04 January 2018

04 Jan.ND : Fate of triple talaq bill remains uncertain as RS adjourned till Friday amid uproar/ Govt Won't Send Talaq Bill To Parliament Committee: Sources/Indian or not? Muslims fret amid drive against illegal immigrants:Reuters

04 Jan.2018: 15 Rabial Aakhir 1439:Vol:9, No:90
Fate of triple talaq bill remains uncertain as RS adjourned till Friday amid uproar
Rajya Sabha was adjourned until 11 am on Friday, without any discussion on the triple talaq Bill amid huge uproar in the Upper House, shortly after the bill was taken up discussion. Now with just one more day remaining in the ongoing Winter Session, the fate of the controversial bill remains shrouded in suspense as the government virtually rejected an overwhelming demand from the Opposition for referring it to a Select Committee of Rajya Sabha for detailed consideration. The Opposition, on the other hand also refused to relent as Leader of Opposition and Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Bill was not fit to be passed as it as it would "finish off Muslim women" instead of "empowering them." firstpost
Govt Won't Send Triple Talaq Bill To Parliament Committee: Sources
New Delhi: Govt, outnumbered in Rajya Sabha, has decided not to blink and allow the opposition a political victory by sending the landmark triple talaq bill to a parliament committee for review, sources said. It wants to defer the bill to the next parliament session; it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and if there is no action on it tomorrow, the last day of the winter session, then it will automatically roll over to the budget session.Between the sessions, the sources said, the ruling BJP will talk to other parties to try and bring them around to its point of view that the Muslim Women Protection of Rights in Marriage Bill 2017, which seeks to make instant triple talaq illegal with up to three years in jail as punishment for a Muslim man who divorces his wife by saying talaq thrice, must be passed expeditiously to ensure justice for Muslim women.  The opposition, said sources, will continue to press to refer the bill to a select committee of the Rajya Sabha, but realises that it has no option but to accept the government's decision.   Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a heated debate in the house on Thursday evening, accused Congress of sabotaging the triple talaq bill. The ruling BJP has said the Congress has "double standards" on the bill for opposing it in the Rajya Sabha after supporting it in the Lok Sabha, where it sailed through last week since the government has a big majority.  "Nobody was against the bill in the Lok Sabha. Now why are they not supporting the bill in the Rajya Sabha," said parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar today.A united opposition has faced off with the government, insisting that its resolution to send the bill to a select committee of the House be voted on to prove that a majority of the House backs that move. Govt has challenged that on technical grounds.The Congress is leading the demand for a review of the bill by MPs and is backed even by parties like the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal, which usually help the government pass bills in the Rajya Sabha, where it is in a minority. BJP ally TDP too has suggested that the bill be sent to a select committee. NDTV
BJP 'befooling' Muslim women with triple talaq bill: Cong
New Delhi: Congress today accused BJP of "befooling" Muslim women with the triple talaq bill that seeks to make the practice a criminal offence, alleging that it has no provision for their welfare in case their husbands are jailed.Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said 18 opposition parties including the Congress wanted to send the bill to a Select Committee for its proper scrutiny before it becomes a law, but the government did not allow it.He alleged that the BJP does not believe in democracy and that is why it did not allow the motion moved by the opposition to send the bill to a select committee.Azad said the BJP is projecting itself as a "messiah" for Muslim women and claiming to be champions of their welfare and rights, but has not made any provision for their welfare."This govt is trying to mislead Muslim women and the general public," he alleged at a press conference. outlookindia
‘Triple talaq Bill will snatch away liberty of Muslim women’
All India Muslim Personal Law Board secretary Moulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani said the triple talaq  Bill would create more complications and problems for Muslim women rather than coming up with solutions for their problems and protecting their rights. Rahmani said the proposed law would snatch away the liberty of a Muslim woman once her husband goes to jail because according to the Supreme Court judgement and the proposed legislation, instant divorce was void and illegal. Hence, if a husband pronounces 3 Talaqs in a sitting or gives it in writing and through SMS, divorce would not happen and the woman would still ‘remain in his Nikah’.Telangana Today
Indian or not? Muslims fret amid drive against illegal immigrants:Reuters
