Monday, 17 February 2020

17 FEB. NEWS: Shaheen Bagh protest is genuine, but see if it can be shifted elsewhere, it can't go indefinitely: SC appoints interlocutor to talk to protesters;next hearing on Feb.24/NPR Update Exercise to Begin on April 1/ 'Deeply concerned': UN chief offers mediation on Kashmir dispute; India rejects/Nirbhaya rape case: All convicts to be executed on March 3 at 6 am /Moody's lowers India's GDP growth rate for 2020 to 5.4%


NEWS DIGEST, EVENING   
 17 Feb.  2020: 22 Jamadi-2, 1441: Vol: 12, No: 134
*anti-CAA,NRC-NPR stir*
Shaheen Bagh protest is genuine, but see if it can be shifted elsewhere, it can't go indefinitely: SC appoints interlocutor to talk to protesters; next hearing on Feb.24

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today upheld the fundamental right of mothers, children and ordinary people of Shaheen Bagh and Delhi to protest against CAA even as it expressed concern over their blocking public areas like roads to voice their discontent. “Democracy works on different views. We have no quibble on that. You want to protest, no problem. You don’t want to wait for our judgment on the validity of CAA but want to have a social build-up against the legislation, we have no problem...We do not mind if a 1000 sites are created, but our limited concern is whether you could protest without blocking roads and entering public areas...With every right, there comes a responsibility too,” Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul observed.“Right to protest is recognised all over the world. We have a fundamental right to assemble. The right is only subject to security and public order,” Justice Joseph, also on the Bench, addressed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi Police.Justice Joseph was responding to Mehta’s submissions that children and women are being used as a “shield” by the protesters. The court made it clear that it was not going to interfere or curtail the right to protest of ordinary people. It said it was only worried whether “tomorrow someone else may try to emulate the Shaheen Bagh protesters and block another portion of an already congested Delhi”.“You [Shaheen Bagh protesters] may have genuine concerns, but if everybody starts blocking roads and entering public areas... where will it end? It may create a chaotic situation,”Justice Kaul said.He also spoke of the possibility of another section of people “who may be not on the same page as you may get an idea to start a protest somewhere else...Then where do we end?”It appointed advocate Sanjay Hegde to act as an interlocutor along with advocate Sadhana Ramachandran to convey the court’s apprehension to protesters and suggest them to move to an area where they could continue with protest but not inconvenience public movement. The SC left it to Hegde to approach ex bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah to join them in talks with the protesters. Bhim Army chief Chandra Shekhar Aazad and Habibullah, first CIC, have already filed intervening applications in the SC. They have contended that alternative routes through Shaheen Bagh have been deliberately closed to disrupt traffic in order to put pressure on the protesters to stop.The court, however, asked Mehta to suggest alternative sites for the protesters. Mehta objected, saying that it was for the protesters to find an alternative spot.“But the right to protest in a democracy is a fundamental right...” Justice Joseph reiterated to Mehta.Referring to the appointment of an interlocutor and future talks with protesters. Mehta said these efforts from the court should not be seen by the protesters as “every institution kneeling” to them.“We have taken it upon ourselves to dissolve this issue now. Why did you not meet them for the past 68 days of their protest then” Justice Joseph asked Mehta.Mehta said efforts were made through local residents, religious leaders, etc, but to no avail.“I always believe that the inner strength of the people will see help them see reason. For now, we have expressed our opinion. If nothing works out, then we will leave it to the authorities...”, Justice Kaul said.The case was posted for further hearing on Feb.24. The Hindu/others
SC's mediators to talk to Shaheen Bagh protesters on shifting
Shaheen Bagh: Interlocutors accept role given by SC, express hope that matter is resolved
Following the Supreme Court appointing him as an interlocutor along with advocate Sadhana Ramachandran in Shaheen Bagh matter — to talk to the protestors and persuade them to move to an alternative site where no public place is blocked — senior advocate Sanjay Hegde has released a statement accepting the role.“My colleague Sadhana Ramachandran and I accept the responsibility. We will be meeting all parties with a view to assisting them to resolve their issues in a manner that respects and safeguards both the right to protest and the requirements of orderly civic life,” Hegde said.nationalheraldindia
Jamia CCTV footage: Initiate neutral, time bound probe, Twitterati suggests to Modi
The third video of Dec.15 from Jamia Millia Islamia emerged today. In the video, Delhi police and paramilitary forces can be seen attacking unarmed students of Jamia inside its library reading room.In a video, released by Maktoob media, many students can be seen entering the old reading room, dragging a table and whatever they can get their hands on to block the entrance for police.It also shows the paramilitary and police personnel barging into the library, removing the tables and then assaulting the students with lathis. Fearful students, including women, can be seen pleading with the police with folded hands as they attempt to escape from the library. The students can also be seen trying desperately to get out of the reading room as the police continue to brutally assault them. At the start of the video, one can see the police breaking the door open and barging in the reading room.Earlier on Sunday, Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) released a video showing police and paramilitary forces entering the university library and attacking the students, Responding to the video released by JCC, Delhi Police’s Crime Branch released a video in which students can be allegedly seen blocking the entrance to the library. Responding to the entire episode, netizens in India have strongly condemned the brutality of Delhi Police. Some of them also demanded an independent, time-bound inquiry into the matter while many took a dig at the police for their irresponsible and brutal act.nationalheraldindia
Jamia viral video: Student partially blinded in violence was in same room
“What more does the police need in terms of evidence? Everything is crystal clear,” said Mohammed Minhajauddin, who was blinded in one eye during the police crackdown at Jamia Millia Islamia on the night of Dec 15. “A few of my friends and I were there since around 2 pm We went downstairs for a while and then returned. We even have CCTV footage of this which we have submitted to the court,” he said.Narrating the sequence of events, Minhajauddin said that by evening, police had entered and spread across the campus, and everyone was in a state of panic. The Hindu
‘Cops Asked Me if I Want Azadi’: Student in Viral Jamia Video Recalls Dec 15 ‘Night of Horror’
