29 January 2019

29 Jan.ND: Ayodhya case: Centre moves SC, seeking nod to hand over 67-acre non-disputed land around 2.77 acres Babri site to ‘original owners’/Govt petition on Ayodhya land 'insidious': Owaisi/ No rights for minorities in a Hindu Rashtra: Amnesty International

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
29 Jan. 2019: 22 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol:11, No:114
Ayodhya case: Centre moves SC, seeking nod to hand over 67-acre non-disputed land around 2.77 acres Babri site to ‘original owners’
Central govt has asked the Supreme Court to allow it to restore the acquired "superfluous" excess land adjacent to Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid area to its rightful owners in Ayodhya after carving out the exact extent of land necessary to access the disputed area.67.703-acre land, mainly belonging to Hindus, is vested with the Centre as its custodian under the Acquisition of Certain Area in Ayodhya Act of 1993.The government is asking the court to modify its March 2003 decision in the case of Mohd Aslam alias Bhure, who had filed a writ petition challenging some aspects of the acquisition.It was also in the Bhure case, in an interim order on March 14, 2002, the court made it clear that "no religious activity of any kind by anyone either symbolic or actual including bhumipuja or shila puja, shall be permitted or allowed to take place" in 67.7 acres of the land.In 2003, the court ordered status quo on land acquisition. Justice Rajendra Babu, in a judgment, concluded that the disputed Babri Masjid area of 0.313 acre and the acquired adjacent land of over 67 acres were both intrinsic to each other. The court held that the future use of the acquired land would depend on the outcome of the then pending title dispute in Allahabad High Court. The acquisition of 67.7 acres was incidental to outcome of title dispute. Pronouncing its judgment in the title suits in 2010, HC ordered a three-way division of the disputed area. Subsequently, both the Hindu and Muslim side appealed to the SC against the HCjudgment. CJI Ranjan Gogoi has now formed a Constitution Bench to hear the title suit appeals after a hiatus of over seven years.Now, in this modification application,Centre has drawn the court's attention to the fact that Ram Janam Bhoomi Nyas, which rightfully owns the majority of the acquired land adjacent to the 0.313 acres of the disputed area, wants its land back. Centre said Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas has filed an application claiming its land measuring approximately 42 acres (out of the 67.703 acre acquired) is superfluous.To facilitate this, the govt asked the court to allowit to "restore/revert/hand over back superfluous/ excess/vacant land (other than the land admeasuring 0.313 acres) to owners/occupiers from whom the land was acquired under the Act of 1993."Govt wanted the court to "modify the order of March 31, 2003 so as to enable the Central Government to determine the exact extent of land required from out of superfluous excess land to ensure that the successful party in the dispute pending regarding the disputed land can have property access to and enjoyment of rights in the disputed land."The government sought the modification of the 2003 Bhure verdict on the basis of the apex court's direction in its March 2002 Ismail Farooqui judgment.
Centre moves SC seeking nod to return 67-acre land around disputed Ayodhya site to original owners
‘Ayodhya petition a legal decision, govt not touching disputed land’: Javadekar on Ram temple
Clarifying central govt’s position on petition seeking permission to handover 67 acre land to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said that the plea before the top court is a “legal decision” taken in sync with BJP stand for building a Ram Mandir at the disputed site. He, however, maintained that government has not “touched” the disputed land at Babri Masjid site in Ayodhya.“BJP has always maintained that a Ram temple should be built on Ram Janmabhoomi site.Whatever legal measure is required, BJP will try for that.PM had clarified that people want temple but matter is sub-judice and measures will be taken accordingly. Today’s application is also a legal decision,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.He further said petition filed by the government does not interfere with the status of the disputed land. “Government is not touching the disputed land,” Javadekar asserted at a press conference in New Delhi.HT
Govt petition on Ayodhya land 'insidious': Owaisi
 Describing Centre's plea in the Supreme Court to return excess land acquired by it in Ayodhya to their original owners as "insidious", AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said NDA Govt was trying to prevent fair adjudication of the dispute."This insidious attempt by Central Govt should not be ignored. They're trying everything in their capacity to prevent a fair and independent adjudication of Babri Masjid dispute,"AIMIM leader tweeted.In 2003, the SC held that unless the dispute was resolved, status quo had to be maintained over surplus land, he said." Govt knows this, threatening the judicial process like this is another (failed) attempt to save BJP from their rapidly diminishing political fortunes," MP said. AIMIM leader alleged that the Centre's plea was another example of bringing the "political fight of the Central government in the court room." Owaisi said in 1993, the apex court passed orders that all parties should wait till disputes are resolved.At this stage, the Centre filing such an application for return of 50-60 acres land to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas after 3-4 orders rejecting the same, "is completely frivolous and superfluous and full with politics," he said in the Facebook post. PTI
