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Pakistan arrests 66 Indian fishermen for ‘illegal fishing’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sixty-six Indian fishermen have been arrested for alleged illegal fishing in Pakistani waters and a court here remanded them into custody on Saturday.The Indian fishermen along with five boats were arrested last evening for “illegally” fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters and have been sent to jail by a judicial magistrate.The Maritime Security Agency had arrested the fishermen and seized five boats yesterday, a spokesman for the agency said.”The fishermen were arrested after they remained in Pakistani waters in the Arabian Sea despite warnings to move out of our territorial waters,” the spokesman said.Earlier on November 20, the Pakistani Maritime Security Agency had arrested 43 Indian fishermen for entering its territorial waters.Amin Marri, the station house officer of Docks police station, said the fishermen were booked under the Foreigner’s Act and the Fisheries Act and had now been sent to jail on court orders after being provided with clothing and food by a welfare organisation.Pakistan and India frequently arrest fishermen as there is no clear demarcation of the maritime border in the Arabian Sea and these fishermen do not have boats equipped with the technology to know their precise location.

Pakistan releases 220 Indian fishermen in goodwill gesture, expects India to ‘reciprocate’

Pakistan released 220 Indian fishermen on Sunday as a goodwill gesture aimed at easing tensions with its neighbour, officials said.

The men were arrested more than a year ago, accused of entering Pakistani waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where the border is unclear.

An image from August 2015, when another batch of Indian fishermen was released from prison, in Pakistan. Reuters

An image from August 2015, when another batch of Indian fishermen was released from prison, in Pakistan. Reuters

India is also holding Pakistani fishermen for the same reason and Pakistan hopes its gesture — on the birthday of the nation’s father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which coincides with Christmas Day — will be reciprocated.

“We have total of 518 Indian fishermen out of which 220 are being released today as a goodwill gesture of the Pakistan government. In the next phase, 219 fishermen will be released on 5 January,” Shunail Husain Shah, a police assistant superintendent, told Reuters.

Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been more fraught than usual since a crackdown by Indian forces on dissent in Indian-controlled Kashmir began in July. In September militants killed 18 soldiers at an Indian army base, an attack New Delhi blamed on Pakistan.

“We appreciate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of releasing Indian fishermen, but we expect a similar reciprocal move by India, 156 Pakistani fishermen including 13 children are languishing in Indian jails,” Muhammad Ali Shah, president of Pakistan Fisher Folk, a fishermen’s rights body, told Reuters.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea states that fishermen who cross territorial waters can be warned and fined but not arrested, and Shah called on both countries to respect that.

One of the fishermen being released, who goes by the single name Naresh, told Reuters: “I am very happy, looking forward to meet my family back in Gujarat. We were treated nicely here, I will request the Indian government release the detained Pakistani fishermen as well.”

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 21:28 IST

Pakistan releases Indian fishermen in bid to ease tensions with Delhi | Reuters

By Syed Raza Hassan
| KARACHI, Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan Pakistan released 220 Indian fishermen on Sunday as a goodwill gesture aimed at easing tensions with its neighbour, officials said.The men were arrested more than a year ago, accused of entering Pakistani waters in an area of the Arabian Sea where the border is unclear. India is also holding Pakistani fishermen for the same reason and Pakistan hopes its gesture – on the birthday of the nation’s father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which coincides with Christmas Day – will be reciprocated.

“We have total of 518 Indian fishermen out of which 220 are being released today as a goodwill gesture of the Pakistan government. In the next phase, 219 fishermen will be released on Jan. 5,” Shunail Husain Shah, a police assistant superintendent, told Reuters.Relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been more fraught than usual since a crackdown by Indian forces on dissent in Indian-controlled Kashmir began in July. In September militants killed 18 soldiers at an Indian army base, an attack New Delhi blamed on Pakistan.

“We appreciate Pakistan’s goodwill gesture of releasing Indian fishermen, but we expect a similar reciprocal move by India, 156 Pakistani fishermen including 13 children are languishing in Indian jails,” Muhammad Ali Shah, president of Pakistan Fisher Folk, a fishermen’s rights body. told Reuters.The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea states that fishermen who cross territorial waters can be warned and fined but not arrested, and Shah called on both countries to respect that.

One of the fishermen being released, who goes by the single name Naresh, told Reuters: “I am very happy, looking forward to meet my family back in Gujarat. We were treated nicely here, I will request the Indian government release the detained Pakistani fishermen as well.” (Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 25, 2016 19:44 IST

PM speak: Thorns for corrupt, roses for the rest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that after the deadline of 50 days (from November 8 when demonetization was announced), inconvenience faced by honest people would mitigate and trouble would increase for the dishonest.The war against black money will not be called off until victory is achieved, he said. But he offered the dishonest a chance. “There is still some time left and they can still bring themselves into the mainstream of honest ones,” he said. Though the government does not want to destroy such people, it cannot spare them if they loot the common man’s money, Modi said. The Prime Minister was addressing a public rally at the MMRDA ground here after laying the foundation stone for the Arabian sea memorial of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The recent local body elections in Maharashtra, where BJP has emerged as the largest party, prove that people are with the demonetization drive, he said. He said 125 crore people backed his decision. “There are very powerful people, who have enjoyed many benefits in the last seven decades, trying to defeat the demonetization drive. But the country cannot be defeated by such people,” he said.“Some people thought that they can escape by convincing bankers, but those who tried this route not only endangered their future but also that of the bankers,” he said. These people will have to ultimately bow down before 125 crore Indians who would not tolerate dishonesty anymore, he said. He said that 125 crore Indians have now become the baton holders of the war against black money and that is the reason why this war will not stop, he said.

PM Modi lays Foundation for Rs 3,600-crore grand memorial for Shivaji Maharaj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the Foundation for a Rs 3,600-crore grand memorial for Shivaji Maharaj off the city coast on Saturday, an event that comes a few months ahead of the civic polls and amid tussle among parties to claim the legacy of the 17th century warrior king. Modi, accompanied by select dignitaries, including Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, sailed in a hovercraft from Girgaum Chowpatty beach in south Mumbai to reach near the memorial site, some 1.5km off the coast.The PM performed the ‘jalpujan’ at the designated spot, symbolically marking the start of construction of the magnificent memorial in the Arabian Sea, which, according to the state government, is going to be the tallest such structure in the world. Shivaji’s descendants Udayanraje Bhosale and Sambhaji Raje (both Parliamentarians) were also on board the hovercraft. Before the event, Fadnavis handed over to Modi a ‘kalash’ (vase) containing river waters and soil collected from all districts in Maharashtra.When the hovercraft reached the memorial site, Modi immersed the ‘kalash’ in the sea. The PM also inspected a float depicting Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation. During the ceremony, Modi was seen talking to Thackeray, whose party, despite being an ally, has been a bitter critic of many of the BJP-led NDA Government’s decisions, including demonetization. Earlier in the day, Sena alleged the BJP has “hijacked” the occasion to reap political benefit.In October last year, Thackeray had ‘boycotted’ a foundation stone-laying ceremony for the Ambedkar memorial, apparently after he was denied a seat along side the PM on the dais. The proposed memorial’s main feature will be an imposing 192-metre-tall statue of a triumphant Maratha king riding a horse. The statue will be surrounded by an art museum, an amphitheatre, auditorium, exhibition gallery and other facilities.In run up to the ceremony and Modi’s visit, the BJP government launched an advertisement blitzkrieg. Maharashtra’s nodal agency for information dissemination, DGIPR, had instructed officials in districts to put hoardings and posters celebrating the event. The government also released radio jingles, newspaper and television advertisements, and online commercials to promote the grand ceremony.With elections to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) round the corner, the BJP in Maharashtra left no stone unturned to ensure Modi’s official visit here also boosts the party’s chances in the crucial elections. Shiv Sena is ruling the BMC for over two decades in alliance with BJP. The event marking laying of foundation for the memorial is being seen as the BJP Government’s ‘vachanpurti’ (fulfilment of Assembly poll promise).The state government had ordered collection of water from all rivers across Maharashtra and soil from historic sites, which were brought to Mumbai in metal pots (kalash) on Friday. This was then collected in a large pot, which Modi immersed at the ‘jal pujan’ site. The ‘jal pujan’ ‘muhurt’ at the memorial site was at 2.59 PM. Three hovercraft were roped in to carry the PM and other dignitaries to the 16.5-hectare rock islet off the coast along Girgaum Chowpatty.Major political parties, including BJP and Shiv Sena, are competing to claim the legacy of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a highly revered figure in Maharashtra and across the country. BJP’s bickering ally Shiv Sena as well as Opposition Congress and NCP are miffed the way the ruling party is trying to “appropriate” the legacy of the Maratha king. Sena, which has always claimed the legacy of Shivaji, faced a challenge on that front for the first time from the BJP in 2014, when General Elections changed the social and caste equations with aspiring Marathas, OBCs and some Dalit factions joined hands with the saffron party. The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

LIVE: Demonetisation is short term pain for long term gain: Narendra Modi in Mumbai

Dec 24, 2016

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    PM Modi talks on demonetisation ​PM Modi assures that the government will take sound economic decisions, will not shy away from difficult decisions which are in the interest of the country. He said, “Demonetisation is an example. It gives short term problems but long time gains.” He said, “India is been seen as bright spot. To see how far we’ve travelled we should look back to 2012-13 when the currency was falling sharply.”

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Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.

Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.

He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”

Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.

The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.

The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

A rally was flagged off at Chembur on Saturday, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.

The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state. This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.

For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.

Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.

Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.

The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.

Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 13:09 IST

PM Modi in Maharashtra for inauguration of Shivaji memorial, Mumbai and Pune metro

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.

Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.

He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few months away.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”

Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.

The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.

The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.

A rally was flagged off at Chembur on Saturday, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.

The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state. This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.

For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.

Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.

Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.

The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.

Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

First Published On : Dec 24, 2016 09:02 IST

PM Modi to lay foundation stones for mega Shivaji memorial, Mumbai & Pune metro on Saturday

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a day’s visit to Maharashtra on Saturday, where he will lay foundation stones for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.Modi will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management in MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district.He will then proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.The main feature of the Shivaji memorial, slated to cost Rs 3,600 crore, will be a 192-metre-tall statue of the iconic Maratha king. The site is a rocky outcrop, roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked Modi for “making it possible.”Later, Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of ruling BJP, is expected to share the dais with Modi at the MMRDA event.The PM will then leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project. NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Modi at this event.The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fisherfolk and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.A rally was flagged off at Chembur today, where representatives from various districts gathered with collections of sand and soil from Chhatrapati Shivaji’s forts across the state.The rally led by a ‘Shivaji chariot’ will conclude at the Gateway of India, where the Chief Minister will receive the vase carrying water and soil from all districts of the state.This will then be handed over to the Prime Minister and carried to the memorial site.For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 VVIPs and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.Ever since it came to power in Maharashtra in October 2014, BJP has been quietly trying to usurp the near-monopoly that bickering ally Shiv Sena has held over the 17th century Maratha king for the last many years.Ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly election in 2014, BJP had used the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for electoral gains, with a famous tagline seeking to evoke Shivaji’s blessings.The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.Meanwhile, an official said those who would accompany Modi in the hovercraft to the jalpujan and bhumipujan venue off Mumbai coast, will include Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle.

26 Pakistani fishermen apprehended off Gujarat coast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Coast Guard has apprehended 26 Pakistani fishermen and seized their five fishing boats off Gujarat coast near Kutch as they crossed the Indian territorial waters.A release issued by Defence PRO said in Ahmedabad that these Pakistani fishermen on five boats were held on Sunday when they were inside Indian territory.The Coast Guard vessel C-419 apprehended Pakistani fishing boats with 26 crew members on board.The PRO further said these boats and the crew are being escorted to Jakhau port for further investigation.Last month, at least 43 Indian fishermen were arrested by Pakistan for allegedly entering its territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.Pakistan and India often arrest fishermen from the other country for violation of their territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.

Haji Ali: Tears, tea and qawwali as women enter dargah after five-year gap

After five years and a series of legal battles and agitations, around 250 women entered the famous Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon and solemnly offered prayers, an activist said.

The group comprised women from all over India, including office-bearers of NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) and their supporters.

They arrived at the shrine located on the rocks in the Arabian Sea off Worli, were warmly welcomed by a couple of trustees of Haji Ali Dargah Trust and officials and guided them to mazaar (grave) of revered Muslim saint, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.

File image of Haji Ali Dargah. Courtesy: CNN-News18File image of Haji Ali Dargah. Courtesy: CNN-News18

File image of Haji Ali Dargah. Courtesy: CNN-News18

According to a Hindustan Times report, a Qawwali group sat in the shrine’s courtyard, singing Piya Haji Ali in praise of the saint.

“They came in a very dignified manner, adhering to the rules of the Trust, silently offered prayers, flowers and chadars at the shrine,” trustee Suhail Khandwani told IANS.

Many women who made their maiden visit went around the tiny rocky islet, the small mosque and clicked selfies galore.

BMMA co-founder Noorjehan S Niaz said all the women activists came away pleased with the unique experience at the dargah on Tuesday.

“The trustees and officials were extremely courteous and helpful. Very thoughtfully, they offered us tea and refreshments and showed us around the place,” Niaz said after returning from the dargah.

“In fact, women’s entry had been allowed from 7 November onwards, but from today it has become official. It will be routine now,” she said.

“As I entered the iconic Haji Ali dargah‘s sanctum on Tuesday afternoon, I felt overwhelmed. … I saw some women weeping,”  Zakia Soman, co-founder of BMMA, said sharing her experience with The Times of India.

Till June 2012, women were allowed entry up to the mazaar but suddenly it was stopped.

In 2014, the BMMA and others challenged the move of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust in the Bombay High Court.

On 26 August, Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revathi Mohite-Dhere had ruled in favour of the petitioners and directed the trust to allow equal access to women, which the trust challenged in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on 24 October delivered its verdict on grounds of equal access to men and women, even as the trust expressed readiness to allow women into the mazaar.

“It was a fight for equality, ending gender bias and our Constitutional rights. We are happy that it has resulted in women and men getting equal unrestricted access right till the sanctum sanctorum,” said Niaz.

Khandwani said that as before (2012) there would be a separate entry for men and women, but henceforth nobody would be allowed to touch the peer’s tomb.

Under the new arrangements, all devotees would wait and pray nearly two metres away from the tomb with rights of equal access to all.

The Dargah was constructed in 1431 in memory of Bukhari, a wealthy Muslim merchant from Bukhara (in Uzbekistan now).

At one time, he renounced all his worldly possessions, travelled all around the world, made a pilgrimage to Makkah and finally settled in what would become Bombay.

The legend

According to local legends, once he saw a poor woman crying over oil spilt from her vessel, afraid that her husband would thrash her.

He took the woman to the spot where the oil had spilt and jabbed his finger in the earth and oil gushed out. The happy woman filled up her vessel and went home.

Later, the saint had tormenting dreams of how he had injured the earth by his action. He fell ill and instructed his followers to throw his coffin into the Arabian Sea in the event of his death.

He died during his pilgrimage to Makkah and the casket carrying his body miraculously was swept back to the shore of Worli and got stuck in the rocks there.

His dargah was constructed at the same spot and on Thursdays and Fridays, it is visited by a large number of pilgrims of all religions from India and abroad to seek his blessings.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Nov 30, 2016 12:31 IST

Women activists will re-enter Haji Ali dargah after 5 years

Mumbai: After five years and a series of legal battles and agitations, a group of women activists will enter the famous Haji Ali dargah in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon, an activist said.

A group of around 75-80 women from all over India would visit the mausoleum of the saint for prayers around 3 pm, said the activist, keen to enter the dargah on the rocks off Worli in the Arabian Sea.

“It will be routine now, we have not informed the police or the dargah trust. We shall pay our respects and come out,” Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) co-founder Noorjehan S Niaz told IANS.

Till June 2012, women were allowed entry up to the sanctum sanctorum comprising the mazaar (grave) of the revered Muslim saint, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, but suddenly the entry to women was barred.

In 2014, the BMMA and others challenged the move of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust in the courts.

Haji Ali Dargah. CNN-News18Haji Ali Dargah. CNN-News18

Haji Ali Dargah. CNN-News18

On 26 August, Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revathi Mohite-Dhere ruled in favour of the petitioners and directed the trust to allow equal access to women, which the trust challenged in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on 24 October delivered its verdict upholding equal access to men and women, and the trust expressed readiness to allow women inside till the sanctum sanctorum.

The trust authorities sought four weeks time to make certain infrastructural changes and alterations to accommodate the women devotees, who would now throng the shrine.

Niaz said the women would offer floral tributes, ‘chadars’ and pray for peace at the dargah on Tuesday.

“It was a fight for equality, ending gender bias and our constitutional rights. We are happy that it has resulted in women and men getting equal unrestricted access right till the sanctum sanctorum,” Niaz said.

A trustee of the dargah, Suhail Khandwani, said that there would be separate entries to the shrine for men and women and henceforth nobody would be allowed to touch the peer’s tomb.

Under the new arrangements, all devotees would wait and pray nearly two metres away from the tomb with rights of equal access to all.

The dargah was constructed in 1431 in memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant Sayyed Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari of Bukhara in modern Uzbekistan.

At one time, he renounced all his worldly possessions, travelled all around the world, made a pilgrimage to Mecca and finally settled in the then Mumbai in the 15th century.

According to local legends, once he saw a poor woman crying over oil spilt from her vessel, afraid that her husband would thrash her.

He took the woman to the spot where the oil had spilt and jabbed his finger in the earth and oil gushed out. The happy woman filled up her vessel and went home.

Later, the saint had tormenting dreams of how he had injured the earth by his action. He fell ill and asked his followers to throw his coffin into the Arabian Sea.

He died during his pilgrimage to Mecca and the casket carrying his body miraculously was swept back to the shore of Worli and got stuck in the rocks there.

His dargah was constructed at the same spot and on Thursdays-Fridays, it is visited by large number of pilgrims of all religions from India and abroad for the saint’s blessings.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 15:25 IST

Women activists to re-enter Haji Ali dargah after five years, say ‘it will be routine now’

Mumbai: After five years, a series of legal battles and agitations, a group of women activists will enter the famous Haji Ali dargah (mausoleum) in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon, an activist said.

A group of around 75-80 women from all over India would visit the shrine for prayers around 3 pm, said the activist expressing the intent to enter the dargah on the rocks off Worli in the Arabian Sea.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“It will be routine now, we have not informed the police or the Dargah trust. We shall pay our respects and come out,” Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) co-founder Noorjehan S Niaz told IANS.

Till June 2012, women were allowed entry upto the sanctum sanctorum comprising the grave (mazaar) of revered Muslim saint, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, but suddenly it was stopped.

In 2014, the BMMA and others challenged the move of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust in the courts.

On 26 August, Justice VM Kanade and Justice Revathi Mohite-Dhere had ruled in favour of the petitioners and directed the trust to allow equal access to women, which the trust challenged in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on 24 October delivered its verdict on grounds of equal access to men and women, even as the trust expressed readiness to allow women inside till the sanctum sanctorum.

The Trust authorities sought four weeks time to make certain infrastructural changes and alterations to accommodate the women devotees, who would now throng the shrine.

Niaz said the women would offer floral tributes, ‘chadars’ and pray for peace at the Dargah on Tuesday.

“It was a fight for equality, ending gender bias and our Constitutional rights. We are happy that it has resulted in women and men getting equal unrestricted access right till the sanctum sanctorum,” Niaz pointed out.

A trustee of the Dargah, Suhail Khandwani said that there would be separate entries to the shrine for men and women and henceforth nobody would be allowed to touch the peer’s tomb.

Under the new arrangements, all devotees would wait and pray nearly two metres away from the tomb with rights of equal access to all.