Fofonga:Marzina Bibi, a Muslim woman living in Assam, is petrified she will be declared stateless. The 26-year-old’s name was not on a preliminary list of citizens that was published at midnight on Sunday, although she holds a voter identity card and had voted in state elections in 2016.“Why are they doing this to me?” Bibi asked, sitting beside a bamboo mat she was weaving outside her mud house in Assam’s Fofonga village. “They think I am a Bangladeshi. I was born here, my parents were born here, I am an Indian.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP, which came to power in Assam in the April, 2016 elections, vowed during the campaign to act against illegal Muslim immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. But rights activists say the drive is also targeting Muslims who are Indian citizens.Two national spokesmen for the BJP declined to comment.A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi did not reply to e-mails and a telephone call seeking comment.According to the preliminary list of NRC, about 19 million people in Assam have now been verified as Indian citizens. More names will be added, and officials say the final list is likely to be published in July. Reuters spoke to nearly two dozen Muslims, including Bibi, from paddy-growing villages around Fofonga who said their names were not on the preliminary list.“I feel we are targeted because we are Muslims,” said Bibi, who said she has already proved she was Indian - she was jailed for eight months on charges of being an illegal migrant from Bangladesh and was let off only after showing documents attesting to her nationality. Surrounded by her neighbours in the village, she showed her voter identity card and the court order for her release from jail.BJP has said previous governments have included many Bangladeshi immigrants on electoral rolls to buy votes.At the local NRC office in the Muslim-majority area, only around 4,500 people had made it to the preliminary list out of nearly 11,000 who had applied.Reuters saw a tribal Hindu man leaving the NRC office with a smile after being told that the names of all six members of his family were on the list. Soon after, two Muslim women came with their infants, and left disappointed.Muslims leaders have called the NRC a tool to make them stateless, likening themselves to Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority. They have also warned of unrest.Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal told the Times of India daily that the “people who are declared foreigners will be barred from all constitutional rights, including fundamental and electoral. They will have only one right — human rights as guaranteed by the U.N. that include food, shelter and clothing”.
BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal caught lying about Muslim population in Assam
Senior leader from BJP Sundhanshu Mittal was caught red-handed when he lied to misrepresent the number of Muslims living in Assam. Mittal has been severely criticised on social media for doing the same.In a story published on media outlet Arab News over NRC  – which is cause of many problems for the Muslims living in Assam – Mittal was quoted saying, “The demography of Assam has changed completely in the last 40 years.”“There used to be only five percent Muslim population in 1947, which has risen to over 35 percent now,” said Mittal to the Arab News. “This consists largely of illegal migrants who have come from Bangladesh,”he added.Mittal was commenting over the category of Doubtful voters, called ‘D-voter’ where a person’s name has been struck off from the NRC and thereby denied basic fundamental rights guaranteed to every Indian citizen. Assam has been facing this condition since decades where ordinary Indian citizens have been marked as D-voter after they failed to produce proof of their citizenship according to the NRC rules.TwoCircles
Chinese Personnel Entered 1 Km Inside Arunachal Pradesh, Forced Back: Sources
Itanagar/ New Delhi:  Chinese road-building teams entered around 1 kilometre inside Indian territory in Tuting area of Arunachal Pradesh last week but returned after being confronted by Indian troops, government sources said on Wednesday.The sources said the civilian teams came for track alignment activities and returned when confronted by the Indian troops, leaving behind various road building equipment including excavators. According to local villagers in Arunachal Pradesh, the Chinese team members included civilians as well as uniformed personnel.The incident took place on Dec.28, nearly 4 months after the end of 73-day long Doklam standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Sikkim sector.The sources said on December 28, Indian border patrolling personnel observed few Chinese civilians undertaking track alignment activity 1 kilometre inside the Indian territory in Tuting area.They maintained there was "no face off" between the two sides and that the issue is being resolved through an established mechanism.PTI
No stand-off in Arunachal, says Army
Denying reports of a standoff with China at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh, Army sources on Wednesday stated that a group of Chinese civilians were prevented from building a road on the Indian side of LAC last week. “There is no face-off at the site. In the whole incident, there was no direct contact between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA),” an Army source said. Last week, a group of Chinese were undertaking track alignment activity about 1 km inside LAC at Tuting.This was noticed by some locals who alerted the ITBP, who informed the Army. On Dec.28, a joint team of the Army and the ITBP stopped the civilians and explained to them they were in Indian territory, following which they left. thehindu
