27 March 2018

27 March ND: Law Commission asks all stakeholders to avoid commenting on polygamy, Nikah Halala, Mutha; its report on Uniform Code may be delayed till SC order / Delhi Minorities commission issues notice to Jamia for not defending its minority character in HC

27 March 2018:08 Rajjab 1439:Vol:9, No:152
Law Commission asks all stakeholders to avoid commenting on polygamy, Nikah Halala, Mutha; its report on Uniform Code may be delayed till SC order
New Delhi: Law Commission's recommendation on the Uniform Civil Code will be further delayed till the apex court constitution bench delivers its judgment on a fresh petition related to practices such as polygamy, Nikahh Halala, Nikah Mutha and Nikah Misyar.In a fresh notice issued on Tuesday, the Law Commission has urged all the stakeholders to avoid commenting on the above issues which have become sub judice and matters to be finalised by the SC constitution bench.Earlier, on March 19 the Commission had issued a public notice inviting comments from stakeholders on all issues pertaining to UCC, except triple talaq on which the SC had already given its judgment banning the practice of instant talaq.The issues of triple talaq, polygamy, Nikah Halala, Nikah Mutha and Nikah Misyar are some of the important issues which the commission was looking into in its report on the UCC. Without these issues being addressed, Law panel's recommendation will be incomplete. Law Commission had started the consultation process on UCC 2 years ago and had issued first public notice on Oct.7, 2016 inviting comments from all stakeholders. Law Commission had received 40,000 responses on UCC after it had started the consultation process in 2016.Muslim personal law boards and political parties were among those who had submitted their comments to the commission."While examining them(responses received), it has been considered appropriate by the commission to elicit detailed submission on issues from stakeholders," the law panel has said. Fresh round of consultation is seen as an effort towards finalisation of its recommendation. The law panel has set a deadline of April 6,2018 for all responses to be sent to the commission. However, with the SC taking up fresh petition related to Muslim personal laws, the commission will have to wait for the SC's order on these issues before any recommendation can be finalised.Justice Chauhan had earlier told TOI that the commission was planning to call a round table or a final consultation with all stakeholders before finalising its recommendations. As part of UCC report, the Commission is likely to review 80-year-old Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act and a judgment of the Bombay high court by Justice MC Chagla that had upheld the validity of the Act giving freedom to Muslims to be governed by personal law and the practice of polygamy.The section 3 of the Shariat Act prescribes that a person willing to avail the benefit of being governed by the Muslim personal law and the provisions of section 2 on marriage, dissolution of marriage and talaq, etc should declare in a prescribed form before a prescribed authority that he wants to obtain the benefits of section 2 of the act. Mere utterance of talaq thrice is not sufficient ground for divorce even under the Shariat law, as it reads. TOI
Law panel asks those involved in UCC debate not to comment on polygamy, nikah halala
Left, Right united in demand for personal law reforms:TOI
New Delhi: Reacting to the Supreme Court decision to examine the validity of practice of polygamy, Nikah Halala, Nikah Mutah and Nikah Misyar in Muslim community, BJP said it is a serious issue concerning gender rights and the SC adjudication will ensure justice to women.“After Supreme Court ruling ending the practice of triple talaq... we are confident that justice will be done to the Muslim women,” said BJP spokesperson and newly elected Rajya Sabha MP, Sambit Patra.On Monday, CPM politburo member Brinda Karat said her party agreed there was a need for reform in personal law but they would have preferred the suggestions came from within the community than from outside. “All India Democratic Women’s Association has for... said women under the Muslim personal law should have the same standards of justice as every other person governed by it,” she said.Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi also said the party will take a stand after reading the Court’s order. Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev taunted the Centre in a tweet: “Go beyond tokenism @narendramodi ji & act on your own volition.”TOI
AIMPLB to file intervening plea in SC to argue for non-interference by court in polygamy Nikah Halala practices, also question  live-in relations' legality
New Delhi:All India Muslim Personal Law Board is soon going to file an intervening application in the Supreme Court contending that Nikah Halala and polygamy are a part of Muslim Personal Law which should not be tampered with, and that “the portrayal by the petitioners is biased”.AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani said that not only will board argue for non-interference by the court in the practices of Nikah Halala and polygamy but also question that why live-in relationships have been accorded legality.