First Published On : Nov 29, 2016 12:20 IST

26/11 Tribute: The call of the sea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“It’ll be a long picnic,” says Manav Mehta.The 16-year-old is referring to a more than 300-hour non-stop, relay swim in a vast sea, riddled with sharks and jellyfish. Seasickness-induced barfing, severe sunburns, bruises, blisters and sleeplessness are guaranteed to add to his company of five swimmers over the fortnight.You’d be forgiven to think that Mehta is off-kilter for equating the gruelling and brutal journey to a picnic. Fortunately for team Sea Hawks, this is precisely the kind of mental make-up that will see them through their expedition: a 1,000km open water relay swim from Mumbai to Mangalore.Mehta, Wing Commander Paramvir Singh, Sergeant (retired) G Narihari, LAC Vicky Tokas, Mumbai policeman Shrikant Palande and national-level swimmer and coach Rahul Chiplunkar took to the 28degree Celsius water at the Gateway of India on Saturday evening.Flagged off with much pomp, swimmer number one, Wing Commander Singh, started freestyling until team Sea Hawks disappeared into the Arabian Sea. Sticking to their sequence, swimmer number two, Palande would replace him in the water after an hour, such that each swimmer would take to the water every five hours. The sequence and the swimming are expected to continue non-stop for two weeks, until December 10, when the team hopes to reach Mangalore. “The first three days are horrible,” admits the cheerful team leader and Singh. The 41-year-old, who conceived this swim, is a serial expeditionist, having led the record-breaking 433.11km-Goa-Mumbai open water relay swim as well as the first human effort to swim the 2,800km-length of the Ganga from Devprayag to Frazergunj, both in 2015. “It’s your mental strength and the motivation that keeps you going.”Tribute to terror victimsSports and adventure, feels Singh, offer great avenues to impact society. So it’s only natural that the Air Force officer, whose father was in the Army, looks at this expedition as a way of showing solidarity with the civilians and officers who perished in the 2008 attacks as well as with those killed in the line of fire at Pathankot and Uri earlier this year. “The 26/11 attack shook the world. Not just India, but many lives were lost from Israel, Canada, France, Britain, Australia and the US. This Guinness record attempt is an apt way of spreading the message of peace and condemning terror,” says the 41-year-old.“Our team comprises people from all strata of society,” he says, referring to his mates from the armed forces, the Mumbai police, civilians and youth, who are supported in the endeavour by IDBI Bank. “But they are all of the same mindset and feel strongly for the cause.”Fortitude and fitnessThe six swimmers’ quest for a record will be monitored by an independent observer of the Swimming Federation of India. Shekhar Kale will be onboard the second of the three fishing trawlers that are vital to Sea Hawks’ mission. Staying up day and night, closely watching each of the six swimmers incessantly come easy swells or rough surges, it will be his word that will seal the record, assuming that the six members just keep swimming for the 343-odd hours.Open sea swimming isn’t for the faint-hearted, and some even consider the Mumbai-Goa stretch to be among the toughest, more than the English Channel, to swim. The team leader is aware that fatigue levels will be exceptionally high. Cuts and bruises are par for the course and waves in rough weather feel like whiplash. “Besides, we’ll have to be mindful of marine life like jelly fish, sting rays, sharks, and rocky coastline. Sea-sickness is inevitable as are sunburns and mouth ulcers. And these challenges will only multiply, making the expedition demanding,” says Singh.This is why it is critical that each member be mentally strong and demonstrate ample team spirit. The slightest of hesitancy to get into the water or giving up in rough weather or due to exhaustion would jeopardise the expedition, derailing months of preparation, involving planning as per tidal patterns and undercurrents and getting approvals and clearances from the police, the coast guard and the navy.“I need mentally strong people. Nobody can be a part of the expedition if they don’t exhibit the right attitude. There is no room for an agenda or one-upmanship,” clarifies Singh, for whom this is the first such expedition with assistant sub-inspector Palande and swimmer Chiplunkar. “I know their capabilities and endurance levels. But even exceptional swimmers can falter in such a challenge. It’s not physical strength, rather 80 per cent of what is required is mental strength. We cannot afford to raise hands.”Ensuring the six of them are tethered in an unyielding bond has been the wing commander’s toughest challenge since he conceived the tribute swim four months ago. Given that his mates live in different places, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Willingdon, it has helped that some of them have been together on a few expeditions earlier. “We are more like a family now,” says Mehta, the youngest among the six men. “I talk to them about my crushes and they tell me about their girlfriends.”Ready to goMental strength aside, the Sea Hawks aren’t overlooking the physical attributes. An average day’s training includes an 8-10km run, a few hours of strength building, which would involve high-intensity exercises as cycling, cardio or crossfit, and a few hours of swimming.“We don’t want to build muscles, because muscles rupture easily under water. We need to build strength and add reserves,” says Singh. So the six members have been increasing carbohydrates and fat in their diet to bulk up.“It’s not just Vidya Balan who puts on weight for a suitable role. We do that too,” he quips. “After a few days at sea, when not even a drop of water stays in your stomach because you are throwing up constantly, it’s the fat that keeps you going.”Accordingly, their rations onboard the trawler will include food that is easy to ingest, such as fruits, coconuts and noodles. “And adequate supplies of ORLS (oral rehydration solutions) and energy drinks,” adds Mehta.So what will they look forward to when they aren’t in water. “The sunrise and the sunset are amazing sights,” says Mehta.“Truly phenomenal. That’s also the time when one tends to become philosophical,” adds the team leader. “I ask questions, like how does one define happiness? Everyone has a different definition. I’ve realised over time that happiness is relative…”So is it the happiness that prompts such expeditions? “It’s for the same reason that people climb the Everest… because it’s there. Our challenges are much like that, because of our passion for the open sea.”

Will stop every drop going waste in Pak and give to Indian farmers: PM Modi on Indus Water Treaty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the waters of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi rivers that rightfully belong to India will be stopped from going waste in Pakistan and he will ensure that farmers here utilise it. “Indus Water Treaty- Sutlej, Beas, Ravi – the waters in these rivers belong to India and our farmers. It is not being used in the fields of Pakistan but flowing into the sea through Pakistan. “Now every drop of this water will be stopped and I will give that to farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and Indian farmers.I am committed to this,” he said addressing a rally. He said a task force has been constituted to ensure that “each drop of water” that flows out of Sutlej, Beas and Ravi reaches Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. “There is no reason that we cannot use our rights (over our waters) and let our farmers suffer,” he said, adding, “I need your blessings in order to fulfill your requirements for watering your fields.” The solution for the problems of water could be found out through common dialogue, he said. Criticising the previous governments at the Centre, Modi said, “Waters kept flowing to Pakistan, but successive governments kept sleeping on this issue and my farmer kept crying for the want of water.” “If Punjab farmers get sufficient amount of water, they could produce ‘gold’ from the soil and could fill the coffers of the country,” he said. “Our government is committed to work in tandem with the Badal government in Punjab to get farmers their rights and address their concerns,” he said. All you need to know about the Indus Water TreatyThe Indus Water Treaty (IWT) is a water sharing arrangement, signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960, by then Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President General Ayub Khan. The World Bank (the erstwhile international bank for reconstruction and development) brokered the treaty and is also a party to it.The Indus system of rivers comprises three western rivers which includes the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab and three eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas and Ravi.What does the treaty grant India and Pakistan?Under the treaty, India has exclusive rights on the eastern rivers and their tributaries while Pakistan has exclusive rights on the western rivers. Pakistan also received a one-time financial compensation for the loss of water from the eastern rivers and to build a new canal system.The waters of the Indus basin begin in the Himalayan mountains in the region under China. The river flows from the hills through the arid and dry states of Punjab and Sindh, converging in Pakistan, and empties out in the Arabian Sea, south of Karachi.History of the TreatyDuring the first years of Partition, the water of the Indus was apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 5, 1948 between India and Pakistan which required India to release sufficient waters to the Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from Pakistan. The accord was, however, meant to fulfil Pakistan’s immediate requirements and was to be followed by negotiations for a more permanent solution. Thereafter, though there was a stalemate. Read more… With inputs from PTI

Espionage case: Pakistan spy was trying to get classified info for possible terror strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehmood Akhtar, the Pakistan High Commission official who was caught for espionage, was trying to gather classified information on deployment of Indian security forces along the western coast, possibly to carry out a strike similar to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.Akhtar was trying to gather information pertaining to deployment of security forces along the western coast, Sir Creek and Kutch areas and also about military installations in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, a Home Ministry official said.”There have been intelligence inputs that Pakistan’s ISI was planning to send terrorists through the sea route to carry out a Mumbai-type terror attack in India. Akhtar’s activities and his interests to gather information about the western coast buttress the intelligence inputs,” the official said.166 people lost their lives when 10 terrorists, who came through the Arabian sea from Karachi, carried out mayhem for three days in Mumbai in November 2008.Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir were handing over information to Akhtar about security forces deployment in the Sir Creek area and Kutch region when they were arrested on Thursday. The Pakistani official was to hand over the duo Rs 50,000 for getting information, the official said. Before being let off because of diplomatic immunity, Akhtar confessed to police about his role in the spy ring.Delhi Police has also done video-recording of his statement. In his statement to police, Akhtar admitted that he was part of the spy ring for more than a year. He has named a few officers of the Pakistani High Commission whom he was reporting to with all the information but police were yet to take action against them as there was no direct evidence as of now.Acting on a tip-off, Delhi Police on Thursday nabbed Akhtar, along with Ramzan and Jangir, at Delhi Zoo while a visa agent from Rajasthan, Shoaib, had managed to escape. Shoaib was detained near Jodhpur on Thursday evening and after being brought to Delhi, he was arrested.While Akhtar was declared persona non grata on Thursday, Subhash and Maulana have been arrested on charges of passing on sensitive information and defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border. They were yesterday sent to 12-day police custody.

Pak spy Mehmood Akhtar was trying to get info to carry out possible terror strike: Official

New Delhi: Mehmood Akhtar, the Pakistan High Commission official who was caught for espionage, was trying to gather classified information on deployment of Indian security forces along the western coast, possibly to carry out a strike similar to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

New Delhi: Copy of the forged Aadhar card of Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar who used to hire spies to get sensitive information and documents related to Army deployment from a spy network he had created. PTI

Copy of the forged Aadhar card of Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar. PTI

Akhtar was trying to gather information pertaining to deployment of security forces along the western coast, Sir Creek and Kutch areas and also about military installations in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, a Home Ministry official said.

