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New Zealand: Sushma Swaraj reaches out to help family of Indian youth stabbed to death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 26-year-old youth from Sirsa in Punjab was stabbed to death allegedly by a girl in New Zealand last week and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has stepped in to help his family bring back home his mortal remains.Swaraj directed the Indian High Commission in New Zealand to help the family of deceased Hardeep Singh after they reached out to her on twitter.”Deol family – Rania (Sirsa) : I hv seen news report and given instructions to our High Commissioner in New Zealand,” the External Affairs Minister tweeted.According to Hardeep’s grandfather Baldev Singh Deol, he had gone to New Zealand on a study visa to pursue a course in hotel management.According to reports in New Zealand media, Hardeep suffered serious injuries during an assault on Christmas on Sunday at Cashmere house. He was taken to Christchurch Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.Local police said a 22-year-old woman has been arrested and charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, adding the charge was likely to be replaced with a murder charge.They said the inquiry has been upgraded to a homicide investigation.The Minister, who is recuperating after undergoing a kidney transplant on December 10, is known for her prompt response to Indians who are in distress abroad, many of whom approach her through twitter for help.

Pak PM Nawaz Sharif writes to Sushma Swaraj wishing her speedy recovery

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has wished speedy recovery to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who underwent a kidney transplant recently.According to official sources, Sharif wrote a letter to Swaraj wishing her quick recovery.The External Affairs Minister had undergone a kidney transplant at AIIMS on December 10 and was discharged on December 19 from the hospital.

Govt approves Rs 11,000 crore road projects for areas hit by worst Left-wing extremism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has approved an over Rs 11,000-crore project to construct all-weather roads and improve connectivity for security reasons in nearly 40 districts worst hit by the Left-wing extremism and violence.Approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the ‘Road Connectivity Project for Left Wing Extremism Affected Areas’ will provide connectivity in 35 worst affected LWE districts – which account for 90% of total LWE violence in the country – and 9 adjoining districts, critical from security angle.To be implemented as a vertical under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, more than 5,400 kilometres of road would be constructed/upgraded and 126 bridges/cross drainage works would be taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 11,724.53 crore. The roads will be operable through the year, irrespective of weather conditions.The fund sharing for the LWE road project will be same as the PMGSY – in the ratio of 60:40 between the Centre and states for all states except for North Eastern and three Himalayan States (Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) for which it is 90:10.Finance Ministry will allocate Rs 7,034.72 crore to the Ministry of Rural Development for the project during the implementation period 2016-17 to 2019-20. Ministry of Rural Development will be the responsible for sponsoring and implementing the project.The roads taken up under the scheme would include Other District Roads (ODRs), Village Roads (VRs) and upgrading of the existing Major District Roads (MDRs), that are critical from the security point of view.Bridges up to a span of 100 metres, critical from security angle, would also be funded on these roads. National and state highways have been excluded from the project.The roads to be constructed under the scheme have been identified by the Ministry of Home Affairs in consultation with the state governments and security agencies.PMGSY was launched in 2000 as a centrally-sponsored scheme with the objective to provide all-weather road connectivity to all eligible unconnected habitations in the rural areas.

Norway child custody row: Handling case as per Norwegian law, Oslo tells India

New Delhi: Norway on Tuesday told India that it is handling the case involving the custody of a child of a Indo-Norwegian family in accordance with the Norwegian Child Welfare Act which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This was conveyed to the Indian ambassador who had gone to meet the Norwegian officials, who also informed him that since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. AFP

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. AFP

Ahead of the meeting, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said India wants the five-and-a-half-year-old boy united with his natural parents and refused to accept that foster parents can take better care of the child than the natural parents.

“The foster parents are totally ignorant of the Indian culture and our food habits. We want restoration of Aryan to his natural parents,” Swaraj had tweeted.

According to Norwegian Embassy Spokesperson in new Delhi, “The Indian ambassador to Norway visited the Norwegian authorities earlier today (in Oslo) to discuss the child welfare case involving a Norwegian/Indian family, where the child holds Norwegian citizenship. The meeting had a constructive atmosphere.

“The Norwegian authorities have reiterated that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

During the meeting with the Indian envoy, the Norwegian authorities also said the the Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The embassy also was once again assured that the Norwegian authorities were dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness.

Indian national Gurvinderjit Kaur and her husband, who is a Norwegian national, have alleged that the authorities in that country have taken away their son on a frivolous complaint of abuse. Kaur had also written to the inistry seeking help in getting back her son, who has been taken away by the Norway Child Welfare Services.

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse. In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway.

The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill-treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 19:21 IST

Norway ‘child abuse’: India wants child united with natural parents, says Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After an Indian woman from Norway wrote to Sushma Swaraj about her son being taken away by Norwegian authorities, the Minister of External Affairs has said that India will convey to the officials that it wants child’s restoration with its parents. Gurvinderjit Kaur, whose son has been taken away by the Norwegian authorities, had approached the Indian Embassy in Oslo seeking government’s intervention, following which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it will now chalk out the future course of action in the case. Kaur had approached the Indian government with the “formal written” request in this regard, BJP leader Vijay Jolly said.”Our Ambassador in Norway is meeting the Norwegian authorities today regarding Aryan. I refuse to accept that foster parents can take better care of the child than the natural parents. The foster parents are totally ignorant of the Indian culture and our food habits.”We want restoration of Aryan to his natural parents. This is our firm stand and Indian Ambassador will convey this to the Norwegian authorities,” she said.Kaur and her husband, who is a Norwegian national, have alleged that authorities in that country have taken away their 5-year-old son Aryan, also a Norwegian national, on a frivolous complaint of abuse. In its response, the Norwegian Embassy had asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.According to Jolly, the Indian Ambassador “is slated to meet highly placed Norwegian officials in Oslo on December 27”. Jolly also maintained that according to the mother, the child is being “daily served porridge and bread while he is fond of Indian food”.This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway.The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.With agency inputs.

Will spare no effort to secure Father Tom’s release from IS captivity, says Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that she will spare no effort to secure the release of abducted Indian priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil.Swaraj’s reaction came after the Indian Catholic priest abducted from Yemen this year appealed to Pope Francis and the Union government through a purported video to secure his release from his captors.”I have seen the video from Fr Tom. He is an Indian citizen and the life of every Indian is most precious for us,” Swaraj said in a series of tweets.Stating that the government managed to secure the release of Father Alex Prem Kumar and Judith D’Souza, she added, “We have spared no effort and we will spare no effort to secure Father Uzhunnalil’s release from captivity.”In the video, aired by news channels in Kerala, Father Uzhunnalil said, “If I were a European priest, I would have been taken more seriously. I am from India. I am perhaps not considered as of much value.””Dear Pope Francis, dear Holy Father, as a Father please take care of my life. I am very much depressed. My health is deteriorating,” he said in the video.The veracity of the video, which was uploaded from YouTube and Facebook, could neither be independently verified nor was the period when it was shot known.Father Uzhunnalil, who hails from Kerala, was abducted in March by terror group Islamic State which attacked an old-age home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in southern Yemeni city of Aden.He claimed his captors have made many contacts with the Government of India — President and Prime Minister.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had informed Parliament that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has spoken to various countries through which contacts could be established in Yemen.(With agency inputs)

Dutch woman claims child kidnapped by estranged husband, approaches Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Dutch woman in the process of getting a divorce from her Mumbai-based husband and fighting over the custody of their daughter has shared her story with the famous ‘Humans of Amsterdam’ Facebook page, about how her estranged husband has kidnapped their two-year-old.Her story has been shared thousands of times on the social media page, with several Indians tagging Minster of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who is known for her quick response on social media platforms like Twitter, and has gained the goodwill of the people of resolving the issues of many Indians worldwide. Nadia Rashid, the woman in question in the story, met Shezad Hemani, her now-estranged husband in 2010 while volunteering at the International Indian Film Academy Awards in Amsterdam. “He seemed friendly and through the organisation, he got my phone number. He texted me, and every now and then we kept in touch. I don’t think you can call it a friendship but we were acquaintances,” she said.Rashid said Hemani told her that was a businessman from Mumbai who travelled a lot. In 2010, he visited her and immediately asked her to marry him. Since she barely knew him at the time, Rashid refused, she said, but he refused to give up. “He kept sending me messages and kept travelling to Amsterdam to come and meet me. He made me feel special and put me on a pedestal. He said he loved me and I started to fall in love with him. When he proposed again, I said yes. We got married in 2011 and that’s when everything changed,” said RashidThings changed from the wedding day, when Rashid said she noticed a change in his behaviour. “He changed from a loving man to a dominant husband. He told me that I dressed terribly and destroyed my self-confidence. He would not let me meet his friends, saying that they were the types that did drugs and cheated on their wives. I later found out that he told them that I was an abusive wife who married him for money,” she added.Things took a turn for the worse when Rashid was pregnant three years into the marriage. She alleged that Hemani was never there for the child and it felt like she was a single-mother raising their daughter. “I remember one night Insiya (their daughter) woke up in the middle of the night and we could hear her cry through the baby phone. He got really mad at me and when she woke up for the third time he said I had to go sleep in her room because he could not sleep.”Nadia Rashid’s story on Humans of Amsterdam: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5She also alleged that her husband abused her. “I never told anyone because I was too ashamed. He would then apologise and that it was his fault. He would tell me that I was the better person and that is why I would be able to forgive him,” she said.When Rashid decided to stop travelling to India, both she and Hemani agreed that the husband would visit Amsterdam every two weeks, she assumed that things would get better, but the violence continued.“Once when he was in India, he didn’t answer my calls or call me. Once when he did answer, he said that he was busy. But I could hear the cricket commentary in the background. I then told him that if he didn’t make us a priority, then we would do the same to him,” she said.After this, the husband sent a Facebook message to all her friends with the same message, where he asked them to meet so that they could talk about her. “I then texted him asking him what he was playing at. He responded by calling me a loser because I didn’t dare to file for a divorce and that he would sue me. He had written (to) my brother and said that I was going to pay for this and that he was going to shame my name. He said that he would tell everyone in Amsterdam and the rest of the world what a terrible woman I was. He ended his message with: ‘This game has just begun’”.Rashid filed for divorce, but ensured that he had time with their daughter. “One time, Insiya was sitting on his lap when he told me that he would send his friends over to have me killed. I took Insiya and ran to the police station to file a complaint against him, but the threats continued. He said that he would kidnap our daughter and that he would take her to India,” she said.She realised that her movements were being monitored and finally found a GPS tracker in her car. She then went to the police, following which both mother and daughter went into hiding. “The police attached an AWARE system to my body in case of an emergency. The following months he couldn’t see us because of the threats; we were legally not allowed to have direct contact,” she added.One day, two policemen knocked on her door because they spotted a suspected vehicle. Rashid saw her Hemani in the car that had a child seat in the back. “We had to go into hiding again until we were sure that he had left the country. He kept filing lawsuits but losing them. Finally, the judge gave me sole custody of our daughter.”On September 29, Rashid, who was living with her mother at the time, went to the grocery store. On her way, she got a call from her nephew, who was frantic. “Men! They took her, They took Insiya.” My heart stopped, Rashid said.In the complaint filed with the police, she said that a few men dressed as municipality workers came and kidnapped Insiya. They beat up her mother and shot her sister with a tazer gun. One of the kidnappers, however, was caught thanks to an alert neighbour.“As far as I know, she’s in Mumbai with her father who she barely knows. He has said that if I will go to India he will have me arrested. He is a wealthy and powerful man and he easily buys people off. He has hired one of the best lawyers of The Netherlands to defend him. Together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch government we are trying our utmost best to get Insiya back. Every day from morning until night I am working on this. I will not stop until I can hold my daughter again,” Nadia said. (All the incidents described in this story are as per the Facebook updates posted on Humans of Amsterdam.)