New Delhi: It’s been over two months since clashes erupted between Delhi Police and the students of Jamia Millia Islamia over protests against contentious CAA. While students who suffered injuries then have now recovered, a video, purportedly from CCTV footage from inside the university's library, showing security personnel beating up students, has brought back memories of the gruesome day.Recalling December 15 night of “humiliation and horror”, Mohammad Mustafa, an MA student who suffered fractures in both his hands, says he feels vindicated. “The first video of Ibn Sina block that went viral shows that police entered the library. At that time I was studying. I went to the library in the morning and suddenly tear gas had filled the inside.”Mustafa said it was at 5:30 in the evening when the tear gas filled the library room and students started feeling suffocated. This was why some of them had covered their faces, as seen in the videos.“Some who were carrying handkerchiefs used them to fight the gas. The news of vandalism on the street had already spread and some students thought of closing the gate. We were locked inside. And then we saw 20 personnel entering the campus. There was no warning and a sudden crackdown. They asked me, ‘You want azadi?’ I said, ‘No I want a government job’. My head was injured,” said Mustafa who was in the library to prepare for his UPSC exam.News18
Had Kasab entered a library, he would be innocent: BJP’s Kapil Mishra equates Jamia violence to 26/11 attack
Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra has equated December 15 violence at Jamia University to 26/11 Mumbai attack and said had Kasab hid in a library, he would be called innocent.In a tweet, Mishra has said, "Had Kasab ran inside a library along with his gun on that day, today he would be called innocent".This comes after the Jamia Millia Islamia released CCTV footage showing how police personnel armed with batons and dressed in riot gear entered Jamia library and started thrashing students who were studying.India Today
'Congress supports antisocial elements ': BJP on Jamia video
BJP has accused the Congress of "giving political colour" to the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15 last year, alleging that its leaders always speak against security forces and supported "antisocial elements"."Congress party continuously supporting antisocial elements and those who indulge in violence. It raises voice against the security forces and police personnel of the country," BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said at a press conference.outlookindia
Jamia protests: Delhi HC notice to Centre on plea seeking Rs 2 crore compensation for injured student
Delhi High Court Monday issued notices to the Centre and Delhi Police on a petition filed by a student injured during December 15 protests at Jamia Millia Islamia. Shayyan Mujeeb who suffered injuries on both his legs due to the alleged police brutality inside the library, has sought a compensation of Rs 2 crore. Mujeeb had reportedly spent Rs 2 lakh on his treatment.On Sunday, the students’ organisation in Jamia released a video that showed uniformed personnel in riot gear indiscriminately beating students with batons and lathis inside the university’s library. indianexpress
Sharjeel Imam sent to 1 day police custody, Delhi Police seeks custodial interrogation
A Delhi court today sent JNU student Sharjeel Imam, arrested on sedition charges, to one-day custody of Delhi Police in a case related to violent protests against CAA at New Friend's colony on Dec.15. This is different from the sedition case against Imam.Police also sought custodial interrogation of Sharjeel after another accused in anti-CAA protests case alleged he was provoked by his speeches.CMM Gurmohina Kaur sent Imam to the custody after the police said that another accused in the case disclosed that he was allegedly provoked by Sharjeel's speeches.PTI
NPR Update Exercise to Begin on April 1, President to be Registered First
Central govt’s exercise to update National Population Register – which has become controversial because of its links to a nationwide NPR– officially begins on April 1. New Delhi Municipal Corporation area will be the first to conduct the update, and the first person to be registered will be President Ram Nath Kovind.According to TOI, PM Narendra Modi and Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu are also likely to be added to the list on the same day. The office of RGI has reportedly written to all 3 leaders, asking for a convenient time to visit for the NPR update.According to TOI, officials want to make a public show of adding the senior leaders to NPR to send out a “positive and reassuring message”.thewire
Voter ID Is Not Conclusive Proof of Citizenship: Gauhati HC Reaffirms Previous Order
 Gauhati high court has reaffirmed that a voter photo identity card can’t be conclusive proof of a person’s citizenship. The court’s observation was in the context of assessing who is a foreigner as per the terms of the Assam Accord.The court also held that land revenue receipts, a PAN card and bank documents cannot be used to prove citizenship.Hearing a writ petition by Munindra Biswas, which challenged the verdict of a foreigners’ tribunal in Tinsukia district of upper Assam, the division bench of Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia reiterated an earlier judgement of the court. In Md. Babul Islam versus State of Assam (No. 3547), the court had ruled that “electoral photo identity card is not a proof of citizenship”.thewire
MHA-appointed committee on Assam recommends 1951 as cut-off year to define indigenous people, ILP
New Delhi:A Home Ministry-appointed committee has suggested that 1951 should be the cut-off year for defining indigenous people of Assam and introduction of Inner Line Permit (ILP) to control movement of people from outside the state, sources said on Monday.The committee has also suggested two formulas for the reservation of seats for the indigenous people in Assam Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies of the state, including 67 per cent quota for them.The high-level committee was set up by the ministry to suggest ways to provide constitutional safeguards to Assam''s indigenous people.The sources said 13-member panel, headed by Justice (Retd) Biplab Kumar Sharma, finalised its report last week, conveyed to home ministry that it was ready to submit it to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and sought an appointment with him.The report is expected to be submitted this week itself.The committee, according to the sources, unanimously recommended that those who were residents of Assam in 1951 and their descendants, irrespective of community, caste, language, religion or heritage, will be considered as indigenous people of the state.Besides, the panel suggested that ILP should be introduced in Assam so that movement of people from outside the state could be controlled.ILP has been in operation in Arunachal, Nagaland and Mizoram for long and it was introduced in Manipur in Dec.2019 following an uproar over CAA.PTI
Report done, committee on clause 6 of Assam Accord waits to see how it will be received:
Guwahati: A prominent member of high-powered committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord has said that now that the report is complete, those involved are waiting to see when it will be made available in the public domain. On Thursday, it was reported that the high-powered committee had told the Union Ministry of Home Affairs that the report has been finalised. The onus is therefore now on home minister Amit Shah.Clause 6 is of Accord says: “Constitutional, Legislative & Administrative safeguards as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”The member said the committee spoke to over 1,500 representatives from all quarters, and report has a plethora of information on how constitutional safeguards on Assamese identity can be put in place. The member also said while as of now it cannot  be said whether the report has been leaked, there are “people who may leak” it. thewire