Ayodhya: After Modi govt moves SC, Muslim petitioner makes ‘entire country will burn’ threat
New Delhi:Haji Mehboob, a petitioner in Babri Masjid dispute case, opposed NDA govt’s move to seek the Supreme Court’s nod for giving a part of the 67 acres of undisputed land around the disputed Babri Masjid site to original owners.Threatening violence, Mehboob described the move as political. “The whole world knows about the current position of BJP, therefore Modi govt took this step,”said petitioner.He added that if the “government would have taken this step two years back, people would have accepted it. We know that it is a big game. If this happens, the entire country will burn. Remember this, country will not be saved.”Times Now
Govt opposes PIL seeking equal inheritance for Muslim women
Ministry of Law and Justice has opposed in Delhi High Court a plea alleging gender-based discrimination in inheritance provisions of Muslim Personal Law (Sharia), stating that the petition is “devoid” of any merit and is liable to be “dismissed”.In its affidavit filed in the court registry, the ministry stated, “In view of the importance of the subject matter and sensitivity involved, which requires in-depth study of provisions of various personal laws governing different communities, this respondent (Law Ministry)…has requested Law Commission of India to undertake examination of various issues relating to Uniform Civil Code and to make recommendations thereof.”Affidavit, filed through Centre’s standing counsel Monika Arora, stated, “As and when Report of Law Commission in the matter is received, this respondent may take necessary action in consultation with various stakeholders involved.” Ministry stated that the petition is “not sustainable in law or on facts”, and also pointed out that a writ petition with similar prayer had been dismissed by Kerala High Court, which had held that constitutionality of Muslim Personal Law cannot be adjudicated in a writ petition filed in public interest. “It’s for the Legislature to decide whether any statute is to be framed to govern Muslims in the matter of succession,” the ministry said, citing the Kerala HC order.The affidavit was filed in the backdrop of CJ Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao’s direction on a public interest litigation, filed by Sahara Kalyan Samiti, which has moved the High Court seeking equal inheritance rights for Muslim women.The outfit has alleged that Muslim women were discriminated against as far their right to inherit is concerned. PIL argues that women are “only entitled to half of the share of their male counterparts”.indianexpress
Muslim body files plea challenging prayers at Kendriya Vidyalayas after SC agrees to hear petition
New Delhi:Continuing the tirade against compulsory recitation of Sanskrit and Hindu hymns in Kendriya Vidyalayas, a Muslim body— Jamiat Ulema- has also jumped on to the bandwagon and filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India on Monday regarding the morning prayers and said that students are forced to join hands and recite Hindu prayers.The body claims that this practice is unconstitutional. Though their petition has not been accepted by the Supreme Court, they have been given the liberty to advance their arguments as and when the SC sets up the Consitution bench to hear the matter.“Common prayer prescribed in Article 92 of Chapter 10 of the Revised Education Code for Kendriya Vidyalayas Sangathan is inspired from Hinduism.Even though such a prayer is not in consonance with many other faiths, all students, irrespective of their faith and belief, have to compulsorily recite the said prayer. Such recitation is supervised by teachers and on failure to recite the said prayer, the concerned student is reprimanded. Since the said common prayer is based on Hinduism, the members of the minority communities who are forced to recite the said prayer are aggrieved by the said provision,” the petition said.Times Now
Govt should not decide on Personal Law: Muslim League leader
Kozhikode: Responding to govt and court interventions into Muslim personal laws like tripe talaq, Muslim League state general secretary KPA Majeed asked the administrators not to take decisions on Muslim Personal Law. He was addressing a symposium on significance of triple talaq bill organised by Vanitha League here on Tuesday at the Town Hall.“Religious scholars in Muslim community will decide on Muslim Personal Laws. But the central government is trying to grab their rights. The party will organise strong protest inside and outside the Parliament,” said KPA Majeed.In his inaugural address, he hailed the Muslim community as the community which has least number of divorce cases.“Triple talaq is not reported in Kerala. The centre is taking such actions like triple talaq bill as part of implementing uniform civil code,” said KPA Majeed.mathrubhumi
