News and views across the globe.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

11 JAN. NEWS: India Today unmasks ABVP attackers in a big sting: its activist Komal Sharma, masked woman in viral video of JNU violence/ Amid protests, CAA comes into effect, Home Ministry issues notification/CWC passes resolution asking govt to stop NPR, withdraw CAA


*NEWS DIGEST, EVENING* 
*11 Jan 2020: 15 Jamadi-1, 1441: Vol: 12, No: 104
*JNU VIOLENCE*
India Today unmasks ABVP attackers in a big sting:  its activist Komal Sharma, masked woman in viral video of JNU violence
India Today TV's special investigation team that has created massive ripples across the country with its sting operation on JNU violence on Sunday, has exposed the masked woman seen in one of the viral videos of the violence which was unleashed inside the JNU campus on January 5.India Today's JNU Tapes Part 2 has found that the woman is Komal Sharma, an ABVP activist and a student of Delhi University's Daulat Ram College.The identity of Komal Sharma was revealed by one of her seniors on Instagram. In the audio uploaded by this person, Komal Sharma is heard requesting her not to expose her identity as her photos have gone viral after JNU violence on Sunday."Please do not tell anyone as my photos are going viral...please don't tell anyone that you had seen me," Komal Sharma is heard in audiotape released by her senior. Speaking to India Today TV, Komal's senior revealed that the masked woman was Komal Sharma, her junior in Daulat Ram College of Delhi University and is an activist of the ABVP. She said she personally spoke with her.To reveal the masked woman's identity, India Today investigated further. Her identity was also revealed by Akshat Awasthi, a first-year JNU and an ABVP activist, who was caught on camera confessing to mobilising the mob during the JNU attack and even participating in it. India Today had exposed his role in detail in Part 1 of JNU tapes."Komal Sharma was there in the mess. What happened in Sabarmati [hostel] was that when the crowd approached, Komal Sharma was secretly trying to enter the mess. When I entered the mess, Komal was scared... she thought that even I was from the Left told her...I am from your side," Akshat Awasthi was heard saying in the India Today's JNU Tapes.In Part 1 of JNU Tapes, India Today TV exposed three student activists who accepted they were involved in the violence and vandalism in JNU on January 5 and prior to it.Two of the three activists said they are members of ABVP while the third said she is affiliated to AISA and is a former JNUSU president.The first ABVP activist exposed in JNU Tapes is Akshat Awasthi. He is a first-year student of the French degree program at JNU. He identified himself in one of the videos of Sunday's attack and said he is ABVP activist.In the said video he is seen armed with a stick, his face covered with a helmet, and rushing through a hostel corridor in maddening rage and knocking anything and anyone that came his way.Akshat Awasthi also tells in detail how he planned and mobilised other ABVP activists for the attack. The second ABVP activist caught in JNU Tapes is Rohit Shah, another first-year student of the French language program. He too testified to his involvement in the criminal assault on January 5.Rohit Shah confessed that he gave his helmet to Akshat Awasthi before he set out on the raid. "It [a helmet] is a must for safety when you smash glass," Rohit Shah said on the tape.He said the mobs spared an ABVP room in the hostel after he informed them about the affiliation of its residents.The third student activists exposed in India Today TV's JNU Tapes is Geeta Kumari, ex JNUSU president and affiliated to AISA.In the tapes, Geeta admits to her role in the vandalism at the university's server room.Soon after India Today TV's JNU Tapes were released, ABVP distanced itself from the two students and claimed they were not its members.indiatoday
‘He Looked Like a Kashmiri... I Beat Him Up’: India Today 'Unmasks' JNU Attackers
JNU violence: 37 of 60-member ‘Unity Against Left’ WhatsApp group identified, says police
Delhi Police has reportedly claimed to have identified 37 of the 60 individuals of a WhatsApp group called ‘Unity Against Left’, which is believed to be linked to the mob attack on JNU students and teachers on January 5. According to the police, the group was created against the Left parties on January 5, the day when violence broke out in JNU premises as several masked individuals, both male and female, thrashed students, including girls, and teachers inside the campus with wooden and metal rods, injuring at least 34 people. According to a report in NDTV, Around 10 of those identified are believed to outsiders, i.e, they are not students of the university.thestatesman
JNU violence: 3 professors move High Court to preserve data, retrieve CCTV footage
3 JNU professors on Friday asked the Delhi High Court to issue directions to police and government to preserve data and other evidence related to mob attack on campus, reported PTI. They also sought a direction to Delhi Police to retrieve all CCTV footage from varsity.Professors Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood and Shukla Vinayak Sawant said directions should be issued to preserve and retrieve all material and evidence available with WhatsApp, Google and Apple including messages, pictures, videos and phone numbers of members of different WhatsApp groups.scroll
JNUSU claims police ignored messages about mob's presence in varsity on Jan 5
New Delhi:JNU Students' Union today alleged that the police were informed about a mob's presence on the campus much before the violence on January 5 but they ignored the messages."They were informed at 3 pm and the messages were read at 3.07 pm but the messages were ignored," JNUSU claimed at a press conference here. It also alleged that RSS-affiliated ABVP was involved in attacking women students and JNUSU office-bearers last week.The students' union said ABVP members hit women students even on January 4 and when JNUSU general secretary Satish Chandra Yadav intervened, they attacked him as well.PTI
‘Entire country with JNUSU in fight for justice’: Kerala CM to Aishe Ghosh
New Delhi :A day after Delhi Police released the name of 9 suspects, including JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh, for their alleged involvement in the violence in the campus, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Saturday met Ghosh at Kerala House in New Delhi and said the whole country was with them in their protest against the fee hike in the institution and CAA.indianexpress
No doubt that Delhi Police connived with JNU admin and the ABVP: former IPS officer VN Rai
Vibhuti Narain Rai, a retired UP cadre IPS officer, was posted as SSP, Meerut in 1987 when the Hashimpura massacre took place. He later wrote a book exposing the complicity of police then and how communally charged the police were.In an interview, he said, "I have no doubt in my mind that the police acted in connivance with JNU administration and ABVP goons in letting the latter unleash violence in the campus against their perceived opponents, to the extent of letting them get away after they had achieved their aim of terrorising them."nationalheraldindia
Arvind Subramanian writes on JNU, Jamia: ‘Jobs fewer, violence on students only adds hopelessness’
Former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian on Saturday warned that recent actions against university students could “triply undermine” the government’s motto of inclusive development as they can block the creation of human capital, social peace and strong institutions.In an opinion article in Indian Express, Subramanian said the fears of students who oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act must be heard and addressed. “Are their fears exaggerated or misplaced? Regardless, they must be heard,” he said. “How else will we be able to understand and address their concerns? And to be clear, address them we must.”scroll
*anti-citizenship act stir*
CWC passes resolution asking govt to stop NPR, withdraw amended Citizenship Act
Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Saturday passed a resolution demanding a rollback of the Citizenship Amendment Act, which was notified by the Home Ministry, and stopping the process of updating the NPR. The meeting was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi among other members.The CWC, the party’s highest decision-making body, said ill-conceived Citizenship Amendment Act had led to spontaneous nationwide protests and the Centre used brute power to suppress the voice of students and youth.indianexpress