“There have been intelligence inputs that Pakistan’s ISI was planning to send terrorists through the sea route to carry out a Mumbai-type terror attack in India. Akhtar’s activities and his interests to gather information about the western coast buttress the intelligence inputs,” the official said.

166 people lost their lives when 10 terrorists, who came through the Arabian sea from Karachi, carried out mayhem for three days in Mumbai in November 2008.

Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir were handing over information to Akhtar about security forces deployment in the Sir Creek area and Kutch region when they were arrested yesterday.

The Pakistani official was to hand over the duo Rs 50,000 for getting information, the official said.

Before being let off because of diplomatic immunity, Akhtar confessed to police about his role in the spy ring. Delhi Police has also done video-recording of his statement.

In his statement to police, Akhtar admitted that he was part of the spy ring for more than a year.

He has named a few officers of the Pakistani High Commission whom he was reporting to with all the information but police were yet to take action against them as there was no direct evidence as of now.

Acting on a tip-off, Delhi Police yesterday nabbed Akhtar, along with Ramzan and Jangir, at Delhi Zoo while a visa agent from Rajasthan, Shoaib, had managed to escape.

Shoaib was detained near Jodhpur last evening and after being brought here, he was arrested.

While Akhtar was yesterday declared persona non grata, Subhash and Maulana have been arrested on charges of passing on sensitive information and defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border. They were yesterday sent to 12-day police custody.

Pak spy Mehmood Akhtar was trying to get info to carry out terror strike in India: Official

New Delhi: Mehmood Akhtar, the Pakistan High Commission official who was caught for espionage, was trying to gather classified information on deployment of Indian security forces along the western coast, possibly to carry out a strike similar to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

New Delhi: Copy of the forged Aadhar card of Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar who used to hire spies to get sensitive information and documents related to Army deployment from a spy network he had created. PTI

Copy of the forged Aadhar card of Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar. PTI

Akhtar was trying to gather information pertaining to deployment of security forces along the western coast, Sir Creek and Kutch areas and also about military installations in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, a Home Ministry official said.

“There have been intelligence inputs that Pakistan’s ISI was planning to send terrorists through the sea route to carry out a Mumbai-type terror attack in India. Akhtar’s activities and his interests to gather information about the western coast buttress the intelligence inputs,” the official said.

166 people lost their lives when 10 terrorists, who came through the Arabian sea from Karachi, carried out mayhem for three days in Mumbai in November 2008.

Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir were handing over information to Akhtar about security forces deployment in the Sir Creek area and Kutch region when they were arrested yesterday.

The Pakistani official was to hand over the duo Rs 50,000 for getting information, the official said.

Before being let off because of diplomatic immunity, Akhtar confessed to police about his role in the spy ring. Delhi Police has also done video-recording of his statement.

In his statement to police, Akhtar admitted that he was part of the spy ring for more than a year.

He has named a few officers of the Pakistani High Commission whom he was reporting to with all the information but police were yet to take action against them as there was no direct evidence as of now.

Acting on a tip-off, Delhi Police yesterday nabbed Akhtar, along with Ramzan and Jangir, at Delhi Zoo while a visa agent from Rajasthan, Shoaib, had managed to escape.

Shoaib was detained near Jodhpur last evening and after being brought here, he was arrested.

While Akhtar was yesterday declared persona non grata, Subhash and Maulana have been arrested on charges of passing on sensitive information and defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border. They were yesterday sent to 12-day police custody.

PM Modi, at summit, calls Pakistan mother-ship of terrorism | Reuters

By Douglas Busvine and Denis Pinchuk
| GOA, India

GOA, India Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi branded Pakistan a “mother-ship of terrorism” at a summit of the BRICS nations on Sunday, testing the cohesion of a group whose heavyweight member China is a close ally of India’s arch-rival.Modi’s remarks to a meeting of leaders from the BRICS — which include Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa — escalated his diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan, which India accuses of sponsoring cross-border terrorism.Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours have been running high since a Sept. 18 attack on an army base in Kashmir, near the disputed frontier with Pakistan, killed 19 Indian soldiers in the worst such assault in 14 years.India later said it had carried out retaliatory “surgical strikes” across the de facto border that inflicted significant casualties. Pakistan denied any role in the attack on the Uri army base, and said the Indian operation had not even happened, dismissing it as typical cross-border firing.”In our own region, terrorism poses a grave threat to peace, security and development,” Modi said in remarks to BRICS leaders who met at a resort hotel in the western state of Goa.”Tragically, the mother-ship of terrorism is a country in India’s neighbourhood,” the 66-year-old prime minister said, without directly naming Pakistan, in a series of tweets of his remarks issued by the foreign ministry.Modi’s hostile comments were not, however, reflected in a closing statement he read out to reporters.”We were unanimous in recognising the threat that terrorism, extremism and radicalisation presents, not just to the regional and global peace, stability and prosperity,” he said. “But, also to our society, our way of life and humanity as a whole.”

No immediate reaction was available from Pakistan’s foreign ministry.Modi’s posturing overshadowed the gathering of a group that was set up to boost economic cooperation, and made it possible for the nationalist leader to present himself at home as tough on national security.”Modi is aware that such language wouldn’t get the consensus necessary to make it into the final communique. Including it in his speech ensures it gets wide circulation anyway,” said South Asia expert Shashank Joshi.The summit achievements were incremental, and included establishing an agricultural research institute and speeding up work on creating a joint credit ratings agency.

Also on Sunday’s programme was an outreach session with leaders from a little-known group of countries from the Bay of Bengal region whose key attribute, from India’s point of view, is that Pakistan is not a member.LACK OF STRATEGIC RESTRAINT
Modi’s hard line on Pakistan marks a departure from India’s tradition of strategic restraint, and New Delhi has won expressions of support from both the West and Russia over the army base attack.

Yet China, a longstanding ally of Pakistan that plans to build a $46 billion export corridor to the Arabian Sea coast, has been cautious in its comments.Modi and President Xi Jinping held a bilateral meeting on Saturday evening and accounts of their conversation emerging from both sides pointed to clear differences of opinion.In one remark reported by the state Xinhua news agency, Xi said that China and India should “support each other in participating in regional affairs and enhance cooperation within multilateral frameworks”.The dispatch went on to refer to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). This grouping includes Pakistan, which was to have hosted a summit in November that collapsed after India and other members pulled out.The final summit declaration repeated earlier condemnations of “terrorism in all its forms” and devoted several paragraphs to joint effort to fight terrorism. It did not, however, level any blame over the tensions between India and Pakistan.”So far, we haven’t seen any indication at all that China is softening its public support for Pakistan. India did not expect differently,” said Joshi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. (Additional reporting by Drazen Jorgic in Islamabad; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Keith Weir)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

India exports software, Pak terror: Narendra Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his first public speech after the Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Pakistan and said the sacrifice of the 18 soldiers will not go in vain. Yet, he drew a distinction between Pakistan’s ‘hukmaran’ (rulers) and ‘awam’ (people) and challenged the country for a battle on poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and infant mortality.Modi’s combative tone resounded with the setting sun in the backdrop of the Arabian Sea as he sent a message “directly to Pakistan”, reminding its people of their pre-independence links with India.Raising the pitch, Modi said Pakistan is the only country in Asia exporting terror and wanting bloodshed and killing. He took it to a crescendo saying India was ready to face the challenge to fight, but amidst the stillness of anticipation among the thousands who had gathered on the Calicut beach, gave the idea of war a new twist — that of a fight over development.After elating the BJP cadre with his tough line against Pakistan, Modi went on to take a statesman like approach saying “let’s fight poverty and see who wins, let’s fight unemployment and see who wins, let’s fight illiteracy and see who wins, let’s fight child mortality and see who wins.”Modi said a time will come when the people of Pakistan will rise against their own rulers on the issue of terrorism. “Pakistan’s people should ask their rulers: If both countries got freedom at the same time, why is it that India is exporting software and Pakistan terror.”In an apparent reference to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s address at the United Nations General Assembly, Modi said: “Today’s rulers were reading a speech of patrons of terrorism and talking of Kashmir.” He said the Pakistani rulers were misleading people by talking of fighting for thousand years and by reading out scripts written by terrorists. Over a month after raising the Balochistan issue, the PM again asked Islamabad to look into its backyard.”You can’t control PoK. You failed to handle Bangladesh which was earlier with you. You couldn’t control Gilgit and Balochistan,” he said.He said there was anger in the entire country over Uri and said “terrorists, open your ears and listen, this is not something this country will ever forget.” Pointing out that Pakistan had tried to export terrorists to India 17 times in the last few months “but the army stopped them and around 110 terrorists have been killed”.Most of the time he referred to Pakistan as “that country” and neighbouring country and repeatedly spoke of its ‘hukmaran’ and ‘Awam’.”There is one nation in Asia whose aim is that this century does not become Asia’s and is associated with terrorism. Wherever terrorism is happening across Asia, the affected nations are blaming only that nation,” the PM said.He began his speech referring to Kerala as God’s Own Country, which he said had an impression of purity and holiness.Modi, who expressed the commitment of his government and party to Deendayal Upadhyay, said the 21st century should be pledged to freedom from poverty, injustice, corruption, unemployment, atrocities on women and hopelessness.

The great snake boat race of India

The annual snake boat race in the southern Indian state of Kerala is a unique sporting spectacle because of its scale and popularity.