‘We must fight the idea that anti-CAA agitators are all Muslims’: Tushar Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi's great grandson Tushar Gandhi has  said that NPR and NRC were a real danger and would lead to the poor bearing the brunt.Participating in an event organised by People's Platform Against Fascism in Chennai where Muslim groups have been agitating since Saturday night, he also said that those protesting against the controversial CAA and NPR and NRC had been painted as Muslims and people must be worried about the amount of ‘hatred that has been inculcated in the society.’ He alleged that the CAA was the first official act of the government which was discriminatory and went against the spirit of the Constitution and that NRC and NPR were the real dangers.“The rich will not be affected. the poor in our cities and the poor in the villages are the ones who are going to face the brunt of the promulgation of those two procedures which the government is so keen to implement,” he said.thenewsminute
Upper caste Hindus need Shaheen Bagh in their gated colonies to counter Modi:Harvard conference
Cambridge: The fight to save Indian democracy against the onslaughts of the Nazi-inspired groups like RSS and BJP, can be won only when not only Muslims but even the upper caste and upper class lead a protest in gated communities of India, said poet and screenwriter Hussain Haidry. He was speaking on “Being Muslim in contemporary India” at Harvard India conference on Saturday. Other members of the panel were Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Raqib Hameed Naik, and Aman Wadud. “I have sharp criticism on this and I might get lots of criticism for saying this but there have to be protests in gated communities, in upper-caste and upper-class colonies of India. It is Ashish Nagars that have to have the protests. Rahul Sharma will have to protest because the upper caste and upper class have most amount of power,” he said provoking applause from audience for his straightforwardness.  But he didn’t make the point without thanking the “allies.”“I am very glad that a lot of upper caste and upper-class people are our allies and we are extremely grateful for that but there has to be more because if the regime has to be countered, the counter movement has to be supported a lot more by the majority community as well,” added Haidry who wrote lyrics for Bollywood films like Gurgaon, Qarib Qarib Single, and Mukkabaaz. Haidry shot to fame when his poem “Hindustani Musalmaan” went viral on social media. Later he left his job as head of finance with a health care firm in Kolkata and moved to Bombay to become a full-time writer.twocircles
Telangana to pass anti-CAA resolution in Assembly, urges Centre to repeal CAA
Telangana government has decided to pass a resolution in the State assembly against CAA, joining the ranks of anti-CAA states. Telangana government took the decision in a Cabinet meeting chaired by CM K Chandrasekhar Rao, while urging the Centre to repeal last year’s changes in the Citizenship Act. It also appealed to the Centre “not to discriminate” on the basis of religion in granting citizenship to anyone.“State Cabinet appealed to Union Government, not to discriminate on the basis of religion for according Indian citizenship. It requested that all religions must be treated as equal before the law,” an official release on decisions taken in the Cabinet meeting said on late Sunday night. “The Cabinet further requested Central government to take measures to abrogate CAA which will lead to discrimination on the basis of religion while granting citizenship and thereby jeopardising secularism envisaged in the Constitution,” the release said.PTI
Maulana Tauqeer Raza  booked for objectionable statement against PM Modi, Amit Shah
Lucknow: A Muslim cleric has been booked by Sambhal police for making objectionable comments against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah while addressing women protesting against CAA. According to the information given by local police, the controversial remarks against the top BJP leaders were made by cleric Maulana Tauqeer Raza on Sunday night.He reportedly called PM Modi and Amit Shah 'terrorists' and said that if the Muslims follow Nathuram Godse's path then there will be a completely different scenario in the country. Raza also targeted UP CM Yogi Adityanath and called him an imposter.indiatoday
Anti-CAA protest in Pilibhit: Congress leader among 33 booked for attack on policeman, he rejects allegations
Lucknow:Police have booked 33 identified people, including Pilibhit district Congress head Harpreet Singh Chaba, and 90 unidentified people for allegedly assaulting a constable and holding him captive during a protest last Thursday against CAA and NRC at Sher Mohammad locality.5 of the named protesters, excluding Chaba, were arrested on Saturday and raids were being conducted to arrest others, said Circle Officer  Pankaj Malik. Dismissing the allegation, Chaba said police had cooked up the assault story to intimidate protesters. Chaba claimed the protest ended peacefully and he was not allowed to enter site by police.indianexpress
Magsaysay awardee Pandey held by police while distributing pamphlets against CAA
Lucknow:Magsaysay awardee Sandeep Pandey was today “arrested” by UP police while distributing pamphlets against CAA and the proposed nationwide NRC, his wife said.While sources said he was being booked under Section 151 of CrPC, police were yet to officially state if he had been detained or arrested and for what offence.“Pandey arrested. Taken to Thakurganj thana,” his wife Arundhati Dhuru, an activist, said in a message. Pandey’s friends shared videos showing the social activist being driven away in a police jeep.Pandey was allegedly picked up from near Hussainabad Clocktower, where several hundred women have been staging a sit-in against CAA since last month. thehindu
Rajasthan HC Grants Interim Protection To CAA Protesters From Arrests In FIR Alleging Violence
In an interim relief to CAA protesters from threat of police action in FIR registered over alleged violence, the Rajasthan High Court directed the Udaipur Police authorities to not take any "coercive action" against them.While protection the protesters from arrest, the Court has directed them to cooperate with investigation. Alleging that the peaceful march against the CAA held on Janaury 29 took a violent turn, the state authorities registered FIRs against dozens of named and unnamed persons at Bhupalpura police station, under various provisions of IPC. While hearing petitions filed by activist PR Salvi, also a leading participant during the protests, and 20 other persons named in FIR, Justice Manoj Kumar Garg asked the state to file its reply in the matter within 4 weeks.The court has also called for the case diary along with status report from the investigation Officer.livelaw
Citizenship Act: Shouldn’t have given any value to Amit Shah’s words, says Kannan Gopinathan
Former IAS Officer Kannan Gopinathan has slammed Home Minister Amit Shah for not responding to his request to discuss CAA, NRC and NPR. Home Minister had promised on a national channel that anybody who wants to discuss these laws with him can take an appointment and within three days his office will grant the appointment. After Amit Shah’s offer ex IAS officer sent an email to Home Ministry requesting an appointment with Home Minister for discussion on the CAA, NRC and NPR. But 3 days have passed and he hasn’t received any response from the ministry.
