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07 February 2019

7 Feb.NEWS DIGEST: ‘Never play with SC order’: CBI’s ex interim chief Rao gets dressing down for contempt of court; SC transfers Muzaffarpur shelter home case to Delhi


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
07 Feb. 2019: 01 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:122
INDIA
‘Never play with SC order’: CBI’s ex interim chief   Rao gets dressing down for contempt of court; SC transfers Muzaffarpur shelter home case to Delhi
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today severely reprimanded ex CBI interim director M Nageshwar Rao and asked him to appear before it in connection with the transfer of ex-Joint Director AK Sharma, who was probing Muzaffarpur shelter home abuse case. Stating that the transfer of Sharma out of CBI was in violation of the SC orders and that it amounts to contempt, a bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi asked current CBI Director Rishi Kumar Shukla to examine which other officers were associated with the transfer, and file a reply by Feb.11.Apart from Rao, the top court also sought the appearance of all other CBI officers who were involved in the transfer process of Sharma on Feb.12.“We are going to take it very, very seriously. You have played with the order of the SC. God help you. Never play with the SC’s order,”CJI Gogoi said after CBI counsel informed that 2 officials including Rao were involved in transferring Sharma.Sharma was shifted to CRPF as Additional Director last month after the panel headed by the PM shunted former CBI chief Alok Verma out. The SC pointed out that its earlier order had said officials associated with the probe should not be transferred without leave of court. The SC today ordered transfer of the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case from a court in Bihar to a New Delhi court, saying “enough is enough” and children cannot be treated like this.The SC came down heavily on Bihar Govt  for its management of 16 shelter homes in the state, other than that at Muzaffarpur, and warned that unsatisfactory response of its queries will force it to summon the chief secretary.It has ordered conclusion of the trial in the sexual assault case within 6 months. Indian express/PTI
SC pulls up Bihar govt, CBI over Muzaffarpur shelter home case
CBI officer at centre of tussle at top shunted out
New Delhi:Centre has shunted out a senior CBI officer whose name had prominently figured in the tussle between deposed director Alok Verma and his then deputy, ex special director Rakesh Asthana. Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) repatriated DIG Anish Prasad to his parent cadre of Tripura more than a year before his tenure at the Centre ends.An order issued by DoPT stated that ACC had approved “premature repatriation of Anish Prasad…to his parent cadre consequent on curtailment of his tenure in CBI”.Along with Prasad, Govt also curtailed the tenure of DIG Abhay Singh and promoted 2 officers.indianexpress
Centre vs Mamata: Officers who joined Mamata’s dharna may be stripped off medals
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) today asked the West Bengal Govt to take action against 5 IPS officers who took part in dharna with state CM Mamata Banerjee to protest CBI’s raid at Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar’s residence.Sources said that Govt is also contemplating withdrawing medals conferred on officers for meritorious services. It may also remove names of the delinquent officers from the empanelled list or bar them for a certain period from serving in the Central Govt. Centre will also issue an advisory to all the States and UTs to ensure that officers of uniformed forces adhere to conduct rules and maintain decorum.The host of punitive actions against the officers come just 2 days after Mamata ended her ‘Save India’ dharna in Kolkata after consulting with other opposition parties. indianexpress
Will scrap Talaq Bill if it comes to power: Congress
New Delhi:In a significant announcement, Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev on Thursday said that the party would abolish the Triple Talaq law if it was voted to power in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Speaking at AICC minorities convention in the presence of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Dev said the focus of the Triple Talaq Bill was not to empower Muslim women but to penalise Muslim men.“I promise that the Congress party will come to power in 2019 and will scrap the Triple Talaq law. The law is just another weapon of the Modi govt to arrest and harass Muslim men and put them in prison,” Dev said.Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session of  Parliament last year but has faced roadblocks in Rajya Sabha.Opposition has demanded that the bill be sent to a select committee.indianexpress
Rahul’s chilling warning to RSS-leaning civil servants, says ‘will eliminate every single RSS worker from Govt institutions’
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said that those wanting to divide India along the lines of religion must not forget the contribution of minorities in the nation building process of the country. In a chilling warning to RSS-leaning civil servants, Gandhi said that they must remember that they are not working for ‘RSS bureaucracy but they were part of the Indian bureaucracy.’ Gandhi also took exception to BJP President Amit Shah’s reported statement that India was a golden bird implying that India was not a country but a product. He also took a dig at the RSS for running the country with a remote control from Nagpur.Gandhi also said that the Madhya Pradesh’s BJP Govt  had allocated Rs 800 crore for a ministry comprising just RSS workers. Speaking at the event organised by his party’s minority cell, Gandhi said, “I want to speak about minorities. This country doesn’t belong to people belonging to one particular religion, language and region. This country belongs to every single citizen of India. This fight is between two ideologies. One ideology says that this country belongs to everyone. I want to give an example. Who was the first education minister of India? What was his name? Maulana  Azad. Today, if you talk about IITs, IIMs and the education system in general,then you must talk about Maulana Azad.”jantakareporter
After VHP, RSS puts off temple stir till LS polls end
