12 January 2019

12 Jan.ND: CVC met Alok Verma to request he withdraw adverse comments on ex-CBI director Alok Verma /No evidence of corruption, decision of PM-led panel on Alok Verma very hasty: SC’s monitor/ Probe report finds 3 Gujarat encounters fake, says prosecute guilty cops

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
12 Jan. 2019: 05 Jamadiul-I 1440: Vol: 11, No:99
CVC met Alok Verma to request he withdraw adverse comments on ex-CBI director Alok Verma
https://thewire.in/Govt /cvc-met-alok-verma-to-request-he-withdraw-adverse-comments-on-asthana
New Delhi: Central Vigilance Commissioner K.V. Chowdary asked ex-CBI director Alok Verma to withdraw the adverse comments he had made on the record in his deputy, Rakesh Asthana’s annual confidential report, or ACR. Sources close to Justice A.K. Patnaik – the retired judge tasked with supervising the CVC’s probe against Verma – told The Wire that Chowdary went to Verma’s residence on Janpath and made this unusual request assuring him that “everything will be ok” for the former director if he does that.Details of this meeting were provided in writing by Verma to Justice Patnaik. Chowdary’s request to Verma came when the fight between the two officers had broken out in the CBI and when Verma had to take a call on making top PMO bureaucrat Bhaskar Khulbe, an accused in the coal scam, something that Asthana had resisted.Significantly, in all his submissions to the Supreme Court – which finally became the basis for the high powered committee to sack Verma as CBI director – Chowdary made no mention of his efforts to intercede on behalf of Asthana. The omission is significant because the CVC’s negative report on Verma was based entirely on inputs from Asthana.The Wire has learned that Verma made a written submission to Justice Patnaik in which he revealed the details of this meeting. Chowdary wanted Verma to change the conclusion he had reached in Asthana’s ACR – that he was an officer of “doubtful integrity”. In general, adverse comments in an officer’s ACR are an impediment for promotion and, in the case of a sensitive post like director of CBI, a virtually insurmountable barrier.Asthana’s complaint to CVC against Verma started after the latter’s refusal to withdraw those adverse comments. His complaint then formed the basis of action against Verma.thewire
No evidence of corruption, decision of PM-led panel on Alok Verma very hasty: SC’s monitor
Justice A K Patnaik, the retired Supreme Court judge who was asked by the apex court to supervise Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) enquiry that eventually led to the ouster of CBI Director Alok Verma, on Friday said there was “no evidence of corruption” against Verma, and “what the CVC says cannot be the final word”.He was critical of “the very, very hasty” decision of the Prime Minister-led selection committee to remove Verma from CBI Director’s post over charges of corruption and dereliction of duty Thursday, two days after he was reinstated by the Supreme Court.Of the 3 members of the selection panel, Prime Minister Modi and Justice A K Sikri were against Verma’s continuance as CBI chief in light of CVC report and “the extremely serious nature of observations made by CVC against Verma”. Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, did not go with the other two members, contested the CVC report and filed a dissent note.Justice Patnaik said: “There was no evidence against Verma regarding corruption. The entire enquiry was held on (CBI Special Director Rakesh) Asthana’s complaint.I have said in my report that none of the findings in the CVC’s report are mine.”Indian Express has also learnt that in a two-page report to the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Patnaik stated that “CVC forwarded to me a statement dated 9.11.2018 purportedly signed by Rakesh Asthana. I may clarify that this statement purportedly signed by Rakesh Asthana was not made in my presence”.Reflecting on how events unfolded this week, Justice Patnaik said: “Even if the Supreme Court said that the high-power committee must decide, the decision was very, very hasty. We are dealing with an institution here. They should have applied their mind thoroughly, especially as a Supreme Court judge was there. What CVC says cannot be the final word.”Underlining that his role was merely supervisory, he confirmed Verma’s claim in his letter Friday to the Department of Personnel and Training that the findings of CVC report were not his.“The SC entrusted me with a responsibility of supervising, so I ensured my presence, the Sana evidence etc, and I ensured that principles of natural justice were applied. Verma had access to all the documents and got a personal hearing. The enquiry was completed in fourteen days, it was all done. Thereafter, it was for the Supreme Court to decide.Report was 50 pages but there were 1,000 pages of annexures,” he said.indianexpress
CBI reverses Verma orders, negates action against IAS officer in a coal scam case
