21 February 2019

21 Feb.ND: SC agrees to hear plea seeking review of Rafale verdict/ SC orders eviction of over 10 lakh Adivasi, forest-dwelling families/ In Congress's Question Paper For PM, Intel Failure In Pulwama, RDX Source

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
21 Feb. 2019: 15 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:134
SC agrees to hear plea seeking review of Rafale verdict
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a plea seeking review of its verdict in the Rafale case. Ex Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan had earlier moved the SC, seeking review of its Dec.14 judgment on Rafale fighter jet deal. Petitioners alleged that the court relied upon “incorrect claims” made by the Centre.Prashant Bhushan today asked the SC to hear the petition seeking review of its judgement on RafaleDeal. CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, “Will do something for the listing of the case as a bench is to be constituted for it.”The bench of CJI,Justices SK Kaul and K M Joseph had earlier dismissed all four petitions seeking a court-monitored probe, saying it found “no occasion to really doubt the process” of decision making, pricing and selection of offset partners.Ruling out any intervention on this “sensitive” issue and underlining that “our country cannot afford to be unprepared/ underprepared”, bench said “perception of individuals cannot be the basis of a fishing and roving enquiry by this court, especially in such matters”.The judges said “we do not find any substantial material on record to show that this is a case of commercial favouritism to any party by the Indian Govt, as the option to choose IOP (Indian Offset Partner) does not rest with Indian govt”.indianexpress
Rafale: SC assures petitioners it will hear their review pleas
SC orders eviction of over 10 lakh Adivasi, forest-dwelling families
The Supreme Court has ordered the eviction of over 10 lakh families of Adivasis and other forest-dwellers from forestlands across 16 states.The order came after the top court heard petitions challenging the validity of Forest Rights Act on Feb.13. Petitioners had demanded that those whose claims over traditional forestlands are rejected under the new law should be evicted.Centre’s lawyer was missing from the hearing on that day, alleged the Campaign for Survival and Dignity,a group of several adivasi and forest dwellers’ movements. Parliament had passed Forest Rights Act in 2006.The law gave back to traditional forest dwellers their rights to access, manage and govern forest lands and resources within village boundaries, which had been controlled by the forest department since colonial times. The law makes the gram sabha the statutory body for managing forestlands, and protecting them. It provides that no activity should be carried out in these forests until individual and community claims over them have been settled.The court directed state Govts to evict Adivasis whose claims have been rejected. 3-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee gave the states time till July 27, when the matter will be heard next. It also asked the Govt s to submit a report on the matter in the Supreme Court.The top court released the written order in the case on Feb.20.“In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this court,” the order read. The court also asked the states to explain why there were no evictions despite rejection of claims.Nearly 11,27,446 tribal and other forest-dwelling households have been rejected as per the rejection claims from 16 states that were submitted in the court,. Other states that have not provided the details have been asked by the top court to do so. The numbers are likely to surge once the other states submit their
SC orders forced eviction of over 1 million tribals, forest-dwellers
Maharashtra: 50,000 Farmers Begin Long March Despite Govt’s Efforts to Stop Them
New Delhi: Around 50,000 farmers began their 180-km protest march from Nashik to Mumbai. CPI(Marxist)-affiliated All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the organisers of the march, had planned to begin walking on Feb.20. However, the plan had to be delayed as protesting farmers, landless labourers and tribals who were supposed to join from Thane and Palghar were held up by the police.“Around 15,000 people from Thane and Palghar were detained by the police. They did not allow them to move. It was only when the media highlighted the issue, that Govt was forced to relent,” said Ashok Dhawale, AIKS president.According to AIKS, protestors from Thane and Palghar reached Nasik at around 10 pm.“It was too late to move when they came at night. So, we decided that we will begin the march in the morning. At around 10 am, 50,000 people began their march to Mumbai,” Dhawale said.The delay was used by the Maharashtra Govt to attempt to broker peace. Water resources minister and guardian minister of Nasik, Girish Mahajan,met with AIKS representatives. However, talks remained inconclusive. “He has given some assurances that the Govt  might consider some of our demands. Not all. We have asked him to put it in writing. We will take a call if and when a written assurance is given by Govt,” said Dhawale.The protestors have now begun marching from Nasik with provisions such as rice, flour, oil and salt packed in the vehicles that are moving with them. They expect to reach Mumbai on Feb.27 and stage a protest at the state legislative assembly.The protestors are demanding urgent measures for immediate drought relief, provision of land titles under Forest Rights Act, and the minimum support price at cost plus 50%. AIKS has also condemned the decision of the Supreme Court to evict tribals and forest dwellers whose claims have been rejected by states under the Forest Rights Act.