Indian-origin parents approach MEA for the custody of their child from Norwegian authorities

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian woman, whose son has been taken away by the Norwegian authorities, has approached the Indian Embassy in Oslo seeking government’s intervention, following which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it will now chalk out the future course of action in the case. Gurvinderjit Kaur has approached the Indian government with the “formal written” request in this regard, BJP leader Vijay Jolly said.Kaur and her husband, who is a Norwegian national, have alleged that authorities in that country have taken away their 5-year-old son Aryan, also a Norwegian national, on a frivolous complaint of abuse. Confirming that Kaur has approached the government, MEA officials said they were now “empowered” to pursue the matter with the Norwegian authorities and they will chalk out the future course of action in the case.The Indian couple had first sought Jolly’s help in getting back the custody of their child, after which he wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who had said that India will provide them help. In its response, the Norwegian Embassy here had asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.According to Jolly, the Indian Ambassador “is slated to meet highly placed Norwegian officials in Oslo on December 27”. Jolly also maintained that according to the mother, the child is being “daily served porridge and bread while he is fond of Indian food”.This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse. In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Pakistan to enforce conversion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly which unanimously passed a Bill recommending jail term to perpetrators of forced conversion, may soon be struck down to please religious political parties.Minorities— Hindu, Sikh, Christians, Ahmadiyya, Hazara—constitute 2.3 million of the Muslim-majority country and continue to live in fear. The Sindh province is home to a majority of the Hindus in Pakistan. The Sindh Assembly in November passed a Bill preventing the forced conversion of minorities.The Sindh Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill-2015 proposed by Pakistan Muslim Leaugue-Functional (PML-F) parliamentarian Nand Kumar Goklani last year, recommended a five-year jail term for perpetrators and three years for facilitators of forced conversions.Under the Bill, forcibly converting a minor is also a punishable offence and gives 21 days to adults to consider their decision to convert. However, soon after the Bill was passed, hardline religious parties protested claiming that it was an attempt to make Pakistan a ‘secular’ nation and the provisions went against the spirit of Islam. The parties criticised the minimum age of 18 years for any person to change their religion and are of the view that such a law would make it difficult for members of religious minorities to adopt Islam.A furore was created by religious clerics. Farahnaz Ispahani, Author of Purifying The Land of the Pure: The History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities said, “At any and every opportunity where the rights and protections for Pakistanis who are from religious minority groups or for women are being secured, the religious/political force of the powerful Muslim clergy is seen acting to prevent these protections.”Rising UproarAfter facing the ire of religious groups and succumbing to the threats of terrorist Hafiz Saeed who warned of a movement against the Bill, it was sent to the Governor for his assent. The Bill will now be reviewed and amended by the Assembly, without waiting for the Governor’s assent, Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs had said.“Hafiz Saeed’s threats are very worrying as are the threats to the lives of the Hindu and Muslim lawmakers involved with the Bill. If Saeed continues to fan the flames it will create an atmosphere of fear and violence which could derail the Bill completely,” said Ispahani. Khuhro, in his statement, referred to Verse 256 of Surah al-Baqarah of the Holy Quran (see box), according to which no person could be forced to change their religion, adding that no Muslim could think about passing a law that was against this basic tenet of Islam. The minister also said that the Sindh Assembly had only declared unlawful the act of contracting marriage below the age of 18 and for this purpose a law had been passed.The Sindh police have also warned 13 lawmakers and a bureaucrat of possible ‘harm’ by religious parties, especially to those who were in the Standing Committee on Minority Affairs in which the Bill was considered.“In my opinion, religio-political parties with little or no representation in parliament, or in this case the Sindh Assembly, cannot and must not dictate to the elected representatives of the people. Nor can the Assembly be held hostage to the will of pressure groups who have no real support among the electorate,” added Zarrar Khuhro, Pakistani journalist.Bill to revoke?Post much chaos, Pakistani media have reported that the Sindh government might consider retracting the Bill.According to Pakistan media, a Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) spokesperson has claimed that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zadari—also the ruling government in Sindh—has given his word to JI chief Sirajul Haq that the Bill will be struck down. Associated Reporters Abroad Pakistan correspondent, Naila Inayat calls it shameful that progressive political parties such as PPP are succumbing under pressure. “The Bill was being seen as a major relief to the minorites in Sindh, especially the Hindu community, which has been complaining of forced conversion, abduction and marriages.” Referring to data from Pakistan Hindu Council and Movement for Solidarity and Peace, Naila points out that four girls are converted to Islam girls converted each year.With no concrete changes to the Bill yet, the fate of minorities remains uncertain.”The ‘otherization’ of people of other faiths or Muslim sects that have been rejected by the orthodoxy has been seen repeatedly and increasingly in Sindh and all over Pakistan,” said Ispahani.

India will provide help to the mother whose boy has been taken away by Norway: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday said India will provide help on the request of the mother of the boy, who has been taken away by the Norway authorities even as Norwegian embassy here asked for “restraint” in the case, assuring that it is being handled with “complete sensitivity and awareness”.

Swaraj’s reaction came a day after she had asked the Indian Ambassador in Oslo to send a report on the allegations made by the couple that the Norwegian authorities took away their five-year-old child on frivolous complaint of abuse. While father and son are Norwegian nationals, the mother is an Indian citizen.

“I have received the report. Father and son are Norwegian nationals. We will represent on request of the mother, who is an Indian national,” Swaraj tweeted.

Reacting to the case, the Spokesperson in Norwegian Embassy said the mission is aware and understands “the concerns on the ongoing child welfare case involving an Norwegian/Indian family in Norway”.

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

File photo of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI

“The Embassy would like to reiterate that child welfare cases are handled in accordance to the Norwegian Child Welfare Act, which includes directions from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“The Act applies to all children in Norway, regardless of their background, residential status or citizenship. The basic principle of the Act is that the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

“Since child welfare cases are highly sensitive, the cases are therefore subject to a strict duty of confidentiality. The Embassy, therefore, requests restraint and assures that the Norwegian authorities are dealing with the case with complete sensitivity and awareness. When available and permissible, updates on the case will be provided to the media and the general public.”

This is the third case since 2011 when children have been taken away from their Indian-origin parents by the authorities in Norway on the grounds of abuse.

In 2011, a three-year-old and a one-year-old were separated from their parents, prompting the then UPA government to take up the issue with Norway. The Norwegian court later allowed the children to be reunited with their parents.

In December 2012, an Indian couple was jailed on charges of ill treatment of their children, 7 and 2 years. Later, they were were sent to their grandparents in Hyderabad.

Later, briefing reporters, MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the Indian Embassy in Oslo is following up the matter.

“Our Ambassador has already established contact with the father who is a Norwegian citizen as is the child. The mother, however, is an Indian passport holder. Following the custody of the child by Norway’s Child Welfare Services (CWS), legal proceedings are currently underway regarding the continuation of such custody,” he said.

The ministry has been informed that the father has engaged a Norwegian lawyer to pursue the matter in the court, Swarup said.

“Given the seriousness of the issue, should we receive a formal representation from the mother, who is an Indian national, our Embassy remains fully prepared to engage with local authorities to impress upon them that this is a humanitarian issue and that the separation of a child from his parents is a matter of distress to the entire family,” he added.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 20:55 IST

Pakistan collecting ‘more evidence’ from Kulbhushan Jadhav: Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Wednesday said it is gathering “more evidence” from the alleged RAW spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and will share dossiers on India’s “involvement in subversive activities” with the UN.While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs here, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz also regretted the “Indian aggression” on the Line of Control (LoC).Interrogation of Jadhav is underway and more evidences are being collected from him, he said. “Dossiers about Indian involvement in subversive activities in Pakistan will be presented before the UN and other important countries after completion of investigation from Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary said there are several UN resolutions on the Kashmir dispute and that the international community should exert pressure on India for the implementation of these resolutions.He claimed 45 Pakistani civilians have been killed due to “unprovoked Indian firing” on the LoC and Islamabad has informed the UN in writing about these ‘violations’.

Nirbhaya anniversary: Four years later, Delhi girl raped in car

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has been four years since the brutal gang-rape of 23-year-old paramedical student, now known to the nation, as Nirbhaya. The brutal gang rape caused mass protests in the capital and promises of change. All of these seem empty words now.On the day of the fourth anniversary of Nirbhaya on Friday, another brutal rape of a 19-year-old girl—allegedly by the taxi driver inside the cab in which she was travelling—showed that as far as women’s safety is concerned, nothing has changed.Police officials said that the girl was found in the intervening night on Friday. The victim claimed that her hands were tied and her mouth covered before she was raped. What is even worse is that the car had a parking sticker ‘Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India, Krishi Bhawan’.The victim, a resident of Noida, was in Green Park for a job interview. She had to visit a friend there and around 5pm on Friday when she reached her friend’s house, she found it locked. The victim then took an auto-rickshaw and left for home.”I got down at Prithiviraj bus stop and I kept waiting there in search of a transport back home but some boys started troubling me and then a cab driver approached me. He asked me where I wanted to go and I told him I wanted to reach Noida. He offered to drop me and I sat in the cab,” said the victim in her complaint.According to the police, it was around 9 pm that the victim sat in the cab and because she was unaware about the route, she did not know where the cab driver was taking her.”He parked the car on the side in one of the by-lanes and tied my hands. He covered my mouth and adjusted the back seat of the car. He then raped me and despite me trying to raise an alarm, I could not be heard. He then got down from the car and I managed to open the window and free myself,” she said.Police officials said that around 1:30 am, the victim reached a roundabout where a police party was patrolling. She approached them and narrated her ordeal. The victim took the police officials to the location in one of the lanes behind the Basrukar market in Moti Bagh Phase-I.Officials added that the car was found at the spot but the accused had fled. The car also had a parking sticker of the MHA, and the police have started investigations on how it was procured.Medical examination confirmed that the girl was raped. She is now being counselled. The police traced the owner of the car to a house in Kotla Mubarakpur.”We were informed by the owner that he had given the car to the driver and tried to reach the accused, Avneesh, on his mobile phone. But it was switched off. Later, with the help of technical surveillance and people whom he had contacted after the crime, he was traced to one of the jhuggis, where he was drinking with his friends,” said DCP, South, Ishwar Singh. A forensic examination of the car was also conducted.Avneesh has been living in Delhi for four years and was earlier a school-van driver. He is married and has two children and hails from Ittawa.A case has been registered. Further investigations are under way.

AgustaWestland: Govt dares Sonia Gandhi to respond to allegations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Government dared Congress President Sonia Gandhi to respond in Parliament to allegations against her party over AgustaWestland scam, claiming that the opposition party is stalling both Houses as it has a lot to hide.Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar targeted Sonia as the government and opposition stepped up the blame- game over disruption of Parliament proceedings.He also attacked Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, saying “those who are speaking about transparency, integrity and credibility from roof top, why are they not ready to debate about AgustaWestland.”The Minister demanded that the Congress President speak on the issue of chopper scam and “note jugaad”, a reference to allegation that its worker had offered to exchange old currency notes for new.Taking on TMC and Left parties, Kumar questioned their “silence” on the issue of AgustaWestland and said do they subscribe to Congress stand on the chopper scam “as they have not uttered a single word on this”.Blaming Rahul for stalling of both houses, Kumar lashed out at the Congress leader, calling him “mastermind of gagging the Parliament.””The only other time when Parliament was gagged in this manner was during Emergency period,” he alleged.Justifying government’s position in Parliament, Kumar said it tried everything possible to initiate the debate in both houses and was ready to consider both feedback and criticism of the opposition over the issue of demonetisation.In all meetings, the opposition parties were in favour of action against corruption and black money, though they had issues about implementation of demonetisation move which they should have raised in the house, he said.”The whole debate is lost due to myopic strategy of Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Left parties.Government persuaded them but they were not ready for reconciliation,” Kumar added.

