted a petition, which names Narendra Modi as a private individual as one of the four respondents in the Rs 60,000 crore Rafale deal. The petition, filed by lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma on Oct.10, was on Wednesday clubbed with other 3 other petitions, all demanding a CBI probe into the controversial 36-fighter jet deal.In his petition,listed as 225-2018, Sharma has argued that allegations of corruption in the deal with France warranted a CBI probe against Modi in a personal capacity, and not as a PM. Former Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar, businessman Anil Ambani and France’s Dassault Aviation have been named as other three respondents in the petition.A notice to the effect has been issued by the top court to the Govt.“It must be first decided if allegations of corruption against Modi amount to any cognisable offence. If they do, then case against Modi and others must proceed,” said Sharma. The court noted that the Govt , in accordance with its Oct. 10 order, had placed before it in a sealed envelope the decision-making process that went behind in choosing Reliance Defence as Dassault’s offset partnerThe other petitons in the matter have been filed by former union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie.nationalheraldindia
Post-Rafale, Inactive Anil Ambani Company Made Rs 284 Crore Profit With Dassault Investment:The Wire
New Delhi: Even as Dassault Aviation and Anil Ambani’s Reliance group battle allegations that extra-commercial considerations drove their joint venture on Rafale, regulatory filings in France and India reveal that the French defence major followed its JV with an investment in 2017 of approximately 4 million euros in another Anil Ambani venture that is loss making and has almost zero revenues. The investment translated into a Rs 284 crore profit for the Ambani group company, Reliance Airport Developers Limited (RADL).It is unclear how valuation for RADL stake was reached between the two groups or why Dassault would buy a substantial share in an unlisted company that has little to no revenues and has nothing to do with Dassault’s core business.Public filings by Reliance Infrastructure, a Reliance ADAG group company, show that it sold a 34.7% stake in RADL, a wholly owned subsidiary, to Dassault Aviation in FY 2017-18. The terms of the sale are not known but Reliance said it made a profit of Rs 284.19 crore on the sale of 24,83,923 shares which had a face value of Rs 10 each.Reliance Airport Developers posted losses of Rs 10.35 lakh for the financial year ending March 2017 and earned revenues of Rs 6 lakh. In the year ending March 2016, the firm had no revenues and posted losses of Rs 9 lakh.thewire
RBI Governor Urjit Patel should work in sync with the Govt  or resign:RSS affiliate
RBI Governor Urjit Patel should work in sync with the Centre or should resign, the head of RSS’s economic wing has said. Ashwani Mahajan said that Patel should restrain his officials from making the differences between the Govt  and the central bank public.Govt  has reportedly been upset about a remark by one of Patel’s deputies, Viral Acharya, on Friday,when he warned that undermining a central bank’s independence was “potentially catastrophic”.On Wednesday however, the Finance Ministry issued a statement in support of the central bank’s autonomy.Mahajan said: “If he [Patel] doesn’t follow discipline, it would be better for him to resign.” Mahajan, co-convenor of RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch, opposed the appointment of foreign-trained economists at the central bank, and said one of the “talented persons with nationalist vision” on RBI board can replace Patel if he resigned.Swadeshi Jagran Manch’s senior leader S Gurumurthy was appointed to RBI board in Aug.Mahajan added that RBI’s higher interest rates were hitting small businesses.“RBI is adamant, ignoring India’s ground realities,” he said. Mahajan said if there is any disagreement with the Finance Ministry, then it should be expressed at the RBI’s board meeting, but not publicly. “This entire talk of central bank’s independence is a western concept,” he said. “It is not acceptable and feasible here. India is a developing country, our main priority is employment and growth of small scale industries. RBI should stand with Govt on these issues.”scroll.in
Demonetisation broke Maoists’ backbone, exposed ‘urban Naxals’:BJP think tank’s study
Modi Govt ’s decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes in Nov. 2016 “broke the backbone of left-wing extremists”, says a report published by BJP’s think tank. Public Policy Research Centre’s study titled “Demonetisation: Impact on Combating Naxalism” was released on Wednesday. Nov.8 marks the second anniversary of the note ban exercise.A research team visited the Maoist-affected areas of Chhattisgarh to carry out the study in Bijapur, Sukma, Rajnandgaon and Narayanpur, and spoke to the Adivasis and surrendered Maoists, the report claimed. The report was released weeks before Assembly elections in BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh on Nov.12 and Nov.20. The votes will be counted on Dec.11.scroll.in
