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Saturday, 23 February 2019

23 Feb. Heavy troop deployment in Kashmir as forces crack down on J&K Jamaat, top leaders detained ahead of Article 35A hearing/ ‘Fight against terror not Kashmir’: PM Modi denounces attack on Kashmiris


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
23 Feb. 2019: 17 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:135
INDIA
Heavy troop deployment in Kashmir as forces crack down on J&K Jamaat, top leaders detained ahead of Article 35A hearing
New Delhi:Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Article 35A, which gives special powers to the state of J&K , the state govt has ramped up its crackdown on separatist leaders. Many Jamaat-e-Islami J&K leaders and activists have been arrested or detained in the Valley.Though police termed the detentions as routine, officials privy to the developments said this is the first major crackdown on the organisation that is part of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.Conducting night raids in south Kashmir and central Kashmir, the J&K  Police picked up many JeI leaders from their homes.Those detained including Ameer Jama’at, Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, advocate Zahid Ali (spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (former secretary general), Abdur Rouf (Ameer Zila Islamabad), Mudasir Ahmad (Ameer Tehsil Pahalgam), Abdul Salam (Dialgam), Bakhtawar Ahmad (Dialgam), Mohammad Hayat (Tral), Bilal Ahmad (Chadoora), Ghulam Mohammad Dar (Chak Sangran) and dozens more. Jamaat is a social-political organization with cadre base across the Valley. Speaking to a local agency, a JeI spokesperson said that the raids were a "well-designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region."The Jamaat cadres were picked up from various places, including Anantnag, Pahalgham, Dialgam, Tral-- all in south Kashmir. Jamaat termed the raids as "fishy" at a time when the Supreme Court is to hear a petition regarding Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special status to J&K."...The way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jamaat members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains. Any attempt of eroding or tampering Article 35A is unacceptable for people of J&K,"it said.Besides this, police also detained Yaseen Malik. India today
Nearly 10,000 Troops Airlifted To Srinagar Amid Major Crackdown In J&K
Srinagar: Amid a major crackdown on separatists in J&K  that began last night, Centre has sent hundred additional companies - around 10,000 soldiers - of paramilitary forces to the state.A notice from the Home Ministry in New Delhi late on Friday evening led to 100 additional companies of paramilitary soldiers being airlifted to Srinagar, where J&K  police and existing security forces worked through the night rolling out their deployment plan for next few days. Depending on the paramilitary force, a company of soldiers typically consists of between 80 and 150 soldiers, suggesting that last evening's order by the Ministry of Home Affairs would see around 10,000 soldiers airlifted to Srinagar. ndtv
You can imprison a person, not his ideas: Mehbooba on detention of J&K Jamaat leaders
Ex-J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti has questioned the legal grounds of detaining Jamaat-e-Islami J&K (JeI) cadres and JKLF leader Yasin Malik, and said, “You can imprison a person but not his ideas.” Calling the detention an “arbitrary move”, Mufti added, “In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders and workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas.”Condemning the nocturnal crackdown on JeI leaders, the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed it as “illegal” and “coercive” and said such measures against Kashmiri’s will not change realities on the ground. “Force and intimidation will only worsen situation,” Farooq said.The chairman of Peoples Conference Sajad Lone, meanwhile, cautioned the Govt  to desist from arresting Hurriyat leaders as the situation in the valley would worsen.indianexpress
Crackdown on Jamaat in J&K ‘arbitrary’: Mehbooba
 ‘Fight against terror not Kashmir’: PM Modi denounces attack on Kashmiris after Pulwama
Tonk:PM  Narendra Modi today denounced reported attacks on Kashmiri youths in some parts of the country following Pulwama attack. PM Modi said Kashmiri youths should not be targeted anywhere in the country. Speaking at a rally in Tonk, PM Modi said, “Our fight is against terror, the enemies of humanity… Our fight is for Kashmir not against Kashmir, not against Kashmiris.” “What happened to Kashmiri youths in the last few days…It does not matter whether the incident was small or big, such things should not happen. Kashmiri youths are victims of terror. Every child of Kashmir is with India in our fight against terror,”said PM.PM said incidents like these “give power to Bharat ke tukde honge gang” and their supporters. “It is the responsibility of every Indian to protect every laal (child) of Kashmir,” he said.HT
Time to test Pathan’s words: PM Modi on Imran Khan’s promise
PM meets Rajnath, Doval over Kashmir situation
PM Narendra Modi has called for a meeting to discuss Kashmir issue on late Saturday evening. Reports said that the high-level meeting took place in New Delhi and several prominent ministers are reported to take part in the meeting. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and NSA Ajit Doval were also present during the meeting. The meeting has been called over the reports of Kashmiri youths who were being targeted across the country following the Pulwama terror attacks.Coming to the meeting, the PM Modi is expected to discuss the security measures taken along the LoC. NewsX
