17 January 2019

17 Jan. ND: IS case:NIA fresh raids in UP, Punjab; 4 detained/ JNU: ABVP members staged sedition controversy to divert media attention from Vemula’s death/ 1,300 Rohingya flee India for Bangladesh fearing crackdown

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
17 Jan. 2019: 10 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol:11, No:104
IS case:NIA fresh raids in UP, Punjab; 4 detained
Meerut:Several teams of NIA raided at least six locations in four districts of western UP  and detained four men for interrogation in connection with the recently uncovered ISIS-inspired module. It also conducted searches in Punjab.NIA has arrested 12 people since Dec.26 last year in connection with its probe against ISIS-inspired group.The fresh raids also come days after NIA arrested 24-year-old Muhammad Absar.NIA teams and local police conducted early morning raids in Athsaini and Badarkha villages of Garhmukteshwar area in Hapur, Kaloli village in Bulandshahr, Battkheri village of Amroha and Jasora and Ajnera villages of Meerut. Hapur’s SP Sankalp Sharma said that NIA teams raided the 2 villages in the district after receiving a tip-off from a man called Naeem. He said Naeem was arrested from Rardhana village of Meerut.3 people have been taken into custody from Hapur for further probe, Sharma said. He, however, said no arrests have been made. Another team raided Kaloli village of Bulandshahr and took a grocery shop owner Habib in custody. Habib returned to his village after spending many years in Saudi Arabia. Raids were also conducted on the house of Zubair in Batt Kheri village of Amroha but he slipped out before the officials could start the search. NIA had earlier arrested 5 persons from Amroha. Officials also raided Jasora, whose resident Absar was arrested on Jan.12, and Ajnera village in Meerut. Absar was working as a teacher in Jamia Hasania Abul Hasan Madarsa in Piplera village of Hapur.TOI
NIA detains madrasa teacher for suspected IS links
Maharashtra: BJP leader arrested with 170 weapons
Thane:A local BJP leader attached to party’s Dombivli city unit in Thane has been arrested for allegedly possessing and selling weapons illegally out of his clothing shop.Dhananjay Kulkarni (49), vice-president of the Dombivli unit of the BJP, was arrested on Tuesday and 170 weapons seized from his shop, including 10 choppers, an airgun, 62 pistols, 38 button knives, an axe and other sharp weapons worth Rs 2 lakh, said Thane crime branch. State BJP leaders, however, said he no longer holds any post in the party. “Kulkarni owned a ground floor store at Arihant buildings in Tilak Nagar, Dombivali. Shop, Tapasya House of Fashion, was also a shop for illegal weapons, we had received information,” said a senior officer.Kulkarni had allegedly bought the weapons from Crawford market in Mumbai and from dealers in Punjab and Rajasthan, police said. “We sent a decoy customer on Monday night, who confirmed the presence of illegal weapons in the shop. We raided the shop on Tuesday and arrested Kulkarni. He claims that he was selling the weapons because he wanted to make money quickly to pay off loans,” said an officer. Kulkarni allegedly taken a loan for his garment business and other personal loans. Meanwhile, politics in Maharashtra heated up following the arms seizure, with Opposition targeting CM and BJP. indianexpress
BJP Leader Caught With Weapons: Oppositions suspect pre-election riots
Don't Rely on Gauri Lankesh Case; Probe Dabholkar, Pansare Killings: HC to Agencies
Bombay high court today told CBI and the Maharashtra CID not to completely rely on the revelations made in the Gauri Lankesh case and conduct an independent probe into the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar and Left leader Govind Pansare.A bench of Justices S. C. Dharmadhikari and M. S. Karnik asked both the probe agencies to make a “sincere effort” towards tracing the absconding accused in Pansare and Dabholkar cases. The directions came after SIT constituted by the state CID submitted its progress report before the bench. The bench noted that SIT had said, among other things, that it was questioning those arrested by the authorities in Karnataka in the murder case of journalist Gauri Lankesh, to help trace the absconding accused in Pansare case. The bench noted that on the previous hearings too, both CBI and SIT had submitted that they were questioning the accused in Lankesh case to get information on the killings of Dabholkar and Pansare respectively.“You are questioning the accused in another case in Karnataka…but the report (SIT’s progress report) doesn’t reveal what the actual measures you are taking to arrest the absconding accused,” bench said.PTI
JNU: ABVP members staged sedition controversy to divert media attention from Vemula’s death
2 ex office bearers of ABVP - former JNU ABVP unit vice-president Jatin Goraiya and ex joint-secretary Pradeep Narwal - claim that the anti-India sloganeering that took place on Feb.9, 2016 in JNU campus was done by ABVP members in a bid to divert the media attention from the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. Addressing a press conferenc, both claimed that the students seen raising anti-India slogans such as “Pakistan Zindabad,” “Bharat tere tukde honge,” in videos belonged to the ABVP.They also claimed that the controversy was staged by ABVP to divert media’s attention from the death of Dalit scholar Vemula. A PhD student at the University of Hyderabad and author of the book Caste is Not a Rumour, Vemula had committed suicide on Jan.17,2016;blaming University administration for expelling him from the university at the behest of ABVP.This claim comes in light of the chargesheet filed against ex president of JNUSU Kanhaiya Kumar and many others on grounds of Sedition. “At the time, I remember Jatin and I, since we were Dalits, were told repeatedly to appear for TV interviews and defend ABVP after Vemula’s suicide, which we refused to do since they kept referring to him as a terrorist.With the Feb.9 event, they saw an opportunity to divert attention,” said Narwal at the conference. Both Jatin Goraiya and Pradeep Narwal have left ABVP, immediately after the controversy broke out in 2016. Goraiya stated that he left ABVP because he was against ABVP’s stand on Dalits.nationalheraldindia
