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Have not spoken to son for 4 years, lament parents of Mumbai engineer languishing in Pakistan jail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Love and desperation drove Mumbai engineer Hamid Ansari to illegally cross over to Pakistan from Afghanistan in late 2012 leading to his arrest and subsequent imprisonment.Four years later, the desperation to hear a word from their son has prompted Hamid’s parents — Fauzia Ansari and Nehal Ansari — to pitch a tent in the city’s protest hotspot, Jantar Mantar, and knock on the Prime Minister’s door.”The last time I spoke to him was on November 10, 2012 when he told me that he will be back in Mumbai by November 12 and was looking forward to take up a teaching assignment,” Fauzia said.Little did she know that, “egged on by a group of people in Pakistan who may have trapped him”, Hamid’s false bravado would plunge the family in a state of despair, with virtually no glimmer of hope.During this period, Fauzia has written to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, met Union External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj five times, so much so that “she recognises me even from a distance”.”Allow Hamid to talk to us from prison. We have not spoken to him for over four years now. Please allow him consular access denied to him till date,” reads her letter to Sharif.”Sushmaji has been extremely cooperative. Our last meeting was in August this year. She assured us that the government was pursuing the case,” Fauzia said, adding that the family would submit a memorandum to the PMO.Hamid, 31, had entered Pakistan to reportedly meet a girl he had befriended online, who was being “forcibly married” off to someone by her family, said Fauzia, a lecturer with a Mumbai college.It was only in January this year that Fauzia and Nehal came to know from Pakistan government’s submission in the Peshawar High Court, responding to Habeas Corpus petition, that Hamid was in military custody.He was arrested soon after he entered Pakistan and was tried by a Pakistani military court, which awarded him three years of imprisonment.”Since he has been in jail since 2012, he has served this sentence already. But there is no clarity about when he will be released. What is intriguing is that a woman Zeenat Shehzadi, who tried to help Hamid, seems to have been targeted by agencies there. She has gone missing,” Fauzia said.

President Mukherjee and VP Ansari greet nation on Milad-un-Nabi, spread message of universal brotherhood

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Hamid Ansari greeted people on the occasion of Milad-un-Nabi on Sunday, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, and appealed to them to recall his message to work towards universal brotherhood, tolerance and well-being of all. “On the auspicious occasion of Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of the Holy Prophet, I extend my heartiest greetings and best wishes to all my fellow countrymen, in India and abroad,” Mukherjee said in a message on the eve of Milad-un- Nabi.”May the message of the Holy Prophet inspire us to work towards universal brotherhood, compassion, tolerance and the well-being of all. Let us on this day recall the life and ideals of Hazrat Mohammed Saheb and re-dedicate ourselves to the service of humanity,” the President said.Vice President Hamid Ansari, in his message, said the Holy Prophet showed the humanity the righteous path of compassion and universal brotherhood. “Convey my warm greetings and best wishes to the people of our country on the auspicious occasion of Milad-un-Nabi/ Id-E-Milad, celebrated as the Birthday of Prophet Mohammed,” Ansari said in his message.The Holy Prophet showed the humanity the righteous path of compassion and universal brotherhood, he said. “May His eternal message continue to guide us to building a peaceful and harmonious society,” Ansari said.

Amritsar: Parents of Indian man jailed in Pakistan fail to meet Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An elderly Mumbai-based couple’s hope to secure the release of their son lodged in a Pakistani prison despite completing his jail term was dashed on Sunday after they failed to meet Pakistani Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz.They have been camping in this holy city, where Aziz participated in the ministerial deliberations of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process. Aziz left for Pakistan this evening. “We were keen to meet Sartaj Aziz. But the tight security in place did not allow us to have an audience with him. Now we are in the Golden Temple praying for justice to our son who is lodged in a Peshawar jail,” said Fauzia Ansari, the mother of 32-year-old Hamid Ansari. “All our effort to meet Sartaj went futile,” she lamented.Over 40 foreign ministers and dignitaries of 14 participating countries attended the conference that also saw the attendance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.
ALSO READ Parents of Indian prisoner in Pakistan seek to meet Sartaz AzizHamid, an IT engineer and an MBA degree holder, had gone to Kabul on November 4, 2012 from where he reached Pakistan, allegedly to meet a Pakistani girl he had been in touch with over e-mail. There were no reports of his whereabouts after November 10. The deputy attorney general of Pakistan had informed the court that Hamid was in the custody of Pakistani army and had been awarded three years’ imprisonment.Fauzia and Nehal, who have two children, including Hamid, said he was sentenced to three years in prison and his term ended a year ago. The elderly couple had been carrying placards to display outside the venue of two-day Heart of Asia conference.Fauzia said she had earlier sent a letter to Aziz seeking an appointment to request for Hamid’s release but in the absence of any reply from his office, she had no option but to stand near the venue of the conference with the placards.She had filed a writ petition in the Peshawar High Court seeking release of her son after the completion of his jail term. The petition was dismissed as the court had observed that the army would decide on his release since he was in its custody.