CAA discriminatory and divisive law; NPR is disguised NRC: Sonia Gandhi
:Congress president Sonia Gandhi today termed the CAA a "discriminatory and divisive" law whose "" purpose was to divide people on religious lines, and asserted that NPR in form and content was "disguised NRC".Addressing CWC meeting in New Delhi, Sonia Gandhi said that thousands of young men and women, especially students have realised the "grave harm" that implementation of the CAA will cause.They have taken to streets braving the cold as well as police brutalities, Sonia said."We demand that a comprehensive high-powered commission be constituted to enquire into the incidents connected with the anti-CAA protests and give justice to the affected persons," Sonia said."The situation in some states is alarming, turning the states into police states, notably in UP and Union Territory of Delhi," Sonia said.Coming down hard on NPR, Sonia told the Congress top brass not to be under any illusion that it was a "benign exercise"."In form and content, NPR 2020 is a disguised NRC," she said.India Today
Rahul Gandhi and Co. behind storm of misinformation on CAA: Amit Shah
New Delhi :Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged Saturday that the opposition parties led by ‘Rahul baba and company’ are behind the ‘storm of misinformation’ on the amended Citizenship Act (CAA). Shah also challenged ‘Rahul Baba and company, Mamata Bannerjee, Arvind Kejriwal and Communists’ to hold a discussion on whether the CAA has the provision for snatching citizenship or giving it.Speaking at a Gujarat Police event in Gandhinagar, Shah said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has introduced CAA to provide citizenship to “crores of people”. “Narendra Modi turned CAB into CAA in order to provide citizenship to crores of people. In this regard, total opposition….Rahul Baba and Company, Mamata, Kejriwal, Communists..have created a storm of misinformation. They have spread the lie that through this act, citizenship of minority, Muslims, is being snatched. Today, I from this dais challenge them to hold a discussion on whether the CAA has the provision to provide citizenship or snatch it,” said the Home Minister.However, Shah refrained from mentioning the NRC exercise in his 30 minutes-long speech at the Mahatma Mandir convention hall on the occasion of launch of multiple Cybersafety initiatives of Gujarat Police .Shah continued his attack on the opposition, claiming that a sense of mistrust has seeped through in India and urged workers of BJP to conduct a “door to door” campaign on CAA.Home Minister also said that the issue of CAA began due to partition of India and 1971 Indo-Pak war during which Bangladesh was created.indianexpress
Amid protests, CAA comes into effect from Jan 10, Home Ministry issues notification
New Delhi:Even as the country boils over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Centre on Friday night announced that the law has come into effect from January 10. In a gazette notification, the Union Home Ministry said the act under which non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will be granted Indian citizenship, will come into force from January 10.“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 1 of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (47 of 2019), the Central Government hereby appoints the 10th day of January 2020, as the date on which the provisions of the said Act shall come into force,” the notification said.Meanwhile,BJP has launched a door-to-door campaign to make people understand the provisions of new legislation.thestatesman
Will wait for Supreme Court's decision on CAA before implementing: MP Govt
Bhopal: CAA came into force, across the country, but there still lingers apprehension of its implementation in the Congress-ruled state of Madhya Pradesh. MP Law Minister PC Sharma said, "MP government's stand on Citizenship Amendment Act is clear from day one. The chief minister of MP[Kamal Nath] has already confirmed the stand of the government. When on March 25 there was a march carried out, he put forth his views." Sharma said, "Though the notification has been issued but it is yet to be seen what the Supreme Court has to say. The discussions are still pending in the SC." indiatoday
CAA Notification: Modi, Shah Effigies burnt by varsity students, AJYCP protesters detained in assam
Guwahati: As Centre in a gazette notification announced that the CAA comes into force, students of the premier Cotton University here came out at 11.30 p.m to protest against it and burnt effigies of the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Assam Chief Minister shouting slogans against them and that people of Assam will not accept CAA.On Saturday, activists of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) marching to gherao the Assam state secretariat here to protest the new citizenship law were arrested on Saturday as a preventive measure, officials said.Slogan shouting AJYCP activists from Tinsukia in Upper Assam marching towards the state secretariat were stopped at Khanapara area ahead of secretariat in Dispur, officials said. AJYCP demonstrators were arrested and taken in buses to the temporary jail in 4 Assam Police battalion headquarters at Kahilipara area before they were released later, officials added.PTI
Delhi HC dismisses plea seeking removal of anti-CAA protesters at Shaheen Bagh
Delhi High Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition seeking removal of police barricades from New Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area, where anti-CAA-NRC protests are underway, as it is causing traffic congestion on the DND flyover, ANI has reported. Petition also sought shifting of protesters elsewhere.The handwritten application was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar. The letter, written by Tushar Sehdev and Raman Kalra, mentioned that the Delhi-UP, Delhi-Uttarakhand routes and the stretches from Delhi to Noida hospitals, Ashram and Badarpur are unavailable as the roads around Shaheen Bagh are blocked and vehicles are being diverted to DND flyover due to the protests. Lakhs of people, including those facing emergencies are suffering because of road blockade, the letter said.The protest is affecting several lakh vehicles which are forced to avoid the route, the plea said, claiming that protesters have put barricades and heavy stones on the sides of the roads and are not even allowing pedestrians to pass. The perition also alleged that the protesters have also damaged road dividers and other public properties installed on the roads causing loss to the government exchequer. For more than 25 days now, women residents of Shaheen Bagh have been staging a sit-in on Kalindi Kunj Road to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed National Register of Citizens. indianexpress
Delhi HC Refuses To Entertain Plea Seeking Shifting Of Shaheen Bagh Protests To Other Area
Prominent Muslim groups call for revocation of CAA, judicial inquiry into JNU violence