Maharashtra farmers protest: 7,500 farmers reach Nashik, march to Mumbai from today
Biometric device, database: Assam border police plans new way to detect ‘foreigners’
Guwahati:Border wing of Assam Police, tasked with detecting suspected illegal foreigners and referring their cases to 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals in the state, is set to boost accountability by introducing an electronic device to be used by its personnel while registering details of a suspected individual.The rectangular device is fitted with a camera for photos, a biometric device to store fingerprints, and registers latitude and longitude coordinates of the location from where the data about a suspected foreigner is entered into the device.The scope to record geographical coordinates of the place of registering data comes at a time when the border police face allegations that they are not visiting the residence or workplace of a suspected foreigner to probe but whimsically making a reference against him or her.“Such a machine will leave no room for subjectivity,” said Additional DGP.The entering of data regarding all 900-odd inmates in Assam’s 6 detention camps for declared foreigners has been done with machines and soon, border police personnel will use them to register data regarding suspected foreigners, officials said. Data entered in the device will automatically reflect in central server at Border police HQ in Guwahati.indianexpress
Vajpayee Govt wanted ‘secret killings’ to continue: Ex Assam CM Gogoi
Guwahati:Ex-Assam CM  Tarun Gogoi claimed on Wednesday that the previous NDA Govt  headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had pressured him to continue with “secret killings”. He accused his predecessor Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of having pursued the practice during 1996-2001 to break the backbone of the outlawed ULFA. Ruling BJP said Gogoi's allegation was “baseless” while Mahanta retaliated by saying “extrajudicial killings” had started in Assam under Congress rule. Gogoi, whose 15-year rule ended in 2016,claimed that Lal Krishna Advani, the then Union Home Minister,wanted to send ex Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill to Assam as Governor to quell insurgency with the formula that helped tackle the militancy in Punjab.“We were pressured to continue with guptahoitya (extrajudicial or secret killlings), but we did not do it. When I took over (in 2001), BJP wanted the secret killings to continue through Gill,” Gogoi said.He said stiff resistance put by his Govt prevented Advani from sending Gill, an IPS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, to Assam.“Guptahoitya” refers to a phase in the late 1990s when masked men, allegedly sponsored by Govt, killed suspected ULFA militants and their kin.“The secret killings happened when Mahanta was in power. BJP was in power at the Centre then.Now,Mahanta says that he did it on instructions of Centre,”he said.thehindu
In Congress's Question Paper For PM, Intel Failure In Pulwama, RDX Source
Congress today presented a list of 5 questions on last week's attack in Pulwama and demanded a response from PM Narendra Modi. Congress questioned why PM and NSA AjitDoval have not accepted their responsibility for this massive intelligence failure. It also asked why the govt ignored the threatening video released by Jaish-e Mohammed.It questioned where Adil Ahmed Dar and his accomplices managed to get hold of the enormous quantity of RDX used to cause the blast, and how the vehicle reached the convoy despite tight security.RDX - an explosive that terrorists so far sourced from Pakistan -- has not been used in terror strikes in the country for nearly a decade. Investigators said the car that caused the explosion was carrying at least 20 kg of RDX. There have been no answers on how RDX-filled car managed to reach the convoy despite the sanitised route and the presence of CRPF patrols.Congress also questioned why the home ministry rejected the request of CRPF and BSF's request for moving paramilitary convoys by air. Congress also questioned why 488 soldiers lost their lives under Modi govt and why demonetisation has not managed to curb terror.Congress also said PM was shooting a film with National Geographic channel at the Corbett Park when the attack took place. But instead of returning immediately, he continued with the shoot and even went for a boat ride, the party alleged.NDTV
Pulwama: SC to hear plea on Friday against alleged attacks on Kashmiri students