Pakistan says it has taken control of Jaish-e-Mohammed campus in Bahawalpur
New Delhi:Pakistan Govt  on Friday claimed that it has taken control of jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) campus in Bahawalpur. The decision was taken in line with the decision of National Security Committee (NSC) meeting which was held yesterday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior said.In a statement, the Pakistan Govt said, "Govt of Punjab has taken over the control of a campus comprising Madressatul Sabir and Jama-e-Masjid Subhanallah in Bahawalpur." Govt said that it has also appointed an administrator to manage affairs of the Jaish's campus."The campus has a faculty of 70 teachers and currently 600 students were studying in it. The Punjab police is providing security and protection to the campus,"statement from Pakistan's interior ministry said. The development has come a day after Pakistan PM Imran Khan banned Hafiz Saeed-led Jamat-ut-Dawa (JuD), a decision taken in NSC meeting to review the National Action Plan in detail. "It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organizations. It was further decided that JuD and Falah-e- Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organizations by the Ministry of Interior," a statement by Govt of Pakistan said.India Today
Pakistan says Bahawalpur mosque does charity, action against it has no connection with Pulwama
Mention of JeM only in general terms, not judgment: China downplays UNSC statement on Pulwama
New Delhi :A day after UNSC strongly condemned the Pulwama attack and named Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) for the “heinous and cowardly suicide bombing”, China on Friday sought to downplay the resolution, saying the mention of JeM was only in “general terms” and “does not represent a judgement”.“On Thursday, UNSC issued a press statement that mentioned a particular organisation but only in general terms. It does not represent a judgment on the attack,”China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters, while referring to UNSC statement.While Beijing agreed to name JeM, which is a UN-proscribed terrorist group since 2002, it has not yet yielded on JeM chief Masood Azhar’s listing.Asked about the statement highlighting the role of JeM in the attack, Geng said Beijing was closely following the developments related to the terror incident. The spokesperson said that “China also noted that Pakistani Govt showed readiness to cooperate with India on the investigation and that it is also ready to resolve differences with India through dialogue”.“China hopes all parties will work to find the truth about this attack. We hope Pakistan and India will engage in dialogue to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability,” he said.indianexpress
China opposed mention of 'terrorism' in UNSC statement on Pulwama, caused a week's delay
Pak writes to UNSC, accuses India of threatening regional security
Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has written a letter to UNSC accusing India of threatening regional security, Foreign Office (FO) said.He also said India is accusing Pakistan for the Pulwama attack without any proof."It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from Indian belligerence and threats of use of force against Pakistan. The situation poses a threat to international peace and security," Qureshi said in the letter addressed to UNSC president Anatolio Ndong Mba.He alleged that India is blaming Pakistan for Pulwama attack "to cover up its own operational and policy failures". In his letter, Qureshi also accused Indian Govt of using "water as a weapon". "Long-standing legal arrangements agreed under Indus Waters Treaty(IWT) are thus being imperilled," he said. India has decided to "stop" the flow of its share of water to Pakistan from rivers under the Indus Water Treaty. Qureshi said Pakistan has offered to cooperate with India if it shares any proof of involvement of Pakistani elements in Pulwama attack. "Pakistan has offered its cooperation, if tangible evidence emerging from credible investigation is shared," he wrote.PTI
‘Centre decides to stop India’s share of water to Pak’
CRPF slams report of Magazine which gives caste-based break-up of jawans killed in Pulwama
New Delhi: CRPF has slammed a news report which carried a caste-based break-up of the jawans killed in the Pulwama attack. Calling the report “pathetic division of caste, colour, and religion”,CRPF chief Moses Dhinakaran said such a ‘divide’ doesn’t exist in their blood and all jawans identify themselves as “Indians”.“40 jawans were primarily from lower-caste communities. In all, they comprised 19 jawans from OBCs, 7 from SCs, 5 from STs, 4 from upper-caste backgrounds, one high-caste Bengali, 3 Jat Sikhs, and one Muslim. So, only 5 out of 40 jawans, or 12.5%, came from Hindu upper-caste backgrounds,”the magazine said. TOI
Urban upper-castes driving Hindutva nationalism have little representation among Pulwama’s slain jawans: Ajaz Ashraf, caravanmagazine
RSS has now changed its stand from Ram temple to Kashmir: Shiv Sena