Despite PM’s presence Rajya Sabha fails to function

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite the Prime Minister acceding to the Opposition’s demand to attend both Houses, the Rajya Sabha missed yet another opportunity on Thursday to have a debate on demonetization.The Prime Minister reached the Rajya Sabha before the Question Hour at noon on Thursday and ensured his presence in the Upper House for more than an hour. He also remained seated when the house was adjourned for 15 minutes. The PM’s presence in the Rajya Sabha, showed the government’s determination to engage the Opposition in the debate on demonetization. But a determined Opposition created a ruckus and didn’t allow any resumption of debate, leading to a verbal dual between the Congress and the BJP.The original demand of the Opposition was that a debate could resume only in presence of the PM, who has often given a miss to the proceedings of the House. But on Thursday, when the PM conceded to the demand, the Opposition came up with a new demand, that the PM apologise first for his repeated black money jibe against them outside Parliament.BJP minister Venkaiah Naidu sought deputy chairman PJ Kurien’s permission to start the debate on demonetization. But even before Kurien could call the member’s name to start the debate, Congress MP BK Hariprasad said, “Sir, Let the Prime Minister apologize.” His demand was met by a retort from Naidu, “The Congress should apologise for its irresponsible behaviour… “Soon it turned into a free for all as Opposition members rushed to the well shouting slogans against the Prime Minister. An exasperated Kurien pleaded with Congress members to go back to their benches and start the debate as their demand for the PM’s presence has been met. But the Congress was not ready for anything short of an apology from the PM for his statement that all Opposition parties were favouring black money. Naidu then chided the Opposition for running away from the debate and asserted that the PM is here and he will intervene as and when required. The Opposition, however, rushed into the well, creating a ruckus with slogans and that forced Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien to adjourn the House for the day.Earlier, Opposition leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the demonetization debate that began on November 16 was held up all these days since the PM was not coming to answer questions on the matter. He added that the debate could start only after he (Modi) explains and apologises for accusing the Opposition of supporting the black money holders at least in two meetings.The ruling and Opposition benches clashed even as Chairman Hamid Ansari had a word with Naidu, calling him to his chair, and announced suspension of the question hour to start the debate. BJD member AU Singh Deo even started speaking on his direction, but the pandemonium forced him to adjourn for 15 minutes.Prime Minister Modi kept sitting during the adjournment and had a word with whosoever came to meet him. He, however, showed apparent arrogance when he did not get up from his chair to greet two senior AIADMK MPs came to speak to him, just greeting them with a handshake as with others. No one from the Opposition, however, went to his desk.Chairman Hamid Ansari then invited ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Azad to his chamber during the adjournment to explore if the House could be brought to order to resume debate. He, however, adjourned for the lunch break, on seeing another bout of ruckus from the Congress members sloganeering in the well.Modi was back in the House after the recess, but the Opposition members again rushed into the well demanding “Maafi” (apology) from him for accusing them of helping the black money hoarders. The House was ultimately adjourned for the day.Deputy Chairman Kurien, made repeated efforts to get the debate started, reprimanding the Opposition that it was stalling it all these days demanding that the PM should come to the House and answer them and it was not allowing the debate when the PM is already there. What else do you want, he asked the Opposition.After both Houses adjourned for the day, government sources said mainly the Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress were insisting on a vote on the debate on demonetization while the others had indicated they were ready for a discussion under any provision. “The Opposition stands exposed. For the third day, the Prime Minister was in the House…. But Opposition did not allow debate,” Information and broadcasting minister Venkaiah Naidu said, adding that it was made clear that he would intervene in the discussion.With the Opposition alleging that the Prime Minister had attended house only for question hour in the morning, Modi attended the Rajya Sabha after lunch. “The Opposition parties continued to protest. The cat was out of the bag. They are shying away from a debate… They cannot speak against demonetization…. The Congress was isolated in Rajya Sabha,” Naidu said.Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has asked all ministers to engage with their departments and even personal staff to sensitize them about digital economy, sources said.At a book release function on Constitution Day, PM Modi had said, “Those who are criticizing demonetization don’t have problem with the government’s preparedness. Their problem is they didn’t get enough time to prepare… Had these people got 72 hours to make their preparation they would have lavished praise that there is no one like Modi.”