New Delhi: Prominent Muslim organisations on Friday demanded the revocation of the CAA, a judicial inquiry into violence in JNU and compensation for those killed and injured in "police firing" during protests against the controversial citizenship law.The organizations, after a meeting, also expressed concern over the proposed NRC and NPR, asserting that either NPR should either be withdrawn or its additional clauses removed.The meeting of Muslim organisations, held under chairmanship of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani, was attended by Darul Uloom Deoband vice chancellor, representatives of Jamaat Islami Hind, Markazi Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees,Milli Council, Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, and prominent leaders from other parts of the country.The meeting took stock of the situation prevailing in the country and deliberated upon the CAA, while reviewing the "ongoing movement and struggle" against the controversial law in detail, a statement issued by Jamiat said.Resolutions were also passed at the meeting, including against the CAA, NPR and proposed NRC."The amended citizenship law is not only anti-Constitutional but it also violates the pluralistic character of the country. This law discriminates against people on the basis of their religion and directly contradicts fundamental rights enshrined in the Articles, 14, 15 and 21 in the Constitution," a resolution said. The CAA also contradicts the Preamble of the Constitution of India, it said.The organizations said the NRC has created turmoil in Assam and citizens were excluded from the NRC simply because there were errors in their name''s spelling and documents. NPR that has been brought in by the government is actually the first step towards NRC exercise, and that the new NPR demands more details as compared with the old NPR of 2010, it claimed. The religious discrimination clause from the CAA should be removed and NPR should either be withdrawn or its additional clauses removed, the statement said.They  also said the new citizenship law will also affect India''s friendly relations with neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh.The organizations also extended moral support to the protest launched by students of Jamia Millia, AMU and other youths against these laws.They condemned in strongest possible terms the police action on the students of various universities.They demanded initiation of judicial inquiry into the violence in JNU and the strict action against those police personnel found guilty in action against protests.Muslim organizations also condemned police brutalities and excesses on peaceful demonstrations in BJP-ruled states.Maulana Arshad Madani, Maulana Mufti Abul Qasim Nomani, Maulana Wali Rahmani, Professor Akhtar al-Wase, Dr Qasim Rasool Elyas and Naved Hamid among other prominent Muslim scholars and clerics attended the meeting. PTI
Maharashtra: 100 organisations form ‘national alliance’ against CAA, NRC
Mumbai :Over 100 social and Muslims organisations, including 13 youth bodies, Friday came together to form a “national alliance” in Maharashtra against CAA, NRC and NPR.Maharashtra is the fourth state where such an alliance has been formed after AP, Telangana, and Gujarat. Maharashtra convener of the alliance, Justice (retd) Kolse Patil, said the aim of alliance is to facilitate future protests as well as hold candlelight vigils and awareness sessions on CAA, NCR and NPR. “We are hoping the judiciary will step in to stop the discriminatory CAA. This movement will continue until we reach a logical end… by withdrawal of the Act,” he told mediapersons. Mujtaba Farooq, national co-convener of the alliance, said that in the coming days, awareness sessions will be held in villages and rural Maharashtra to raise awareness about CAA, NCR and NPR. “NPR is aimed at robbing the citizenship of the poor, Dalits and Muslims. In coming days, such alliances will be formed in four more states,” he added.The alliance will also work on providing legal aid to youth and activists who are being booked by the police for protesting.indianexpress
Amidst protest over CAA, Centre to defer banning PFI:  Deccan Chronicle report
Hyderabad: Now officials in Union home ministry have pieced together a fresh dossier listing out the “operational capabilities” of PFI in the wake of violent protests against the CAA, the decision on banning the outfit is likely to be deferred, at least for now.At a time when Muslims across the country are up in arms against the CAA, a move to ban the PFI, which has a massive support base across the country, will be perceived as yet another anti-Muslim move and could invite further trouble.Well informed sources told Deccan Chronicle that during a recent high-level meeting in the Union home ministry to assess the internal security situation in the wake of the CAA protests, the “operational capabilities” of the PFI and their other activities came up for discussion.When it was mentioned that since its inception in 2006, PFI has been expanding its support base rapidly across the length and breadth of the country and has a fan base not only within the country but outside as well, one of the views that emerged was that banning the outfit at this juncture could lead to more protests. “It would be seen as anti-Muslim,” it was felt. Already, CAA and the fears of implementation of the NRC have branded Modi govt as anti-Muslim.
Arundhati Roy targets govt: Maybe one day they will be in detention centres, we will be azad
New Delhi:For Arundhati Roy, it seems, the next controversy is always just around the corner. When the Booker-winning author turned up at Jamia Millia Islamia today to express solidarity with students there, she brought up the issue of detention centres -- and her comments are sure to kick up a storm."If we all get together, there won't be a detention centre big enough for us," she said."Maybe there will be a day when this government will be in a detention centre, and all of us azad [free]. We won't back down," she added.The government's clarifications on the CAA haven't stopped protesters at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh from demonstrating for weeks at a stretch. By the way, that's where Arundhati Roy was headed after her appearance at Jamia Millia Islamia.indiatoday
Delhi: Shaheen Bagh juniors draw attention to CAA
New Delhi: Australia’s raging wildfires, actor Deepika Padukone’s portraits, Spiderman and Disney’s princesses: these were the subjects of painting for the many children of Shaheen Bagh on Thursday. The kids, aged between 5 and 15, have been accompanying their mothers as they sit under a canopy on Kalindi Kunj road in south-east Delhi to protest against the new citizenship law.The nearly half-a-kilometre stretch they occupy is blockaded by police at both ends, but the yellow barricades also bear signs of their protests. “No to NRC, no to CAA”have been spray-painted across barricades in bold letters. Bedsheets have been painted with images of resistance and words from Preamble and the tricolor are hoisted at several places.When TOI visited, many children sat in a group, independent of their mothers. Most of them had tricolor painted on both their cheeks, and they listened intently to the speakers on stage. They carried posters against CAA and lent their voices to Inquilab slogans. Some even took charge of the mike and chanted “Hum kagaz nahin dikhayenge”.The children have made new friends and found new hobbies over the last few weeks, especially after Usama, a young Jamia research scholar set up a makeshift library opposite the protest site. Today, he is both a companion and teacher to these kids. TOI
CAA-NRC: Gaya’s Shanti Bagh Turns Into Mini Shaheen Bagh
Bihar: On a cold January afternoon, Dulari Devi and Shaziya Perween, sit under the open sky, singing national songs and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poems. In between, they also join slogans raised by others at the sit-in protest against CAA-NRC, turning the site into a mini Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, where a sit-in protest, mainly by women, has been going on for over 25 days.The protest in Shanti Bagh in Gaya, where hundreds of people, mainly women and students, have gathered, has been going on 24×7 since December 29, but has hardly drawn any media attention so far. But, undeterred, the sit-in protest is continuing with overwhelming support from the common people in Gaya town, widely known as the holy land where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.newsclick
CAA protests: 12 get bail in Delhi on condition they meet police to ‘have doubts removed’
A Delhi court on Friday granted bail to 12 people arrested during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Seemapuri area of the city last month, PTI reported. However, the bail was granted with a caveat. Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Kumar Malhotra granted the accused bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each and a surety of the same amount. Judge Malhotra also said that the accused shall appear at the Seemapuri Police Station on January 19, where the officer present shall try to “remove the doubts of the applicants in respect of CAA”.scroll
Arrested over CAA protests activist Akhil Gogoi remanded to judicial custody for 14 days once again
Guwahati: A special NIA court on Friday remanded RTI activist and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, arrested under the stringent UAPA following his participation in protests against the amended Citizenship Act last month, to 14 days of judicial custody once again.Gogoi, chief adviser of KMSS, had been remanded to 14 days of judicial custody on December 26 by the NIA court.PTI