The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a petition filed by a lawyer against the alleged harassment of Kashmiris in parts of the country in the wake of the Pulwama attack. Several Kashmiri students were reportedly harassed and beaten up in the Dehradun over the weekend. Since then, many Kashmiri students in Uttarakhand have temporarily left the state. Nearly 300 Kashmiri students have fled to Jammu and Delhi from colleges in Uttarakhand after large-scale eviction from their campuses. Advocate Tariq Adeeb filed the plea in the SC, Bar and Bench reported. The petition has arraigned 8 states and Centre as respondents.Respondent states are J&K, Uttarakhand, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. Petition provided details of the alleged attacks on Kashmiris living in different parts of the country. Adeeb has asked the SC to issue directions to heads of educational institutions,to take steps to protect the lives of Kashmiris.Lawyer also wants people indulging in hate speech to be prosecuted. Advocate Colin Gonsalves told the court today that the plea needs to be heard urgently because it relates to safety of students.A CJI bench took note of Gonsalves’ submission, but refused to list the plea for hearing today. However, the bench agreed to hear it on
Pulwama attack: Govt withdraws security of 18 Hurriyat leaders, 155 politicians in J-K
Jammu:In a major step today, J&K  Govt  downgraded and withdrew security of 18 Hurriyat leaders in the state. According to a spokesperson of Home Department, it was felt that providing security to these separatist leaders is a wastage of scarce state resources which could be better utilised elsewhere. Among the leaders whose security has been downgraded and withdrawn are SAS Geelani, Aga Syed Mosvi, Maulvi Abbas Ansari,  Yaseen Malik, Saleem Geelani, Shahid ul Islam, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, Masroor Abbas Ansari, Aga Syed Abul Hussain, Abdul Gani Shah and Mohd Musadiq Bhat. This is apart from 4 people including Hurriyat leaders whose security was withdrawn.In addition, security of 155 political persons and activists, who did not require the security provided to them based on their threat assessment and their activities,was also withdrawn.This includes Shah Faesal, who resigned from IAS and Wahid Parray. Through this, over 1000 police personnel and over 100 vehicles are freed to do regular police work, spokesperson added.indian express
Free Air travel announced for paramilitary amid criticism over Pulwama
New Delhi: Home Ministry announced free air travel for personnel of the central police forces who are deployed in J&K - a facility they can use for going home or reporting back to duty. This facility adds to the existing "air courier services" for CAPFs or Central Armed Police Forces in which an entire aircraft is booked for the personnel on some routes, Home Ministry said.The announcement also achieves the twin goals of saving money and time for the personnel of the central police forces, as they now have a choice of not going by road, which can be time-consuming and even dangerous."The decision will immediately benefit approximately 780,000 personnel of the CAPFs in the ranks of Constable, Head Constable & ASI who were otherwise not eligible earlier. This includes journey on duty and journey on leave, i.e; while going on leave from J&K to home and return," the Home Ministry tweeted.ndtv
CRPF, Army, BSF convoys in J-K to move together after Pulwama attack
Pak warns that Afghan talks will be affected if India retaliates over Kashmir: Reuters
Kabul:Pakistan's ambassador to Afghanistan said that peace talks between US and Afghan Taliban militants would be affected if India resorted to violence against Pakistan in response to bombing in Kashmir.The remarks by Zahid Nasrullah come as tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours has risen sharply over the killing in Kashmir.US envoys say Pakistan has an important role to play in Afghan peace effort, given its links to Taliban. Taliban representatives are due to meet US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalizad in Qatar on Feb. 25 in the next round of talks to end US longest war.
Rahul links Pulwama attack to Rafale deal to slam Modi for his ‘NEW INDIA’: Janta Ka Reporter
Congress President Rahul Gandhi launched a fresh attack on PM Narendra Modi for insulting ‘martyrdom’ of the fallen CRPF soldiers. Gandhi, who had decided not to politicize Pulwama attack, was reacting to Wednesday’s Supreme Court verdict, holding billionaire businessman Anil Ambani guilty of contempt. Gandhi said, “The brave are martyred. Their families struggle. 40 Jawans give their lives but are denied the status of “Shaheed”. While this man has never given & only taken. He’s gifted 30,000Cr of their money & will live happily ever after. Welcome to Modi’s NEW INDIA.” Gandhi has been giving grief to Modi for allegedly favouring his businessman friend Ambani by helping him become the Indian offset partner in the Rafale deal. According to fresh documents that surfaced recently, Modi was warned by his own bureaucrats in the ministry of defence to not carry out a parallel negotiation in the Rafale deal since his action had weakened the talks held by Indian negotiating team and Dassault Aviation.