New Delhi:The order issued Friday by officiating CBI Director M Nageswara Rao to reverse all decisions taken after Tuesday has negated the file signed by then Director Alok Verma in a coal scam case, allegedly involving a senior IAS officer. CBI order declared 4 office orders issued on Wednesday and Thursday, after Verma was reinstated by the Supreme Court as CBI Director, as non-est (does not exist). It said, “consequently, all actions in pursuance thereof by all concerned are also declared hereby as null and void”.This nullified one of the files signed by Verma on Wednesday which could have led to the chargesheeting of Bhaskar Khulbe, a West Bengal cadre IAS officer, in a coal scam case. Currently Secretary to the Prime Minister, Khulbe is alleged to have been involved in the allotment of coal blocks to Ramsarup Lohh Udyog Limited in Moira-Madhujore block of West Bengal.Khulbe was then Advisor, Industries to West Bengal Govt . His name had figured in CBI investigations in the coal scam and had parallels with the case of ex Union Coal Secretary H C Gupta.indianexpress
Taking over at CBI, Nageshwar Rao transfers 4 officers, cancels Alok Verma’s orders
Verma opts for retirement,says natural justice scuttled
The ousted CBI Director, Alok Kumar Verma, on Friday refused to take up his new assignment as Director-General of Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards, and told the govnt that he be deemed superannuated. Verma said the panel did not give him an opportunity to explain the details as recorded by CVC. “Natural justice was scuttled and the entire process was turned upside down in ensuring that the undersigned is removed from the post of the Director, CBI.”thehindu
Among 4 cases against CBI ex-chief, omitting officer’s name in FIR, Rs 2-crore bribe
CBI director’s removal hasty, Govt  set wrong precedents: Shiv Sena
https://indianexpress.com/article/india/cbi-directors-removal-hasty-Govt -set-wrong-precedents-shiv-sena-5535384/
Shiv Sena termed the ouster of reinstated CBI Director Alok Verma, who resigned from police service Friday, as a panic reaction of the Modi Govt which is battling allegations over the purchase of Rafale fighter aircraft.In an editorial in the party mouthpiece “Saamana”, the Sena said the Govt  has set “wrong precedents” by denying Verma an opportunity to defend himself, and took aim at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.PTI
BJP leader Swamy calls removal of Verma ‘injustice’
New Delhi :Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy Saturday said the removal of Alok Verma from the post of CBI Director by the Selection Committee chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “injustice” and that Verma should have been invited to respond to the CVC probe against him. Swamy said he completely agreed with Justice (retired) Patnaik that there was “no evidence of corruption” against Verma, and “what the CVC says cannot be the final word”. Justice Patnaik had monitored the CVC enquiry against Verma.indianexpress
Cong:CVC acted as collaborator in violating Constitution
New Delhi:Removing Alok Verma as CBI director has shown Modi Govt ’s desperation and signals the beginning of the end of “one-man era”.The party also slammed CVC, calling it the “Collaborator in Violating the Constitution”.Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the CVC has not acted in the Rafale case but has taken action in the Verma case. Commission also did not act against CBI’s special director Rakesh Asthana, against whom evidence has been provided, Singhvi pointed out. Congress leader accused the CVC of acting as “Collaborator in Violating the Constitution” in collaboration with Govt, forgetting its status as an independent authority. “It is unfortunate that Modi Govt is using the shoulder of such institutions to fire political bullets, and even more unfortunate that such institutions are lending their shoulders for such abuse.”indianexpress
Probe report finds 3 Gujarat encounters fake, says prosecute guilty cops
Ahmedabad:In his report submitted to the state Govt , retired Supreme Court judge Harjit Singh Bedi, looking into fake encounters in the state, has found 3 encounters by Gujarat Police – of Samir Khan Pathan, Haji Ismail, and Kasim Jafer – were fake. The report suggests prosecution of the accused policemen for murder.Among police personnel mentioned in the report are retired officials Tarun Barot and K M Vaghela, both facing trial in the Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. Barot is also a key accused in Ishrat Jahan encounter.The encounter of Samir Pathan, in Oct.2002, was the first after the post-Godhra riots. The police had said that Pathan had plotted to kill then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi to avenge killing of Muslims in the riots.DCB, whose officers were responsible for the encounter, was then headed by now-retired IPS DG Vanzara (accused in Ishrat’s encounter). Vanzara’s senior in DCB was former Gujarat DGP PP Pandey, who was discharged in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case last year.In the “fake encounter” of Haji Ismail, a smuggler who came from Jamsalaya in Jamnagar, Justice Bedi has recommended criminal case against police officers K G Erda, J M Yadav, S K Shah, Parag Vyas, LB Monpara. Erda was accused in the Gulberg Society massacre case of 2002 and was later acquitted.indianexpress
UN Rights Body 'Extremely Concerned' About Fake Encounters in Yogi Adityanath's UP
New Delhi: UN officials have written to the Indian Govt with information about 15 cases of what could be extra-judicial killings by the Uttar Pradesh police. They have also taken note of 59 cases of possible fake encounters. In a press release on Friday, they said they express “alarm” and said they are “extremely concerned”.The officials from the Office of the High Commissioner for United Nations Human Rights (OHCHR) said the Indian Govt has not yet replied to their letter and that they continue to receive more information on these killings. Most of the cases which the OHCHR has raised with the Indian Govt pertain to Muslim victims.“We are extremely concerned about the pattern of events: individuals allegedly being abducted or arrested before their killing, and their bodies bearing injuries indicative of torture,” said the UN experts.thewire