PM Meets Mamata, Bengal CM Asks Him to Withdraw CAA, NRC and NPR
Kolkata: On a 2-day visit to West Bengal, PM Narendra Modi met CM Mamata Banerjee at Raj Bhavan in Kolkata even as protests continue against the CAA."I told the PM that people in Bengal are not accepting NRC  and CAA. You should reconsider it. He has said I am here for other programmes so he asked me to come to Delhi for meeting," she said after the meeting.The meeting assumes significance as the new citizenship law has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the state, with Banerjee's TMC opposing the contentious legislation tooth and nail, and BJP pressing for its implementation. After the meeting with PM Modi in which Mamata urged a rollback on the amendment to the citizenship law, West Bengal CM said, "We are against CAA and NRC and NPR. It should be ensured that no one leaves the country. There should not be atrocities on anyone. The government should re-consider NRC and CAA." Banerjee said that during the meeting she also asked for the Rs 28,000 crore flood package that the state is yet to receive from the Centre following Cyclone Bulbul. "He has assured that he would look into the papers and take the necessary steps," she said.The ruling Trinamool Congress students wing and Left Front activists are staging demonstrations across West Bengal. Left Front activists, carrying placards with 'Go Back Modi' written on it, took out rallies at Dum Dum area – which is just 1.5 kilometres from the airport, where PM will land upon his arrival in the city. "We will continue our protest unless and until the Act is withdrawn. We don't want Modi to come to Kolkata as it will vitiate the atmosphere of our state," a protester said. Several organisations, both political and civil, have planned protest rallies across the city against the CAA and NRC. TMC has also decided to make human chains at various parts of the South Kolkata against CAA and NRC.news18
Kerala government puts up front-page newspaper ads opposing CAA, says ‘we are one, first’
Kerala government has advertised its decision to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act on the front pages of at least three national dailies.The advertisements were put up on the front pages of Delhi editions of Indian Express, the flaps on HT, and TOI. “We are one, first” reads the advertisement. “The state is leading the efforts to protests constitutional values. Kerala Legislative Assembly became the first in Union to pass a unanimous resolution against discriminatory CAA.”scroll
Kerala Fishermen Embark on Special 'Water March' on Boats to Protest Against CAA
The anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests that have proliferated ever since the passing of the contentious Act have dominated news headlines for over almost a month. And yet, more and more protesters are joining the fight against BJP's move to grant citizenship to religious and persecuted minorities (except Muslims) in neighboring nations. The latest to join the protests are fishermen of Kerala, who took out rallies on boats (yes!) as part of their anti-CAA protests. The "water march" was held in Kozhikode's Chaliyam area on Jan.9. Fishermen sailed don boats from the Chaliyam Jankar Jetty to Feroke bridge and back with protesters carrying banners, placards and the Indian flag as props.Images and videos of the novel protest instantly went viral on Twitter and other social media platforms. Many lauded fishermen for their ingenuity.news18
Kerala: Congress throws CAA papers into sea
Railway losses ₹84 crore in anti-CAA, NRC protests in Bengal
 Railways claimed to have suffered losses of properties worth ₹84 crore in violence related to protests against CAA and NRC in West Bengal from December 13 to 15, according to reports filed by it before the Calcutta High Court.The Eastern Railway said in an affidavit before a division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice A Banerjee on Friday that it suffered the brunt of the protests with losses amounting to ₹72.2 crore, with the maximum being in the Sealdah division, which suffered damages worth ₹46 crore.PTI
Investments hit by CAA stir: Assam Minister Patowary
Guwahati: Assam industry minister Chandra Mohan Patowary has said that anti-CAA protesters should note that Rs 42,78,228 crore investment in the oil and gas sector alone could be affected by the agitation. He said several foreign investors had shelved their plans following the stir.“We are making a proposal to augment the capacity of Bongaigaon RefineryNSE 0.00 % & Petrochemicals Limited from a refining capacity of 3 million metric tonnes per annum to 6 mmtpa, with a provision to augment it to 9 mmpta in future. Together with capacity addition of Numaligarh Refinery Limited, gas grids and other projects in hydrocarbon sector, the Centre is investing close to Rs 42,782,28 crore in the state. For exploration of gas and oil in 100 places in Assam, Centre has sanctioned Rs 3,600 crore,” he said.economictimes
Kolkata: Citizens join Jamia girl in anti-CAA rally
Kolkata: Ayesha Renna , who emerged as the face of anti-CAA protests after saving a friend from police batons at the Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, joined thousands of protesters in Kolkata on Friday. Ayesha won hearts with her speech that was partially in Bengali. She made an instant connect with the students who turned up in large numbers. “They do not have jobs for us. They do not have any plans for us. They just want to divide us,” said Ayesha. Rafia Khatoon, one of the participants, was like any other ordinary homemaker going about her domestic chores and looking after her family. But the CAA  and NRC made her realize that she was also a citizen of the country and it was her responsibility to step out and assert her identity as an individual. “I am a mother, a wife and a daughter. But I also have an identity as a citizen of this country which somebody is trying to snatch from me. I will not let the Constitution to be subverted,” said the resident of Collin Lane near Free School Street who left her two kids at home to walk in the rally on Friday afternoon. Rafia was not alone. People from other communities turned up in large number to assure their support. Neena Ghosh, a medical practitioner, waited near Tipu Sultan Mosque for the Friday prayers to get over before the start of the march. She took time off from her busy schedule to “register protest” against something which threatens to divide her country. “I love my country for its diversity. I don’t want a monolithic identity to be imposed on it. India belongs to all its citizens,” said Ghosh. The protest organised by Forum for Democracy and Communal Amity saw more than 5,000 people march from Esplanade to Gandhi statue on Mayo Road. “This is Gandhi’s country. But there are powers which are trying to change Constitution to target specific communities. But there is no place for communalism and hatred here,” said Abdul Aziz, secretary of the forum.TOI
Thousands gather once again in Hyderabad to protest against CAA/NRC
A massive rally, in which thousands of people once again gathered in protests to protest agains the CAA) and NRC, was held in Hyderabad’s Old City on Friday afternoon. A sea of people participate in a rally which culminated into a public meeting, which was organised by United Muslim Action Committee, which is led by AIMIM.‘Tiranga’ rally drew thousands of people, especially Muslims, from across the city, who turned up in large numbers. The rally was held from the Mir Alam Eidgah to the Shastripurm grounds, where AIMIM chief and member of Lok Sabha from the Hyderabad seat Asaduddin Owaisi addressed the meeting. The scene was similar to the ‘Million march’, which was held earlier this month, wherein thousands of people had come to to protest against the CAA and NRC.Participants of the rally, with the tri-colour in their hands, also carried a very long version of the national flag. Owaisi and other Muslim leaders addressed the public meeting after the rally.livemint
Bhopal: CAA an attempt of Centre to hide failure on economic front, says Congress leader Ramesh
Bhopal: Slamming Centre government, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that to distract people and hide their failure on economic front, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah were playing the drama of CAA and NRC. The former union environment and forests minister was addressing the members at Seva Dal training camp here. freepressjournal
