31 January 2019

31 Jan.ND: Another SC judge recuses himself from hearing plea against appointment of Rao as interim CBI Director/ Unemployment highest in 45 yrs: Job report Govt tried to hide/Modi’s big play for Ayodhya could backfire: report

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
31 Jan. 2019: 24 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol:11, No:116
Another SC judge recuses himself from hearing plea against appointment of Rao as interim CBI Director
New Delhi:In 2 weeks and before month has ended, 3 judges of the Supreme Court have recused themselves from hearing a petition challenging Govt's appointment of M. Nageshwar Rao as interim CBI Director.One of the 3 was CJI. The latest recusal on Thursday is a future CJI.Justice N.V. Ramana, who is in the line of seniority to be CJI, recused himself from hearing the case citing personal reasons. While recusing himself from hearing the matter, Justice Ramana said Rao is from his home state and he had attended the wedding ceremony of Rao's daughter.It was CJI Ranjan Gogoi who first bowed out of hearing the petition filed by NGO Common Cause. 2 days later, on Jan.24, number 2 judge in the SC,Justice Sikri followed suit.Justice Sikri's recusal came on the very morning of the day of the inconclusive meeting of the high-powered committee chaired by PM  Narendra Modi,CJI Gogoi and Opposition Leader Mallikarjun Kharge. Kharge had raised objections about the list of persons short-listed and the process followed for the proposed selection of CBI Director.Justice Ramana's recusal coincides with the continuing state of limbo in the appointment process which has seen Rao prevail in office as interim Director of the country's premier agency. With Justice Ramana's recusal, the petition returns to the desk of CJI on the administrative side.CJI, as Master of Roster, will now have to allocate the case to another Bench. Justice S.A. Bobde, who is next in line of seniority to be CJI after Justice Gogoi retires on Nov.7 this year has been on leave for past few days.Petition against the appointment of Rao has claimed that Govt “completely bypassed” the statutory requirement to consult the high-powered selection committee of PM, Opposition Leader and CJI before appointing Rao on Jan.10. the hindu/ PTI
‘Went to his daughter’s wedding’: Judge Ramana recuses from hearing interim CBI chief case
SC dismisses plea challenging Asthana’s appointment as DG civil aviation security
New Delhi :A PIL challenging the appointment of ex CBI special director Rakesh Asthana as DG of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has been dismissed by the Supreme Court on Thursday.A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi to entertain the plea filed by lawyer M L Sharma challenging Asthana’s appointment.Petitioner contended that the appointment was in contravention to CCA Rules 1965 and Asthana be suspended in view of the pending investigation into the corruption charges against him.The plea said: “Instead of suspension within CCA rule-1965, Asthana has been promoted and appointed as chief of BCAS by during the pendency of the investigation under Delhi HC in a FIR for bribe and corruption in his official duty”.“This has created a serious injury to the judicial and public office systems violating Articles 21 and 14 and destruction of faith in the three constitutional office of the country,” it said.indianexpress
Verma resignation rejected, govt asks ex CBI chief to rejoin work for a day
Govt has rejected IPS officer Alok Verma's resignation from service. Verma was the director of CBI. He was shunted out from the post earlier this month.In protest, Verma resigned from IPS. However, Ministry of Home Affairs has rejected his resignation effectively asking him to rejoin work. But for a day -- today is the date Verma would have retired from service.Verma has been asked to rejoin work as the director general of fire services, civil defence and home guards -- a post Alok Verma was transferred to after being removed from the post of CBI director.He was transferred out of CBI after a long-lasting controversy that even involved the SC.indiatoday
Govt rubs it in,tells Verma to join work for a day
Bhushan writes to CJI against elevation of Justice Kant to SC
New Delhi: Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan has written to CJI Ranjan Gogoi seeking an inquiry against Justice Surya Kant, who is currently the chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court and is rumoured to be in consideration for elevation to the Supreme Court. If Kant is elevated, he will serve as CJI from November 2025 to Feb. 2027.In his letter, Bhushan has pointed out to the chief justice that there are complaints of illegal property transactions and abuse of authority against Kant.In January 2018, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had written to then CJI Dipak Mishra making clear his “respectful disagreement with the proposal” that Justice Surya Kant be appointed the chief justice of Himachal HC. Justice Goel stated that “Justice Kant is not suitable for appointment as Chief Justice till thorough inquiry is conducted, as I have already opined”.When in 2017, Justice Goel’s opinion had been sought regarding the elevation of Justice Kant as chief justice of the Himachal HC, he had pointed out to then CJI Justice J.S. Khehar that there were several complaints against Kant. The complaints pertained to properties that he had acquired allegedly after being appointed as a judge.thewire
Protests against Citizenship Bill show signs of revolt in Assam, Manipur, Tripura