“Live-in relationships have been accorded legality, then why does this sudden meddling in the practice of polygamy which is non-existent. Till now I have not seen a single man with 4 wives. There is not a single case of polygamy among Muslims in India,” said Rahmani. Rahmani said one of the top choices of the board to argue case in the SC would be Dr Raju Ramachandran. Senior Advocate Ramachandran had appeared on behalf of Jamat-Ulema-i-Hind in the triple talaq case last year and had contended that “every party has the right in law to opt out of personal law”.Discussing the contents of the soon-to-be-filed petition,Rahmani discussed 3 major points to be invoked by them.“First, the way Halala has been presented in the court is not in accordance with Shariat.This is a thought developed on the basis of media reports, which has no relation to the reality. Second, we agree that marriage to four women is allowed in Islam and has Quranic sanction, but there are certain conditions which need to be adhered to for polygamy which the courts needs to be aware of and last, when court considers a live-in relationship as a legal relationship where a man can even have 12 partners then why the court does has a problem with a man having four wives?”said Rahmani. Petitioners have contended that such practices like Nikah Halala, temporary marriages like Nikah Mutah and Misyar and polygamy needed to be struck down as violation of Article 14,15 and 21 of the Constitution. Rahmani has argued that polygamy as a practice was “non-existent” among Muslims and that this petition was a complete “BJP-RSS agenda.”“Petitioners are portraying the concept of Nikah Halala in a way which is non-existent in Islam. In this diverse society, you can find innumerable examples where a husband is around 60 years old and the wife is in her twenties or thirties and main reason behind such alliances are poverty,”he said. news18
Khaps cannot interfere in marriage of consenting adults, rules Supreme Court
New Delhi:In an “unlimited direction” to parents, society and khap panchayats (community groups), the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that interference, harm or insult caused to consenting adults who fall in love and choose to marry is absolutely illegal.With this judgment, the court has filled the vacuum caused by the lack of a specific penal law against honour killings.The court said the fundamental right of two people who wish to get married to each other and live peacefully is absolute.In previous hearings on a petition filed by NGO Shakti Vahini, a Bench led by CJI Dipak Misra had repeatedly emphasised that no one has any individual, group or collective right to harass a couple.CJI has said it is up to the courts to decide legally whether a marriage is null and void, or if children are legitimate or illegitimate; “no other person or group” have right to intervene.thehindu
Sibal pulls out of Babri Masjid case amid worries in Congress over damage to party image: theprint
New Delhi: Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal has withdrawn himself from the controversial Babri Masjid case in the Supreme Court.Sibal was the counsel for Iqbal Ansari, the legal heir of Hashim Ansari, the oldest litigant in the case. He had been pursuing the case pro bono (without charging any fee) for over a decade.“Sibal is unavailable for the case now, so he is not being briefed. Dr Rajeev Dhawan has been leading the arguments for the Muslim parties,” a source involved in the case said on condition of anonymity.ThePrint has learnt that Sibal gave in to pressure from within the Congress to not pursue the case as his statements were thought to be hurting the party.Sources said the Congress brass was worried Sibal’s statements would be portrayed as the official party line.Sibal, a Rajya Sabha member, first missed a hearing in Feb,citing Budget session. He had, however, attended 3 meetings where lawyers briefed him for the hearing. Sibal has not appeared in any hearings this month. He declined to comment when reached by ThePrint.Sibal’s bid to distance himself from the case fits in with Congress’ strategy to re-align itself as a party not perceived as anti-Hindu and pro-Muslim.theprint
Sibal’s absence in Babri case stokes speculations. It’s temporary, say litigants:TOI
Delhi Minorities commission issues notice to Jamia for not defending its minority character in Delhi HC
New Delhi: Delhi Minorities Commission on Tuesday issued a notice to the Jamia Millia Islamia for not defending its minority character in the Delhi High Court earlier this month. On March 13, the HC accepted a changed affidavit of the central Govt  wherein it opposed the minority character of the university. Jamia had not sent its counsel to the court to contest the affidavit. In Feb.2011,National Commission For Minority Educational Institutions had granted minority status to Jamia. Some people moved the HC against the decision. Congress-led UPA Govt  of the time had filed an affidavit in the HC in Aug.2011 supporting the minority character. In his suo motu notice to Jamia’s VC, Delhi Minorities Commission chairperson Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan has asked as to why there was no lawyer of Jamia in the Delhi High Court to defend its minority character. Commission also asked Jamia if it has taken any action against its legal team for not defending its minority character in the HC. Meanwhile, various Muslim organizations including All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind have condemned the central BJP Govt  of PM  Narendra Modi for opposing the minority character of Jamia Millia. They also criticized the university for not defending its case in the court.Caravan Daily
Jamia Millia Islamia says Centre did not share affidavit on opposition to its minority status