Netanyahu to give water desalinisation jeep to PM Modi as gift
Jerusalem:Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will present a special gift --- Gal-Mobile water desalinisation and purification jeep --- to his friend Narendra Modi during his visit to India starting Jan. 14, according to sources in Jerusalem. Netanyahu and Modi waded into the Mediterranean Sea and rode the “buggy” jeep on the coast during the latter’s visit to Israel in July last year.Now Netanyahu is going to gift the same jeep to Modi, informed sources said.As Netanyahu prepares for his four day visit to India, sources confirmed that the jeep has “indeed” left for India and “would be arriving on time” to be presented by the Israeli PM  to Modi.The jeep is said to cost around 390,000 shekels (approximately USD 111,000). Modi and Netanyahu had witnessed the demonstration of sea water purification technology pioneered by Israel at a water desalination unit on the Olga Beach during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Israel. hindustantimes
H-1B visa rules: Families of techies stare at uncertainty, some look to Canada
Bengaluru:Shailaja Swamy and Anjani Kovvur live 600 kilometers apart and have never met in their lives but for the past few days, their lives have been engulfed in the same worry. Both women have children working in the US who will be affected by a proposal to end the practice of granting extensions to H-1B visa holders whose applications for permanent residency are pending.Reactions to the proposal, which could lead to 500,000-750,000 Indians returning home, are drastically different though. Swamy, an officer at a public sector bank in Bengaluru, says she is worried about her son Abhijit, who works for a multinational corporation because of the persistent uncertainty around H-1B visas throughout last year. “The sheer repetition of this kind of news is adding to our anxiety.”On the other hand, Kovvur in Hyderabad is defiant and certain if her sons Yashpal and Sandeep were sent back, they would get good jobs in India.“Let him (Donald Trump) implement the decision and see the repercussion on the US economy. Will the US companies get better manpower than our Indians?”Not everyone is as confident. Darshan Srinivasan, 35, who works for Tivo and had gone to the US multiple times, said among his peer group there was a sense that they had look beyond the US for opportunities. “There is a fear that there will be uncertainty to our employment in US,” Srinivasan said. “As a result, many of my friends are trying to apply to jobs where there is a possibility to move to other countries. And Canada is now emerging as an appealing proposition,” he said.
Pakistan releases new Kulbhushan Jadhav video, India says another coerced statement
New Delhi:Pakistan released a new video of Kulbhushan Jadhav – an Indian national it has sentenced to death over charges of spying – that showed the 47-year-old saying he had not been harmed in custody.Tensions between India and Pakistan have spiralled recently, with New Delhi crying foul over the treatment of the family of death row convict Jadhav and Islamabad. Jadhav was allowed to meet his mother Avanti and wife Chentankul through a glass partition in Islamabad – which Pakistan said was evidence of its humanitarianism and generosity. But India accused Pakistan of harassing Jadhav’s family, saying their meeting was held in an “atmosphere of coercion”.On Thursday, Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported that in the video, released by Pakistan Foreign Office, Jadhav said he “saw fear” in the eyes of his mother and wife when he met them. He added that an Indian diplomat accompanying them was “yelling at them”, the report said. Hindustantimes
Fodder scam sentencing deferred again, judge says got phone calls from Lalu Prasad’s supporters
A special court on Thursday deferred the sentencing of Lalu Prasad in a fodder scam case till Friday when it is likely to decide whether to pronounce the quantum of punishment over video conference or in court with the judge saying he also received phone calls from the RJD chief’s well-wishers.The case relates to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar treasury 21 years ago.Deferring the sentencing for the second day in a row, CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh said he would decide on Friday whether the sentence would be given over video conference or in the court.To this, Prasad said he was for personal appearance and assured that there would be no slogans raised in the courtroom by his supporters.The judge also said he had received phone calls from well-wishers of the RJD boss but did not elaborate.With the court room packed, the judge asked the advocates not connected with the fodder scam case to leave.PTI
CBI books former AMU VC Naseem Ahmad  for alleged irregularities in appointment