A group of organisations called for a 24-hour strike in Manipur on Thursday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, PTI reported. The strike was called by Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill, which is a collective of 66 outfits.Protestors staged demonstrations in the state capital of Imphal, in Thoubal and Lilong towns in Thoubal district, and Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts.Educational institutes and commercial establishments remained closed in many districts in Manipur, while vehicles stayed off the roads. Security personnel were deployed across the state. Students from Manipur burned effigies of PM  Narendra Modi near Parliament on Wednesday, Imphal Free Press reported. Around 200 students had gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi under the banner of 6 students’ outfits to protest against the bill.Police in the national capital detained at least 60 students for burning Modi’s effigy.In Assam, students organisations, the Asom Gana Parishad and All Assam Students’ Union are likely to stage another massive demonstration next week, according to The Week.“Under no circumstances, we would let the bill implement in our land,” said Asom Gana Parishad President Atul Bora. “BJP would have to pay a heavy price for it.”Meanwhile, families of those who were killed in Assam Agitation between 1979 and 1985 have decided to return honours conferred on them by the Assam Govt  as an act of protest against the bill, according to The Sentinel.BJP led Govt  in the state had honoured the families with Rs 5 lakh and a memento in 2016.In Tripura, several tribal political parties united under leadership of Tripura Congress Working President Pradyot Manikya Deb Barman to protest against BJP Govt  in state over the Bill, reported NDTV.A massive protest rally was organised at Khumulwng, the headquarters of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous Territorial Council.“Entire Tripura is against the Bill,” Barman said. “This doesn’t have to do anything with religion, community or any other identity. This vote bank politics is being played by the (central) govt at Delhi.This bill will divide our society.” He was addressing a gathering of around 15000 at Khumulwng.scroll/news18
Assam BJP leader beaten, pulled by hair amid Citizenship Bill protest
Amid the ongoing agitation against Citizenship Amendment Bill, BJP's district head in Upper Assam's Tinsukia district,Lakheswar Moran, was thrashed on Wednesday by some protesters. Incident took place when BJP leader arrived to attend a meeting organised by Lok Jagran Manch, an RSS affiliate.The group has been involved in organising a series of public programmes in Upper Assam to 'dispel myth' about the Citizenship Amendment Bill.According to eyewitnesses, after district BJP leader arrived at the spot, he was greeted with slogans and black flags by over 3,000 protesters.In a video that has gone viral on social media, a group of protesters can be seen thrashing BJP leader. He was slapped, beaten and pulled by hair. Protesters also assaulted some other BJP members. Injured BJP leader was rushed to the civil hospital for treatment.ndtv
Unemployment highest in 45 yrs: Job report Govt tried to hide
A report published today by Business Standard has taken the lid off survey which Govt reportedly tried to suppress.Survey report on employment conducted by NSSO discovered unemployment at a 45-year old high after demonetisation. Another important finding was the rate of unemployment was higher than in rural India. The survey has dealt with period up to March, 2018.Earlier sources in NSSO had indicated that they were advised not to release the data at this juncture.A response from Govt  is still awaited. India’s unemployment rate stood at a 45-year-high of 6.1% in the year 2017-18, according to National Sample Survey Office's (NSSO's) periodic labour force survey (PLFS), says the report in Business Standard.NSSO's annual household survey of 2017-18 is first after Nov.2016 demonetisation, when PM  Narendra Modi declared an overnight ban on high-value notes. The report comes after a day 2 National Statistical Commission (NSC) members, including acting chairman, resigned on Jan.28, alleging that the Govt  had withheld its release despite NSC's approval .nationalheraldindia
As Goyal all set to present interim Budget on Feb 1; Opposition demands vote-on-account
As the Finance Minister Piyush Goyal is all set present Budget on Feb.1, Opposition parties responded stating that the Govt  should not bring the full fledged budget in the name of interim budget, as its tenure is till May. Representing the Congress in the all-party meet called by Lok Sabha speaker, Congress leader in the House, Kharge said the Govt  should restrict itself to vote-on-account. After the meeting, Congress leader said he has demanded that there should be discussion on Rafale deal and farmers issues during the budget session, which is starting today. "I said in the meeting that govt should not bring full-fledged budget in the name of interim budget. It cannot do this as the tenure of this Govt  is till May. BJP-led Govt should bring only vote-on-account," he said.nationalheraldindia
Centre set to issue fresh ban on SIMI soon
New Delhi: 15 states and Union Territories, including Delhi, have sought fresh ban on the SIMI and the Centre will soon re-invoke charges on the group under UAPA, according to sources in Union Home Ministry.Police from MP, Maharashtra, Delhi,Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala are learnt to have provided details of conviction against SIMI leaders Safdar Nagori, Abu Faisal, among others. Sources said that based on the assessment by agencies and state police forces, a fresh ban will be brought for 5 more years after Jan.2019. It was first declared an outlawed outfit in 2001. Since then, it has been banned on several occasions.Last time it was banned was under UPA on Feb.1, 2014, for a period of 5 years. Home Ministry officials said SIMI cadres have been under probe in 21 cases, including rioting at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan in 2012. The state police have provided a list of 5 cases registered in Telangana and AP, and 2 cases in Gujarat.indianexpress
Modi’s big play for Ayodhya could backfire: Bloomberg report
