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Monday, 31 December 2018

31 Dec.ND: United Opposition thwarts govt bid to push Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha insisting Bill be sent to select committee; House adjourned till Jan.2/ /2.95 million out of 4 million left out of NRC draft claim for inclusion; nearly 700 objections filed/Hasina wins Bangladesh elections as opposition calls it mockery, demands fresh polls under neutral admin


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
31 Dec. 2018:23 Rabiul-II 1440: Vol: 11, No:90
INDIA
United Opposition thwarts govt bid to push Triple Talaq Bill in Rajya Sabha insisting Bill be sent to select committee; RS adjourned till Jan.2
New Delhi:A united Opposition today thwarted the government’s attempt to pass the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, which criminalises instant Triple Talaq, in Rajya Sabha, demanding that it be sent to a Select Committee.The revised Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha 3 days ago, was expected to face resistance in the Rajya Sabha where ruling dispensation does not enjoy a majority and with AIADMK MPs also signalling their opposition. Upper House was adjourned till 2 pm after AIADMK members disrupted proceedings and trooped into the well raising Cauvery issue and shouting slogans “We want Justice”. After the triple talaq bill was tabled upon resumption of House proceedings, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said the bill required further scrutiny and claimed that more than half of the members belonging to several parties have demanded that it be sent to a select committee. “This is such an important bill which can positively or negatively affect the lives of crores of people can’t be passed just like this without going to a select committee,” he said. He also accused the NDA government of breaking the tradition of sending bills to select committees for scrutiny before they become law. Senior TMC leader Derek O’Brien also echoed Azad’s demand.“All Opposition parties unanimously have decided that this bill must be sent to the select committee,” he said. Accusing the Congress of creating hurdles in the passage of crucial legislation, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Vijay Goel said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue. He said the Congress had already supported the bill in Lok Sabha earlier. “Congress and other parties are only playing politics on this issue which is very important for ensuring the rights of married Muslim women,” he said. Deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma sought to turn the tables on the government, saying it was BJP that was doing politics over the bill and demanded legislative scrutiny.“Govt is misleading the people. If the bill has been passed without legislative scrutiny in the Lok Sabha then it should not be passed here without referring to select committee. Rajya Sabha is not a rubber stamp,”he said. The Speaker adjourned the House till Wednesday.indianexpress
RS adjourned till Jan 2, Opposition demands Triple Talaq Bill be sent to select committee
Cong manifesto committee members, Muslim intellectuals hold interactive session
New Delhi : Several key suggestions on important topics such as police reforms, campaign for harmony and administrative reforms were made during an interactive and consultative session between representatives of the Congress' manifesto committee and Muslim intellectuals here Sunday.The session was part of party's Jan Awaaz (Your Voice) campaign for dialogue with various sections of the society.The session was chaired by party leaders Salman Khurshid and Sachin Rao, both members of the AICC manifesto committee,a statement said.The session was attended by a large number of eminent members of the minority community and experts on public policy including Justice (Retd) MSA Siddiqui, Ex-MP of Rajya Sabha M Adeeb, and Imam Jama Masjid, Parliament Street, Moulana Mohibullah Nadvi.The session was one in a series of interactions being held across the nation as part of Jan Awaaz-Your Voice campaign by AICC to initiate a productive dialogue between the party and various sections of the society to identify and include important issues in the manifesto for 2019 general polls. In a productive dialogue, suggestions were also made on promotion of reservation in the higher education, women empowerment and inclusion of the members of the minority communities in nation building process.PTI
2.95 million out of 4 million left out of NRC draft claim for inclusion; nearly 700 objections filed
Guwahati:On the last day of filing claims for inclusion of names in National Register of Citizens in Assam, only 2.95 million people out of 4 million have submitted them, a top official said. The Supreme Court, which is monitoring the exercise, had extended the deadline for filing claims and objections to Dec. 31. LS Changsan, principal secretary (home, political and border), said the state government is not considering seeking another extension for the exercise.Around 700 objections have been filed against those who figure in the complete NRC draft which was published on July 30, said an official on the condition of anonymity.The complete draft excluded 40,07,707 people.“The Standard Operating Procedure did not allow people to change the legacy person. That is one big reason. Then the other reason is people may not have documents,” said Dharmananda Deb, a lawyer associated with Hindu Legal Cell in Silchar, which has been assisting people in the NRC process.Legacy data, which includes an extract of voters lists up to March 25, 1971, and extract of NRC 1951 is part of the list of List A documents needed to prove that the family was a resident of Assam before the cut-off date of March 25, 1971.“How many people file claims is not important but what’s more important is that anybody who has come before 1971 should be included. People are illiterate, they don’t know much about the process or claims and objections,” said Azizur Rehman, chief coordinator of coordination committee for minority organisations. However, Prateek Hajela, state coordinator of the NRC has a different view.Meanwhile, there is still no clarity on the fate of those who will not be included in NRC. In Nov., a joint committee of the state and the centre was appointed to decide the fate of those excluded from NRC. Those excluded from the complete NRC will be referred to the Foreigners Tribunals.HT
70 Assam organisations to move SC against centre's notifications on citizenship rules
