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Saturday, 30 March 2019

30 March ND: Police registers FIR against Muslim family attacked by mob in Gurgaon/Samjhauta acquittals reminder that 'terrorists of Hindutva variety' not brought to justice: CPM/ Former NSA Menon Says DRDO Head Never Sought Permission for ASAT Test


NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
30 March 2019: 22 Rajab 1440:Vol: 11, No:163
INDIA
Police registers FIR against Muslim family attacked by mob in Gurgaon
Almost a week after a Muslim family was attacked by a mob in Dhumaspur village in Bhondsi, the situation in the vicinity remains grim and members of the family continue to live in fear. The family who were planning to put their house on sale and move back to Baghpat, have now become entangled in fresh trouble. Dilshad, who was injured and roughed up along with other members of the family on March 21, informed The Citizen that police have now booked a case against him under Section 307 of the IPC or attempt to murder. “We were told this morning that a case has been registered against members of our family under Section 307 of IPC,” he said. The family’s charges against the attackers has led to nearly a dozen arrests over the past week. Explaining his vulnerability Dilshad said, “I fail to understand what kind of system this is. The entire world has seen in a video that we were roughed up, my hands were broken, members of the family are still languishing in hospital recovering from their injuries, and now the police has filed a case against us. This is bizarre injustice.”He added, “It has become a trend on the part of the state machinery to file cases against families who were victimised so they give up on their determination to get justice. This happened in Afrazul’s case, Pehlu Khan’s case, and now we are in the same league.”Another member of the family reiterated what Dilshad had said, but did not want to be named, fearing it would create further trouble for her.“We have been living for more than a decade here, we spent so much money constructing this house, we have a successful furniture business running here in Badhshapur, but what happened on the day of Holi shook our faith apart,” she told The Citizen.“A mob just barged in and beat up us like filth. They asked the members of the family to go to Pakistan even when there was an Indian flag flying on our rooftop. Now they have registered a case against the men in our family. We just want to leave this place and go to our Baghpat, or to any place that is safer for us, and for people from our community as well. There are just two Muslim families living here,” she said.“After security being deployed outside our house and assurances from the police, we had managed so far. But now with a case being registered against us, we are clear that no one is with us not even police.” Himanshu Garg, South Gurugram’s DCP, confirmed to The Citizen that a case had been filed against the family. “Rajesh, the main accused in the [family’s] case alleged that he was beaten up by the family using a bat and that there was an injury to his head. We registered a complaint under against two members of the victim’s family, the original complainants in the case,” Garg said. It was on the day of Holi that a mob entered a 2-storey building belonging to Dilshad, in which Mohammad Sajid lived with his wife and 6 kids. Prior to that, according to FIR, the main accused had approached the boys from Sajid’s family who were playing cricket, and demanded that they go and play in Pakistan.The Citizen
Gurugram: Cross-FIR filed against victim Muslim family attacked by mob
Day after cross-FIR, Muslim family packs up to leave
Gurugram: Muslim family allegedly attacked by a mob following a dispute over a cricket match on March 21 is planning to leave the city, citing safety fears, a day after police registered a cross-FIR against 2 of its members. The two members of the family against whom the FIR was registered are Mohammed Abid and Aamir Khan, both in their early 20s. Abid and Khan are nephews of Sajid who was allegedly thrashed by the mob. TOI
China defends blocking Masood Azhar ban at UN after US'S "hypocrisy" barb
Beijing: Defending its repeated attempts to block the listing of JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by UN, China on Friday refuted US allegations that its action amounted to protecting terror groups from sanctions. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denounced China of its "shameful hypocrisy" toward Muslims, saying China abuses more than a million Muslims at home, but on the other it protects violent Islamic terrorist groups from sanctions at UN. Reacting to this, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that if that is so, the country that had put most technical holds in 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of Security Council should have been sheltering more terrorists.At UN Sanctions committee, the practice of putting technical hold is in line with the rules of the Committee, he asserted.Without directly referring to US, Geng said, "If a certain country accuses China of sheltering terrorists by putting technical hold, does that mean all the countries that put such holds are sheltering terrorists? If this makes sense then shall we say the country that put most hold is the biggest shelter of terrorists?"Defending China's move to block Masood Azhar's listing, Geng said, "China put forward a technical hold with a purpose of conducting in-depth assessment so as to give enough time and space for the dialogue and consultation between parties. China is in communication with all parties to seek a settlement through dialogue. We hope this will be a common goal of all the members of the UNSC."Asked about Pakistan rejecting the evidence put forward by India on the Pulwama attack, he said, "1267 committee has detailed and clear stipulation and requirements on the listing issue." "What China has done is in line with the requirement of UNSC and rules and procedures of the committee. We are always working in a constructive manner and stay in communication with the relevant parties and seek a proper solution.To another question on whether China is preparing to defend its stand in UNSC when the latest US resolution would come up for discussion, Geng said, "China stayed in close communication with all parties on the listing issue. We will act in a responsible and a constructive manner to participate in the discussion at the committee. We also hope to work with various parties to seek a proper settlement to the issue", he said.PTI