Music in Muslim weddings 'Un-Islamic':Clerics in MP
Shattered with sound of drums, clerics residing in Jhabua refused to preside over a wedding on Tuesday.In the region, Qazis have banned drums, DJ's and music on the occasion of marriage from the past two and a halfyears. They believe that only vocal music is permissible (halal) and that instruments are forbidden (haram) in Islam.Speaking to ANI, Hazi Haroon Rasid, Qazis said: "We will not conduct 'nikah' in weddings where music and dance will happen and DJ will be there. We have banned such thing in our society as it was un-Islamic . Two and a half years ago, the decision to ban drums, music and DJ was taken by all. I also spoke to the family of groom in this regard but they decided to breach the practice. Following which I announced that the marriage will be boycotted by all Qazis of this area."Hours after Qazis' refusal, the family members of the bride and groom called another Qazi from the nearby Rajghad town to solemnise the wedding.ANI
‘Punished because complained about your misconduct’: Transferred CBI SP to interim chief
New Delhi :CBI SP T Rajah Balaji, who was recently transferred out of Delhi by interim CBI Director M Nageswara Rao, has accused him of “abuse of official position” and acting out of “malice and prejudice” because he had complained about Rao’s “misconduct” to the then director in March, 2017.In a letter written to Rao on Jan.22, day following his transfer from Anti-Corruption Branch in Delhi to CBI Academy in Ghaziabad, Balaji has alleged that his posting in Delhi had been made “on humanitarian grounds” on account of his mother-in-law suffering from cancer and receiving treatment at AIIMS. He has said it was on this ground that the government had even given him accommodation in East Kidwai Nagar, a government colony close to the hospital. Balaji has also approached the Supreme Court with a petition challenging his transfer, sources said. The petition, sources said, also has evidence against the interim director.“You know better than me that you are not a man of honour,” Balaji has said in the letter, further requesting the interim director to “redeem” himself. Quoting Shakespeare, Balaji has said, “‘There is some soul of goodness in things evil/ Would men observingly distill it out.’ I readily admit I do not have the intelligence to ‘distill’ good out of you. But I urge you to search your heart and recall this fact: you bear, or think you bear, an animosity to me, not to an ailing old woman. I request you on purely humanitarian grounds in the hope that you can truly make a start to redeem your humanity. It is never late in life to become a good man again. Trust me. Trust the better part of your heart.”indianexpress
No rights for minorities in a Hindu Rashtra: Amnesty International
Hyderabad: While comparing the Constitutions of various South East Asian countries with India, Aakar Patel, the managing director of Amnesty International India, indicated that if India indeed transformed into a Hindu Rashtra, it would be a volatile country like the others, where rights of the minorities would not be upheld.Citing the example of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, which has had four Constitutions in the last 70 years, Patel said that they neglected the rights of minorities like Hindus or Ahmadis. He similarly talked about Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka whose Constitutions did not define secularism like that of India. Coming to the concept of Hindu Rashtra, he said, “It is not only a political change, but also a cultural change that its propagators want.” Patel, while quoting Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar,second sarsanghachalak of RSS said that the concept was steeped in the caste system. He said, “Golwalker, in his idea of Hindu Rashtra, dismissed the idols as Gods, but instead emphasised on the worship of human beings as gods.”However, he said, “For Golwalker, human beings were only Hindus under the caste-system -- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras.” newindianexpress
Prakash Ambedkar calls RSS  'terrorist organisation'
Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr BR Ambedkar and chief of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, has called RSS a terrorist organisation."RSS is a terrorist organisation. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat worships arms and ammunition. I want to know why they need arms when they have police and the Army," Ambedkar said at the Vanchit Bahujan Sabha on Sunday.AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi who was present at the event said that Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, was conferred on B R Ambedkar out of compulsion and from the heart. "Tell me, out of the total Bharat Ratna awards given, how many were Dalit, Adivasi, Muslim, poor, upper caste and Brahmin? Babasaheb (Ambedkar) was given Bharat Ratna, but out of compulsion and not from heart," Owaisi said.ANI
11 northeastern political parties oppose Citizenship Bill; appeal to scrap legislation