Guwahati: 70 organisations in Assam protesting against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 have decided to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the govt’s recent notifications on citizenship rules. “The petition to be filed in the SC is currently being prepared by Prashant Bhushan, and it will challenge all the notifications by the government on citizenship rules since 2015. It is expected to be filed at the earliest,” said Akhil Gogoi, adviser to Krishak Mukti Sangram Parishad (KMSS), which heads 70 organisations spearheading the agitation against the Bill.These groups believe that the notifications by the Modi government have fulfilled the objectives of the proposed Bill to grant citizenship to a section of non-Muslims from neighbouring countries. It was tabled in the parliament two years ago and subsequently referred to a joint parliamentary committee (JPC), which is yet to submit its report. There was no consensus among the members, who suggested 13 amendments to the Bill.The Bill has sparked large-scale protests in the state since it will nullify the Assam Accord, which lays down that foreign nationals would be identified and expelled from the state irrespective of religion. Besides, the current update of NRC will also be rendered meaningless if a section of illegal migrants who are left out of the list are granted citizenship. There are unconfirmed inputs that a large chunk of the four million people excluded from the register consist of Hindu Bangladeshis.Delegates of these groups were on a three-day hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi from December 9-11 to register their protest against the Bill. Besides these organisations, another 30 groups led by AASU have also launched an agitation against the Bill. They have also briefed leaders of other political parties about the adverse implication if it were to be passed in the parliament.On Dec.21, the Forum against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill led by Hiren Gohain and other prominent intellectuals from Assam filed a petition in the Supreme Court, making a case for repealing the notifications since they contravene not only the Assam Accord but several articles of the constitution.thewire
Bulandshahr violence attempt to instil fear among Muslims: human rights bodies
New Delhi: The recent Bulandshahr violence that claimed the lives of a policeman and a 20-year-old man was a "targeted attempt" to "instill fear" in Muslim community, an umbrella organisation of human rights bodies claimed Sunday and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into it. Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and civilian Sumit Kumar were killed on Dec.3 in the mob violence that broke out in Bulandshahr's Siyana area after cattle carcasses were found strewn outside a village.The incident happened when the election process in 5 states-was underway."Hindutvawadi forces masterminded" the incident to "polarise" voters because of the "ongoing elections in 5 states", the organisation claimed, whose members visited Bulandshahr and presented a "fact-finding" committee's report here, and demanded a new law to check hate crimes.National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO) sought an immediate ban on all groups and 'senas' which use weapons "in the name of cow protection". Addressing the media at Press Club here, members of NCHRO claimed that the violence was a "planted incident" to create unrest in the area and elsewhere "in the name of cow"."Mob, at the instigation of local Bajrang Dal and BJP Yuva Morcha leaders Yogesh Raj and Shikhar Agrawal, gathered at Chingrawathi police post and burnt down many vehicles, staged a shootout and pelted stones on the police force," it said."Fact-finding" team member Manoj Singh, of All India People's Forum, claimed the way a purported video of the inspector's killing was shot "clearly indicates" the mob received political protection."In a peaceful area like Bulandshahr, Dec.3 incident was a targeted attempt by Sangh-BJP organisations to instill fear in the Muslim community," said Singh. He claimed that small skirmishes between local groups were used as an excuse to start communal clashes."There are clear signs of political conspiracies at play to discourage honest members of the administration, like Inspector Subodh, through intimidation and fear of life," he said. He said there were also no signs of cow slaughtering at the fields outside Mahaw village, where the carcasses were found on Dec.3 morning, "which makes it clear that mob violence...was executed through meticulous planning".NCHRO also highlighted that several innocent people, including two minors, were put behind bars while the key suspect, Bajrang Dal local leader Yogesh Raj, was still at large."A law should be made to contain mob violence and an immediate ban on all organisations and 'senas' which use weapons and have led the country to a civil war-like situation in the name of cow protection,"NCHRO said."Also another law be made and strictly implemented to ensure a state government's responsibility to check hate crimes and elements spreading hate crimes," it said.Home Ministry should review it on regular basis and share details in every parliamentary session on what steps it has taken to check riots and hate crimes, said Singh. Another team member, Ansar Indori, claimed that the incident was a "planned affair"."Occurrence of such a big incident in the presence of the administration proves that it was planned affair. Police presence deterred the violence from spreading further. Meanwhile, Sarfuddin, a resident of Nayabans village, who was initially arrested by the police following a complaint by Raj, told reporters that he would move court against his arrest.He was arrested under but released after 16 days.PTI
I Was Scared of Being Falsely Implicated by Bajrang Dal Leader:Sarfuddin
https://www.thequint.com/my-report/bulandshahr-violence-many-fled-bulandshahr-as-were-in-minority-living-on-edge                                       
Bulandshahr violence: Slain inspector's son questions BJP MLA's claim about his death
New Delhi: Elder son of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, who was among 2 people killed in recent Bulandshahr violence, Shrey Singh questioned a BJP MLA’s claim that his father had shot himself.BJP MLA from Bulandshahr Devender Singh had reportedly said the inspector was not targeted, instead he “shot himself” out of hopelessness and in haste.“I do not want to respond to anyone but those challenging the post-mortem report and saying my father shot himself. The autopsy report says he was shot from a distance of seven to eight meters.How can someone who shot himself do it?” Shrey,college student, asked. Inspector’s son, along with some residents of Bulandshahr’s Naya Bans village who were wrongly named in FIR for cow slaughter, was here at an event of NCHRO.PTI
Ghazipur cop killing: 27 people arrested, Union Minister Sharma terms incident a reactionary action