Kartarpur corridor: Pro-Khalistan faces in Pakistan panel, India postpones talks
New Delhi:Hours after India summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah and conveyed its concern over the presence of pro-Khalistan elements in a committee set up by Pakistan on Kartarpur Corridor, New Delhi Friday postponed the second round of corridor talks with Islamabad scheduled for April 2.It said the next meeting can be scheduled at an “appropriate time” after receiving Pakistan’s response on India’s proposals. The move came a day after Pakistan, responding to India’s dossier on JeM’s involvement in Pulwama attack, claimed it had examined the 22 “pin locations” shared by India but found no terror camp. South Block, which had expressed disappointment at this response, decided to put off the talks, citing divergences in the proposals on the corridor and the presence of pro-Khalistan elements in the panel.Sources said MEA also asked Shah to explain his country’s stand on key proposals put forward by New Delhi at the last meeting in Attari on March 14 to discuss the modalities of the corridor. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal called the postponement of the meeting “incomprehensible”.“Last minute postponement without seeking views from Pakistan and especially after the productive technical meeting on March 19 is incomprehensible,” Faisal tweeted.indianexpress
Kartarpur Corridor: Khalistani in Pak panel not an issue, let talks take place, says Punjab minister
Chandigarh :With India Friday hinting that it is likely to reschedule the second round of meeting on the Kartarpur Corridor with Pakistan, concerns have mounted in Punjab over the fate of the project, awaited eagerly by the Sikh masses.On Friday, India summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner amid concerns over the presence of leading Khalistani separatist Gopal Singh Chawla, a close aide of Hafiz Saeed, in a 10-member committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor, official sources said. India has also sought clarifications on a number of issues from Pakistan including association of other anti-India elements like Bison Singh, Kuljit Singh and Maninder Singh in the project. The latest development has left the Sikh community wondering over the fate of the project that was not shelved or slowed even when the tension escalated between 2 countries after Pulwama attack and subsequent air strikes by India in Pakistan. Work on the project, sources said, is on in the full swing on the other side of the border.indianexpress
Samjhauta case: Congress vilified Hindu community for political gains, says Jaitley
New Delhi :A day after a Panchkula special court judge, who acquitted all 4 accused in the Samjhauta Express blasts case, pointed out loopholes in the probe by NIA, BJP on Friday used the verdict to target the previous Congress-led UPA Govt .The party said the case had “vilified the entire Hindu community” as the “Hindu terror theory” was established to further political gains while the real culprits got away.“To establish their theory of Hindu terror, a wrong set of people were framed, innocent people lost their lives (in the blast) and the real culprits were not caught,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said at BJP HQRS. indian express
Samjhauta blast verdict shows govt has no respect for institutions: Omar Abdullah
Srinagar : National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has said reports about prosecution withholding critical information about Samjhauta Express blast case from the court was a reflection of the respect BJP-led central Govt  had for institutions of the country.“Judge presiding over the special NIA court has himself said that the prosecution withheld critical information that would have allowed a guilty verdict to be passed. Clearly, this Govt  has no respect for institutions,” Abdullah told reporters at a press conference here.Ex-CM said the disrespect for the institutions was seen across the length and breadth of the Govt . “Whether NITI Aayog chairman being hauled up by the Election Commission for giving political statements or the way they have treated RBI and reduced it to a subsidiary of Govt , rather than an independent body.“We are yet to see a decision from the Election commission of India where the PM uses a space-related announcement to further BJP’s campaign. And now what we have seen with courts and the way in which Samjhauta trial has been sabotaged by withholding evidence,” he said.PTI
Samjhauta acquittals reminder that 'terrorists of Hindutva variety' not brought to justice: CPM
New Delhi: The acquittal of Aseemanand and 3 others in 2007 Samjhauta train blast case is a reminder that "terrorists of extreme Hindutva variety" are not brought to justice in India, CPM claimed.In an editorial in its mouthpiece People's Democracy, the Left party said that between 2006 and 2008 six "terrorist" incidents were perpetrated by a network of extreme Hindutva groups, and Aseemanand, Pragya Thakur and Colonel Purohit were among prominent conspirators." Acquittal of Aseemanand and 3 others in Samjhauta train blast case is a shameful reminder that the criminal justice system in India is incapable of bringing terrorists of the extremist Hindutva variety to justice for their crimes," it said.CPM editorial further claimed that Aseemanand, an RSS-VHP activist who was earlier acquitted in the Mecca Masjid blast and Ajmer Dargah blast cases, was considered to be the main organiser of the terrorist attacks which targeted Muslim places of worship."Both these cases were investigated by NIA. Under Modi regime, NIA has the dubious record of undermining all the terrorist cases related to Hindutva extremist groups," it said. "It was only in this case that 2 RSS pracharaks were convicted and sentenced to life; however their sentences were stayed by HC. In the case concerning Malegaon blast of 2008, NIA dropped charges against Pragya Thakur under MCOCA. But special court reinstated the case against her under UAPA," it said.PTI