Jamia Millia Islamia has expressed its surprise at learning about the Centre’s affidavit opposing a National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions order that had declared the varsity a religious minority institution, through a report in Indian Express.Jamia’s  statement about the Govt’s affidavit in the Delhi HC claims that the new document was only issued to the petitioner’s lawyer, while other respondents including varsity’s VC, registrar, and Jamia Teachers’ Association, were not provided any notice. Varsity said non-issuance of the affidavit was against the rules. The varsity said it will file its objections to the revised affidavit in court during the next hearing of the case. It also accused certain sections of the media of publishing defamatory content against the institution and said it would reserve its right to initiate legal action against the organisations concerned.“It is unfortunate that certain sections of the press have carried misleading and distorted versions with regard to the manner in which Jamia is handling the minority issue,” the university’s statement said. Scroll
AMU Teachers Association opposes autonomous status to varsity
AMU Teachers Association (AMUTA) has extended support to their counterparts of Delhi University and Federation of Central University Teachers (FEDCUTA) for opposing UGC's decision of granting greater autonomy to 52 universities, including AMU.Claiming that their opposition to the move is in a bid to "save higher education from privatisation and trade", members of the executive committee of AMU said that they were have granted "functional" autonomy by act of Parliament since 1920.This policy of financial "autonomy" will provide total freedom in the hands of the heads of all autonomous institutions from the rules and regulations and would lead to the exploitation of teachers, non-teaching staff and students.Members of executive committee of AMU Teachers Association, passed a unanimous resolution demanding a roll back of UGC’s decision that they say will provide "tools of exploitation" in the hands of the heads of the institutions. This, they claim, will lead to financial anarchy too and would perpetuate corruption in the name of higher education in these central autonomous bodies. "We shudder to think of what would be the future of this great institution if a person with doubtful integrity is at the helm", they said.Members of AMUTA said that this is the first step in annihilation of the social purpose of higher education for the economically and socially deprived sections of the society.This "autonomy" shall result in denial of education to those extremely vulnerable and backward groups that AMU has always tried to serve. They asserted that the struggle to maintain and continue "historically ordained minority character of the university" shall be an early casualty. "‘Autonomy’ has nothing to do with the freedom to teach and learn and engage with ideas.This is an extremely arrogant step that violates the founding principles of Equity and Access in higher education for each and every one", they said.TOI
Hindus are less likely to use a toilet than Muslims
More than half of the Indian population, over 600 million people, defecate in the open, without the use of a latrine or toilet. The prevalence of open defecation (hereafter OD) is particularly high among India’s Hindu majority. Data from the most recent wave of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of India show that as of 2005, 68% of Hindu households defecate in the open—e.g., in fields, near streets, or behind bushes. In comparison, only 43% of the relatively poorer Muslim households do so. To investigate these patterns in more detail, we turn briefly to the Sanitation Quality, Use, Access, & Trends survey, which was collected by one of this study’s authors in rural northern India in 2013 and 2014. Unlike our main analysis dataset, NFHS, this survey was specifically designed to elicit preferences over latrine use. We use it here to provide a clearer context and understanding of the stark demand differences we exploit below.Table 1 summarizes responses at the individual and household levels, with Hindu means in column 1 and Muslim means in column 2. Consistent with other data sources, first row of the table shows that Hindus are significantly more likely than Muslims to practice OD—that is, they are less likely to use a latrine or toilet. This difference in revealed preferences is deeply embedded: The second row shows that a substantial minority of Hindus who reside in a household with a working latrine nonetheless choose to defecate in the open. 25% of Hindus who own functional latrines choose not to use them, compared to 10% of Muslims. These findings are consistent with accounts from Indian commentators and evaluations by researchers that toilets constructed or paid for by the Govt  often remain unused or repurposed by Hindus.theprint
Jodhpur: Ram Navami tableau celebrates Shambhu Lal, who allegedly burn alive Muslim labourer