11 northeastern political parties came together on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and decided to appeal to the Central government to scrap the legislation.The parties from seven states excluding Sikkim participated in a two-day convention and unanimously decided to oppose the Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, the convener of the convention, said the parties will send a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind seeking a scrapping of the Bill which will "endanger the lives and identity of the indigenous people".IANS
Mamata: Centre creating reign of terror with NRC
Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at the Centre on Monday, accusing it of invading privacy by recording conversations of judges, journalists, businessmen and couples, while creating a reign of terror in the name of NRC. “People of my generation and older ones have a problem with birth certificates. Many do not have them. Now, NRC is saying people without birth certificates will be declared non-resident. They have their own theory of citizenship, wh-ich leads to no-man’s land. Perhaps they think we will wait for their citizenship. We live in an independent country and will protest. We want mental peace and my appeal is to ens-ure Gabbar does not return. They will have to face the people’s court,” she said at a spo-rts department programme.Banerjee added: “Some people were trying to target the Bengalis by saying they would drive out some people from Bengal. We would rather eat half a bread and continue to live together instead of driving out anyone. We are all Indian citizens. There is no need to prove our citizenship for a second time. We are all voters here and have bank accounts and have studied here, so who can stop us from residing in India? Not knowing the date of birth of one’s mother or not having a birth certifiate does not mean you can drive them away.”“India is facing a crisis as democratic rights and property rights are being curbed. Data related to bank accounts, mobile phones and computers are no longer a secret.”TOI
DHFL promoters siphoned off ₹31,000 crore of public money, donated ₹20 crore to BJP: Cobrapost
In a sensational revelation, investigative and media portal Cobrapost alleged that the promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) have siphoned off more than ₹31,000 crore public money in what it called the biggest financial scam in the history of India. Addressing a press meet in New Delhi, Aniruddha Bahal, Editor of Cobrapost, said the siphoning off was primarily carried out through grants of loans and advances to shell companies and some other means.Public money earmarked for slum rehabilitation disappears into shell companies. Rs 631 crore comes back after two years without any interest or dividend, some is used to buy cricket team, another to finance London bank.Money has also been routed through these dubious companies and parked outside India to acquire assets, Cobrapost claimed after apparently analysing documents available with public authorities and information available in public domain. Calling it India’s largest financial fraud, Bahal alleged that the siphoned off money was routed through dubious companies and parked outside India. The money was used to acquire assets by the DHFL promoters, he said.According to Bahal, 32 Indian banks sanctioned a whopping ₹50,000 crore worth of loans for DHFL. The state-owned SBI has the highest exposure, at ₹11,500 crore, he added.nationalheraldindia
 Cobrapost ‘exposes’ India’s largest financial scam, Rs 1 lakh crore of public money lent to DHFL with no chance of recovery, Rs 20 crore donated to BJP
MP: In wake of communal clash, police slap sedition charge
Bhopal:2 days after a communal clash erupted in Khujner town of Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgadh district, the police have booked members of the Muslim community for sedition and for promoting enmity on religious grounds.Police had initially booked 16 members of both communities under sections related to rioting, use of obscene language and criminal intimidation, among other charges, after a brawl during a cultural programme organised to mark Republic Day.Members of both communities had lodged complaints against each other. The police have so far arrested six persons in connection with the clash. The administration had imposed Section 144 in the town on Saturday.In its complaint, the majority community had accused the Muslims of raising “anti-India and pro-Pakistani slogans”. Home Minister Bala Bachchan had on Sunday said it was a minor skirmish and there was no evidence to support the allegation that “anti-India slogans” had been raised.indianexpress
Karnataka: 8 arrested for opposing R-Day rally in front of mosque in Haveri
HAVERI: Haveri police have registered a case against 8 persons for allegedly opposing school children who were taking out a rally on Republic Day in Haveri on Saturday.The case against eight persons was booked on Saturday night under the section IPC 341 and they were released on bail.The incident was reported in Hirur village of Hangal taluk of Haveri when the students of Government Primary School were taking out a march on the road where a mosque is located. The police have now deployed additional forces at the village which has a history of communal clashes in the past.Police said, the arrested persons came out of the mosque and demanded that the students stop the band as it was against the law of the village. The group tried to snatch the band equipment and entered into a verbal duel with the school authorities despite the latter's explanation that the rally is of a school and not by any religious group.newindianexpress