Ghazipur: UP Police have arrested 27 persons in connection with the killing of head constable in Ghazipur district. The Uttar Pradesh Police has also registered an FIR against 32 people in connection with the case. At least 70-80 unidentified people have also been included in FIR. UP CM Yogi Adityanath has been under severe criticism over the breakdown of law and order in the state as Suresh Vats is the second policeman killed in mob violence this month.Union Minister Mahesh Sharma Monday termed as very unfortunate the death of head constable of Suresh Vats in a stone pelting incident in Ghazipur district. He said such incidents should not be linked with law and order in the state.His statement comes amidst questions on deteriorating law and order situation in UP.newsx
Purvanchal Varsity V-C who egged on students to kill is Rss man, enjoys 'close bond' with deputy CM
Lucknow:Raja Ram Yadav,V-C of Purvanchal University who sparked a massive controversy on Friday by calling upon students to get into fights and even commit murders, is an "RSS pracharak" and has close links with senior BJP leaders. In a message posted on Facebook on March 23, 2017, Yadav says he’s been part of the RSS since 1990. He shares a close bond with UP’s Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya who has served as a Sangathan Mantrin Vishwa Hindu Parishad in the past.“I’m very happy that Keshav ji has been made the Deputy Chief Minister. I’ve been an RSS pracharak since 1991 and he has been part of VHP and we’ve both worked closely together,” post reads.Yadav adds that he suffered deep trauma after the demise of former VHP chief Ashok Singhal and it was Maurya who consoled him. "I was very affected by the demise of ex VHP chief Ashok Singhal. It was Keshav ji who consoled me like an elder brother and said that he will be there for me now that one brother is gone."In another post on March 12 last year, he wishes Maurya on his appointment as the Chief Minister of the state. Then on March 23, he drops a message in favour of Yogi Adityanath, saying UP CM has been blessed by the “pujya sanyasi” (hermit) and “mahant” (chief priest) and his life is shaped by the seers. At the end of his post he writes, “Aaj Mai Pujya Yogi Aditya Nath Ji Ke Chief Minister Banane par behad Khusa hu. Vo aise Chief Minister Hai ki unake mai Charan Sparsh kar sakunga. Kyo ki ve Sanyasi evam Mahant hai. Mahant JiKi Jai Ho (sic)”. Born in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba district in 1957,Yadav’s is a known name in Allahabad University’s physics department, as this was his field of work before being made V-C by UP Governor Ram Naik in 2017 — within a month of BJP coming to power in 2017.In a video that has now gone viral, Yadav’s remarks appeared to encourage students to not hesitate in murdering someone they have an argument with. News18
CBI asks social media firms to use intrusive photo tech to track suspects
New Delhi :Raising questions over surveillance powers and privacy rights, CBI has asked social media platforms to run Microsoft-owned PhotoDNA for probe into regular criminal cases, in violation of international norms stipulating that this specialised software is “exclusively used to identify child exploitation images”.PhotoDNA is currently at the centre of a debate in Europe, where the EU’s European Privacy Regulation is moving to effectively ban social media companies from using this software to proactively scan billions of images for child abuse. Companies such as Twitter, Microsoft, YouTube and Facebook do not allow use of this software, even exclusively for blocking extremist content or terrorist messaging. However, a notice issued this month to social media platforms by CBI under Section 91 of CrPC, accompanied by some photographs, states: “For the purpose of investigation, you are requested to conduct PhotoDNA in respect of photographs CBI asks social media firms to use intrusive photo tech to track suspects enclosed herewith. The said information is required very urgently for the purpose of investigation.”This means that social media companies would have to run a surveillance search on all photographs on their servers — and not data of any suspect’s account — using PhotoDNA software.According to Microsoft, PhotoDNA “is exclusively used to identify child exploitation images” and is free to use. Its usage for other purposes has been restricted as it would mean imposing restrictions on a free and open Internet and legitimise broader regimes of censorship.indianexpress
Facebook tracks data of even offline users and non-facebook account holders
Hyderabad: Facebook, with the help of other apps, routinely tracks and collects data of Android users irrespective of whether they are a user and more importantly non-user or logged-out from their account, found a study released on Sunday. The study "How Apps on Android Share Data with Facebook" by Privacy International found that 61 per cent of the total apps that were studied, sent information to Facebook through Facebook Software Development Kit (SDK)."This happens whether people have a Facebook account or not, or whether they are logged into Facebook or not," it said.It found that the data these apps shared with Facebook were incredibly detailed and "sometimes sensitive". The study noted that the data from different-apps if combined could paint an intimate picture of people's activities, their tastes, behaviour, routines and so on. Citing an example the report said, "For example, an individual who has installed the following apps that we have tested, "Qibla Connect" (a Muslim prayer app), "Period Tracker Clue" (a period tracker), "Indeed" (a job search app), "My Talking Tom" (a children’s’ app), could be potentially profiled as likely female, likely Muslim, likely job seeker, likely parent."It does not end there. The apps that transmit data were also found to share this data with Google advertising ID (AAID). Advertising IDs such as Google's allow advertisers to link data about user behaviour from different apps and web browsing into a comprehensive profile.new Indian express
Telgi, others acquitted in fake stamp paper scam
New Delhi :A Maharashtra court Monday acquitted Abdul Karim Telgi and others who were accused in the paper stamp scam case.Charges against Telgi, considered to be the kingpin behind the multi-crore fake stamp scam spread over several states, were abated after his death last year.Telgi, who was convicted in connection with several cases and sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in total, died in Bengaluru in Oct. last year while serving his jail term.Son of a railway employee and a former travel agent, Telgi was accused of running the fake stamp scam for a decade until his arrest in 2001 by Karnataka police. Booked in multiple cases across 11 states, Telgi had reportedly developed a nexus with government officers while running the scam, and the names of several top police officials and politicians had cropped up during the investigations.indianexpress
‘1/8th share to wives by Islamic Law’: Thane Civil court denies 50% claim to cop’s property by 2nd wife