Jodhpur:Shambhu Lal Regar, who is in the Jodhpur jail for allegedly hacking and burning a Muslim labourer, was honoured with a tableau during Ram Navmi celebrations in the city on Sunday. Pictures of a procession organised to celebrate the birthday of Lord Ram have surfaced on social media, with a banner hailing Regar as “the one who curbed love jihad”. After he allegedly murdered Afrazul in Dec., Regar uploaded a series of videos, including the one of the crime, on social media, ranting against Muslims and accused them of “entrapping” Hindu girls to covert them to Islam -- a charge often levelled by right-wing Hindu groups.“I just wanted to express my regard for Regar. His commitment towards Hinduism inspired me. There was no intention to hurt anybody’s sentiments,” said Hari Singh Panwar, who organised tableau and is the co-treasurer of Shiv Sena’s Jodhpur chapter.DCP Amandeep Singh said on Tuesday they learnt about the tableau from media reports but had not received a complaint.“If we receive one, we’ll act accordingly,” Singh said.The murder of Afrazul, who hailed from West Bengal, caused nation-wide outrage, with CM s of both Rajasthan and Bengal condemning the incident.In the pictures of the tableau, a man who bears a striking resemblance to Regar is seen seated on a throne-like chair with a pickaxe in his hand. He is dressed in clothes similar to what Regar was wearing when he allegedly committed the murder.A banner calls upon “Hindu brethren to protect their sisters and daughters and liberate the country from love jihad”.It also has a photo of Panwar and a bigger picture of Regar.Asked about the murder charge against Regar, Panwar said he would not comment on a sub judicious matter. “Law comes first but Regar awakened devotion for their faith among Hindus and also made them aware about love jihad,” he said, demanding a law against the so-called love jihad.Regar had an illicit relationship with the woman he referred to as the “Hindu sister” in the video, police have said in the charge sheet. He might have raised the love-jihad bogey to cover for the murder that was driven by jealousy as Regar was upset over the woman keeping in touch with a labourer with whom she had allegedly eloped years ago. The labourer, too, was from West Bengal.HT
Rival processions during Hindu festival in West Bengal trigger clashes with Muslims; 3 dead
Kolkata:Clashes in India between supporters of PM  Narendra Modi’s party and those of an opposition party snowballed into Hindu-Muslim rioting, with 3 people killed and dozens injured over two days of violence, police said on Tuesday.The trouble in West Bengal began on Sunday with rival processions by Modi’s BJP and the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress marking the birth of the Hindu god Rama.Violence broke out on Sunday and spilled over into Monday, turning into clashes between Hindus and Muslims.Anuj Sharma, a top police official in the state, said officials had held an emergency meeting on Tuesday and security had been increased, with riot police deployed, and about 100 people detained to snuff out the violence.“Large scale arrests are underway,” Sharma told Reuters.The danger of communal violence is a constant worry in the world’s biggest democracy.Tension between Muslims and Hindus has increased in some places since Modi and his Hindu-nationalist BJP came to power in 2014.Reuters
Hyderabad : Hindu deities posters on Masjid wall? City police warns against spreading rumours
Hyderabad: Hyderabad city police has warned against spreading malicious content with an intention to provoke a reaction and has appealed the citizens not to believe them.In order to disturb the secular fabric of the nation, morphed photographs of Hindu deities hung over a masjid has apparently started circulating on social media platforms which causes flutter in City.The photograph was taken from such an angle as if the poster seemed to be pasted or hung over the mosque. But if one moves slightly aside, the actual image is far away.The city police, taking to their verified Twitter and Facebook accounts, uploaded both the morphed and the real image of a place of worship so as to the dismiss rumours.“Don’t circulate fake pictures on social media. Don’t believe in Rumours# Don’t spread or come under influence of any rumour or fake news or morphed photos. It is offence under IPC & IT Act (sic),” the tweet read. Police appeal for restraint over false rumours and fake news and said the culprits would be punished as it is an offence under the IPC and IT Act. siasat
Karnataka assembly polls to be held on May 12, counting of votes on May 15
The election for 224-member Karnataka assembly will be held on May 12, Election Commission announced. The counting of votes will take place on May 15. Notification for the polls will be out on April 17, last date of filing nomination is April 24. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on April 25.Announcing the schedule in New Delhi, chief election commissioner Om Prakash Rawat said ‘accessible elections’ will be the theme of the polls where more than four crore people are eligible to vote.CEC also said Facebook would remain its social media partner for the polls. ‘Social media is a reality but precautions will be taken”,he said.HT
BJP’s Amit Malviya tweets Karnataka poll dates before announcement, EC says action will be taken
Even before the Election Commission announced dates of polling and results of the Karnataka Assembly elections 2018, BJP’s IT cell head Amit Malviya tweeted the date of polling and counting. He, however, ended up getting the date of results wrong.  A section of the media, too, flashed the dates of counting and results before they were officially announced. When asked on Twitter how he had access to the dates before the EC annoucement, Malviya said a news channel flashed the dates and they were already public.Journalists gathered at the Election Commission office in New Delhi, where the press conference was underway, raised the matter with CEC OP Rawat, questioning how a political party had access to what is to be highly confidential information.“We will find out what happened and a full investigation will be launched. Let us not speculate on what they have,” Rawat said. At the end of the press conference, Rawat reiterated that the EC will not take the matter lightly.  “Certain things may have leaked for which Election Commission will take appropriate action. It will be investigated. Be assured that actions legally and administratively befitting will be taken.” Malviya, having got dates wrong, deleted his tweet.indianexpress