NIA files supplementary chargesheet against 5 people in Bodh Gaya blasts case
New Delhi:NIA has filed a supplementary chargesheet before NIA Special Court in Patna against five people in connection with the Bodh Gaya blasts.The chargesheet has been filed under Sections 120B, 121A, 122, 123 and 471 of IPC, Sec 16, 18,18B & 20 of UA (P) Act and Sec 4 and 5 of Explosive Substance Act.Earlier on June 1,NIA Special Court awarded life imprisonment to all the 5 accused in connection with the same.Umer Siddiqui, Azaharuddin Qureshi, Imtiyaz Ansari, Haider Ali, Mujibullah Ansari and a juvenile, were accused in the case.HT
SIMI suspect arrested in Azamgarh
Lucknow :Azamgarh police on Monday arrested a SIMI suspect, a day after he was nabbed at Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi. He was then produced before a local court, which sent him to jail, said Circle Officer (Sadar) Mohammad Akmal Khan. Forty-two-year-old Mohammad Faiz — who ran a paan shop near his house in Azamgarh’s Khudadadpur village — was arrested in 2001 on charges of being an active member of SIMI after the Centre banned the outfit. He was released on bail around five months later. The case is pending in court.In November last year, the Azamgarh Police had issued a lookout notice against Faiz after it discovered during a verification drive that he had travelled to Sharjah in July on a passport renewed while withholding information about the case against him. The agency had also sent reports to External Affairs ministry and Lucknow’s Regional Passport Office, said Additional Superintendent of Police, Rural (Azamgarh),Narendra Pratap Singh. When Faiz was caught Sunday, he was about to leave for Sharjah again.An inquiry has been ordered into the roles of LIU and police station concerned for issuing the accused a clearance report.indianexpress
Rajdev Ranjan murder case: Charges framed against Shahabuddin, six others
New Delhi:Charges were framed against former RJD MP Mohammad Shahabuddin and six others in the murder case of journalist Rajdev Ranjan Tuesday in Bihar, ANI reported. The next hearing has been scheduled for Feb 12. CBI had last year filed a chargesheet against all of them in a Muzaffarpur court. The other named in chargesheet are Laddan Mian alias Azharuddin Beg, Rishu Kumar Jaiswal, Rohit Kumar Soni, Vijay Kumar Gupta, Rajesh Kumar and Sonu Kumar Gupta.The former MP and other accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code sections 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy) and 302 (punishment for murder) as well as section 34 of the Arms Act.Ranjan, the Siwan town bureau chief for a Hindi daily Hindustan was shot dead in July 2016 at Phal Mandi near the town station. Two bullets had pierced through Ranjan- one on the forehead and the other on the neck.Ranjan’s elder brother Kalicharan, had said after the murder: “Everyone can guess who the killer is, but who can name him? Let there be a CBI probe. We have little trust in the Grand Alliance government.”indianexpress       
Dalit rights outfits oppose EWS quota
New Delhi:Opposing reservations in jobs and higher education institutions based on economic criteria, Dalit rights organisations have demanded that the Union government instead implement reservation for SC/ST who convert to other religions, for Denotified Tribes, and also in private institutions.These demands were placed by the nationwide coalition of Dalit rights groups, the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), on Monday while releasing its Dalit manifesto — a list of demands for political parties — for the upcoming general elections. Ramesh Nathan from the NCDHR said that reservation cannot be treated as a poverty alleviation programme but is meant for those who have been historically oppressed. “Several who convert out of Hinduism lose the benefit of reservation. Likewise, there has been a longstanding demand for separate reservation for denotified communities who are the most marginalised. Instead, the government is trying to please the forward communities,” said Nathan.indianexpress
George Fernandes, former Union minister, dies at 88
New Delhi :George Fernandes, former Union minister and nine-time Lok Sabha MP, passed away Tuesday at the age of 88 following a prolonged illness. He had been bedridden for the past few years.Fernandes was born in Mangalore in Karnataka in 1930. An anti-Emergency crusader,Fernandes was a fiery socialist and arch-enemy of Indira Gandhi. He went underground during Emergency, but was arrested in 1976 in connection with the Baroda dynamite case. A year later, after Emergency was lifted, he was elected to Parliament from the Muzaffarpur seat in Bihar with a resounding victory. He was appointed Union Minister for Industries in the Morarji Desai government from 1977 to 1979. During his term, he took on American multinational companies like IBM and Coca-Cola, making them leave the country. Read this story in Bangla, Tamil, Malayalamindianexpress