Mumbai: Latching onto a news report, Shiv Sena Saturday said RSS' "new stand" to temporarily put the Ram Mandir issue on the back-burner and give "priority" to Kashmir in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack fits the current narrative in the country. The Sena said the Sangh's changed approach in a way suits the country given the proposed mega alliance of Congress and other parties could never provide stability and bring peace in the country.However, claiming that no damage was inflicted on Pakistan in the last five years, a Sena editorial in "Saamana" questioned the need to repeat the "slogan" to elect a "stable Govt and a strong PM ", which was raised ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Sena also underlined the need to have a stable Govt  in the country to prevent recurrence of Pulwama-like incidents.PTI
Nitish bats for Article 370 in J&K , says ‘should not take action against Kashmiris’
Patna: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has courted controversy by speaking in favour of Article 370 in J&K , in contrast to the belief of the BJP at the centre, who is also their NDA ally.Expressing discomfort over the recent Pulwama attack and the subsequent hate crimes against Muslims, especially Kashmiris, across the country, Bihar CM appealed to the country to not boycott Kashmir, calling it an ‘integral part of India’ and that Muslims too are aggrieved by the state of affairs.“Muslim community in this country is equally pained over the Pulwama attack like everyone. I don’t understand why someone wants to boycott Kashmir. We should not take action against Kashmiris as they are part of India,”he said.TimesNow
2 Nabbed from Deoband for JeM Link, Kashmir Cops Say ‘No Proof’
Neither their families nor the police in South Kashmir on Friday, confirmed UP Police’s claim that two youths – Shahnawaz Ahmad Teli of Nunmai (Kulgam) and Aaquib Ahmad Malik of Babgam (Pulwama) – were members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror module operating in Deoband area of Saharanpur district.Early on Friday, DG UP Police, OP Singh, disclosed at a news conference that ATS had arrested Teli and Malik over specific information regarding their association with Jaish-e-Mohammad. He said ATS conducted a midnight raid in Deoband and arrested 2 “suspected terrorists.”According to DGP, Teli and Malik had been living as students in Deoband, but had not taken admission in any institution of the famous historic seminary there. He described Teli as an expert in fabricating and detonating hand grenades, and claimed that he had been entrusted with the responsibility of recruiting youths to carry out terror attacks in UP and other parts of the country.Police and CID officers in both Kulgam and Pulwama, maintained that they had begun profiling of the two youths but had not immediately found anything adverse against them. “There’s no FIR or daily diary report against them with CID or concerned police stations in the 2 South Kashmir districts. We are still collecting and verifying their antecedents,” said a police officer not authorised to speak to the media.Malik’s family, too, maintained that he was innocent with no adverse background or links to militancy. Even Malik’s neighbours said neither he “nor any other youth in this village” had ever maintained links to militants or stone pelters. thequint
Act against attacks on Kashmiris, minorities: SC
New Delhi :The Supreme Court on Friday directed the chief secretaries and police chiefs of all states and Union Territories to take “prompt action” to prevent incidents of “assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts” against Kashmiris, including students, and other minorities in the wake of the Pulwama attack.The bench also issued notices to the Centre and 10 states — Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, J&K , Meghalaya, UP , Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra — and sought their reply. These are the states that have reported incidents of threat and violence against Kashmiris in the last one week.“Chief secretaries, directors general of police of all the states and Union Territories including the commissioner of police, Delhi, are directed to take prompt and necessary action to prevent incidents of assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts against Kashmiris, including students enrolled with the institutions in the respondent states and union territories, and other minorities in the wake of the terrorist attack,” said a bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna.The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Tariq Adeeb, seeking its intervention in the matter. Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves sought an order like in the mob lynching cases last year, when the court had ordered appointment of nodal officers. “I want an order similar to the lynching cases,” Gonsalves said, adding that the most senior officer in the state could act as the nodal officer. He also wanted the officer’s number to be put in public domain.indian express
After SC push, states say ensuring Kashmiri students’ safety
List of nodal officers appointed in all states to redress grievances by Kashmiris
New Delhi :In the wake of incidents of assaults and harassment against residents of J&K  following the Pulwama attack, the Ministry of Home Affairs has appointed nodal officers in all states and union territories to ensure their security.The appointments were made as the Supreme Court on Friday directed chief secretaries and police chiefs of all states and Union Territories to take “prompt action” to prevent incidents of “assault, threat, social boycott and such other egregious acts” against Kashmiris, including students, and other minorities in aftermath of Pulwama.indianexpress
Among J-K students targeted are PM scholarship recipients