The city of Ayodhya swarms with barefoot pilgrims crying out in prayer as they shuffle along a cramped line, past 4 security pat-downs, for a glimpse of a makeshift Hindu temple.The modest pile of stone is at the center of India’s most polarizing dispute.And it’s here that PM  Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party is anchoring his bid for re-election.Modi’s BJP is betting that religious nationalism—including ramping up efforts to build the Ram temple, symbolically renaming cities and allocating almost $600 million to a mass Hindu pilgrimage—can shore up its vote in elections due by May. But a 3-day tour through swing districts in India’s most populous state showed it may not be enough to make up for Modi’s inability to deliver on core pledges to create millions of jobs, transform the economy and bring prosperity to farmers.Even in Ayodhya, ground zero for Hindu nationalism, there are doubts about the sincerity of Modi’s party and its renewed emphasis on religion.“If they had any intention of building the temple, they could have done it by now,” said Lale Vaishya, a pilgrim who travelled nearly 1000 kms to visit the site in UP. “They are playing politics.”Injection of uncertainty explains the return to issues like religion, according to Sanjay Kumar, director of New Delhi-based Centre for Study of Developing Societies and an expert in electoral politics.“There’s a conscious effort on behalf of BJP to pick up these larger narratives, so that they can cover the failures of their non-performance,” he said. “Modi’s govt has not fulfilled 80 %  of what it committed to,” Rajesh Yogi, a farmer, said angrily as a crowd gathered. After supporting Modi in 2014, he plans to vote against the ruling party. “I am telling this truth on the banks of the Ganges,” he said.For farmer Ganesh Kumar Yadav, who abandoned Modi in last year’s ballot after voting for him in 2014, religious issues count for little. He said fertilizer is still too costly, while Modi’s abrupt decision in 2016 to abolish 86 %  of India’s currency notes overnight led to his mother losing 35,000 rupees, an enormous sum in rural India.“He has done a lot for Kumbh Mela, but he hasn’t done anything for farmers,”Yadav said. He too said he’ll shun BJP in this year’s election.This year’s campaign focus on Hindu nationalism could again prove deadly.According to a US intelligence threat assessment, BJP policies under Modi “have deepened communal tensions” in some states governed by his party, whose leaders “might view a Hindu nationalist campaign as a signal to incite low-level violence to animate their supporters.” indianexpress
Kumbh Mela: Religious gurus to lay bricks for Ram temple on Feb 21
New Delhi:A congregation of sants at Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj on Wednesday passed a resolution to perform “ishtika nyas vidhi (ritual of brick laying)” on Feb.21 to build Ram temple in Ayodhya, a day after BJP-led Govt  moved the Supreme Court with a petition to return “excess/superfluous land” acquired in Ayodhya to its original owners.In a 2-page ‘param-dharmadesh’, or resolution, passed at the religious congregation, Shankaracharya Swami Shree Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwarka said time has come to make “supreme sacrifice” for Ram Janmabhoomi.“We are ready to go to jail or face bullets for this cause,”he stated.The resolution was passed on concluding session of 3-day ‘Paramdharmasansad 1008’,presided over by Swaroopanand Saraswati of Dwarka. Representatives of different akharas and hundreds of sants attended the meet. VHP is scheduled to start a 2-day religious congregation at the Kumbh today. Besides top VHP functionaries, prominent saints,including Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas’s head Nritya Gopal Das and a senior RSS functionary, will be present.The resolution stated, “legislature, the executive and the judiciary exist for the people but their recent decisions show they believe themselves to be sovereign. In such a situation, to open the eyes and ears of these three branches, we are forced to launch a Savinay Avagya Andolan (civil disobedience movement)…. On Feb.21, we will perform the ritual of brick laying (for Ram temple).”indianexpress
On 67 acres, Vajpayee had said: Duty to follow SC, keep status quo
New Delhi: BJP-led Govt ’s move in the Supreme Court seeking permission to return the excess parcel of 67.03 acres adjacent to the disputed site in Ayodhya to Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas stands in stark contrast to what one of the party’s tallest leaders and then PM  had told Parliament nearly 17 years ago.In a statement made in Rajya Sabha on March 14, 2002, the late A B Vajpayee had made clear that his Govt  is the statutory receiver of the land and “is duty bound to maintain the status quo at the disputed site in Ayodhya”.Heading NDA-I Govt  at the time, Vajpayee told Parliament that the Govt  had neither filed an affidavit nor filed a written submission on a plea filed in the SC challenging the request made by the Nyas to perform a symbolic puja on the acquired land that is not part of the dispute.Vajpayee’s assurance came after the then Attorney General Soli Sorabjee had submitted in the SC that “temporary use” of the undisputed adjacent land per se would not violate the status quo ordered by it.It was the same petition, filed by Aslam Bhure, that had led to 3-judge SC bench passing an interim order on March 13, 2002 — that no religious activity should take place on adjacent land.indianexpress
Ram Madhav: ‘Case in SC nowhere, govt has to think about options for Ram temple’
In charge of the north-eastern states and J&K for BJP, Ram Madhav has said,"We have waited for the Supreme Court to initiate the process of adjudication on this matter. Initially it was Oct.29 last year, (but) they postponed it saying it would be taken up after the vacation. It was (then) supposed to be the first week of Jan Then they (SC) said it wasn’t a matter of priority for them. They gave a date, which was Jan.29. They had a reason to postpone it again.Now they are not even giving us a date. The case in SC is actually going nowhere. Now we have a commitment to the people. We are a law-abiding party, that’s why our Govt  waited so far. When the SC does not initiate the process, then the Govt  has to certainly look for some other measures that would satisfy crores of people who want the temple there.Although this particular step yesterday had no direct bearing on the main case — remember these are 2 different issues — this is the minimum we could do now. I would actually say now that the SC is not showing any interest in the matter, the govt has to think about what other options are available. Even in this matter of unfreezing land, our hands are tied. The order to maintain status quo was issued by the SC." Madhav spoke with Indian Express on a range of issues, including the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, elections in J&K, and BJP’s prospects in south India. indianexpress
Pak rejects India’s objections to Qureshi-Mirwaiz telephonic conversation