New Delhi: A day after VHP said it will put Ayodhya agitation on the backburner for the next four months, till Lok Sabha polls are over, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said the Sangh will take up building of Ram temple after polls, irrespective of the colour of the govt. During closed-door interactions at RSS office in Dehradun, Bhagwat responded to several questions ranging from Ram temple and religious discrimination to caste-based reservations. On the temple, Bhagwat reiterated his stand that it will be built as per the “dharma sansad” held at Kumbh recently.But what is of significance is that Bhagwat endorsed VHP position that the demand will not be pursued at present as it will mire the Ayodhya issue in politicking and become a “petty election issue”. An RSS functionary said, “Bhagwatji said that after the elections, irrespective of which Govt  comes to power, the Sangh, along with religious leaders, would take action.”He added that Bhagwat did not spell out a specific date for building the temple but went on to state that “Ram temple and gau raksha” are the basis of Hindu culture and are must for bringing back the glory of Hindu culture.In its recent resolution, the dharma sansad noted that with the election bugle to be sounded soon, “pseudo-secular” political forces are gathering in full force. “Sant samaj shall not give the pseudo-secular pack the opportunity to drag this holy and important movement of Shri Ramjanmabhoomi into a political vortex and swamp,”it said.VHP and RSS’s decision to put the Ram temple agitation on hold till the Lok Sabha polls are over is a respite for BJP, which has been in a bind over the slow progress of the dispute in court. TOI
Give Muslims extra land outside Ram Mandir site: Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev expressed his candid views on building the Ram Mandir, doing away with farm loan waivers and why Sabarimala is not a gender rights issue in an interview with ET. On Ram Temple, Sadhguru said,"it’s absurd that the court has to make it clear that Rama was born. ASI has also said that there was a temple. Now, the court is saying it’s a real estate issue. In which case, please settle it. Ram temple should never be an election issue, the court should fix it for good this time. Just build the temple and be done with it. Out of entire land, the disputed land is only about 2.7 acres. If one third of it belongs to Muslims, ideally they should be given their share with extra 2.7 acres outside the disputed land. Isn’t it the way we resolve our land disputes? The emotion is on the Hindu side because they believe that it is here that Ram Lala was born. There is no such emotion on the Muslim side.The court must settle it before the elections."economictimes
Can Riyadh Help? Amid Uncertainty in Afghan, Saudi Crown Prince's Visit Raises Bigger Questions
New Delhi: The election season is underway in India but in its midst, comes a surprise visit by a high profile dignitary. It's crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman.PM Narendra Modi had extended an invitation to MBS — as he is informally called — during their bilateral meeting in Argentina on the sidelines of G-20 summit in November last year. The invitation was accepted and the visit has been swiftly arranged even though the other proposed visit in Feb, that of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu continues to look uncertain.The bilateral engagement with this important player in West Asia assumes even greater significance as India tries to chart its strategy ahead in Afghanistan.With US President Donald Trump increasingly showing signs of withdrawing American troop, situation is rapidly evolving and is very dynamic at present, according to sources. Sources said that “it is important for us (India) not to act in haste.”But India is deeply concerned about its economic assets in the war-torn country and security situation in region.Saudi Arabia’s ties with Afghanistan may not have been overt in the last decade but as uncertainty looms, Riyadh seems to be back in action. Unofficial contacts have been established between Taliban and Afghan Govt in Saudi recently, even though the Taliban seems to maintain that it will negotiate directly with US and rejected any formal talks with Afghan Govt in January in Saudi.Washington has also dropped its hesitation in engaging the Taliban but India has its reservations. During the Moscow talks on Afghanistan in November last year, where Taliban was at the table, India participated at a “non-official level”. Engaging with Saudi Arabia on Afghanistan also becomes important in this situation. Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit will see the two sides discuss the regional situation, specifically Afghanistan, said a source. Saudi has also shown interest in taking the relationship with India beyond energy partnership.CNN-News18
India doesn’t gain from talks with Taliban now: ex-Envoy Amar Sinha
India gains little by engaging Taliban directly at this stage, said Amar Sinha, ex Ambassador to Afghanistan and member of NSA Board, countering Army chief General BP Rawat’s call for India to ‘join the bandwagon’ in talks. On Wednesday, a 2-day ‘intra-Afghan’ dialogue of Afghan leaders and the Taliban, which did not include the Ghani Govt, ended in Moscow. Sinha said, "Our engaging Taliban directly adds no value at this stage. Firstly, we lack access and equity with the Taliban. Secondly, the Taliban’s policies are too heavily governed by Pakistan and until those ties are loosened, it will be pointless for India to make a move. It will also be pointless to go ahead of Govt in Kabul or public opinion in Afghanistan, because our biggest asset is the goodwill India has in Afghan mind. Even the Taliban recognises that, and said in its statement this week that they will support Chabahar and other Indian projects." Responding to the question that Army Chief Bipin Rawat said that India must ‘jump on the bandwagon’ of talks with the Taliban, Amar Sinha said, I don’t think Army Chief would suggest that in South Asia, where India should have a leadership role, that we should jump on to anyone’s bandwagon. We must engage Afghanistan through SAARC and evolve a policy for post-US pullout." He further said, "General political leadership in Afghanistan now accepts that the Taliban are Afghans at the end of the day, and we should accept that. The issue is, what sort of a Govt they run, and how they enter it. India would want that the democratic process, which has evolved over these past 10 years, is not jettisoned. That is the only fair way in assessing what the people of Afghanistan want.Taliban can always take power through a coup or Kalashnikovs, but that doesn’t lead to stability." When asked, 'Is there any scope for India to take a leadership role in Afghan reconciliation?', he said, "My personal view is, yes. Once the Taliban agrees to speak to other groups in Afghanistan, India should be willing to host a Jirga. We are a safe country and a neutral country. We don’t pose a threat to either Taliban or the others, and we don’t choose winners or losers. Plus we have a huge Afghan population living in India, especially the younger generation that want their voice heard. So encouraging the population here to meet and voice opinions could provide a good platform.All such Jirgas will begin with grievances, but that is the only way reconciliation can happen.Eventually, real reconciliation will have to happen outside foreign offices." the hindu