Pak wary of India’s Trump card on NSG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is hoping for a stronger backing from US President-elect on the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership and a host of other issues.Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is once again in the US, meeting stakeholders. Last month also, he had interacted with “very senior leaders” of the President-elect’s transition team on this issue.Indications that India has been moving at a faster pace on the NSG front is evident from the anxiety in Islamabad.On Wednesday, Pakistan alleged that “powerful countries were pressurising smaller nations to exempt India in the admission process to the NSG.”Sources here said that efforts are currently on to fix an early meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Trump to bring clarity on different issues, which also includes the US support to the elite nuclear club. Earlier last month, India’s hopes of membership were dashed after the NSG meeting in Vienna ended inconclusively. Listing the progress so far, officials here said that they have succeeded in getting crucial support from Mexico, Britain, Russia, Canada, France, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Brazil. Even Pakistan’s staunch ally, Turkey, has confirmed its commitment in backing India’s bid. One country, apart from China, which has not been so enthusiastic on India’s membership is New Zealand.Last October, then New Zealand Prime Minister John Key stated that “his country would continue to contribute constructively to the process currently under way in the NSG to consider India’s membership.” Key stepped out of office on December 12, paving way for the new administration led by Bill English.As far as the new US administration is concerned, New Delhi can take hope from the fact that Trump seems to be taking a favourable view on India.In a bid to overcome Chinese reluctance, India had carried out a massive outreach. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj worked talked to her counterparts and the Foreign Secretary travelled to Beijing on June 16-17 and parked himself in Seoul to steer efforts in the last leg of deliberations. Senior Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials fanned out to different world capitals to explain India’s position to its NSG partners.In his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Modi raised the issue repeatedly to drive home the importance that India attached to this issue. But briefing reporters, Wang, who was the chief negotiator for China in the South Korea meet, said that the signing of the NPT, “is a must.Wang had also warned that “if exceptions are allowed here or there on NPT, the international non-proliferation regime will collapse altogether.”Govt remains confident of NSG membership in 2017Senior officials of the Obama administration had expressed optimism that India’s membership into the NSG would be done by this “year-end.” This looks unlikely now. However, government sources said that they will continue their efforts in 2017 exuding confidence that they have succeeded in addressing concerns of most of the countries, except China.

Racial violence against NE people: SC gives slew of directions to enhance sense of security

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday passed a slew of directions, including setting up of a three-member panel headed by a Joint Secretary-level officer, to enhance a sense of security and inclusion of the people from north-eastern states who faced racial violence and hate crimes.The panel — comprising Joint Secretary (North-east), the Ministry of Home Affairs, and two other members to be nominated by the Union government — has been given powers ranging from ensuring strict action in incidents of racial discrimination, racial atrocities and racial violence and suggesting measures to curb such hate and racial crimes.The court also directed the government that the effective monitoring mechanism suggested by the MP Bezbaruah Committee in its report should be implemented and “should not like innumerable instances of its ilk, languish in dusty shelves of long forgotten archives”.It was also of the view that involvement of the law enforcement machinery is alone not sufficient to resolve the problem and stressed that mindsets have to be changed including in universities, colleges and educational institutions, places of work and in society. After perusing report of the panel headed by Bezbaruah, a former bureaucrat and member of the North Eastern Council, and the Centre’s response to it, a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said, “We are of the view that in order to enhance a sense of security and inclusion,…the Ministry of Home Affairs should take proactive steps to monitor the redressal of issues pertaining to racial discrimination faced by citizens of the nation drawn from the Northeast.””For that purpose, a regular exercise of monitoring and redressal should be carried out by a Committee consisting of the following members — Joint Secretary (North-east), Ministry of Home Affairs; and two other members to be nominated by the Union government (one of whom should be a public figure),” it said. However, the court refrained from passing any direction on the proposal for amending the Indian Penal Code by insertion of two new provisions — sections 153C and 509A — which was opposed by the Centre on the ground that sections 153A, 153B and 505(2) already exist as a part of the penal provision and covers the situation of racial crimes.Also, the court took note of the Centre’s submission that the proposal was under examination and said “whether the law should be amended is for the Union government to decide in its considered assessment of the situation, the nature of the problem and the efficacy of existing provisions. A mandamus to legislate cannot be issued.” The apex court, which dealt with several incidents of racial discrimination and crimes against the people of north-eastern region, said, “The involvement of the law enforcement machinery is alone not sufficient to resolve the problem.””Mindsets have to be changed including in universities, colleges and educational institutions, places of work and in society. Sensitivity and inclusion have to be fostered. “In order to achieve this, greater awareness of the history and the rich cultural traditions of the northeast is required to be inculcated. The problems faced by persons from the northeast traverse a whole range of issues, from the mundane issues of daily life to matters of education, employment, social security and the fundamental right to live in dignity.”The governments, both at the Centre and in the states, have a non-negotiable obligation to take positive steps to give effect to India’s commitment to racial equality. This commitment is embodied in constitutional rights, fundamental duties, statutory provisions and in the international obligations which have been assumed by India,” the bench also comprising justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said. In a slew of directions, the bench said the newly constituted committee’s work should be widely publicised in the electronic and print media, including in the north-eastern states, and the panel should be accessible to grievances, suggestions and complaints.It said the panel should meet periodically and preferably at monthly intervals to monitor the redressal of all such grievances including the implementation of the recommendations of the Bezbaruah committee, to the extent to which they have been accepted by the Centre. The bench also enumerated the functions likely to be carried out by the panel which would include monitoring, overseeing, pursuing and reviewing the implementation of the Bezbaruah committee’s July 11, 2014 report.Further, the committee will monitor the initiatives taken by the government to curb and deal with the incidents of racial discrimination/racial atrocities and racial violence and monitor action on such incidents and suggest measures and ensure strict action. The committee will also receive, consider and entertain complaints from individuals and groups of individuals who claim to be victims of racial abuse/ racial atrocities/ racial violence/ racial discrimination and forward it to the National Human Rights Commission and the State Human Rights Commissions and to the concerned police station as the case may be for enquiry and necessary action.The committee will issue necessary directions including calling for reports on incidents of racial discrimination/ racial atrocities/racial violence from the states and Union Territories, it said, adding that a decision may also be taken by the Centre on whether any of the other recommendations should be accepted. The apex court pronounced the verdict while disposing of the petition filed by Karma Dorjee and others following several incidents of hate crimes in Delhi against persons hailing from the northeast. The petitioners had said that the Bezbaruah panel had recommended changes in the IPC to curb and punish incidents of racial violence targeting people from the northeast.The petition had alleged that people from north-eastern region, who move out of their states in search of better opportunities in studies and jobs, were subjected to racial taunts and violence on a daily basis due to their physical appearance at the hands of people of their own country.The Bezbaruah panel was set up by the Home Ministry on February 5, 2014, to suggest “suitable remedial measures” which could be taken, in the wake of attacks on the people from the northeast in Delhi and other parts of the country including the death of youth Nido Tania, a student from Arunachal Pradesh.

Demonetization: TMC MLAs protest outside RBI office

Wed, 14 Dec 2016-05:00pm , Kolkata , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Trinamool Congress legislators and senior ministers on Wednesday staged a rally in the city, which ended outside the RBI office, against the Centre’s demonetization move.RBI Governor Urjit Patel is scheduled to arrive here today for the apex bank’s central board meeting tomorrow. He is also scheduled to meet bankers and industrialists during his stay. The rally started from the West Bengal Assembly and was attended by state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, TMC MP Subrata Bakshi and Power Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay.”We will continue our protest until the draconian decision of demonetization is withdrawn.Tomorrow also we will organise a similar protest-rally. India is a democracy and Modi can’t bulldoze his anti-people decision on the entire country,” Chatterjee told the rally.

Rahul’s remark about Modi biggest joke of the year: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Kiren Rijiju ridiculed Rahul Gandhi for stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “terrified” of him being allowed to speak inside Lok Sabha, terming the remark as the “biggest joke” of the year.Talking to reporters outside Parliament, the Minister of State for Home Affairs also took a jibe at Gandhi, saying instead it is the Congress party which is very scared as it has to defend utterances of its vice president.”Everybody feels that it is the biggest joke of the year that Rahul Gandhi says Narendra Modi is scared of his oratory skill. If he speaks will there be an earthquake or the balloon will burst.”I don’t think anyone takes comments he makes seriously. Congress itself is very scared of when Rahul Gandhi speaks as the party has to defend his words. That’s the level of threat he poses to his own party,” Rijiju said.Earlier, talking to the media, the Congress vice president claimed Modi is “personally terrified” of him being allowed to speak inside Lok Sabha because he has information that will “explode” the Prime Minister’s balloon.

Bill to amend SC/ST list introduced in Lok Sabha

Wed, 14 Dec 2016-02:50pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bill seeking to transfer certain communities from the list of Scheduled Castes (SC) to Scheduled Tribes (ST) and include new communities in the ST list was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.The Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to transfer ‘Bhogta’ community of Jharkhand from the list of SCs to the STs list.The Bill, introduced by Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram amid din over the note ban issue, also seeks to include certain more communities in the list of STs relating to Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.The government keeps amending the lists originally notified in 1950 based on requests made by various state governments.

India’s landmark forest rights law hobbled by conflicting policies: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A landmark Indian forest rights law passed 10 years ago with the aim of protecting indigenous people has been crippled by conflicting legislation, and a lack of political will and funds to ensure its implementation, according to a report.More than a fifth of India’s population were expected to benefit from the 2006 Forest Rights Act covering vast areas of forest land roughly the size of Germany.Instead, only 3 percent of potential community forest rights have been granted so far, and conflicts between states and indigenous communities have been rising as demand for land increases in the world’s fastest growing major economy.”(The law) has the potential to conserve forests and biodiversity (and) improve local livelihoods,” Neema Pathak Broome, a researcher with rights group Kalpavriksh, said in the report released Tuesday by a citizens’ advocacy group.”Unfortunately, due to a lack of political will and intentional efforts to undermine the law, this vast potential for democratic forest governance remains unrealised.”In the decade since the law was passed, the federal government and several states have introduced other laws that sometimes run counter to the Forest Rights Act.For example, a new federal law introduced in July that compensates for deforestation ignores the rights of indigenous people and the requirement for consent of the village council for use of forest land, activists said.The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which is charged with implementing the 2006 law, is “understaffed and under-resourced”, while state forest departments are largely “hostile, at best apathetic” in implementing it, the report said.The western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, the eastern state of Odisha and the southern state of Kerala lead in recognising community and individual forest rights, the report said.States including Assam, Bihar, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand have lagged behind, it said.As well as conserving forests, the law has the potential to secure livelihoods, promote women’s rights and contain conflicts in areas hit by violent extremism, it said.The government needs to mobilise political support and funds for its implementation and strengthen the Tribal Affairs Ministry and state agencies, the report said.”The biggest stumbling block is that there’s very limited understanding of the Forest Rights Act, even within the government,” Tushar Dash, from advocacy group Vasundhara, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.”They believe granting forest rights obstructs development, and are instead giving forest lands for industrial use. But it’s been established that protecting forest rights encourages development and helps conservation efforts far more.”