Mumbai: A civil court in Thane last week dismissed a plea by the second wife of a deceased policeman to seek an equal share in his estate.Though she was assisted in her effort by the man’s first wife, the court ruled that as both women were governed by the Islamic Law, they were both entitled to only one-eighth of the estate. The suit was filed in Feb.by Mumbra resident Nazma Deshmukh, 2nd wife of Inspector Bashir Deshmukh, who died intestate in July 2017.In Sept 2017, Nazma announced, in an advertisement, her intention to be named in a succession certificate and claim 50 per cent of Rs 9.12 lakh. Money is presently in custody of Navi Mumbai police.She then initiated a civil suit against Bashir’s first wife, Pareen, under the Indian Succession Act, who did not object to her claim. However, Judge GD Nirmale noted that as both women were governed by Islamic Law, they were jointly entitled to only one-eighth of the estate, under the Hanifi School of Thought. It is one of four religious schools of Sunni Muslim jurisprudence.The judge also issued an order to grant a succession certificate in which both wives will be granted one-eighth of the property.indianexpress
Kerala Govt Frames Shariat Rules Enabling A Person To Declare Conversion Of Faith
Govt of Kerala has framed rules under Section 4 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act 1937.As per Section 3 of the Shariat Act, a person can give declaration before the prescribed authority regarding his willingness to be governed by Muslim Personal Law. Section 4 of Act gives State Government the power to make rules to carry into effect the purposes of the Act.In the absence of Rules, there was no mechanism in place to give effect to the Act. The newly framed Rules titled - Muslim Personal Law(Shariat) Application Rules 2018- fills up this void, enabling a person to give declaration to adopt Muslim Personal Law.Rules are framed following the directions issued High Court of Kerala on June 26 in the case Thadevoos Abu Thalib v State of Kerala. Abu Thalib, who had filed the case, was born a Christian and later embraced Islam. He wanted to give a declaration regarding change of faith,but could not do so due to the absence of Rules. According to him, he felt the need to give such a declaration the wake of an incident where one late Simon Master, who had converted to Islam from Christianity, was not buried as per Islamic rites as his family did not recognize his conversion. The case of Simon Master had led to a litigation in HC when a Muslim body claimed that Simon Master should be buried as per Islamic rites.In order to avoid such future confusion, Abu Thalib wanted to give a statutory declaration. HC interpreted the word "may" in Section 4 of Shariat Act to be mandatory, and directed the Govt to positively frame Rules within three months. Rules lay out a form of declaration, Form I, which has to be given to the prescribed authority after attestation by a Notary public."I intend to be government by Muslim personal law on matters such as adoption, wills and legacies as specified in Section 3 of Act", says the declaration form. Along with the form, the declarant has to produce proof to satisfy the claim.livelaw
Sermons, prayers to keep youth from errant ways
Mumbai:New Year’s Eve is a night of indulgence for some and one of reflection and prayer for others. Temples, mosques and churches are planning special engagements Monday midnight to keep young boys from getting into trouble by consuming liquor and indulging in rash driving. While Alcoholics Anonymous will hold a meet-up at midnight Dec.31 because that is when the temptation to drink is highest, Millat Nagar Mosque in Andheri has organized a discourse by Maulana Usama to keep young boys from riding motorbikes. “The sermon begins at 9pm and ends around midnight. Around 1,200 boys attend,” said Arshad Yusuf, who is affiliated to the mosque. “We have been organizing such programmes on Dec 31 since eight years. We are members of the Tablighi Jamaat. We feel very concerned when we keep reading articles about road accidents caused by rash driving or drunk driving on New Year’s Eve. Some youngsters tend to visit wrong places in the company of friends. This sermon is intended not only to keep them indoors this night, but also to guide them towards a better life that benefits them as well as the community.” Many houses of worship keep their doors open on NewYear’s Eve. Siddhivinayak temple receives a sizeable throng of worshippers through the night. So does ISKCON temple in Juhu.“On Jan.1, some tipsy people turn up for the early morning mangla aarti. They sing loudly and clap their hands, hoping to start the year on a pious note before heading home. It is quite a sight to see,” said spokesperson Parijata Devi. ISKCON will organise a kirtan till midnight. TOI
Madrassa teachers to AAP: Raise pay issue in RS
Lucknow:Claiming that salaries of over 25,000 madrassa teachers in UP have not been paid for over 34 months, Madrasas Teachers’ Union has urged AAP MP Sanjay Singh to take up the issue in the Rajya Sabha. Subsequently,Singh, who is Rajya Sabha MP, has shot a letter to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar for easing out troubles of madrassa teachers in UP.In its letter written to Singh,Madrasas Teachers’ Union has said that while both MHRD and the state minority welfare dept.have been saying that relevant documents have been put into place, the teachers are yet to receive their salary. “We don’t know where the files are stuck between the 2 dept., or if discrimination towards madrassa teachers is a political strategy, but in all of this, poor madrassa teachers are being affected since 34 months,” reads the union’s letter. TOI
Shock for people if Ram Temple is not built under Modi-Yogi Rule:Uma Bharti
Bhopal: Union minister Uma Bharti has said people would be "surprised" and "shocked" if no solution was found to the Ram temple issue, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath being at the helm at Centre and in UP respectively. Bharti is among the leaders who have been at the forefront of the ruling BJP efforts to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya. "When Modiji is the prime minister and Yogiji is the CM(of UP),and even then if no way is found for the construction of the Ram temple,then the masses will be surprised as to why were we unable to find a way for (building ) Ram temple. It will be a shock to the people," she told reporters here.Bharti added that the temple had a "major role" in the BJP rising from just 2 Lok Sabha seats (in 1984) to 84 seats--when the temple movement gained momentum in 1989 -- to 284 seats in the 2014 general polls."Therefore, with Modi as the prime minister and Yogi (as UP CM), people have high hopes that a way should be found for the construction of the Ram temple,"Union minister of drinking water and sanitation said. "Even today I will say this, whether it is an Act or an Ordinance, you have to find an amicable way for the Ram temple. You cannot just do it by bringing an Act for everything. Especially, when there is a lot of opposition in the society. "Therefore, earlier too I had suggested an amicable solution and everybody should support it. It should not be done like we will oppose you as we are from a particular party. It should begin like you start the talks and we will support you," she added.PTI