Every technology has a “flaw”: cyber expert Dr Nishikant Ojha on EVMs
As the credibility of the EVMs faces a big question mark amid allegations of manipulations by the ruling party, cyber expert Dr Nishikant Ojha says that like every technology, even the EVM technology could have its flaws.“When there is a technology, there is a flaw. When there is coding, there is decoding,” notes Dr Ojha, an advisor to Govts of countries of Middle-East and Africa on cyber and national security issues.The observations on EVMs by Dr Ojha assume significance as a delegation of opposition parties met Election Commission on Monday to highlight their concerns over the doubts surrounding the functioning of EVMs. The delegation comprised of leaders from Congress, CPI, RJD, TMC, TDP and AAP among others. The opposition parties have demanded that at least 50% of the results be tallied with VVPATs before the declaration of the results for Lok Sabha polls in 2019. Dr Ojha explains that there are 2 ways in which EVM technology could be compromised.“There are chances of EVMs being compromised at the assembly state, if you could programme microprocessor chips embedded into EVM’s control panel,” he says.“EVMs consists of a control panel and the display panel,” he adds. The microprocessor chips embedded into EVMs are imported from Japan, he notes, adding that “coding the microprocessor chip is rather easy.”“It can easily be programmed to achieve one’s objective,”he notes.nationalheraldindia
 ‘Behave or else…’: Top WhatsApp official warns Indian political parties
New Delhi:Instant messaging service WhatsApp has said political parties are not using the platform in the manner that was intended and warned them that it will ban accounts in the run up to 2019 Lok Sabha elections if needed.India is WhatsApp’s largest user market with over 230 million monthly active users.“We have seen a number of (political) parties attempt to use WhatsApp in ways that was not intended and our firm message to them is using it in that way will result in bans,” said Carl Woog, head of communications at WhatsApp, during a media briefing in New Delhi on Wednesday.“Over the last several months we have engaged with political parties to explain our firm view that WhatsApp is not a broadcast platform; it is not a place to send messages at scale; and to explain to them that we will be banning accounts that engage in automated bot behaviour and we do this regardless of the purpose of this account. We are trying to maintain the private nature of our platform,” added Woog.The company said it had briefed the Election Commission of India and state election commissions about its preparations for the election.HT
Political Parties In India Abuse WhatsApp Before Elections: Top Executive
Will vote against citizenship Bill if taken up in RS:Shiv Sena
New Delhi:Shiv Sena will vote against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill if it is taken up in Rajya Sabha, Sena Parliamentary party leader Sanjay Raut said.Sena becomes the second NDA constituent from outside the Northeast to position itself against the Bill. Last month, Bihar CM and JDU chief Nitish Kumar had announced that his party will vote against the Bill in Upper House.“It is a political Bill, intended to serve electoral interests of the BJP. We are under no obligation to throw our weight behind it,” Raut said.“Every region has its own identity and an element of pride.That is why linguistic states were created. People of the Northeast feel the Bill (if it becomes a law) will change demographic character of the region,” he said.A delegation of youth leaders from the Northeast are scheduled to meet Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai soon.indian express
Kharge to PM Modi: You came to power by making false promises and you are still lying
Congress has accused Modi Govt of weakening constitutional bodies, using probe agencies against rivals and inflating figures to mislead people about its work and claimed it used the President's address to Parliament for political goals.Participating in the debate in Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address, Congress' Mallikarjun Kharge launched a sharp attack on PM Narendra Modi, accusing him of being arrogant, not consulting Cabinet colleagues on key decisions and alleging he cannot see the good works of past Congress Govts because of "hatred".It is one thing to make a speech and thump the desk to laud it and another to save the country and democracy, he said, referring to Modi, who was present in the House.Kharge also mocked Govt's announcements for farmers in the budget, saying it has done nothing for the agriculture sector so far and was now making promises with an eye on the general election.PTI
US, EU scholars come out in support of Teltumbde
Washington:Coming out in support of Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde more than 600 scholars from top US and European universities have issued a joint statement urging the Govts of India and Maharashtra to bring the alleged “witch-hunt” to an immediate halt.Protesting against “false allegations” against Teltumbde, statement issued on Wednesday “strongly” condemned the threat of Teltumbde’s imminent arrest calling him distinguished scholar, civil rights activist, and one of India’s leading intellectuals. Admired by many as an organic intellectual of Dalit community, his writings have contributed immensely to critical debates on democracy, globalisation and social justice, it said. “Teltumbde’s house was illegally searched by the Maharashtra police on Aug.28, 2018,” statement said issued by Indian Civil Watch (ICW),a collective of scholars from major Universities like Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Oxford and London School of Economics among others.“The state and central Govts then acted in concert to concoct manifestly baseless charges against Dr. Teltumbde, and have threatened him with arrest under UAPA, a draconian law that allows the state to suspend a citizen’s right to a fair trial and detain him or her indefinitely,” it added.Prominent among those who have signed the petition, include Elizabeth Woods of Yale, Cornel West and Doris Sommer of Harvard, Robin Kelley and Eric Sheppard of UCLA, Mriganka Sur of MIT,and Cindi Katz of City University of New York.PTI