nationalheraldindia
Karnataka: 3 Kashmiri students arrested for raising ‘pro-Pakistan slogans’ sent to judicial custody
Bengaluru:2 days after 3 Kashmiri students were charged with sedition for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans in Karnataka, the students on Monday were sent to judicial custody till March 2.A J&K Students Association spokesperson on Monday claimed that the students were roughed up by a group of right-wing activists inside court premises while they were being taken to a police van parked outside.“This led to a tense situation outside the court for some time,” he added.The association also claimed that Hubbali Advocates Association has passed a resolution asking its members to not provide legal aid to those arrested.“After the Hubballi advocates association refrained from providing legal aid to the arrested Kashmiri students, based on a resolution they passed today, we have reached out to many other advocates. 2 of them have agreed to fight the case for the students,” J&K Students Association spokesperson Nasir Khuehami said. indianexpress
Bilal Bagh: Bengaluru’s own Shaheen Bagh is up and running
Bengaluru:Taking a leaf out of Shaheen Bagh stir, hundreds of Bengaluru women have gathered at Tannery road, located on the side of Masjid-E-Hazrath Bilal in Pillai garden area, to protest against the contentious CAA.The protest, which has received celebrated visitors like actor Naseeruddin Shah, historian Ramachandra Guha, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and others on Sunday entered its ninth day.Here too, like Shaheen Bagh, women take shifts to be at the protest site, manage household chores while their male counterparts also do the same and are around the area ensuring no untoward incident takes place.indianexpress
Shaheen Bagh-style anti-CAA protest enters day 3 in Chennai
Drawing inspiration from the Shaheen Bagh protests in Delhi, thousands of protesters in Chennai, mainly women, continued their agitation for the third day on Sunday, raising slogans against CAA and NRC. The protesters were firm in their demand that Tamil Nadu government should pass an Assembly resolution stating that NPR will not be implemented in the State.thehindu
At Malerkotla, Punjab sees its biggest anti-CAA rally so far
Ludhiana: 14 different organisations came together Sunday to organise biggest anti-CAA protest in Punjab so far. Thousands of women, many of them in burqas, walked the streets of Malerkotla towards the grain market as part of the protest.On Sunday, several vehicles entered the small town’s grain market as people came from across the state. Many arrived by train too and were seen walking to the grain market from the railway station raising slogans. Others walked to same destination from the bus stand carrying banners, union flags and raising ‘azadi’ slogans.Before speeches began at the grain market, plays were organised for the audience. Bharti Kisan Union (Ugrahan) was main union behind this rally, while delegations from Shaheen Bagh, Jamia Milia, and others also participated.indianexpress
Anti-CAA agitation: CPM once again extends a hand to the Muslim League
Thiruvananthapuram: It looks like CPM is determined to drive a wedge between Congress and Muslim League on the issue of a joint struggle against CAA. After some vacillation, the League had unequivocally stated it was not for a joint agitation with CPM. CPM is not ready to leave it at that. The party's State Committee, which had met during the last 2 days, has decided to exhort cadres to constantly be in touch with “non-Left leaning” individuals who were part of CPM's 'human chain' on January 26 and make them participate in the various anti-CAA protests to be held across the State on March 23 to mark Bhagat Singh's martyrdom. “We want the March 23 protests to take forward the unity that we could forge on January 26,” CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters after the State Committee meeting here on Sunday.manoramaonline
Nagpur: Anti-CAA meet sees calls to co-opt Dalits, other minorities
Nagpur: Calls were made to persuade Dalits and other minorities to join the anti CAA-NRC agitation, at a protest on Sunday. The main speakers were former Maharashtra cadre IPS officer Abdul Rehman, who has quit his job over CAA-NRC issue, and justice BG Kolse Patil, an ex-judge who is among the leaders of Elgar Parishad. Addressing a crowd of over 3,000 at the Idgah Grounds in Jaffar Nagar locality on Sunday, a message was put across that awareness must be created that Muslims alone will not be affected by the law. Even Dalits and tribals will be victims of the NRC, said the speakers.Patil asked the audience — mainly Muslims — to reach out to Dalits in each village, and tell them even they will be at the receiving end due to NRC.He asked the audience to reach out to Dalits, Sikhs, Christians and other minorities to spread the message against CAA-NRC.Patil came down on RSS, saying that the organization has been spreading hatred in the country. He claimed to have records in which Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Colonel Shrikanth Purohit have said their activities were carried out at the behest of RSS.TOI
*J&K AND S. ASIA*
'Deeply concerned': UN chief offers mediation on Kashmir dispute; India rejects
India has rejected an offer of mediation from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on J&K, saying the focus instead should be on making Pakistan vacate the territories that it has "illegally and forcibly occupied". India's response came after Guterres's comment, saying he was "deeply concerned" over the situation in J&K, PTI reported.UN chief, who is on a visit to Pakistan, said he was ready to help if both countries agreed for mediation."India's position has not changed. J&K has been, is, and will continue to be an integral part of India. The issue that needs to be addressed is that of vacation of the territories illegally and forcibly occupied by Pakistan," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said."Further issues, if any, would be discussed bilaterally. There is no role or scope for 3rd-party mediation," he added.Kumar said India hoped that UN secretary general would stress on the imperative for Pakistan to put an end to cross-border terrorism against India, which threatens the most fundamental human right - the right to life of the people of India, including in J&K.Guterres said it was important for India and Pakistan to de-escalate "militarily and verbally" and exercise "maximum restraint" as he began his 4-day visit to Pakistan on Sunday. Addressing a press conference after his meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, UN secretary general said he was "deeply concerned" over the situation in J&K and tensions along the Line of Control."I offered my good offices from the beginning. I am ready to help if both countries agree for mediation," he said, echoing an offer also made by US President Donald Trump which too India has firmly rejected. ndtv
India issues demarche to Turkey, says Erdogan’s remarks on Kashmir ‘distort events of past’
India Monday issued a strong demarche to Turkey on the remarks made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Jammu and Kashmir during his Pakistan visit. MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Erdogan’s remarks reflect neither an understanding of history nor of the conduct of diplomacy. He also added that the remarks distort events of the past to advance a narrow minded view of the present. The demarche was sent by Secretary (West) in MEA to Ambassador of Turkey in New Delhi today.Adding that India finds Erdogan’s remarks “completely unacceptable,” Raveesh Kumar  said the episode is “but one more example of a pattern of Turkey interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. We particularly reject the repeated attempts by Turkey to justify the cross border terrorism practiced so blatantly by Pakistan.”indianexpress
Turkey making repeated bids to justify Pakistan’s cross-border terror: India
'...Human rights for all':British MP Debbie Abrahams, critical of Centre's J&K move, denied entry in india