New Delhi:At least 5 of the institutes where Kashmiri students were targeted after the Pulwama attack are covered under PM’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS)—a merit-based programme that offers admission to students of J&K in colleges, institutes and universities across the country and pays for their tuition and board.And at least five of the Kashmiri students who have been expelled or suspended so far, for what complainants content on social media, had secured admission through PMSSS. An analysis of official records show that Geeta Engineering College in Panipat and Moradabad Institute of Technology (MIT), which recently witnessed protests against their students from Kashmir,as well as Quantum University in Roorkee, Bharat Institute of Technology in Meerut, and Shree Guru Gobind Singh Tricentenary University in Gurgaon, which suspended/expelled Kashmiri students for their comments/ posts on social media, are on Govt’s list of institutions covered under PMSSS.indianexpress
Violence against Kashmiris counter-productive: Ribeiro
Ex DG of Punjab police, Julio Ribeiro, who has also served as DG of CRPF, said it is very difficult to prevent a Fidayeen attack and it was obvious that the attack was being planned for a long time.Referring to Adil Ahmed Dar, who carried out the attack, Ribeiro pointed out that it was worrying that the attack was carried out by an Indian. He stressed on the need to address the problem and first find out the reason for it.Addressing the issue of Kashmiri students being attacked at different educational institutions in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror strike, Ribeiro emphasised that people still stop and think before indulging in such violence. Clearly stating that such actions would only be counterproductive.the quint
Thank you to Sikhs for shelter after Pulwama: Kashmiris
Sikhs have opened their doors in Jammu and elsewhere to protect Kashmiris facing attacks in the aftermath of Pulwama strike. Now, Kashmiris are expressing their gratitude. Kashmiris from every walk of life — professionals, school managements, artisans, hoteliers, tour operators and traders — have flooded social media with offers to bring happiness in some way or the other to Sikhs. The offers range from discounts on snow-bike rides, complimentary stay in hotels and tuition and medical check-up at no cost.Fida Hussain, a 36-year-old paper-mache artisan from Srinagar, has offered to decorate the interiors of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. “It will be an honour to work at the Golden Temple. You will not believe that I posted the message on my Facebook page in the morning and by evening several other artisans rang me up to pledge their support to the endeavour,” Fida said. Telegraphindia
 ‘Very, very bad situation between India and Pakistan’: Trump on Pulwama attack
Washington:Describing the current situation between India and Pakistan as “very, very bad”, US President Donald Trump said his administration was in contact with both sides and hoped hostilities would soon end in the Valley.“Right now between Pakistan and India, there is a very, very bad situation. A very dangerous situation. We would like to see it (hostilities) stop. A lot of people were just killed. We want to see it just stop. We are very much involved in that (process),” Trump said.PTI
India to attend OIC foreign ministers meet for first time
New Delhi:India will, for the first time, attend a meeting of foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in UAE,with officials describing the invitation to New Delhi as a significant development in efforts to boost relations with West Asian and Muslim-majority nations. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will participate in the meeting as a guest of honour. Over the past few decades, New Delhi has had, at best, a prickly relationship with OIC, largely because Pakistan frequently used 56-member grouping to target India on the Kashmir issue. Pakistan and its allies in the Arab world have also blocked attempts to give observer status to India, which has the world’s third largest Muslim population.Swaraj will attend the inaugural plenary session of 46th meeting of OIC’s Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi during March 1-2 at the invitation of her UAE counterpart, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Swaraj will address the inaugural plenary session as a guest of honour, the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Saturday.Commodore (retired) C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Society for Policy Studies, described the invitation for India as a “reasonably significant development as OIC has traditionally not been supportive of India, especially over the Kashmir issue”.The external affairs ministry described the invitation as a “welcome recognition of the presence of 185 million Muslims in India and of their contribution to its pluralistic ethos, and of India’s contribution to the Islamic world”.HT
J&K govt has stopped advertisements in two newspapers: Kashmir Editors Guild
Srinagar:Kashmir Editors Guild on Friday claimed that Governor Satya Pal Malik’s administration has suspended advertisements in 2 major daily newspapers– Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader to “deliberately strangulate and subvert the institution of media” in the state. Valley-based guild has also sought the “attention of Press Council of India and Editors Guild of India to exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue.”indianexpress