June ends with 11% rain deficit

In its first month, monsoon rainfall deficit in the country stands at 11 per cent below the long period average and the monsoon is now set to advance over Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab and in the hill-states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. This year, the monsoon arrived in Kerala on June 8, a week later than usual and the delay had a domino effect on its subsequent progress, Met officials said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) extended fortnightly forecast, above normal rainfall is likely over north India during first week of July and over central India and western parts of the country during second week of July. The western coast, too, will receive above normal rainfall till July 10. In its second long-range forecast issued earlier this month, IMD had said that the monsoon will be bountiful in July at 107 per cent of the long-period average and even in the later months due to the La Nina weather phenomenon.Met officials said that the monsoon advanced in three phases since its onset. In the first phase, the it covered much of Kerala and the southern peninsula. In the second phase it covered parts of the western coast, up to Karwar.But, a lull in activity over the Arabian Sea halted the monsoon’s progress for a few days. Even as the Arabian Sea branch saw a lull, the Bay of Bengal branch brought significant rainfall to central India, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.”In the last week of June, monsoon picked up strength over the Arabian Sea and advanced speedily. Now, the conditions are favourable for monsoon’s advance over the remaining states,” said Sunitha Devi, director, weather section, IMD, Pune.According to IMD data, with 1213.8 mm rains, Goa has recorded maximum rainfall in June, followed by Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. The least rainfall has happened in Gujarat, which has recorded a mere 30mm rains. During the last week of June, the southwest monsoon advanced into south Gujarat, west Madhya Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh and some parts of east Rajasthan.

Maharashtra: Parched Nashik awaits rain

Nashik district has seen 4.09% rainfall this monsoon so far, leaving farmers and citizens high and dry. The water stock in the dams in the district has further depleted to 3%, which has raised the concern of the administration as well.According to weatherman Dr Shriniwas Aundhkar, director of Mahatma Gandhi Mission at the Centre for Astronomy and Space Technology, Nanded, the arrival of monsoon in Maharashtra has been through the eastern side over the Bay of Bengal and is moving northwards via Madhya Pradesh. This has left the northeastern parts of Nashik, Dhule, Jalgaon, up to Jalna dry.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was some drizzle over these parts for a day or two, but there has been no rainfall in the catchment area. Rain in the belt of Nashik, Dhule and Jalgaon is expected by July-end,” said Aundhkar, who added that the pattern of rainfall in Maharashtra has not been uniform this season so far.Normally, the monsoon moves upwards from the southwest region, but this season it has changed its direction and come over the Bay of Bengal, missing the northern parts of the state, he explained.”In Nashik region, rains arrive only after June; this has become a pattern now.”The region has also witnessed unseasonal rainfall with hailstorm from October, another pattern. “This is happening due to the depression being created in the Arabian Sea during that period,” said Aundhkar.Even though dark clouds gather over Nashik almost everyday, they seem to drift away without showering. Farmers are worried as the sowing is on hold, and a delayed kharif will further delay the crop cycle.”As of now there is no water. Our village, lined by the Godavari river and once known as the green belt, is almost 90% dry now. The river is completely dry, water stock has depleted. Farmers are waiting to start sowing. This situation will be a major concern for sugarcane and vegetable growers. With less supply of vegetables in the market, prices will soar. A delayed monsoon is a vicious circle,” said Suresh Bhor, a farmer from Chandori in Niphad tehsil of Nashik district.

Lessons of India’s NSG entry: China-Pak axis is now a fact of life

In order to sensibly analyse what is happening over India’s possible admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), one must take account of how the global political scene has changed over the past eight years, since India was given a waiver in 2008.

The most obvious change is China’s emergence as a superpower. It does not yet project power across the globe as much as the US, but it is less chary of arrogating global power to itself than it was eight years ago. Its influence over other countries has increased significantly; willy-nilly, that has dented the ‘globo-cop’ role which the US was able to take on after the collapse of the Soviet Union a quarter-century ago. That Russia has made a strong comeback on the world stage in the new century has further decreased the reach of the US’s power. So has the failure of its ‘shock-and-awe’ invasion of Iraq.

A related change is that China has adopted Pakistan as a key economic, political, and military ally. Indeed, Pakistan is now arguably China’s most trusted strategic ally. Chinese troops are deployed in parts of the Jammu and Kashmir state controlled by Pakistan, and an extraordinary economic corridor is coming up through that state all the way to the Arabian Sea. It is slated to be China’s most important neo-‘silk route.’

Representational image. Getty ImagesRepresentational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

Since at least the 1970s, the two countries’ cooperation has focused most sharply on nuclear power; China has either given, or helped Pakistan to develop, technologies and hardware for nuclear weapons, fissile material and missiles. Even beyond the nuclear field, the two countries’ military cooperation has increased tremendously over the years.

One must therefore understand that China’s resistance to India’s admission to the NSG is to a large extent an integrated Sino-Pakistani resistance. Pakistan has been antagonistic towards India since its birth. India needs to get used to the fact that China too is not positively disposed.

It has become clear since 2008 that China wants to keep India uncertain and under pressure. Since the end of that year, its troops have made periodic forays into territories of Jammu and Kashmir that India considers to be under its control. China had also stopped issuing visas on the Indian passports of citizens from that state. And it has, during this period, made it clear that it considers the state to be disputed, and that it sees a role for itself at the negotiating table for a resolution.

When India was given a waiver in 2008, US President George W Bush had gone out of his way to exert his country’s considerable pressure on a range of member countries. Since then, sections of the US establishment may have been disappointed in their expectations of nuclear-related sales to India — which has rightly demonstrated that it will decide each purchase on merits according to its interests.

On the other hand, Pakistan and China have obviously done a lot of spadework in the world’s chanceries this time round. According to reports, Brazil, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand and Turkey raised objections. Most objections have centred, either explicitly or implicitly, on the need to establish norms for admission that would allow the Group to deal with a Pakistani application. The behaviour of Brazil, which is in the throes of a messy political transition, is particularly intriguing.

On the other hand, India’s case was brought up by Japan, which occupies the high moral ground on the issue of nuclear proliferation — as the only country to have suffered nuclear weapon strikes. India also had strong support from France – a leading seller in the nuclear market.

India can take comfort from the fact that its diplomacy succeeded to a large success. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did well to ask Chinese President Xi Jinping to consider the issue of India’s admission objectively on its merits. In diplomacy, what is left unsaid is as important as what is said. At this juncture, it would have been counterproductive to acknowledge that India sees that China is closely aligned to Pakistan.

Selfie gone wrong: Seven drown in Ganga in Kanpur

Clicking a selfie turned out to be fatal for a youth as well as six of his friends, who drowned in the Ganga on Wednesday while trying to save one another, police said.The incident happened when six youths from Juhi area and one Shivam from Colonelganj area of Kanpur had gone to take a bath in the river after rainfall, SSP Shalabh Mathur said.Shivam was clicking a selfie while bathing following which he lost his balance and started drowning in the river. Maqsood tried to save Shivam but he too lost his balance due to the high water level and high current following heavy rainfall, SP (West) Sachindra Patel said. All the other friends jumped one after another to save the others but drowned in the attempt, the SP said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A team of divers was deployed to save the youths and their bodies were recovered after two hours, Patel said, adding, all of them were sent to Medical College Hospital where they were declared dead by the doctors.The deceased have been identified as Sachin Gupta (21), Bholu Tiwari (20), Rohit (20), Shivam (19), Maqsood (31), Bhola (16) and Satyam (24). The matter will be investigated, SSP Mathur said.In a similar incident in Mumbai in January, three girls, had fallen into the Arabian Sea while clicking selfies on a rock jutting out of the sea near Bandra Fort. A local youth who had jumped to save them had drowned in the attempt.

After rapid progress, monsoon to hit a two-day lull

After the most-delayed onset since 2003 on June 8, the southwest monsoon has made rapid progress and after covering much of southern India, there will be a lull in its advance for the next two days on the west coast, said India Meteorological Department (IMD). “Conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon towards northeastern states and Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim during next 2-3 days,” the IMD said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, the monsoon had advanced till Karwar, Karnataka on the west coast and Ongole, Andhra Pradesh near the east coast. Cyclonic circulation over the Arabian Sea resulted in heavy rainfall in coastal Karnataka, Goa and Ratnagiri since Friday. Over the weekend, Karwar had received 45mm and Ratnagiri received 76mm rainfall. But, meteorologists said that monsoon is yet to arrive in Maharashtra.”Even though there was speedy progress of the monsoon till now, conditions have weakened over the Arabian Sea. While there is rainfall across Goa, south Konkan and even in Mumbai, it is limited to the coastal belt. Winds are strong enough to cause rainfall across the Western Ghats in the interiors of Maharashtra,” said Sunitha Devi, director, weather section, IMD, Pune. “Conditions will become conducive become for further advance of monsoon in the west 15 June onwards,” Sunitha Devi added.Private weather forecaster Skymet, too, concurred with IMD. It said, “The interiors are still not receiving enough Monsoon showers, but the intensity of rain will now increase over Raigad and Dahanu districts.” It added, “Rain may pick up pace after 48 hours over Kerala coast as a fresh monsoon surge expected to affect Kerala and Karnataka coast.”Met officials said that while rainfall will continue in coastal Karanataka and South Konkan, Delhi-NCR, too, will see rains. “After June 14, thundershower activity is likely to increase in Delhi-NCR and neighbouring states. As far as the monsoon’s advance is concerned, it is not continuous and is dependent on dynamic weather conditions,” said BP Yadav, director, National Weather Forecasting Centre, Delhi.