The name game…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Old name, Oshiwara. New name, Ram Mandir; old name, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. New name, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. William Shakespeare might have famously asked ‘What’s in a name?’ but try telling that to officials from the home ministry to the railways to the survey offices dotting the country.According to officials, in a nation with so many states, cultures, languages and historical personalities and interpretations, the request for renaming places, stations, roads and airports is an unending affair.Of course, much angst has also been expressed nationally about the number of institutions, government programmes and public works that are named or renamed after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family.Speaking to DNA, Pankaj Mishra, Technical Secretary to the Surveyor-General of India said the department receives an average of 20-25 requests annually for renaming existing places. The numbers for naming new railway stations is much higher.“There are several new lines being built by the Railways across the country, and all these lines obviously have new stations. So we do get a lot of requests for naming these stations,” he said.The process itself is a protracted one. After all, a change of name can sometimes change just about everything. Explaining the process, Mishra said, “Names are contained in two lists, one called the Central Gazetteer (CG) maintained by the Union government and the other in the state Gazetteer maintained by the respective state governments. The thumb rule is that it is tougher to change names in the Central Gazetteer as the entity might be a very expansive one with a lot of historical value.”Renaming any entity in the CG means that the final approval must come from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. “The MHA sends it to the Department of Science and Technology under which the Survey of India works. An extensive ground check is conducted wherein the name proposed is verified with old maps, general usage of the name among local populace, its historical significance, etc before a call is taken. Once the change is approved, the name’s ‘transliteration’ (conversion of a text from one script to another) is also suggested by us,” said Mishra.For naming new railway stations, the Ministry of Railways sends requests directly to the Survey of India officewhich after due diligence forwards the request with its suggestions to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The state in which the railway station is placed has the dominant say in naming a new station. It was this right that was exercised by the state government when it came to renaming the yet-to-be-commissioned Oshiwara station to Ram Mandir station, said officials.As far as the railway stations are concerned, a somewhat obscure department called the Indian Railway Conference Association (IRCA) also plays a role. Once the name is approved, the IRCA, an organisation in existence since 1903 and which functions out of the annexe office of the Divisional Railway Manager’s Office Complex, Northern Railway in New Delhi, give the station an alphabetical code.However, as some officials put it, it is also a double-edged sword. “We really do not want a situation where just about all our railway stations and cities are named after political or historical figures with little or no connection to the geographical value of that place. For instance look at what has happened with Kadapa or Cuddapah in Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. A place famous for its blackish limestone- called Cuddapah stone worldwide, has now been submerged into a politically significant entity called the YSR district, named after former Andhra Chief Minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy,” explained a senior bureaucrat.Speaking to DNA, Subodh Jain, former Member Engineering, Railway Board said it is best not to tinker with names. “The general rule is that the railway station’s name should be true to the geographical details of the area. It is mostly based on the nearest tehsil, or any important government office nearby, or the village through which it passes, or some place with overwhelming historical importance. For example, Abu Road station is a ways from Mount Abu but because the latter has such historical importance, it is only imperative that the station servicing it be called Abu Road. A rule which has been long-standing is that it should not be named after historical figures, though that too has been done post-Independence which is not the best sign,” said Jain.Commuter Manish Chaturvedi hits the nail on the head on nomenclature. “How does it matter if the name of a station changes but the infrastructure at the station remains just as inadequate. Commuters want facilities, not names. Infact on the ground, people continue to call a station by its old and simpler name rather than the newer more fancy one,” said Chaturvedi.If William Shakespeare had been tuned into the political theatre of India, he would have possibly got the answer to his question ‘What’s in a name?’ The answer to that would most likely be: ‘Politics’.HOW THE NAME CHANGE WORKSLocal authorities or politicians propose a new name for a place or station.
The proposal is sent to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The MHA forwards it to the Department of Science and Technology.
The Department of Science and Technology sends it to the Survey of India (SoI) office.
The Department of Science and Technology sends it to the Survey of India (SoI) office.
Once approved by MHA, the state government and the union government make the changes in the respective gazettes with a notification. A STATION CALLED SEX?The IRCA gives railway stations an alphabetical code which is used in the official railway timetable.For example Kolhapur might be now called Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus, but its IRCA-provided alphabetical code remains the old KOP.Similarly a small narrow gauge station called Seroni Road in North Central Railway’s Jhansi division in Madhya Pradesh has its alphabetical code as SEX.WHAT’S A TOPONYM?Geographical names, or toponyms, provide a widely recognised and easily understandable reference to a place or location. They serve a range of purposes, from identification of a location in official documents such as passports and birth certificates, to providing an authoritative reference system for online search tools, web-based interactive mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices. They describe our landscape, highlight our multicultural and multilingual heritage, and record the history that shapes our values.NAME CHANGE OR ATTITUDE CHANGE?A survey carried out early this year, commissioned by the Environment & Housekeeping Management Directorate of the Railway Board and conducted by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation through TNS India Pvt. Ltd, showed that people want much more than just change in names.The survey, covering 407 stations of which 332 were A Category stations and 75 were A1 Category stations, gave out the 6 most impacting parameters in commuter satisfaction when it came to a railway station. As expected the name of the station didn’t figure anywhere.a) Absence of stench in the station premisesb) Adequate availability of dustbinsc) Promptness in cleaning of extremes of dirtiness like night-soil /vomitd) Cleanliness of platform arease) Availability & condition of toilets and availability of water in toiletsf) Condition of flooring surface at platforms

EAM Sushma Swaraj to undergo kidney transplant at AIIMS today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to undergo a kidney transplant at AIIMS on Saturday, with the organ being harvested from a living unrelated donor.”Living unrelated donor could be anyone who is emotionally attached to the recipient, such as friend, a relative, a neighbour or an in-law. As no suitable donor was available in the immediate family, the transplant will be done with the kidney from a living unrelated donor. As of now the transplant is scheduled to take place this weekend. The clearance from the authorisation committee has been obtained,” PTI sources at AIIMS had said on Tuesday, adding that Swaraj’s pre-transplant process was complete.The surgery will be performed by a team of experts constituted by AIIMS. According to doctors, Swaraj been suffering from diabetes for quite a long time. After the kidney failure diagnosis, she was put on maintenance dialysis. “She undergoes dialysis thrice a week,” a senior doctor said.On November 16, Swaraj had tweeted that she was in AIIMS because of kidney failure. “I am in AIIMS because of kidney failure. Presently, I am on dialysis. I am undergoing tests for a kidney transplant. Lord Krishna will bless,” Swaraj had tweeted.64-year-old Swaraj, who has been in and out of the hospital for last few months, was admitted to AIIMS on November 7. After Swaraj made public her health condition on social media, support had poured in for her with several people offering their kidneys for transplant.Earlier she was admitted to AIIMS in April for treatment of pneumonia and other health issues.

Mature friend valuable than hysterical partner: MJ Akbar on Sino-Pak friendship

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a veiled dig at Sino-Pakistan friendship, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said a “mature” friend is far more valuable than a “hysterical” partner. Addressing the first India-China think-tank forum here, Akbar also said the time has come for India and China to regain the reputation of being a global manufacturing hub.He referred to the past when India accounted for 24% of the global manufacturing output and China 30%. “There cannot be any situation in which two nations do not have some differences. Of course, there will be some but mature nations can take their problems to a decent space of a dialogue table.”A mature friend is far, far more valuable than a hysterical partner,” Akbar said at the inauguration of the two-day forum. His remarks appeared as an indirect message to China which describes Pakistan as a “all weather ally” and has strong defence and trade ties with it. In the backdrop of the several terror strikes carried out in India by Pakistan-based groups, Akbar said dangers from terrorism are not limited to the fact that it kills people but also in its use of fear to divide people, especially in societies and nations which are built on pluralism.He warned that complacence was absolutely the “biggest danger” while dealing with new realities posed by terrorism. Commenting on the current situation in the region, the minister said, “Peace is sometimes more difficult to find than war.”He also said in the post British empire era, both India and China agreed that religion cannot be the basis of nationalism.”In the (Indian) sub-continent this idea was challenged by votaries of the Muslim League, who argued that religion could be basis of nation state. Parallel story that religion on which they wanted nation state, Islam, there is no history of Islam being basis of political unity,” he said.

Activists criticise govt’s move to cancel Indira Jaising’s NGO’s licence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Some of the leading activists on Friday criticised the Centre’s decision to cancel licence of ‘Lawyers Collective’, an NGO run by noted lawyer Indira Jaising.Condemning the Centre’s decision, Anjali Gopalan, Executive Director of Naz Foundation, said, “What is shocking about the order served on the Lawyers’ Collective is the statement that they have done nothing for women’s development and empowerment.” Uma Chakravarti, historian and social activist alleged that the move by the central government was a “new witch-hunt of our times.”Expressing solidarity with the NGO, JNU Professor Ayesha Kidwai lauded the ‘Lawyers’ Collective’ for the “resolute fight for justice they have put up through the years”.Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the licence of ‘Lawyers’ Collective’ permanently, alleging violation of FCRA, an action termed by the organisation as “preposterous” and an attack on “right to free speech” guaranteed under the Constitution.

Denial of rights to women is against sharia law: MJ Akbar

New Delhi: Denial of gender rights is against the sharia law and no state can be modern without gender freedom, Union Minister MJ Akbar said on Thursday.

File photo of MJ Akbar. AFP

File photo of MJ Akbar. AFP

“You cannot deny gender equality to any being. Denial of gender rights is against the sharia. Anyone who has a deep understanding of the Koranic law will never have the courage to argue. He will simply not,” he said.

“What you have done is, you have turned the law into male aggression, something which the Koran specifically forbids. No state can be modern without gender freedom and progress. It is simply not possible,” Akbar said.

The Union Minister of State for External Affairs was speaking on the occasion of SAARC Charter Day at the SAARC University in New Delhi.

He said apart from gender equality, freedom of thought, expression, political articulation or non-political articulation is essential for a modern state.

“Freedom of faith includes the freedom to be non-faithful, it includes the freedom of atheism.”

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 15:48 IST

Listen to your guru: Congress mocks BJP over LK Advani’s outburst in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Exasperated at the repeated disruption of Parliamentary proceedings over demonetizaton, BJP elder L K Advani blamed both the ruling and opposition benches for the deadlock, and even pulled up the Speaker and Parliamentary Affairs Minister for “not running the House”. After rare outburst by Advani, both the government and main opposition Congress, which is leading the protests in the two Houses of Parliament, tried to shift the blame for his anguish to each other.”Neither the Speaker nor the Parliamentary Affairs Minister is running the House,” he was heard remarking just before Lok Sabha was adjourned 15 minutes ahead of the lunch recess amid slogan-shouting by Congress and TMC members.”I am going to tell the Speaker that she is not running the House … I am going to say it publicly. Both sides are a party to this,” he said as Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar Kumar was seen pacifying the BJP stalwart.Congress was quick to latch on to Advani’s angry remarks, telling the government to pay heed to the “good advice” of the BJP veteran and get the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha going.”L K Advani is a very senior leader of the BJP and has been in Parliament for a long time. BJP considers Advani ji as their ‘margdarshak’ and guru. I expect that the BJP is not hearing out the opposition, but at least BJP should hear out their ‘margdarshak’,” Congress spokesperson Sushmita Dev told reporters.”I thank him. Advani has brought correct perspective to the whole issue. It is the responsibility of the government to make sure that maximum work is done during the session.”Advani is one of the senior most Parliamentarians. We hope the government will take his good advice,” she said.Top Union ministers, however, attributed Advani’s anguish to his anger with opposition parties and insisted they were to “blame” for the impasse.”He was upset with opposition,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said.Top Union ministers attributed senior BJP leader L K Advani’s anguish in the Lok Sabha over its continued disruptions to his anger with opposition parties and insisted they were to “blame” for the impasse “He was upset with opposition,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said after the House was adjourned yet again today amid ruckus. Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said Advani’s anguish was the “reflection of agony of a senior parliamentarian and politician” over the conduct of opposition parties. Earlier, Advani had expressed deep distress over the way the Lok Sabha proceedings were being conducted, saying neither the Speaker nor the Parliamentary Affairs Minister was running the House and that “both sides are party to this (disruptions)”.A visibly agitated Advani was heard expressing his unhappiness to Kumar over the continuing protests in the House when some opposition members had close to the treasury benches raising slogans in the Well.Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said,” Advaniji is a senior member. Parliament should run. It is not.He is sad. He is feeling bad. The way Congress and TMC are disturbing the parliament, nobody will like it,” he said.Later talking to reporters, BJP’s Venkaih Naidu said everybody is sad, including himself, but the opposition is not letting the House to function.”What is their (opposition) strategy? Why are they going on this suicidal path, I am not able to understand. But the way Parliament is functioning, the people of the country are sad,” he said.He said while the opposition is saying they are not against remonetisation, they are at the same time not ready to discuss the problems faced by people, an issue they have been raising. They are also coming out and saying that they will not let the house function, he said.”But I am hopeful and optimistic. I hope there will be some ‘parivartan’ (change) in their mind and they will cooperate in the functioning of the house,” he said.He said, “Now a policy decision has been taken. You find the policy decision, fight against black money wrong, you say it in the house. Give good suggestion. You cannot have a comparison. Government has taken a bold, historic, revolutionary step.”The people of the country are very happy. Instead of helping the people, solving the problem and moving the country towards digital transfer of money, they are trying to create panic in the society. That have failed in that as well. They are showing their frustration. That is contempt of Parliament and democracy,”

Kashmir issue: Pakistan asks UN to help in de-escalating tensions with India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Blaming India for closing the doors on any bilateral engagement with it, Pakistan told top UN officials that the world body has a “moral responsibility” to play its role in resolution of the Kashmir issue and help in de-escalating tensions.Special Assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi, during his day-long visit to the city, met UN Secretary General-designate Antonio Guterres, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson and Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffery Feltman.According to press release issued yesterday from the Pakistan s mission to the UN, Fatemi told the top UN leaders that Indian forces had stepped up ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and the Working Boundary in order to divert international attention from the alleged human rights atrocities, particularly the targetting of civilians, in Kashmir.”India had also closed the doors on any bilateral engagement. In this situation, the UN had a moral responsibility to call for ending human rights violations” in Kashmir, “play its role in resolution of this long festering dispute and help in immediately de-escalating tensions”, he said, according to the release.Fatemi, accompanied by Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN Maleeha Lodhi, said, Islamabad expected the UN to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the South Asian region, especially in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.He said while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had reached out to India and made efforts to develop a mutually beneficial relationship, the efforts were not being reciprocated by New Delhi.Fatemi also briefed the UN officials about alleged human rights violations by Indian forces on the Kashmiri people, saying efforts to quash a popular and indigenous uprising in Kashmir had led to the killing of over a hundred people and injuries to thousands.The release said that the UN leadership called for resumption of dialogue and de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan adding that Eliasson expressed concern at the regional situation and called for the lowering of tensions.On Afghanistan, Fatemi said Pakistan was ready to play its part for peace and stability in the country.