Pakistani and Kashmiri leadership has always been communicating and there is nothing new in Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s telephonic conversation with separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar, Foreign Office has said as it rejected India’s objections. India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale Wednesday summoned Pakistan’s envoy Sohail Mahmood and categorically told him that Qureshi’s conversation with Mirwaiz was a “brazen attempt” to subvert India’s unity and violate its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ministry of External Affairs, in a late evening statement, said Pakistan High Commissioner was “cautioned” that persistence of such behaviour by Pakistan will have “implications”.It said Gokhale conveyed to the Pakistani envoy that the “deplorable act” has violated all norms for the conduct of international relations even by Pakistan’s own standards and that Qureshi’s actions are tantamount to direct interference in the internal affairs of its neighbour.Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that the Govt  of Pakistan “categorically rejects the objections” by India. The leadership in Pakistan has always been communicating with the Kashmiri leadership, the statement said. “This is not anything new,” it said.“We would like to reiterate that Kashmir is an outstanding dispute between India and Pakistan, and acknowledged as such through UNSC resolutions as well as numerous Pakistan-India documents including the Simla Agreement and Lahore Declaration,” it said.It said the Kashmir issue remains on the agenda of the UNSC.It further said that Pakistan was committed to extending its political, diplomatic and moral support to the people of Kashmir.It reaffirmed that Pakistan will maintain its support and solidarity till the time the Kashmir dispute is resolved peacefully, in accordance with the UNSC resolutions and the wishes of the people of J&K.PTI
India warns Pakistan envoy on phone call to Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz
NDA was first to initiate Hurriyat-Pak. dialogue in past: Mehbooba Mufti
Srinagar:Ex-CM  Mehbooba Mufti has said it was NDA that “facilitated meetings between the Hurriyat leaders and Pakistani dignitaries,” while taking exception to India's stand on Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's phone call to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. “Ironically, it was NDA under then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji that facilitated meetings between Hurriyat leaders and Pakistani dignitaries, besides allowing them to visit Pakistan to hold talks with the establishment including the then President General Musharraf,” said Mufti. She said a foreign policy dictated by the compulsions of electoral politics is "shockingly pathetic". "Terming a phone call between Pakistani FM and Mirwaiz sahab as anti-India has reduced ties to an unbelievable nadir," she added.thehindu
Madras HC quashes state govt order forcing minority institutions to admit 50% students from community
Chennai: Madras High Court has quashed a Govt  order mandating minority educational institutions to admit not less than 50 % of students belonging to the community every year to retain their minority status.The state Govt  does not have the power to pass such order in connection with minority status of educational institutions under the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act, Justice T Raja held.He was allowing a petition by the Institute of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary seeking to quash last year's 5 April Govt  order.The petitioner contended that the Govt  order imposed a burdensome and impractical condition, modifying the principles that have stood the test of time.It suffered from executive mala-fide to indirectly deprive the minority status to the educational institutions established and administered by the minority community, petitioner submitted.There cannot be a common rule throughout the state to admit a minimum of 50 %  minority students in the state, as the condition precedent for minority status, while the Christian population was only 6.1 % in the demography of the state, it was contended.PTI
Elgaar Parishad: Police has 4 letters, no other evidence against Teltumbde, says defence lawyer
Pune :City Police didn’t have an iota of evidence against academician Anand Teltumbde, other than 4 letters that were “flashed” to media persons, and which had no credibility, his defence lawyer Rohan Nahar told a court on Wednesday. Teltumbde has been named as an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case over his alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist.Nahar was responding to several allegations made by Pune police on Tuesday, in its say before Special Judge Kishor D Vadane, to oppose Teltumbde’s application. Police claimed to have evidence to prove that Teltumbde has been involved in “insurgent activities to destabilise the govt’ through the banned Maoist organisation, of which he is a member”. District Govt Pleader Ujjwala Pawar had also referred to 4 alleged Maoist communications which, claimed police, were retrieved from other arrested suspects. Parts of these “communications”, purportedly referring to Teltumbde, were quoted by the prosecution.Police also said that Teltumbde attended an international conference, as he was directed to do in one of these letters, and alleged that he received funds from the banned CPI-Maoist. On Wednesday, Nahar pointed out that police gave the letters, purportedly recovered in this case, to mediapersons and alleged that the investigation in the case was not credible. indianexpress
2 members of Hindu outfit detained, 9 booked for shooting Mahatma effigy
Lucknow:After a video of Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) members purportedly recreating assassination of Mahatma Gandhi and garlanding Nathuram Godse surfaced, 2 of them were detained and 9 were booked in Aligarh on Wednesday.Video shows national secretary of ABHM, Dr Puja Shakun Pandey, purportedly shooting thrice at Gandhi’s effigy with an air pistol and the effigy being burnt later at their office in Gandhi Park.After the video surfaced, a police team rushed to the office of ABHM and 2 of their workers were taken into custody.An FIR was lodged against nine people, including Pooja and 4 unidentified persons at Gandhi Park police station.Circle Officer said, “2 of the named accused, Manoj Saini and Abhishek, who are seen invideo, were detained. Manoj was seen burning the effigy in video. The probe would reveal who circulated the video.” Confirming that they have recreated his assassination, national spokesperson of ABHM, Ashok Pandey said, “We don’t find anything wrong in it because the country celebrates Ravan dahan as well by recreating the scene. We have done act inside our office premises.”ABHM observes Gandhi’s death anniversary on Jan.30 as ‘Shaurya Diwas’.“He (Gandhi) was also responsible for Partition…Over 10 lakh Hindus died,” said Pandey, adding that he was present at the event.indianexpress