JNU sedition row orchestrated to distract from Vemula's suicide: Ex ABVP Members
Opposition seeks scrapping of 1870 sedition law after JNU students charged
New Delhi: India opposition politicians and media called for a colonial-era sedition law to be scrapped on Wednesday, accusing authorities of trying to suppress dissent after it was invoked against students marking the execution of a Kashmiri militant.Police used the 1870 law against 10 people, including a student organiser, for the 2016 rally at Delhi’s JNU where police say anti-India posters were raised.The students denied the allegations and critics said PM Narendra Modi’s Govt  was trying to curb free speech and pander to his Hindu nationalist base ahead of his re-election bid in a few months.“There is no need for a sedition law in today’s times, it is a colonial law,” said Kapil Sibal, a senior leader of the main opposition Congress party.“Many who merely speak or tweet against Govt have sedition charges imposed against them; it is being misused by the centre just to keep citizens in check.”“Independent India should have the confidence to scrap the anachronistic sedition law suited for the police state that existed before 1947, and let free speech flourish without fearing its own citizens so much,”Economic Times said.Police in the Assam state said last week they were also investigating an academic, a journalist and a peasant leader for possible sedition for publicly opposing a proposal to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority countries.“This law now needs to go. A mature, liberal democracy cannot fight its own citizens,” the Hindustan Times said.Reuters
At least 1,300 Rohingya flee India for Bangladesh fearing crackdown: Al Jazeera
At least 1,300 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh from India since the start of the year, an official said on Wednesday, as fears of deportation to Myanmar spark an exodus. New Delhi has faced sharp criticism for turning Rohingya people over to Myanmar in the past months, despite the members of the persecuted minority facing threats to their safety there, with the UN and rights groups accusing India of disregarding international law.India, which is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, arrested 230 Rohingya in 2018 - the highest number in years- as Hindu nationalists called for the displaced Rohingya to be deported en masse. "For the past year, Govt  of India has been making life difficult for the Rohingya refugees in India", Ravi Nair, of South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC), said. Nair said that Rohingya in India are subjected to "regular visits by local intelligence officials, this includes harassment about their paperwork. A large number of Rohingya, our own data shows over 200, from Jammu to Tripura, Assam and West Bengal states have been arrested and imprisoned".The round-ups in India and fear of deportation to Myanmar have driven even more of the stateless Rohingya into Bangladesh, where a million already live in sprawling refugee camps in the country's southeast.Nayana Bose, a spokeswoman for Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which includes UN agencies and other foreign humanitarian bodies, said the pace of new arrivals to Bangladesh had increased since Jan.3."Some 1,300 individuals from 300 families have arrived from India to Bangladesh until today,"she said.UNHCR spokesman Firas Al-Khateeb said UN refugee agency was "aware of the situation".Those crossing the border in recent weeks have been intercepted by police and sent to Cox's Bazar, a southern district home to the world's largest refugee camps.Some 40,000 Rohingya are believed to have taken shelter in India over the years. Bangladesh police said those who arrived at the borders had been living in India for a long time.Rohingya for decades have faced persecution in Myanmar, which refuses to recognise them as citizens and falsely labels them "Bengali" illegal immigrants. 720,000 Rohingya fled the bloody crackdown and entered Bangladesh to join some 300,000 already living in camps there. Amnesty International, among other rights groups, has blasted India for forcibly repatriating the Rohingya to Myanmar when persecution in Rakhine is ongoing. Oxford Human Rights Hub has said India and its Supreme Court were in "breach of several international human rights obligations" when it decided to deport the Rohingya asylum seekers in Oct.2018. "Amidst the rising tide of Hindu nationalism, this decision raises cause for concern."Nair of SAHRDC said India must honour "right to protection" and "non-refoulement", the practice of not forcing refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country in which they are liable to be subjected to persecution, both aspects of international humanitarian law.