CAA: Pakistan should also pass such a law, says BJP MLA, our ‘aggrieved Muslims’ can go there
Uttar Pradesh BJP MLA Vikram Saini has suggested that Pakistan should also implement a law like CAA to take in “aggrieved Muslims” from India. Saini represents Khatauli seat, ANI reported. “Adla badli kar lo [swap],” Saini told reporters. “Those who are persecuted in Pakistan can come to India and those who have trouble here can go to Pakistan, who is stopping them?”scroll
Gujarat Speaker tells Cong MLA he is not in Pak House over CAA, sparks ruckus
Gandhinagar : Gujarat Assembly Speaker Rajendra Trivedi on Friday told a Congress MLA who displayed a banner against the new citizenship law — written in his own blood — that he was not “sitting in Pakistan Parliament”, inviting strong objections from the Opposition and leading to the adjournment of Assembly proceedings for 15 minutes.The House had met for a day when a resolution to support the CAA was moved by Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja. The resolution was passed by the majority amid opposition from Congress.Congress MLA from Jamalpur constituency, Imran Khedawala, displayed the banner that said, “Boycott CAA, NRC, NPR”, to which the Speaker reacted with the comment that was strongly objected to by senior Congress MLA and party state party chief Amit Chavda and other party MLAs. Khedawala displayed the banner from his seat when BJP MLA Naresh Patel was speaking during the discussion on the resolution. On seeing the banner, the Speaker said, “Respected Imranbhai, we are not in Pakistan.”The comment invited agitated reactions from Congress MLAs led by Leader of the Opposition Paresh Dhanani. indianexpress
AMU students continue anti-CAA protests despite administration's warning
Aligarh:Students of AMU have resolved to continue their sit-in protest against the CAA, despite a stern warning from the varsity administration.The administration has put up notices on the campus, stating that all concerned were requested to comply with orders of the high court, which direct Aligarh DM and SSP to ensure that no person was allowed to "convene, hold, attend, address or take part in procession or join any kind of dharna, demonstration or rally, either at the main gate of the administrative block of AMU or within a 100-metre radius of the block and VC's lodge inside campus".The student leaders claimed they had measured the distance at which they have set up their protest site, and it was more than the distance suggested by the high court.IANS
Over 100 Retired civil servants condemn India's new citizenship law
More than 100 retired senior civil servants, including three former ministers, have written an open letter to the Indian public condemning government policies they called “morally untenable”, “wasteful” and certain to cause hardship to millions.The letter specifically criticised a controversial new citizenship law widely seen as anti-Muslim and the government’s proposed national register of citizens. Critics allege that, when combined, the law and the register could lead to millions of Muslims being declared illegal migrants.The signatories included exforeign secretaries Shyam Saran, Shivshankar Menon and Sujatha Singh. The letter urged the government to repeal the citizenship law, passed last month, and desist from setting up detention centres for Indians who do not qualify as citizens.“We are apprehensive that the vast powers to include or exclude a person from the Local Register of Indian Citizens that is going to be vested in the bureaucracy at a fairly junior level has the scope to be employed in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner, subject to local pressures and to meet specific political objectives,” they said in the letter.theguardian
Rift in BJP over citizenship issue? Muslim leaders of minority cell in MP are now anti-CAA-NRC
BJP is facing brewing discontent within its ranks of minority politicians regarding the recent fiasco over the citizenship issue. According to sources, some members of BJP's minority cell in Madhya Pradesh have recently come out openly in protest against the CAA and NRC. While some Muslim leaders have publicly let known their opposition to CAA-NRC, a few others cut their ties off with the saffron camp and resigned.Perhaps the most prominent of these names are Adil Khan, Bhopal District President of BJP's minority wing, and Javed Baig, the cell's media in-charge. Earlier this month, state secretary of BJP's minority cell Akram Khan resigned due to “indecent comments on a class-specific community”. Along with him, Abdul Hakim Qureshi, former chairman of the Masjid Committee and member of MP Madarsa Board, has also resigned from the BJP's primary membership. Qureshi, who had been with the saffron camp for over 25 years and was a close aide of former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said that people from within the party had been passing community-specific remarks and treating Muslims like outsiders even if they had served the party for a long time.dnaindia
CAA: Aaditya Thackeray castigates BJP for campaigning in a school, says it is unacceptable
Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray today lashed out at the Modi government for campaigning about the Citizenship Amendment Act in a school.Thackeray tweeted a day after BJP workers visited a school in Mumbai’s Matunga suburb to “spread awareness and correct misinformation” about the law. The Bharatiya Janata Party had organised a programme at the Dayanand Balak Vidyalaya on Bhimani street from 10 am to 11 am on Friday.scroll
*J&K AND S. ASIA*
Kashmir: Indefinite Suspension of Internet Not Permissible, Review Orders in a Week, Says SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stated that the Internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir without limiting it to a particular duration is not only violation of the telecom rules, but also of the freedom of speech and expression granted by Constitution. 3-judge bench comprising justices N.V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai, after hearing a clasp of petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Centre’s decision to lockdown Jammu and Kashmir following reading down of Article 370 since August last year, pointed out that freedom of speech and expression includes the right to recieve and disseminate information.The apex court asked the J&K administration to review all restrictive orders imposed within a week.Internet has been suspended for more than 150 days in Kashmir, making it the longest blackout in any democracy.thewire
J&K: SC verdict a ‘big jolt’ to Modi govt’s ‘illegal activities’, says Congress
Congress has said the Supreme Court’s judgement in the petitions against the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir was “a big jolt” to Narendra Modi government’s “illegal activities”.“SC [Supreme Court] delivers first big jolt of 2020 to illegal activities of Modi govt [government] by stating importance of internet as a fundamental right,” Congress spokesperson RS Surjewala said in a tweet. “Double shock for Modi-Shah that dissent cannot be oppressed by imposing Section 144. Modiji reminded that nation bows before Constitution and not him!” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was one of the petitioners, said this time the Supreme Court did not come under any pressure.“We welcome this judgement,” he said, according to PTI. “This is the first time the SC has talked about how people of J-K feel. I would like to thank the SC for a very historic decision and the people from across the country were waiting for it, specially the people of JK. The government of India has misled the entire country. This time the SC was forthright and they didn’t come under any pressure.”Former Union minister P Chidambaram said the court’s order was a “rebuff to unconstitutional, arrogant stance of the Centre and J&K administration on restrictions imposed in the region”, PTI reported. scroll
Supreme Court disappoints, say editorial comments while pulling up the Govt on Kashmir lockdown