A British Parliamentarian, who has been critical of Centre's decision to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir's special status, on Monday claimed that she had been denied entry to India despite having a valid visa, a charge the government outrightly rejected.Debbie Abrahams, a Labour Party member and chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Kashmir, the purpose of which is to "highlight the abuses of human rights in J&K and to seek justice for the people," said that she arrived in Delhi on Monday morning and was informed that her e-visa, which was valid till October, had been cancelled. A Home Ministry spokesperson said the British MP had been duly informed that her visa was cancelled and she arrived in Delhi despite knowing this fact.Later, Debbie took to Twitter and said that she was planning to visit Indian family in "Dehli accompanied by my Indian aide"."I became a politician to promote social justice & human rights FOR ALL. I will continue to challenge my own Government & others while injustice & abuse is unchecked," she further wrote.outlookindia
Kashmir Press Club expresses concern over alleged harassment of scribes in valley
Srinagar:Kashmir Press Club today expressed concern over the alleged harassment of journalists in the valley and demanded that the government allow the media to function freely as guaranteed by the Constitution. "Kashmir Press Club demands Home Minister Amit Shah as well as J&K government to take note of the appalling conditions in which press in Kashmir is working since August 5," a spokesperson of the club said. "As such, it is once again urged that the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression and speech is being respected in the region by allowing press and journalists to function freely," he said.He said KPC took serious note of the continuous harassment of journalists in the valley, including an incident that allegedly occurred recently in Pulwama district."On Sunday night, a journalist Kamran Yousuf, working with ''Newsclick'', was picked up from his home by the police. Recalling the details, Kamran said that a police party led by DySP and SHO Pulwama entered his home around 11 pm and knocked on the door,"the spokesman said.PTI
People With Disabilities Are Being Detained Under PSA in Kashmir:thewire
Srinagar: Shabir Wani (34) climbs a flight of stairs running all the way up to a small room on the second floor of a run-down building where he works as a tailor. He hails from Awantipora, a pastoral village in South Kashmir. He flounders as he takes one step after another and nearly stumbles, grabbing the iron railing with his hands and steadying himself. “This is a routine occurrence,” he smiles sheepishly.Wani suffers from a severe form of osteomyelitis, a bone infection, which has worn a deep crater into his skin on his right leg and is the reason he walks with limp. Yet strangely, he found himself detained in August last year and slapped with charges under the PSA.Authorities have accused Wani of leading a mob armed with stones and wooden stalks last year, after the government revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. “Do you think I could have done that?” he asks.thewire
India looking to set up separate theatre command for J&K: CDS Gen Rawat
India is looking at setting up a separate theatre command for Jammu and Kashmir, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said today.The air defence command is to be rolled out by the beginning of next year and Peninsula command by the end of 2021, Gen Rawat told a select group of journalists. Indian Air Force will helm the air defence command and all-long range missiles as well as air defence assets will come under it, he said.“India is looking at setting up a separate theatre command for J&K,” Gen Rawat said.PTI
Ex-DIG Kultar Singh, 5 others held guilty in 2004 Amritsar mass suicide case
Amritsar: Former DIG Kultar Singh, along with five others, including a DSP-rank officer, was held guilty by a local court in a mass suicide case dating back to 2004. Five members of a family had committed suicide by consuming poison at Choke Moni in the walled city. Kultar Singh was SSP Amritsar at the time when the family had ended their lives. The family had accused SSP of extortion and criminal intimidation that made them take the extreme step. The quantum of sentence will be announced on February 19. Hardip Singh, his wife, mother, and the couple's two children killed themselves on October 31, 2004.Tribune News
Elected panchayat officials unable to move out of hotels as Kashmir goes for another round of polling
Abdul Rahim has not spent a single night at home for over a year ever since he defied threats from militants and contested in the Panchayat polls held in November-December 2018. Despite the government’s assurances, the polling was nominal, and Rahim and others were declared winners in what is believed to have been a sham.But neither he nor other elected office bearers in panchayats have been able to visit their constituencies for any length of time. Most of them are holed up in Srinagar hotels and villagers travel to Srinagar to seek redressal.“I rarely visit my constituency during the day and have not spent a single night there for over a year. People of my constituency visit me in the hotel. We are not able to review any development work being executed.” Says Rahim, who is staying in a hotel in Srinagar’s Rajabgh area.Hundreds of Panches and Sarpanches like Rahim have been put up in Srinagar hotels by the government.nationalheraldindia
'This is Pakistan, Not India', Says Islamabad HC Chief Justice, Opposing Curbs on Free Speech
Athar Minallah, the chief justice of the Islamabad high court, hearing a case related to charges of sedition and abetting terrorism on Monday, spoke about India, insinuating that the country had violated the constitutional rights of protesters in spite of being a democracy.“Everyone’s constitutional rights will be protected. This is Pakistan, not India,” Justice Minallah reportedly said in court. He was hearing the bail petitions of 23 workers of the Awami Workers Party (AWP) and Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), who were arrested by the Islamabad Police on January 28 for protesting the arrest of PTM chief and well known human rights activist Manzoor Pashteen.thewire
*OTHERS*
Nirbhaya rape case: All convicts to be executed on March 3 at 6 am
A Delhi court on Monday issued fresh death warrants for all four convicts in December 16, 2012 gang rape and murder case for March 3 at 6 am.The order was passed by Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana pursuant to pleas by Tihar Jail and victim’s parents, seeking issuance of a fresh date to hang the death row convicts.This is the third time that the trial court has issued death warrants against the convicts — Mukesh Kumar Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Kumar Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar (31).The Court also discharged advocate Vrinda Grover as counsel for convict Mukesh and instead appointed legal aid counsel advocate Ravi Qazi to represent him. Qazi, who is already representing convict Pawan, said that Pawan wanted to move curative and mercy petitions.thehindu
Sabarimala case: SC begins day-to-day hearing
A 9-judge bench of the Supreme Court Monday began day-to-day hearings on cases of discrimination against women at various religious places, including the Sabarimala temple in Kerala.The bench comprising CJI S A Bobde and Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, MM Shantanagoudar, S  Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant, have framed seven questions that will be taken up by the court. 9-judge Bench, which a week ago clarified it won’t be deciding the review petition but only lay down the general law to be followed, will examine the “scope and ambit of right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution” and the “inter-play between the rights of persons under Article 25…and rights of religious denomination under Article 26”.indianexpress
Army: SC gives nod to permanent commission to women officers, suggests govt to change its mindset
Now, Indian Army women officers will also have their commission, says Supreme Court today. The apex court also asked the government to change its mindset.In the verdict, SC has directed the government to implement the court’s order within a period of 3 months after disposing of the petitions.The SC has rejected Centre’s appeal against the Delhi High Court direction for granting permanent commission to women officers in the Indian Army and also asked the government to change its mindset and give command positions to women officers. While rejecting Centre’s opposition on permanent commission for women officers in the Indian army, the Supreme Court said this perpetuates ‘gender stereotypes’.SC judge Justice DY Chandrachud also said while reading the order, “soldiers must have the physical capability to do one's role. Women in the Army is an evolutionary process.”catchnews
Moody's lowers India's GDP growth rate for 2020 to 5.4%, says economic revival likely to be shallow