Left parties support Teltumbde: ‘Will free those framed in false cases once this govt is voted out’
Activist Bharadwaj moves HC, seeks bail
Mumbai:Activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who was arrested for her alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking bail in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case.Bharadwaj and activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were arrested by Pune Police on Aug.28, 2018. In Oct, a special court in Pune rejected Bharadwaj’s bail application. Following that, she moved the HC which is likely to hear her plea on Feb.18.indianexpress
J&K: Police file chargesheet against journalist, 9 others for allegedly harbouring militants
J&K Police today filed a chargesheet against journalist Asif Sultan and nine others for allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy for a militant act in Srinagar’s Batamaloo in 2018.Sultan was taken into police custody in August last year after he wrote a story on militant Burhan Wani, who was killed in an encounter in July 2017. The story included interviews with non-combatant members of Hizbul Mujahideen.A police constable was killed in a shootout in Batamaloo on August 12, 2018, while militants had escaped. The police has alleged that the accused had provided shelter to the militants.“They have been charged for their alleged role in hatching a criminal conspiracy for the militant act, harbouring militants and giving support to the proscribed organisation besides substantive offences of law,” the police said in a statement.scroll.in
MHA bans J&K’s Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen over terror
New Delhi: Union Home Ministry has banned the Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen(TuM) under UAPA for its alleged involvement in a series of terror acts. Set up in 1990s, TuM claims that it has been been fighting for “liberation of Kashmir”.In a notification, the ministry said the central Govt believes that TuM is involved in terrorism as it has committed and participated in various acts of terrorism in India and its members are getting financial as well as logistic support from their handlers based abroad. TuM came into existence in 1990 with the objective of “liberation of Kashmir” and has been actively pursuing it by way of acts of terror, the ministry said. indianexpress
No need to take Mehbooba seriously: J&K governor draws ire over comments on alleged Army ‘assault’
J&K governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said there was no need to take PDP president Mehbooba Mufti seriously over her remarks on an incident of alleged assault on an Army soldier.His comments that the security forces won’t be demoralised by her comments after ex CM demanded action against an Army officer who allegedly beat a man from Pulwama and threatened to kill him in an encounter, drew strong backlash from her and NC leader Omar Abdullah.Army officer has been investigating the barbaric killing of soldier Aurangzeb last year. In this connection, three Rashtriya Rifles men were detained.On Monday, 27 year-old Tawseef Ahmad Wani, brother of Abid Wani, one of the three soldiers detained, was admitted to hospital with multiple injuries after being assaulted brutally, allegedly by Armymen.Mehbooba had visited injured soldier in SMHS hospital and demanded action against the officer and posted a picture of the jawan on Twitter, with comments: “Visited Tawseef Wani who was allegedly beaten up by an Army Major so ruthlessly that he had to be hospitalised. Irony is that his brother serves in the Army.”HT
Govt blocks proposal on judge for J&K, SC Collegium asks why
New Delhi:On April 6 last year, the Supreme Court Collegium, then headed by CJI Dipak Misra, had cleared the decks for the appointment of Senior Additional Advocate General Wasim Sadiq Nargal as a judge in the J&K High Court.This would have made Nargal the first Muslim judge from Jammu in High Court. Also, Nargal, who was 49 when recommended by the Supreme Court for elevation, would have had more than 12 years as a permanent High Court judge and, by convention of seniority, would have been a potential Chief Justice of a High Court in the country. Law Ministry returned the recommendation, and a year later, is yet to say why. The current SC Collegium has asked the Govt  to explain.It is learnt that the Centre, which returned the file to the collegium did not provide any specific information as to why it wants the collegium to reconsider its April 2018 decision recommending Nargal’s elevation.Nargal submitted his resignation to the Govt  in June 2018 and is now an advocate in Jammu. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court is functioning with just nine judges against the approved strength of 17.indianexpress
Muslim teacher in Bihar thrashed for not saying ‘Vande Mataram’ on Republic Day
A Muslim teacher in Bihar’s Katihar district was beaten up by locals after he refused to say ‘Vande Mataram’ following flag-hoisting ceremony on Republic Day on Jan. 26.Video of local residents thrashing the primary school teacher, identified as Afzal Hussain, has gone viral. Hussain later said he did not say ‘Vande Mataram’ as the same is against his religious belief. “We believe in Allah and Vande Mataram is against our belief. The term means vandana (praise in Hindi) of Bharat Mata which is not what we believe in,” he said, according to ANI. “Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that saying Vande Mataram is necessary.I could have lost my life,” he said.District education officer Dinesh Chandra Dev told reporters he has not received any complaint regarding the incident.HT
‘Freedom to choose’: AR Rahman defends daughter Khatija’s right to wear niqab