Congress: Saudi Crown Prince visit a glaring diplomatic failure
With Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman making no mention of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan or Pulwama attack during his India visit, Congress hit out at the Govt, saying it was a “glaring diplomatic failure” on its part and alleged that PM Narendra Modi has reduced foreign policy to “photo opportunities without any tangible results”. Congress also hit out at PM for breaking protocol and receiving Crown Prince at the airport. “PM should not be seen as competing or equating himself in his conduct with the Pakistan PM. But he seems to be eager to compete with and emulate Imran Khan in breaking protocol and receiving the Crown Prince at the airport without any need or justification,” Anand Sharma said. indianexpress
India, Saudi to hold security talks at NSA level
New Delhi :India and Saudi Arabia have decided to hold “joint naval exercises” and agreed to constitute a ‘Comprehensive Security Dialogue’ at the level of NSAs, and set up a joint working group on counterterrorism.A joint statement issued late Wednesday night, after talks between PM  Narendra Modi and visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stated that Modi welcomed the recent changes initiated by the Crown Prince to bring in moderation and openness in Saudi, while the latter conveyed his appreciation for the Indian ethos of inclusiveness, pluralism and tolerance.To enhance further cooperation in counterterrorism efforts and benefit mutually from “real-time intelligence sharing”, the countries agreed to constitute a ‘Comprehensive Security Dialogue’ at the level of NSAs and set up a joint working group on counterterrorism. Indian side also thanked the Saudi authorities for ordering the release of 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails.They also decided to increase the quota for Hajj pilgrims from India to 2 lakh to reflect the latest census. indianexpress
Himachal Bar outfit’s resolution against representing J&K student
Chandigarh:Bar Association of Solan district court in Himachal Pradesh has passed a resolution against representing a 21-year-old Kashmiri student in a case registered against him for allegedly making comments against national integration. The bar outfit has said that people “who use our resources but work against us” cannot be provided legal aid under the Indian judicial system. On Wednesday, a woman lawyer who had taken up the case of the accused, took a U-turn, forcing his family to bring a lawyer from outside the state to represent him.According to Bar head advocate Manoj Verma, the resolution was passed during a condolence meeting on Feb.18.Youth’s uncle said a lawyer on Tuesday filed a bail application in court but later returned the file. “Woman lawyer filed the case on Tuesday but decided to withdraw on Wednesday after she was warned by her colleagues at the Bar. I have now approached a lawyer from Chandigarh and he has agreed to defend my nephew.”Youth, a student of Chitkara University, has been remanded in judicial custody till Feb. 28.indian express

‘Afraid, anything can happen’: Kashmiri mill workers begin to leave Muzaffarnagar
Muzaffarnagar :2 days after a protest outside Triveni Sugar Mills in Khatauli, in western UP’s Muzaffarnagar district, demanding dismissal of Kashmiri people employed there, youths from the Valley have begun to flee the city out of fear.On Wednesday, mill officials said 34 out of more than 70 Kashmiri men employed in the unit have already left and more are planning to leave in the next few days. Members of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Tomar) had protested outside the mill and demanded that Kashmiri workers should be sent back, as “people abuse and throw stones at soldiers in the Valley and come here to take shelter”.On Wednesday morning, Bilal Syed said, “I have no qualms admitting that I am afraid — anything can happen to us (here). There is fear among all of us. We have never been made to feel this way before, but we need to go back,”Bilal, surrounded by his colleagues, said.Besides Bilal, who comes from Baniwal in Kashmir, more than 20 people from the Valley plan to take the train back towards home.indian express
Students from J&K:Sent home, booked or expelled
Rights activists rally attacked in Kolkata
Kolkata:Members of a Kolkata-based civil rights body were allegedly attacked and manhandled by some people while they were holding an "anti-war rally" here on Wednesday, the body said. Police said they have detained two persons for trying to instigate violence. Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) members were taking out a rally against communal polarisation and provocation to wage war in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, from central Kolkata's Moulali to Esplanade on Wednesday afternoon, when they were confronted by a group of youths carrying the tricolour, who tried to stop them.The youths raised slogans like "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" and "Pakistan Murdabad", and allegedly heckled a few people in the rally before police intervened. APDR said it suspected RSS hand in the attack and blamed the police of inaction.IANS
Scared, not sure if I will come back: Kashmiri trader attacked in Kolkata :Indian Express
Kolkata :A series of attacks has been reported against Kashmiris living in various parts of the state by mobs who are enraged over the attack in Pulwama. In the latest incident, a group of shawl traders from Kashmir were targeted in Kolkata on Sunday.“I don’t know what happened in Kashmir but some hundred people came to our house on Sunday and asked us to leave the area as we are Kashmiris. They accused us of being terrorists and beat us up. They also threatened our landlord and asked him to throw us out. I have been coming here for the past 6-7 years but have never faced any problem.Now I am scared for my safety,” said Raees Ahmed, who was beaten up along with other Kashmiri shawl traders by some unidentified youth in Muchipara area in South Kolkata on Sunday. His friends from Kashmir living in the same house were also beaten up when they came to his rescue.Later some local residents intervened and took Raees to Behala police station. About 15 Kashmiri shawl traders from Budgam district in J&K have been living in Behala area for 6 years. However,after Facebook incident 4 months ago,9 of them shifted to 2 rented palces in Muchipara area.