Rohingya exodus from India to Bangladesh hits 1,300: Official
As row rages, Justices Khanna and Maheshwari are appointed SC judges
New Delhi:Amid a row over their elevation, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of Delhi High Court were appointed judges of the Supreme Court Wednesday following Presidential approval.Ministry of Law and Justice notified the appointment of Justice Maheshwari: “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution, President is pleased to appoint Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, Chief Justice of Karnataka HC, to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of India with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.”An identical notification was issued regarding Justice Khanna’s appointment. Govt notification came 6 days after the SC Collegium, headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi, recommended their elevation. The Collegium’s decision led to a row because it overturned decisions taken by it in Dec.The change in the Jan.10 resolution stopped the elevation of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Rajasthan HC, and Justice Rajendra Menon, Chief Justice of Delhi HC, who had been recommended for Supreme Court by the Collegium on Dec.12. That Collegium changed after Justice Madan Lokur retired on Dec.30 and Justice Arun Mishra was inducted.Currently, the SC is functioning with 26 judges as against a sanctioned strength of 31 judges. With the two new appointments, 3 vacancies remain. As per convention and seniority, Justice Khanna is likely to the be CJI in Nov.2024. He is the nephew of late Justice HR Khanna who was superseded for giving a dissenting verdict during the Emergency.indianexpress
‘Whimsical and arbitrary’: Bar Council opposes SC collegium’s decision to elevate Justice Khanna
New Delhi:Bar Council of India (BCI) protested the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court to the apex court by superseding several other judges and termed the decision as “whimsical and arbitrary”. BCI, which is an apex body of lawyers, said the decision of the five-member collegium headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi was viewed by the Bar and the common man as “unjust and improper”.Before the BCI made a statement protesting the decision of the collegium, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court also wrote a note to the CJI and other members of the collegium -- Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Arun Mishra -- for ignoring the seniority of Chief Justices of the High Courts of Rajasthan and Delhi, Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajendra Menon, respectively.PTI
SC asks search panel to recommend names for Lokpal by Feb end
The Supreme Court today requested the search committee to complete its task of shortlisting names for Lokpal and its members by February end and submit the list for consideration to the Selection Committee. The apex court will hear the matter next on March 7.A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi also directed the Centre to provide the search committee, which is led by Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, necessary infrastructure and manpower to complete its work.indianexpress
Alcohol allowed, no CCTV: SC relaxes norms for Maharashtra dance bars
New Delhi:In a major reprieve for dance bars in Maharashtra, the Supreme Court relaxed the conditions set by the Devendra Fadnavis Govt  for obtaining licenses for operations, saying,“There may be regulations but that should not amount to total prohibition.” Modifying some of the provisions of the state law – the Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (Working therein) Act, 2016 – a bench headed by Justice A K Sikri permitted the bars to function from 6 pm to 11:30 pm and also allowed sale of liquor in the premises.indianexpress
Bribery case: Asthana seeks correction in court’s judgment ordering probe
New Delhi:CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana has moved an application in the Delhi High Court urging for a correction in the court’s recent judgment where it had dismissed his plea seeking quashing of FIR against him in an alleged bribery case.The court, which dismissed Asthana’s plea last Friday, had ruled that the investigation into FIR against four, including Asthana, be completed within 10 weeks time. It also added that the sanction to prosecute Asthana and Deputy Superintendent Devender Kumar was not required in the matter, keeping the facts of this case in view.FIR against Asthana and others was filed after Hyderabad-based businessman Sathish Babu Sana claimed he had paid bribes to get relief in a case related to meat-exporter Moin Qureshi and made allegations of corruption and extortion against Asthana.Devender Kumar, earlier the investigating officer in a case involving Qureshi, was arrested in the case on Oct.22, 2018 and was granted bail a week later. Prasad was arrested on Oct.17, 2018, and he was granted bail on Dec.18, 2018.indianexpress