UP : Pastors thrashed, held on suspicion of ‘conversion’, Hindu activists booked
Lucknow :A day after a group of pastors were arrested — who were assaulted allegedly by VHP and Bajrang Dal workers over rumours that they were converting Hindus to Christianity at an Agra hotel — an FIR was registered against the assailants at Tajganj police station Wednesday.Pastor Ravi Kumar, complainant in the assault case, claimed they were being framed in the conversion case.7 pastors were earlier arrested on charges of promoting enmity between two groups. In the evening, they were released on personal bond. SHO of Tajganj police station Vinod Kumar said, “Today, Kumar and others lodged a cross-FIR in the matter against workers of a Hindu organisation.”“FIR has been lodged against eight named and 15 unidentified people. No one has been arrested so far. Raids are being carried out to trace them,” he added.Pastor Kumar said, they were holding meeting at Samobar Hotel to chalk out plans for Christmas. Meeting was called under the banner ‘UP family church’, in which pastors from Kerala were also present.“While the meeting, which was also attended by women and children, was going on, workers of VHP and Bajrang Dal entered and started abusing us. They assaulted us with sticks, tore our clothes and damaged our musical instruments,” said Kumar, adding that 3 persons were injured. “Half an hour later, police arrived and took 14 of us, including 3 women to the police station. We were released late evening.” FIR against the pastors were lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by one Sunny Banswar. Hotel manager Tejveer Singh said, “allegation of conversion is false. The people who had gathered were enjoying music and were busy in conversation. I have no idea how the attackers came to know about the meeting”.indianexpress
Chandrababu meets Rahul, says coming together is ‘democratic compulsion’
New Delhi :Terming it a “democratic compulsion”, TDP chief and Andhra Pradesh CM  Chandrababu Naidu Thursday met Congress president Rahul Gandhi at the latter’s residence in a bid to drum up opposition support to take on the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha elections. “We have to save the nation and defend democracy. It is a democratic compulsion and we have joined together to protect our country,” Naidu said. Emphasising the need for opposition parties to unite against the saffron party, Rahul said, “We had a very good meeting. The gist was that we have to defend the democracy and future of the country. So, we are coming together to work together; all opposition forces must unite.” Congress leader added, “We are not going to get into the past. We are going to talk about the present and the future. Opposition forces need to come together to provide a vision to the country because of the current situation.”indianexpress
Ramanagara bypoll: BJP candidate against Karnataka CM’s wife pulls out, returns to Congress
Bengaluru :In a major embarrassment for the BJP, two days before Ramanagara assembly bypoll, its candidate against CM  HD Kumaraswamy’s wife quit the contest on Thursday and returned to the Congress.With BJP’s L Chandrashekhar withdrawing his candidature for the Nov.3 polls, Kumaraswamy’s wife Anita Kumaraswamy, is expected to have a smooth sail facing a virtual no-contest.Announcing his decision to return to his “mother party,”Congress, Chandrashekhar accused BJP and its leaders of “abandoning” him after giving him the ticket. “After welcoming me to the BJP by giving party flag, Yeddyurappa (state BJP chief) or any other leaders did not join me for campaigning. They neglected Ramanagara due to internal squabble between the leaders within the party,” he told reporters. Alleging Yeddyurappa did not even answer his phone calls, Chandrashekhar said, he was worried about his political future in the BJP and hence decided to withdraw from the poll fray.“Saddened about the attitude of leaders and system that exists within the BJP, I have decided not to have any association with the party, I’m returning to my mother party Congress,” he said, with Bengaluru rural Congress MP DK Suresh seated next to him. Chandrashekhar, son of a senior Congress leader C M Lingappa, had joined BJP as the Congress decided to support the candidate of its ruling coalition partner, JD(S). Within days after joining BJP, he was announced as the party’s candidate.PTI
China dismisses India’s protests over PoK bus service, says Kashmir position unchanged