Omar questions Modi’s silence on alleged attacks against Kashmiris
Ex-J&K CM Omar Abdullah has criticised PM  Narendra Modi for not condemning the alleged attacks on Kashmiri students. Several people have also called for the boycott of Kashmiris and Kashmiri goods.Abdullah tweeted requesting that the PM issue a statement on the matter. “Dear PM, can we please have a few words of condemnation for the systematic attacks directed against Kashmiri students and others or does your concern not extend as far north as Kashmir?” he
We want Kashmir, but not Kashmiris: Chidambaram points out the ‘depressing irony’
New Delhi: Some people want Kashmir to be part of India but don't want Kashmiris to be part of Indians, senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said and asserted that the "irony of the situation is depressing".He also took a dig at Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy's statement that he favoured a call for the boycott of Kashmiri products and visiting the state as tourists."The irony of the situation is depressing. We want Kashmir to be part of India, but we do not want Kashmiris to be part of Indians," he said in a tweet.PTI
BJP targeting minority institutes, forcing them to cancel fests: JMM
Ranchi: A day after BJP-led students’ groups prevented annual fests at two premier educational institutes — St Xavier’s College and Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS) — JMM on Wednesday launched an attack on the ruling party, accusing it of being selective in banning cultural shows and college fests on the pretext of jawans who were martyred in the recent attacks in Pulwama.  JMM also questioned the role of Ranchi University V-C Ramesh Kumar Pandey in interfering in the affairs of an autonomous college. Alleging that Pandey buckled under the pressure of right wing groups, JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharjee demanded governor Droupadi Murmu to issue a show cause notice to the vice-chancellor.“Where was BJP’s nationalist sentiments when the organisers went ahead to hold Itkhori Mahotsav, a 3-day annual cultural and religious fest in Chatra since Monday?” Bhattacharjee asked.“Why was BJP silent when another reputed institute, BIT Mesra, held its annual festival from Feb.14-17? What happened to BJP’s desh bhakti when RMC mayor and other officials took part in a gala cultural show in Morhabadi on Feb.17? Why did PM Narendra Modi not stop his Hazaribag rally where he announced sops like giving Rs 2,000 for a mobile phone scheme to farmers? Or why did the administration or BJP leaders didn’t stop Bharat Rang Mahotsav at Mohrabadi?” Bhattacharjee asked at a gathering of mediapersons here on Wednesday.TOI
Lok Sabha elections 2019: SP to contest 37 seats in UP, BSP gets 38
Lucknow:Samajwadi Party will contest 37 seats and the BSP 38 in UP  in Lok Sabha polls, the two parties said today while releasing a list of seats.While announcing the alliance earlier, the two parties had said they will contest from 38 constituencies each out of the 80 in the state. The 2 parties named the seats distributed among them in a statement signed by SP president Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati.PTI
AAP tired of convincing Congress for alliance for Lok Sabha polls but it doesn't understand: Kejriwal
Delhi CM  Arvind Kejriwal has claimed AAP leaders were tired of trying to convince the Congress to form an alliance with the party, asserting the arrangement would result in BJP losing all Lok Sabha seats it currently holds in the national capital.In his speech at a public rally near Jama Masjid here, he also lashed out at PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, accusing them of dividing people."We are tired of convincing the Congress to form an alliance, but they do not understand. If there is an alliance, the BJP will lose all the seven Lok Sabha seats it currently has in Delhi," the AAP national convener said. The rally was organised in the minority dominated pocket of Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat, currently held by Union minister Harsh Vardhan." I dont know what they have in their minds," he said about an alliance with the Congress and alleged that it was "weakening" the AAP in Delhi, drawing comparison with the SP-BSP combine in UP.Earlier this month, Kejriwal had told reporters that the Congress has "more or less" ruled out an alliance with AAP for the Lok Sabha polls.In his attack on Modi and Shah, AAP leader alleged that if BJP returned to power,the country would lose its Constitution and democracy."Beware of the division of votes. Vote for the AAP because it can defeat BJP and Modi in Delhi," he told the crowd.PTI
Triple talaq ordinance repromulgated
New Delhi: The ordinance making the practice of instant triple talaq a penal offence for Muslim men was issued for the third time today.Law ministry said President Ram Nath Kovind has signed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Second Ordinance, 2019.TOI
AMU student’s bail plea rejected
A large number of AMU students gathered at Bab-E-Syed gate after a local court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of an undergraduate student, Mohd Talib, who was arrested on charges of vandalism and promoting enmity following Feb.12 campus violence. Prosecution officer Indrajeet Pal said that the bail plea was rejected by Additional CJM Kuldeep Singh. He said, “I opposed his bail plea, as the crime was serious in nature”. Vice chairman of the students’ union Hamza Sufyan said that they are going to meet district administration officials, who had assured them of Talib’s early release. He said that further decision on the course of action will be taken by union after their meeting with district authorities.TOI