Global credit rating agency Moody's Investor Services on Monday said the Indian economic revival will likely to be shallow.In its report, 'Coronavirus clouds growth outlook just as the economy showed signs of stabilization', Moody's said the economic revival of India is likely to be shallow."India's economy has decelerated rapidly over the last two years. Real GDP (gross domestic product) grew at a meagre 4.5 per cent in Q3 2019," Moody's said. Improvements in the latest high frequency indicators such as PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) data suggest that the economy may have stabilized, Moody's said.While Indian economy may begin to recover in the current quarter, it will be slower than previously expected, Moody's said."Accordingly, we have revised our growth forecasts to 5.4 per cent for 2020 and 5.8 per cent for 2021, down from our previous projections of 6.6 per cent and 6.7 per cent, respectively," Moody's said.IANS
India’s curbs on Malaysian palm imports stir up edible oil trade
India’s halt on Malaysian palm oil imports has disrupted global edible oil trade flows, with Indonesia diverting supplies to feed India, Malaysia rushing to tap markets left behind by Jakarta, and India substituting palm with other oils.India, the top global palm oil buyer, imposed restrictions on imports of refined palm oil last month, a move sources said was retaliation against Malaysia’s criticism of New Delhi’s actions in Kashmir and a new citizenship law. Traders had also held off buying crude palm oil from Malaysia.Malaysia’s latest palm export data revealed the impact of India’s restrictions, with shipments to India in January falling 85% from a year earlier to 46,876 tonnes, the lowest since 2011.To compensate, Malaysia dialed up shipments to other destinations, with exports to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Ghana – markets that have traditionally bought heavily from Indonesia – all increasing in January by more than 100% from the same month in 2019.“A rebalancing is happening in the palm oil market,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm.“European and price-sensitive Asian buyers are switching to Malaysia from Indonesia due to lower prices.”Indonesian prices have climbed to a rare premium to Malaysian levels this year, on expectations of higher Indian purchases.indianexpress
Gujarat wall for Trump visit: ‘Garibi Chhupao’ campaigns have happened in the state earlier too
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), which is busy in preparation for the US President Donald Trump’s visit, has reportedly decided to reduce its height to four feet, a report in Indian Express cited.According to the earlier report, the wall was marked to be 7 feet high.This half a Kilometre wall is reportedly being built to conceal the Saraniyavas or Dev Saran slum in Ahmedabad. The slum is located between SVP International Airport and Indira bridge, route which will be taken by Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump during their visiting on February 24.A fence will run parallel to the wall, the columns of which stand higher than the wall as per the earlier design.After the wall is complete, AMC plans to plant trees including bamboo and evergreen trees so that the slum in completely hidden.The opposition is critising the construction alleging that the wall is under construction so that US President cannot see the slums.They also said that if Gujarat government does not want Donald Trump to see the slums, it should make them ‘pakka’.Similar incidents of ‘Garibi Chupao’ have taken place in Gujarat earlier too. nationalheraldindia
Garibi chupao: Trump's India visit preparation shows slave mentality, says Shiv Sena
Shiv Sena today said the ongoing preparation for the much awaited visit of US President Donald Trump is a reflection of the "slave mentality" of Indians.Trump's India trip is like the visit of a "Badshah" (emperor), an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' said.Taking a dig at the construction of a wall on a plot having several slum structures in Ahmedabad ahead of Trump's visit there, Sena said US president's trip would neither stop the fall of rupee's value in forex market nor offer betterment to those (slum dwellers) behind the wall."Before Independence, British King or Queen used to visit one of their slave nations like India. The kind of preparations going on from taxpayers' money for the arrival of Trump is similar to it. This reflects the slave mentality of Indians," it said.PTI
Gujarat: Wedding procession of Dalit Armyman targeted because he rode mare, 11 booked
Ahmedabad:Despite police protection, wedding procession of a Dalit Army jawan in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district was on Sunday pelted with stones by a group of people, allegedly from another community because the groom rode a mare.According to police, incident took place around at Sharifda village when Akash Kumar Koitiya (22), a jawan with military police wing of the Army, started on his wedding procession. A Dalit, Koitiya had recently finished his training in Bengaluru and was about to join his posting at Meerut. He was on leave for his wedding.“Earlier, we received threats from a few people from Thakor Koli community that they would not allow the procession to pass through the village if the groom rode a mare. We gave a written request for police security after which 6-7 police personnel were deployed to accompany the wedding procession.However, after procession started moving, a group of people started throwing stones. The groom narrowly escaped an injury and was taken to the police control room van. However, 3 of our relatives, including 2 women, were injured in the stone-pelting,” said Vijay Koitiya, elder brother of Akash. Vijay, too, is with the Army and is posted in J&K.indianexpress
14 forest officials booked for ‘shooting dead’ Dalit man in MP
Bhopal: Shivpuri Police have registered a case against 14 forest officials for allegedly shooting dead a Dalit man in the district on Sunday.Forest Department claims that when a patrolling team reached a forest post at Fatehpur village near Karera, 50 km from Shivpuri, to remove an encroachment by the victim, Madan Valmiki, villagers pelted stones on them, prompting the firing of pellets. The victim’s family alleges the officials fired at them during a scuffle that broke out over drawing water from a hand pump in the village.“An FIR has been registered against ten identified persons and others who are unnamed,” said R.S. Chandel, Shivpuri SP.  No arrests have been made so far. The victim’s father, Mahotam Valmiki, a permanent employee at Madhav National Park in Shivpuri, had not received his salary for 5-6 months owing to absence from duty, though on medical grounds. This had led to a dispute with foresters, said Chandel.Valmiki family, he added, had informed the police that foresters manhandled villagers drawing water from a hand pump, causing a scuffle during which the officials had fired.“The victim suffered over 50 pellet wounds. A post mortem has been conducted on the body and we will get the report soon,” he said. thehindu
UP: In Village Near Kanpur, Thakur Mob Attacks and Injures Dalits
Kanpur Dehat: Kusuma Devi, a middle-aged housewife from Mangta village in Kanpur was in the kitchen with her 16-year-old daughter when she heard loud noises outside in on Feb.13. She immediately said to her daughter, “Ye Thakur log hain, chal chup jaa (Those are Thakurs, go and hide).” Kusuma belongs to the Dalit community in the village. Before they could do anything, a group of men ruthlessly entered the house and started beating them up.As of Sunday, Kusuma Devi is one of 18 people from her community who have been admitted to Ursula Hospital in Kanpur town, after they were allegedly attacked by members of Thakur community. Most of the victims of the attack are women.Kusuma Devi has severe head injuries. “Mujhey sar me nau taanke aaye hain aur baayan haath bhi tut gaya hai. Unn logon ne ghar me ghus ke laathi aur kulhadi se mujhey aur meri beti dono ko bahut maara,” she says. “I have got 9 stitches on my head and my left hand is also broken. They broke into the house and beat me and my daughter with lathis and kulhaadis (hammer).” She added, “While we were being beaten up, the police were just making videos.”thewire
Elgaar Parishad case: Role of cops needs to be probed by retired HC judge, says Sharad Pawar