New Delhi :AR Rahman today shared a photo on his Twitter account, with the caption, “The precious ladies of my family Khatija, Raheema and Sairaa with Nita Ambaniji #freedomtochoose.” The post comes after music maestro faced criticism for daughter Khatija wearing a niqab during an event to mark 10 years of Slumdog Millionaire’s Oscar win.At celebratory event, Rahman’s daughter Khatija was invited to interview him on stage.Khatija, who has sung for her father in Enthiran, came clad in a saree with her face covered in a niqab. This led to many calling out her ‘conservative’ dressing.AR Rahman gave it back to the trolls by tweeting a photo where the three women of his family are dressed differently. While his youngest daughter Raheema and wife Sairaa are not veiled, Khatija is seen in a niqab. Through the caption, he suggests what one wears is their personal choice.After the event,she took to Facebook and wrote a long post in support of her father, clarifying he never forced his decisions on her.indian express
Stigma ruined my life: Kerala's Riyaz cleared of IS charges
In Feb.last year, Riyaz’s life took a turn for the worse. He was sacked from his managerial job in Saudi Arabia, his family abandoned him and he was placed under arrest for 76 days by NIA after his wife alleged she was forced to convert and he sold her to IS as a “sex slave”.Almost one year since 27-year-old was arrested under the stringent UAPA, NIA last week cleared him of terror charges and transferred his case to North Paravur police.“He has been cleared of IS links and NIA has dropped charges against him under UAPA. They found no evidence against him. Now, we will probe the alleged crime under Section 498(A) of IPC, (husband subjecting a woman to cruelty),’’ said police.The charges being dropped is light at the end of a long tunnel for Riyaz, but he says IS stigma has ruined his life forever.“After I was arrested, I lost my job as a manager in Saudi. Close family members abandoned me after ISIS links were foisted. I never thought a love marriage with a woman of a different religion would trigger such trouble.I had come from Saudi to convince people of my innocence, but NIA arrested and put me in jail,’’ says Riyaz. indianexpress
SDPI leader booked for performing skit on Babri Masjid demolition
Mangaluru:SDPI leader Attaullah Jokatte has been booked for allegedly inciting communal hatred by performing a skit on the Babri Masjid demolition during a party campaign, police said on Wednesday.The skit was performed near the Sayyid Madani dargah, near Ullal, on Monday as part of SDPI's month-long programme "Babri Masjid Expo", demanding rebuilding of the Babri Masjid at its original site.Taking cognisance of the play staged, Ullal police on Tuesday booked Jokatte, SDPI's Dakshina Kannada district head,as he was the organiser of the programme and had taken permission for conducting the month-long campaign on his party's behalf. The events that culminated in the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, UP  were enacted in 10-minute skit, which had the potential to incite communal hatred, Police Commissioner TR Suresh said.Karnataka SDPI general secretary Riyaz Farangipet alleged that the case against Jokatte was foisted, adding that the party would seek legal remedy.PTI 
UP: Madrassa teachers demand wages for invigilation duty
Bareilly:Madrassa teachers under the banner of Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrassas(SPQEM) staged a protest and gheraoed a member of UP Board of Madrassa Education, demanding wages for invigilation duty in the upcoming madrassa board exams. They alleged that teachers of inter colleges get wages for invigilating in madrassa exams. Officials assured the teachers that this year, they would be paid for invigilating madrassa board exams beginning from Feb.11. According to officials, a teacher of secondary education department gets Rs 35 per exam for invigilating. Sources, however, said in the absence of budget, madrassa teachers had not been paid for performing invigilator’s duty. In Bareilly, 380 madrassa teachers and 40 teachers of secondary education department have been deployed to invigilate exams.Saleem Javed, Bareilly district president, All India Madrassa Modern Teachers Association, said, “It is unfair that we have not been paid for duties, even as teachers of secondary education department get payments for the same work. Teachers of secondary education department even get monthly salary, but salaries of madrassa teachers under SPQEM have been pending for nearly three years.” TOI
 26 yrs on, 5 absconding accused in ’93 riots acquitted
Mumbai:26 years after 1993 communal riots, 5 absconding accused charged with being part of a mob of around 60 that attacked a Dharavi madrassa with lit kerosene missiles and stones have been discharged for lack of evidence. While 12 accused were acquitted in 2004, the five have remained absconding till date. In their absence, the court relied on the evidence from the previous trial and said there was discrepancy over the date on which the incident had occurred. Stating it was futile to keep the case pending, the court recalled the non-bailable warrants issued against the accused Harkisan Sarveya, Ashok Pardeshi, Dattaram More, Santosh Bendal and Raghunath Palkar. The case was registered by Dharavi police station in 1993.The prosecution said the accused had the common object of destroying madrassa and insulting religious sentiments. The prosecution further said police dispersed the mob by using lathi charge. During investigations, 22 accused were arrested and a chargesheet was filed. During the trial, 5 accused, now discharged, absconded. TOI
Maratha quota: Reservation above 50% not for ‘most prosperous’ state, say petitioners’ lawyers
Bombay High Court has commenced the final hearing into petitions challenging the state Govt’s decision to provide 16% reservation to the Maratha community. Senior counsel Arvind Datar, appearing for one of the petitioners, argued that reservation above 50% was certainly not for “most prosperous” state like Maharashtra. A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati H Dangre were hearing final arguments into three petitions filed by advocates Jaishri Patil and Sanjeet Shukla and Dr Uday Dhople along with many others.Advocate Gunratan Sadavarte, appearing for petitioner Patil, argued that state Govt’s decision to provide reservation was “politically motivated”. There were several reports on the reservation, but they were not tabled in the house except for the state’s Backward Class Commission report.indianexpress