Mumbai: Versova-Bandra sea link better alternative for western residents but opposed

Although the Versova-Bandra Sea Link seems to be a better option for the western suburban residents and environment groups opposing the Coastal Road plan, they are against the alternative plan as well.Darryl D’Monte from Apna Mumbai Abhiyan (a coalition of NGOs and Residents’ Associations across the city), who are giving a stiff fight to not allow construction of the Coastal Road on the city’s western front, opined that having a sea bridge is undoubtedly a better alternative, but at the same moment they do not want the sea link plan to come up.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to him, having a Coastal Road or a sea link will only mean supporting more of private vehicle users and the city requires mass transit systems and not roads that will allow to add more vehicles in an already congested city. “It means that the project is conceptualised only for 2.5 per cent of the population who are motorists. Roughly 1,25,000 cars were supposed to use the Bandra Worli Sea Link daily, but only some 45,000 cars use it,” added the coalition team.Another coalition supporter Sumaira Abdulali, an anti-noise activist, shared with dna that she too opposes the Rs5,975 crore sea link plan, though she feels it is a better alternative.”During certain months, fresh air from the Arabian Sea flows towards a polluted Mumbai, while during other months the polluted air flows out towards the sea. If you have a sea link, you are stopping this smooth flow and having a choke point at its entrance. This will only mean further polluting the city. Moreover, tidal patterns too would change due to a sea link, affecting Mumbai’s coastline,” added Abdulali.On Thursday, dna had reported about the state authorities reviving its 10km long sea link plan only to bridge Bandra and Versova instead of the approved Coastal Road proposal.COASTAL ROAD PLAN BETWEEN BANDRA-VERSOVAFrom Bandra Reclamation, an interchange-cum-reclaimed road will take motorists to St. Andrew’s Church / Chimbai Village, from here there will be another bridge of 550mtrs in length up to Otter’s Club at Carter Road. Along the Carter Road, the Coastal Road is planned on stilts followed by undersea cut and cover construction for a tunnel in front of Khar Danda fishing village right up to Juhu Moragaon. Thereafter, ramp portion over the mouth of Juhu Nala will come on stilts over mangroves at Versova, finally landing outside Nana-Nani Park in Versova on stilts.SEA LINK ALIGNMENTThe Versova-Bandra Sea Link will be 1,200mtrs into the Arabian Sea from the coast at Juhu Beach, thereby not affecting tourism activity. The link can start either at Bandra Reclamation or near St. Andrew’s Church and land next to Nana-Nani Park at Versova (Seven Bungalows).In January 2013, Versova Bandra Sea Link had received Coastal Regulation Zone clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest. Now the MSRDC has initiated the process to obtain Environment Clearance.

Heat wave claims four more lives in Ahmedabad

Severe heat wave conditions prevailing in Gujarat, especially in the city, where mercury levels broke the 100-year old record yesterday, claimed another four lives, taking the total number of such deaths here to eight in this season. “Four persons died due to heat stroke in Ahmedabad in the last two days, taking the total number of deaths to eight this summer. We have admitted 20 new patients today. At present around 50 such patients are being treated in different government-run hospitals in the city (for heat-related ailments),” a statement issued by the health department of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, people across Gujarat received much-needed respite from extreme heat today, as maximum temperature dropped by 2 to 4 degrees Celsius today, mainly due to windy weather. Earlier yesterday, extreme heat broke 100-years record, as maximum temperature in Ahmedabad touched 48.0 degree Celsius. Maximum temperature in several other cities, too, passed the 45 degrees mark yesterday. However, in a huge respite to citizens, no city today touched the 45 degree Celsius mark and Ahmedabad was the hottest city across the state today with 44.6 degrees Celsius, a drop of 3.4 degrees Celsius. Similarly, mercury dropped in other parts state. In Gandhinagar, where the mercury touched 48 mark yesterday, maximum temperature dropped to 44.5 today. Maximum temperature in Deesa town of Banaskantha district, which had also recorded 48 degrees Celsius yesterday, also came down to 42.8 degrees, said a statement by the city-based Met Centre. According to Met officials, the temperature may drop further in the coming days. “Due to winds coming from Arabian sea, maximum temperature dropped across Gujarat today. As per our predictions, it will further drop in the coming days. After May 23, the temperature across Gujarat would remain in the range of 42 to 43 degrees, which is a normal range for the state,” Assistant Director of Met Centre Manorama Mohanty said.

Goa’s private beach shacks can continue to operate during monsoon: Union MoEF

Panaji: Beach shacks located in private properties across Goa’s coastline will not have to dismantle their structure during monsoon season.

As per a notification issued by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), on April 25, beach shacks in private lands can continue with their structures in monsoon but they will be banned from operating (doing business) from June to August, when the Arabian Sea is rough.

These structures shall not be removed or dismantled from June to August, as was the practise in the past, said the notification issued by MoEF Joint Secretary Bishwanath Sinha.

Reuters.Reuters.

Reuters.

However, the MoEF added a rider saying, “the facilities provided in these structures shall remain non-operational from June to August”.

The decision will give relief to 2,000-odd beach shack owners, who had approached the BJP-led Goa government demanding that they should be allowed to continue with the shelters during monsoon that are in private properties.

BJP legislator from Calangute, Michael Lobo had taken up the issue with Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar.

As per the notification, MoEF, while permitting the beach shacks in private properties to continue, has amended the Coastal Zone Regulation (CRZ) notification 2011.

‘Haji Ali sabke liye’: NGOs, activists come together to seek women’s entry at dargah

Mumbai: After the successful right-to-pray campaign centred around the Shani Temple in Ahmednagar district, a similar public-backed movement has been launched to seek entry of women into the core area of the Haji Ali Dargah in the city.

Over 20 outfits, NGOs and human right activists on Wednesday announced formation of ‘Haji Ali Sabke Liye’ to peacefully campaign against the ban on entry of women into the interiors of the 15th century Sufi shrine, located on a small islet in the Arabian Sea and visited by hundreds of people everyday.

The forum was launched at a press conference which was briefly disrupted by a group of people who said the move was against the Sharia.

Addressing the meet, its convener Javed Anand said, “The forum is of the firm view that women’s entry in the Dargah is not a religious issue, but something to do with customs and traditions. This is why the forum is appealing to the trustees of the Haji Ali Dargah to immediately withdraw the restriction imposed on entry of women.”

Haji Ali dargah. File photo. ReutersHaji Ali dargah. File photo. Reuters

Haji Ali dargah. File photo. Reuters

The Bombay High Court is hearing a petition challenging the Haji Ali Trust’s decision to ban the entry of women into the sanctum of the shrine.

“We are sincerely requesting the trustees to withdraw the ban before the HC gives its final order,” said Anand.

Anand said he has full faith in the judiciary but is appealing to the management of the dargah to uphold the right to equality of women at religious places.

Representatives of the forum will try to meet the trustees to convey their sentiments on the issue. The new body would soon hold a peaceful dharna outside the shrine, which houses the tomb of a Sufi saint and also a mosque, he said.

Trupti Desai of Bhumata Brigade, who successfully spearheaded the agitation seeking entry of women in Shani Shinganapur’s sanctum, said fighting for women’s right was part of her mission and she would proactively take part in this movement too.

Mariam Dhawale, state president, All India Democratic Association, said after the Haji Ali Dargah row is solved, the forum would launch a similar movement to demand entry into other religious places where such a ban is in place.

Choppy waters: 59 Indian fishermen from Gujarat arrested in Pakistan

Karachi: Fifty-nine Indian fishermen have been arrested and their 10 boats seized by Pakistani authorities for allegedly violating the country’s territorial waters.

The fishermen were arrested by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) while they were fishing in Sir Creek, a disputed area on the maritime border of Sindh and Gujarat.

“The fishermen were presented before a magistrate today and have been sent to judicial remand,” a senior police officer said.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The MSA detained them here yesterday and seized 10 boats. The fishermen belong to Gujarat.

The 59 fishermen have been taken into custody and cases have been lodged against them under section 3 and 4 of the Foreigners Act and 3 and 9 of the Fisheries Act, the Express Tribune quoted a police official as saying.

Both Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often arrested for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location.

In two goodwill gestures last month, Pakistan freed 86 fishermen in two batches each.

Some 377 more Indian prisoners are languishing in the Malir jail out of whom 116 have to complete their sentences while the remaining 261 are undertrials.

Now, 59 Indian fishermen get caught in Pakistani net

Pakistan has arrested at least 59 Indian fishermen on Thursday for entering the country’s waters and poaching, according to a report by IANS. A senior official in the report was quoted saying that the Indian fishermen were arrested by the Maritime Security Agency (MSA) on Thursday while they were fishing in the Pakistani limits of the Arabian Sea.The official further said that most of the arrested fishermen belonged to the state of Gujarat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These arrests come just days after the two countries released imprisoned fishermen. Pakistan released some 87 Indian fishermen on March 6 and two weeks later on March 20 freed 86 more.
ALSO READ Pakistan releases 86 Indian fishermen for trespassingThese fishermen left for Lahore by train in the afternoon where they were handed over to Indian authorities at the Wagah border, said the report.The fishermen were released after they completed their sentences of one year. Some 377 more Indian prisoners are languishing in the Malir jail out of whom 116 have to complete their sentences while the remaining 261 are undertrials. All the fishermen hail from Gujarat.
ALSO READ 362 Indian fishermen still in Pakistan jail: Gujarat governmentIndia in the other hand had freed 9 Pakistani fishermen on March 17. This is after they had spent some 17 months in the Jamnagar jail in Gujarat.

China launches charm offensive for first overseas naval base | Reuters

BEIJING China has launched an unusual charm offensive to explain its first overseas naval base in Djibouti, seeking to assuage global concerns about military expansionism by portraying the move as Beijing’s contribution to regional security and development.

The message is in stark contrast to Beijing’s more bellicose stance on the South China Sea, where its claims on a vital trade waterway have raised hackles across Asia and the United States.

China has repeatedly said it does not seek a U.S.-style “hegemony” by extending its military reach, including through bases abroad.

Now that it appears it may be doing precisely that, the government has been quietly briefing on its rationale for the Djibouti base and using state media to address fears of China’s aims.

“China is explaining it as part of the ‘one road, one belt’ strategy, to help link Ethiopia to the sea,” said one Western diplomat who has been briefed by Chinese officials on the Djibouti base, referring to China’s New Silk Road strategy.

That involves opening trade corridors across continents that will help bolster the Chinese economy and connect it with the rest of the world.

A $4 billion railway will connect Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to Djibouti’s new Chinese-invested port, where a military facility will be located, according to Chinese media.

A second diplomat, also been briefed by China on the plans, said it was an “unusual” move by the normally secretive Chinese government to try and bring a degree of transparency to its plans.

“China does not want to be seen as a threat,” the diplomat said.