EC gives clean chit to Modi on ‘Mission Shakti’ address
Election Commission on Friday ruled that PM Narendra Modi's address to the nation announcing the successful test of anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) did not violate the model code of conduct (MCC).In a letter to CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechuri, who had filed a complaint over the issue, the poll-panel said that the committee headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena had submitted in its findings that the MCC provision regarding misuse of official mass media was "not attracted" in the said case.It added that the Commission had accepted findings of the committee.IANS
Former NSA Menon Says DRDO Head Never Sought Permission for ASAT Test
New Delhi: Refuting reports that Manmohan Govt  refused to allow the DRDO to conduct a test of its anti-satellite capabilities, former national security adviser Shivshankar Menon told The Wire,“This is the first I have ever heard of it. Saraswat never asked me for permission for an ASAT test.”In the wake of PM Narendra Modi’s announcement that India had successfully destroyed a satellite in low Earth orbit on Wednesday, a former head of DRDO, V.K. Saraswat, has implied that the earlier Govt  got cold feet and refused to sanction a live test. Saraswat, who was made a member of the NITI Aayog by the Modi Govt , retired as head of DRDO in 2013.He was quoted in Thursday’s edition of the Economic Times as saying he made a presentation to the previous Govt  but “was not given the go ahead”. Suggesting UPA Govt lacked “long-term political will”, he said, “I remember making presentations to ministers and even the NSA but the necessary clearance never came. No reason was given, there was just silence.”thewire
US knew about India’s Mission Shakti but didn’t spy on ASAT test: Pentagon
Washington:The Pentagon has strongly denied the reports that the US spied on India’s anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test by sending a reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to monitor the development.It, however, said the United States was aware about India’s first test-fire of an anti-satellite missile.“No US assets were spying on India. In fact, the US continues to expand its enduring partnership with India, resulting in enhanced interoperability and stronger economic ties,”US Defense Department spokesperson Lt Col David W Eastburn told PTI.Aircraft Spots, which monitors military air movements, had said that a US Air Force’s reconnaissance aircraft from its base in Diego Garcia went “for a mission in the Bay of Bengal to monitor India’s anti-satellite missile test”. This was interpreted by many that US spied on Indian ASAT test.“I don’t think that it implies coordination between India and the US,” astronomer Jonathan McDowell from the prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told PTI on the Aircraft Spots report.PTI
Farooq Abdullah raises doubt over killing of 40 CRPF jawans in Pulwama attack
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday raised doubt over the killing of 40 CRPF jawans in attack in Pulwama last month.Earlier this month, the NC leader had said that the aerial attack was carried out to “rebuild PM Narendra Modi’s image. Speaking to media, the NC leader said, “How many Indian jawans were martyred in Chhattisgarh? Did PM Modi went there to pay floral tribute to those martyrs.... 40 personnel of CRPF were martyred, I have doubt about it.”timesnownews
Centre sets up Terror Monitoring Group involving 6 investigating agencies in J&K
Jammu: Intensifying crackdown on terror financing and related activities in J&K, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) set up an 8-member Multi Disciplinary Terror Monitoring Group, which has been mandated to take coordinated action in all cases related to funding of terrorism.Group comprised various investigating agencies including J&K Police, IB, CBI, NIA, Central Board of Direct Taxes and Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs.The setting up of the high-level Group by the Union Home Ministry comes at a time when the Central Govt  has adopted a tough approach against all those involved in terror financing including the separatists and the investigating agencies have attached the assets of separatist leader Shabir Shah, businessman Zahoor Watali and others in Kashmir.The Multi disciplinary Terror Monitoring Group will be headed by ADGP, CID of J&K Police as its Chairman and will comprise an Inspector General of Police from J&K, Additional Director of IB, J&K, representatives of CBI, NIA, CBDT and CBIC besides any other member co-opted by the Chairman.dailyexcelsior
‘If Article 370 goes, J-K will renegotiate ties with India’: Mehbooba Mufti to Centre
Article 370 of the Constitution is a bridge between J&K and India and if it goes, people in the state will be forced to think if they want to be with New Delhi or not, Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday. She said if Article 370 was scrapped, new conditions would have to be worked out between J&K and India.In such an eventuality, the people of the country’s only Muslim-majority state would be forced to think whether they want to remain with India or not, she said.“If you break that bridge (Article 370), then you will have to renegotiate the relationship between India and J&K.”IANS
PDP hits back at Jaitley, says Article 35A ‘neither a charity nor a concession to J&K’