Amid citizenship bill protests, MP Bezbaruah refuses to head panel on Assam Accord
New Delhi :Ex-bureaucrat MP Bezbaruah has refused to head the 9-member panel constituted by the Union Ministry to suggest ways to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.Bezbaruah said the committee is “non-functional and de-facto defunct”.“I have informed about my decision to the home minister after several members of the committee opted out. The committee is non-functional and de facto defunct and my position as chair is untenable,” he said. Union Cabinet, earlier this month, cleared a proposal to set up a high-level committee to look into the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had then said clause 6 “wasn’t fully implemented”. The Govt ’s decision to form a committee for its implementation came at a time when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is being updated and the Centre is trying to introduce a contentious Bill on citizenship.indianexpress
Citizenship bill: Booked for sedition, Hiren Gohain says the fight is for democracy, Constitution
Guwahati:Hiren Gohain, 80, a prominent Assam academic, has been known to speak his mind and not shy away from taking a stand against the popular tide. He is one of the three prominent individuals booked by police for sedition after their comments during a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.Gohain, a strong opponent of the Bill in the recent past, took the stage at a rally on January 7 on Guwahati and critiqued the Centre and the state Govt s for bringing the Bill. In his speech, Gohain said,“If question of independence arises, if no one listens to us, the Govt , the state and political parties, then it’s a different thing, then we will definitely be compelled to raise the demand for independent Assam. But let’s not get carried away by temporary emotions, as citizens of India, we will fight as long as we can. If that fight is not successful, then the demand for independence will come up.”Subsequently Assam Police registered an FIR, charging him and two other speakers at the event with sedition.indianexpress
BJP-led Manipur Rejects Centre's Citizenship Bill, To Seek Exemption
Imphal: Manipur may have a coalition Govt  headed by the BJP, but it wants no truck with PM Narendra Modi's plan to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Northeast. Participants of a meeting chaired by CM N Biren Singh yesterday resolved in favour of urging the centre to exempt the state from the controversial legislation.The proposed bill passed by the Lok Sabha recently aims to hasten the citizenship process of non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries. The opposition has termed the move as "discriminatory", and people across the northeast have hit the streets in protest.According to a press release issued by the chief minister's secretariat, the idea did not resonate with the constituents of the coalition Govt . BJP rules Manipur in alliance with the NPP, NPF and the LJP.ndtv
Hindus, Muslims should recognise their shared history: Malaysia's PM-in-Waiting Anwar Ibrahim
New Delhi: Asserting that extremism cannot be tackled through exclusionary politics, Malaysia’s Prime Minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim urged Hindus and Muslims to recognise “mutual influences of their shared history”, even as he noted that India is even now racked by “vituperative” contestations of the past to “purge it of the presence of minorities”.President of the ruling PKR Party, Ibrahim is scheduled to inherit the seat of prime minister in two years from Mahathir Mohamad as per a coalition agreement.Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Ibrahim at his official residence on Thursday.At the start of his valedictory speech, he said that it was hard for him to imagine addressing such a gathering just a few months ago. In another part of his lecture, he alluded to his imprisonment, noting that “prison allowed him to read a lot of books”.Ibrahim, who noted that he had been visiting India for four decades, used Indian history to illustrate the contradictions and continuations of the past into the present.He said that “some inconvenient truth of atrocities will remind us about acts have been perpetrated in name of religion and that all are culpable”.“Medieval India had many instances of temple destruction committed by rival kingdoms against each other… between followers of different deities as well as between Hindus, Jains, Buddhists. Later on, the Islamic expansion in India saw destruction in various phases of temples, Hindu in particular, again ostensibly, in the name of religion,” he said.“No country more publicly and vituperatively contests its own history, not to reclaim from colonisers, but to purge it of the presence of minorities. The awful history of communal history during Indian independence continues to be incited and tragically enacted due to visions of the past that embraces the thesis of partition.” Ibrahim said that it was due to “Indian sages, historians and scholars” that the “open, tolerant mosaic of the subcontinent’s past” was reclaimed. “Hindus and Muslim need to recognise the mutual influences of their shared history,” he added.This was the “moral lesson” to be learnt “as we contemplate tackling insurgent ideologies”. “No one is won over by exclusionary ethics of self-aggrandising fervour. It is common humanity that draws people together,” stated Ibrahim. He said that nationalism around the world was fuelled by “hydra-headed fear” of the Other. “Let us not dupe ourselves by conflating nativism, nationalism or patriotism.. these are nothing but manifestation of unbridled populism,” he said.the wire