Karnataka poll date leak: Election Commission forms committee, likely to seek IB, CBI probe
UP Assembly passes MCOCA-like bill amid Opposition walkout
New Delhi:UP  Assembly passed a hotly debated UP Control of Organised Crime Bill (UPCOCB), even as the Opposition members staged a walkout alleging that it was a “draconian” legislation. This comes weeks after the Bill had hit a roadblock in the Legislative Council, where Opposition is in majority.Bill, which seeks to curb organised crime and deal strictly with those trying to foment terror, had to be re-introduced in the assembly today as it could not be passed in the Legislative Council on March 13. The Bill was passed by the Assembly on Dec.21, 2017.The opposition members called it a ‘black law’ and “undeclared Emergency” while alleging that the bill has been brought to crush the voice of politicians, farmers, social workers and journalists and said it was against the constitutional right of freedom of expression. The proposed legislation is on the lines of MCOCA. Piloting the bill, CM Yogi Adityanath said it will put a halt to organised crime in a vast state like UP.UP Govt will also establish a special force and UPCOCA courts to expedite the hearing of cases filed under provisions of the new law.UP home secretary will personally monitor cases lodged under UPCOCA.indianexpress
Parliament session : Both Houses adjourned for the day, no-confidence motion not taken up
The notice for the no-confidence motions, which was moved by TDP and YSR Congress, may finally be taken up in Parliament on Tuesday after TRS said it would cease protests in both Houses over its demand for reservations. The Congress, which had been supporting the TDP and YSR Congress notices for moving the motion of no-confidence against Govt , has itself given notice for Tuesday.CPM group leader P Karunakaran has also moved a similar notice.indianexpress
No proposal to scrap Article 370, MHA tells LS
In what could be a potentially controversial statement, the Union Home Ministry today told the Parliament that there is currently "no proposal for scrapping Article 370", an article of the Constitution that gives special status to J&K  under Govt's consideration. The Lok Sabha was informed by Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Gangaram Ahir in a written response to a starred question from BJP MP Ashwini Kumar on whether the overnment was committed to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution."There is currently no such proposal under consideration of the Govt ," Ahir said.indiatoday
3 more parties move no-confidence motion against Modi-led govt
CPI(M), Revolutionary Socialist Party and IUML have joined TDP, YSR Congress and the Congress to move a no-confidence motion against BJP-led NDA govt. CPI (M)’s leader of the party in Lok Sabha, P Karunakaran, and RSP’s only MP, NK Premachandran, submitted notices and asked Speaker Sumitra Mahajan to include it in the list of business for Tuesday – when Parliament will resume the budget session after a three-day break, HT reported. IUML General Secretary PK Kunhalikutty said in Kochi that his party has also given the notice, and that the Centre “should consider the resolution before each and every party in the Opposition comes up with a no-confidence motion notice”, New Indian Express reported. Other Opposition parties such as TCM, NCP,Samajwadi Party and RJD have expressed support to the no-confidence notices.scroll
Mother of missing JNU student files defamation case worth Rs 2.2 crore against TOI, India Today
The mother of missing JNU student, Najeeb, has sued several media outlets including India Today group and TOI seeking damages worth Rs 2.2 crore.Fatima filed her defamation suit through Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) against TOI, Times Now, Dilli Aajtak and also reporters of TOI and India Today Group while seeking damages of Rs 2.2 crore besides a permanent injunction on publishing/ broadcasting news in any manner, reported Live Law website.TOI in its 21 March edition last year had carried Raj Shekhar Jha’s report, which made an astonishing claim implying that Ahmed may have joined the IS. Jha’s report, based on sources from Delhi Police, had said, “A report on the browsing history of Najeeb’s laptop received by Police from Google and YouTube has revealed that in the months preceding his disappearance, Najeeb had been looking for information on IS — ideology, executions and network. His Google searches included things like ways to join IS. Highly-placed sources claimed that most of the videos he watched on YouTube were also related to the Islamic State. These details, which have opened another line of investigations, have been submitted in HC.” jantakareporter
Muslim women rally against Triple Talaq Bill in Rajasthan's Fatehpur