Meo Muslims remember Mahatma Gandhi in Dec every year as Mewat Diwas
Meo Muslims in Haryana have been commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to Ghasera village in Mewat district as Mewat Diwas every Dec.19 since 2000.On this day, Meos, who have long been the target of a campaign of communal violence unleashed by Hindutva groups, gather at Ghasera village to recall how Gandhi had called the Meos “Iss desh ke reed ke haddi” or the backbone of India. Meos are a large community found in the Mewat region, which is spread across the states of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan.During his visit, Gandhi had assured the community that they would not be forced to leave India. He also asked those who wanted to leave to stay on in the land of their forefathers. A month later, Gandhi was assassinated in Delhi. His assassination came as a blow to the Meos. “Meos who had been convinced to stay once again started feeling they would have to leave,” said local historian Siddique Ahmad, who belongs to Meo community and has written extensively about Mewat’s connection to Gandhi. “Women of Mewat used to sing a song– ‘Meos have lost their trust, now that a bullet has pierced Gandhiji’s chest.’scroll.in
Meerut village empties out, 9 Muslims held as police crackdown: Indian express
Pachpeda:After a mob led by leaders of BJP and some Hindu outfits laid siege to Bhawanpur Police Station Monday demanding arrest of accused in an attack on a wedding party, 9 people were picked up by police, including a local Samajwadi Party leader and his son. 4 teams have been formed and a reward of Rs 10,000 announced to catch the nearly 60 other “unidentified persons” in FIR.According to an FIR lodged by the bride’s brother, their cars were immediately surrounded by a mob from Pachpeda, who misbehaved with his sister, robbed her of her jewellery, and attacked them with knives and lathis. 6 people were injured in the incident, including the bride and groom, he said.Among those in the procession was the groom’s brother, a Head Constable with the Delhi Police.With police cracking down, an eerie silence prevailed in Pachpeda on Tuesday afternoon, with shops shut and many people leaving home fearing arrest. Among those arrested is SP leader Aarif Chauhan, who runs a tent business and is a confidant of an ex SP minister, and son Shadaab, 30. His other son, Shehbaaz, 27, also named in FIR, is absconding. The others arrested are Khalid, Farooq, Imran, Rizwan, Yusuf, Zia ul haq and Shahane Alam. A minor who was picked up has been sent to a juvenile home. Chauhan’s neighbours said that with the men of the family either behind bars or on the run, women have “hid themselves” so that “police may not harass them”.They claimed that police parties had misbehaved with women and ransacked the houses of the accused and suspects.Aamir, who owns a laundry shop nearby, said, “We have nothing to do with what happened that night, yet we fear police action. We have left the village till the tension ends.”
MP: ‘Not Accountable for Muslims’ Security, They Should Not Enter Village’ Write Locals
Rajgarh: Clash that erupted on Republic Day between the youths of two communities over playing a Bollywood song in Khujner town of MP’s Rajgarh district has taken an ugly turn.Since last 4 days, the district has remained shut; Section 144 has been imposed by the district administration in various pockets of the district.16 people including 4 school students were booked under various sections of IPC, while markets were closed following the violence. Meanwhile, disturbing letters have started reaching the police stations.Letters have been purportedly written by the villagers of the majority community saying, “No Muslim will enter or sell their goods in our village, and if they do, the villagers will not be accountable for their security.”One of the letters read:“No Muslim vendor should enter Mehuri Mote village. If they do, we should not be held responsible of their security. No Muslim should enter our village.”Locals has been purportedly submitting these letters to the local police stations following a communal clash in Khujner town during a Republic Day event — first such incident under the new Congress regime. newsclick
Aggrieved Bihar babu threatens to convert to Islam
Patna:Too upset by lingering casteism in the bureaucracy and politics in Bihar’s districts, a BDO placed under suspension has threatened to convert to Islam unless the state Govt  reinstates him to his post by Feb.7.Plight of Manoj Kumar Agrawal, suspended BDO of Ramgarh Chowk block in Lakhiserai district, appears to have been caused by the continuous one-upmanship games that caste groups and political parties engage in for supremacy.“Being a Hindu and having to work for Govt  under such toxic conditions now means honesty will invariably make one the victim of caste politics,”said Agrawal, a Bihar Rural Service (BRS) officer who started work as BDO in 2013,to this paper. The officer, who belongs to Hindu caste of Bania (traders) and is the son of a well-known freedom fighter from Begusarai, has written to Bihar’s rural development department secretary Arvind Kumar saying he would convert to Islam unless he is reinstated in his job. “If it does not happen (reinstatement), I will renounce Hinduism, which is full of casteist feelings and deep contradictions and convert to Islam,” he wrote in his letter.,Agrawal’s hasty suspension was the result of the smouldering tensions between two ministers from area– Rajiv Ranjan Singh of JD(U) and Vijay Kumar Sinha of ally BJP – and that between local politicians from upper-caste Bhumihar and OBC Kurmi communities.new indian express
NIA wraps up probe in Pathanamthitta woman's forced conversion, sends case back to Kerala police