New Delhi: CBI has booked former VC of AMU Naseem Ahmad in connection with alleged irregularities and cheating in the appointment of an official in the university in 2005. CBI action has come nearly 10 years after Ahmad had resigned from the position in 2007. He was the vice chancellor between 2002 and 2007.The case pertains to the appointment of Shakaib Arsalan as Assistant Finance Officer in the AMU in 2005 in alleged violation of provisions of the AMU Act and rules, officials said here.The CBI has registered a case of criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Arsalan (now Joint Finance Officer), Beg now Finance Officer and Ahmad, they said.It is alleged that the vacancy for the post of assistant finance officer and deputy finance officer were advertised by the AMU on January 1, 2004 for which 22 candidates had applied.Among the 22 candidates, nine were found to be eligible for the post of the AFO which did not include Arsalan, the preliminary enquiry of the CBI into the allegations has found. hindustantimes
Bhima Koregaon protests LIVE : 37 arrested till last night; Mevani-Khalid event denied nod in Mumbai
New Delhi :A day after the state-wide bandh call by Dalit outfits brought parts of Maharashtra to a grinding halt, the Mumbai Police on Thursday denied permission for the All India National Students’ Summit where newly elected Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid were invited as guests. “Had booked Bhaidas Hall for All India National Students’ Summit here today, but now we are being denied entry. Reason police is citing is the news doing the rounds about Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani for the past few days,” the organiser of the event said, as reported by ANI.Both the leaders have also been booked under charges of ‘creating communal disharmony’ through the ‘provocative speeches’ they delivered at Elgaar Parishad by the Pune Police. The Elgaar Parishad was held in Pune to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon. Complainant demanded registration of criminal offence against Mevani and Khalid for promoting enmity between different groups through their speeches.Violence erupted in Maharashtra on January 1 when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa’s army. Vehicles were torched, traffic was disrupted and train services were halted in parts across the state due to the bandh called by the Dalits on Wednesday.Arsalan submitted a representation that his degree of Chartered Accountant is not being considered equivalent to a post-graduate degree in the shortlisting process whereas an AMU notification recognises these degrees as equivalent, it alleged.He requested for his consideration for the interview held on February 3, 2005, it said.The then Deputy Finance Officer Yasmin Jalal Beg allegedly in violation of laid down procedure recommended the candidature of Arsalan for interview on the grounds that CA degree is the optimum qualification for any finance person and if a CA has applied for the position of AFO, he will be an asset for the department.It has surfaced during the CBI PE that Beg had put the note even though the file was not marked to her, the CBI alleged.PTI
Bhima Koregaon protests LIVE : Jignesh Mevani-Umar Khalid event denied permission in Mumbai
Mumbai Police cancels event featuring Mevani and Umar Khalid, imposes Section 149 around Mithibai College
Bhima-Koregaon violence: FIR against Jignesh Mevani, Umar Khalid for their Pune speeches
 Pune police, late on Wednesday night, registered a criminal case against newly elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and student leader from JNU Umar Khalid under charges of ‘creating communal disharmony’ through the ‘provocative speeches’ they delivered at Elgaar Parishad held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31. Indianexpress
Maharashtra dalit violence flames reach Madhya Pradesh; rampage during Burhanpur bandh
The flames of the Bhima-Koregaon dalit violence in Maharashtra have reached Madhya Pradesh with protestors going on rampage in Burhanpur – a border district – during a successful bandh call.Windows of about a dozen buses at the bus stand in the town were smashed and a bus driver was also reportedly assaulted. Similarly, glasses of two trucks parked on Indore Road were broken too.The Burhanpur bandh call on Thursday had been reportedly given by organizations claiming allegiance to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. The bandh was fairly successful, affecting local business and public transport. Number of people gathered before the statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar in Burhanpur town on Thursday morning under the banner of the Buddhist Society and leaders addressed the gathering.Later, a group of youth reached the bus stand and suddenly went on rampage, damaging the buses and assaulting a driver. Later, a posse of police led by additional superintendent of police Rakesh Kumar Sagar and additional district magistrate Ramanuj Toppo reached the bus stand and took things under
After Constitution, Army, RSS keeps Indians safe: SC ex-judge