Tamil Nadu government declares holiday for its offices today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday announced a holiday for its offices under the Negotiable Instruments Act, as a mark of respect to late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.A Government Order (GO) said the notified public holiday will apply to all state government offices, undertakings, corporations and boards.”Under the Explanation to Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 read with Notification of the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs No.20-25-26, Public-1, dated 8th June 1957 the Government of Tamil Nadu hereby declares that Tuesday, the 6th of December, 2016 as a public holiday as a mark of respect to the late Selvi J Jayalalithaa, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,” it said.The day will be also treated as a paid holiday for all industrial employees on regular work charge and industrial establishments and the labour hired on daily wages, it said.The government also issued another order declaring three days holidays for “all educational institutions” starting today.The holidays were being declared “as a mark of respect” to the late leader, the GO said.

India counters Aziz’s allegations, says he was treated well

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Monday dismissed allegations that Pakistan PM’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was mistreated during his trip to Amritsar while attending the Heart of Asia conference.Official sources here said that India extended all facilities to Aziz and there was no reason to complain. Pakistan had claimed that restrictions were put on his movement of Pakistani delegation and they were not even allowed speak to media. Sources added that a rare exception was made to allow arrival and departure of Aziz by air at Amritsar which is not a designated port for entry and exit of Pakistani nationals, besides giving swift clearance despite a last-minute change in his scheduled arrival by a special flight.In a hurriedly called press conference after his return from Amritsar last night, Aziz had accused India of not treating the Pakistani media properly and said he was not allowed to have a press conference. “The attitude towards media was not good. I wanted to have press interaction with our own media. But we were not allowed,” he alleged. Pakistan had also claimed that Aziz was not allowed to visit the Golden Temple and speak to Pakistani media at the hotel where he was staying.“They have no reasons to complain. We were gracious hosts. Extended tarmac access, gave additional rooms, provided armoured cars (not given to every foreign minister) and other conveniences keeping special security requirements in view . This was done despite the last minute change of programme and advancing of arrival in Amritsar by special flight by more than 12 hours. Fresh flight clearance was issued within minutes,” the sources said. They said Aziz could be present in the official dinner and in the call on Prime Minister on the evening of October 3due to the last minute clearance given. “In addition, they were actively engaged in the Senior Officials Meeting and Ministerial and all other requests honoured. A rare exception was made to allow arrival and departure by air at Amritsar which is not a designated airport for entry and exit for Pakistani nationals,” they said.

Sushma Swaraj addresses grievances on Twitter despite undergoing treatment for kidney failure

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on 16 November had tweeted that she has been admitted in Aiims, Delhi due to kidney failure and underwent tests for a transplant.

Despite undergoing treatment, Swaraj has been actively addressing grievances on Twitter. Sunil Raman wrote for Firstpost that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon appoint a full-time foreign minister as Swaraj is “expected to remain out of active duty for many months”.

“Modi is looking for a likely successor to Swaraj from among the limited talent on BJP bench. It is expected that the appointment and a few changes in portfolios might take place after the Winter Session of Parliament ends.” 

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFP

Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. File photo. AFP

Swaraj has not only dealt with various international crisis and assisted people in distress in India and abroad, but after she took charge as the external affairs minister in 2014, her Twitter feed has turned into a news bulletin, a platform where distressed Indians come seeking assistance.

Not just helping people with visa and immigration issues, Swaraj has been the face of the NDA government while addressing any kind of international crisis. Whether it is the timely updates during Operation Raahat where 6,688 people were evacuated from war-torn Yemen or her powerful rebuttal to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the UN General Assembly after the Uri attack, Swaraj has earned the admiration of the country.

Things have not much changed even when she is in the hospital. She has been actively addressing grievances on Twitter. Take this example:

On Saturday, the External Affairs Minister said those guilty of an alleged gang rape of an American woman in March this year at a luxury hotel in the national capital won’t be spared and asked Delhi Police to register a case.

Taking cognisance of media reports about the alleged rape, Swaraj in a series of tweets said she spoke to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and Indian Ambassador in US Navtej Sarna about the matter.

According to The Economic Times, the minister has been clearing files and holding discussions and the functioning of her ministry has not been affected despite her absence. Irrespective of who succeeds her, he/she will definitely have big shoes to fill.

(With inputs from PTI)

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 16:23 IST

Sartaj Aziz lashes out at Afghan Prez, says exchanged pleasantries with PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz on Sunday said he “exchanged pleasantries” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and NSA Ajit Doval in Amritsar, hours after India said there was no Indo-Pak bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia meet.Aziz addressed a hurriedly called press conference here soon after his return from India. He did not give any details of his interaction with top Indian leaders but said that no breakthrough was achieved.”I met and exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Modi, Arun Jaitley and Ajit Doval and others on the sidelines,” Aziz said. “We had no expectation of breakthrough. Who had such an expectation from the conference? At least, I had no such expectation,” Aziz asserted.While Indian sources said Aziz and Doval “had a stroll for about 100 feet” at the venue of the dinner ‘Sada Pind’, a heritage village, Pakistani officials maintained that they had a “meeting”. However, it is not known what transpired during their conversation. When asked, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, “There was no meeting”. Aziz, after returning to Pakistan, said his country was ready for talks with India to discuss all issues including Kashmir and rejected the notion that Kashmir was not a problem “Kashmir is a reality. If it is not a problem then why they are keeping 700,000 troops there? Why Kashmir was shut down for over four months?” he said. Aziz also accused India of not treating the Pakistani media properly at the Heart of Asia meeting and said he was not allowed to have a press conference. “The attitude towards media was not good. I wanted to have press interaction with our own media. But we were not allowed,” he alleged.Aziz also criticised Afghan president Ashraf Ghani for remarks against of Pakistan at the conference.”Ashraf Ghani’s statement is regrettable. It shows anxiety in Kabul and is understandable due to deteriorating law and order situation,” he said. Afghan President Ghani directly blamed Pakistan for “launching an undeclared war” against his country and demanded an Asian or international regime to verify Pakistan- sponsored terror operations. Aziz, who also met Ghani, said the Afghan leader had a different idea about USD 500 million assistance pledged by Pakistan and proposed a trilateral commission with China to utilise the amount for welfare of Afghanistan.He said Pakistan had reassured Ghani that its territory will not be used against Kabul. “I reassured Ghani that we will not allow out territory to be used against Afghanistan. But also emphasised better border management,” said Aziz. Aziz asserted that Ghani said what India wanted to hear. “But our ties with Afghanistan are independent and we need to cooperate on several issues,” Aziz said. He claimed that India was trying to use Afghanistan for its own advantage “but it will not succeed”. “Indian efforts will not succeed to spoil Pakistan ties with Afghanistan, as our ties are religious and cultural. That is why we want that terrorism should end in Afghanistan,” he said

There was no meeting: India rejects Pak claims about Doval-Aziz interaction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had a brief interaction here last night, amid intense strain in Indo-Pak ties in the wake of Nagrota terror strike and intensified cross-border firing in Jammu and Kashmir.Aziz and Doval had a short informal chat after Foreign Ministers of five countries called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night in a group. The call on by the foreign ministers preceded an official dinner attended by representatives of almost all countries participating in the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference here. While Indian sources said Aziz and Doval “had a stroll for about 100 feet” at the venue of the dinner ‘Sada Pind’, a heritage village, Pakistani officials maintained that they had a “meeting”. However, it is not known what transpired during their conversation. When asked, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup only said, “There was no meeting”.Aziz arrived here last night to attend HoA conference amid speculation on whether the two sides will have bilateral talks on the sidelines of the conclave to break the ice in ties. During the dinner, Aziz exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier, in a goodwill gesture, Aziz sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj yesterday, extending his “sincere good wishes for her full and speedy recovery” from illness.Sawaraj and Aziz had held a meeting during last year’s HoA meet in Islamabad during which both countries had agreed to start ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ that was to cover all outstanding issues.The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year and subsequent terror strike involving Pakistan-based terrorists. Earlier this week, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had said Pakistan was willing for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India was ready.India had already made it clear that it will never accept continuing cross border terrorism as the ‘new normal’ in bilateral ties with Pakistan while asserting that talks cannot take place in an atmosphere of “continued terror”.Tensions between the two countries escalated after the cross border terror attack on an army base in Nagrota in Jammu.

Pakistan media notes Modi-Aziz handshake in Amritsar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistani media on Sunday took note of the handshake and exchange of niceties between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz at Amritsar amid deadly border skirmishes and rhetoric.Aziz reached Amritsar last evening to attend the Heart of Asia conference, instead of this morning apparently to dodge early morning fog.The change of schedule provided a subtle opportunity for a handshake and exchange of pleasantries with Modi who hosted a banquet for the delegates.The Express Tribune under the front page headline “Aziz-Modi handshake sets off media frenzy” wrote that “After months of war rhetoric and deadly border skirmishes, Indian and Pakistani officials exchanged niceties and set the media abuzz on Saturday”.”With a broad smile on his face, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shook hands with Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz at a banquet he had hosted for the participants of the Heart of Asia conference in Amritsar,” it reported.The paper reported that Modi also asked about the health of his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif who had recently undergone open heart surgery in a London hospital.Aziz conveyed “good wishes” to the Indian leader on behalf of Sharif.The Dawn reported that Aziz was received by Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and the joint secretary of Indian Ministry of External Affairs.”Sartaj Aziz also sent a bouquet to Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at her residence, extending his sincere good wishes for her full and speedy recovery,” it said.The News International reported that Modi shook hands with Aziz and inquired after the well-being of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from him.”Aziz said Nawaz Sharif is well and he has also expressed good wishes for him,” it further reported.It also reported that Aziz sent a bouquet to Swaraj at her residence extending good wishes for her speedy recovery.Pakistan was unanimous that no meeting between Pakistani and Indian officials on the sidelines was expected due to the ongoing bilateral tension.”Contrary to Indian media reports, no actual talks took place during the banquet. Nonetheless, the customary handshake after months of belligerence and hostilities set off media frenzy in both countries,” according to the Express Tribune.Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained following the Uri terror attack in September that killed 19 Indian soldiers.

Heart of Asia summit LIVE: Narendra Modi tells Aziz terror must end for stability in Afghanistan

Dec 4, 2016

Highlights

  • 10:39(IST)

  • 10:29(IST)

Pakistan Premier’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz along with foreign ministers of four countries on Sunday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who told them that it was important to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability in Afghanistan and the region.

The Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Slovakia, which holds the European Union Presidency this month, along with Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Aziz called on Modi ahead of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on Afghanistan.

PM Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif. PTI file imagePM Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif. PTI file image

PM Narendra Modi with Nawaz Sharif. PTI file image

Modi welcomed the Foreign Ministers and stressed it was the collective responsibility of all those in the region to work together to help Afghanistan out of its current difficulties, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

The Prime Minister stated that his several interactions with both the common people of Afghanistan and the country’s leadership had convinced him that the Afghan people were tired of the continuing violence and terrorism. Prime Minister Modi stressed on “the need to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability, security and development in Afghanistan and our region,” Swarup said. In this context, the Prime Minister hoped that discussions in the Ministerial Conference tomorrow will produce good results.

Agreeing with the Premier on the need to end violence in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministers shared Prime Minister Modi’s view that Afghanistan’s stability, security and prosperity are integral to the region’s, Swarup said. “They greatly appreciated the continued commitment and engagement of India and its leadership for these ends.