Congress points fingers at Doval son, demands details of FDI from Cayman Islands
New Delhi :Alleging links between National Security Advisor Ajit Dovals son Vivek opening a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands soon after 2016 demonetisation and the huge spike in inflow of FDI into India from the territory, the Congress on Thursday demanded the RBI to make public the source of funds received from the tax haven.Citing data by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that between 2000 and 2017, India received Rs 8,300 crore FDI from Cayman Islands but post demonetisation, India received an equivalent amount from there in one year alone. "Within 13 days of Prime Minister Modi announcing demonetisation, Vivek Doval on November 21, 2016, opened a hedge fund called 'GNY Asia' in Cayman Islands, which, according to a report of the BJP's 2011 committee, is a known tax haven," Ramesh told the media here."This unnatural increase in FDI inflow and Vivek Doval's hedge fund raise serious suspicion of round tripping. The RBI must clarify the role of GNY Asia in this. We, therefore, demand it to publicise all details of the FDI received from Cayman Islands in the last year," said the former Union Minister.Ramesh raised suspicion of Vivek Doval's hedge fund being involved in funneling out money and then bringing them back to India post demonetisation.IANS
Gurmeet Singh sentencing LIVE: Dera chief, three others sentenced to life imprisonment
Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim and three others sentenced to life imprisonment for the killing of journalist Ram Chander Chhatarpati.The court had found them guilty of murder and conspiracy on January 11 and convicted them under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The case dates back to 2002 when the journalist was murdered in Sirsa city in Haryana after he ran a story in his newspaper, ‘Poora Sach’, about the alleged sexual exploitation of women by the Dera chief.
MP Govt  orders verification of MISA detainees
Bhopal:Madhya Pradesh Govt  has ordered verification of those detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) in the 1970s to ensure only genuine people held under the law get the pension.The order was issued on Wednesday and came days after the Govt stopped the pension on Dec.29 until the verification process is completed. BJP, which lost power to the Congress last month in MP, has opposed the move. Most people detained under the MISA in the state were associated with Bharatiya Jana Sangh, BJP’s precursor. In the order, the Govt has asked commissioners and collectors to have the verification of those detained under MISA or spouses of ex detainees, who have passed away, conducted by visiting them.HT
Quota at top: State-run banks and PSUs fare much better than Govt
New Delhi:Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and OBCs are under-represented in the upper rungs of the Govt  and its central universities. But there’s a glimmer when it comes to major public sector banks and undertakings, with banks based in the south leading the way in ensuring reservation benefits, according to data obtained by Indian Express under RTI Act.  And among PSUs, aluminium major NALCO has almost double the quota of ST officers —prescribed reservation entitlement is 15 %  for SCs, 7.5 %  for STs and 27 %  for OBCs. SBI, the largest public sector bank, has fulfilled the quota entitlement for SCs and STs among officers.However, RBI, the central banking institution, is seen lagging behind in these quota categories for officers.As the new 10 %  quota for the poor among those who are not beneficiaries of reservation got President’s nod, Indian Express reported Wednesday that SCs,STs and OBCs are not adequately represented among Group A and Group B officers in the central Govt.And that among the 40 central universities, the number of Professors and Associate Professors appointed under the OBC category was zero —quotas are mandatory only up to the level of Assistant Professor.RTI data of major banks and PSUs present a better picture overall — although, in LIC, the leading insurer, officers (Class 1 and Class 2) under OBC quota form just 9.41%  of total of 55,633 officers.indianexpress