‘Who killed Sohrabuddin probe?’ Jaitley counters Rahul
New Delhi :Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi for his remarks that “no one killed Sohrabuddin”, Union Minister Arun Jaitley today accused Congress of politicising the case and asserted that it would have been appropriate for the party chief to have asked “who killed the Sohrabuddin case investigation” instead.Last week, a special CBI court had acquitted all the 22 accused in alleged fake encounter killings of Sohrabuddin, his wife Kausar Bi and his associate Tulsiram Prajapati in 2005. The court had cleared the names of the accused saying the evidence brought before the court could not establish the role of any of 22 in the case.Hours after the judgment, Gandhi took a dig at the court’s decision,saying “Noone killed…Haren Pandya.Tulsiram Prajapati.Justice Loya.Prakash Thombre. Shrikant Khandalkar. Kauser Bi. Sohrabuddin Shiekh.They just died.”indianexpress
Pak procuring 600 tanks to bolster capability along border with India: Intelligence Sources
New Delhi:Pakistan has drawn up an ambitious plan to procure close to 600 battle tanks including T-90 tanks from Russia, primarily to bolster its military might along the border with India, intelligence sources said Sunday.Most of the tanks Pakistan was procuring will be able to hit targets at a range of 3 to 4 km, the sources told PTI.Apart from battle tanks, Pakistan Army is also procuring 245 150mm SP Mike-10 guns from Italy out of which it has already received 120 guns, they said.The sources said Pakistan was eyeing to buy from Russia a batch of T-90 battle tanks- the mainstays of the armoured regiments of the Indian Army - and that the move reflects Islamabad’s intent to forge a deeper defence engagement with Moscow.Russia has been India’s largest and most trusted defence supplier post Independence. The sources said as part of the mega plan to significantly revamp its armoured fleet by 2025, Pakistan has decided to procure at least 360 battle tanks globally besides producing 220 tanksindigenouslywith help from its close ally China. Pakistan Army’s move to enhance its armoured corps comes at a time when Line of Actual control in J&K has witnessed growing hostilities in the last one year. The Indian Army has been strongly retaliating to every unprovoked firing by Pakistani side. But, when the Indian Army is focused on counter-terror operations, Pak Army was fast reducing its gap with Indian forces in fighting a conventional war, sources said. Indian Army had drawn up a mega plan to modernise its infantry and armoured corps.PTI
No interim relief for Bhim Army rally in Pune
New Delhi:Bombay High Court has refused to grant interim relief to Bhim Army which petitioned the court after Pune Police denied it permission to hold a public meeting yesterday. The court will hear the matter on Jan. 4. The plea has also sought a compensation of Rs 10 crore for “illegal detainment” of Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and other Dalit activists by Mumbai Police on Saturday.However, Pune Police informed the high court that it was Pune University which rejected permission to allow a rally by Azad on its grounds. It also said the Bhim Army chief is neither arrested nor placed under house arrest.On Sunday,  ‘Bhima Koregaon Sangharsh Mahasabha’,a rally planned by Bhim Army, was cancelled on the grounds of absence of relevant clearances.After he arrived in Pune yesterday, Azad had held a press conference during which he had said that the police had not given the outfit permission, despite asking for it in advance.During the press conference, he had replied in the affirmative when asked if he would visit Jaystambh in Perne village, about 30 km northeast of Pune, on Jan.1,anniversary of Battle of Bhima Koregaon.indianexpress
Sajjan Kumar, 1984 anti-Sikh riots convict, surrenders in Delhi court to serve life sentence
New Delhi:Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar surrendered in a local court in Delhi on Monday to serve a life sentence for killing five people of the same family in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots after his plea for an extension of time to start his sentence was rejected by the Delhi High Court.The high court had set a deadline of Dec.31 for Kumar to surrender. He surrendered before Metropolitan Magistrate Aditi Garg.Kumar’s lawyer said Sajjan Kumar will comply with the high court’s judgment as the Supreme Court was not likely to grant a hearing to his appeal against the high court verdict during the vacation, which is ending on January 1.HT
Amid high turnout, Congress decimates BJP-SAD in Punjab panchayat polls
Delivering a major blow to the comeback prospects of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), ruling Congress Party-backed candidates won all 13,726 panchayats for which elections were held in the recently concluded local body polls, amid a heavy voter turnout of 80%.Out of a total of 83,831 panches which had contested the polls on Dec. 30, 46,754 panches (village council members) were said to have been elected unopposed. Elections were held for 13,726 panchayats to also elect sarpanches (village headmen). As many as 1,863 sarpanches were elected unopposed after the end of the withdrawal process of nomination papers.Officials from the State Election Commission told this correspondent that the final tally will be released in the next 3-4 days.ationalheraldindia
Govt extends AFSPA in Nagaland for six months
Centre extended AFSPA in Nagaland for 6 more months, till July, contending that the whole state is in such “disturbed and dangerous condition” that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.indianexpress
Sharp Increase in Fraud Cost Indian Banks Rs 42,167 Crore in 2017-18:RBI
New Delhi: Despite “stringent monitoring and vigilance,” data released by RBI reveals that fraudsters have looted India banking institutions of Rs 42,167 crore in 2017-18.This is a sharp increase of 72% from Rs 23,933 crore from the previous year, according to the Indian Express. The data revealed on Friday by the central bank shows that there were 5,917 instances of bank fraud in 2017-18 compared to 5,076 cases in the previous year, and that such instances of fraud have been rising year on year – increasing by over four times in the last four years. Bank fraud cases amounted to Rs 10,170 crore in 2013-14.This year, frauds related to off-balance sheet operations, foreign exchange transactions, deposit accounts and cyber-activity were the most prominent. According to the Indian Express, banks reported an increased number of cyber frauds in 2017-18 – losing Rs 109.6 crore in 2,059 cases against Rs 42.3 crore in 1,372 cases last year.thewire