‘By 2025, both India and China will have higher proportion of those over 85 years’
Mumbai :Ageing populations in China and India may have many things in common, suggested data from a collaborative project undertaken by academics. “China and India are the only countries in the world with population of more than one billion. Both together are home for one third of the world’s population, and both populations are ageing rapidly,” said Professor S Siva Raju, a faculty member at Centre for Population, Health and Development in TISS School of Development Studies. TISS has partnered with the Institute of Gerontology, Renmin University of China; Centre for Research on Ageing, University of Southampton in UK and HelpAge India to form the China – India Population Ageing Forum to study implications of population ageing and work out suitable policy responses. Once the forum produces a report, it will be presented to both the governments. “In 2025, both countries will have higher proportions of those who are aged 85 or older (6.6 per cent in China and 5.1 per cent in India) than they do now (5.8 per cent and 3.6 per cent, respectively), meaning that the elderly population will be more frail than it is now and thus, more difficult to take care of,” stated a statement issued by the forum.indianexpress
Rahul Gandhi promises passage of women’s quota Bill if Congress voted to power
New Delhi:Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday promised that Women’s Reservation Bill will be passed in Parliament if his party is voted to power, PTI reported. The women’s quota bill – which provides 33 per cent reservation to women in Parliament and state legislatures – has been in the limbo ever since it was passed by the Rajya Sabha way back in 2010. Addressing a rally in Cochin, Rahul said, “The first thing we will do when we win the 2019 election is to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parliament.”Rahul was responding to a suggestion from a party worker that there was a need for more women candidates. “We want to see women in the position of leadership,” he added. Repeating his promise of minimum income to the poor, Rahul said, “He (PM Modi) has provided a maximum income guarantee to 15 of his friends. If you are Anil Ambani you have a guarantee to maximum income you can get. We are going to give a minimum income guarantee to all the Indians.”indianexpress
Mathura farmers revive stir against stray cattle menace, lock up bovines in schools
|Mathura:Troubled by the influx of stray cattle which are majorly damaging crops, farmers in Jikhan Gaon village here revived their agitation and locked bovines in schools and public health centres.However, the district magistrate has taken exception to the conduct of villagers since alternate arrangements are already available.“SDM Mathura Kranti Shekhar was sent to ensure shifting of cattle from the Junior High school to gaushalas earmarked earlier for the purpose,” District Magistrate Sarvagy Ram Mishra said.He said over a dozen temporary gaushalas have been set up here.PTI
'Time to Tell Our Story': Priya Ramani Summoned as Accused in Defamation Case Filed by MJ Akbar
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Tuesday summoned journalist Priya Ramani to appear on February 25 in a defamation case filed by former Union minister MJ Akbar after she levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him.Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal issued the direction on Akbar's plea. Akbar, who resigned as Union minister on October 17 last year, filed a private criminal defamation complaint against Ramani after his name cropped up on social media as the #MeToo campaign raged on in India.Ramani accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago, which was denied by him. Welcoming the court’s decision, Ramani tweeted, “Time to tell our side of the story.”News18
Madhya Pradesh: To claim insurance, RSS worker faked death, killed farm help
Bhopal:MP Police is on the lookout for an RSS activist, Himmat Patidar, who allegedly faked his own death by planning a conspiracy to kill a labourer who worked for him two years ago. To claim insurance money of around Rs 20 lakh, Patidar, police said, murdered a labourer Madan Malviya, burnt his face to try and pass off the body as his own last week in Ratlam district.Home Minister Bala Bachchan Monday said the body found in an agriculture field that Patidar owned in Kamed village on January 23 was Malviya’s, and not Patidar as was initially believed. Police established the identity of Malviya after DNA tests on the body.Patidar had left his home the previous night around 1.30 am telling his family that he was going to switch on the water pump to irrigate the field but did not return. The next morning a body bearing injury marks on the neck was found but the face was burnt to conceal identity, police said. His cousin, Suresh Patidar, who is also a district-level RSS functionary, lodged a complaint with Bilpank Police Station. indianexpress
A positive feeling, says Gujarati Hindus after visit to  masjid