AMU passing through ‘challenging times’, resilience is ‘our strength’:VC
AMU V-C professor Tariq Mansoor has appealed to the students to maintain calm in the campus and assured them that no unjust action will be taken by administration against the students involved in Feb 12 violence. “Authorities have promised us that no one will be framed unfairly,” said VC Mansoor, adding that he will continue to see that innocent students are exonerated and no injustice is done to any student because of false accusations.“AMU has been passing through challenging times. Our resilience and spirit has been and remains our biggest strength,” said the vice chancellor.He added, “During the last few days, I and my team has been making best possible efforts to resolve the situation, which we have successfully overcome.”He also pointed out, “At the same time, I say with full authority that anyone found guilty of vitiating peaceful atmosphere and harmony will be dealt sternly in accordance with law.”He said that AMU experienced tumultuous times on several occasions marked by violence, loss of life, property and sine die closure.TOI
Agency that surveyed Marathas linked to CM:Petitioner to HC
Mumbai: Arguing against reservation for members of the Maratha community in Govt jobs and educational institutions, counsel Pradeep Sancheti told Bombay High Court said that one of the five agencies that surveyed 43,000 families, based on which Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC) concluded that Marathas are socially backward, is associated with CM  Devendra Fadnavis.A Division Bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati H Dangre was hearing final arguments in three petitions filed by advocates Jaishri Patil, Sanjeet Shukla and Dr Uday Dhople along with others, challenging the notification published by the state Govt  on Nov.30, 2018, providing 16 per cent reservation to the Marathas.Sancheti argued that as per MSBCC report, Rambhau Mahalagi Sanstha, a body that had surveyed 5,499 families in Konkan region, is associated with BJP, Maharashtra CM and RSS. indianexpress
High Unemployment Rates, Low Minimum Wage, Growing Dislike for Modi Govt: Survey
New Delhi;Some important markers on unemployment, income, minimum wage among others emerged in survey conducted by Disha Students Organisation, Naujawan Bharat Sabha and Bigul Mazdoor Dasta under the Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Act (BSNEGA) Campaign.  A sample of 1465 individuals across Maharashtra,Bihar, Haryana, and Delhi answered questionnaires in the survey which was prepared by students of colleges and universities. Survey focused their attention on the working class, semi-working class, lower middle class and the intermediary strata of the middle class to examine the unemployment amongst the working class population, especially after demonetization. In the survey, an unemployment rate of 36.99 % was observed among the youth. Out of the individuals surveyed, 31.6 % were found to be educated, while 21.3% of them were uneducated and 42.7% were studying to get a job. The findings on unemployment on the basis of education were also startling. 16.2 % of the individuals taking part in the survey were skilled while 41.1 % of them were unskilled.indiatomorrow
Gujarat: Over 1,000 children died since 2014 at hospital run by Adani Foundation, says Govt
Gujarat Govt has told the Assembly that over 1,000 children died at the Adani Foundation-run GK General Hospital in Bhuj in the last 5 years. The deaths were due to various illnesses. According to the hospital’s website, it is an initiative of Gujarat Adani Institute of Medical Sciences, a public-private partnership between Adani Education and Research Foundation and the state Govt .The number of children who died at the hospital was 188 in 2014-’15 and 187 the next year. It grew to 208 in 2016-’17, and further to 276 in the year after that. In 2018-’19 so far, 159 children have died, Deputy CM Nitin Patel said in response to a
Malegaon blast case: HC stays NIA court order
Bombay High Court has stayed the special NIA court order to use photocopies of missing witnesses’ statements related to 2008 Malegaon blast case as secondary evidence in place of the original statements that had gone missing in 2016.A Division Bench was hearing a bunch of appeals filed by an accused in the case, Sameer Kulkarni. He has challenged the decision of the special NIA court, permitting agency to produce photocopies of missing witnesses’ statements on record and lead evidence in support of the same.indianexpress
UNESCO may send delegation to see Israel violations of Jerusalem
UNESCO said it might send a mission to document Israeli violations in occupied Jerusalem, Al-Wattan Voice reported.Speaking to Palestine Voice, representative of Palestinian Authority to UNESCO, Mounir Anastas, said: “Israel continues to prevent international UNESCO experts from documenting Israeli violations against holy and archaeological sites in Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque.”He added: “Israel has failed to annex East Jerusalem using legal approaches; therefore, it is trying to Judaise the city by changing its historical and archeological identity.”Anastas expects UNESCO mission to be dispatched to the occupied city within two weeks. middleeastmonitor