Investors become poorer by Rs 7.25 lakh crore in 2018
New Delhi: Investor wealth eroded by Rs 7.25 lakh crore in 2018 amid volatile broader market conditions. The market capitalisation (m-cap) of BSE-listed companies slumped by Rs 7,25,401.31 crore to Rs 1,44,48,465.69 crore this year.BSE benchmark Sensex has gained 2,011.5 points, or 5.90 per cent, in 2018.From its all-time peak of 38,989.65 scaled on August 29 this year, the Sensex has fallen by 2,921.32 points, or 7.5 per cent, to 36,068.33."In stark contrast to the bullish opening today, the last trading session of the calendar year, market closed on a flattish note. Mixed cues from global markets, lack of any fresh trigger, ensured that the session remained uneventful," said Joseph Thomas, head research, Emkay Wealth Management.30-share BSE index fell 8.39 points to finish at 36,068.33 on final trading session of 2018. Experts said the later part of the year has been challenging for equity markets due to both global and domestic triggers.PTI
WORLD
Hasina wins Bangladesh elections as opposition calls it mockery, demands fresh polls under neutral admin
Dhaka:Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League (AL) party has won Bangladesh's parliamentary vote, the country's election commission has announced, after the main opposition alliance rejected the violence-marred polls.300 seats were up for grabs in 350-member parliament, or Jatiya Sangshad, in Sunday's elections. Another 50 seats are reserved for women.An AL-led coalition won a massive 288 seats, while main opposition alliance dominated by BNP secured just six.In the last elections 4 years ago, which were boycotted by BNP, AL had won 234 seats. A party needs 151 seats to form a government.Bangladesh's ruling party had surged ahead within hours of the counting of the votes - an outcome Jatiya Oikya Front, BNP-led opposition alliance had feared.In a hurriedly called news conference earlier on Sunday night, leader of Jatiya Oikya Front dubbed the election "farcical"."We reject the farcical election and want the election commission to hold a fresh election under a non-partisan administration," said Kamal Hossain, an 82-year-old jurist who wrote the country's secular constitution.71-year-old Hasina is set for a record fourth term in office in the South Asian Muslim-majority nation of 160 million. critics have accused Hasina of authoritarianism and crippling the opposition. Her bitter political rival and leader of BNP, Khaleda Zia, 73, is serving a 17-year jail term for corruption. More than 40 opposition candidates pulled out of election after polls opened, citing vote-rigging and ballot-stuffing, according to the Daily Star.The opposition claimed thousands of its activists were arrested in the lead-up to the polls."We are getting disturbing reports outside Dhaka that overnight votes have been cast illegally," said Hossain of JOF.Ali Riaz, professor at the department of politics and govt at Illinois State University in US, said: "It was a travesty of an election"."What happened throughout the country, polling centre by centre, from driving out the polling agents to ballot stuffing, can't be called an election, let alone a credible election."The sheer scale of the victory, as of now, reveals the nature and scale of the rigging. It cannot be described as the verdict of the voters," Riaz said. Elections commission said it would probe allegations of vote rigging.Syed Moazzem Hossain Alal, joint secretary-general of BNP called election a "mockery". aljazeera
PM Hasina wins landslide in disputed vote:BBC
BBC on Bangladesh poll results, vote rigging allegations; 'Voters too scared to speak out'
Sheikh Hasina's Awami League has run Bangladesh since 2009, but one of the leading opposition parties has accused it of using stuffed ballot boxes.A spokesman for BNP alleged there were "irregularities" in 221 of the 300 seats being contested. Soon before polls opened, a BBC correspondent saw filled ballot boxes at a polling centre in the port city of Chittagong. The presiding officer declined to comment.Only ruling party polling agents were present at that and several other polling centres in the second-largest city of the country. HRW South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said on Twitter that "with serious allegations of voter intimidation, restrictions on opposition polling agents and several candidates seeking a re-poll, there are concerns about the credibility" of the election. At least 47 candidates from the main opposition alliance withdrew before polling closed, alleging vote rigging and intimidation. Activists, observers and the opposition party had warned that the vote would not be fair, but the governing party accused the opposition of peddling false claims. Covering from Dhaka, BBC News's correspondent Yogita Limaye said, "As we went from polling booth to polling booth on Sunday, one pattern became clear. People who were supporters of Prime Minister Hasina's party were vocal, and happy to answer our questions on camera, about what issues they'd voted on. The others were mostly too scared to speak out.One man told us that several members of his extended family found that their votes had already been cast when they went to the polling booth. He said he didn't think it was a fair election but didn't want to be identified.It wasn't hard to see why he felt intimidated. Outside every polling booth we went to, there were dozens of workers from the prime minister's party, listening intently when anyone was interviewed. No-one from the opposition parties was visible.While the election commission has said it will investigate claims of vote-rigging, the organisation has itself been accused of bias by the opposition. So far, PM has not responded to these latest allegations but two days ago rejected claims the election was unfair."BBC
Video shows bags believed to contain Khashoggi's remains: report