Kochi:  Putting an end to Love Jihad allegations in the case pertaining to forced conversion of a Pathanamthitta woman, NIA has wrapped up its probe after failing to obtain concrete evidence. The anti-terror agency has referred the investigation back to Ernakulam Rural police following the inability to unearth evidence to slap UAPA Sections on the accused persons. NIA recently filed a report before NIA Court in Kochi stating its investigation could not find any evidence substantiating the offence allegedly committed by the accused persons in the case.Hence the case has been referred back to the Rural police.Of the 11 persons arraigned in the case, 4, including Muhammed Riyas - who is accused by the woman of forced conversion, were arrested and let off on bail. Woman alleged Riyas had lured her, raped her, took objectionable photos/videos of her on his mobile, besides forcing her to become a disciple of Zakir Naik. Charges of forced conversion to Islam, marriage using forged documents, creating a fake passport and illegal confinement were also levelled against Riyas. NIA, in a report it filed recently before NIA Court in Kochi, said its investigation could not find any evidence substantiating the offence allegedly committed by the accused persons.newindianexpress
UP : Villagers lock stray cows in school
Muzaffarnagar : A case has been registered against 24 people for allegedly evicting students and teachers of a Govt  primary school in UP  to keep stray cows, officials said today.It has been alleged that villagers in Kudana brought the cows inside the school on Wednesday and closed it, Shamli DM Akhilesh Kumar said. In Dec, UP  CM  Yogi Adityanath had directed officials to make immediate arrangements for proper care of stray cows within a week.Besides asking officials to make 750 cows shelters set up at the Zilla Panchayat level functional, he had also directed them that proper fodder, shed and drinking facilities should be provided to the bovines both in rural and urban areas.In a complaint, the education department has said students and teachers were told to vacate the school by villagers who herded stray cows inside the institute’s campus, DM said. Classes were conducted outside the school after the villagers forced their way inside the school along with stray cows, a teacher said, requesting anonymity.PTI
Judge in Godhra train case, now Gujarat law officer
On the day he retired as Registrar General of Gujarat High Court, PR Patel, who as a judge adjudicated the 2002 Godhra train burning case and awarded death penalty to 11 convicts in March 2011, was appointed Special Officer (Litigation) byGujarat govt.Patel assumed charge of his new post with Law Department of the state Govt  from Jan.1. He had retired as Registrar General of the High Court in June 2017 but was re-employed on the post 2 times until Dec.31,2018.A Dec.31 Law Department order on Patel’s appointment stated:“To decrease the pendency of cases against Gujarat Govt  in Gujarat HC and Supreme Court and for expeditious disposal of cases, PR Patel, who was discharging his duties as Registrar General (retired), is getting post-retirement appointment as ‘Special Officer’ (Litigation) on contract basis against the vacant post of Joint Secretary (Judiciary) in Law Department.”“As salary, PR Patel will be paid the amount that he was getting at the time of retirement while deducting his pension from it as Pay-Minus-Pension,” it stated.indianexpress
2019 Lok Sabha polls: NDA may fall 20 seats short of majority, says Times Now-VMR opinion poll
BJP-NDA may fall 20 seats short of the magic mark of 272 if the Lok Sabha were held today, according to the Times Now-VMR opinion poll.According to the survey of 15,731 of voters, conducted between Jan.14 and Jan.25, NDA is estimated to win 252 seats, Congress-led UPA 147 seats and others 144.BJP is in for a shock in UP , where it is projected to win just 27 of 80 seats, a steep fall from the 73 seats it had bagged in the 2014 General Elections, the poll said. BJP’s vote share in the state is likely to decline 4.4% while the Samajwadi Party and BSP, which have formed an alliance, are projected to win 51 seats.In Madhya Pradesh, which was one of the three states that the Congress won in the Assembly elections in December, the BJP will to win 23 of 29 seats, 4 seats fewer than in 2014, the poll said. The Congress is set to win 6 seats, according to the opinion poll.BJP is not likely to have much impact in the southern states, opinion poll predicted.scroll.in
Ramgarh Assembly Election Results: Congress’ Shafia Zubrai wins by 12,228 votes
Congress won Ramgarh Assembly seat in Rajasthan’s Alwar district today, with its candidate Shafia Zubrai beating BJP’s Sukhwant Singh by 12,228 votes. With this win, Congress has secured 100 seats in 200-member Rajasthan Assembly.BSP’s Jagpat Singh came in third.Zubair won 83,311 votes, while Singh garnered 71,083 votes. BSP’s Singh won 24,856 votes. Election to the Ramgarh seat was delayed due to the death of sitting MLA and BSP candidate Laxman Singh.This win reduces Congress’ dependence on support from other non-BJP parties. Indianexpress
BJP wins by-poll in Haryana's Jind by over 12000 votes
Jind: Ruling BJP won the high-stakes Jind by-poll in Haryana with party candidate Krishan Middha defeating his nearest rival, Digvijay Singh Chautala of JJP, by over 12,000 votes. BJP wrested the seat from the main opposition INLD,which was decimated in by-election. PTI
SAD threatens to “break alliance” with BJP over govt’s interference in Patna Sahib, Hazoor Sahib
SAD, one of the older NDA allies, has threatened to part ways with BJP should it not stop interfering in the management of gurudwaras across country.In a stern message to BJP, SAD spokesperson and Delhi MLA Manjinder Singh Sirsa accused Centre of trying to usurp the power from Sikh community as far as management of gurudwaras is concerned. “They first tried interfering in Patna Sahib. It was only due to intervention by party president Sukhbir Singh Badal that they went back on the proposed changes,”Sirsa said in a video message posted on Twitter.Sirsa complained in his message that BJP Govt in Maharashtra had arbitrarily made amendments to a 1956 law in order to retain authority in appointing president of the management committee involved in handling affairs of Takht Hazoor Sahib in Nanded.nationalheraldindia
Anant Hegde calls Rahul Gandhi hybrid specimen: Muslim father, Christian mother, Brahmin son?