Srinagar :A day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley questioned the constitutional validity of Article 35A, PDP accused BJP of trying to convert the “constitutional relationship” between J&K and the Union into an “occupation.”“BJP is trying very hard to convert the legal and constitutional relationship between J&K and the Union into an occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion. It is unfortunate that Sangh Parivar has fielded one of the better-known lawyers of the country to oppose the Supreme Court orders, which have upheld Article 35A not once, but twice in the past,” senior PDP leader and former J-K minister Naeem Akhtar said.indianexpress
Omar Abdullah Slams Jaitley for Advocating Repeal of J&K's Special Status
Srinagar:Omar Abdullah Friday hit out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for advocating repeal of J&K’s special status, saying any such talk will raise questions on the accession of the state to India as well.He told reporters that BJP and its leadership would have to tread carefully on this issue and the terms and condition cannot be renegotiated.“If you want to debate Article 370 and Article 35A, then I am sorry, there will be questions raised on the accession as well, because accession was on these very terms,” he told reporters. Abdullah said Jaitley’s claim that poverty in J&K is because of Article 35A is completely wrong. “He either forgets or has not been informed well enough that before the advent of militancy (1989) there was no such complaint here. PTI
2 militants killed,5 Armymen injured in JK encounter
Srinagar :Two foreign JeM militants were killed and five army men were injured in a pre-dawn encounter between militants and security forces on the outskirts of Srinagar on Friday.A J&K Police official said a cordon-and-search operation (CASO) was launched in the Sutsoo Kalan area of Nowgam, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on early Friday morning. During the search operation, militants fired at the search party, triggering an encounter. Subsequently, police confirmed killing of two militants in the operation.indianexpress
Communal Profiling of Kashmiri Students Continues in JNU
Communal profiling of Kashmiri students by senior Professor Amita Singh at JNU is making them vulnerable to physical attacks and has put their lives at stake, alleged Aejaz Ahmed Rather, a student of Centre of Historical Studies. In his second complaint to Delhi Minority Commission, Rather complained that Amita Singh, known for her controversial remarks against Kashmiris, Muslims and Dalits, continues to target him without any concrete evidence to gain political favours. She is currently a member of Indian Council of Social Science Research and Member Secretary of JNU Ethics Review Board.Rather, who is also the General Secretary of JNU Students’ Union, said that Singh continues to target him on Twitter despite the commission directing the university to conduct an enquiry against her after she called him a terrorist who has committed 10 bomb blasts. He emphasised that he has not been informed about any inquiry from the administration.The complaint read, "By such vicious and communal remarks, Prof. Singh is making my life very vulnerable to physical attacks and has mentally harassed me. In her heinous and bigoted conspiracy theories, she has falsely chosen to target and involve some Muslim students from the Centre for Study of Law and Governance (CSLG) where she teaches. This communal profiling has terrified the Muslim students in Centre for Study of Law and Governance where she is a senior faculty.  The actions of Prof. Singh are defaming the secular character of JNU for which the University is known world over."newsclick
 Ex-judge Shamsuddin asks Muslims to give up Babri, wants govt to fund mosque in vicinity
Muslims should give up their claim over the disputed Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site and agree to an alternate site for getting a mosque constructed at Govt  expense, said ex Kerala High Court judge PK Shamsuddin in an interview to DNA.The suggestion could have a bearing on the ongoing mediation being held between Hindu and Muslim parties to the Ayodhya title suit case as one of the mediators, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has acknowledged it in his reply to a mail sent by the former judge.This is not a one-way deal, said Justice Shamsuddin. Simultaneously, the Hindus must give up their claim over any mosque or Muslim religious property in the country to ensure lasting peace and communal harmony.The former judge said, "Last week, I mailed my suggestion to Sri Sri as well as senior advocate Sriram Panchu. I tried sending my suggestion to chairman of the mediation panel, Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifulla, but could not locate his email. However, I have received a reply from Sri Sri stating that he has noted the contents of my mail."According to the former judge, "Even if the Sunni Central Wakf Board wins in its claim over the disputed land, it may not be practical to build a mosque as there exists a temporary structure used as a temple. It is for this reason I propose a four-point formula."He proposes Muslims to give up their claim to the disputed site and Hindus to take back their claim over other mosques or properties of mosques in India. Muslims should be allotted land near the disputed site.The former judge claims his suggestion has the backing of several other Muslim scholars. His view is supported by Zafarul-Islam Khan, chairman of Delhi Minorities Commission, as well. However, not all Muslim scholars favour this move. Syed Shahbuddin, the former chairman of Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat who was privy to suggestion by Justice Shamsuddin, wrote a few years ago that the mosque site belongs to Wakf and hence it cannot be shifted to any other place.DNA
Ayodhya Mediation Committee Have Invited BJP Leader Subramanian Swamy To Suggest A Solution
BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday said that the Supreme Court appointed Ayodhya Mediation Committee has invited him to suggest a solution to resolve the Ram Janmbhoomi- Babri Masjid land dispute. Addressing the media, Subramanian informed that MP and former Union minister had tweeted this decision:"I will to Ayodhya to appear before the Mediation Committee set up SC on Ram Temple issue. Dates are in mid April." republicworld