Women against triple talaq RSS stooges, need DNA test: Ulemas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a meeting of different Ulema associations held in Ghanchi Jamatkhana of Mumbai on Monday, attendees slammed the media, and said the members of the Law Commission of India (LCI) and Muslim women fighting against triple talaq were RSS stooges.The meeting was held to publicly support the stand of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which has appealed to the community to boycott the questionnaire sent by the LCI on Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Those in the meeting did not even spare women and other members of the community who are against triple talaq.”Some TV channels are talking about UCC like this is the biggest issue affecting the entire country and there is no other issue. They call such people on TV shows that are not adept at defending the religion,” said Maulana Naeem Akhtar.Slamming the women from the community, some questioned the hiring of lawyers to fight their case. “They hire non-Muslim lawyers. Had the lawyer been Muslim, he would have never have gone against Sharia,” said one.Taking the argument forward, Maulana Khaleel Noorie said, “RSS mahila tanzeem is issue ko raise kar rahin hain (Women affiliated with RSS organisations are raising these issues). They do not know Sharia and are only into aisho-aaram (leisure).”Ulemas even questioned the urgency with which the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the issue. “There are so many Gau Rakshaks and other issues. Why does the Supreme Court have to take suo motu cognisance only in this case? There are more divorce cases in Hindu communities compared to Muslims,” said Nawaid Hamid, one of the speakers and President of Mushawarat, a body formed to oppose the UCC.Ulemas also blamed shortcomings in their own measures for the issue to come up. In Bihar, the Shariat is taken to masses and there are few cases that reach court due to that, said one. Another said that those who do not read Namaz five times a day and spread red carpet for Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie are talking about faults in the religion. “There is an attempt to defame Islam through women. In fact, the kind of rights Islam has given, no other religion has,” said Salim Akhtar, one of the speakers.”The government should also tell what they will do about the tax benefits given to Hindu undivided families,” Hamid added. He further demanded that the government should first say that they are withdrawing an affidavit sent by the Deve Gowda government to the SC that no interference will be allowed with personal laws of the communities.Abu Asim Azmi, Samajwadi Party leader in city, said, “The court has justified reservation to Muslims but they are not giving that. Even we should show our strength on the road, like Marathas. They have implemented Suryanamaskar. How can a Muslim worship anyone else other than Allah?””I would say that Muslim women who have gone to court are not Muslims. A DNA test should conducted to see if they are Muslims. They government is trying to hide its failures by bringing up these issues,” said Maulana Syed Khalid Ashraf, one of the prominent speakers.Meanwhile, responding to Ulemas’ comments, Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) co-convener Noorjehan Safia Niaz said, “That we are RSS stooges is nothing new. What is their contribution to the community? Their demand for a DNA test only shows that they are pathetic and sick.”Why no Bill against alcohol?In a press conference held on Monday, the All India Muslim Majlis-E-Mushawarat, a group that claimed to have support of all Muslim denominations against UCC, said that there are other issues that take prominence in Directive Principles.”Why does the government not want to bring a Bill on alcohol? That is affecting women in the worst ways. No party can get it because they get funds from them,” said Navaid Hamid, President of All India Muslim Majlis-E-Mushawarat. He further said, “They should also say what their members in Akali Dal and PDP have to say. The Law Commission questionnaire targets Muslims. It is a divisive tactic.”Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan speaks outBharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), which is fighting a case to ban triple talaq, will continue to fight for eradication of these “unQuranic practices”, through their petition in the Supreme Court and in partnership with all democratic institutions. We will rope in the Muslim community by getting more women and men to support abolition of triple talaq in an informed and educated manner.We condemn the attempt to politicise the debate by mixing up of abolition of triple talaq with the Law Commission’s move, seeking views from the public on Uniform Civil Code (UCC). These are two separate issues and should not be treated as similar. Triple talaq needs to be abolished on an urgent basis even as deliberations on/opposition to UCC goes on. This practice takes place without any Quranic sanction and causes tremendous hardship and suffering to Muslim women, whereas UCC is a much larger question concerning all Indian citizens, irrespective of their faith.We condemn the efforts by some patriarchal bodies to misguide the Muslim community on the issue of triple talaq by showing them the fear of UCC and the fear of attack on Sharia and Muslim identity.Rather than such unethical fear-mongering, we believe they should exercise their democratic right to voice their opposition to the UCC by informing the Law Commission of India about their reservations or apprehensions.After all, the Law Commission is only seeking the views of citizens. The real concern is how do we translate the fundamental principle of gender justice enshrined in the Quran into the lives of ordinary Muslim women? The real concern is to give women protection from triple talaq and halala. We demand an end to both these on an urgent basis.In the long run, we have to codify the Muslim personal law with clearly laid down provisions on age of marriage, divorce procedure, mehr amount, no triple talaq, no polygamy, guardianship and custody of children to both parents, women’s share in property, registration of marriages, etc. Just as other communities – Hindu, Christian, Parsi – have their own codified laws that regulate matters in marriage and family, Muslims, too, are entitled to it. It is the Constitutional mandate of the Parliament and all elected representatives to bring about such a law.

Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend Brics summit in India, visit Bangladesh

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Cambodia and Bangladesh and attend the eighth BRICS summit in India from 13 to 17 October, it was announced in Beijing on Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi was invited by Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid to pay state visits to the two countries. Xi will then attend the BRICS summit, to be held in Goa, at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lu said.

File image of Xi Jinping. APFile image of Xi Jinping. AP

File image of Xi Jinping. AP

In Cambodia, the Chinese President will meet King Sihamoni and call on the Queen mother, former Queen Norodom Monineath. He will also hold talks with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen during which cooperative agreements are expected to be signed.

Xi’s visit to Bangladesh will be a “milestone”, Lu said, noting that both sides would conclude agreements to improve bilateral relations. During the visit, Xi will meet Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, National Assembly Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury, and hold talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

At the BRICS summit, leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa will exchange in-depth views on BRICS cooperation and other global and regional issues, Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong said.

The BRICS leaders will also hold a dialogue meeting with leaders of some countries in the region and meet business leaders. The BRICS grouping comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Stone pelters in Kashmir target civilians; woman dead, 2 injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman was left dead and two persons were injured on Tuesday as stone pelters targeted vehicles which ventured out defying the diktat of separatists.Two sisters, Fozia (20) and Nadia (18), were hit by an SUV (sports utility vehicle) that was reversing after it came under stone pelting near Rogan Gali at Parimpora area here, a police spokesperson said. “The two were critically injured in the incident. Both were shifted to hospital where the elder sister succumbed to injuries,” he said.The stone pelters apparently targeted the SUV as they thought it was an official vehicle. The spokesperson said a case has been registered and investigation initiated into the incident. Meanwhile, one person was injured when stone pelters attacked him as he was riding a scooty near Aalie Masjid in Safa Kadal area.”Furqan Hamid suffered an injury in his head and has been shifted to SKIMS Soura for treatment. His condition is stable,” the spokesperson added.Kashmir has been hit by unrest since the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani, with separatists calling for bandh and asking people to stay indoors except for few hours of relaxation in the evening.

India, Tunisia to join hands in promotion of handicrafts, IT and communication and digital economy