Beijing:China said on Thursday it wasn’t aware of India’s protests against a Sino-Pakistan bus service through PoK as part a bilateral economic corridor, arguing that the service will not change its stand on Kashmir.The bus service between Kashgar in China’s far-western Xinjiang province and Lahore is expected to be launched on Nov. 3 during Pakistan PM  Imran Khan’s high-profile visit to the country.India has protested the move, saying it’s a violation of its territorial sovereignty. The Chinese foreign ministry, however, played down India’s concerns.“As for the bus service, I have not heard of the relevant information and I have not heard of complaints,” Lu Kang, the foreign ministry spokesperson, said at the regular ministry briefing on Thursday.Media reports from Pakistan said the bus service is part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship venture under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-billion dollar connectivity project launched by President Xi Jinping.“I have taken many questions regarding CPEC. It is an economic cooperation project between China and Pakistan and not targeted at any third party. It has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and it will not affect China’s principled position on the issue of Kashmir,”he said.China’s stand, Lu said, is that the “…cooperation between China and Pakistan has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not affect China’s principled position on Kashmir,”he said.A Pak company has been quoted by media as saying the bus will run from Lahore to Kashgar 4 days a week.HT
India objects to Pakistan-China proposed bus service via PoK, says it ‘violates territorial integrity’
J-K: Two militants killed, one soldier injured in encounter in Budgam
2 militants were killed in an encounter with security forces today in J&K’s Budgam district, according to a statement issued by the Indian Army. Police said one soldier was also injured in the incident.“Security forces launched a search operation based on credible inputs about the presence of terrorists in Zagoo locality of Khansahib area of the district. During the operation, militants opened fire on the search party, prompting the security forces to retaliate. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were neutralised. The security forces also recovered various incriminating material, including arms and ammunition from the site,” police official said.The slain militants were identified as Mukhtar Ahmad Khan, a resident of Arizal in Budgam and Mohammad Amin Mir of Pampore in Pulwama.“They were both involved in a series of terror attacks on security establishments in the area,”official said.indianexpress
All Attempts Were Made To Suppress Hashimpura Case, Yet Justice Prevailed: Muslim Leaders
New Delhi:Muslim leaders have welcomed the Delhi High Court verdict in the Hashimpura killing case. Talking to Caravan Daily, they said this verdict will strengthen the community’s trust and confidence in the judiciary and Constitution. While saying that if the judgement had come earlier it would have been better, they have demanded adequate compensation for the victim families.“Better late than never, said Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Chairman, Delhi Minorities Commission. “They tried best to suppress the case.But some evidences emerged that they got caught in. Otherwise, UP Govt had tried best to bury the case, they were not allowing the accused to appear before the court.Govt  would say that it does not know them even though they were in Govt  service. System made its effort but court did its work and punished them. It is good though it is late,” said Dr Khan. Navaid Hamid, head, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat demanded that the Govt  should award compensation to families of those killed in Hashimpura incident in 1987. Salim Engineer, Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind said, “We welcome it though it has come very late. Still we are satisfied. If it had come early it would have been better. Justice has been delivered very late, still we will say it has been delivered. This verdict has strengthened the trust of people in the judiciary and justice system.” “We want that similar justice should be delivered in other such killings like Gujarat riots so that people’s trust and confidence is further strengthened in judiciary,” he said.caravandaily
1987 Hashimpura massacre case: ‘We survived bullets but wait for justice killed us’
Telangana polls:SIO seeks strict RTE, filling vacant posts
Hyderabad: Students Islamic Organisation released a Student Manifesto and demanded that political parties pay heed to students demands.They demanded strict implementation of Right to Education Act, filling of vacant posts of teachers in varsities and an increase in the Gross State Domestc Product towards Education. The student’s alleged that the sudents’ role in Telangana movement has been forgotten after the bifurcation.Deccan Chronicle.