Supreme Court seeks response on J&K plea over shifting Pak prisoners to Tihar
New Delhi :The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre and the Delhi Govt ’s response on a plea by J&K  administration to transfer seven Pakistani undertrials with suspected links with terror outfits such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Al-Badr from Jammu jail to Delhi’s Tihar Jail, as they were allegedly indoctrinating fellow prisoners in Jammu.Appearing for J&K administration, Advocate Shoeb Alam told a bench of Justices L N Rao and M R Shah that if not Tihar, they could be shifted to high-security prisons in Haryana or Punjab.The bench, which issued the notice, tagged the pleas for transferring the seven with an earlier petition filed by the state, seeking shifting of Pakistani national Zahid Farooq, allegedly affiliated to LeT, and said it will hear all the petitions together.J&K has also requested that the trial of their cases be shifted out of the state since transporting the undertrials to court and back to prison poses security threat to the police personnel escorting them as the common people.indianexpress
Centre withdraws notification giving more powers to Assam Rifles
 Union Home Ministry withdrew a notification giving sweeping powers to Assam Rifles to conduct searches without a warrant and take people into custody in the non-(AFSPA areas. According to informed sources, fears of a backlash forced Centre to scrap the notification. Home Ministry put the notification in abeyance and would bring now only after a thorough review and consultations with state Govts concerned, they said.The issue of re-conferring powers under CrPC to Assam Rifles -- given in 1941 and taken back in 2006 -- had been pending for long and it was needed for effective enforcement of Free Movement Regime along the India-Myanmar border, the sources explained.The contours of the Free Movement Regime was elaborated in the land border crossing agreement between India and Myanmar in 2018 that called for suitable powers for border guards.Some technical faults in the notification and adverse intelligence reports about a possible backlash forced the Centre to reverse its decision.IANS
Assam Rifles Can Arrest Without Warrant In 5 Northeast States: Centre
Chidambaram Slams Centre’s ‘Muscular, Militaristic Approach’ in North East, Says Policy Will Fail
New Delhi: Former finance minister P Chidambaram has said he would wait to see if PM  Narendra Modi acts against Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy for his tweet supporting a ban on Kashmiri goods.Chidambaram also slammed Centre for the ministry of home affairs’ notification on Friday, which empowered Assam Rifles personnel to arrest anyone and search a place without a warrant in the Northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.His tweet read, “When the cry is for more humane and just laws, Govt  allows Assam Rifles to search and arrest without warrant!” PC called the notification a ‘muscular, militaristic approach’ and said the approach will fail in North East as it has in Kashmir. “This is the extension of the muscular, militaristic approach to the North East. This approach failed in Kashmir, it will fail in the North Eastern States,” he said.News18news18
Assam launches crackdown against Rohingya Muslims
Guwahati: Assam Govt  has ordered a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims believed to have been settled systematically by a network of sympathizers in minority-dominated districts of the state in large numbers. Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said, “We have been able to arrest only those who have been detected so far. We fear there could be more who have come in multiple streams and we do know how many of them are settled here now. We have asked our police force to detect each and every one of them as the top priority.”He said since the detection of the first Rohingya Muslim in the state in 2009, infiltration from Myanmar has been on. “Very recently, when the state machinery was focused on the unrest in the state (following the protests against Citizenship Bill),there has been a systematic effort to settle the Rohingya Muslims, who have been either living in 3 refugee camps set up by India in Telengana, Delhi and Jammu, or infiltrated from across the border,” Sarma said. He added, “Certain organisations are making concerted efforts to push Rohingya Muslims into Assam and a network has developed to raise donations for them.”Sarma said police have arrested 75 Rohingya Muslims in the state so far, who are either in judicial custody or in detention camp in Goalpara jail or have been repatriated. He added that there is no designated camp for Rohingya in Assam.“Most of these Rohingya Muslims have been detected and arrested in Hojai, Lumding, Cachar and Karimganj districts. These are the districts where the demography has drastically changed and the indigenous Assamese people are being pushed into oblivion,” Sarma said.TOI
One killed as protests in Arunachal turn violent over citizenship to non-tribals