West looks at Arab countries as entirety of Muslim world: Anwar Ibrahim
I am deeply inspired by Pakistan PM Imran Khan, Kejriwal: Ex-IAS officer Shah Faesal
New Delhi: Former Kashmiri IAS officer Shah Faesal, who resigned from his post two days, addressed a press conference in which he spelt out his reasons for quitting the civil services. Faesal reiterated his belief that Muslims and minority communities were being “marginalised” in India and also hit out at NDA Govt  over the alleged “undermining” of institutions like CBI and RBI. Former IAS official, a 2010-batch officer who was also the first person from Jammu and Kashmir to top the civil services exam, said that he found it impossible to express his concern over the marginalisation of minorities and the curbs on freedom of speech while he was in service.“Today as i chose to spoke out, i feel extremely relieved,” he said during the press conference. “The rise of lynch mob and nationalism in the last few years has led to extreme marginalization of minorities- both ideological and religious minorities - that has become the source of extreme dejection for me,” Faesal said. He added, “I also wish to express my disgruntlement  which has led to this decision today - curbs placed on free speech in the country and the culture of hate and intolerance being used to win elections in India.” In a veiled attack at NDA regime, Faesal also said that institutions such as CBI, NIA and RBI had been undermined over the last few years, “which has the potential of hurting the constitutional edifice of the country.”He also told reporters that he was inspired by Pakistan PM Imran Khan and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. He said, "I'm deeply inspired by Imran Khan and Arvind Kejriwal but we are operating in a conflict zone and it's not very easy for us to work in that space. The space that has lost its legitimacy in the last few years."times now
Petitions Moved in Supreme Court for Live Streaming of Ayodhya, Sabarimala Hearing
New Delhi: 2 lawyers have separately urged the Supreme Court to ensure live streaming of its proceedings in the politically sensitive cases of the Ayodhya land dispute and the Sabarimala issue, saying justice should be made “accessible” to the common man.BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay has written to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and four other judges seeking live streaming of Ayodhya title dispute case scheduled for hearing on Jan.29.National Ayyappa Devotees’ Association (NADA), represented by lawyer Mathews J. Nedumpara, has also sought video recording and live streaming of hearing on the petitions seeking review of the apex court’s Sept.22 verdict allowing all women inside Sabarimala temple, on Jan.22.On Thursday, ex RSS ideologue K.N. Govindacharya had written a letter to the Centre seeking live streaming of the top court proceedings in the Ayodhya land dispute case.PTI
Ram Mandir finds place in BJP leaders’ speeches, but not in political resolution
New Delhi: BJP kept the Ram Mandir out of its political resolution – its last and most important document outlining its commitment ahead of the coming Lok Sabha polls – which was released Saturday at the party’s two-day national convention.Even as top party leaders and several ministers, including party chief Amit Shah, evoked the issue, there was no mention of it in the resolution. On Friday, Shah had accused the Congress of stalling court proceedings in the Ram Mandir case.“BJP wants the Ram mandir to be built at the same spot at the soonest. We are committed to it. It is the Congress that is causing hurdles in the process. But we are trying to expedite the case which is currently in the Supreme Court,” he had said.His remarks had evoked a frenzied response from the crowd gathered.theprint
Union Cabinet Approves Re-promulgation of Triple Talaq Ordinance
New Delhi:A day after the conclusion of winter session of Parliament the Union Cabinet on Thursday approved a proposal to re-promulgate the ordinance making instant triple talaq a criminal offence, according to reports.The   Triple Talaq Bill, could not be passed in Parliament as it stuck in Rajya Sabha where BJP govt lacks majority, after it was passed in Lok Sabha.The opposition parties in Rajya Sabha expressed their reservations to some provisions of the Trple Talaq Bill and demanded that the bill be referred to the select committee for further deliberations.The ordinance makes all declarations of instant triple talaq void and illegal and provides for up to three years’ imprisonment for invoking instant divorce by uttering talaq thrice in a single sitting.The Govt  is expected to make another attempt to get Triple Talaq Bill passed during the short budget session of Parliament which is likely to begin on January 31.Caravan News
Akhilesh, Mayawati To Contest 50-50 In UP, No Entry For Congress
Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh rivals turned partners-in-polls Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati today announced their long-anticipated alliance to take on the ruling BJP in the national election due by May, declaring that they would "rob Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah of their sleep". Congress will not be a part of the alliance, they announced, saying there was no "real gain" from any tie up with Rahul Gandhi's party."There is not much benefit to us from allying with the Congress. We have decided that we will not tie up with a party like the Congress across the country where they can't transfer votes to us," said Mayawati, shutting the doors on the Congress weeks after reluctantly supporting it in Madhya Pradesh. Akhilesh's Samajwadi Party and Mayawati's BSP will contest "50:50" or 38 seats each in Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 parliamentary constituencies and is key to power at the centre. Their only concession for the Congress is to spare the two seats -- Amethi, which is Congress president Rahul Gandhi's constituency, and Sonia Gandhi's seat Raebareli. Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav announced they were leaving two seats for "other parties" but didn't elaborate. Sources say talks with Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal are stuck because it wants to contest four seats in western UP.ndtv
Modi govt has not paid salaries of over 21,000 Madrassa teachers in UP since 2016
The central Govt has reportedly not paid the monthly salaries of over 21,000 teachers of Madrassas (Islamic schools) across Uttar Pradesh since 2016, which has forced them to take up alternative sources of work. Madrassa teachers were recruited from 16 states, including UP, under the Scheme to Provide Quality Education in Madrassas (SPQEM) by Union HRD Ministry in 2008-2009.SPQEM aims to provide "modern, quality education" across the Islamic seminaries or Madrassas in India. Under the scheme, people with graduation or a post graduation degree were hired to teach modern subjects in Madrassas. The centre used to pay Rs 6,000 per month to graduates and Rs 12,000 per month to post-graduate teachers whereas the state Govt  paid an additional Rs 2,000 per month to graduate and Rs 3,000 to post-graduate teachers.However, since 2016, the central Govt  has asked the state Govt s to share 40 per cent salaries of Madrassa teachers for the financial years, 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, TOI reported. The state Govt  led by CM Yogi Adityanath is yet to clear the proposal for approving the share in the payment of salaries to Madrassa teachers, which has left these youth to fend for themselves. ibtimes.co.in
MP: Govt officer claims being hounded because he is Muslim
Bhopal:After being rebuked by a senior bureaucrat for reportedly not coming prepared to an official meeting, a deputy secretary level officer has alleged that in his 17-year service he has been made to feel untouchable and that his Khan surname “has hounded me like a ghost”. Posted in the public health engineering department, Niyaz Khan was asked to get out of the official meeting on Wednesday by principal secretary Vivek Agrawal after a heated exchange. Khan left the meeting and complained to the chief secretary about his alleged insult. Seeking a transfer to other dept, deputy secretary said he does not want to work with Agrawal.After the incident was reported in local media, in a series of tweets Khan gave a vent to his frustration. “There was a time when I was on the verge of depression but literature saved me from fall. I have transformed all discrimination against me into creation and now I am an English novelist with five novels,” he said tweeted.“17 years in Govt service, transfer in 10 districts and 19 shiftings. I was always made to feel uncomfortable like a German Jew. Khan surname hounded me like a ghost,” read his another tweet. In another tweet, he said he was writing his sixth novel to show how Muslim officers are regarded as Second Class citizens. In another tweet he said he had exposed biggest ODF scam in Guna and brutalities against Saharia tribe. indianexpress
ISIS case: NIA arrests man from UP’s Meerut
New Delhi : NIA Saturday arrested a 24-year-old man named Muhammad Absar from Meerut in UP, another accused in the case of ISIS-inspired Harkut-ul-Harb-e-Islam module.NIA said Saturday it has made a fresh arrest from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh in connection with its probe against an ISIS-inspired group. They also conducted fresh searches at three locations in Meerut, Hapur and Ghaziabad in connection with the latest arrest. With the latest arrest, the NIA has nabbed 12 people so far in this connection.indianexpress
NIA charges 7 youths with terror links: TOI
KOCHI: NIA Kochi unit registered yet another case regarding the activities of at least seven youths who conducted preparations or joined organizations Jund al-Aqsa and Jabhat al-Nusrah. FIR in this regard was submitted at NIA court in Kochi on Wednesday. As per an official communique of NIA, the case (Jund al-Aqsa Case) was registered at NIA Branch Office, Kochi, under Sections 120B and 125 of IPC besides Sections 16 and 18 of UAPA. NIA said that it received credible information that from 2013, certain youths, originally from Kerala and Karnataka but based in Qatar, had hatched criminal conspiracy to wage war against Syria.