Minority quota admissions: No Reservation for sub-sects: Kerala HC
Kochi: Minority quota available in minority educational institutions cannot be subdivided on the basis of sects or other groups within the religion, the high court has ruled. The ruling came from a bench of Justice K Surendra Mohan and Justice Shircy V after considering three petitions filed by managements of 2 minority educational institutions and students.It was contended by the petitioners, including Karuna Medical College and Travancore Medical College, that the right of minority communities to establish and administer educational institutions as per Article 30(1) of the Constitution includes the freedom of choice of candidates. Refuting this, bench said the term ‘minority’ means a community notified as such by Central Govt  as per Section 2(c) of National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. Thus, Muslims have been classified as one community. No sub-sect or denomination within finds a place in the notification, the court pointed out.The right of unaided professional colleges to admit students of their choice is subject to a selection that is merit-based, transparent, fair and non-exploitative as per a 2016 SC decision, the court said. In the case of Karuna Medical College, 35 seats were earmarked for the college trust and its dependent trusts. The court said the ‘dependents of the trust’ are not indicative of any definite class or category of persons. Any person could be brought within the umbrella and allowing admissions thus would denude the admission process of transparency, the judgment said. Other categories mentioned in the seat matrix relate to even Muslim political organizations like Jamaat-e-Islami, which also cannot be permitted, the court added.Of the 60 minority seats, Travancore Medical College has sought 10 for Sunni Muslims, 20 for Muslim Shafi Madhab, 10 for Hanafi Madhab, 10 for Mujahid jamaaths, and 10 for Jamaath-e-Islami.TOI
Plea filed in HC seeks to end gender discrimination, entry of women,men in all places of worship
New Delhi: After Supreme Court’s landmark judgement on Sabarimala which allowed women below 55 years to enter the hill shrine, a PIL has been filed before Delhi High Court seeking orders to allow women of all ages to enter all temples, mosques, churches and pray along with men. The plea also calls for opening up of 'women only' Attukal temple and Kamakhya temple for entry of men.The plea also says women should not be barred from being ordained as priests in temples, churches should be allowed to lead prayers in mosques, ANI reported. The move comes after a Hindu group recently filed a PIL in the Kerala High Court seeking directive to the Centre for issuing an order enabling Muslim woman to enter mosques for offering prayers, PTI reported.  TOI
Physically disabled people can now go for Haj: Centre to HC
New Delhi: Centre today told the Delhi High Court that it has amended its Haj policy and differently-abled people are no longer barred from performing annual pilgrimage. The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice I S Mehta, which was also told that only people with serious illnesses, like cancer or tuberculosis, are barred from the pilgrimage. Central Govt  standing counsel Ajay Digpaul, appearing for the Ministry of Minority Affairs, told the court that the Haj Committee of India (HCOI) has “unanimously decided to allow persons with special needs to apply” for the pilgrimage under the general category.Digpaul said on selection, such a person with special needs can perform Haj if he or she can undertake the journey on their own or else they may be accompanied by an able-bodied person who will have to be a blood relation and will take responsibility of the differently-abled individual during the pilgrimage.HT
Stubble burning in Punjab solely responsible for rising Delhi pollution: Kejriwal
Chandigarh :Delhi CM  Arvind Kejriwal said stubble burning in Punjab was the sole reason behind the rising pollution levels in the national capital as he slammed the Centre for failing to provide straw management machinery to the farmers.PTI
WORLD
Khashoggi Strangled, Cut Into Pieces On Entering Consulate: Prosecutor
Ankara: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and then dismembered as part of a premeditated plan, Turkey's chief prosecutor said Wednesday, making details of the murder public for the first time.The revelations came just hours after Saudi Arabia's chief prosecutor left Istanbul, and the Turkish prosecutor's office said it was "obliged" to reveal the details after the talks produced "no concrete results".Gruesome reports in the Turkish media had previously alleged that Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Washington Post contributor critical of the powerful Saudi crown prince, had been killed and cut into pieces by a team sent from Riyadh to silence him. His body has not been found.AFP
Prince Turki Al-Faisal :Saudi Demonisation Amid US Outcry Over Khashoggi Murder
Washington: The outcry in US demonising Saudi Arabia over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in kingdom's consulate in Istanbul threatens US-Saudi strategic ties, the former Saudi intelligence minister warned."We value our strategic relationship with the US and hope to sustain it. We hope the US reciprocates in kind," royal family member Prince Turki bin Faisal al Saud said in an address to the National Council on US-Arab Relations, a non-profit advocacy organisation.Turki, to whom Khashoggi once served as an adviser, has also served as an ambassador to London and Washington. His speech denouncing what he called "demonisation of Saudi Arabia" clearly carried Riyadh's imprimatur, as he heads an Islamic research centre named after his father, the late King Faisal.Some U.S. lawmakers have accused the crown prince of ordering Khashoggi's death - a charge that Riyadh denies - and threatened sanctions. US commentators have strongly condemned kingdom.  "Tragic and unjustified" slaying of Khashoggi "is the theme of today's onslaught and demonisation of Saudi in the same fashion as the previous crises. Intensity and gleefulness of it is equally unfair,"he said."Subjecting our relationship to this issue is not healthy at all."Reuters