Bilkis gang rape case: SC asks Gujarat Govt  to complete disciplinary action against cops
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Gujarat govt to complete disciplinary action against erring police officials convicted by the Bombay High Court in sensational Bilkis Bano gang rape case during the 2002 riots.A bench headed by CJI  Ranjan Gogoi said it will hear on April 23 Bano's plea seeking enhanced compensation. Bano refused to accept Rs 5 lakh compensation offered by the Gujarat Govt  before the bench also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, The high court had on May 4, 2017 convicted 7 people -- 5 policemen and two doctors. The top court had on July 10, 2017, dismissed the appeals of 2 doctors and four policemen including an IPS officer challenging their conviction by the high court saying there was "clear-cut evidence" against them.The court while rejecting their appeals, had said the trial court had unreasonably acquitted them.IPS officer RS Bhagora, currently serving in Gujarat, was convicted along with four other policemen by the HC, overturning the trial court order acquitting them.One policeman Idris Abdul Sayed has not appealed against his conviction.PTI
JNU sedition case: Court says role of Delhi Police on sanction matter complete
New Delhi : A city court hearing the 2016 JNU sedition case Saturday observed that the city police’s role regarding sanction was complete and it will now ask the Delhi Govt  about the same.Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat made the observation after being told by police that sanction was an administrative action and the charge sheet can be filed without that.DCP of Special Cell of Delhi Police, Pramod Kushwaha, told the court that the agency has already sent a request to the Delhi Govt  seeking sanction.The court Friday pulled up the Delhi Police over non-appearance of the DCP, who was asked to file report in the case.Delhi Police had earlier told the court that authorities were yet to give requisite sanctions to prosecute former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the case, and it would take two to three months to procure sanctions.PTI
Dabholkar, Pansare murder: Day after Bombay HC rap, BJP minister says CM doesn’t probe crime cases
Mumbai :A day after the Bombay High Court pulled up Maharashtra CM over the slow pace of probe into the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, state Education Minister Vinod Tawde said the investigation was entrusted with the highest agencies such as CBI and SIT.The party said there is no question of the CM of the state or any minister “intervening” in the matter.Expressing “shock” over the high court’s observations questioning the CM, Tawde said:“The HC should give their observations in writing. It will then bring greater clarity and enable Govt to respond.”indian express
Mushawarat Delegation Meets NZ Ambassador to Laud Jacinda Ardern and New Zealanders
New Delhi: A delegation of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat met New Zealand Ambassador to India Joanna Kampkers to express their gratitude towards the New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealanders for showing great sympathy and love towards the victim of Christchurch terror attack. The delegation which was led by Mushawarat president Navaid Hamid lauded the leadership of PM Ardern and her handling of the situation with utmost care and attention. They said that at a time when the terrorism and bloodshed is normal across the world; Muslim blood has become a cheap commodity, and terrorism is tagged to Islam, the supportive role of PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealanders filled with love and sympathy is praiseworthy. New Zealand has set an example for world countries and their leaders.In their meeting with ambassador Kampkers, Mushawarat president also proposed to call for an international conference over terrorism inviting political leaders along with religious leaders.“We also proposed to call for an International Conference over terrorism in which political leaders along with religious leaders are invited. This issue is not about the clash of civilization or clash of religion. It is totally a political issue which has been tagged with religion,”said Navaid.They also invited ambassador Kampkers to visit New Delhi’s India Islamic Cultural Centre. The delegation was comprised of Zafar Mahmood, President of ZFI, Maulana Shaikh Asghar Imam Mehdi Salfi, Ameer, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadeis Hind, Intizar Naeem Assistant Secretary, Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Mushawarat secretaries Maulana Abdul Hameed Naumani and Shaikh Manzoor Ahmed.The delegation also handed over a letter to the ambassador Kampkers in the name of PM Ardern.siasat
Lok Sabha Elections: 3 crore Muslim, 4 crore Dalit among 12.7 crore voters missing from electoral rolls
As many as 3 crore Muslims and four crore Dalits are among the 12.7 crore eligible voters whose names are missing from electoral rolls, claims Hyderabad based software engineer Khalid Saifullah. Most of these voters have legitimate voters’ ID cards but their names are missing from the electoral rolls, either due to ignorance or because of mischief.According to his study, as many as 15% of all voters in the country—including 25% of the Muslims and 20% Dalits—were found missing from electoral rolls till the end of February this year.38-year-old CEO of RayLabs is using technology to ensure that all the eligible voters cast their vote in the ensuing parliamentary elections. Saifullah has founded the Missing Voter App which is helping thousands of people to get their names registered on the electoral rolls.“Huge discrepancies came to my notice during the 2014 parliamentary elections when lakhs of Muslim names got deleted from the voter’s list,” he recalled, adding that “it prompted me to undertake a study in Gujarat where names of lakhs of Muslims were dropped from the electoral lists in at least 16 Assembly Constituencies during 2017 polls. The BJP candidates won with slight margins of often 3000 votes from these seats.”