Video footage leaked to Turkish media shows a Saudi hit team in Istanbul carrying bags reportedly containing the remains of Jamal Khashoggi, whose murder sparked an international outcry and jeopardised the kingdom's relations with its Western allies.The video shows the arrival of some of the members of the team at the Saudi consul-general's residence in Istanbul on the day Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate, several hundred metres from the residence.One of the hit team members is seen carrying bags, which according to the Turkish media, may contain body parts of the journalist, who was a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS.Khashoggi entered Saudi consulate on Oct.2 to obtain documents certifying he divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry. He was killed and dismembered inside the consulate, in what Turkey called a "premeditated murder" orchestrated by Saudi govt.Saudi officials have countered that claim, insisting Khashoggi was killed in a "rogue operation", after initially claiming he had left the building before vanishing.Turkey said the killing was ordered at the highest level of Saudi leadership, implying Prince Mohammed was behind the murder. The kingdom has maintained MBS had no knowledge of the killing. Saudi authorities last month requested the death penalty for five unnamed suspects in Khashoggi's murder, while 11 suspects were indicted and referred to trial.Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu,  said the video first aired on Turkish news channel A Haber, which sourced the footage through Ferhat Unlu, a journalist with the probe unit of Daily Sabah paper. The publication is known for its close ties to Turkish intelligence and has in the past reported on a series of leaks from the Turkish probe into the murder of Khashoggi. The journalist recently released a co-authored book about the killing, titled Diplomatic Atrocity: Dark Secrets of the Khashoggi Murder."The reporter said there is no evidence that the luggage carried by the hit team was taken out of the consul's residence. Therefore, we are facing new questions," Koseoglu reported late on Sunday."Consul-general's residence was searched, but there was a well that the Saudis did not let the Turkish investigators search properly. These new pictures have changed the course of the investigation," Koseoglu added. aljazeera
Trump 'slowing' US pullout from Syria:Republican Senator
President Donald Trump has ordered a slowdown to the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has said."I think we're in a pause situation," the South Carolina Republican said outside White House. On Dec.19, Trump announced the withdrawal of all the roughly 2,000 troops from war-torn Syria, with aides expecting it to take place swiftly.Graham had been an outspoken critic of Trump's decision, which had drawn bipartisan criticism.He had warned that removing the troops would hurt national security by allowing ISIL to resurge, betraying US-backed Kurdish fighters of the YPG armed group battling remnants ISIL, and enhancing Iran's ability to threaten Israel.Graham said later on Twitter that Trump would make sure that any withdrawal from Syria "will be done in a fashion to ensure:1) ISIS is permanently destroyed 2) Iran doesn't fill in the back end, and 3) our Kurdish allies are protected."Graham told reporters that Trump was committed to making sure Turkey did not clash with the Kurdish YPG forces once US troops leave Syria, and assured the NATO ally that it would have a buffer zone in the region to help protect its own interests.US commanders planning the withdrawal are recommending that YPG fighters battling ISIL be allowed to keep US-supplied weapons, according to US officials. That proposal would likely anger Turkey.Reporting from the Turkish city of Gaziantep near the border with Syria, Al Jazeera's Mohammad Adal said Turkish forces were crossing into Syria on Sunday night.aljazeera
Damascus allows Iraq to hit IS targets in Syria:State media
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has authorised Iraqi forces to attack ISIL targets inside his country without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus, Syrian state agency SANA said.The development comes as 2 neighbours, who are also both allied with Iran, work to coordinate their fight against rival groups ahead of a planned US military withdrawal from Syria. Iraqi warplanes and artillery have pounded ISIL positions inside Syria in the past, after getting the green light from Syrian authorities.On Saturday, al-Assad received a letter from Iraq's PM Abdul-Mahdi calling for both countries' coordination in "fighting terrorism",SANA said.Separately, in Tehran, Iran and Syria signed on Sunday a long-term strategic and economic deal as the war winds down in the latter.aljazeera
Israel protests against Jordan minister stepping on flag
Israel says it has filed a complaint to Jordan over a picture of a Jordanian government minister stepping on an image of the Israeli flag.Jumana Ghuneimat, minister of state for information, was pictured last week stepping on the flag design when entering a meeting at a trade union complex in Amman. Footprints were also printed on the flag design.The image of the flag has been affixed to the floor at the entrance to the complex for several years to protest against Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories and Jordan's normalised ties with Israel, union officials say.Israel called Jordan's ambassador in for clarifications, foreign ministry said.Majed Qatarneh, spokesman of Jordan's Foreign Ministry, confirmed that Israel had sought clarifications over the incident and the ministry was handling the issue through "diplomatic channels"."Israeli side was informed that the building is a private one and the minister entered it from the main entrance for an official meeting," he said."We have emphasised that we respect the peace treaty with Israel."Jordanian PM Omar al-Razzaz was reported to have entered the building through a side door.aljazeera
Israeli ministers announce 'New Right' political party
2 Israeli ministers have announced their split from the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party and have set up a new right-wing faction that they say will be a partnership between secular and religious politicians. Naftali Bennett, the minister of education, and Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister, announced their new party, Hayemin Hehadash or New Right,in a news conference in Tel Aviv and vowed to take votes away from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party.According to Jerusalem Post, the New Right will alternate between religious and secular candidates on its list.aljazeera
Israel allows Sheikh Salah back home to continue term
Israeli Magistrate Court in Haifa yesterday ordered the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, to be placed under house arrest at his home in Umm Al-Fahm after he spent six months under house arrest in Kafr Kanna, Arab48 reported.Salah was released by jail in July on condition he not be allowed to return to his home town of Umm Al-Fahm after he served one year in prison. He was also banned from accessing tools of communication including telephones, the internet and social media sites.The court looked into an appeal filed by his defence team and accepted it, allowing him to return to his home.middleeastmonitor