Thiruvananthapuram: After the Constitution, democracy and the armed forces, the RSS is the factor that has made people in India safe, and that the idea of secularism should not be kept away from religion, retired Supreme Court judge KT Thomas has said.Addressing an RSS instructors’ training camp in Kottayam on Sunday, Thomas also said, “If an organisation has to be given credit for freeing the country from the Emergency, I would give that to RSS.”Thomas said he feels the Sangh imparts discipline to its volunteers for “protection of the country”. He said: “Snakes have venom as a weapon to defend (themselves against) attacks on them. Similarly, the might of man is not meant to attack anyone. I appreciate the RSS for teaching and believing that physical strength is meant to guard (oneself) against attacks. I understand that the physical training of RSS is to defend the country and the society at the time of attacks.”He said, “If asked why people are safe in India, I would say that there is a Constitution in the country, there is democracy, there are the armed forces, and fourthly the RSS is there. What prompts me to say is that RSS had worked against the Emergency. RSS’s strong and well-organised work against the Emergency had reached then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi….She understood that it could not go (on for) long.”On the concept of secularism, the former apex court judge said that the idea should not be kept away from religion, and that the Constitution has not defined secularism. “The minorities use secularism for their protection, but the concept of secularism is much more than that. It means that dignity of every individual should be protected. The dignity of a person should be seen above partisan approach, influences and activities,” he said.Stating that he does not agree with the notion that secularism is meant to protect religion, Thomas said: “In India, the word Hindu evokes a religion, but it should be a substitute for a culture. That was why the word Hindustan is being used. In the past, Hindustan had inspired everyone, now that word has been set apart for RSS and BJP.”He said, “In the Constitution, religion has the fifth position —fundamental right of religion should come only below an individual’s fundamental rights.”Stating that India is the only country which has a commission for minorities, Thomas said the section of minorities has not been defined in the Constitution. But the concept of minority in India is based on religious belief and population size, he said. “Minorities feel insecure only when they start demanding rights which the majority segments don’t have,” he said. indianexpress
Gauri Lankesh murder: Dispute between forensics labs holds up investigation
Bengaluru:The special investigation team probing the murder of senior journalist Gauri Lankesh has been unable to compare the cartridges recovered from the crime scene amid a dispute among three forensics laboratories over the analysis of cases recovered from the scenes of three other high-profile killings. Lankesh was gunned down outside her house in the city by unidentified assassins on September 5 and the police are yet to crack the case. Over the past four months, the state government and the SIT have come under increasing pressure to ensure that the case is solved soon. hindustantimes
Haryana Women panel for action against prof for harassing Kashmiri student
Rohtak:Haryana State Women Commission chairperson Pratibha Suman has recommended action against professor JP Majra of BPS Medical College, Sonepat, for allegedly harassing an MBBS student hailing from Kashmir.A women commission team had visited the college after taking cognizance of media reports, and spoken to both sides. “We will take this investigation forward. More victims have come forward alleging that the professor had been using vulgar language with them and threatening to ruin their annual performance reports. The professor has no right to remain in the institution and should immediately be removed from the post of head of department,” Suman said. The matter came to fore after a relative of the Kashmiri student emailed a complaint to the vice-chancellor of Rohtak Health University, alleging that the professor had been harassing her. hindustantimes
Deoband says avoid families that earn ‘haram’ money:PTI
Lucknow :Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa asking Muslims to avoid families that raise ‘haram’ (illegitimate) money earned from a banking job and instead look for a “pious” family while considering marriage proposals. The seminary gave its diktat to a query from a person in which he had stated that he had a few proposals for marriage from families where the father earned money from a banking job in India.“Obviously, the family is raised on ‘haram’ money. Is it preferable to marry in such families?” he had sought to know from the fatwa section of Darul Uloom (Darul Ifta).PTI
Kerala CM orders closure of Peace International School after it was found teaching communal content
Post the controversies over Peace International School reportedly teaching communal content to schoolchildren in 2016, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday issued an order to close the school.The State Education Department in Kerala corroborated the decision as it ordered the Ernakulam-based school to be shut down immediately. The decision was taken after reports were filed by the Education Department and the district collector who said the school should not be functioning any further. The state Education Ministry put out a statement saying: "Both the reports submitted by the Collector and the Education Secretary went against the school. Therefore, we issued an order to shut down the school." Vijayan agreed to take action against the school after confirming the reports based on the