Anant Kumar Hegde, a BJP politician known for making wildly controversial remarks, said Rahul Gandhi is "an embarrassment to every Indian" and unfit to be a Union minister.Rahu, he said, had no clue about religion. "Look how they lie," he said, asking how the son of a "Muslim" father and a "Christian" mother was supposed to be Brahmin."We can understand such issues but that empty-headed man does not know or understand. You will not find such a hybrid specimen in any laboratory across the world. You'll find such a specimen in the Congress laboratory in this country where the father and son are of two different types," Hedge said.indiatoday
Karnataka :Order reserving panel chief’s post for Muslims withdrawn
Bengaluru: Govt informed the high court that the July 2017 order, virtually reserving the chairman’s post of Karnataka State Minorities Commission (KSMC) to Muslim community, has been withdrawn. The order had been issued by the secretary to minority welfare, Haj and wakfs department. Taking the communication on record, a division bench headed by Justice Ravi Malimath disposed of PIL filed by B Vinod, an advocate from Shivamogga. In 2017 order, the secretary had cited that as per the 2011 census, the population of Muslims in Karnataka is highest among minorities, at 12.9 %. He had contended that since its inception, the commission chairman had always been from Muslim community.TOI
China hints it will continue to block India’s bid to join Nuclear Suppliers Group
China on Wednesday hinted that it would continue to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, saying there should be no “double standards” in enforcing the Non-Proliferation Treaty, PTI reported.The statement came at a meeting of 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, UK and the US– in Beijing to discuss nuclear disarmament.Spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry, Geng Shuang, told reporters the Non-Proliferation Treaty is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and an important component of post-war international security system.
Saudi crown prince likely to visit India next month
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning to visit India next month in the wake of criticism by the international community over his handling of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the country’s mission in Turkey last year, media reported. Citing sources, Nikkei Asian Review business journal reported from Riyadh that apart from India, Prince is also likely to visit China and South Korea in Feb.“Crown Prince has drawn criticism from international community, especially from US and Europe, over his handling of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi,” report said.“He apparently hopes to counter criticism from US and Europe by deepening energy cooperation with Asia,” it stated. Saudi , world’s largest oil exporter, is a major energy security partner of India.IANS
AgustaWestland deal: After Michel, NRI businessman Saxena flown to Delhi from Dubai
New Delhi:Dubai-based businessman Rajiv Saxena, a key accused in Rs 3,600-crore Agusta-Westland VVIP chopper case, was deported to India from UAE.Saxena’s lawyers in India, Geeta Luthra and Shivani Luthra Lohiya, said he was taken away from his home by UAE authorities and deported to India.Last month, Christian Michel James, the alleged middleman in the helicopter deal, was extradited to New Delhi from Dubai. He is currently in judicial custody.Senior advocate Geeta Luthra said: “Saxena was picked up by UAE authorities from his residence this morning at 9.30 am UAE time and illegally deported to India around 5.30pm UAE time.” She said there were “no extradition proceedings started in UAE and he was not allowed access to his family or lawyers or his heart and cancer medicines”.indianexpress
1st time, ‘Maoist pamphlet’ calls for hospitals, schools, hostels: Indian Express
Raipur:Maoists of Pamed Area Committee in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district have demanded hospitals and schools in “their area”, besides appointment of doctors and teachers.In a pamphlet released Wednesday, but written over a week ago, first of 17 point demand is: “Hostels, schools and hospitals be opened in our area.Govt teachers and doctors be also appointed.” Senior police officers and Govt sources in Bijapur confirmed to Indian Express that such a pamphlet had been released. Police was, however, treating it with scepticism, an official said, adding this may be “a way Maoists try and get local population on their side.”Remaining 17 points in the pamphlet seek jobs for the unemployed, loan waivers, bonus for farmers, as well as pensions, a demand to reopen schools that have been shut, increase in salaries for teachers, and good facilities in all schools and hospitals. Letter, issued by Pamed Area Committee of CPI (Maoist), also wants Govt  to put an end to the practice of police combing, removal of police camps “brought in the name of development”, and creation of tribal-only battalions such as Bastar Battalion of CRPF.
Sabarimala temple row: SC to hear review petitions challenging its verdict: Indian express
New Delhi :The Supreme Court will hear on Feb.6 review petitions challenging its judgment lifting age restrictions on entry of women into Sabarimala temple. The review petitions were originally scheduled to be heard by a 5-judge bench comprising CJI and Justices RF Nariman, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Malhotra a few days back, but could not be taken up as Justice Malhotra was on medical leave till Jan 30.