Haryana: Gurmeet Singh, 3 others convicted for journalist’s murder
A court in Haryana’s Panchkula on Friday held Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Singh guilty of ordering his followers to murder a journalist. CBI special court also convicted three others of the murder and will pronounce the quantum of punishment on Jan.17.Sirsa-based journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati was shot dead in October 2002 after his paper Poora Sach published an anonymous letter narrating how Singh sexually harassed women at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. A case was registered in 2003 and it was handed over the Central Bureau of Investigation in 2006.scroll.in     
Kashmir: Sikh Panchayat Leaders in Pulwama Resign After Militants' Threats
New Delhi: After a young Sikh man was killed and militant organisations issues threats of further violence, all Sikhs who had been elected sarpanch and panch in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district resigned en masse on Jan. 10.Simranjeet Singh, 24-year-old brother of the Khasipora village sarpanch, was shot dead on Jan.4.Militant organisations have earlier issued threat letters to those elected in the recently-held panchayat elections, warning them of consequences if they participate in ‘pro-India activities’.PM Narendra Modi, in an interview with a news agency, had said it was a big achievement that panchayat polls had been conducted successfully in the state.A former sarpanch said militants had posted threat letters warning them to resign immediately and desist from participating in elections, otherwise they and their families would be killed.thewire    
Protection of minority community basic responsibility of Kashmiris: J&K Jama’at
Jama’at-i-Islami J&K while expressing total solidarity with the bereaved family of Sikh youth from Tral killed by some unknown gunmen recently, urges the people of the valley to take all care of the minorities living here and make them feel safe and secure. The spokesman said that they have been living over here in the friendly and conducive atmosphere for centuries together without being harassed or intimated by the majority community. Islam teaches human brotherhood and ordains its followers to safeguard the minority communities even at the cost of their lives and never try to cause any damage or loss to their honour, person or property.Jama’at ensures the safety of every human being without any discrimination of caste, colour or creed and treats them as equal human beings.
Jaipur Shahar Quazi demands more share in cabinet for Muslims
Muslim community has called upon the Govt  to be more inclusive towards the Muslim community that has supported the Congress in the assembly elections. Chief Shahar Quazi of Jaipur Khalid Usmani had demanded more share for members of the community in the cabinet and other Govt nominations. Addressing a press conference in Jaipur on Friday, he said, “We had demanded tickets in proportion to our population, but it was not given. We are however grateful to the Congress that 16 candidates were given tickets and 8 have won in the elections. But we are pained that only one of the MLAs of our community has been made a minister that too with a ministry that is not weighty. Talented Muslim MLAs have been neglected. We urge chief minister Ashok Gehlot that they should be given place in the cabinet that is consumerate to their capabilities.”He added, “Govt has appointed aditional advocate generals but there is no Muslim among them. I would urge the CM that there are very talented advocates from the Muslim community and they should also be included at various posts including Govt  advocates.”dnaindia
Egypt acquits Muslim Brotherhood leaders of violence charges for first time
The most senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Mohamed Badie, has been found not guilty on violence charges for the first time since his arrest in 2013, official MENA reported.Giza Criminal Court acquitted Badie and eight others, including Brotherhood leaders Mohamed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian, of “gathering with the intention of murder and sabotage” in the aftermath of the 2013 coup against president Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood.The case, known in Egyptian media as the "Istiqamah Mosque events", dates back to 22 July 2013, when anti-coup protests in front of the mosque led to the death of nine people. On 30 August 2014, the Giza court sentenced eight defendants to life imprisonment and six others to death in absentia.Thursday’s verdict was the first acquittal for Badie since 2013. However, he is still facing a death penalty and 3 life sentences in separate cases, on charges of jailbreak and espionage. Beltagy, a former parliamentarian and Brotherhood activist, was acquitted of murder charges last month in a separate case.International rights groups have estimated that there are at least 60,000 political prisoners in jails since Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became president.middleeasteye
MBS in touch with 'former' Saudi royal adviser al-Qahtani: Report
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) remains in regular contact with his adviser Saud al-Qahtani, who is accused of masterminding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Washington Post reported.The newspaper, citing unnamed US and Saudi sources, said that Prince Mohammed continues to seek advice from al-Qahtani.David Ignatius, the paper's security affairs correspondent, quoted an unnamed US citizen who had recently met MBS as saying that al-Qahtani is in possession of a lot of files and dossiers."The idea that you can have a radical rupture with him is unrealistic," the source said.A Saudi who is close to the royal court concurred."There's stuff [al-Qahtani] was working on that he may have to finish, or hand over," he said according to The Washington Post.aljazeera