While welcoming the principles laid down by the Supreme Court on Friday on restrictions on freedom imposed by the state in J & K, in editorial comments, virtually all English newspapers in India expressed both surprise and disappointment at the court’s failure to strike down the restrictions as unconstitutional.Pointing out that for liberal democracy, suspending internet access in a region it considers to be an integral part is not ‘ great advertisement’ for either liberal democracy or governance, most of the comments lamented at the Supreme Court falling short of remedying a wrong. However, the broad principles laid down by the court were welcomed. The court not only ruled that Internet access was a fundamental right but also declared that the right to information also included the right to know why restrictions are imposed. It laid down that all orders imposing restrictions must spell out the immediate provocation, and not apprehension, and that such restrictions needed to be reviewed every week. Restrictions, it underlined, could not be indefinite or disproportionate.nationalheraldindia
'If We Get Orders, We Will Act': Army Chief Naravane On Reclaiming PoK
Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Saturday said that if Indian Army gets an order, it will take appropriate action to reclaim Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).He pointed out that a Parliamentary resolution states that the entire Jammu and Kashmir region is a part of India."There is a Parliamentary resolution, that entire Jammu and Kashmir region is a part of India. If Parliament wants it, then that area (PoK) also should belong to us. If we get orders to that effect, we will take appropriate action," the Army chief said while speaking to the media in Delhi.General Naravane took over as the 28th Chief of the Army Staff on December 30, succeeding General Bipin Rawat who has become India's first Chief of Defence Staff. Naravane previously served as the Vice Chief of Army Staff.PTI11
SC asks Centre to reply to UN official’s plea on Rohingya
NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to an application made by a United Nations Special Rapporteur to intervene in a batch of petitions filed by the Rohingya community against the government’s move to conduct their mass deportation from India.A Bench led by CJI Sharad A. Bobde took note of the plea made by E. Tendayi Achiume, who is a UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, to assist the court on India’s human rights obligations to racial equality and non-discrimination in the light of the international conventions signed and ratified by it. It said the move by the Union Home Ministry would be ‘incompatible’ with India's human rights obligations.thehindu
Bangladesh Junior Foreign Minister Cancels India Visit
New Delhi: Bangladesh’s junior foreign minister M. Shahriar Alam has reportedly cancelled his participation in next week’s Raisina Dialogue. This marks the third such cancellation of a ministerial visit within a month.Minister of state for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam was listed as a speaker at the Raisina Dialogue which begins next week. The Raisina Dialogue is an annual platform, backed by the Indian ministry of external affairs, for a 3-day discussion on global issues, attended by foreign ministers, diplomats and experts. Diplomatic sources confirmed that while his visit had been on schedule till a day earlier, but it has now been changed. According to Bangladeshi embassy officials, Alam would be travelling with Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina to Abu Dhabi. He would also attend a meeting of Bangladeshi heads of missions in the region.There has been no response from the Indian ministry of external affairs, so far.thewire
*OTHERS*
Law ministry did not consult any ministry, department on Triple Talaq Bill: report
New Delhi: Union Ministry of Law and Justice gave its approval to the Triple Talaq Bill last year without consulting concerned ministries, departments or any state government on it, documents obtained by The Wire in response to a RTI request have revealed. Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had claimed that the bill was introduced after interactions with several “victims”. Documents obtained show that the law ministry had neither consulted with nor discussed the bill with any concerned ministries, departments or state governments. It is significant to note that the ministry had argued that the concerned ministries were not consulted keeping in mind the urgent need to stop the unfair practice of triple talaq. A file note bearing Prasad’s signature reads, “A note for the Cabinet along with a Bill, namely, Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 was circulated to the concerned Ministries/Departments of Central Government and also sought the comments of the State Governments on the said Bill before the same was introduced in the 16th  Lok Sabha.”However, the note further adds, “In view of the urgency to prevent the unreasonable practice of triple talaq, the Inter-Ministerial consultations have been dispensed with.”This step by the law ministry contradicts the earlier legislative consultation policy issued by it in 2014, which states that any bill should first be sent to concerned ministry or department and their comments should be included in the cabinet note.In a meeting of the committee of secretaries (CoS) chaired by the cabinet secretary in 2014,  it was also decided that if any department or ministry thinks that pre-legislative consultation is not possible, they should give a reason for it.However, no such reason is mentioned in the confidential cabinet note on the Triple Talaq Bill obtained by The Wire. It reiterates that in view of the urgent need to stop the unfair practice of triple talaq, inter-ministerial consultations have been omitted.Former Lok Sabha secretary general P.D.T. Acharya called it an example of a practice which is against the rules.thewire
Presence of Govt Employee at Rally Does Not Entail Participation in Political Activity: Tripura HC
New Delhi: Tripura high court has said that the mere presence of a government employee at a political rally cannot be termed as participation in political activity in violation of service conduct rules.A petition had been filed by Lipika Paul, who was suspended five days before her retirement from state government’s fisheries department, in April 2018. The grounds for her suspension were “taking part in a political rally organised by a particular party at Agartala” on Dec31, 2017.The department had claimed that this was in violation of Rule 5 of Tripura Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1988.The petitioner, an upper-division clerk, had pointed out that even if allegations in the charge sheet were true, there could be no misconduct.thewire
Boeing Staff Called Indian Regulator DGCA 'Fools', ‘Stupid’, Reveal Documents
New Delhi: During the approval process for 737Max planes in India in 2017, Boeing executives used terms such as "fools" and "stupid" for the Indian aviation regulator DGCA, according to internal documents released by the company.In early 2019, regulators across the world banned flying 737Max planes after two fatal accidents involving the aircraft that killed 346 people. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) also ordered grounding of these planes in March last year.The latest batch of internal Boeing documents were provided to the US aviation regulator FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and US Congress last month and released on Thursday.In one of the conversations, a Boeing executive is recorded as stating, "DCGA in India is apparently even stupider, if that's a word. I am drinking obviously."In another conversation, a Boeing executive says the following about DGCA: "I just Jedi mind tricked this (these) fools."SpiceJet is the only Indian carrier having 737Max aircraft in its fleet. The budget airline grounded 13 such planes in March last year.news18
Chhattisgarh: Congress gets mayor post in all 10 municipal corporations
The ruling Congress on Friday captured the mayoral posts in all 10 municipal corporations in Chhattisgarh. Elections for 151 urban bodies, comprising 10 municipal corporations, 38 municipal councils and 103 nagar panchayats, were held on December 21, and the Congress had managed to win 1283 of 2834 wards. The BJP had won 1131 wards.Of the 10 municipal corporations, the Congress had got a majority in Jagdalpur, Chirmiri and Ambikapur.In seven others, namely Raipur, Bilaspur, Durg , Rajnandgaon, Raigarh, Dhamtari, Korba, the Congress managed to install its mayor after garnering support from Independents.PTI
Delhi HC orders removal of name of Abdul Wahid, wrongly mentioned in SIMI list