‘Virginity test of brides sexual assault’, Maharashtra to make it punishable offence
Maharashtra Govt  will soon make forcing a woman to undergo virginity test a punishable offence, it said Wednesday. Certain communities in the state follow a custom whereby a newly-wed woman has to prove that she was virgin prior to the marriage. Ranjeet Patil, the Minister of State for Home, met a delegation of some social organisations on the issue Wednesday. Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe was also a part of the delegation.“Virginity test will be considered a form of sexual assault...after consultations with Law and Judiciary department, a circular will be issued declaring it a punishable offence,” minister said. The demeaning custom is allegedly followed in the Kanjarbhat community among others. PTI
2012 coup story conspiracy to target me, UPA ministers involved: VK Singh
Former Indian Army chief General VK Singh alleged on Thursday that a 2012 news report of the army staging a coup was part of a well-planned conspiracy targeting him (Singh was the army chief in 2012). General VK Singh said that 2 ministers from the Manmohan Singh-led UPA II Govt  were involved in conspiracy.Singh demanded that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi apologise to the Indian Army for the news report that surfaced during UPA regime. He also said that he has written to PM Narendra Modi demanding a high-level enquiry into the matter.The news report in question is from April 4, 2012. Indian Express carried a 3-deck banner headline on its front page that read, " Jan.night Raisina Hill was spooked: 2 key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt".Indian Express report did not mention the word "coup" but said how "key Army units moved towards Delhi without notifying Govt" and that there were "so many questions around the movement".VK Singh, who was the army chief then, has now alleged that this was part of a well-planned conspiracy against him and two ministers from the UPA Govt  were involved in it.indiatoday
National cow commission, promised in interim Budget, gets Cabinet approval
Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of a national cow commission for “conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny”, a Govt  press release said. Centre said the setting up of a Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog will increase growth in the livestock sector, and this will benefit women, small and marginal farmers.The commission will collaborate with other Govt  institutions working on research in fields such as breeding and rearing of cows, organic manure and biogas, the press release said. The commission will be tasked with providing a framework for cow conservation and development programmes.scroll.in
UP Budget: Yogi govt allocates nearly Rs 450 crore for gaushalas, Rs 459 cr for madrasa modernisation
New Delhi:Yogi Adityanath-led UP  Govt  allocated Rs 247 crore for maintenance and construction of gaushalas in rural areas, and Rs 200 crore for Kanha Gaushala and Destitute Cattle Shelter Scheme in urban areas in its Rs 4.79 lakh crore budget for 2019-20.The annual budget was presented by state Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal. CM Yogi Adityanath was present in the House when the finance minister read out the budget speech. In his speech, Agarwal mentioned a number of new populist schemes. This is the third budget of the Adityanath Govt  in the state.indianexpress
UP stray cattle crisis: Police start closing cases against angry farmers
Lucknow :So dire is the stray cattle crisis in UP  that in several districts, cases filed against farmers for abandoning their cattle are hitting a roadblock of public resentment and anger. From Auraiya to Shamli, Shahjahanpur to Hathras, police are filing closure reports in cases filed against farmers, witnesses are not turning up and in many cases, “informal” arrangements are being struck to ensure that farmers don’t face penal action. An illustrative example is from Auraiya where a case was quietly buried.On Jan.26, Auraiya police closed a case against villagers in Dakilpur for assaulting a school principal and staff who objected to them leaving stray cattle in the premises. The closure report was filed after the principal of Govt junior high school withdrew his complaint following a “compromise” meeting. Principal, Tara Chand,said:“On Jan.19, the villagers had assaulted me and a teacher, Yogendra, when we tried to stop them from herding cattle inside the school and creating a ruckus. Yogendra suffered an injury on his right hand. Police recorded our statements the same day when I lodged the complaint.”indianexpress
RBI’s decision to cut repo rate comes as a surprise
RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to cut its key policy rate — the repo rate — by 25 basis points from 6.5%  to 6.25 %  with immediate effect. This is the first policy of new RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, who also heads MPC. The panel also decided to change the monetary policy stance from ‘calibrated tightening’ to ‘neutral’.It was widely expected ahead of today’s meeting that the MPC may not tinker with the policy rate but could restrict the changes to a shift in its stance to ‘neutral’ from ‘calibrated tightening’.While headline inflation, led by food inflation has been benign, continuing high levels of core inflation — the non-food, non-fuel component of inflation — had led to the expectation that RBI might stop short of cutting rates and restrict itself to a change in stance. The rate cut, therefore is a bit of a surprise.indianexpress
Gujarat cadre officer Praveen Sinha appointed CBI additional director
New Delhi: Govt has formally cleared the proposal to promote Praveen Sinha, a 1988-batch Gujarat cadre officer working in CBI as a joint director, as additional director in the agency.HT
Chhattisgarh:10 suspected Maoists killed in encounter
Security forces gunned down at least 10 Maoists during an encounter in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district today, PTI quoted police officials as saying. A search operation is underway in the area.District Superintendent of Police Mohit Garg said the encounter occurred around 11 am. Personnel from STF and District Reserve Guard conducted the joint operation. “So far, the bodies of 10 Maoists along with 11 weapons have been recovered from the spot,” Garg added.