Israel opens 'apartheid road' in occupied West Bank
Anata: A newly-opened highway in the occupied West Bank has been hailed by Israelis but condemned by Palestinians, who are calling it "Apartheid Road". It's the first operational section of an eastern ring road around Jerusalem that could deny Palestinians access to parts of the West Bank and threaten a future Palestinian state. Route 4370 has a high wall in the middle, topped with fencing that segregates the road into two separate two-way lanes.The western side is for Palestinians in the West Bank to use to go around Jerusalem, which they cannot enter without an Israeli military-issued permit, while the eastern side serves Israeli settlers going to and from Jerusalem. aljazeera
Israel kills Palestinian protester in Gaza
A Palestinian was killed today while taking part in the popular “Great March of Return” protests in the Gaza Strip.The identity of the Palestinian citizen has not been revealed by the Ministry of Health. Fourteen people, including journalists, were injured during the protest the majority as a result of inhaling tear gas.“Medical staff in hospitals and medical centres, paramedics and the emergency services are steadfast in their work to spread their humanitarian message,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement.According to a report issued by Abdullah Al-Hourani Centre for Studies, by the end of 2018, Israeli occupation forces had killed 253 Palestinian protesters and wounded thousands more during the “Great March of Return” protests in besieged Gaza Strip. Meanwhile, the centre reported that 25,477 protesters were wounded, including 13750 who were admitted to hospital and the others that were treated in the field.MEMO
Israel fires missiles towards Damascus airport: Syria state media
Israeli warplanes have fired a number of missiles towards Damascus, triggering Syrian air defence that shot down most of them, according to state media reports."The results of the aggression so far were limited to a strike on one of the warehouses at Damascus airport," SANA news agency cited a military source as saying. The attack took place at 11:15pm , it said.The state news agency also quoted a transport ministry source as saying that the airport was running normally. State media broadcast footage of what it said were the air defences firing, with bright lights seen shooting across the night sky. Explosions were heard in one of the videos.Israel has mounted attacks in Syria as part of its efforts to counter the influence carved out there by Iran, which is supporting President Bashar al-Assad in the war that erupted in 2011.aljazeera
US says it has only begun withdrawing equipment from Syria
 US-led coalition battling the Islamic State (IS) added to confusion surrounding the US withdrawal from Syria by saying on Friday it had started the pullout process - only for officials to later clarify that only equipment, not troops, were being withdrawn.Donald Trump's announcement last month that he had decided to withdraw the 2,000 US troops there stunned both allies battling IS and senior US officials, among them Defence Secretary Jim Mattis who quit in protest.Earlier, US Colonel Sean Ryan, a coalition spokesman, said that the coalition "has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria"."Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements,"Ryan said.middleeasteye      
Pompeo praises Egypt 'freedoms' during church, mosque visit
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised Egypt's religious freedoms as he visited a vast cathedral and a mosque in the country's new capital east of Cairo. Washington's top diplomat, who describes himself as an evangelical Christian, is on a tour aimed at reassuring regional US allies after Washington's shock decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.On Thursday evening he visited the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque in Egypt's New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres east of the capital.At the mosque, he praised Egypt's "freedoms here in this houses of worship, these big, beautiful, gorgeous buildings where Lord is clearly at work".The 2 buildings were inaugurated by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday, a day after a deadly bomb blast near a church in the country where jihadists have repeatedly targeted Christians.AFP
Video shows Idlib militants rescuing missing British aid worker
Footage has emerged showing the apparent rescue of a British aid worker missing in northern Syria since November. Mohammed Shakiel Shabir, who is originally from Birmingham but has been based in opposition-held Idlib for the past four years, is believed to have been kidnapped and held hostage by an armed gang. Video, which was originally posted by the media arm of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militant group, shows Shakiel being rescued by men in military uniform who break down the door of a cell where he is shackled to the wall by chains around his arms, legs and neck.“Shakiel! Do you recognise me?” one man asks, leaning down to embrace him.“I do my brother,” he replies.middleeasteye
Move to remove Republican county leader for being Muslim fails