Mumbai :NCP head Sharad Pawar has said that the conduct of Maharashtra’s police officers, who made the arrests in the Elgar Parishad case, should be probed by a committee headed by a retired high court judge.“There needs to be an investigation by a retired high court judge into the conduct of police officers who have arrested people in this case. There needs to be an in-depth investigation,” Pawar said in Jalgaon.Pawar’s statement came a day after Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said he has sought legal opinion from Advocate General of Maharashtra on the formation of a SIT to inquire into Elgar Parishad case even as the Home department has given consent for the transfer of the investigation into the case to NIA.indianexpress
IRCTC defends move to reserve seat for 'Lord Shiva' on inaugural run of Kashi Mahakal Express, says it was 'one-time affair' to seek blessings
IRCTC has said a seat was reserved for Lord Shiva in the Kashi Mahakal Express during its inaugural run as a "one-time affair" to seek "blessings" for the success of the new project, as some questioned the move.The train staff had "temporarily put the photos of Shri Mahakaal" on an upper berth during the inaugural run on Sunday to perform pooja, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) said.AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi questioned the move and tweeted a photo of the Preamble of the Constitution, tagging PMO.PTI
Sonam Kapoor slams Mohan Bhagwat for comments on divorce: Regressive foolish statements
Actress Sonam Kapoor slammed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in a tweet on Monday after she found his comments on divorce "regressive". While addressing RSS workers in Ahmedabad on February 16, Bhagwat said that divorce cases are more prevalent in "educated and affluent" families at the moment as education and affluence bring arrogance along, which result in families falling apart.Bhagwat's comments enraged Sonam as she lashed out at RSS chief in her tweet and also shared a news clipping of his remarks. "Which sane man speaks like this? Regressive foolish statements," she said in her post.The event at which Bhagwat spoke about divorce was not just attended by RSS workers but their family members as well.indiatoday
Nitish pitches for nation-wide ban on liquor at Delhi event
New Delhi:Addressing a convention on “Liquor-free India”, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar called for a nationwide ban on alcohol.“It (liquor ban) should not only be implemented in nearby states but also in the entire country. It was Mahatma Gandhi’s wish, he had said liquor destroys lives,” Kumar said.“In the past at times alcohol ban has been imposed in the country, but it was revoked later on. It was also imposed in Bihar by former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur but could not be implemented fully,” he added.ANI
MP: After Kamal Nath’s snub, Scindia threatens again to hit streets if manifesto promises not fulfilled
Bhopal :Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia on Sunday repeated his threat to take to the streets if promises made in the Congress party’s manifesto were not fulfilled.“I am a public servant and fighting for people’s issues is my religion. We have to be patient but if the promises made to the people are not fulfilled we will definitely hit the streets,” he said in Gwalior on Sunday.Chief Minister Kamal Nath had dared him to hit the streets when Scindia threatened to do so for the first time. “Let him do so,” CM had said in Delhi on Saturday when asked to comment.indianexpress
UN meet at a crucial time when one million species feared to be extinct in next decade:Amy Fraenkel
Gandhinagar:COP13, 13th Conference of the Parties, Convention on Migratory Species, UN, cllimate crisis, Amy Fraenkel, gandhinagar news, gujarat news, indian express newsSetting the stage for 13th Conference of Parties (COP13) to Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) of UN here, on Sunday, Convention’s Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel said it is being organised at a very critical time when around 1 million species, including migratory species, are feared to be extinct in next decade.The event is being organised at Mahatma Mandir as India is hosting the global UN event for the first time. The meet is to be inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi through videoconference today. indianexpress
*WORLD*
Taliban says peace deal with US to be signed at month’s end: Washington Post
Taliban said a peace deal with US will be signed by the end of the month, according to a video statement shared with journalists Monday.Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi, a Taliban leader and member of the political commission in Doha, Qatar, said after negotiations “both sides have initiated the final draft of the peace agreement. Now talks are concluded.”This is first formal statement released by Taliban since US announced a peace deal with the movement on Friday.Hanafi said “both sides have agreed to sign the agreement by the end of this month,” after making a “favorable environment before signing of the agreement.” What Hanafi appears to be describing is what US negotiators and Afghan government officials are calling a period of reduced violence that approximates a cease-fire and will last seven days.Hanafi gave no further details on what a “favorable environment” would entail. American and Afghans officials have also been tight-lipped regarding details of the violence reduction.But some Afghan officials said the reduced violence would be countrywide and all parties to the conflict would halt planned offensive operations.Hanafi mentioned talks between Taliban and the Afghan government, but he said such a step would only be taken after a mass prisoner exchange.“When the process of releasing of 5,000 [Taliban] prisoners … is completed, then intra-Afghan talks will begin,” he said. Taliban prisoners would be exchanged for 1,000 members of the Afghan security forces, according to Hanafi.But Afghan officials have said previously that the exchange would be discussed during intra-Afghan talks and not before.In a statement released by Ghani’s office Saturday, the Afghan president said “the agreement” will be finalized next week and will have “conditional content.”Ghani added that he was assured by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mike T. Esper that “no article of the agreement is unconditional.”
Peace deal between US,Taliban 'finalized': Abdullah
Afghanistan to reveal long-delayed election results
Afghanistan's long-delayed results from its presidential elections will be announced within three to four days, an election commission official said, nearly five months after polls were held in the country.In December, the election commission announced that incumbent President Ashraf Ghani had won a slim majority of 50.64 percent in the Sept.28 poll. His closest rival, Abdullah Abdullah, alleged vote-rigging, forcing a recount."The recounting and auditing is completed," Zabihullah Sadaat, spokesman for Afghanistan's Election Commission, said. aljazeera

Israeli airliners now overflying Sudan: Netanyahu
Israeli commercial planes began overflying Sudan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, casting the new air corridor as a result of a breakthrough meeting with African country's de-facto leader this month. Khartoum said on Feb.5 it had given Israeli planes initial approval to fly over its territory, two days after Sudan's military head of state, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, met Netanyahu in Uganda."Now we're discussing rapid normalisation. The first Israeli airplane passed yesterday over the skies of Sudan," Netanyahu said in a speech to US Jewish leaders on Sunday, saying the route cut some 3 hours off flights from Israel to South America. Sudan has stopped short of saying it is normalising ties with Israel.After the meeting in Uganda, AP quoted a Sudanese military official as saying the decision was coordinated by UAE and also aimed at removing Sudan from US's list of "state sponsors of terrorism".aljazeera
Saudi to develop relations with Israel after reaching peace deal
Saudi foreign minister, Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, has confirmed that his country will develop its relations with Israel, if the latter reaches a peace deal with the Palestinians, Quds Net reported.According to Israeli paper Maariv, Al Saud announced: “Upgrading relations with Israel will occur only when a peace agreement is signed and is in accordance with Palestinian conditions.”This was Al Saud’s response to a question posed by a Maariv reporter, who met with him on the margins of Munich Security Conference.On Saturday, Saudi state minister for foreign affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, affirmed: “There are positive elements in the US peace plan and it could be the basis for negotiations.” Meanwhile, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported an Israeli blogger, Alex Levchen, who entered Saudi Arabia with his Israeli passport, stating that the Saudi security officers gave him a warm welcome as an Israeli with an Israeli passport.middleeastmonitor