Rs 300 cr fraudulence; ED to attach assets of Heera Group
Kozhikode: ED registered a case against Heera Group for defrauding Rs 300 crore from Muslims across 6 states including Kerala. The office of Hyderabad Joint Director charged cases against Heera Group under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.A probe was initiated against Heera Group head and MD Nowhere Shaik (44), husband, brother, sisters and branch managers. Currently, cases are registered against the group in Kerala, Maharashtra, Telangana, AP and Karnataka. The company targeted Islam believers and defrauded through paper ads since 2007 after opening offices in various parts of the country.mathrubhumi
With 6,700 cases and 226 deaths, spike in swine flu triggers health alarm
India has recorded an alarming spike in swine flu (H1N1) this year, with 6,701 cases and 226 deaths confirmed till Feb.3, compared to 798 cases and 68 deaths during the corresponding period in 2018.The sharpest spike was in the week ending Feb.3, which reported close to a third (2,101) of the total cases. Rajasthan alone confirmed 507 cases and 49 deaths in one week, followed by Delhi with 456 cases, shows data from across India (except W.Bengal, which last sent updated data on Aug 18).Delhi has reported no deaths.HT
WORLD
Taliban reject Trump's suggestion of lingering US counter-terrorism presence:Reuters
Kabul: Taliban reiterated on Wednesday their long-held demand that all foreign troops get out of Afghanistan, rejecting a suggestion by US President Donald Trump of a lingering US focus on counter-terrorism after troops are drawn down.Trump used his State of the Union address to stress the importance of accelerated talks with the hardline Islamist movement to end the longest of America's "endless wars".Trump offered no specifics about when he would bring home the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan but said progress in negotiations with the Taliban would enable a troop reduction and a "focus on counter-terrorism".Asked about Trump's speech, a Taliban official told Reuters that all foreign troops in Afghanistan had to go."At the first step, we want all the foreign forces to leave and end the military presence in our country," said Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for a Taliban office in Qatar and a member of a Taliban team now meeting Afghan opposition politicians in Moscow." But after ending their military presence, their non-military teams can come and we need them too, they can come and take part in the reconstruction and development process," he said.US team, led by Zalmay Khalilzad, is due to meet Taliban representatives again on Feb. 25.
Taliban official: Half of US troops to leave Afghan by May 1
Taliban: 'War in Afghanistan should end soon'
US reassures allies of commitment to defeat ISIL
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has reassured coalition partners that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria was not "the end of America's fight" and called on them to help permanently defeat the ISIL in Syria and Iraq. "US troops withdrawing from Syria is not the end of America's fight. The fight is one we will continue to wage alongside you," Pompeo said, addressing foreign ministers and other senior officials from 79 countries that have worked alongside the US in fighting the armed group in Syria and Iraq.Despite US President Donald Trump declaring "mission accomplished" in December, Pompeo said the troop withdrawal was "essentially a tactical change ... not a change in the mission". The conference started hours after Trump, in his State of the Union address, lauded what he said was the near-complete victory over ISIL. He also reaffirmed his determination to pull out roughly 2,000 US troops from Syria. He had said in December that the pullout would proceed quickly. aljazeera
US blocks UNSC statement on Hebron monitors
US  has blocked a proposed UNSC statement that expressed regret at Israel's decision to eject an international observer mission in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said last week he would not renew the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), accusing observers of unspecified anti-Israel activity. Kuwait and Indonesia circulated the draft statement following a closed-door meeting during which many countries expressed concern about the Israeli move.The proposed statement was to express UNSC's "regret" about Israel's "unilateral decision" and call for "calm and restraint" in Hebron. It stressed "the importance of the mandate of the TIPH and its efforts to foster calm in a highly sensitive area and fragile situation on the ground, which risks further deterioration, as reflected in the escalating cycle of violence".The text warned Israel that it has an obligation under international law "to protect the Palestinian civilian population in Hebron" as well as the rest of the occupied territories.US, which has long accused UN of anti-Israel bias and shields its ally from the council's action, moved quickly on Wednesday to block the proposed response.aljazeera
Israeli PM 's rival talks of possible West Bank pullout
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's main rival in upcoming April election has raised the possibility of pulling back from the occupied West Bank, saying his country should "find a way" to end its control over the Palestinians. Benny Gantz, a former armed forces chief of staff, spoke positively of Israel's 2005 pullout from the Gaza Strip in an interview published on Wednesday, his first since launching his election campaign last week.The Gaza withdrawal had been "approved by the Israeli Govt  and implemented by the army and settlers in a painful but good way," he told Yediot Aharonot paper."[One should] learn from it and apply it to other places," he said, adding: "We need to find a way in which we're not controlling other people."With peace talks frozen throughout most of Netanyahu's decade-long rule, Gantz's comments were welcomed by the Palestinians."It's encouraging if he succeeds and he sticks to this opinion," Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters on Wednesday.However, he said they needed more details about Gantz's policies.aljazeera