“When I was analysing the voter lists, I found, for example, there was only one registered voter each from over 1800 households in Godhra,” he said, asking, “Is it possible? Where did the rest of the voters go?”That is when, he said, he started working on a free mobile App called Missing Voters. The App, according to him, provides the details of all the street names of constituencies, the number of households and the number of voters in each household.“The political activists working for a specific politician or a political party can go to the National Voters’ Service Portal and apply Form Seven in their name. If I want that Naveed Saab’s name must me dropped from the electoral list, I can go online and fill Form Seven that Naveed Hamid saab no longer lives here,” he informs.“Ideally, a polling booth agent should pay a visit to verify,” he asserted.The deletion of names from the voter lists, he further said, could also happen because of ignorance. “Mostly, Muslims and Dalits live in rented houses. They change their place of residence but don’t change their voter ID cards.”Appealing to the volunteers and the eligible voters whose names are missing from the electoral rolls, he said, “Your 20 minutes can decide next PM of the country.”Saifullah, who also works with the Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, New Delhi, claimed to have done analysis of electoral data of voter lists of Karnataka also. It helped the state to register 18 lakh Muslim voters who were otherwise missing during 2018 state Assembly elections, he stated.nationalheraldindia
Over 10,000 Muslim voters 'missing' from electoral rolls in Tamil Nadu's Harbour Assembly
Chennai: Over 10,000 Muslim voters have been removed from the electoral rolls in Harbour Assembly segment of Chennai Central parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu, a Hindu report stated citing local MLA PK Sekar Babu.The move was called “unintentional” by the Chennai District Election Officer G Prakash, who assured to look into complaints of deletion of voters. According to MLA, he received petitions alleging that the names of several Muslims in his constituency were missing. After finding the complaints valid, he appealed to the District Election Officer to include the deleted names on the rolls again. moneycontrol
Dalit-Muslim union creates a flutter in Maharashtra
With the BSP-SP alliance also fielding Dalit and Muslim candidates in Maharashtra, political pundits forecast a tough time for BJP-Sena and Congress-NCP alliances in Lok Sabha polls.When Prakash Ambedkar filed his nomination papers from Solapur and Akola Lok Sabha constituencies as a VBA nominee this week, more than 200,000 supporters followed him in each town, sending shivers down the political parties, especially the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena and Congress-NCP alliances. Prakash Ambedkar is the grandson of Babasaheb Ambedkar, and VBA is the political baby of his BBM and Owaisi brothers' AIMIM.This formidable Dalit-Muslim brotherhood, virtually untested in state politics, though tried out marginally in UP between Mayawati's BSP and Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP,poses an unprecedented challenge in Maharashtra this time. Turning the screws on both the opposing alliances by targeting their support among Dalits and Muslims, the unprecedented VBA experiment could probably change the attitude of major mainstream parties vis-a-vis 2 sections.IANS
Amit Shah promises a National Register of Citizens for West Bengal
Alipurduar: BJP president Amit Shah began his election campaign in West Bengal on Friday with the promise to introduce NRC in the State if the Modi govt is voted back to power. Addressing a rally here, he said the BJP was committed to protecting the interest of ‘Hindu refugees’ through Citizenship Amendment Bill. “Mamataji thinks that infiltrators will see her through in the polls... We will bring NRC and oust every infiltrator from the State,” Shah said. “I want to assure all the refugees that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is our commitment and Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh refugees will not be required to leave the country. They can live here with respect,” he said. While several BJP leaders, including State party president Dilip Ghosh and State observer Kailash Vijayvargiya, had pitched for NRC in Bengal in 2018, party had maintained silence on contentious issue.thehindu
No MP from any minority community in Uttarakhand since last 3 polls
Dehradun: Barring Almora, lone reserved constituency in Uttarakhand, the remaining four seats in the Himalayan state have either been won by a Brahmin or a Thakur since 2004 with no member of a minority community managing a win. In 2004 polls for instance, three Thakurs, one Brahmin and one SC candidate had won the polls and a similar trend was observed in 2009. In the 2014 polls, Thakurs and Brahmins had registered a win at two seats each and the reserved constituency of Almora went to an SC candidate. According to the 2011 census data, Uttarakhand has 82.97 per cent Hindus, 13.95 per cent Muslims, 0.37 per cent Christians, 2.34 per cent Sikhs, 0.15 per cent Buddhists, 0.09 per cent Jains and 0.01 per cent Other Religions. TOI
Sacked BSF jawan says he will contest LS polls against PM Modi from Varanasi
Ex-BSF man Tej Bahadur Yadav, who was sacked from service after he uploaded a video complaining of bad quality food being served to the forces, said he will contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Varanasi constituency in against PM Narendra Modi. Yadav, a resident of Haryana, claimed he was approached by several parties to join them but chose to contest as an independent candidate.He said by contesting the elections he would raise the issue of corruption in the forces.“My motive is not to win or lose. It is to highlight how this Govt has failed the forces, especially paramilitary forces. PM Modi seeks votes in the name of our jawans but has done nothing for them. Our CRPF men killed recently in Pulwama were not even given martyr status by this Govt,” he said. HT