Delhi High Court on Friday ordered to expunge name of Abdul Wahid Deen Mohammad, 42, from an order imposing a ban on SIMI.Mohammad was the only one of the 13 accused to be acquitted in the 7/11 train blast case. To his shock, his name was in the order imposing ban on SIMI by a tribunal of Delhi High Court in July 2019 as a convict in 7/11 train blast case.In his petition, Shaikh, he then filed a writ petition in Delhi HC demanding his name to be expunged from the Gazette. Mohammad said that in the order, tribunal has wrongly recorded that he is one of the ten of twelve accused convicted of being SIMI members by a Special Judge in Mumbai.He further stated that "it is worth pointing out that the petitioner was the only accused in the case who was acquitted of all charges" and that no appeal was filed by the state against the acquittal.The tribunal order had been published by the Centre in a Gazette of India notification on August 27, 2019.Mentioning that the Delhi HC ruled in their favour, Mohammad's advocate Sridevi Panikkar said, "Union of India filed an affidavit accepting that Wahid has been acquitted and that it was wrongly mentioned that he has been convicted of being a member of SIMI. Court has ordered for Wahid's name to be expunged from the order and a corrigendum be published in the Gazette."indiatoday
IAF wing commander arrested for posing as Amit Shah
STF of Madhya Pradesh Police has arrested a serving Air Force Wing Commander for impersonating as Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the phone and asking Madhya Pradesh Governor Lalji Tandon to appoint a friend as vice-chancellor of a university, Additional DGP Ashok Awasthi said.Wing Commander Kuldeep Vaghela who is reported to have worked in Raj Bhawan earlier got his friend Chandresh Kumar Shukla, a known Dental Surgeon, to pose as Amit Shah's personal assistant and called the governor over phone.IANS
‘UP police abused & thrashed us’, alleges family of dead gangrape victim in Muzaffarnagar
New Delhi: The family of the victim in the Muzaffarnagar gangrape case has now accused Uttar Pradesh police of physical torture and abuse, three months after the 21-year-old allegedly committed suicide.The case surfaced in October last year, when woman killed herself and named four of her relatives for traumatising her sexually and mentally. No arrests have been made so far. This came four years after she was raped by three boys of her Badhiwala village in August 2015 — all out on bail.Now, the victim’s family has accused the UP police of beating them up inside the Chhapar police station, located 10 km from the village, Thursday.“In the police station they abused us like anything. They have been bribed by the accused family (his relatives). So while abusing us they said we allow our girls to get raped in lieu of money. They also used several cuss words that I can’t even mention to you,”victim’s father told ThePrint.The family showed pictures of the victim’s sister with swollen cheeks.The father said the police had called on his family on 28 December to visit the police station to make a statement.
MHA says 34 lakh Overseas Citizen of India cards issued, declines to detail cancellations
NEW DELHI:Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stated that more than 34 lakh Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) registrations had been done but declined to divulge information relating to the number of persons whose OCI cards had been cancelled, citing non availability in a “consolidated form.”Responding to a RTI application filed by The Hindu, the ministry said that the information sought remained outside the “mandate and scope of the RTI Act, 2005.”On November 7, in an unprecedented move, the ministry had announced on Twitter that it would revoke the OCI card to author and journalist Aatish Taseer over what it claimed was his attempt to “conceal information” that his father, Salman Taseer, was of Pakistani origin.thehindu
20 Feared Dead, Several Injured As Bus Catches Fire In Uttar Pradesh
Around 2O people were feared killed on Friday in a massive fire that broke out following a collision between a private sleeper bus and a truck near Chiloi village under Chhibramau police station area in Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj, police said.Around 20 people are feared to have died in the incident while 21 have been rushed to hospital, Kannauj Superintendent of Police Amrendra Prasad singh said.10 to 12 among the injured 21 jumped from the burning bus to save their lives, SP said, adding the exact number of casualties will be known only later.There were around 45 passengers in the bus which was on its way to Jaipur from Farrukhabad at the time of incident, police said.PTI
Veteran broadcaster, academic-poet Obaid Siddiqui passes away
New Delhi:Veteran broadcaster, poet and academician Obaid Siddiqui passed away in a Ghaziabad hospital due to health related problems.Siddiqui, 63, was quite unwell due to multiple ailments and was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kaushambi, Ghaziabad, for the past one week where he breathed his last on Thursday, said Qurban Ali, his former colleague.His burial will be held at Jamia Qabaristan after Friday prayers at 2 PM, Ali said. iddiqui is survived by a daughter and two brothers.Born in Meerut in 1957, Siddiqui received higher education AMU joined the All India Radio at Srinagar station in 1988, Ali said.PTI
Vadodara: 8 dead in blast at medical gas manufacturing plant, forensic team arrives
Vadodara :8 workers were killed Saturday and at least 8 others critically injured in a high-intensity explosion in Aims Oxygen Private Limited, a company bottling oxygen for hospital and industrial use, located in Padra in Vadodara District, about 30 kilometers from Vadodara city. FSL team has arrived at the spot to assist the investigation.According to the police, the incident occurred at around 11 am on Saturday with a loud explosion inside the oxygen gas plant of the company. As many as five workers were killed on the spot and three others succumbed to their injuries at a private hospital, where 10 other injured were rushed for treatment.indianexpress
Crimes against women: Uttar Pradesh again tops list, Madhya Pradesh reported most rapes in 2018
National Crime Records Bureau has revealed that Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – two of the major states in the Hindi heartland – fare the worst when it comes to security for women. The bureau said 3.78 lakh cases of crime against women were reported in 2018, with Uttar Pradesh registering 59,445 cases – the most. The state had topped the list in 2017 too. The maximum number of rapes – 5,450, or almost 15 a day – were reported in Madhya Pradesh.scroll
*WORLD*
Iran says it 'unintentionally' shot down Ukrainian plane
After initially denying reports suggesting it had caused the crash of a Ukrainian airliner, Iran has acknowledged that it "unintentionally" shot down the plane.The announcement on Saturday came a day after officials from the US, Canada and the United Kingdom said they believed the plane was accidentally brought down by an Iranian missile. The Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 bound for Kyiv crashed minutes after takeoff from the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.The crash happened hours after Iran launched missile attacks on US forces in Iraq in retaliation for US assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, issued an apology after denying reports that his country might have been behind the passenger jet's downing. "In my statement yesterday to the UK media, I conveyed the official findings of responsible authorities in my country that missile could not be fired and hit the Ukrainian plane at that period of time," Baeidinejad said in a tweet. "I appologise and regret for conveying such wrong findings."Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a senior commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said the Iranian missile operator who shot down the passenger jet opened fire independently because of communications "jamming". The operator had mistaken the Boeing 737 for a "cruise missile" and only had 10 seconds to decide whether or not to open fire, said Hajizadeh, the Guards' aerospace commander, in televised remarks.aljazeera
Ukraine wants punishment, compensation from Iran for downed plane