Haniyeh calls for Palestinians to use all means to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque
Chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh yesterday called for Palestinians to use all means to defend Al-Aqsa Mosque against the continuous Israeli aggression. He criticised Israeli violations against the Muslim holy site, including the closure of its gates, stressing “this is extraordinarily alarming”.These violations, he said, “highlight Israeli intentions to impose new restrictions in order to partition Al-Aqsa Mosque ahead of a full takeover of the holy site.”He “hailed the Palestinian people in Jerusalem, especially the Palestinians defending Al-Aqsa Mosque and foiling all Israeli conspiracies which aim to impose a new reality on the ground.”middleeastmonitor
Qatar condemns Israeli closure of Al-Aqsa gate
Qatar condemned Israel’s continued closure of a gate of the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.Earlier in the day, Israeli forces were deployed near Al-Rahma Gate on the east side of the mosque compound amid mounting tensions with Palestinian worshippers. Qatari Foreign Ministry called on the international community to voice opposition against Israel’s policy as well as for Palestinians to act in unity.Anadolu Agency
‘Hamas chief refused to meet Norway peace envoy’
Yahya Sinwar, leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has refused to meet with Tor Wennesland, Norway’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, a well-informed political source told Anadolu.Wennesland had asked to meet Sinwar during his recent trip to the Palestinian territories, the source, who spoke anonymously due to restrictions on talking to media, said. On Tuesday, Wennesland met with Palestinian PM  Rami al-Hamdallah at the latter’s office in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian Govt’s capital.Sinwar’s office, meanwhile, has so far refrained from commenting on source’s assertions. Sinwar met several times in the past with Wennesland.Anadolu
Netanyahu rivals form alliance for Israeli election
Israel's primary centrist challengers to PM  Benjamin Netanyahu have announced they are joining forces, a dramatic move that has created the first credible alternative to Netanyahu's decade-long rule.Retired military chief Benny Gantz of Resilience party and ex-finance minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, said they would present a joint list for the upcoming Israeli elections that "will constitute the new Israeli ruling party".In a joint statement, 2 said they were "motivated by national responsibility"."The new ruling party will bring forth a cadre of security and social leaders to ensure Israel's security and to reconnect its people and heal the divide within Israeli society," a statement from Yesh Atid said.Recent polls suggest that together, 2 could surpass Netanyahu's ruling Likud to become Israel's largest faction after April 9 vote.aljazeera
Israel hiding 300,000 documents about massacres carried out against Palestinians
Israeli Jewish journalist Asaf Shalev, who lives in California, has said that Israel had been hiding 300,000 documents about crimes carried out against the Palestinians, thousands of them date back to 1800s, +972 Magazine reported.Shalev was reported saying to the magazine that Israel’s State Archives declassified secret documents last summer including documents which are more than a century old; however, he said, 300,000 documents which predate the creation of Israel remained classified.The very existence of the 300,000 classified files—their names, dates, and origin within the state bureaucracy—had been kept a secret, until now, he was reported saying by +972 Magazine, noting that one-fifth of the files, deemed too sensitive still by the Govt , were excluded from the disclosure.MEMO
Pak rejects Iran's claim it is harbouring Jaish al-Adl
Pakistan has rejected allegations by senior Iranian officials that it is harbouring the armed group, Jaish al-Adl, which claimed responsibility for last week's attack that killed 27 members of elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Sistan-Baluchestan.Javid Hussain, Pakistan's ex envoy to Tehran, said suggestions that Islamabad is allowing Jaish al-Adl fighters to operate freely within its border region with Iran are "baseless and completely false"."We do not allow our territory to be used by terrorist outfits to target our neighbours," he said as fresh strains between the neighbouring countries begin to surface."I can assure you that this is a great concern for us, too, and we are cooperating with the Iranian Govt to make sure those elements are apprehended and brought to justice." aljazeera
Hundreds evacuated from ISIL's last Syria holdout
Hundreds of people, including women and children, have been evacuated from ISIL last holdout in Syria, bringing US-backed forces closer to retaking the last sliver of the "caliphate".An official from the SDF said today that the civilian evacuation is expected to be completed on the same day. AFP correspondents reported on Wednesday seeing at least 17 trucks carrying men, women and children out of the last patch of ISIL territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz. SDF spokesman Adnan Afrin said most of the hundreds who have left were civilians, but also included ISIL fighters. "Civilians and fighters from many nationalities have surrendered," he said, adding that "there was a group of ISIL fighters hidden among the civilians... but as far as we know, our colleagues have arrested them". aljazeera