Guwahati:Protests roiled Arunachal Pradesh and turned violent in the capital Itanagar following a move by the BJP-led state Govt to grant permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six non-tribal communities, forcing it late Friday evening to announce that the issue won’t be discussed in the ongoing assembly session.One person was killed allegedly in police firing and dozens of others including policemen injured in capital Itanagar on Friday after protesters tried to march to the Assembly on the second day of a 48-hour strike called by 18 bodies opposing the move.Following widespread incidents of arson, Govt  decided put the PRC in cold storage for now. It was to be discussed in the state assembly on Saturday. Govt also ordered telecom service providers to block data network for 24 hours since Friday “to avoid rumour mongering through internet in the interest of public safety”.Many indigenous groups have been opposing a joint high power committee (JHPC) report which suggested granting of PRC to 6 communities, who are not natives of Arunachal, but have been residing in Changlang and Namsai districts for several decades.HT
80 Tea Garden Workers Dead After Consuming Spurious Liquor in Assam, Govt Orders Probe
Guwahati: 80 tea garden workers died after consuming spurious liquor in Assam, with 39 deaths reported from Golaghat district alone. Several others have been admitted in a critical condition at the Jorhat Medical College Hospital and at the Golaghat civil hospital. The deaths come less than two weeks after more than 100 people died after drinking bootleg alcohol in northern India. At least 7 women were among the dead at the plantation, 310 km from the state's capital Guwahati. According to locals, the workers at Salmara tea garden had consumed the liquor on Thursday evening and four women died soon after. In the next 12 hours, eight more deaths were reported. The toll has now touched 80.Police have arrested the owners of the illegal country-made liquor factory in Jugibaari area near the garden. The accused have been identified as Indukalpa Bordoloi and Deba Bora. news18
10 killed in explosion at shop in UP, some feared trapped in debris
Bhadohi: 10 people were killed and six injured in an explosion at a shop Bhadohi on Saturday afternoon which also led to collapse of three adjacent houses, officials said.It is suspected that some people are still trapped under the debris and a rescue operation has been launched, they said.The blast took place at the shop in Rohta Bazaar. Kaliyar Mansoori, who used to run the shop, is among the 10 deceased. His son was running a carpet factory behind the shop and its workers could be among those trapped under the debris, DM Rajendra Prasad said.Locals claimed that Mansoori was also in the business of making illegal firecrackers. Besides Kaliyar Mansoor, three deceased have been identified as Irfan Mansoori, Abid Mansoori and Chandu, while efforts were on to identify the other six. The injured have been admitted to hospital, the DM said.PTI
Police drop sedition charges against 14 AMU students
Aligarh:Police have dropped sedition charges slapped against 14 AMU after the recent protests on the campus, even as SP leader Akhilesh Yadav accused BJP Govt  of having used the legal provision “as a weapon”. The students were booked for sedition after Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) district president Mukesh Lodhi alleged he was assaulted by some students who chanted pro-Pakistan slogans, police said.Aligarh’s SSP Akash Kulhari said Friday the charges were dropped 3 days back as there is no evidence to support them. Reacting to the development, Akhilesh Yadav said, “Using sedition charges as a weapon against students is a serious breach of constitutional norms.” “While the charges against AMU students have been withdrawn, it is clear that BJP continues to be defined by the politics of fear and division,” he said in Lucknow. Aligarh SSP said there is no videographic proof or any other evidence “to support the claim that anti-India or pro-Pak slogans were raised by these boys during the clash between 2 student groups at University Circle on Feb.12”.PTI
Republic TV Row: AMU Students Accuse Admin of Backtracking on Assurance: newsclick
4 Days After Fatal Mid-air Crash, 300 Vehicles Gutted in Fire at Bengaluru Aero Show Venue
Bengaluru:300 vehicles were gutted in a fire that broke out in a parking lot at the venue of the 2019 Aero India show being conducted by the defence ministry at the Yelahanka air base. No casualties have been reported. The fire has been extinguished completely, said DGP of Fire Services MN Reddi. According to a policeman, around 100 cars were affected in the blaze after one car caught fire. To control the fire, more than 10 fire engines have been rushed to the spot. The cause of the fire is not yet known but sources say it could have been a lit cigarette that was thrown into the grass which may have started the fire.fire broke out just moments after badminton star PV Sindhu took to the skies co-piloting Light Combat Aircraft Tejas’ trainer variant. News18
Jamia Millia wanted honorary doctorate for alumnus SRK, govt said no
New Delhi :HRD Ministry denied a request from Jamia Millia Islamia to award an honorary doctorate to actor Shah Rukh Khan, a former student of the university, saying it would “not be in order” since he had already received a similar degree from Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) — although there is no official bar on such a practice.Records accessed by Indian Express under RTI Act reveal that HRD Ministry’s rejection came 3 months after Jamia’s request last Feb. When contacted, Higher Education Secretary R Subrahmanyam acknowledged that there were “no rules issued by UGC regarding this so far”.Asked about similar instances earlier when honorary doctorates were awarded by different universities to eminent personalities, he said it could have been the case that one institution did not know what the other was doing. “As a matter of policy, we discourage such things,” Subrahmanyam said.indianexpress