In an effort to increase mutual cooperation, India and Tunisia on Thursday signed two MoUs on promotion of handicrafts and IT and communication and digital economy as Vice President Hamid Ansari met Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid and discussed a range of issues of mutual and regional interests.The two sides also discussed the issue of spreading tide of extremism and terrorism which is a threat faced by both the nations, Vice President Hamid Ansari said while making the joint press statement with Tunisia Prime Minister Habib Essid. “Successfully dealing with such threats requires strong cooperation among like-minded partners,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ansari said, “We have discussed the issues related to combating this challenge and decided to enhance our cooperation in the field of counter terrorism”. Two MoUs – one on traditional handicraft promotion and other on IT and Digital economy – were signed after Ansari and Essid held one-on-one talks which were followed by the delegation-level talks between the two sides.
ALSO READ Vice President Hamid Ansari to visit Morocco and Tunisia Student exchange programmesAt the joint press briefing by Ansari and Essid, Tunisia announced signing of two agreements while the Vice President used the term MoU. India will also train 350 Tunisian students in next five years, Ansari said adding “We will be happy to receive 350 Tunisian students for training in our institutions in different streams as our guests over the next five years”. “We have also signed two memorandum of understanding for collaboration in IT and promotional of traditional handicrafts,” he said.
ALSO READ India keen to make Morocco its economic hub for Africa: Vice President AnsariCollaboration in IT and educationThe two sides will promote each other’s traditional handicraft and increase mutual cooperation in the IT and related sectors, including digital economy. Ansari said that their discussion on bilateral relations focussed on ongoing economic partnership and on incorporating newer areas of collaboration in information technology and education. The Vice President said, “I had substantial discussions covering the entire gamut of our bilateral relations as well as on global issues of mutual concern with Prime Minister Essid”. “I conveyed to him the felicitations of the people of India and through him to the people of Tunisia on the successful transformation of Tunisia into a vibrant multi-party democracy and conveyed our good wishes for its continued success,” he said.
ALSO READ Muslims in India have no inclination to be violent: VP Hamid Ansari UN Security CouncilAnsari said appreciated Tunisia’s support for India’s candidature to the UN Security Council. “We highly appreciate Tunisia’s support for India’s candidature to the expanded United Nations Security Council,” he added. Speaking at the joint press briefing, Essid said, “Our relations are very strong, our views are similar”. “We have relations with India in various fields including auto-sector, agriculture and other fields,” Essid said.He said, “We also appreciate India’s progress in the IT sector and we will have cooperation with India in this sector”. He said that the meeting of the India-Tunisia Joint Committee will be held later this year. “The visit of the Vice President comes before the meeting of the Joint Committee. The current meetings have paved the ways for identifying keys areas of cooperation and improve further on our relations with India,” he said.He said that one of the important issues right now is tourism. “We will work out a mechanism at the Joint Committee meeting for promoting tourism,” Tunisian Prime Minister said.The Vice President also visited Zaitouna Mosque, Bardo Museum and the House of Representatives. Zaitouna Mosque is the oldest one in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and covers an area of 5,000 square metres. It has 160 authentic columns brought originally from the ruins of the old city of Carthage.Ansari will meet Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on Friday and deliver a keynote address at Dar Al Dhiyafa. Earlier, Ansari, accompanied by his wife Salma, arrived in Tunisia from Morocco on the final leg of his two-nation trip. He was received at the airport by Essid.

Ansari heads for Morocco, Tunasia to build on “diplomatic gains” from India-Africa summit

New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari Monday embarked on a five-day visit to Morocco and Tunisia as part of efforts to build on diplomatic gains from the India-Africa Summit and lay platform for a future partnership.

Vice President Hamid Ansari. ReutersVice President Hamid Ansari. Reuters

Vice President Hamid Ansari. Reuters

This is the first visit by an Indian Vice President in 50 years to the two nations. The Vice President will discuss with leaders of the two north African countries issues of terrorism, UN Security Council expansion and investments in private sector, as well as ways to strengthen outreach to Africa and regional matters.

Ansari will be in Morocco till 1 June at the invitation of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and the two leaders would jointly launch the India-Morocco Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Rabat, the External Affairs Ministry (MEA) said.

During the visit, a number of MoUs will be signed in areas like education, IT and communication technology sectors, focusing on “capacity building and cultural exchange.”

In the second leg of his tour, Ansari will visit Tunisia from  2-3 June.

Ansari’s visit “will build on diplomatic gains” from the India-Africa summit and “we have chosen these two countries as they are great examples of democracy”, Secretary (Economic
Relations) in the MEA Amar Sinha had said.

The King of Morocco had set the ball rolling when he came here in October, Sinha said. The New Delhi Summit – of which Morocco’s King Mohammed VI was the first confirmed guest – was the largest political conference in modern history connecting Indian and African leaders.

He said it is the first high-level visit to the African country after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee went there in 1999.

“At the level of Vice President the visit comes after 50 years,” he had said, noting that it is the 50th year of
Morocco’s independence.

“Hello Africa, Tell me how are you doing?” will be India’s motto for the continent, he had said, adding, there will be a series of visits by Indian leaders to Africa in the coming days.

The two countries are important for India as it shares economic relations with them and the visit will help in building contemporary relationship between these two countries and India.

Both the countries are looking forward to the visit as they are key partners in food security and fertilisers and investments in private sector.

“Our car and truck manufacturers are looking at prospective markets,” he said.

While Morocco’s trade with India is “substantial,” there is scope for increasing it with Tunisia. “Morocco is a developing destination for Indian film industry,” he said.