Ahmedabad: Sending a message of communal harmony, a mosque in Gujarat has opened its doors for people across all religions.With a poster that read: “Let us visit the mosque, see live namaz (prayer) and understand Islam,” Masjid Umar-Bin-Khattab “inviting non-Muslims to understand Islam.”One-year-old masjid located in Rakhial area has started an exhibition where people from any religion can come and witness the activities going on in the Mosque.Around 120 non-Muslims, mostly Hindus, men and women attended the special gathering.A Hindu visitor said that it is a very nice gesture. He added, “I am happy that they have kept the mosque open for all. Today, I came here and witnessed Namaz, which gave me positive vibes. siasat
Was born Muslim, am proud Indian first: Dinesh Gundu Rao's wife takes on Hegde
New Delhi:Tabu Rao reacted sharply to "misogynistic" and "provocative" remarks made by Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde, who said Karnataka Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao was a "guy who ran behind a Muslim lady". Tabu Rao is Dinesh Gundu Rao's wife.In a Facebook post, Tabu Rao said she seemed to have beome a "soft target" for Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who are "unable to politically take on" her husband. Tabu Rao said that Anant Kumar Hegde had dragged her "into political slugfest" even though she is a "private person" who does not hold any party pr public position.Directly responding to Anant Kumar Hegde's 'I only know him [Dinesh Rao] as a guy who ran behind a Muslim lady' comment, Tabu Rao said, "Yes, I was born a Muslim, but we are proud Indians first. The Constitution of India which is built on the foundation of secularism guarantees every individual 'Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship'."indiatoday
UN Khashoggi report to be made public before June, says investigator
United Nations official leading an investigation into Jamal Khashoggi’s murder said on Tuesday that her report will be made public before June.Speaking outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where journalist Khashoggi was killed and dismembered on 2 October by a hit squad dispatched from Riyadh, Agnes Callamard said her report would come out before June’s UN human rights council session."The report will be made public a few weeks before I present it to the human rights council in Geneva, so end of May possibly," the UN special rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions said.Callamard, an independent expert hired by the UN, headed to the neighbourhood where the consulate is located on Tuesday morning to do some preliminary investigations.She said she had asked the Saudi authorities for permission to enter the consulate, which remains open for consular uses. Saudis have previously been reluctant to allow Turkish investigators into the building, carrying out refurbishments in the days immediately after Khashoggi disappeared inside the consulate."To be fair the request to them has come quite late, so we need to give them a bit more time to process our request," she told reporters."We are respectfully calling on the authorities to give us access at some stage while we are here.""We just wanted to have a sense of it," she added, explaining why she had gone to the consulate without permission to enter.Callamard’s investigation adds pressure on the Saudi authorities over Khashoggi’s murder. middleeasteye
UN Khashoggi investigator meets Istanbul chief prosecutor
Israel plan to displace 36,000 Arabs in Negev
Israeli Agriculture and Negev Development Minister Ori Ariel has completed a plan to displace about 36,000 Arabs from their “unrecognised” villages in the Negev, Arab48 reported .Reporting Israel Hayom, Arab48 said that the Israeli government is to start implementation of the plan this year if it gets approved, and it needs four years to be completed.Israel, according to the plan, is going to build infrastructure and security projects that necessitate the displacement of the Arab residents.The estimated area of land planned to be confiscated in favour of these projects is 260,000 dunams (260 square kilometres), making it the largest ever land confiscation by Israel since the creation of the Jewish state in 1948. Partial displacement of the Palestinian villagers is expected to start this year, starting from the north of Route 31.Full displacement to start in 2021.The unrecognised villages are not shown on the map of Israel and the Israeli authorities do not supply them with their basic services, including water and electricity.Israel does not recognise the inhabitants of these villages or their right to their land, which they inherited from their fathers and grandfathers, instead claiming the area is “state-owned” land.middleeastmonitor
Israel plans to expel Bedouin from Negev
Malaysian PM calls Israel 'criminal' state
Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad on Monday criticized Israel for being a "criminal" state."Israel is a criminal state and deserves to be condemned," Mahathir wrote on his personal blog post, citing Malaysia's solidarity with the Palestinian people.The statement came days after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) stopped Malaysia from hosting this year’s world championship after it did not issue visas to athletes from Israel.Malaysia was awarded the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships two years ago.
Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah resigns
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has resigned, just days after Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas announced plans to form a new government.In a statement today, PA spokesperson Yusuf Al-Mahmoud said that “the prime minister and his ministers welcome [Fatah, the Palestinian faction which dominates PA]’s decision to form a new government,” adding that: “Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has placed his government at the disposal of the President of the Authority [Abbas].”Hamdallah confirmed the statement in a tweet, writing that: “We put our government at the disposal of President Mahmoud Abbas and we welcome the recommendations of the Fatah Central Committee to form a new government.”Hamdallah’s resignation came following a request by Abbas this weekend after the latter announced that a new Palestinian government would be formed. Commentators have seen this as a bid by Fatah to strengthen its grip over the PA in the wake of declining popular support and challenges from other Palestinian factions, namely Hamas – which governs the besieged Gaza Strip.middleeastmonitor
US and Taliban agree in principle to framework for peace deal, US envoy says
Officials from the United States and the Taliban have agreed in principle to a framework that could eventually bring Afghanistan's long-running war to an end, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan said .In comments given to the New York Times and confirmed to CNN by the US Embassy in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad said the framework for peace would see the insurgent group vow to prevent the country from being used as a hub for terrorism in return for a US military withdrawal."We have a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement," Khalilzad told the Times on Monday. "The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals."The peace negotiations in Doha, Qatar had previously been described on Saturday by Khalilzad as "more productive than they have been in the past," signaling the first significant shift in the geopolitical stalemate in years. But he added that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed."The sides are working on a ceasefire that would lead to a sequenced agreement for dialogue, initially between US and the Taliban and then between the Taliban and Afghan government, a source with knowledge of the talks told CNN last week.An Afghan source close to the negotiations told CNN on Monday that while a ceasefire and US withdrawal were both discussed, neither side came to final conclusions.
US presses criminal charges against Huawei for violating Iran sanctions
US announced criminal charges against China's Huawei Tech Co Ltd, escalating a fight with the world's biggest telecommunications equipment maker just days before trade talks take place between Washington and Beijing.Justice Department charged Huawei and its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Monday with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran by doing business with Tehran through a subsidiary it tried to hide, which Reuters first reported on in 2012.Huawei is world’s largest manufacturer of cellular-tower electronics and 3rd -biggest smartphone producer.middleeasteye
Pakistan SC dismisses review plea against Asia Bibi’s acquittal
The Supreme Court of Pakistan today dismissed a petition challenging the acquittal of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was convicted and sentenced to death under charges of blasphemy. A 3-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, dismissed the review petition filed by Qari Muhammad Salaam, Dawn reported. Bibi, who faces threats from Pakistan hardliners, is now free to leave the country.Security was tightened in Islamabad where the court is located. Paramilitary Rangers were deployed in addition to the regular police to deal with any unsavoury situation. Bibi’s lawyer, who fled to the Netherlands after receiving death threats for defending her, returned home last week to represent her in the case. Bibi has been in hiding since the SC acquitted her in Oct.In the petition, it has been argued that the SC’s acquittal of Bibi did not meet the standards of jurisprudence as well as Islamic provisions and the “normal principle of justice with reference to application in blasphemy laws”.indianexpress
UN: Boko Haram threat displaces 30,000 from Nigeria's Rann town
More than 30,000 people fled the Nigerian town of Rann over the weekend amid fears of renewed attacks by the Boko Haram armed group, according to the United Nations refugee agency.UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday the town's population "seems to be panicking and they are on the run as a pre-emptive measure to save their lives."Rann, near the border with Cameroon in northern Borno state, already saw an exodus of about 9,000 people earlier this month to Cameroon after a Boko Haram attack on January 14 killed 14 people.aljazeera
World can’t ignore suffering of Rohingya: UNICEF
A top UN official has said that international community cannot be silent in the face of suffering of persecuted Rohingya Muslims’ children in Myanmar. “[We cannot ignore] the suffering faced by [Rohingya] refugees currently sheltering in Bangladesh,” said Henrietta Fore, executive director of UNICEF, at a forum late Monday in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw.“We must work together to find a peaceful future for all,” added Fore, the first top UNICEF official to have visited Myanmar in 30 years. UNICEF chief asked Myanmar to take steps to “rebuild the trust that is fundamental to every society.”“But reconciliation must follow accountability,”she said, referring to persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state over the years.Fore asked the Buddhist-majority country to roll out of a “universal maternal and child cash transfer” program in Rakhine and “ensure all children receive a birth certificate.”
Riyadh releases 10 businessmen from detention
RIYADH:Saudi authorities have released 10 businessmen from detention, according to an activist group on Tuesday. "The authorities have released ten of the Ritz-Carlton [Hotel] detainees in the past two days," the so-called Prisoners of Conscience group said on Twitter. The activist group said Ethiopian-born billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi was among those set free. There was no comment from Saudi authorities on the report. On Monday, the Ethiopian television confirmed that al-Amoudi had been freed by Riyadh. In November 2017, Saudi authorities arrested dozens of businessmen and princes on corruption allegations and held them in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:49 PM)


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