PILs for review of software used in EVMs, VVPA; SC seek poll panel’s reply
New Delhi :The Supreme Court has asked the Election Commission to respond to 2 pleas seeking an independent review of the software used in EVMs, VVPAT and EVM Tracking Software (ETS).A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the poll panel to file its response by March 1 to the PILs which have also suggested changes in the source code of EVMs to make them tamper proof and would prevent a “pre-determined outcome” during elections.PILs have been filed by activists Sunil Ahya and Ramesh Bellamkonda respectively. They have sought software review of EVMs, VVPAT and ETS, particularly their source code, the fundamental component of these machines. A source code is the brain of an electronic machine which instructs its hardware on how to function.“We would require to hear ECI on the statements made in the writ petitions and reliefs prayed therein. The petitioners in both the cases to file additional paper books in the Registry. “Registry to ensure that copies of the writ petitions are made available to the Secretary” of EC to to enable it to take a considered view in the hearing which will be held on 1st March, 2019, the bench said.PTI
Kejriwal announces indefinite hunger strike from March 1 for Delhi statehood
New Delhi :Delhi CM  Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that he will sit on an indefinite hunger strike from March 1 demanding full statehood for the national capital. “From March 1, I will begin a hunger strike. I am going to fast till we get statehood. I am ready to face death,” AAP chief said in the state Assembly.“Andolan (a movement) is the only way out of this crisis. The people of Delhi have to come on the streets to fight for full statehood,” he added. CM’s decision came a day after he said that his party will ensure full statehood status for Delhi within 2 years if AAP wins all 7 seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.indianexpress
3,003 Tamil Nadu temples, 131 churches, 27 mosques encroach Govt land: Govt
The state Govt told the Madras high court that 3,003 temples, 131 churches, 27 mosques and seven religious structures of other faiths have been built encroaching upon public land across the state. S Ramanathan, deputy secretary of municipal administration department, made submission through a report as directed by the high court on Jan. 4. The court order came on a plea filed by Ramakrishnan, general secretary, Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, in 2004 seeking implementation of a Govt order dated April 29, 1968, over removing a Vinayaka temple constructed on public land. On Jan4, when the plea came up for hearing, Justice S M Subramaniam observed that even a deity in a temple cannot commit an act of encroachment. Rule of law could not be diluted merely because the offence was committed by a deity.TOI
WORLD
Palestinians pray in long-closed part of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem
For first time in 16 years, Palestinians on Friday prayed at an area by Al-Rahma gate, located inside occupied East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.It is a passageway of gates and a stairway leading to a hall that had been closed by Israeli authorities for years and was reopened on Friday by Muslim religious officials. The hall is located a short distance from Al-Aqsa Mosque itself.Israeli authorities closed the area in 2003. In 2017, an Israeli court upheld the closure order. But on Friday, Religious Endowments Authority, a Jordan-run agency mandated with overseeing East Jerusalem's Muslim and Christian holy sites, announced the reopening of the mosque after a 16-year hiatus. Religious Endowments Authority Director Sheikh Abdul Azim Salhab opened doors of the hall, and worshipers performed Friday prayers.On Monday, Israeli authorities closed the Al-Rahma gate, preventing hundreds of Palestinian worshippers from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Earlier on Friday, Israeli police arrested 60 people before Friday prayers at the complex amid a week of tension over access to that corner of the mosque's compound.Israeli police Spokesman told AFP crackdown followed "calls for public disturbances" at Muslim Friday prayers."Israeli police increased their presence at the compound as thousands of Muslim worshippers gathered at the holy site, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli gunfire at a protest along the Gaza-Israel border fence, Gaza officials said.Gaza Health ministry added that 30 others were wounded by Israeli live fire during the weekly Gaza march which saw thousands of Palestinians protest along the Israeli borders.aljazeera
Thousands of Palestinian demonstrators open long-closed al-Aqsa gate
Egyptian executions follow flawed trials, torture -UN rights office
Geneva:UN human rights office voiced concern that trials that led to the executions of 15 people in Egypt this month may have been unfair amid allegations that torture was used to obtain confessions.Egypt executed 9 men on Wednesday convicted over the 2015 killing with a car bomb of the its chief prosecutor on Wednesday, adding to a surge in death sentences carried out in Feb, according to lawyers, activists and officials. 6 convicted people were executed in other cases."There is significant cause for concern that due process and fair trial guarantees may not have been followed in some or all of these cases, and that the very serious allegations concerning the use of torture were not properly investigated," UNHR spokesman Rupert Colville said.All were murder cases, for which the death penalty is permissible under international law, Colville said, although UN advocates its abolition. "Issue here is fair trial, use of torture, forced confessions," he said. Torture has been shown to be "well-established and endemic" in Egypt, Colville added, citing a UN investigation concluded in June 2017."A confession obtained under torture should not be admissible," he said.Reuters