Ramallah cuts stipends for Palestine martyrs, detainees
Gaza City: Ramallah-based Palestinian Govt has reduced monthly stipends paid to the families of Palestinians martyred or imprisoned by Israel, according to local sources. Daoud Shihab, a spokesman for the Islamic Jihad movement, said: "Cutting stipends for the families of martyrs, prisoners, former prisoners, and civil servants [in Gaza] is a crime against the Palestinian homeland and cause."At a joint press conference organized by several Palestinian factions (and held near the Gaza City home of President Mahmoud Abbas), Shihab asserted: “Our prisoners [in Israeli jails] should not be exploited for political point-scoring.”Ramallah’s decision to reduce stipends for the families of prisoners and martyrs, he added, “specifically targets the Palestinian people and their struggle against occupation”. Leaders of other factions who attended Thursday’s press conference demanded that the move be reversed "as it contradicts the most basic principles and ethics of the Palestinian people”.Anadolu Agency
Abbas agrees to return of Syria to Arab League
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to the readmission of head of Syrian regime Bashar Al-Assad to Arab League, Sputnik reported.“We support Syria’s return to the Arab League, and we hope that this goal will be achieved through consultations between the Arab states,” he told the Russian news agency.He added: “We have always advocated the unity and well-being of the Syrian territories, and the end of the conflict through dialogue.”Abbas denied reports that he is planning to visit Syria soon.middleeastmonitor
Pipes' pro-Israel think-tank holds anti-Qatar event
A pro-Israel think-tank, Middle East Forum, organised an event in Washington,DC, where speakers criticised Qatar for supporting Palestinian issues.Speakers at the Forum - set up by Daniel Pipes, who has been criticised for his Islamophobic and Orientalist views - also censured Al Jazeera for its coverage of conflicts and politics in the Middle East.Pipes, who achieved notoriety in 1990 when he wrote "Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!", an article filled with racial epithets, said the invitation-only event wanted to "explore and draw conclusions about a tiny country's large influence in the Middle East and beyond"."I think you can probably tell from our hashtag where answer lies-hashtag is #QatartheMenace, as in 'Dennis the Menace' but 'Qatar the Menace", Pipes said at the event that was shrouded in mystery for weeks.Middle East Forum regularly publishes the Israel Victory Project, a forum that aims "to steer US policy toward backing an Israel victory over the Palestinians".aljazeera
US court blocks execution of Muslim inmate who requested imam
 A US federal court blocked today’s scheduled execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama on grounds the state may be violating his religious rights by refusing to allow an imam to be present at his death.11th US Circuit Court of Appeals said on Wednesday it had granted an indefinite stay for Dominique Ray, 42, a day before he was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection for the killing of a 15-year-old girl more than 23 years ago. A three-judge panel wrote that it appeared Alabama might be in violation of Establishment Clause of US Constitution’s First Amendment,which deals with religious rights. The state appealed the stay of execution.Reuters
Egypt's opposition unites on presidential term-limit changes
Egyptian opposition parties have formed a coalition against proposed changes to the constitution that would allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to stay in office beyond the end of his current term in 2022.Egypt's parliament has given its preliminary approval of the changes after two-thirds of the general committee endorsed the proposed amendments on Tuesday.596-seat assembly, which is packed with Sisi supporters, will take a final vote on Feb. 17, but the amendments would also need to be put to a national referendum.Abdel-Aziz el-Husseini, a senior leader in Karama Party, said that 11 parties met the previous day and declared their opposition to the proposed changes.aljazeera
Govt now unable to ban Bangladesh Jamaat: PM
PM Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday told parliament that the Govt  has nothing to do right now with the banning of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami as a case in this regard remains pending with the court, reports UNB."There's a case now pending with the court over banning Jamaat. We perhaps can do nothing here until the court delivers the judgment in the case,"she said replying to a question. PM hoped that Jamaat will be banned as soon as the court passes its verdict.Prothom Alo
UN warns against politicising Venezuela humanitarian aid
UN has warned against using aid as a pawn in Venezuela after US sent food and medicine to the country's border, and accused President Nicolas Maduro of blocking its delivery with trucks and shipping containers."Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. aljazeera
flash: views & NEWS
Explained: Why VHP is now lowering the Ayodhya heat:Shyamlal Yadav, indianexpress
13-point system is both casteist and unconstitutional, say activists (III):Atul Anand
Unfortunate that Muslims are being portrayed as brutal: Hasan Kerim Güç
With US withdrawing from Afghanistan, India must find ways to maintain presence: Vinay Kaura
Detention Centres in Assam Are Synonymous With Endless Captivity:Tahmina Laskar
'One Day, I Will Write About My Home, the Emerald City': Kashmir's Mirza Waheed:Azaan Javaid
South Asia Among the Deadliest Regions for Media Workers, Journalists' Body Finds:Jane Worthington
National Security Advisor Had No Locus Standi to Negotiate the Rafale Contract:Sudhansu Mohanty
800yrs before Pope Francis,St Francis met Sultan of Egypt

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:45 PM)

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