EU to launch mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Iran
European Union has officially set up a payment mechanism to secure trade with Iran and defy US sanctions after Washington pulled out of the landmark nuclear deal.The proposal of a financial instrument has been a key element in EU's strategy to keep Iran from quitting the 2015 nuclear agreement, which was signed to constrain the country's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.New institution, named INSTEX - Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges - will allow trade between EU and Iran without relying on direct financial transactions. It is a project of the Govt s of France, Germany and Britain and will receive the formal endorsement of all 28 EU members.The administration of Donald Trump has been closely eyeing European efforts to establish the financial mechanism and warned any attempt to evade its "maximum pressure" campaign on Iran would be subject to stiff penalties.aljazeera
‘Afghan forces lose ground as peace efforts continue’
The security forces continue to lose grip over parts of Afghanistan and the Taliban are steadily holding their own, despite an increase in US air attacks against the armed group, a US watchdog agency has said.The latest quarterly report by US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) shows 53.8 % of Afghanistan's 407 districts are with the Govt , covering 63.5 % of the population by Oct.2018, with the rest of the country controlled or contested by the Taliban. The report was released on Thursday, days after the US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, hailed "significant progress" in 6 days of talks with Taliban in the Qatari capital, Doha, aimed at finding a solution to end 17-year-old war in the country. SIGAR said Afghan forces had decreased to 308,693 troops, or 87.7 % of its strength, the lowest since the start of NATO's operation to train, advise and assist Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in Jan 2015.aljazeera
Thousands of Israeli-Ethiopian protesters choke Tel Aviv over police brutality
Tel Aviv:A major highway was blocked for hours on Wednesday as thousands of demonstrators protested police brutality against Israelis of Ethiopian descent after an officer killed a 24-year-old earlier this month.On 18 Jan, Yehuda Biadga was walking around his neighborhood in Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, holding a knife.His parents called the police for help, reportedly warning that he suffered from a mental disorder and had not taken his medication. When police arrived 50 minutes after the initial call, an officer, who said he believed his life was in danger, shot Biadga as he approached. He died within minutes.Family members said he had been dealing with trauma following his service in the Israeli military. The shooting, now under a police investigation, has sparked a major outcry among Israelis of Ethiopian descent who have long held that police discrimination and mistreatment of their community is systemic and institutionalised in the country.On Wednesday, thousands of members of Israel’s Ethiopian community marched through the streets of TelAviv. middleeasteye
Norway: Israel removal of international observers from Hebron may breach Oslo Accords
Israeli PM  Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to dismiss international observers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron may breach Oslo Accords, a Norwegian minister has said.“One-sided Israeli decision can mean that implementation of an important part of the Oslo Accords is discontinued,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said. “Situation in Hebron is unstable and characterised by conflict,” she said, adding that the end of Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), which Norway has led for the past 22 years, was therefore “worrying”. On Monday, Netanyahu said that he would dismiss the foreign force set up to help safeguard Palestinians in Hebron.He accused them of carrying out anti-Israel activity. The force was put in place as a result of the massacre carried out by Israeli Rabbi Baruch Goldstein in Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994 that killed 30 Palestinian worshippers and wounded about 150 others.MEMO
6 Arab FMs meet in Jordan to align policy: aljazeera
Six Arab foreign ministers have held a "consultative meeting" in Jordan on Thursday in a bid to unify their stances on regional crises, Jordanian foreign minister has said.Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi was joined by the five diplomats at King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre on the Dead Sea. Prior to the meeting, Jordanian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Sufian Qudah said the ministers would discuss bilateral relations and regional developments.Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri, Kuwait's Sabah Khaled Al Sabah, UAE's Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain's Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir arrived in Amman on Wednesday.They met King Abdullah, who urged " importance of coordinating Arab positions on regional issues", according to the royal court.
Hundreds of Indian students face jail, deportation in US college scam
Washington:Hundreds of students from India face deportation or criminal charges after the arrest Wednesday of 8 men of Indian origin who had enrolled them at a fake university run by undercover US agents. The arrests were followed by raids to snare racketeers who misuse the student visa to help unqualified foreigners to stay and work in US. Justice department’s Michigan branch announced the arrest of the eight men, whose names indicated they were either Indians or American citizens of Indian descent, from all over the country and charged them with visa fraud and harbouring aliens for profit, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.Alleged recruiters arrested were identified as Barath Kakireddy, of Florida; Suresh Kandala, of Virginia; Phanideep Karnati, of Kentucky; Prem Rampeesa, of North Carolina; Santosh Sama, of California; Avinash Thakkallapally, of Pennsylvania; Aswanth Nune, of Georgia; and Naveen Prathipati.HT
Hindu Temple Desecrated in US, Vandals Blacken Idol, Leave Behind Knife as 'Message'
Washington: In a hate crime, a Hindu temple has been vandalised in the US state of Kentucky by miscreants who sprayed black paint on the deity and left a knife stabbed into a chair in the main hall.The incident happened between Sunday night and Tuesday morning at Swaminarayan Temple in the Louisville city.According to local media report, vandalism resulted in deity image sprayed with black paint, broken windows, walls spray-painted with inappropriate messages and graffiti. A knife was stabbed in the chair, and cabinets were emptied. The incident has sent shock waves through the Indian-American community in Louisville Kentucky.Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime. PTI
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:37 PM)

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