Saudi authorities did not respond to questions over Khashoggi killing: Turkey’s justice minister
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said his country's questions on the killing of Khashoggi have not been answered by Saudi Arabia.Gul demanded close cooperation from Saudi authorities to uncover details of the famed critic's killing inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.He reiterated that responsibility for the criminal act is "unavoidable" and cannot be "covered up" and said Khashoggi's body hasn't been found yet. UK's foreign secretary was pressed by a select committee on how to deal with Saudi over Khashoggi's killing.aljazeera
US senators call on Trump to suspend nuclear agreement talks with Riyadh
5 Republican US senators have called Donald Trump to suspend talks to reach a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia over the recent killing of Jamal Khashoggi.In a letter sent to the president on Wednesday, politicians said they have been concerned by Riyadh’s ongoing refusal to adopt policies and technologies that limit the enrichment of uranium and reprocess plutonium, among other nuclear fuel-making activities.Killing of Khashoggi, a prominent Washington Post columnist, on 2 Oct. at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul raises even more questions about the current thinking of Saudi decision-makers, they said. “The ongoing revelations about the murder of Khashoggi, as well as certain Saudi actions related to Yemen and Lebanon, have raised further serious concerns about the transparency, accountability and judgment of current decision-makers in Saudi,”letter reads. middleeasteye
We are not in contact with Saudi leadership says Iranian FM, adds Iran will be ready for talks
Tehran :The Saudi leadership has not made any recent contacts with Iran, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif.Zarif made the assertion at a late Wednesday press conference in Pakistani capital Islamabad, where he is currently on an official visit.In response to reporters’questions regarding recent reports that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had been in contact with Iranian officials, Zarif said: “According to my information, there has been no such contact; the Saudi Govt  has not made any contact.”Riyadh, he went on to say, “needs to reconsider its regional policies -- then Iran will be ready [for talks]”.He added: “We want good relations with our neighbors... Our neighbors have not benefited by creating tension with Iran.”
Lankan President lifts suspension of parliament
Colombo :Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena Thursday lifted the suspension of parliament and convened a meeting of the legislature on Monday, Nov. 5, amid the current political deadlock in the country over the sudden sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM , officials said. The move comes in the wake of mounting international pressure on the island nation to resolve the political crisis at the earliest.In a dramatic turn of events, President Sirisena had on Friday, Oct.26, replaced Wickremesinghe with ex president Mahinda Rajapaksa and also dropped his entire cabinet.Experts had termed the suspension of parliament, which was earlier until Nov.16, as a means to buy time to engineer crossovers from Wickremesinghe’s side to Rajapaksa in 225-member parliament to reach 113-majority mark.Sirisena and parliament Speaker Karu Jayasuriya discussed the issue Wednesday. Sirisena later indicated that he may convene parliamentary session next week.indianexpress
Delhi’s air quality on brink of turning severe, emergency steps kick in
Delhi’s air quality today is on the brink of turning severe, authorities said. The overall air quality index of Delhi was recorded at 392, which falls in the ‘very poor’ category and is just eight points from turning severe. Environment Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also held a meeting with his Delhi counterpart to discuss the measures that are being put in.On Tuesday, Delhi’s air quality slipped to severe category, prompting authorities to issue a slew of directions, including ban on construction activities along with halting operations of industries using coal and biomass as fuel between Nov. 1 and 10. indianexpress
Pollution Emergency for 10 Days as Delhi Mulls Odd-Even, Criminal Proceedings Against Violators
US-backed Afghan Govt  continues to lose ground to Taliban: US watchdog
US-backed Afghan Govt  has lost control of a number of districts to the Taliban, while casualties among security forces have reached record levels, a US watchdog agency has said.The latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) underlines the heavy pressure on the Govt  in Kabul even as the US has opened initial contacts with the Taliban on possible peace talks."The control of Afghanistan's districts, population, and territory overall became more contested this quarter," the agency said in its report. The Taliban have still not succeeded in taking a major provincial centre despite assaults on Farah in western Afghanistan and Ghazni in the centre this year but they control large stretches of the countryside. Data from Afghanistan's NATO-led Resolute Support mission showed that Govt  forces had "failed to gain greater control or influence over districts, population, and territory this quarter", the agency said.As of September, it said the Govt  controlled or influenced territory with about 65 % of the population, stable since Oct. 2017, after a year of heavy fighting in Farah and Ghazni as well as other provinces like Faryab and Baghlan in the north.However, it reported that only 55.5 % of the total 407 districts were under Govt  control or influence - the lowest level since SIGAR began tracking district control in 2015.aljazeera