Jaipur:Thousands of Muslim women took out a protest rally in Rajasthan's Fatehpur against the Triple Talaq Bill today. The protestors demanded the Govt  should take back the Triple Talaq Bill and should not interfere in religious law in any way."Constitution has given us complete right that every religion has the right to follow its law. So, why are we being broken by bringing changes in our law? If this country wants us to progress, then this bill should be withdrawn. If this law is forced upon us, we will not stay alive. That is why we request the PM  and the President that this bill is withdrawn," one of the protesting women said.The protestors took out a rally in an area two kilometres from Fatehpur area of Rajasthan's Sikar district.The protestors carried placards and flags in their hands.A memorandum for PM was also handed over to the SDM by representatives of protesting women.The protestors, which also included the city cleric, claimed that Triple Talaq Bill was against Muslim women and children."I really request Govt, please allow every person... to follow his/her own religion and don't curb it by a law...,"another protestor said.indiatoday
Govt begins process of selling enemy properties worth Rs 1 lakh cr, issues guidelines
New Delhi:In a bid enrich its coffers by about Rs 1 lakh crore, the Govt  has started the process of monetisation of more than 9,400 enemy properties by issuing guidelines and directing the office of the custodian to submit a list of all such movable and immovable assets within 3 months, officials said.MHA has also constituted a valuation committee at the district level, headed by the district magistrate, and an inter-ministerial disposal committee, headed by an additional secretary, so that the process could be completed in a time-bound manner. There are 9,280 properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 properties left behind by Chinese nationals, a ministry official said. HT
Muslims being ignored, divisive politics will do no good: Maulana Bukhari
Nainital: Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, said that Muslims in India were being ignored while PM  Narendra Modi has been travelling to many Islamic nations and embracing their leaders. Bukhari, who is on a personal visit to the hill town, said that the PM has to embrace those too who have distanced themselves from him. “These people haven’t abandoned him due to any sort of enmity but due to ideological differences. If he wants the nation to progress and abide by his own slogan ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas’, he will have to take care of everyone, including Muslims, without discrimination.”"There are no jobs, no security and education due to which, youth of this country is in misery.Govt’s job is to provide them these things rather than creating a divide,”he added. TOI
CBDT extends PAN-Aadhaar linking deadline to June 30
CBDT today extended the deadline for the PAN-Aadhaar linking to June 30. The policy-making body of the tax department issued an order extending the deadline from the current last date of March 31.PTI
UN Chief Criticises Myanmar Army Chief over Anti-rohingya Comments
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed shock over Myanmar army chief's reported remarks that Rohingyas have nothing in common with the country's other ethnic groups, calling on the leaders to take a unified stance against incitement to hatred.General U Min Aung Hlaing, during a speech to a military gathering in Kachin State, referred to the ethnic Rohingya community as "Bengalis", according to a report in the Dhaka Tribune.The report quoted him as saying that the "Bengalis do not have any characteristics or culture in common with the ethnicities of Myanmar. The tensions (in Rakhine State) were fuelled because the 'Bengalis' demanded citizenship.In a statement issued on Monday by the spokesman, Guterres expressed shock at the reports of remarks attributed to Hlaing.UN Chief urged "all leaders in Myanmar to take a unified stance against incitement to hatred and to promote communal harmony," statement issued by Guterres's spokesperson said.He said such leadership is critically needed to advance institutional measures to combat discrimination and implement the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission."The Secretary-General reiterates the importance of addressing the root causes of the violence and the responsibility of the Govt  of Myanmar to provide security and assistance to those in need," the statement said, adding that it is critical that conditions are put in place to ensure that the Rohingya are able to return home voluntarily, in safety and in dignity.news18
'Biggest' evacuation sees over 6,700 people leave Ghouta
At least 6,750 people have been evacuated from towns in Syria's Eastern Ghouta, marking the largest evacuation to date, according to state media.A convoy of 100 buses departed on Tuesday morning from the Irbin corridor towards rebel-held Idlib province in the north, state news agency Sana reported.In previous evacuations about 6,000 people have already left the towns of Harasta, which was controlled by the Ahrar al-Sham rebel group, as well as Irbin, Zamalka, Jobar and the district of Ain Tarma, which were controlled by the Faylaq ar-Rahman rebel group.The rebel groups last week reached an evacuation deal with Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's main ally in the seven-year war.A third rebel group in Eastern Ghouta's Douma, the enclave's biggest town, home to about 140,000 people, has refused to surrender and is still engaged in negotiations.According to activists, a deal between the Jaish al-Islam rebel group and the Russians will most likely be announced at the end of the week.aljazeera
Israel academic fears country is ‘committing suicide’