Egypt: Court of Cassation Upholds Ruling on 23 Muslim Brotherhood Convicts
Sudan:Bashir declares year-long state of emergency
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has declared a year-long state of emergency, dissolving his cabinet and local Govt s throughout the country.In a televised address on Friday, Bashir also called on Sudan's parliament to postpone constitutional amendments that would allow him to run for another term in a presidential election in 2020.Acknowledging the popular protests that have rocked his administration in recent months, the 75-year-old said the "demands of our people for better living conditions are lawful"."I will not stop calling for all parties to sit at the dialogue table," Bashir said, adding he would remain on the "side of the youth who represent the future of Sudan".Hours after the announcement, Bashir issued two decrees which set up a caretaker administration comprising a senior official from each ministry and kept the defence, foreign and justice ministers in place. He also appointed 16 army officers and two security officers as new governors for country's 18 provinces.aljazeera
Saudi crown prince defends China's right to fight terrorism
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has supported China's right to undertake "anti-terrorism" and "de-extremism" measures, according to Chinese state media, in remarks activists lambasted as a defence of Beijing's crackdown on its Uighur Muslim minority. Known as MBS, made the comments to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday during a visit to Beijing, the last leg of an Asian tour that included Pakistan and India, according to state-run news outlets.In his talks with Xi, MBS hailed relations with China as trouble free, the official Xinhua news agency reported, while Xi urged joint efforts to counter extremism and terror.Xi told the crown prince the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on de-radicalisation to "prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking", according to Xinhua.Saudi respected and supported China's right to protect its own security and take counter-terror and de-radicalisation steps, the crown prince told Xi, according to the same report, and was willing to increase cooperation."China has the right to take anti-terrorism and de-extremism measures to safeguard national security,"MBS told Xi.Riyadh remained silent over China's treatment of Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.aljazeera
Chinese tactics to silence Uighurs abroad revealed
Washington:Amid the crackdown on Uighur Muslims in China, the latest tactic of Beijing to silence the community members all over the world has been revealed. According to an article published in the Washington Post,China  is deploying its students abroad to harass and threaten Uighur Muslims Muslims who dare to speak out about the mass detention and persecution suffered by their relatives back home in Xinjiang region. The article voices the ordeal of a Uighur-Canadian activist living in Canada, Rukiye Turdush, who had fled the nation to escape the Chinese regime and the crackdown on the Muslim community. ANI
Nigeria: Buhari seeks 2nd term in delayed polls
Abuja;Nigerians are heading to the polls in one of the most closely contested presidential and legislative elections in the country's political history, after a week-long delay over security fears. About 120,000 polling stations opened at 07:00 GMT across Africa's most populous nation and leading oil producer, with results expected early next week.The elections on Saturday marked the end of a bitter campaign between two frontrunners: incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, 76, of ruling All Progressives Congress, and opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, 72, and former vice president of the People's Democratic Party.More than 84 million Nigerians have registered to take part in the crunch vote, and long queues were reported at several polling stations across the country early on Saturday.aljazeera
Convoy of civilians leaves final ISIL holdout in Syria
Trucks carrying civilians left ISIL's last pocket of territory in eastern Syria on Friday hours after coalition air raids meant to pressure the fighters targeted the area on the banks of the Euphrates River.Reporters near the front line at Baghouz saw dozens of trucks driving out full of civilians. Most on board were women and children, although there were some men, their faces covered with chequered scarves.The trucks were escorted by gun-mounted pick-up trucks belonging to US-backed SDF. As the convoy passed, automatic gunfire could be heard in the distance and coalition aircraft flew overhead. In the past few weeks, nearly 20,000 people had left Baghouz through a humanitarian corridor, leaving the ISIL holdout on foot, but the fighters then closed passage and no civilians left for a week untilWednesday, when a large group was evacuated. aljazeera
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:34 PM)

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