Akhilesh Refuses To Placate UP Giant Killer Who Called Off Alliance
Lucknow: Samajwadi Party has officially confirmed the end of its alliance with an eastern UP party whose giant killing act on Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat in the 2018 bypolls cemented Akhilesh Yadav's alliance or "gathbandhan" with Mayawati's BSP.Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati had launched a test version of their alliance on the Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats by taking on the BJP jointly in bypolls to the seats of CM Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Maurya.In a result they shocked many, the SP-BSP joint candidates had won both seats.The victory was astonishing in Gorakhpur, where Samajwadi Party fielded Praveen Nishad of Nishad Party, which has support from OBC Nishad community, on a SP symbol. Nishad managed to defeat the BJP on a seat Yogi Adityanath held continuously for over 2 decades. However, the Nishad party now seems set to switch over to the BJP, in what could be a blow to Akhilesh Yadav-Mayawati-Ajit Singh coalition in UP. Akhilesh, meanwhile, has announced a new candidate for the Gorakhpur Lok Sabha seat - a Nishad community leader from his party. The developments are in sharp contrast to just two days ago, when Akhilesh held a press conference in Lucknow, with Nishad Party leaders besides him, and announced that the Nishad party would be part of the UP gathbandhan. There was speculation that Praveen Nishad would be given the from Gorakhpur again, but Akhilesh Yadav did not announce it.But within 48 hours, Nishad Party chief met with CM Yogi Adityanath and told the media his party was not with the gathbandhan anymore. ndtv
Lok Sabha Elections: Over 100 Filmmakers Issue Public Appeal Against Voting for BJP
Over 100 filmmakers from across the country, on Friday, issued a joint appeal urging the public to not vote for the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.Coming together under a common umbrella called ‘Save the democracy’, the filmmakers have urged the public to choose a Govt  that respects the Constitution of India, protects freedom of speech and expression, and refrains from all kinds of censorship.The 103 signatories include documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan, editor Bina Paul, Malayaam director Aashiq Abu, Tamil director Vetri Maaran and other renowned independent filmmakers like Gurvinder Singh, Devashish Makhija and Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, among others.caravandaily
Minority Leaders Meet to Chalk Out an Alternative Path to Inter-faith Peace and Reconciliation
New Delhi;Representatives of minority communities gathered today at Delhi Minority Commission office to discuss the way forward in the light of ‘Human Fraternity For World Peace and Living Together,’ the document of peace signed jointly by The Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Dr Ahmad Al-Tayyeb and Pope Francis during the latter’s visit to UAE in Feb.Many intellectuals and community leaders presented their thoughts and visions to find a way to establish harmony and cooperation among various faiths around the world. Lakshmi Menon, India Director, Unity Earth and moderator of the session, said, “We have gathered here to decide on how to build upon the document and create a national discourse on oneness. We have to think about how to inculcate the common minimum programme integrated education through resources and to use the ability of all the organizations present here in order to channelize our resources. We have to think how do we have to take the message of love and brotherhood forward. We have to think about a strategy for peace and ensure that inclusive thinking in not confined to this meeting only.” Jamaat e Islami Hind Secretary Mohammed Iqbal praised the UAE document and said, “At a time when world peace is under peril and wars are destroying hopes of peace, the historical document, over which we gathered here, has shown us the light and the way forward. It is good that we are here to talk about peace but there many powerful people out there who are working tirelessly to challenge our endeavours for establishing a peaceful society, we will have to think about that. Some people say that religion is the root cause of all evil while the real causes are anti-human policies of those in power, who use religion to attain their evil goals.” India Tomorrow
WORLD
Israel to approve 4500 new settlement units in W.Bank
Israeli Govt  is expected to approve construction of 4,500 new illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank next week. According to a report yesterday by Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA), the expected approvals may be postponed until after Israel’s general election – which is slated for 9 April – if an ongoing dispute between the finance and defense ministries is not first resolved.Approximately 650000 Jewish settlers currently live on more than 100 settlements in Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem..MEMO
Gaza's Great March of Return: Thousands rally for anniversary
Thousands of Palestinians have gathered at rallying points near the Israeli border fence as part of a mass demonstration to mark the one-year anniversary of weekly protests in the Gaza Strip.Dozens of volunteers in fluorescent vests prepared to restrain demonstrators from getting too close to the border fence on Saturday morning. Ambulances lined up in front of clinics and Hamas police supervised encampments erected far from the fence.Some protesters started approaching the barrier, prompting Israeli forces to respond with tear gas.The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said in a press statement that by 11:30 GMT its medical teams had treated 33 casualties. Of those, four had gunshot wounds, two were wounded by rubber bullets, 12 were hit by tear gas canisters and 15 were suffering from tear gas inhalation, it said. aljazeera