Israel’s ability to remain a democracy has come under question following revelation that Jewish and Palestinian population in historic Palestine is virtually the same. Figures cited by Israel’s military-run civil administration COGAT, that coordinates Govt  activities in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip, show that there is now parity in the number of Jews and Palestinians. Voice of America reported Colonel Uri Mendes, COGAT’s deputy director, warning Knesset members during a session of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee of the parity between the populations. “We estimate the [Palestinian] population in Judea and Samaria at between 2.5 million and 2.7 million,” Mendes said using Israel’s term for the West Bank.  He noted that a Palestinian census put the figure even higher, at three million.middleeastmonitor
Israel is in ‘a critical medical state’:Ex-Mossad spies
Six former Israeli spies have raised concerns over the future of the country under PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Describing Israel as being under “a critical medical state” the ex-spies voiced their alarm as Israel prepares to celebrate the 70th year since its independence, the day of the Nakba.The surviving ex-Mossad intelligence agency chiefs made their remarks while discussing the prospect of a fourth-term Netanyahu-led Govt  in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s best-selling newspaper and a regular Netanyahu critic.Danny Yatom, who headed Mossad during Netanyahu’s first stint in office in the late 1990s, called for his ouster, accusing him and his aides of “putting their interests ahead of national interests” as corruption investigations deepen.middleeastmonitor
Settlers move into homes of brand new Israeli settlement, deep in West Bank
Israeli settlers “unveiled” the new settlement of Amichai yesterday, moving into their new homes deep in the occupied West Bank.Amichai is the first brand new settlement in the West Bank in some two decades. However, this does not include “unauthorised” settlement outposts retroactively “legalised” by the Israeli Govt .All Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory are viewed as a grave violation of international law by the UNSC, International Court of Justice and others.An official ceremony was held yesterday “marking the move-in day of the first 25 families”, with another 17 families slated to join them after Passover.The ceremony came a month after Israeli occupation authorities started building homes at the new settlement.middleeastmonitor
‘Great March of Return’ is peaceful, insists Hamas, and warns Israel against any aggression
A member of the Hamas Political Bureau stressed on Tuesday that the proposed “Great March of Return” is intended to be a peaceful activity. Dr Khalil Al-Hayya also warned the Israeli occupation authorities against taking any aggressive steps against the march or those who take part. According to Al-Hayya, this will include Palestinian men, women and children.The return to occupied Palestinian lands is the legitimate and inalienable right of every individual Palestinian refugee, the spokesman pointed out. International laws and conventions make the right of return an individual rather than a collective right which cannot be negotiated away en masse. Al-Hayya insisted that the intention behind the march is entirely peaceful. “That is why we are involving our wives and children,” he explained. “We want to stand at the border of our occupied land, without carrying guns, to convey our message to the world.” At the same time, he issued a warning to the Israelis not to attack unarmed and peaceful crowds, including women, children and the elderly. MEMO
US gives Israel $705m for missile defence programmes
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the US Congress had approved the largest defence aid contribution for Israel since it was created in 1948, Quds Press reported .On Twitter, he wrote: “I am pleased to announce that the US Congress has approved a record amount for missile defence. $705 million in 2018. We will continue to develop the multi-tier missile defence system.”American media reported that Congress approved the $705.8 million for missile defence programmes, noting that this is $105 million more than last year’s funding.middleeastmonitor
Palestinians reject plans to hold Jewish prayers at Al-Aqsa Gates
The decision of an Israeli court to allow Jewish settlers to perform prayers at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque caused wide-scale rage among Palestinians yesterday, Quds Press reported.Chairman of the Higher Islamic Council in Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrema Sabri, said: “Israeli court lacks jurisdiction to take such decisions.”He added: “Al-Aqsa Mosque is only for Muslims and any decision that undermines its positions will cause wide tension in the region.”Meanwhile, the Mufti of Al-Aqsa, Mohammed Hussein, said: “Al-Aqsa is only for Muslims alone and no one other than them has the right to perform prayers or practice their religious rituals in it.”He also said that this “is not the first time the Israeli courts have taken such decisions,” noting that the first Israeli court ruling that allowed the settlers to perform their rituals inside Al-Aqsa Mosque was in 1975.middleeastmonitor
Egyptians vote for 2nd day amid signs of low turnout