PA: Security cooperation with Israel continuous
Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security cooperation with Israel is continuous, PA official Nabil Abu Rudeineh announced on Sunday, adding that PA is ready to start peace talks within two weeks.Speaking to a group of Israeli journalists, Abu Rudeineh, who is a senior aide to PA president, Mahmoud Abbas, stated: “We are dealing with an Israeli government which destroys all prospects of peace.”He also asserted that: “US administration pushes Israel and the Palestinians to become involved in a continuous struggle.”middleeastmonitor
Israel move to tighten blockade will increase tensions: Hamas
Israel's move to tighten the blockade on the Gaza Strip, including reimposing restrictions on Palestinian fishing, will "increase tensions", a spokesman for Hamas has said."Israeli measures of reducing the fishing zone and cancelling permits of businessmen aims at tightening the siege and will increase tensions," Hazem Qassem said. His remarks came hours after Israel announced it would cancel a slight easing of the siege on Gaza, saying the move was in response to the launch of two rockets from the strip. No injuries were reported and no Palestinian factions in Gaza claimed responsibility.Earlier on Sunday, Israeli military said it launched a series of air raids targeting Hamas sites in Gaza. There were no reports of casualties.aljazeera
Syrian army strengthens Aleppo grip before Russia-Turkey talks
Syrian government forces have made significant advances in their military push against the last major rebel bastion in the country's northwest, according to state media, in a ferocious offensive that has forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.State television said on Sunday that Russian-backed forces "have liberated all the villages and small towns west of Aleppo city".Backed by Russian air raids, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops have kept up the assault on the Idlib region and parts of neighbouring Aleppo and Latakia provinces since Dec.aljazeera
Trump, Turkey call for Russia to stop backing Syrian 'atrocities'
Russia must halt its support for the Syrian govt's "atrocities", US President Donald Trump said, as fighting rages in the country's dwindling rebel-held areas.In a statement released by White House on Sunday, Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said Trump - in a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan - "conveyed US' desire to see an end to Russia's support for the Assad government's atrocities and for a political resolution to the Syrian conflict".aljazeera
UAE issues operating licence for Arab world's first nuclear plant
UAE issued an operating licence for the first reactor at Arab world's first nuclear power plant, paving the way for it to start production later this year.Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, which is being built by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), was originally due to open in 2017 but the start-up of its first reactor has been delayed several times.A 60-year operating licence will be granted to the plant's operator, Nawah Energy Company, Hamad al-Kaabi, deputy chairman of Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) told a news conference on Monday. Nawah can now begin the commissioning phase by loading fuel into the reactor in preparation for operation, a process that will take a number of weeks and will be accompanied by testing of the safety systems, al-Kaabi said.aljazeera
Ghannouchi discusses Fakhfakh’s faltered government formation with union officials
Tunisian Parliament speaker and head of Ennahda Movement, Rached Ghannouchi, discussed the faltered formation of the government with union officials on Sunday, stressing on: “The need to respect the will of the voters and reject exclusion.”This came after a tripartite meeting at the Parliament’s headquarters, held between Ghannouchi and the president of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), Samir Majoul, and secretary-general of Tunisian General Labour Union, Noureddine Taboubi, to discuss the faltered formation of the Tunisian govt.According to the statement, Ghannouchi announced that: “His position is consistent in the necessity of respecting the will of the voters, and ensuring that elements of national unity are strengthened and exclusion is rejected.” The statement further highlights that: “The country needs a broad national unity government and an atmosphere of mutual trust and agreement. The text and essence of the Constitution do allow for finding solutions to address all situations,” and expressed “the legislative authority’s appreciation of national role of national organisations.” “The meeting with Ghannouchi was constructive,” according to Majoul in a media statement following the meeting, adding that Ennahda is ready to return to the government formation consultations, which will include all political parties.middleeastmonitor
UN: 14 children among at least 22 dead in Cameroon massacre
As many as 22 villagers, including 14 children, were found dead in the anglophone area of Cameroon, UN said, with an opposition party blaming the killings on the army. Armed men carried out the massacre on Friday in the village of Ntumbo in Northwest Region, James Nunan, a local official with UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, told AFP."Up to 22 civilians were killed, including a pregnant woman," Nunan said, adding 14 children - including nine under age five - were among the dead.aljazeera
Coronavirus update: Toll reaches 1770, WHO experts to visit China from 17 Feb
The death toll from China's coronavirus epidemic has climbed to 1,775 after 105 more people died, mostly in the worst-hit Hubei Province, and the confirmed cases jumped to 70,548, officials said Monday morning. China announced measures such as closing non-essential public venues and stringent traffic restrictions to contain the epidemic in the worst-hit Hubei.China's National Health Commission said 2,048 new cases of deadly infection have been confirmed, taking the total number of COVID-19 infected cases to 70,548.Though 10,844 people had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, the commission said in its daily report said that 7,264 people were still suspected to be infected by the deadly virus.livemint
‘99 more Coronavirus cases on Japan cruise ship’
Tokyo: An additional 99 people have tested positive for coronavirus on a cruise ship off the Japan coast, Japanese media said Monday, citing new figures from the health ministry.That would take the total number of positive cases on Diamond Princess to 454. The health ministry declined to confirm reports immediately.It was also not clear whether the figures included 14 US citizens who tested positive for the virus but were allowed to board evacuation flights home.AFP
*views, Articles, FEATURES*
Now that drum beats of Delhi election battle have died, how long will our interest in Shaheen Bagh last:Shalini Langer , indianexpress
Tavleen Singh writes: Thank you Amit Shah for acknowledging Delhi campaign tone harmed BJP: Tavleen Singh,indianexpress
Unrest Cure: New India's Impatience With Protests and 'Irrelevant Problems':Shah Alam Khan
How Shaheen Bagh Galvanised the Artistic Protest:Rashme Sehgal
Why Shaheen Bagh matters: It offers protest template, rejects clergy, challenges patriarchy:Saba Rahman
View From Neighbourhood: Praising Erdogan
It is only when right-wing leaders politicise their religion that Constitution is violated:P Chidambaram
Why government wants to locate Dara Shikoh tomb, and why it’s not easy:indianexpress
Kanhaiya May be ‘Secular Symbol’ to Unite Splintered Opposition Against BJP-led NDA in Bihar:Ashok Mishra
Shah dilemma in Shaheen Bagh as Modi govt gets ready to hear anti-CAA protesters
Kashmir's Victims of Violence Lose Hope After Article 370 Move Closes State Commission for Women and Children
Kashmiri leaders aren’t the only ones held under PSA – young men are languishing in faraway jails:Safwat Zargar
5000 temples in Uttar Pradesh in the crosshair of the Yogi government:Abhishek Srivastava
In Mumbai, the Fundamental Right to Show Dissent Has Been Violated for 30 Years:Sukanya Shantha
Sharjeel and Gopal, Mirror Images In A Cracked Mirror:Nandita Sehgal
  Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 4:16 PM).   

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