probe by the Education Department. The complaint filed against the school had said it taught content that promoted enmity between different religions, nationalities and languages.The schoolchildren who studied in class 2 apparently had textbooks that encouraged extremist Islamic ideologies and taught students how to deal with people who do not follow Islam.The syllabus of the school is also said to have involved communal content that did not follow any standard recognised textbooks from NCERT, CBSE or the SCERT. On the other hand, it followed a textbook system that was based out of an Islamic educational institution from Navi Mumbai called Burooj Realisation, said reports.The Managing Director and head of the institution is Islamic preacher MM Akbar, who owns 13 schools across Kerala. Besides him, the local police have filed cases against the principal and the management associated with the school.ibtimes
Data Breach: Aadhaar Details up for Grabs for Just Rs 500
Jalandhar: It was only last November that the UIDAI asserted that “Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure and there has been no data leak or breach at UIDAI”. On Wednesday, The Tribune “purchased” a service being offered by anonymous sellers over WhatsApp that provided unrestricted access to details for any of the more than one billion Aadhaar numbers created in India thus far.It took just Rs 500, paid through Paytm, and ten minutes in which an “agent” of the group running the racket created a “gateway” for this correspondent and gave a login ID and password. Lo and behold, you could enter any Aadhaar number in the portal, and instantly get all particulars that an individual may have submitted to UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.What is more, The Tribune team paid another Rs 300, for which the agent provided “software” that could facilitate the printing of the Aadhaar card after entering the Aadhaar number of any individual.When contacted, UIDAI officials in Chandigarh expressed shock over the full data being accessed, and admitted it seemed to be a major national security breach. They immediately took up the matter with the UIDAI technical consultants in Bangaluru. Sanjay Jindal, additional director-general, UIDAI regional centre, Chandigarh, accepting that this was a lapse, told The Tribune: “Except the director-general and I, no third person in Punjab should have a login access to our official portal. Anyone else having access is illegal, and is a major national security breach.” Investigations by The Tribune reveal that the racket may have started around six months ago, when some anonymous groups were created on WhatsApp. These groups targeted over 3 lakh village-level enterprise (VLE) operators hired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (ME&IT) under the Common Service Centres Scheme (CSCS) across India, offering them access to UIDAI data. thewire
First, National Anthem, Then Kumbh Logo Before You Can Watch a Movie in UP Cinema Halls
LUCKNOW (PTI) Cinema halls in Uttar Pradesh will soon display the newly-unveiled logo for Kumbh Mela, right after the national anthem is played, to make youths understand the importance of the religious festival, a senior official said on Wednesday.The new logo shows a group of sadhus taking a holy dip at the Sangam in Allahabad in the backdrop of temples and a Swastik symbol, Principal Secretary (Torusim) Awanish Awasthi told PTI.The decision comes soon after the Yogi Adityanath government announced that all official letters will carry the Kumbh logo.The Kumbh Mela, which has lately joined the UNESCO’s list of intangible world heritage, is scheduled to be held in January 2019 in Allahabad. PTI
28 civilians killed in Syria, most in Russian air strikes: Monitor
Beirut: At least 28 civilians have been killed by bombardment in the besieged Syrian opposition stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, most of them in Russian air raids, a monitor said.19 were killed in Russian strikes in the town of Misraba on Wednesday, while the remainder died the same day in regime strikes and shelling in other areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.Seven children and 11 women were among those killed, according to the head of the Britain-based war monitor, Rami Abdel Rahman.Victims were taken to a hospital in Douma, where an AFP correspondent saw rescuers bringing in mostly women and children.AFP 
Syria: Russian jets suspected of killing at least 30 people after bombing residential buildings near Damascus
Civilians die in air raids on Syria's Eastern Ghouta
Iranian diplomat charges US with inciting protests
Iran has accused the US of "inciting" anti-government protests that have gripped the country, and said the Trump administration had "flouted" international law and the principles of UN charter by supporting the unrest in a series of "absurd tweets".In a letter sent to Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, on Wednesday, Gholamali Khoshroo, the Iranian ambassador to the UN, said the US had "crossed every limit" by "inciting Iranians to engage in disruptive acts"."[The US] has stepped up its acts of intervention in a grotesque way in Iran's internal affairs under the pretext of providing support for sporadic protests, which in several instances were hijacked by infiltrators," Press TV quoted Khoshroo as saying.