Citizenship bill backlash puts Assam BJP in a spot
New Delhi: Modi Govt’s Citizenship Amendment Bill has caused confusion within the BJP in Assam, leaving the party’s rank and file wondering what lies ahead and how they can defuse a potentially damaging backlash against the bill.CM Sarbananda Sonowal has called a meeting with select office-bearers on Thursday to discuss these issues. The bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim settlers from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, has set off an upheaval among native Assamese, who have long resented waves of migrations from Bangladesh.Asked how the BJP will handle the conundrum, Tafiqure Rahman, one of the BJP’s eight vice-presidents in the state, said: “Everybody is confused here. I am telling you the truth.”“Of course, it (the bill) is a challenge. It will harm the culture of Assam; it will harm the language of Assam,” he added.HT
Attempts being made to trigger riots in Kerala by some parties, minorities panel to home minister
New Delhi: In the backdrop of the clashes and protests over the entry of women in the Sabarimala temple, the national commission for minorities has written to home minister Rajnath Singh calling for action in the wake of "deliberate attempts" to trigger communal riots in Kerala by "some political parties."The letter written on Tuesday, coincidentally, came on a day when PM Narendra Modi was in Kerala. Modi attacked CPI-M-led LDF Govt  in Kerala over the handling of Sabarimala issue.NCM vice-chairman George Kurian has called for extreme caution on the part of the "3 pillars of democracy" while taking any decision on the prevailing situation in the state as "even a minor issue can have knock-on consequences on minority communities."Kurian cites a memorandum received from noted film director Ali Akbar where the latter has referred to the recent attack on Perambra Town Juma Masjid during a strike called by Sabarimala Karma Samithi to protest against the state Govt for facilitating entry of activists in Sabarimala temple. TOI
I want ‘gharwapsi’ of those who left Hinduism due to inequality: Dalit Mahamandaleshwar at Kumbh Mela
Prayagraj: 32-year-old Kanhaiya Prabhunand Giri is the first scheduled caste to be made one of the heads of the Juna Akhara. Giri, who is a Dalit Mahamandaleshwar, took his first dip at the Triveni Sangam during the 'Shahi Snan' on Tuesday on the first day of Kumbh Mela 2019 at Prayagraj. Mahamandaleshwar said that he wanted all those Dalits, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs who "left the Sanatan dharm due to fear of exploitation to embrace Buddhism, Christianity and Islam" to return to Hindu fold. Advocating for what he said was the "ghar wapsi" of the those who renounced Hinduism, Giri said, "I will wash the feet off the past lives of all my community members who embraced Islam,Christianity and Buddhism due to inequality and bring them back to sanatan dharm. I will show them how the Juna Akhara has been inclusive of me." Giri, who was born as Kanhaiya Kumar Kashyap in Azamgarh, was appointed as one of Mahamandaleshwars of Juna Akhara in April last year upon the completion of his 'deeksha'.He said that his elevation to one of the top posts amongst the sadhus came after nearly 1,000 years after Sant Ravidas became a Jagatguru. Times Now
Indore University suspends 263 students for skipping ‘Surya Namaskar’
School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) of Devi Ahilya University,Indore suspended 263 students for a week for skipping a Surya Namaskar event. Confirming it, the head of the Journalism Department, Sonali Nargunde said, "Students had been asked to participate in the Surya Namaskar programme organised by the department, but they skipped the event, forcing us to take action against them. All 263 students of the department have been suspended for indiscipline for a week."Surya Namaskar Programmes were held at educational institutes and other Govt offices on Jan12, 2019 to mark birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Department of Higher Education (DHE) had directed the educational institutes to organise Surya Namaskar and ensure the students presence at the event. Referring to the directive of the DHE, the journalism department head had asked students to turn up at 8 am to participate in the event."Not a single student turned up for the event. Nearly, a dozen students reported after the scheduled time." Nargunde said.She said, she could not tolerate such indiscipline in the department and so suspended all the students till Jan.19.