No ‘Honorable’ exit for Vijay Mallya

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya cannot have the last laugh by resigning from the Rajya Sabha membership at his own will. He looks destined to be terminated.Ruining Mallya’s chance to seek honorable exit, chairman of the Upper House, Vice President Hamid Ansari rejected his resignation on procedural grounds on Tuesday, a day before the ethics committee was to take a final decision on his expulsion after serving him show notice to explain his conduct in money laundering case and why his membership not be terminated from Rajya Sabha.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha secretariat said Mallya has been informed that his resignation letter does not conform to prescribed procedures and the original does not even bear his signature.According to the procedure, the chairman needs to verify the resignation letter that should either be handed over personally or should be delivered through a person having an authorisation letter from the member.Mallya is wanted by several Indian banks for over Rs 9,000 crore unpaid loans and is being hounded by the investigative agencies.In his resignation letter Mallya had said, “Since recent events suggest that I will not get a fair trial or justice, I am hereby resigning as a member of the Rajya Sabha with immediate effect.”

Watch: Congress members go berserk after Subramanian Swamy names Sonia Gandhi in VVIP chopper scam

Congress members, who called Swamy names, created bedlam, forcing repeated adjournments of the House. The drama began with Swamy, bete noire of the Gandhi family who took oath as a nominated member only yesterday, began his new innings raking up the chopper deal and sought to drag Gandhi’s name during the Zero Hour soon after the House met for the day. All hell broke loose triggering angry exchanges between the opposition and treasury benches. At one point, there appeared to be a possibility of an ugly showdown as some Congress members menacingly rushed towards the treasury benches, prompting a couple of marshals to step in to act as a wall. Members of the treasury benches too got up from their seats to counter the opposition.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress members, who called Swamy names, created bedlam, forcing repeated adjournments of the House in the pre-lunch session. However, Chairman Hamid Ansari prevailed on the agitating members to take up the Question Hour later. Swamy referred to the allegations reportedly made by Christian Michel, the controversial middleman in the chopper deal, through a letter to the High Court of Italy.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper row: Swamy storm hits Rajya Sabha, Congress incensed over Sonia allegation

Narendra Dabholkar’s son unhappy over no headway in murder probe

Hamid Dabholkar, son of slain anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, on Sunday expressed unhappiness over investigators’ failure to zero in on the murderers of his father, CPI leader Govind Pansare and Kannada scholar MM Kalburgi.Asia Cup 2016 Live: India vs Bangladesh, Final T20 Cricket Scorecard & Ball by Ball Commentary”Why is it so difficult to identify them? There are reports in media that these three rationalists were killed by the same set of weapons, (but) even then the investigating agencies were speculating about the motive,” he said, speaking at ‘Mumbai Collective: Celebrating Freedom and Pluralism’, a two-day conclave in Mumbai. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All three of them were working to propagate rationalism and constructive criticism of religion. They were labelled as traitors of religion by a particular organisation which has a history of resorting to violence to achieve their agenda.”The same organisation had put a red cross on Dabholkar and Pansare’s photographs (on its website). Still, two and a half years later, not a single arrest has been made,” he said. “On one hand there is deep anguish of losing my beloved father, comrade Pansare and professor Kalburgi, and the insensitive delay in investigation, but on the other hand there is a definite ray of hope and feeling of solidarity when we see many youths and like-minded people coming together and supporting this cause,” Hamid said.”Right from the day of assassination of Dabholkar (on August 20, 2013, in Pune), we were telling the agency that it is not a personal or property dispute. This is a planned assault on ideological framework and if you don’t arrest the culprits there will be more murders. But sadly nobody paid heed. One and a half years later, Pansare was killed in Kolhapur and four months later Kalburgi in Dharwad,” he said.”It was very much possible for the state government and the topmost (investigation) agency of this country like CBI to save the lives of these people,” Hamid said. Echoing the sentiment, Megha Pansare, daughter-in-law of Govind Pansare, said, “Arrest of one suspect (in Pansare case) has led to nothing… We are struggling for justice three years after the (three) killings.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai to address IIT-Kanpur students

Security has been stepped up in the city in view of former Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s visit to address students of IIT Kanpur.”Karzai will address students and take part in the institute’s ‘Techkriti’ festival tomorrow,” Kanpur District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said on Wednesday.Karzai will reach Lucknow on Thursday, from where he will travel to the IIT campus by car or helicopter, he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security has been tightened in the city with CRPF personnel called in to supplement local police force, he said, adding that the route that would be taken by the ex-Afghan president’s is being properly inspected.