Netanyahu says Brazil moving its embassy to Jerusalem matter of 'when, not if'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro told him that it was a matter of "when, not if" he moves his country's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.The far-right Bolsonaro, who takes office on Tuesday and is hosting Netanyahu and the leaders of other countries in Rio de Janeiro for his inauguration, has said he would like to follow the lead of US President Donald Trump and move the embassy.Bolsonaro has said he wants closer ties with US and Israel, breaking with decades of center-left policies which sought to position Brazil nurturing relations with all countries. Still, he has come under intense pressure from Brazil's powerful agriculture sector not to do so, as it could hurt Brazilian exports to Arab nations. Despite Netanyahu's comments, a senior official from Brazil's incoming government told Reuters on Sunday no decision had yet been made on the issue.middleeasteye
Jerusalem governor calls on Brazil not to relocate its embassy
Palestinian Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith has called on Brazil not to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, Quds Press reported.In a statement, Ghaith called for the Arab states and friends all over the world to put pressure on Brazil in order to cease the relocation plan.Ghaith reiterated that the eastern part of the occupied holy city would be the capital of the future Palestinian state.middleeastmonitor
Israeli forces raid West Bank town, arrest 10
Ramallah:Israeli army forces raided the West Bank town of Kobar on Monday and arrested 10 Palestinians, according to local residents. Residents said Israeli soldiers searched several houses in the town and arrested 10 people.Israeli army has yet to issue an official statement on the arrests. Israeli forces have staged several raids into the town since the beginning of this month after the killing of Assem Barghouti, a local resident who was accused by Israeli authorities of carrying out a shooting attack east of Ramallah on Dec. 9, in which six Israelis were injured. Israeli media also said Barghouti’s brother was involved in another shooting attack east of Ramallah, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed. Anadolu Agency
Egypt releases 3 Gazans from prison: Hamas
Gaza:Egyptian authorities have released three Palestinians from prison, Palestinian group Hamas said. In a statement, Hamas said its leader Ismail Haniyeh met the three Palestinians, who had been arrested by Egyptian authorities a few months ago. During the meeting, Haniyeh said relations with Egypt were developing, according to the statement. Palestinian media identified the three Palestinians as Hossam Abu Watfeh, Mohamed Ghaith and Ayman Malika. Anadolu
Larijani appointed to head powerful Iran council
Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani - chief of Iran's hardline judiciary who has been blacklisted by Washington - was appointed on Sunday as the new head of the powerful Expediency Council, state TV reported.Larijani, 57, was appointed by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who also made him a member of the Guardian Council, which vets laws and elections for compliance with Iran’s Islamic constitution, TV reported. Expediency Council is a key behind-the-scenes institution, settling disputes between different branches of government, AFP said. A statement on Khamenei's website said "critical changes" were expected within the Expediency Council in the near future, without giving details. The new council head is one of five Larijani brothers who all hold powerful positions within Iran’s establishment, most notably his eldest sibling Ali Larijani, who is speaker of parliament. middleeasteye
Khomeini’s grandson expects Iranian regime to collapse
Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian regime, has said that he expects the Iranian regime to collapse, saying there is no guarantee the regime will survive. “The foundation of any society is to win people’s satisfaction. There is no guarantee that we stay in power and the others go” local media quoted Hassan as saying.“The continued collapse of society and the spread of hatred and hypocrisy lead to forcing people to have 2 personalities,” he said. “If we lose our principles, and become preoccupied with formalities instead of fundamentals, it is an alarm bell that signals danger to this society” Hassan.2 days ago, Faezeh Rafsanjani, daughter of the late Iranian leader Hashemi Rafsanjani said: “the regime has morally collapsed and the Iranian regime’s body would follow if an alternative to the current regime became available to the people”.MEMO
Russian IS militants' kids returned home from Iraq
30 Russian children whose mothers are in prison in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State (IS) group arrived on Sunday in Moscow from Baghdad, Russian authorities said. The children, some appearing as young as three or four years old, were led through Baghdad's international airport to a Russian state plane to take them to Moscow, AP reported. Many of the girls wore headscarves and conservative garb. A few appeared anxious and afraid; others looked with wonder around the airport and appeared excited to fly.The fathers of the children, aged three to 10 years old, are believed to have been killed in combat during Iraq's 3-year war against the militants, a Russian diplomatic source told AFP before their plane departed."Plane of the Russian emergency situations ministry has landed," Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said, adding that it had touched down at Moscow's Zhukovsky airport.middleeasteye
Afghan Prez polls postponed until July 20: official
An Afghan official has said that presidential elections, which were originally scheduled for coming April, will be held on July 20 next year. The polls were postponed to allow time to fix technical problems that surfaced during Oct's parliamentary elections, deputy spokesperson for the Independent Election Commission Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi reminded on Sunday.More time is needed to verify voter lists and to train election workers on a biometric identification system, aimed at reducing fraud. Parliamentary polls were overwhelmed by delays after the few staff trained on the biometric system did not show up at the polling booths and countless registered voters could not find their names on voter lists.aljazeera
UAE activist Mansoor loses final appeal against 10-yr sentence
A UAE appeals court has upheld a 10-year prison sentence against prominent pro-democracy activist Ahmed Mansoor for criticising the government on social media, Amnesty International reported.Mansoor, an electrical engineer and poet, was arrested in March 2017 and sentenced in May by Abu Dhabi's Federal Appeals Court for "defaming UAE through social media channels". Mansoor was among five activists convicted and later pardoned for insulting UAE's rulers in 2011. He was arrested again in March 2017 at his home in Ajman on charges of publishing false information and rumours, and of promoting a sectarian and hate-incited agenda.Mansoor was also charged with using social media to "harm national unity and social harmony and damage UAE's reputation".ljazeera
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:01 PM)