Bhopal: Unity, communal harmony & brotherhood are our cultural ethos
Bhopal: CM Kamal Nath, addressing the Haj pilgrims during ‘Kurra Andazi’ programme on campus of Taj-ul-Masjid here on Tuesday, said efforts will be made to start direct air-flight for Haj pilgrimage. Nath said he would also urge the central Govt in this matter.CM said unity, communal harmony and brotherhood were the founding ethos of Indian culture. He said India was the only country in the world, with such diversity. Despite of diversity in castes, languages and religions, there is unity. CM said India, despite the variations that prevail, oneness or universal brotherhood is the hallmark of Indian society.Minister for minorities welfare, Arif Aqueel, emphasising on the need of direct flight for Haj from Bhopal, said all people who wanted to go on Haj pilgrimage must get a chance. Siraj-ul-Hasan, Mufti Abul Kalam, Kaji Syed Mushtaq Ali Nadvi, Kazi Ishrat Ali Indore, Nayab Kaji Babar Hasan, Kaji Riyaz Ahmad, Kaji Jasim Dad, Mufti Raees Ahmed and applicants for Haj pilgrimage attended the progamme.freepressjournal
AIMPLB chief’s younger brother dies in Lucknow
Lucknow:Younger brother of President of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) died here on Wednesday. He was 84.The deceased, Maulana Wazey Rasheed Nadwi, was the Secretary of International Islamic University Darul Uloom Nadwa and Editor of the Arabic Magazine Al Raid, Secretary Rabate Adab-e-Isami and author of number of books in Arabic and Urdu. He was also associated with a number of educational and social organisations.UNI
15 Indians stranded in Iraq seek Sushma’s help to return home
Nizamabad:As many as 15 Indians stranded in Iraq after being duped by an agent on the pretext of employment have requested external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to help them return to India.In a video, the men revealed that they were duped by an agent off around Rs 2 lakh each, who sent them to Iraq on the pretext of getting them a work permit in the country.“We came to Iraq from India after giving Rs 1.5 lakh each to the agent, after coming here the agent again asked for more Rs 50,000 for making Iqama and we paid. Later, we got to know that the agent has cheated us by sending us to Iraq on a visit visa. The agent in Iraq is not responding to us and we are facing crisis here without proper food and water. I request external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to help us get back to India,” the men said in the video.HT
Reduction in GST on Haj pilgrimage will ensure significant decrease in air fare:Naqvi
New Delhi:Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here on Wednesday that GST on Haj pilgrimage has been reduced from 18 %  to 5 %  which will ensure that about Rs 113 crore will be saved by pilgrims during 2019 Haj. 'Reduction in GST on Haj pilgrimage will ensure significant decrease in air fare from various embarkation points,' he said. UNI
Kerala HC sets aside election of Karatt Abdul Razak in 2016 assembly polls
Kochi :Kerala High Court set aside the election of Karatt Abdul Razak from Koduvally Assembly constituency in Kozhikode district in 2016, for indulging in electoral malpractice.Justice Abraham Mathew passed the order on a petition by 2 voters of the constituency, challenging the election of Razak, who contested as an LDF independent candidate during the 2016 Assembly polls.  In their petition, K P Mohammed and Moitheen Kunji of the constituency alleged that Razak and his agents had screened a video programme across the constituency during the poll campaign, aiming to tarnish the image of MA Razak, an UDF candidate.TI
BJP chief Amit Shah diagnosed with swine flu, taken to AIIMS
BJP President Amit Shah is suffering from swine flu and had to be admitted in AIIMS in Delhi on Wednesday for treatment.An announcement, made from his Twitter handle, read, “I am suffering from swine flu and being treated for the same. With the blessings of God and your love and good wishes, I shall be fit soon.” Jantakareporter
US Vice President Pence  says IS has been defeated, only hours after attack kills US forces in Syria
Hours after the Islamic State (IS) group claimed a bombing that ripped through a restaurant in the Syrian town of Manbij, killing dozens of people including a handful of American service members, US Vice President Mike Pence said the militant group had been defeated. "The caliphate has crumbled and ISIS has been defeated," Pence said in a speech at the US State Department on Wednesday, using a different acronym for IS.Pence did not directly mention the attack in Syria during his address to nearly 200 chiefs of US diplomatic missions, all of whom gathered in Washington for a speech that sounded more like a campaign rally than the strategic overview of US foreign policy it was billed as.US Central Command tweeted that two US service members, one Department of Defense civilian and one contractor supporting the DoD were killed and three service members were wounded in the blast, which was claimed by IS through its Amaq propaganda arm. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said 19 people died in the attack, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan provided a higher death toll, saying 20 people were killed.The attack comes nearly a month after President Donald Trump's surprise 19 December announcement that he would withdraw about 2,000 US troops from Syria after concluding that IS had been defeated there.His decision led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who cited policy differences with the president for his leaving.The plan to pull US troops out of Syria has also led to heightened tensions between Washington and Ankara after critics accused the White House of abandoning Washington's Kurdish allies, who have been credited with leading the fight against IS in the war-torn country. Almost 8 years into Syria's civil war, a Kurdish-led alliance called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controls a large swathe of territory in the country's northeast, including Manbij.The White House expressed its “deepest sympathies” to those who died, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.Some US diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters they were surprised and dismayed at the speech by Pence, who often paused during his remarks as if to invite applause that appeared to grow fainter as he spoke."We're not used to being at campaign rallies," said one US official. Middleeasteye