Engineer sentenced in Pakistan: India seeks details about charges

India has sought from Pakistan details about the charges against a 31-year-old Indian engineer who has been sentenced to three years in prison for espionage by a Pakistani military court.The sentence against Mumbai resident Hamid Nehal Ansari came over three years after he went missing in Pakistan after illegally entering the country from Afghanistan reportedly to meet a girl he had befriended online.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our Mission in Islamabad has sought consular access for him. We had sought it earlier also. We have also sought details of the charges under which he has been detained and for which he has been convicted,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.Ansari was convicted on Sunday in Kohat, a city in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, and was shifted to Peshawar Central Prison. He has a right to appeal under the Pakistan Army Act.India had sought consular access for Ansari and asked Pakistan to ensure his safety and security.According to Pakistan media, Ansari had confessed to illegally entering Pakistan from Afghanistan for espionage. Over three years after Ansari went missing in Pakistan where he had allegedly gone to meet the girl he had befriended on the Internet, authorities last month admitted that he has been in army custody and facing a trial in military courts.

Siachen avalanche: Vice-President, Army Chief condole death of security personnel

New Delhi: Vice-President Hamid Ansari has expressed grief over the death of 10 army personnel in an avalanche on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I am deeply grieved to learn about the fatal avalanche in the Siachen involving 10 of our army personnel,” the Vice President Ansari said in a statement.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved families of the brave soldiers and officer of the Indian Army,” he said.

The avalanche in Siachen. PTIThe avalanche in Siachen. PTI

The avalanche in Siachen. PTI

The 10 personnel, including an officer, were buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche on Wednesday at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier. The personnel were attached to Madras regiment.

Extending condolences to the bereaved families, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Dalbir Singh, ordered deployment of additional resources, including radars to reinforce rescue efforts, an official said.

Army and IAF had taken part in efforts to rescue the soldiers, who were trapped under snow after their post was hit by the avalanche at an altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

PTI

Hamid Ansari begins 5-day visit to Brunei, Thailand for bilateral talks

New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday left on a five-day visit to Brunei and Thailand, where he will hold bilateral talks with the leadership of the two South East Asian countries besides participating in a number of other events.

His visit to Brunei at the invitation of crown prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah is the first high-level trip from India since the establishment of diplomatic relations with that country in May 1984.

Vice President Hamid Ansari. ReutersVice President Hamid Ansari. Reuters

Vice President Hamid Ansari. Reuters

Brunei was on the itinerary of Ansari’s two-nation trip in November, but he had to return home from Indonesia, which was hit by volcanic activity. The Vice President is accompanied by Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, four MPs and senior officials.

In Bandar Seri Begawan, Ansari will hold talks with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Billah tomorrow on issues of bilateral and multilateral significance including civil aviation, space, trade and investment, hydrocarbons, information and communication.

Cooperation in ASEAN and East Asia Summit and other multilateral fora will also be on the agenda and a couple of MoUs on health and defence cooperation will be signed. Ansari will deliver an address at the University of Brunei Darussalam and address the Indian community at a reception.

Brunei is an important partner for India in ASEAN and besides contributing to energy security, hosts a 10,000-strong Indian community.

From Brunei, Ansari will go to Thailand on February 3 at the invitation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, making it the first visit by an Indian Vice President after a gap of 50 years.

In Thailand, he will hold talks with Chan-o-cha and have an audience with Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

He will also deliver a speech at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on ‘From Look East to Act East: India’s Partnership with Thailand and ASEAN’ and address the Indian community at a reception to be hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand.

India’s relations with Thailand are an important and integral component of its strategic partnership with ASEAN. India’s ‘Act East’ policy is complemented by Thailand’s ‘Look West’ policy in bringing the two countries closer.

PTI

Nation pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi on his martyrdom day

The country pays homage to the father of the nation- Mahatma Gandhi on his martyrdom day on Saturday as he was assassinated on this day in 1948.Many programmes will be organised today to mark the occasion. All-religion prayers will be held in Rajghat at Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial. President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, and the three service Chiefs will lay wreaths at the memorial. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>PM Modi tweeted on the occasion saluting the Mahatma and said that the nation should remember sacrifices of all martyrs today.