Maldives ex-Prez Nasheed ends exile, arrives in Male
Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed returned home from exile on Thursday, 2 days after the country's Supreme Court withdrew a warrant for his arrest. Nasheed, who had been jailed for 13 years on a controversial terror-related charge, was welcomed at Male airport by president-elect, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and hundreds of supporters.It was not immediately clear what role he will have in the new Govt  to be constituted by Solih this month.The SC had ruled that Nasheed could not be arrested until his appeal against the jail sentence for a terror-related charge is heard.aljazeera
Nearly 60,000 migrants have died or gone missing since 2014: AP
At least 56,800 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing since 2014, almost double the number recorded by the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), an investigation by the Associated Press news agency has said.aljazeera   
Egyptian security forces arrest seven female rights activists and lawyers
Egyptian security forces arrested at least seven human rights lawyers and activists in early morning raids on Thursday, family members said.Those arrested included Huda Abdelmonem, a prominent human rights lawyer, who was detained by police after they raided her flat in Cairo, her family said.Six others in the Egyptian capital were arrested in the raids, according to two rights activists who spoke to Middle East Eye.Abdullah El Shamy, an Al Jazeera journalist and Abdelmonem's son-in-law, posted pictures of her ransacked flat on Twitter.Gehad Khaled, Abdelmonem’s daughter, told MEE that police spent two hours searching the lawyer's flat in Nasr City in Cairo's east.middleeasteye
Israel and Qatar reach deal to pay Gaza salaries: Report
Israel and Qatar have reportedly agreed to a deal to allow funds to be sent to the blockaded Gaza Strip to allow the Hamas Govt to pay the enclave's civil servants. Palestine paper quoted a source close to Gaza's Hamas-run finance ministry saying a 400 shekel ($107) advance would be paid to staff in Gaza from a Qatari grant.The source said the payments should begin in coming weeks, having been delayed as Qatar negotiated the transfer with Israel. A diplomatic source told Israeli daily Haaretz that they were exploring the idea of using a Qatari transfer of funds to ease humanitarian conditions in Gaza, fearing poor living conditions could lead to a backlash against Israel. Hamas has struggled to pay its own employees in Gaza while the enclave's residents survive on around 4 hours of electricity a day because of power shortages. Throughout Oct. emergency supplies of fuel, paid for by Qatar, have been delivered to Gaza to ensure increased electricity. middleeasteye
Yemen's Houthis 'disappointed' by Netanyahu's visit to Oman
TAIZ: Oman has walked a tightrope since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen to root out the country’s Houthi rebel group in 2015.On one hand, it considers itself a friend to Riyadh. On the other, it has played host to much of the Houthi leadership currently battling the coalition.The Saudis accuse Oman of allowing the Houthis to smuggle Iranian weapons through the country, and whether or not that's true, Yemeni rebels certainly consider Muscat a close ally.That's why last week's visit by Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu to Muscat, where he met with Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said, has left the Houthis in a difficult position.And while the Houthi leadership has kept silent on the surprise trip - the first time an Israeli leader has gone to Oman since 1996 - other members of the group have described the meeting as “disappointing”.Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the Houthis’ revolutionary committees, condemned Netanyahu’s visit on Twitter, saying it aims "to isolate Oman from any further positive role in the future with its allies and friends (Houthis)".middleeasteye
Yemen's Govt  says it's ready to restart peace talks with Houthis
Yemen's Govt  said on Thursday that it is ready to restart peace talks with Houthi rebels, as international pressure to end the years-long conflict intensifies.United Nations said a day earlier that it aimed to relaunch the talks within a month, after a previous attempt collapsed in September when the rebels refused to attend."Republic of Yemen welcomes all efforts to restore peace," a Govt  statement carried by the state-run Saba news agency said."The Govt  of Yemen is ready to immediately launch talks on the process of confidence-building, primarily the release of all detainees and prisoners, as well as those who have been abducted or subject to enforced disappearance."middleeasteye
FLASH VIEWS & NEWS
As aftermath of Sabarimala judgment shows, India is not ready for a constitutional theocracy:Faizan Mustafa
Plea In Delhi HC To End Discriminatory Practices In All Religions :AKANKSHA JAIN
Why is everyone so worked up over the phrase ‘Sarkari Mussalman’?SAIRA SHAH HALIM
Slugfest in the CBI: Oh! my God, another Modi?     Uttam Sengupta
Has the End of Indian Democratic Secular Polity Begun?PROF SHAMSUL ISLAM
Watch | 'While Gujarat Was Burning, Army Kept Waiting For Vehicles':The Wire
Activists' Arrests: The Exceptional Has Been Made the New Normal:Rajshree Chandra
'Who Gave the Hashimpura Orders?' Asks Former SP V.N. Rai, 'These are Small Fish':Seema Mustafa
Military veterans write to Sitharaman to appoint CDS at par with NSA to ensure external security

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:48 PM)

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