US senator links Trump troop withdrawal to deadly ISIL attack
A senior US senator has questioned President Donald Trump's troop withdrawal announcement from Syria after four Americans were killed in a suicide attack by the armed group ISIL.Lindsay Graham, a staunch Trump ally, directly blamed Wednesday's attack in the northern Syrian city of Manbij on the president's decision to quickly pull US forces out of the war-torn country.The withdrawal move "set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we're fighting", said Graham, referring to ISIL."My concern about the statements made by President Trump … is we've made people we're trying to help wonder about us. And as they [ISIL] gets bolder, the people we're trying to help get more uncertain. I saw this in Iraq and I'm now seeing it in Syria," the senator said."We're never going to be safe here unless we're willing to help people over there who will stand up against radical ideology," Graham added. aljazeera
Indonesia vows to push Palestinian rights on Security Council
Indonesia will do everything possible to advance the rights of Palestinians when it assumes its position on the United Nations Security Council, the foreign ministry said. Ministry official Febrian Ruddyard said the world's largest Muslim-majority country would make sure issues facing the Palestinians were not buried, and it would offer unwavering support for their bid to become a full member of the UN.Palestinians have the status of non-member observer state at the world body.Full membership would amount to international recognition of Palestinian statehood."We have always reiterated that once we are elected we will push the Palestine issue in any form," Ruddyard said.Indonesia would prioritise the rights of refugees, woman and children, but influencing the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital would be hard, he said.AFP
UN says Israeli Govt -backed groups ‘delegitimizing’ human rights NGOs
A UN agency has stated humanitarian operations in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are being “undermined by delegitimization, access restrictions, and administrative constraints”.According to UN OCHA, “attempts to delegitimize humanitarian and human rights organizations operating in the oPt, particularly NGOs, have been on the rise in recent years”.This has had “a negative impact on the ability of these organisations to deliver assistance and advocate on behalf of Palestinian rights”, the agency added.The situation is “further compounded by longstanding access restrictions imposed on humanitarian staff and operations, restrictive legislation and attacks on human rights defenders”, UN OCHA said. UN OCHA believes that “bulk of the delegitimization attempts have been advanced by a network of Israeli civil society groups and some associated organizations elsewhere, with the apparent support of the Israeli Govt ”.“Targeted defamation and smear campaigns allege violations of counter-terrorism legislation and international law, or political action against Israel”, the statement continued.middleeastmonitor
US governor to punish Airbnb for removing Israel settlement listings
The newly-sworn-in Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, said yesterday that his state will take action against online holiday rental company Airbnb for removing listings in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.“We have a moral obligation to oppose the Airbnb policy,” DeSantis said, adding: “It targets Jews specifically. I think that’s wrong,” the Jerusalem Post reported.DeSantis continued: “Airbnb claims it is a company of inclusion, and yet this policy only affects Jews who have homes in the West Bank. It does not appear to apply to anyone else on the face of the Earth.” DeSantis’ remarks came in reaction to a decision by Airbnb in November that it would no longer list rental properties in Israeli settlements, which international law designates as illegal.Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister, Gilad Erdan, praised DeSantis’ comments, saying: “This is an important decision that will strengthen the struggle against antisemitic boycott organisations.”“We will continue to act in all possible ways to nullify the decision discriminating against citizens of the State of Israel and harming them economically because of their place of residence,” he added.middleeastmonitor
Hamas: Fatah trying to drag Gaza into war with Israel
Senior Hamas leader and Palestinian MP Mahmoud Al-Zahar said that people linked to Fatah have been trying to drag Gaza into a war with Israel.Speaking in an interview with Palestine Today TV, Al-Zahar said: “These people are trying to drag the Gaza Strip into a battle with Israel by launching rockets against the national consensus,” Al-Watan Voice reported.Al-Zahar added: “Some of these people are linked to Israel and are commissioned to drag Gaza into a battle with the Israeli occupation by launching rockets during this sensitive time.”He continued: “These people are well-known to us. Fatah stands behind them. We have talked with their field leaders about their dangerous violation of the national consensus. Sometimes, they are arrested.” Hamas leader said that the Palestinian resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip follows Israeli violations of the ceasefire closely, stressing that it would never wait too long to respond to these abuses.middleeastmonitor

British PM Theresa May survives no-confidence vote