INDIAN ALARM

In a lengthy statement to Reuters, China’s Defence Ministry confirmed it had communicated its intentions about Djibouti to “relevant countries and international organisations”, reiterating the facility was mostly for resupply purposes for anti-piracy, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

“What needs to be stressed is that China upholds a path of peaceful development … and has never engaged in an arms race or military expansion. This will never change.”

Djibouti, which already hosts military facilities for the United States and France, has echoed Beijing’s line that the base will be used for refuelling and other logistical support to fight piracy and protect trade routes.

But it also says the West should not be worried if China seeks “military outposts”, given that Western nations have had them for years around the world.

Construction began in February in the country of fewer than a million people, striving to be an international shipping hub.

Djibouti’s location on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean has fuelled worries in India that it will become another of China’s “string of pearls” of military alliances and assets ringing India, including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

Indian military officials told Reuters that China’s naval presence in Djibouti would add another dimension to India’s military contingency planning, so far confined to land and air operations stemming from a decades-old border dispute with China across the Himalayas.

Together with China’s involvement in Pakistan’s Gwadar port, another potential military base, the role of China’s navy would be greatly enhanced and posed a threat to the Indian navy, Indian army brigadier Mandip Singh said in a paper for the government-funded Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

“Djibouti also enables China to base its long-range naval air assets there. And these are capable of maintaining surveillance over the Arabian Sea as well as India’s island territories off the Western coast,” he wrote.

The Western diplomat briefed on the Chinese plans added: “If I were Indian I would be very worried about what China is up to in Djibouti.”

A U.S. State Department spokesman said late last year: “We look forward to gaining greater clarity as to the roles and purposes of this new facility, and note that China participates in international counter piracy actions in the Gulf of Aden.”

STRING OF AFRICAN PEARLS

More bases may be on the way, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hinted at this month’s annual meeting of parliament.

There are several African ports which China and Chinese firms are helping to build and develop. Commercial in nature, they all could berth Chinese naval ships one day.

One Chinese diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the idea for the Djibouti facility came up last year when China’s navy evacuated foreigners from Yemen.

The Chinese frigate involved had to give most onboard supplies to those evacuated, leaving it with the problem of finding new supplies. Unlike the United States, China has no permanent resupply bases.

“It’s a supply facility pure and simple,” the source said.

With Beijing keen not to call Djibouti a military base, state-run media has reined back using the term to describe it.

The Global Times, an influential tabloid, quoted Chinese experts shortly after Wang spoke as saying China was not building a military base in Djibouti, only a supply facility.

Djibouti’s government, meanwhile, is keen to develop military cooperation with China.

“China is already well prepared to support Djibouti, to increase its military capabilities and guarantee its security,” Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan said during a visit to Djibouti in 2014, in comments carried on the website of Djibouti’s embassy in Beijing.

(Additional reporting by Megha Rajagopalan, Edmund Blair in NAIROBI, Sanjeev Miglani in NEW DELHI and David Brunnstrom in WASHINGTON; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

NIA court discharges 11 in the Iranian boat case

The NIA Special Court, taking cognizance of the final report of investigation filed by the agency in connection to seizure of an Iranian boat from the Arabian sea, discharged 11 of the total 12 accused stating that the probe did not find any evidence to prove that the accused to establish commission of scheduled offences under the SUA Act.The accused were booked under Sections 3 and 7 of Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act 1981 and Section 3(g) of The Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002, (SUA Act) at local Police Station in Kerala.The boat was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard on July 4 last year with 12 persons on board – comprising of 11 Iranians and one Pakistani national.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Iranian Boat was found in the Arabian Sea in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India at 58.5 nautical miles off Alleppey coast of KeralaThe NIA court while discharging the 11 men said that ‘the probe agency had thoroughly examined the arrested persons and the call details of their phones were analysed. A thorough forensic examination of the Boat was undertaken to detect trace of any evidence of any illegal acts, consignment on board and the ocean floor below the location of the boat was also scanned for any offloading of contrabands on the high seas. However, no evidence to establish the commission of a scheduled offence could be forthcoming during investigation,”said NIA officials.”The final report of investigation, therefore, submits that no evidence could be found to establish commission of scheduled offences under the SUA Act. However, the final report submitted indicates the commission of offences under section 3 r/w 10 (b) and 7 r/w 14 of the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act 1981, for which only the master of the ship is liable and the Hon’ble Court has been apprised accordingly, “NIA added.The court has entrusted the custody of the eleven foreigners – 10 of Iranian nationality and one of Pakistan, to FRRO, Kochi. “Consequently, FRRO, Kochi has imposed restrictions on their movement out of District Jail as per provisions of Foreigners, Act, 1946 and Foreigners Order, 1948, till their deportation to respective countries. The court has further directed NIA to take adequate steps for issuing travel documents to the foreigners,”NIA officials said.

All-women navy crew train to sail into the limelight

On February 23 — when President Pranab Mukherjee was telling a joint session of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha before the budget session that, in the future, the government will induct women in all the fighter streams of the armed forces — six women officers of the Indian Navy were already in the process of achieving a unique feat.For the first time, an all-women crew was manning the Navy vessel ‘Mhadei’ — a 56-feet sloop weighing 23 tonnes — from Visakhapatnam to her home port, Goa, after participating in the International Fleet Review (IFR), a multi-nation naval event held earlier in February.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But even as they sailed from Vishakapatnam to Goa via the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, the journey was only a small, but critical, part of their training for a mammoth feat they aim to achieve in 2017 — becoming the first all-women Indian Navy crew to circumnavigate the globe.Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, a naval architect who will be the skipper of ‘Mhadei’, told dna that she was appointed to lead the team after the IFR and added that on the way from Vishakapatnam to Goa, “there were moments when sailors in other vessels, including those belonging to other countries, would wave at us and ask questions”. She said: “When we told them what we were up to, they would reflect some sense of awe and appreciate our efforts.”But didn’t the idea of an all-women crew bring about certain security concerns while sailing in international waters? “No,” said Joshi, adding, “we have been training hard, and now sailing all by ourselves doesn’t appear to be extraordinary to us.”In Goa, the women are undergoing a rigorous training regimen that covers both sailing and being anchored at a harbour. “From coping with long sailing hours to learning how to fix the vessel generator, we are gearing up for all situations,” Joshi said.The other officers who constitute the crew are Lieutenant P Swathi and Lieutenant Pratibha Jamwal, both air traffic control specialists, Lieutenant Vijaya Devi and Sub-Lieutenant Payal Gupta (education officers), and Lieutenant B Aishwarya, who is a naval architect expected to join the boat shortly, said one the navy’s public relations officers, Captain DK Sharma. The women have been training under Commander Dilip Donde, who was the first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the globe in 2009-10 on board the same boat.

Pakistan releases 86 Indian fishermen for trespassing

Pakistan on Saturday released 86 more Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly trespassing into its territorial waters, the second such batch freed this month in a goodwill gesture. The 86 fishermen freed from the Malir jail in Karachi would travel to Lahore by train and be handed over Indian authorities at the Wagah border, Superintendent of Karachi’s Malir prison Raja Mumtaz said. “The Edhi trust arranged for their journey to Lahore and also bid them farewell with gifts and cash,” he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is the second time this month that the government has released Indian fishermen in a goodwill gesture. On March 6 also, 86 Indian fishermen and a civilian prisoner, who had served nearly two and half years in the jail, were released from Landhi jail. Rights activists say that currently, around 363 Indian fishermen are languishing in Pakistani jails. Both Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often arrested for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location. In two incidents last month, Pakistani authorities arrested 108 Indian fishermen and seized a total of 20 boats for what they called was illegally fishing in Pakistan’s territorial waters.

Mumbai: Six-feet-long dolphin washes ashore Worli seaface

The sad tale of dead dolphins being washed ashore Mumbai’s coastline continues, as another carcass was found along the Worli seaface on Saturday morning.According to the Mangrove Cell of the state forest department, the six-feet-long dead mammal was spotted afloat by joggers in the waters hugging the south Mumbai shore at around 9am.Tides swept the rotting carcass on the rocky shoreline in the wee hours, after which civic conservancy workers hauled it outside the waters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The carcass measured around two metres in length and weighed around 145-50 kg.A team of two veterinary doctors, from the Parel-based Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), carried out the necropsy on the dolphin – to determine the cause of death.”The dolphin seems to have died, almost 9-10 days back in deeper waters of the Arabian sea. Almost 90 per cent of the skin has peeled off and its bloated internals are spilling from its mouth,” a veterinary doctor told iamin.He added that, as most of the internal organs had autolysed, a forensic examination of the viscera would only help determine the unexplained death.The discovery of this dolphin comes almost two weeks after a mammoth 24-feet-long Whale Shark was found in waters near Palghar, in Thane district, on 4 March this year.

Pakistan to release another 86 Indian fishermen on March 21

Pakistan will release 86 Indian fishermen languishing in a Karachi prison on March 21, a Gujarat government official said today.These fishermen had been apprehended by the Pakistan Marine Security Agency (PMSA) for allegedly violating International Maritime Boundary Line between the two countries and had been languishing in Karachi’s Landhi jail for around a year.Pakistan had earlier announced that it would release 86 fishermen in addition to 87 others, who were released on March 7. “Another group of 86 Indian fishermen jailed in Karachi’s Landhi jail will be released on March 21,” Assistant Superintendent, Gujarat Fisheries Department in Veraval, Vimal Pandya told PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The fishermen to be released on March 21 had been arrested by the PMSA around a year back after their boats drifted into Pakistan waters crossing the maritime border between India and Pakistan in the Arabian Sea,” he said.These fishermen would reach the Wagah border on March 22, but would take another couple of days to reach their homes in Gujarat, Pandya said. Meanwhile, National Fishworkers Forum (NFF) secretary Manish Lodhari said they have received a list of 18 fishermen, who have been languishing in Pakistan jail for around three years. The jailed fishermen sought their release through a letter that they sent with the recently-released fishermen.”As many as 18 fishermen have been in Pakistan jail for three years now, despite completing their jail term. They wrote to us requesting to take up their case and facilitate their release. Even now, there are still more than 400 fishermen languishing in Pakistani jails,” Lodhari said.Lodhari, who is also the president of Porbandar Fishermen Boat Association, had recently written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged to initiate efforts to release all jailed Indian fishermen along with boats seized by PMSA. There are as many as 860 Indian fishing boats in Pakistan custody, he added.