Hamas-Israel 'agreement' on reducing Gaza tensions: Report
A newspaper affiliated to Hamas has reported that a deal has been reached with Israel to reduce tension in the Gaza Strip, as Palestinians prepare to mark the first anniversary of weekly protests along the border fence with Israel.Gaza's fence with Israel has for the past year been the scene of mass protests and major bloodshed in which more than 260 Palestinians were killed by Israeli sniper fire and nearly 7,000 shot and wounded, according to Gaza's health ministry.For months, and through repeated military escalations, Egyptian mediators have been trying to broker a truce.But on the eve of the anniversary of the so-called Great March of Return protests, the organising committee, which is calling for a "million man march" on Saturday, issued instructions to the demonstrators: stay back from Israeli guns, follow commands of organisers on the ground, make no aggressive actions, and don't burn tyres - a sign that an Egyptian-brokered deal was in the works. "The occupation has to meet this test - to implement the positive responses we heard from Egyptian delegation," Khalil Alhaya, a Hamas official, told Al Jazeera. "We, the Palestinian factions and our people, are struggling to achieve our fair and legitimate demands."Palestinians with knowledge of the talks told AFP news agency that as part of the proposed deal, Gaza protesters were to keep away from the fence on Saturday and Israeli snipers were to hold their fire.aljazeera
Egypt: Daughter of Senior Brotherhood Leader Faces Extended Stay in Custody
An Egyptian court ruled to extend the detention of Aisha Al-Shater, the daughter of senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al-Shater. Stretched out to 45 days, the detention extra time was approved in order to maintain ongoing investigations uninterrupted.Aisha, alongside her husband, faces charges of belonging to an outlawed organization and terror funding. Investigations revealed that cell, to which Aisha belonged, knowingly called for protests with anti-state sentiment. aawsat
Egyptian activist Abdel Fattah freed after 5 yrs in jail
Alaa Abdel Fattah, a leading pro-democracy activist in Egypt, has been released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for inciting and taking part in protests, according to his family and lawyer.The blogger was a leading voice among the young Egyptians who initially led the 2011 uprising that ended 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak."Alaa got out," his sister, Mona Seif, wrote on Facebook and Twitter. His other sister, Sanaa Seif, posted a video on Facebook of Abdel Fattah playing with a dog. aljazeera
Mortar shell kills 4 school children in Afghanistan
At least 4 students were killed in Afghanistan as a mortar shell hit their school in restive Ghazni province, an official statement said on Saturday. According to the statement issued by the provincial administration, a boys’ high school in the Andar district was hit by a mortar shell from unknown direction killing four students and injuring 13 others.It noted fighting was underway between the security forces and the Taliban in the area when this incident took place.This came a week after 13 civilians, including 10 children, were killed in an airstrike by foreign troops in the northern Kunduz province.aa
NZ rugby player's mother, friend convert to Islam
Muslim rugby star Sonny Bill Williams’ mother and his friend have converted to Islam. “Allahu akbar today Sonny Bill Williams' mother and his team mate Offa Tuungafasi accepted Islam. May Allah make it easy for them and grant them firdous ameen,” John Fontain, a fellow converted Muslim and friend of Williams, said on Facebook.“Our boy Sonny Bill Williams wears his Islam on his chest proud for all to see. It is Islam he seeks his honour and from this Allah granted him the gift of his mother, brother and team mate accepting Islam,” he added.Fontain posted on Facebook a picture of the ceremony at a mosque in which 33-year-old New Zealand athlete’s mother Lee Williams and his teammate Offa Tuungafasi took the Shahada on Tuesday.The photos show Tu'ungafasi dressed in white tunic alongside Williams.aa
Bangladesh court sentences 5 more Jamaat leaders to death in absentia
Dhaka: A Bangladesh court sentenced 5 men to death in absentia for ‘atrocities’ perpetrated during the country’s war of independence in 1971.A special court said the fugitives were found guilty of serial abuses during the war, which saw Bangladesh gain independence from Pakistan.Critics say the so-called International Crimes Tribunal, which has no global oversight, is politically motivated and used to target the opposition.“They were charged with murder, abduction, looting, arson and rape in Netrokona in 1971,” prosecutor MR Badol said. Prosecutors said the four accused were connected to Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamic party in Bangladesh and one allied to the country’s main opposition party.So far, 6 key opposition leaders have been executed by the tribunal. Govt  insists the trials have been fair and meet international standards, despite strident criticism from rights groups.
Erdogan says he plans to change Hagia Sophia's title from museum to mosque:Reuters
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia should be re-titled as a mosque instead of a museum after Sunday’s elections, but did not say whether the status of the landmark site would be changed.Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the foremost cathedral in Christendom for 900 years before becoming one of Islam’s greatest mosques for 500 years until 1935, when it was converted to a museum.In 2014, amid rumours of a possible change, senior Erdogan adviser Ibrahim Kalin said there were no plans to alter the monument’s status.In the lead-up to local elections on Sunday, Erdogan has appealed to religious sentiments to drum up support for his party, invoking the New Zealand mosque killings as examples of the threats faced by Turkey, and Islam.He has also brought up the issue of Hagia Sophia several times.
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