CAIRO; Turnout appeared low on Tuesday as Egyptians voted on the second day of an election that President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is virtually certain to win, after all serious rivals were either arrested or intimidated into dropping out.El-Sissi came to power after leading the 2013 military overthrow of his freely elected Islamist predecessor, Mohammed Morsi. The only other candidate on the ballot, Moussa Mustafa Moussa, registered at the last minute and supports el-Sissi.With the outcome known, the Govt  hopes to boost turnout and show it has popular support. Voting is being held over three days, from Monday to Wednesday, as a way of encouraging participation among Egypt's nearly 60 million eligible voters.State and private media, which all support el-Sissi, say turnout appeared high on the first day, but Associated Press reporters on the ground at a dozen polling stations in Cairo observed only a trickle of voters entering. Election officials say it's too early to estimate turnout.The election commission has issued vaguely worded orders banning reporters from asking people inside the polling stations who they plan to vote for, or from engaging in "political" discussions with voters. Press cards issued to journalists note that "foreign observers" are banned from "interfering in the internal affairs of the country."Thousands of Islamists, as well as several secular activists, have been imprisoned since el-Sissi rose to power. Unauthorized protests have been banned, critical voices have been silenced in the media and hundreds of websites have been blocked. Across the street from the polling station, 19-year-old engineering student Salma said that older Egyptians are pressuring young people to vote for el-Sissi.AP
Ex-PM of Morocco: National reconciliation is Egypt’s only solution to regain its normal status
Former PM  of Morocco, Abdelilah Benkirane, stressed that “genuine national reconciliation is Egypt’s shortest way to regain its stability and its Arab, Islamic and international status.”Benkirane called on “political leaders and actors in Egypt to reconsider what has happened over the past years and how each side has behaved.”He said: “Reconciliation is the only solution to the crises of the Middle East …genuine reconciliation is required, this is the right and only way for the Arab and Muslim people.”Benkirane pointed out that “Everyone used to look to Egypt as the leading Arab state and the leader of the Islamic Umma. However, its current situation does not please anyone, and we want it to regain its leadership and status,” as he put it.Benkirane’s remarks were delivered as part of his comment on the presidential elections that have started in Egypt on Monday, in which two candidates, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the leader of El-Ghad Party, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, are competing.middleeastmonitor
US, EU expel over 100 Russian diplomats
Moscow:US President Donald Trump has ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians as diplomatic dispute between Russia and UK intensifies over a spy poisoning case.Up to 17 EU countries have also announced that they will expel 34 Russian diplomats. US - backing its closest ally - said on Monday it was closing the Russian consulate in Seattle in response to the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.Both are critically ill in a UK hospital after being poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in the southern English city of Salisbury last month.aljazeera
Dutch diplomat pulled out of Turkey over spy allegations
Netherlands has pulled one if its diplomats out of Turkey on Monday after Turkish media reported that the consulate employee was exposed during spying activities.Dutch foreign ministry said the diplomat, who worked at the Dutch consulate in Istanbul, left Turkey out of concerns for his safety."For his own safety - due to the publicity - the official in question left Turkey on Monday. He worked at the Dutch Consulate General in Istanbul, and was also responsible for regional activities," the ministry said in a statement.A Turkish official said  that the diplomat was exposed by the Turkish intelligence agency, MIT, while he was engaged in intelligence activities.Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that the diplomat was working to gather information on Turkey's military operation in the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin."The Turkish authorities did not make a diplomatic move to deport the Dutch diplomat after the evidence was gathered and allowed him to leave the country," he said.aljazeera
New York probes Kushner Companies' false filings
The real estate company owned by the family of US President Donald Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is under investigation for falsifying documents with the New York Buildings Dept.A local tenants' rights group says Kushner Companies regularly lied about the number of its tenants in rent-controlled apartments, in an attempt to evade procedures meant to protect low-income housing. The Associated Press reports the false documents were filed while Jared Kushner was running the company, and before he joined the Trump White House.aljazeera
Sting: ‘17 media firms ready to push communal reports for cash’:indianexpress
A Burqa can be empowering too, but I don’t expect Ram Guha to understand that:Hatif Imam
Sangh Parivar Uses Ram Navmi to Incite Violence:Ritansh Azad
Muslim Women: Protect Our Marriages, Don't Criminalise Talaq-E-Biddat: mid-day
Ex- CIC Lauds SC Order Doing Away With Need for Motive for Filing RTI Pleas:Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar
Modi Govt's Handling of Iraq Kidnapping Was a Fiasco From Start to Finish;Vappala Balachandran
https://thewire.in/diplomacy/the-modi-Govt s-handling-of-iraq-kidnapping-was-a-fiasco-from-start-to-finish
Fact Check: RSS Had No Role in India’s Freedom Struggle;Shamsul Islam

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:20 PM)

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