The Foreign Ministers warmly thanked India for hosting the Conference and expressed confidence that all friends of Afghanistan will work together for realising the aspirations for peace and development,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 4, 2016 09:30 IST

Important to end terror for stability in Asia: PM Modi tells Sartaz Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Premier’s foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz along with foreign ministers of four countries on Saturday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi who told them that it was important to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability in Afghanistan and the region.The Foreign Ministers of Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Slovakia, which holds the European Union Presidency this month, along with Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Aziz called on Modi ahead of the 6th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on Afghanistan here.Prime Minister Modi welcomed the Foreign Ministers and stressed it was the collective responsibility of all those in the region to work together to help Afghanistan out of its current difficulties, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.The Prime Minister stated that his several interactions with both the common people of Afghanistan and the country’s leadership had convinced him that the Afghan people were tired of the continuing violence and terrorism.Prime Minister Modi stressed on “the need to end terrorism and violence for fostering stability, security and development in Afghanistan and our region,” Swarup said.In this context, the Prime Minister hoped that discussions in the Ministerial Conference tomorrow will produce good results.Agreeing with the Premier on the need to end violence in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministers shared Prime Minister Modi’s view that Afghanistan’s stability, security and prosperity are integral to the region’s, Swarup said.”They greatly appreciated the continued commitment and engagement of India and its leadership for these ends. The Foreign Ministers warmly thanked India for hosting the Conference and expressed confidence that all friends of Afghanistan will work together for realising the aspirations for peace and development,” he said.

Aziz sends bouquet to Sushma, wishes speedy recovery

Sat, 3 Dec 2016-09:35pm , Amritsar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a goodwill gesture, Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz on Saturday sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and wished her a speedy recovery.The bouquet was delivered to Swaraj’s residence this evening. Swaraj is being treated at AIIMS for kidney failure. “Aziz sent a bouquet to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at her residence this evening extending his good wishes for her speedy recovery,” a source said. Aziz is representing Pakistan at the Heart of Asia conference tomorrow which will be jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

American woman alleges gang-rape, Sushma Swaraj assures action against culprits

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday assured that the government would initiate action against the culprits, who allegedly gang-raped a US woman at a five-star hotel near Connaught Place earlier this year.”I have seen the media reports about gang rape of an American tourist in Delhi in March this year. I have spoken to the Lt Governor Delhi and told him that Police should register a case and bring the guilty to book. I have also asked Indian Ambassador in US to contact the victim and assure her that we will not spare the guilty,” Swaraj tweeted.The External Affairs Minister’s assertion came after the Delhi Police received an e-mail complaint from the woman claiming that she was gang-raped by five men at a five-star hotel. An NGO has alleged that an American tourist was allegedly gangraped by five men in March at a five-star hotel in Connaught Place, police said on Thursday.According to police, they were investigating a complaint from an NGO, through an email, stating that the US citizen was gangraped by five men who entered into her room on the pretext of some tour and travel related work.The woman went back to her country and since she was scared, she didn’t approach police, a senior police official said, adding that the complaint was being investigated and following the inquiry, an FIR will be lodged within a couple of days.

When PM Modi’s old friend David Cameron dropped by

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Former British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which the two leaders discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest. Modi recalled his successful visit to the UK in November 2015, and thanked Cameron for his personal support and contribution to strengthening India-UK ties during his tenure as Prime Minister. “The two leaders discussed regional and global issues of mutual interest,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. Cameron, who is visiting India and is scheduled to participate at an media event tomorrow, announced his resignation following victory for supporters favouring UK’s exit from the EU after divisive referendum campaign.

Sushma Swaraj asks Kerala govt to expedite trial of Japanese woman rape case

Fri, 2 Dec 2016-09:45pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has asked the Kerala government to expedite the trial in a case of alleged rape of a Japanese woman in the state’s Kovalam district last month.In a series of tweets, she said, “I asked for a report from Government of Kerala about the rape of a Japanese tourist on 25 Nov 2016. We have received the report.””The statement of the victim has been recorded before a Magistrate and the accused has been apprehended.””I have asked Government of Kerala to expedite the trial and keep us informed about the case.”According to Kerala Police, the 35-year-old Japanese woman was allegedly raped by a man from neighbouring Karnataka at Kovalam and a case was registered against him under section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Indian Penal Code.

India likely to step up efforts for Pakistan’s isolation at Heart of Asia conference

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid heightened tension with Pakistan following yet another brazen terror attack on an army base, India is likely to step up efforts to corner it diplomatically and mobilise support for concrete action against state-sponsored terrorism at the two-day Heart of Asia (HoA) conference beginning in Amritsar on Saturday.Afghanistan, which has also been witnessing increased attacks from terror groups operating from Pakistani soil, is set to push hard for a regional counter-terror framework with binding commitment at the annual meeting of Heart of Asia Istanbul Process, a platform set up in 2011 to assist the war-battered country in its transition.Top officials of the 14 member countries will meet on Saturday to discuss key challenges facing the region including from terror groups and explore ways to bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan. On Sunday, the main conference will be jointly inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani where both India and Afghanistan are likely to corner Pakistan on terror.
ALSO READ Pakistan-backed terror to be focus of Heart of Asia conference, say India, AfghanistanPakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz will represent Islamabad at the conference and all eyes will be on whether an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting takes place on the sidelines. Ahead of Aziz s visit in Amritsar, India had on Thursday said it will never accept continuing cross border terrorism as the “new normal” in bilateral ties with Pakistan while making it clear that talks cannot take place in an atmosphere of “continued terror”.India had called for isolating Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri attack on an army establishment and it is likely to continue efforts in that direction at the Heart of Asia conference. At the BRICS summit in Goa in October, India had called Pakistan the “mother ship” of terrorism globally.Aziz is scheduled to arrive in Amritsar on Sunday and is expected to return the same day.The entire holy city, which is not far from Indo-Pak border, has been decked up, while multiple layers of security have been put in place. Strong vigil is being kept along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab. It was clear that dealing with terrorism will be a major focus at the conference as both India and Afghanistan earlier this week called terror emanating from Pakistan the “greatest threat” to regional peace and stability.Afghanistan has been pushing for an effective counter- terror framework and the matter will be discussed at length at the conference being attended by representatives from over 30 countries including China, the US, Russia and Iran. The Indian delegation will be led by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the absence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is ill. “Terrorism is the greatest threat to the region and we expect the HoA to approve the regional counter terrorism framework that has been drafted by Afghanistan and circulated to HoA countries. We hope the conference will adopt it,” said Afghan Ambassador Shaida M Abdali. A declaration will be issued at the conclusion of the conference and is expected to focus on ways to deal with terror.The conference, whose theme is security and prosperity, will also deliberate on major connectivity initiatives including Chabahar project, a five nation railway project. There may be deliberations on TAPI (Turkmenistan Afghanistan-Pakistan India) gas pipeline project.Ghani is scheduled to arrive on Saturday and he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have a bilateral meeting where the Afghan President is likely to push for supply of military hardware by India to his country. India has already provided nearly US $2 billion to Afghanistan for reconstruction activities but has been adopting a cautious approach in providing weapons.The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process was launched in 2011 and the participating countries include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Arab Emirates. Swaraj had attended last year’s conference in Islamabad.The platform was floated to encourage security, political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours. The countries which support the initiative are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Finland, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Britain and the US. Four countries Uzbekistan, Latvia, Bulgaria and Austria are attending the conference as guest nations.

Hyderabad Police detains five people with Rs 95 lakh in new currency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hyderabad Police has confirmed the detention of five people, including a lady with a total cash of Rs 95,18,000 in new currency of Rs 2000 and Rs 100 denomination.Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government announced demonetization on November 8, banning high-value notes of Rs 500 and 1000. After the ban, new currency notes of Rs 2000 and 500 denominations were introduced in the monetary system.However, the move was announced suddenly and due to the lack of proper implementation, the common man is experiencing a disrupted life. The Centre is of the opinion that this move would curb black money and corruption.However, many cases of people being detained with large amount of cash in new currency notes have come to light since this announcement. Recently, Rs 70 lakh cash in new currency notes was ceased from Maharashtra.Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary said that the ones involved in money laundering won’t be spared.

India has urged China to change stand on Masood Azhar: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government has urged China to reverse its technical hold on India’s request, which is co- sponsored by several prominent countries, to get Masood Azhar designated as terrorist by the UN, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar said on Thursday. In a written reply in a question in the Rajya Sabha, Akbar said China has often repeated its concern on spread of terrorism and their desire to cooperate with India on this issue. On several occasions, China has reiterated with India their resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with “zero tolerance”, and has agreed that there is no justification for terrorism. “Government has consistently highlighted to China regarding the threat of cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and affecting the region, including India.”Specifically, we have emphasised forcefully that while the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed has been proscribed by the UNSC Sanctions Committee…for its well known terror activities and links to the Al Qaeda, the designation of JeM s main leader, financier and motivator Azhar has been repeatedly put on a technical hold. “Accordingly, we have urged China to reverse its technical hold on India’s request to list Azhar under 1267 provisions. India’s request is co-sponsored by several prominent countries,” the Minister added.

Return of Islamic State-trained terrorists worrying: MEA official

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Battle-hardened youths returning to their home countries to launch terror attacks after being trained and indoctrinated by IS was a major security concern and central Asian countries must act unitedly to combat the menace, a top External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.Secretary (West) of Ministry of External Affairs Sujata Mehta said the challenge for Central Asian countries was act to ensure that moderate views of assimilation and accommodation prevail amid an “onslaught of extremism”.”Reports suggest that those from Central Asia who have gone to fight for Da’esh (IS) are likely to return to their roots to pursue their sinister agenda back home; there are already signs of Da’esh fighters joining, coordinating and launching terrorist attacks having returned battle-hardened and indoctrinated.”The challenge for our Central Asian partners is to act to ensure that moderate views of assimilation and accommodation prevail amidst an onslaught of extremism,” she said.She was speaking at the Fourth India-Central Asia Dialogue organised by the Ministry of External Affairs.Mehta also said the rise of terror outfit IS has added another dimension to militancy in Central Asia, adding India’s vision for the future cooperation with the countries of the region is “ambitious and at the same time realistic”.”Today, Central Asia faces some persisting, and some new challenges. Regional security is a continuing concern. The situation in neighbouring Afghanistan, which shares a border with three Central Asian countries, is yet to stabilise.”Drug trafficking and associated criminal activities have been a bane for the people of this region. The rise of Da’esh (IS) has added another dimension to extremism and militancy in the region,” she said.The senior MEA official said the current scenario, regionally and internationally, presents immense challenges but also offers potential for India and Central Asia to qualitatively enhance their engagement.”Both India and Central Asia are factors of peace, stability, growth and development in the region and the world.Stronger relations between us will contribute to increased security and prosperity of these countries and the world.”The significance of this region in the foreign policy matrix of India cannot be overemphasised and we believe that the security, stability and prosperity of Central Asia is imperative for peace and economic development in India.”We are each other’s extended neighbourhood and the region has been a priority area of interest for Indian policymakers, practitioners and thinkers,” Mehta added.She said there was much that both sides can achieve in partnership and that this was a good moment to reflect on the major issues as Central Asian countries mark 25 years of their independence.”12 experts from Central Asian countries are participating in the dialogue. Overall, over 20 speakers, including those from India, will address different sessions over the two days,” a senior official said.

Sushma Swaraj seeks report on Indian in Dubai who walked 1,000 kms for justice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought a report from the Indian consulate in Dubai about an Indian man who walked more than 1,000 kilometres over two years as he had no money to attend court proceedings for obtaining a flight ticket to return home.”I have asked for a report from Indian Embassy in Dubai,” Swaraj tweeted yesterday.Jagannathan Selvaraj, who hails from Tiruchirappalli, braved traffic, heat, sandstorms and exhaustion as he made his way through the busy highways of Dubai, travelling a distance of 22 kilometre one way from his Sonapur accommodation to attend the labour court proceedings.A bus trip from Sonapur to Karama costs a few dirhams, but Selvaraj did not have money to travel by bus and was forced to spend two hours for a one-way trip and another two hours for the return journey after every court hearing.