Fall of Iranian regime is not in region’s interest: Saudi writer
Ex-General Manager of Al-Arabiya News Channel, Saudi writer Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed, has said that the fall of the regime of President Hassan Rouhani in Iran is not in the interests of the other countries in the region.“The collapse of the Iranian regime is not in everyone’s interests, especially those of the Arab countries,” Al-Rashed wrote in Al-Sharq Al-Awsat. He pointed out that the region now suffers from a lot of destruction and cannot tolerate new chaos, additional civil wars and millions of refugees.The collapse of the Iranian government will have dangerous dimensions that would spread beyond Iran to the entire region, he claimed. The current protests against the government in cities across Iran, however, might only succeed in changing Tehran’s foreign policy and stop its aggressive project in the Middle East, which would, in his opinion, be in the interests of regional countries. middleeastmonitor
PLO has invited Hamas and Islamic Jihad to Central Council meeting, claims Erekat
Secretary-General of PLO, Saeb Erekat, has claimed that Hamas and Islamic Jihad have both been invited to attend the organisation’s Central Council meeting, Anadolu reported on Wednesday. “We hope that they respond,” Erekat told Al-Jazeera TV.“The agenda will start with facing the US decision [about Jerusalem] and will end with erasing the reasons for internal division as Palestinians,” explained Erekat. He pointed out that there is “full” Arab and international support for this.The Central Council is a permanent committee of the Palestinian National Council, which is the umbrella of the PLO. Its last meeting was held in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in 2015, when the council decided to cut all kinds of contacts with Israel, but this did not take place on the ground.Hamas has denied that it has been invited. Spokesman Salah Al-Bardaweel said on Thursday morning that the movement “has not yet received any official invitation.” The Hamas political bureau member called for the Central Council to cancel the Oslo Peace Accords because they have not brought peace to the Palestinians. If the movement is invited, he added, it will discuss the issue. middleeastmonitor
Israel considering death penalty… but only for Palestinian prisoners
Israeli Knesset approved on Wednesday a first reading of the death penalty bill which would allow the authorities to execute Palestinian prisoners accused of taking part in “operations against Israeli targets,” Anadolu has reported. The bill was proposed by the right-wing leader of the Jewish Home party Naftali Bennet; it was approved by a vote of 52 to 49 but needs a second and third reading before it becomes law. Extremist Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s Moldovan-born Defence Minister, endorsed the bill, which he said would increase Israel’s deterrence effect. In televised comments last week, Lieberman said that the law would specifically target Palestinians convicted of attacking Israeli civilians and soldiers.MEMO
Palestinian teen first to be killed by Israel in 2018
Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian teen on the northern outskirts of the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, according to Palestinian officials.The Palestinian health ministry identified the 17-year-old boy as Musab Firas al-Tamimi from the village of Deir Nitham, where Wednesday's shooting took place.
After Trump’s tweet, Pakistan tells US: ‘You carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan from our bases’
Days after Donald Trump accused Pakistan of giving nothing to US but ‘lies and deceit’, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif shot back saying Islamabad has done enough and the US must not put the blame of their failed policies and actions on them.On Twitter, Asif said, “You have asked what did we do? A dictator surrendered on a single phone call, our country witnessed the worse bloodbath, you carried out 57,800 attacks on Afghanistan from our bases, your forces were supplied arms and explosives through our soil, thousands of our civilians and soldiers became victims of the war initiated by you.”

Bhima Koregaon violence speaks of distorted political economy, communities failed by political leaderships:Suhas Palshikar

Pakistan continues to mainstream terror groups. India cannot let down its guard:Syed Ata Hasnain
Supreme Court Never Asked Govt to Frame a Law on Triple Talaq
India: Muslims are unsafe under BJP rule:Humra Quraishi, Milli Gazette
How triple talaq bill will now end up preventing marriages among Muslims altogether:IFRA RASHID
Dear Kejriwal, It Could Have Been A Dalit, A Muslim, A Woman Or An Activist, Why A Billionaire Who Quit Congress?PRAGYA SINGH
Thousands displaced by fighting in Syria's Idlib

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:05 PM)


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