China walks Saudi-Iran tightrope as MBS visits
Shenzhen:Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has arrived in China where he will meet President Xi Jinping in hopes of bolstering an image tarnished internationally over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last year. 2-day visit in Beijing is expected to focus on energy deals for resource-hungry China and regional economic agreements that align with Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative[BRI], Xi's signature infrastructure initiative spanning across Southeast, South and Central Asia to the Horn of Africa."The leadership in Riyadh and Beijing probably realise the strategic importance of their relationship on the energy front and most recent attempts have been driving it towards cooperation in other areas," Ayham Kamel, Middle East and North Africa expert with Eurasia Group said.aljazeera
Ex-Saudi intl. official attacks Qatar,threatens coup
Former Director General of Saudi Intelligence Agency, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, launched a fierce attack on Qatar, ruling out that things would return to normal with Doha unless it complies with Saudi demands.Ex-Saudi ambassador to Washington warned Doha not to be deceived by the US presence on its territories.Bin Sultan added in an interview with Independent Arabia that “the largest military base in the Middle East was Wheelus Air Base in Libya. When the revolution and coup broke out in Libya, one of the officers who carried out the revolution went to US military base.Americans then warned him of getting close to the base, so he told them that he came to inform them that that they carried out a coup against the Libyan king. The Americans responded saying that ‘this is a Libyan internal affair. Most essential thing is that no one gets close to the military base’.”MEMO
Germany: Muslim Brotherhood ‘peaceful movement’                                 
German Govt said Muslim Brotherhood is a “peaceful movement” and the oldest political and social organisation which seeks to meet the people’s needs in the countries where they exist. This came in an explanation to an inquiry posted by members of the foreign and internal policy committees of the far-right Alternative for Germany party in parliament. German interior ministry explained that the Muslim Brotherhood’s goal is to establish an ideal society based on the Quran and the Sunnah and the reason they are prosecuted and even liquidated by some Arab regimes is due to the lack of public freedoms and opposition parties there.The ministry added that some Arab regimes view the Muslim Brotherhood as competitors. German Govt said German Islamic Group is closest Muslim body to the Muslim Brotherhood which seeks through politics and dialogue to be a strategic partner of German Govt.MEMO
BNP wants Bangla Jamaat to apologise for 1971 role
BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan on Wednesday said Jamaat-e-Islami should apologise to the nation for its anti-liberation war role in 1971.He also said their party wants the trial and punishment of all the anti-liberation war elements, reports UNB.“Offering apology by Jamaat is now a demand of all. Jamaat should be ashamed of its anti-liberation war role or should apologise for it. It’s a logical demand,”BNP leader said.Nazrul, also the coordinator of BNP-led 20-party alliance, further said, “We surely want the punishment and trial of those involved in anti-liberation acts.”“We think those who committed offences should offer apology. We also should apologise to people if we’ve involvement in any wrongdoing. Unfortunately, such culture is absent in our country,” BNP leader observed. Sought his comment over the media report that Jamaat formed a committee to launch a new party, Nazrul said it is an internal matter of Jamaat.Replying to a question, he said Jamaat is still with 20-party alliance.prothomalo
81 killed as major fire rips through Bangla capital
At least 81 people were killed and over 50 critically injured after a major fire raced through densely packed buildings in a centuries-old neighbourhood of Dhaka in Bangladesh today. The toll could climb as efforts to scour the rubble are underway.In what is seen as the city’s worst fire incident since 2012, the fire broke out on Wednesday night at a chemical warehouse on the ground floor of a four-storey building named Hazi Wahed Mansion behind a mosque in Old Dhaka’s Chawkbazar area and gradually spread to other areas.indianexpress
Egypt: Executed prisoners had said they were forced to confess to prosecutor’s killing
3 men who were executed in Cairo on Wednesday had previously testified in court that they were tortured and forced to confess to the killing of Egypt's ex prosecutor general, Hisham Barakat. In a video of the trial from August 2016, Mahmoud el-Ahmady, Abulqasim Youssef and Abubakr Ali told an Egyptian court hearing that they had been pressured to confess to a crime they did not commit and that their bodies still had marks of torture on them. El-Ahmady,a 23-year-old student of al-Azhar University, said he was tortured for 12 days before being forced to record a video in which he said he took part in Barakat's assassination.middleeasteye
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 7:30 PM)


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