Sartaj Aziz to visit India on Sunday for Heart of Asia meet

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is set to visit India on Sunday to attend the Heart of Asia meet in Amritsar, according to a media report.The two-day conference is being held in Amritsar this weekend (December 3-4) and Aziz visit Amritsar on Sunday, Dawn News reported.Aziz is leading the Pakistani delegation to the meeting of the process that focuses on regional cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours for improving connectivity and tackling security threats. But no meeting with Indian officials is scheduled on the sidelines, the report said.”For now we don’t see any willingness on their part…the ball is in India’s court, for they know we are willing but we don’t know whether they are willing,” an official was quoted as saying.Pakistan and India had held a meeting in Islamabad at the last Heart of Asia ministerial meeting and agreed to start ‘Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue’ that was to cover all outstanding issues.The resumption of the dialogue could, however, not take place due to the Pathankot terror attack in January this year.An official was also quoted as saying that Pakistan had not formally reached out to India for a bilateral meeting in Amritsar.Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit, while participating in BBC Urdu’s ‘Facebook Live’ interaction yesterday, said Pakistan was ready for unconditional resumption of dialogue if India is ready.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is not attending the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting.”Since Sushma Swaraj is not attending, it’s difficult to have a meeting with anyone else,” the daily quoted a Pakistani diplomat as saying.”The Pakistani side believes that the way out of the current stalemate in ties is India giving up its intransigence,” the daily said.”India has to make up its mind. They are not willing to discuss Kashmir,” the official said.India has been non-committal about holding bilateral talks with Aziz but has made it clear that “talks and terror cannot go hand in hand”.

Arun Jaitley to lead Indian delegation at HoA conference

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will lead the Indian delegation at the two-day Heart of Asia conference beginning Saturday which will be participated by over 30 countries including China, the US, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is unwell, will not attend the meet. The main conference will be inaugurated jointly by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on December 4. Afghanistan is the permanent chair of HoA while India is its co-chair this year being the host.The ministerial conference will be co-chaired by Jaitley and the Afghan Foreign Minister, Gopal Baglay, who heads the PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) division in Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters.Swaraj is undergoing treatment for kidney failure and the MEA last week had announced that she will not attend the meet. The HoA platform was floated with an aim to encourage security, political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours.

Rajnath Singh to lead Indian team at Fidel Castro’s funeral

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh will lead the Indian delegation at the funeral of Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro.The delegation is likely to include leaders from various political parties like Congress, CPI(M), CPI and Samajwadi Party.The team will leave for Havana tomorrow and is expected to return on Thursday evening, official sources said The composition of the delegation is still being worked out by the Prime Minister’s Office in consultation with the Ministries of the External Affairs and Home.After two days of commemorations in Cuba’s capital Havana, Castro’s ashes will go on a four-day island-wide procession starting Wednesday before being buried in the southeastern city of Santiago de Cuba on December 4.Castro died on November 25 at the age 90, after defying the United States during a half-century of iron-fisted rule and surviving the eclipse of global communism.Castro, whose 1959 revolution toppled a dictatorship with the promise of bringing justice and equality to his Caribbean island, was a major 20th century figure.

Mizoram: Question mark on Bru people repatriation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mizoram Bru Displace People’s Forum (MBDPF) President A Sawibunga expressed doubt that thousands of Bru people, now lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura district would be willing to return to Mizoram unless each repatriated family is disbursed money for construction of a house under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). MBDPF is an apex body of the Bru people lodged in the Tripura relief camps since the later part of 1997. Sawibunga, who is now in Aizawl to appear before a district court in which he is the accused in a defamation case, said that the centre has to give official assurance that all the families in the camps would be given house construction expenses under the Prime Minister’s program of housing for all.He lamented that many bona fide residents of Mizoram in the six relief camps were not identified by the Mizoram government officials who conducted the identification since November two till Wednesday. “The officials did not bother to check ration cards issued by the Mizoram government and other documents saying their instruction was to identify only those enrolled in the 1995 Voters lists,” he said, adding that many descendants of voters whose parents have died were also left out in the identification.He also said that the Tripura government officials issued birth certificates to only few Bru babies born in the relief camps which created problems in identification. Mizoram government officials identified 32,857 Brus belonging to 5,413 families during the identification process who would be repatriated as per the proposed road map for Bru repatriation.According to the Road Map-V for Bru Repatriation, around 21,000 Brus belonging to 3,445 families were to be repatriated, but the figure had shot up much more than the target earlier.Meanwhile, the physical repatriation, scheduled to commence from November 30 is not likely to begin as per schedule due to various problems, state home department officials said.The officials said that the Ministry of Home Affairs’ delay in making final decision on the proposed enhancement of rehabilitation and resettlement package for the resettled Bru families and the recent demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes hindered physical repatriation to begin as per schedule.At this rate, the physical repatriation may only take off in February next year, some officials said.

Nalanda University chancellor George Yeo resigns, claims he wasn’t notified about leadership change

New Delhi: George Yeo, the second Chancellor of Nalanda University after Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, on Friday resigned from the post saying the varsity’s autonomy was being affected as he was “not even given notice” of the leadership change in the institution.

“The circumstances under which the leadership change in Nalanda University has been suddenly and summarily effected is disturbing and possibly harmful to the University’s development,” he said in a statement to the members of the earlier Board of the university.

The Board was reconstituted by President Pranab Mukherjee as its Visitor on 21 November which severed Sen’s nearly a decade-long association with the institution after the government reconstituted the governing body of the prestigious institution.

“It is puzzling why I, as Chancellor, was not even given notice of it. When I was invited to take over the responsibility from Amartya Sen last year, I was repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. This appears not to be the case now.

“Accordingly, and with deep sadness, I have submitted my letter of resignation as Chancellor to the Visitor,” Yeo said.

Sources said the President, in his capacity as the Visitor of the university, approved the reconstitution of the Governing Board in accordance with provisions of the Nalanda University Act, 2010.

He also approved giving temporary charge of Vice Chancellor to senior-most Dean of the University as the current VC Gopa Sabharwal’s one year extension expired on Thursday. It will be a stop-gap measure until the new Vice Chancellor is appointed.

File photo of George Yeo. Reuters

File photo of George Yeo. Reuters

The new governing board will be a 14-member body which will be chaired by the chancellor. It will also comprise vice-chancellor, along with five members nominated by India, China, Australia, Laos PDR and Thailand.

Former revenue secretary NK Singh, who was also member of the Nalanda Mentors Group, will represent India.

“For reasons not entirely clear to me, the Government of India has decided to form the new Governing Board with immediate effect before the Act is amended. This is of course entirely the prerogative of the Government of India,” Yeo, the former Foreign Affairs Minister of Singapore, said.

He said that pending the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor, the incumbent Gopa Sabharwal, whose term ended on Thursday, was to stay in place “to ensure that there is no hiatus in the leadership of the University.”

This was also provided in the university statutes and “fully supported by the old Governing Board.”

“However, on 22 November, the Visitor overruled the Governing Board and directed the senior-most Dean be appointed instead,” Yeo said.

He said when he was appointed Chancellor in July this year, “I was told that a new Governing Board would be formed under an amended Act, core aspects of which the Ministry of External Affairs sought my views on.”

The amended Act, he said, would have removed “a major flaw” which “in essence offers Governing Board seats to East Asian Summit countries making the highest financial contributions in the last three years.”

“This provision, which was never recommended by the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG), would not have been a good way to constitute the Governing Board and was the reason the Government of India requested the NMG to continue functioning as the Governing Board for a number of years until the Act could be amended,” he said.

“It has been an honour and a privilege for me to be associated with the revival of Nalanda over the last decade, to serve as a member of the NMG and the Governing Board under the leadership of Amartya Sen, and to be appointed its second Chancellor.

“Despite difficult circumstances, the University has made remarkable progress through the tireless effort of Dr Gopa Sabharwal and her colleagues …. Nalanda is an idea whose time has come and larger than anyone of us,” Yeo said.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 14:10 IST

No ‘Heart of Asia’ meeting between Sushma Swaraj & Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ill-health of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has dented any chances of an India-Pakistan meeting on the sidelines of the Heart of Asia (HoA) conference in Amritsar next week. While the government is still non-committal on a meeting with visiting Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup reiterated India’s stated position that “talks and terror cannot go hand-in-hand”.“Our position on it (talks) is very clear from the beginning. We are for a dialogue. But talks and terror cannot happen together. It is incumbent on Pakistan to create the necessary environment for a conducive dialogue,” he said and referred to Swaraj’s address at the United Nations recently. He confirmed that Swaraj will not attend the conference. She is undergoing treatment for kidney failure.On being asked about the possibility of an Indo-Pak meet, Swarup said: “The programme is still evolving. At this point, I am not in a position to make any other announcement.” The conference, which will be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, will be attended by over 40 countries.The choice of Amritsar for the conference was itself loaded with a message to Pakistan to remove obstacles in the way of connecting the region. The conference will not only explore peace and stability in Afghanistan, but also underscore the value of restoring connectivity to address the challenges and achieve prosperity. India and Afghanistan had earlier expressed disappointment over the fact that 1.7 lakh tonnes of wheat that India had offered Afghanistan in December 2015 remain undelivered due to obstructions put up by Pakistan.Under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement, goods are allowed only from Afghanistan to India, and not the other way. Several other agreements, like the Motor Vehicles Agreement, are pending due to a lack of support from Pakistan towards Kabul’s plans for business with India.The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process (HoA) was founded in Istanbul in November 2011 to provide a platform for regional cooperation in the ‘Heart of Asia’ by placing Afghanistan at its centre.

India summons Pak Dy High Commissioner over repeated ceasefire violations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Vikas Swarup announced on Thursday that the MEA had summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Syed Hyder Shah and stated that despite calls for restrain, Pakistan violated ceasefire 27 times from November 12 to 21. He added that the MEA called in Pak DHC on and issued a demarche, the 4th one in this month owing to continued ceasefire violations from other side of LoC. Swarup said that these violent acts constitute a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement of 2003.Swarup also dissuaded from internationalising the Kashmir issue as it has borne no fruit and advised Pakistan to first end state support to terror. While India is not ruling out the possibility of bilateral talks with Pakistan Foreign Affairs Minister Sartaj Aziz, Swarup said he could not confirm anything on the matter.In the aftermath of Indian army’s “punitive fire assaults”, DGMOs of India and Pakistan on Wednesday spoke at the latter’s request for an “unscheduled hotline interaction” during which the “unethical” act of mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers by “terrorists” was raised. Indian DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh raised the issue of infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pakistan into Jammu and Kashmir and “unethical act of mutilation of the body of Indian soldiers close to the Line of Control by terrorists infiltrating from Pakistan”. Pakistan’s DGMO was exhorted to exercise strict control on their troops to refrain from any “nefarious activities”, it said.

Pakistan summons Indian Deputy High Commissioner for the third time this week

Islamabad: Pakistan summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh for the third consecutive day on Wednesday to condemn “unprovoked ceasefire violations” at the LoC and claimed Indian troops were “intentionally” targeting civilian areas.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Director-General (South Asia and SAARC) Mohammad Faisal summoned Singh and strongly condemned the ceasefire violations by Indian troops in Dhudnial sector “by intentionally targeting a civilian bus”, resulting in the death of nine civilians and injuries to another nine, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

This was the third time Singh was called in by Pakistan to lodge a protest over the ceasefire violations at the LoC. On Monday — and then on Tuesday — he was summoned.

Earlier on Wednesday, Pakistan Army said seven persons, including three of its soldiers, were killed in an exchange of fire with Indian troops on the LoC.

The clash occurred a day after India warned of retribution after losing three soldiers in Pakistan firing and after Pakistan yesterday rejected as “false” and “baseless” the charges that the body of an Indian soldier was mutilated by Pakistani soldiers in a cross LoC-attack.

Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Nafees Zakaria in a series of tweets had said the reports about the mutilation were aimed at maligning Pakistan.

Indian and Pakistani DGMOs also talked today in an “unscheduled” hotline interaction during which the “unethical” act of mutilation of bodies of Indian soldiers by “terrorists” was raised. The interaction between the military officers was requested by Pakistan after the Indian action at the LoC.