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that he expects a full investigation, a full admission of guilt and compensation from Iran after the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane."Iran has pleaded guilty to crashing the Ukrainian plane. But we insist on a full admission of guilt," Zelenskyy wrote on Facebook."We expect from Iran assurances of their readiness for a full and open investigation, bringing those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the dead, the payment of compensation, official apologies through diplomatic channels," he said."Our 45 experts must get full access and cooperation to establish justice," he added.aljazeera
Qassem Soleimani killing sparks concerns, deepens divide in Iraq
Baghdad:In the late hours of a crisp winter's night, Ahmed al-Rikabi and others are huddled under blankets in a tent in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.For these men, most of whom did not know each other before coming to the square but have now formed strong friendships, this tent has been home for almost three months. They are but few of thousands of young Iraqis who have taken to the streets in an effort to change Iraq's political system - a system which, since 2003, has been dominated and defined by foreign powers and corruption.Across the Tigris River, in the capital's Green Zone, momentum has been building for an effort by pro-Iranian politicians to expel United States forces from the country in the wake of last week's US assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad's airport.aljazeera
Oman's Sultan Qaboos dies, cousin Haitham bin Tariq sworn in as new sultan
Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman has died, according to an announcement by Omani state tv and the state news agency early on Saturday. A 3-day period of mourning has been declared in Oman and the country's flag will be flown at half-mast for 40 days. Qaboos's funeral procession began in the capital, Muscat, as thousands gathered in the streets leading up to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque where prayers were held before noon, ahead of his burial.  Later today, Oman has named Haitham bin Tariq Al Said as the country's new ruler following the death of his cousin Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, state television announced. The former culture minister was sworn in before the ruling family council on Saturday morning, just hours after the announcement of Sultan Qaboos' death. State TV said authorities had opened a letter by Sultan Qaboos naming his successor, without elaborating, before announcing Haitham bin Tariq as the new ruler."Haitham bin Tariq was sworn in as the new sultan of the country ... after a meeting of the family which decided to appoint the one who was chosen by the sultan," govt said in a Twitter post.In his first address to the nation, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq pledged to maintain the Gulf state's foreign policy, which he said was built on peaceful coexistence and maintaining friendly ties with all nations. Sultan Qaboos, one of the Middle East's longest-serving rulers who maintained the country's neutrality in the region, had been ill for some time and was believed to have been suffering from colon cancer. 79-year-old ruled Oman since overthrowing his father in a bloodless coup in 1970.He had no children and had not publicly appointed a successor to rule the nation's 4.5 million people.Oman observers had said the sultan's 3 cousins - including Haitham - stood the best chance.Haitham bin Tariq's appointment as sultan comes at a time when the Gulf Cooperation Council has become deeply divided following the Saudi Arabia-led blockade against Qatar.AL JAZEERA
Sultan Qaboos was a true friend to India:PM Modi mourns his death
New Delhi:Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday condoled the demise of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said. He said Qaboos’s strong leadership had built a vibrant strategic partnership between India and Oman and that he was a true “friend to India”.Taking to Twitter, Modi said, “Sultan Qaboos was a true friend of India and provided strong leadership for developing a vibrant strategic partnership between India and Oman. I will always cherish the warmth and affection I received from him. May his soul rest in peace.”indianexpress
Oman’s deceased Sultan Qaboos shared special bonds and connect with India
‘Pakistan lost a trusted friend’: PM Imran Khan condoles death of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos
Pakistan PM Imran Khan expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Oman on the demise of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.The prime minister took to his Twitter handle on Saturday and wrote that His Majesty was a visionary who transformed Oman into a vibrant and modern state.“Oman has lost a beloved leader and Pakistan a close, trusted friend. May his soul rest in eternal peace," he added.brecorder
Tel Aviv calls for Gulf States to unite with Israel against Iran
Former Israeli communication minister, Ayoob Kara, has called for Gulf States to form a security and economic “union” with Israel, to stand against Iran at all level, Shehab news agency reported.Kara, who is very close to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, posted on Twitter that the goal of this “union” is to be a “strong front in the face of Iranian evil.”The tweet came after the Iranian declaration that Iran would turn its hostile arms against Haifa and Dubai. In his tweet, Kara announces: “It is time that the States of the Arab Gulf come together with Israel in a security and economic union to stand against Iran’s threats in the Middle East.”
Tunisia parliament rejects gov't of PM-designate Habib Jemli
Tunisia's parliament has rejected a govt proposed by Prime Minister-designate Habib Jemli after months of negotiations between political parties to fill positions. During a heated day-long parliamentary session on Friday, only 72 of the 213 legislators present voted in favour of Jemli's cabinet.Jemli, an agricultural engineer by training, had in early January announced the formation of a cabinet made up of independent technocrats, a move that came a month after being nominated by the moderate Islamist Ennahdha party to head a new government.Ennahdha emerged as the most powerful party after winning the most seats in the country's October parliamentary election. But the self-described Muslim Democratic party's 52 of a total 217 seats available for grabs meant that it still needed to win the backing of other parties.Tunisian President Kais Saied, who was also elected in October, now has 10 days to designate a new prime minister. If Saied's appointee fails to form a government, parliament is dissolved and a new election will be called.aljazeera
Regime airstrikes kill 17 civilians in Syria’s Idlib
At least 17 civilians were killed in airstrikes Saturday by the Bashar al-Assad regime in northwestern Syria, said a local civil defense agency, Anadolu reports.Regime warplanes have targeted Idlib’s city center, Maarrat al-Numan and Saraqib districts and 11 villages in the morning hours, said the White Helmets.At least seven people were killed in the city center, six in the village of Binnish, four in the village of Al-Nerab, including two children while 50 others were injured.Following the airstrikes, civil defense teams launched search and rescue efforts.middleeastmonitor
*views, Articles, FEATURES*  
India’s moment of turbulent revolution is here, and it's going to be long and bloody, writes Justice Markandey Katju
Rough Edges: Police Double Standards, JNU and a Most Dubious Press Conference;Monobina Gupta
JNU mayhem was Modi show:Zafar Agha
Time to address Muslim anxieties | Vivek Katju, HT
Aided by a pliant police, BJP workers turned Sambhal’s CAA protests into communal stone pelting:KAUSHAL SHROFF, caravanmagazine
To subject the youth to violence adds to their sense of hopelessness about the future:Arvind Subramanian, indianexpress
SC order on J&K makes right noises but leaves matters of relief to future:Raman Jit Singh Chima,indianexpress
‘Main Cereal’ eaten among 31 questions to be asked in Census-2021:Rajnish Singh/IANS
The SC Must Go Further and Recognise Access to Internet as a Comprehensive Right:Sumeysh Srivastava
Salar Jung and Nizam of Hyderabad kept waiting for a gift for supporting British in 1857:BAKHTIAR K. DADABHOY
Human rights are not solely an ‘internal matter’:Ravindran Daniel
* Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 4:56 PM).*  

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