Around 87 Indian prisoners freed by Pakistan cross into India

The 87 Indian prisoners, mostly fishermen freed by Pakistan, who were stranded for more than 30 hours at the Wagah border, were on Tuesday allowed to cross into their homeland after all legal formalities were completed.”Today we have handed over 87 Indian nationals mostly fishermen to BSF India,” Pakistan Rangers spokesman Muhammad Asif told PTI adding the Indians were handed over after meeting the legal requirements.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Owing to lack of coordination between the Pakistan Rangers and Foreign Ministry, the Indian nationals who were released from the Landhi Jail, Karachi on March 6 could not be handed over to the Indian authorities.They remained stranded at the Wagah border yesterday as the Rangers said “the Indian officials concerned did not turn up (at Wagah)”. Earlier, Pakistan Rangers official Major Waheed said that all arrangements to hand over the released prisoners to the Indian authorities were made but none of India’s foreign ministry officials reached Wagah to sign the documents to hand over the prisoners.After the release of the 87 prisoners, another 457 Indians remain in jail in Karachi and most of them are fishermen arrested for territorial violation. Landhi Jail deputy superintendent Shakir Shah said the 87 Indians had been in jail for more than two years.They had completed their sentences and were freed after verification of their travel documents sent by the Indian authorities. Both Indian and Pakistani fishermen are often arrested for illegal fishing since the Arabian Sea border is not clearly defined and many boats lack the technology to fix their precise location.

Pakistan hands 87 freed prisoners to India

Eighty-seven Indians, mostly fishermen arrested in Pakistan for allegedly violating its territorial waters, were on Monday handed over to India at the Wagah Border after being released from a prison.”We have handed 87 Indians, mostly fishermen, to the Border Security Force,” a Pakistan Rangers official told reporters at the Wagah Border. He said the Indian nationals have been handed over to the Indian authorities after verifying their documents. The Indian nationals were freed from the Landhi Jail in Karachi yesterday. They arrived Lahore by a train today morning.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After releasing 87 Indians, we now have a total of 457 more (Indians) in the prison, and most of them are fishermen arrested for territorial violation,” Landhi jail’s deputy superintendent Shakir Shah old The Express Tribune. “Some 86 more Indians are likely to be released on March 20,” he said, adding the 87 Indians had been in jail for more than two years. Fishermen are frequently arrested along with their boats by both India and Pakistan as the maritime border in the Arabian Sea is poorly defined, and many fishing boats lack the technology needed to be certain of their precise location.Some of them spend years in jail before being repatriated. In the past the two nations have released each other’s fishermen as goodwill gestures. Although in December, India and Pakistan had agreed to revive the dialogue process when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Islamabad for a summit, but the same month 66 Indian fishermen were arrested by Pakistan.In January, another 45 Indian fishermen were arrested for allegedly violating Pakistan’s territorial waters.

Mumbai: To build or not to build? Raj Thackeray, Sushilkumar Shinde differ on Shivaji memorial

While Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray said on Sunday that it is more important to maintain and conserve the historic forts that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj built instead of building a memorial for the Maratha warrior in the Arabian Sea, former chief minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that it would not be proper to do away with the memorial just because Thackeray had said so.Thackeray and Shinde were both in Pune to attend two different functions and made statements on the memorial to be built in the Arabian Sea for Shivaji Maharaj. Thackeray said that the people who want to build the memorial in the sea want it to be taller than the Statue of Liberty in the US, but had not yet reached any decision on how tall the horse would be on which Shivaji’s statue would be mounted. He added that, on one hand, these people were talking of spending crores of rupees on the Arabian Sea memorial but, on the other hand, they were neglecting the heritage of Maharashtra that lies in the forts built by the great Maratha warrior.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thackeray said that these forts are in a dilapidated condition and the cost of the memorial is increasing at every step. He also said that people who had never gone to any of these forts were now criticising the decision of the state government to confer the Masharashtra Bhushan award on Babasaheb Purandare, who has devoted eight decades to research on Shivaji Maharaj. He added that it is more important to restore, maintain and conserve historic forts, which constitute the heritage of Maharashtra, than build the memorial at sea.Shinde, while speaking to media persons on the same day as Thackeray, said that the in-sea memorial was conceived of when the Congress was in power in the state. Shinde said that Shivaji Maharaj is a subject of pride for Maharashtra and the country at large, which is why the proposed memorial would be comparable to the Statue of Liberty in the US. He added that there is nothing wrong in the memorial being built. He also said that it is not proper to say that the memorial should be done away with only because Thackeray says so.

Murud beach tragedy: Youth saved classmate, but got drowned himself

When 20-year-old Iftekar Sheikh saw his friends drowning in the Arabian Sea off Murud beach in Raigad district on Monday, he did not think twice before jumping into water, and managed to save his female classmate, but was washed away himself.Iftekar’s friend Arbaaz Sayyad, who saw the whole tragedy unfold before him, in which 14 of his classmates met the watery grave, told about this particular episode to PTI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When my classmate and friend, Iftekar Abbas Ali Sheikh, saw one of our girl classmates drowning, he immediately ventured into the sea to save her. He pushed the girl towards the shore and saved her life. However, during this act of bravery, he himself got washed away in the choppy waters and drowned,” Arbaaz said.Fourteen students of Abeda Inamdar College in Pune, including 10 girls, aged between 18 and 20, had drowned in the Sea at Murud yesterday. Iftekar, who was studying in third year of Bachelor of Computer Science, is one of the victims.”The whole episode began when one of the victims, Swapnali Salgar, started drowning and three of our classmates went ahead to save her,” Arbaaz said. He said that although he himself is not a good swimmer, he jumped into the sea water to save his mates. However, he soon returned to the shore after panic gripped him.”Although I am not much good at swimming, I went ahead into the water. But soon, I realised that the sand under my feet was slipping away. I got scared and started swimming back to the shore,” he said, while recollecting the tragic events.Arbaaz’s father Javed Sayyad, who runs a hotel here, said, “I would like to appeal to the parents not to send their children to such dangerous places. I also appeal to the government to increase security at such beaches by deploying enough number of lifeguards and emergency services.”

Delhi cops bust forged passport scam; terror link probed

The Delhi Police busted the Delhi unit of an international fake passport scam that involved obtaining forged Indian passports for Rohingya Muslims living in Bangladesh. The kingpin of the Delhi nodal unit 39-year-old Shaukat Ali, a Bangladeshi national was arrested with his nephew Suleiman (23) — also Bangladeshi, along with three others Amit Bodh Jha, Mohammad Ibn Sultan (64) and Saddam Hussain (21).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seven persons related to this racket have been arrested so far including Noor-ul Haq, an operative arrested by Hyderabad’s Special Investigative Team (SIT) and Mohammad Hafij Sheikh who was arrested by the Kolkatta police. Haq, a close associate of Ali, was arrested in September 2015, for allegedly having close links to terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and running this passport scam for terrorists who apparently wished to travel to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Sheik was arrested in January earlier this year.According to the Delhi Police, Ali, a Rohingya Muslim, operated out of a mosquito net factory in South-East Delhi’s Sarai Kale Khan, would procure a list of the candidates who wanted fake passports. Personal details like the name, date of birth and parentage of these candidates along with photographs were sent to Ali who in turn sent them to his associate.Sheik, another key operative who worked out of Kolkata with his accomplice Imam Chowdhury, was not only instrumental in getting the original list of candidates but also contributed towards arranging for the fake passports. Sheik and Chowdhury would procure fake Indian passports and alter the details and photographs with those of the applicants on the list.Ali who received the new doctored passports would then forward them to Hussain, who along with Sultan would arrange for authentic Saudi Arabian visas. During the investigation, it was revealed that Sultan ran a manpower agency and was instrumental in obtaining visas from the Saudi Arabian embassy in the Indian capital.The new passports, complete with original multiple-entry visas were then couriered to Bangladesh by Bitto. In this manner, every month, more than 20 Rohingya Muslims from Bangladesh were able to travel on fake or forged Indian passports. These passports cost them a princely sum of Rs.1,50,000 which was collected through hawala channels.The Airport unit of the Delhi police headed by Dinesh Gupta, DCP/IGIA and his team were responsible for uncovering this conspiracy and arresting those involved in Delhi. “Around 27 passports were seized during the arrests, of which more two passports were fake,” Gupta stated at a press conference held at the Delhi Police Headquarters on January 15. “Most of the arrests were made over a period of four days from January 11-January 14, and all the accused were produced in court,” Gupta added. The courts remanded all the accused arrested to police custody.Special Commissioner (Operations) Sundari Nanda, who chaired the press conference claimed that the investigation into the matter was still on and terror links could not be ruled out.

Selfie mishap: Mumbai police to identify ‘no selfie zones’ after Bandra incident

Mumbai Police has initiated the process of identifying and marking certain spots in the city as ‘no selfie zones’ in a bid to discourage people from putting themselves at risk while photographing themselves, after three girls fell into the sea while clicking selfies.”We are in the process of identifying and then marking a few locations in the city where clicking selfies will not be allowed,” a senior police officer told PTI today.He said the idea is still in an infant stage and it would be premature to say anything on the penal aspects of the rule.On Saturday, three girls, Tarannum Ansari (18), a Govandi resident, and her friends Anjum Khan (19) and Masturi Wasim Ali Khan (19) fell into the Arabian Sea while clicking selfies on a rock jutting out of the sea near Bandra Fort during tide, as they lost balance.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A local youth, Ramesh Walunju, had jumped into the sea to save the girls and pulled Anjum and Kasuri out to the shores. A resident of Jaffer Baba colony, a slum pocket behind the Fort, and a natural swimmer, Walunju, however drowned while trying to save Tarannum after he re-entered into the water to save her. His body was recovered yesterday from Mahim creek.Meanwhile, search for Tarannum has not yielded any results so far and she still remains untraced, according to police.

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