First Published On : Nov 24, 2016 10:02 IST

DNA Exclusive: India sceptic at Pak terror alert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid rising tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB), the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has informed the Delhi Police and other Central intelligence agencies that “Hindu radicals” could attack the Delhi-Lahore bus service, the Samjhauta rail service that operates between India and Pakistan, and the luxury bus service from Delhi to Nepal.This information, the MEA said, had been provided to them by the Pakistan High Commission.Following directives from the MEA, the Delhi Police have increased security at Old Delhi Railway Station and the Ambedkar Stadium Bus terminal and intensified checking.The communication, which was shared by the Pakistan High Commission to the MEA, and accessed by DNA, stated: “A message has been conveyed from the Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi that Hindu radical organisations can attack rail and bus services operating between Pakistan and India in the aftermath of Pathankot attack.”The alert has triggered serious concern among India’s security agencies. Decoding the alert by Pakistan High Commission, a review done by India’s intelligence agencies claim that the alert could be a “smokescreen” for Pakistan’s ISI to aid in terror activities across India. Intelligence officials also believe that the ISI is planning terror strikes in India by activating sleeper cells of the Lashkar-e-Toiba and the Indian Mujahideen.”The ISI could carry out terror strikes in India’s heartland and blame it on saffron terror. It is amply clear from the Pakistan High Commission’s input that the ISI has already activated its sleeper cells and the so-called alert it has shared with the Ministry of External Affairs is nothing but preparing the ground for outright denial after the attack.”Intelligence agency officials also believe that the Pakistani communication may be playing on the fact that Hindu radicals have been accused of being behind previous blasts on Indo-Pak rail service.On February 18, 2007, twin blasts on the Samjhauta Express connecting Delhi and Lahore – near Diwana station at Panipat killed 68 people. During investigation, eight Hindu radicals were charge-sheeted in connection with the Samjhauta blasts. The accused include Naba Kumar Sarkar alias Swami Asimanand, late Sunil Joshi alias Sunilji, Ramchandra Kalsangra, Sandeep Dange (both absconding), Lokesh Sharma, Kamal Chauhan, Amit and Rajender Choudhary.Meanwhile, the Pakistani communication also advises Indian agencies to keep sharp vigil. “Keeping a view on the sensitivity and international matter, sharp vigil, tactful handling and adequate police arrangements by local police, PCR and Traffic are suggested. Besides, a close watch may be kept over activities of such radical groups and organisations,” the communication to the MEA further stated.

No rules on singing, playing of ‘Vande Mataram’: Govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has not framed any rules for circumstances in which the ‘National Song’ may be sung, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said this in response to a question by Vikas Mahatme seeking to know “whether there are rules in place to ensure that National Song is performed uniformly in one voice, one beat and rhythm, since our National Song enhances our feeling of patriotism and it is mandatory to have rules for National Song…” He had also asked whether these rules are to be taken seriously as in theatres, it has been often observed that National Song is sung in different tunes and different ways and music is composed in different styles, although there is no objection in showing soldiers or other things in background but people singing this song commit physical movement.The MP also asked whether the government is serious towards implementation of such rules. “Government has not framed any rules or issued instructions laying down circumstances in which the National Song may be sung or played,” Rijiju said. According to official web siteIndia.gov.in, the National Song is “Vande Mataram, composed in Sanskrit by Bankimchandra Chatterji” has an equal status with National Anthem.

200 terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir, 105 entered this year: Govt in Rajya Sabha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> There are about 200 terrorists active in Jammu and Kashmir with 105 of them successfully entered during this year, till September, Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said 105 terrorists have infiltrated into the Indian side of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir during the year 2016 (upto September 2016).”As per available inputs, nearly 200 terrorists are active in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. Ahir said the government in tandem with the state government have adopted a multi-pronged approach to contain cross-border infiltration which, interalia, include strengthening of border management and multi-tiered deployment along the international border/Line of Control, and near the ever changing infiltration routers, construction/maintenance of border fencing.The Minister said the steps include construction of bunkers and culverts/bridges on nullahs, improved technology, weapons and equipment for security forces, improved intelligence and operations coordination, installation of border floodlight on the International Border and synerzising intelligence flow to check infiltration and proactive action against terrorists within the state. Replying to a separate question, Kiren Rijiju, also Minister of State for Home Affairs, said the government has decided to install a modern anti-infiltration mechanisms on borders for which Rs 10 crore has been allocated for one of the projects.He said sufficient funds are available for other pilot projects for implementation of CIBMS. “In this regard, pilot projects of technological solutions in the form of Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS) have approved for Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders,” Rijiju said. He said it is basically an integration of manpower, sensor networks, intelligence and command and control solutions and includes inter alia Electro-Optic Sensors (high resolution day and night cameras), Radars and other devices.

Puducherry: V Narayanasamy to be inducted as member of Assembly tomorrow

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who won the Nellithope Assembly bypoll on Tuesday, will be inducted as a member of the House tomorrow.He would be inducted as member by the Speaker V Vaithilingam in the latter’s chamber in the Assembly premises at 11.00 am, official sources said.The 69-year-old senior Congress leader, who was Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office in the second UPA government after serving as MoS Parliamentary Affairs in UPA-I, was sworn in as Chief Minister on June 6, though he was not a member of the Assembly.A John Kumar of the Congress had vacated the Nellithope seat on September 15 to enable Narayanasamy to contest a by-election before December 6 deadline for getting elected to the House. Narayanasamy defeated AIADMK’s Om Sakthi Segar in the bypoll, held on November 19, by a margin of 11,144 votes. While Narayanasamy polled 18,709 votes, Segar got 7,565 votes.With his election, the strength of the Congress in the 30-member Assembly has been restored to 15 while its ally DMK has two members.

President Mukherjee hands out Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme Awards

Sat, 19 Nov 2016-03:22pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday presented Indira Gandhi National Service Scheme Awards for 2015-2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday.The Awards were instituted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports during 1992-93 for giving recognition to outstanding work done under the National Service Scheme (NSS).The NSS, one of the flagship programmes of the government, aims at developing of personality and character of students through voluntary community service.

Demonetisation: Congress, BJP clash in Rajya Sabha over Ghulam Nabi Azad’s expunged remarks

New Delh: Congress and BJP members on Friday clashed in Rajya Sabha over Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad’s remarks during demonetisation debate yesterday, forcing adjournment of the House thrice in quick succession.

Slogans and counter slogans forced the adjournment of the House first till 1130 hours, then till noon and again till 1233 hours as similar scenes continued.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Soon after listed papers were laid on the table of the House, BJP members moved into aisles shouting slogans and demanding an apology from Azad for his remarks comparing the deaths after demonetisation with those killed in terrorist attacks. The remarks were expunged by the Chair yesterday itself.

Congress members too rushed into the Well raising slogans demanding an apology from the Prime Minister and government for the hardship caused to the common man due to withdrawal of 86 percent of the currency in circulation in the form of old 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

AIADMK members were also in the Well raising slogans over the Cauvery water issue.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked all members to leave the Well and return to their seats, assuring them that he would hear their submissions.

Amid the din, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that Azad’s statement had given a message to the country that Congress was sympathetic to terrorism and asked why was it so agitated when the demonetisation drive was only to hurt blackmoney hoarders.

The Chair persuaded AIADMK and Congress members to withdraw from the Well, telling them that he would give opportunity to their leaders to raise their respective issues. But with BJP members continuing to stand in the aisles and raise slogans, Congress members too were back in the well shouting slogans.

Kurien said treasury benches should not create problems for the Chair. “If you do this, what do I do? You should cooperate with me in running the House. Treasury benches should not disrupt,” he said.

But the din continued, forcing him to adjourn the proceedings till 1130 hours.

There was no change in the scenario when the House reassembled as both BJP and Congress members again started raising slogans.

While Congress members trooped into the Well, several AIADMK members were seen standing along their seats.

As the slogans and counter slogans continued, the Chair adjourned the House till noon.

First Published On : Nov 18, 2016 12:35 IST

Bansal suicide case, DIG Sanjeev Gautam relieves himself from case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sanjiv Gautam, who was posted with the Central Bureau of Investigation as an DIG, will not be probing the corruption case against deceased Corporate Affairs Director General B K Bansal. The senior bureaucrat had committed suicide along with his family alleging that he was tortured by the DIG Gautam and some members of the probe team that was investigating him. An internal inquiry was launched by the CBI following the suicide of Bansal against Gautam and the members of the probe team mentioned in the suicide note.The agency however on Thursday informed that DIG Gautam had recused himself from probing the case against Bansal after his tenure with the CBI formally ended on November 10.Official sources said Gautam is also part of 2G scam probe hence the agency will seek permission of competent court to relieve him. Sources also told DNA that its sleuths are about to complete the internal probe looking into allegations of torture against Gautam levelled by Bansal in the suicide note.In the suicide note, Bansal made serious allegations against Gautam and his team members for torturing his wife and daughter and also threatening action against him and his son.Bansal’ wife and daughter had ended their lives in July, nearly three days after he was arrested by CBI for allegedly taking bribe. the agency had said that Bansal was caught red handed. Two months later, Bansal who was released on bail took similar decision to commit suicide along with his son.

Demonetization: Govt rejects Opposition demand for reply from Prime Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both Houses of Parliament on Thursday witnessed chaotic scenes, with the Opposition raising slogans in the well over the scrapping of Rs1,000 and Rs500 notes, forcing adjournments. In Rajya Sabha, the Opposition stalled further debate on the issue demanding the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be present in the House and respond to their queries. The government, however, rejected the demand saying, the reply would be given by the minister concerned or any other person on behalf of the government as per the rules of the House and precedents.The Lok Sabha witnessed over an hour-long uproar before Speaker Sumitra Mahajan adjourned the House first up to 12.30 pm and then for the day. The Opposition stormed in the well after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said the government was prepared for the debate as already agreed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday but not on their adjournment motions under Rule 56 that entails voting but under Rule 193. The Speaker carried on the question hour despite the ruckus and later rejected all adjournment notices, saying she would allow discussion as the matter is important but not under the pressure of the pandemonium. Congress group leader Mallikarjun Kharge pressed for adjournment as soon as the Lok Sabha assembled, pointing out that all parties want to bring in focus the people’s hardship and disruption.In the Rajya Sabha, the Congress members asserted that they would not let the House function until PM Modi comes to the House to join the debate on the note ban. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechuri said Thursday was also the PM’s day to reply questions and hence the PM should have been present in the House. Slogan shouting AIADMK members trooped into the well raising slogans demanding that Karnataka release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu when Trinamool leader Derek O’Brien was speaking. He wanted a voting on implementation of the demonetization. When the debate on the demonetization began in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the BJP members remained passive. They, however, entered into a heated protests when Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad compared the casualties in the terrorist attack at the Uri army base and people dying in queues before banks for note change. In heated arguments in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi led the Centre’s charge, declaring that the government would not roll back demonetization of high denomination notes no matter what anybody says since “this decision is against black marketers, Pakistani terrorists and those betraying the country.”Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkiah Naidu criticised Opposition for stalling the debate. He said government is addressing the problems faced by people on demonetization and any suggestion, if worth considering, will be taken up positively.”The government is open to ideas to improve the system. But if somebody is trying to question this and attribute motives, then people are there to finally come to an assessment and decide. Let every party decide are they in favour of this move or against it, for which they have no answer directly,” the minister said.

No confirmation yet on Aziz’s participation in Heart of Asia summit: MEA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India on Thursday said it is yet to receive confirmation from Pakistan about its participation in the Heart of Asia (HoA) Conference to be held in Amritsar on December 3 and 4 which a top aide to its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had maintained he would attend.”We have not yet received any confirmation of Pakistan’s participation in the HoA conference,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. He was asked about reported comments of Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz that he would travel to India to attend the conference on Afghanistan, asserting that the trip could be a “good opportunity” to “defuse” Indo-Pak tension.”Unlike India, that had sabotaged SAARC summit in Pakistan by pulling out, Pakistan will respond by participating in the Heart of Asia being held in India. It’s a good opportunity to defuse the tension,” PTV quoted Aziz as saying.Last year in December, the meeting of the HoA process was hosted by Pakistan and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had attended it after which she had bilateral talks with Aziz. The two sides had also announced resumption of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD), which never took-off due to terror strikes, including the Pathankot attack by Pakistan-based elements.India had recently boycotted the SAARC summit which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad. Citing continuous cross-border terrorism from Pakistan following the Uri attack, India had said, “In the present circumstances” it was unable to take part in the SAARC summit.

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