Embattled British PM Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote on Wednesday, a day after members of parliament dealt a crushing blow to the Brexit plan she negotiated with European Union.Parliament members voted 325 to 306 against the motion called by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, who had earlier urged May to resign.It was expected that May would survive the vote after she secured the backing of her own party's rebels and the small Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority Govt."I am pleased that this House has expressed its confidence in this Govt  tonight," May said, welcoming the result and vowing to continue to "deliver on the result of the [Brexit] referendum"."My Govt  will continue its work to increase our prosperity, guarantee our security and to strengthen our union.""We have a responsibility to identify a way forward that can secure the backing of the House," she said.With her leadership secure for the time being, May has to decide the next step as the March 29 deadline for the United Kingdom's departure from the EU, or Brexit, looms. PM has ruled out calling a general election, saying that it would be the "worst thing" Britain could do now.aljazeera
May searching for Brexit 'plan B' by reaching out to opposition
Kenya attack: 50 still missing after hotel raid
50  people remained missing on Thursday as Kenyan security forces searched for suspects involved in the brazen attack on a Nairobi hotel complex that killed 21 people.The al-Shabab armed group, said it carried out the attack in the Kenyan capital in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Two people accused of facilitating the attack have been arrested.Kenya's Red Cross said 50 people remained missing, raising the likelihood of a sharp rise in the death toll. Of the victims, 16 were Kenyan, one was British, one was American and three were of African descent but their nationalities were not yet identified, police said.aljazeera
Malaysia to revise school textbook telling girls to cover up
Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has said it will revise a national school textbook after a section suggesting girls should cover up to avoid sexual assault sparked outrage among women’s rights supporters.The book, aimed at nine-year-olds, includes a chapter called “protecting one’s dignity” in which a girl’s parents are shown telling her to dress modestly or she would be ostracised by her friends and bring shame to her family.The image went viral on social media, causing anger among campaigners and parents who said it perpetuated the idea that sexual violence could be blamed on how a woman dresses.The education ministry said in a statement late Tuesday it would cover up the controversial page with stickers “because the infographic can be construed as blaming sexual assault victims”. “We welcome the ministry’s decision,” Mastura Rashid, a spokeswoman from women right’s group Empower, told the Reuters on Wednesday. Reuters
US: Louisville airport renamed to honor Muhammad Ali
WASHINGTON:Louisville International Airport in the U.S. state of Kentucky has been renamed after the city's legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, where he was born and raised.The Louisville Regional Airport Authority’s board voted Wednesday to change the name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport.However, the current three-letter code - SDF - will remain same.The three-time world heavyweight champion died on June 4, 2016 at the age of 74 after suffering from a respiratory illness and a years-long fight with Parkinson’s disease. According to the Courier-Journal newspaper, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Ali "only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville.
American journalist for Iran's Press TV 'jailed' in US
A prominent American journalist working for the Iranian state television is being held in a prison in the United States without any known charges, her son has said. Marzieh Hashemi, 59, an anchorwoman for Iran's English-language Press TV, was arrested upon arrival at St Louis Lambert International Airport on Sunday and transferred by the FBI to a detention facility in Washington, DC, the broadcaster reported on Wednesday. "We still have no idea what's going on," Hossein Hashemi, her elder son, told AP in a telephonic interview from Washington. "Everyone we ask is very vague and the information is still limited."aljazeera
Pak Jamaat to elect new ameer as Siraj term expires
LAHORE: As sitting Jamaat Islami Pakistan ameer Senator Sirajul Haq’s five year term will expire in April 2019, the JI has begun the process of election for next ameer and JI central Shoora (central decision making body) has nominated three candidates for the slot. The Shoora which met at Mansoorah this week proposed three names including Senator Sirajul Haq, Secretary general Liaqat Baloch and JI KPK ameer Prof Muhammad Ibrahim for the guidance of JI members (Arkan). The ameer is elected by the secret ballot process by the Arkan, who are permanent members of the party.The ballot papers will contain these three names but, according to the party constitution, the Arkan are not bound to vote for any of these and are at liberty to vote for someone else from amongst the JI Arkan whom they deemed fit for the top slot of the party. The election of the JI ameer is held after 5 years under the supervision of an Election Commission which is headed by Asadullah Bhutto and comprises Bilal Qudrat Butt as Secretary besides Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar, Muhammad Husain Mehnati and Maulana Abdul Haq Hashmi as members.The election commission will issue ballot papers in February 2019 to all Arkan across the country whose number is 41,580. They will receive ballots through their local party office and will send back the sealed ballot papers to the election commission till March 20, 2019. The election commission will declare the name of the elected ameer in the first week of April after completing the counting process. thenews
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:35 PM)


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