Shahid Shafi, an India-born Republican facing removal as Texas county leader for being a Muslim, will remain in office as his party officials have overwhelmingly slapped down a motion to oust him from the post of vice chairman.Tarrant County Republican Party rejected the motion to strip Shafi, a trauma surgeon and member of the Southlake City Council, at a contentious meeting on Thursday.The committee voted 139-49 in favour of Shafi, with 10 abstentions, Washington-based news website The Daily Caller reported."This vote reaffirms the commitment by a majority of Tarrant County Republicans to our core values and moral compass, a demonstration of our allegiance to the Texas Republican Party Platform and the Constitutions of the United States and Texas, which strictly prohibit religious and racial discrimination of any kind," Tarrant County Party Chairman Darl Easton said.PTI
Saudi teen Rahaf due to arrive in Canada for asylum
An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family saying she feared for her life, is due to arrive in Canada on Saturday, after being granted asylum in the North American country.Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Canada had accepted a request from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to take in Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, who grabbed international attention earlier this week after she barricaded herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her family, which denies any abuse.The decision is likely to exacerbate Canada's already poor relations with Saudi Arabia, which last year barred the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh after Ottawa criticised Saudi authorities for detaining female activists.Alqunun has accused her family of abuse and has refused to meet her father and brother who arrived in Bangkok to take her back to Saudi .aljazeera
FBI investigated Trump's Russia ties after Comey firing: NYT
FBI agents were so concerned about Donald Trump's behaviour that they investigated whether the US president was working on behalf of the Kremlin, a report in the New York Times has said, citing former law enforcement officials.The probe followed Trump's decision to fire FBI chief James Comey, but reportedly came amid a backdrop of suspicions dating back to his successful 2016 campaign for the presidency.Comey, who was sacked in May 2017, had opened an FBI investigation into whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election and whether the Kremlin officials colluded with the members of Trump's team. After his dismissal, Trump faced accusations of obstruction of justice, which loudened after he fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe the following year.aljazeera
US federal shutdown becomes longest in history
The partial Govt  shutdown became the longest closure in the history of the United States when the clock ticked past midnight on Friday as President Donald Trump and nervous Republicans scrambled to find a way out of the mess.A solution could not come soon enough for around 800,000 federal workers who got pay statements on Friday but no pay.The House and the Senate voted to give federal workers back pay whenever the federal Govt  reopens and then left town for the weekend, as the shutdown entered its 22nd day. aljazeera
Dozens feared dead in Nigeria after leaking oil tanker explodes
An overturned oil tanker exploded in Nigeria while dozens of people were scooping up the leaking fuel, killing at least 12 people, police and witnesses said, with locals putting the number many times higher.Hundreds of people have died in similar accidents in recent years in Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, as impoverished people risk their lives to collect fuel leaking from pipelines or trucks."We have recovered 12 corpses and taken 22 persons with serious burns to the hospital," police spokeswoman Irene Ugbo told the Associated Press news agency on Saturday.But some residents put the death toll close to 60.aljazeera
Afghan envoy meets Pak Jamaat chief Sirajul Haq
Islamabad: Afghan presidential envoy Umer Daudzai Friday held a meeting with Jamaat Islami Pakistan chief Sirajul Haq to discuss the peace process in Afghanistan. Jamaat Islami chief Sirajul Haq said” a peaceful Afghanistan is essential for the neighboring Pakistan and the regional peace.”Sirajul said the key to peace in Afghanistan is lies in the hands of Afghan people and added Afghan Govt  should take the opposition parties in confidence over the peace process in the country, a private news channel reported.The envoy reached Islamabad, earlier on Tuesday for an important visit.APP
Green Book writer apologises for anti-Muslim tweet
Green Book screenwriter Nick Vallelonga apologised for posting a tweet suggesting that American Muslims could be seen cheering 9/11. "I want to apologise," Vallelonga said in a statement."I spent my life trying to bring this story of overcoming differences and finding common ground to the screen, and I am incredibly sorry to everyone associated with Green Book. I especially deeply apologise to the incredibly brilliant and kind Mahershala Ali and all members of the Muslim faith for the hurt I have caused. I am also sorry to my late father, who changed so much from Dr Shirley's friendship, and I promise this lesson is not lost on me. Green Book is a story about love, acceptance and overcoming barriers, and I will do better," he added.mid-day.
flash: views & NEWS
1993 SC Judgment Capping Quotas at 50%, Disallowing Them for the Poor:The Wire Analysis
Modi govt’s 10% quota for economically weaker sections is by far best policy initiative for the poor, Muslims:  Surjit S Bhalla
Not one Muslim from my village has anything bad to say about me: BJP MLA Vikram Saini
SC verdict itself sealed Verma’s fate:Satya Prakash
Leader is ‘not’ right and the future is ‘not bright’, says Central Statistics Office:Raman Swamy
Ousted CBI chief: Don’t be surprised if Verma gets arrested instead of Asthana:Faraz Ahmad
How and why Ayesha’s gruesome rape and murder remains unsolved even after 11 yrs:Nikhat Fatima

Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:09 PM)


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