27 February 2019

27 Feb. ND: Indian pilot ‘missing in action’ as IAF shoots down Pak aircraft; Islamabad claims he’s in its custody/Order on shutdown of airports in north India withdrawn, flights to resume

NEWS DIGEST, Afternoon 
27 Feb. 2019: 21 Jamadiul-II 1440:Vol:11, No:139
Indian pilot ‘missing in action’ as IAF shoots down Pak aircraft; Islamabad claims he’s in its custody
New Delhi:Ministry of External Affairs today said Pakistan’s attempts to target military installations on the Indian side were foiled successfully and that one Pakistan aircraft was shot down.MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said India lost one MIG-21 in that engagement,while one pilot is “missing in action”. Pakistan claims that it has the pilot in its custody, MEA spokesperson said, adding that the Govt is ascertaining the details.Hours after Pakistan claimed “strikes across LoC from within Pakistani airspace”, Pakistan Army also released a video that purportedly shows an IAF pilot identifying himself as Wing Commander Abhinandan. Indian Express has learnt that a complement of Pakistan Air Force aircraft, presumably comprising Mirages, F16s and JF17s, crossed over to the Indian side of LoC in Rajauri-Naushera sector.This attack happened at around 10 AM, and Pakistani bombs missed the targets which seemed to be an ammunition point, a supply point, a brigade headquarters and a battalion headquarters in the area.An IAF combat air patrol (CAP) of Mig29 aircraft was immediately put up in air to engage the Pakistani aircraft in the air. 2 Mig29 aircraft were claimed to have been shot down by Pakistan, with one wreckage falling on the Indian side and the other on the Pakistani side of LoC. PTI has reported that a Pakistani F16 was shot down in the engagement. There has been no official confirmation of the engagement from the govt.In a statement released by Pak Foreign Ministry, Islamabad said:“This was not retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has, therefore, taken strikes at a non-military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage. Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self-defence. We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight.”“If India is striking at so-called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan. We do not wish to go to that route and wish that India gives peace a chance and to resolve issues like a mature democratic nation,” Pakistan’s statement said,reported The Dawn.While there is no official reaction from the Indian Govt yet, PTI quoted officials saying that the Pakistani jets were pushed back by Indian aircraft on air patrol. According to the report, Pakistan jets violated Indian air space in Nowshera sector of J&K’s Rajouri district and in Poonch. PTI reports, quoting officials, that Pakistani jets dropped bombs while returning. There were no immediate reports of any casualties or damage.Security has been heightened in J&K. Flight services, which were suspended at 7 airports for civilian traffic, including Srinagar, Jammu and Leh, have resumed operations.An official from Airport Authority of India (AAI) had earlier told PTI that “civilian air traffic has been suspended temporarily in view of the emergency”. 2 bodies have been recovered from the site.The entire airspace north of Delhi has been vacated, official sources said, reported PTI.Since Tuesday evening, Pakistani troops had also resorted to firing mortar shells targeting civilian hamlets and forward posts. All Govt and private schools located within 5 kms of LoC in the district are closed today. The exams scheduled for today also stand cancelled, DM, Rajouri told ANI.In Rajouri, Pakistan fired 120 mm mortars targeting civilian hamlets.Meanwhile, 5 Pakistani posts were destroyed as Indian Army retaliated to unprovoked cross border heavy shelling and firing of missiles. Defence Ministry Spokesperson said the firing resulted in several casualties on Pakistani side. 5 Indian soldiers were also injured during the fight.indianexpress
India tells Pak to release IAF pilot, protests ‘vulgar display’ of injured
India today asked Pakistan to ensure immediate release and safe return of Indian Air Force pilot who was missing in action after Pakistan shot down a MIG 21 jet. India also objected to Islamabad putting out widely circulated photographs and videos of the pilot. A statement by ministry of external affairs said the video was a “vulgar display” of an injured personnel of Indian Air Force in violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and Geneva Convention.India said Pak’s “unprovoked act of aggression” was in sharp contrast to India’s non-military anti-terror pre-emptive strike in Balakot. HT
6 IAF Personnel, 1 Civilian Killed as Military Aircraft Crashes in J&K's Budgam District
Srinagar:6 personnel onboard an Indian military chopper and a civilian were killed today when the aircraft crashed in Budgam district of J&K.Aircraft crashed in an open field near Garend Kalaan village in Budgam at 10:05 am, officials said.It broke into 2 and caught fire immediately, senior officials said. Defence officials said aircraft, an MI-17 chopper, crashed after developing a technical snag. It crashed amid rapid escalation of tension between India and Pakistan. news18
PM Modi holds key review meet with top officials on Pak situation
PM Narendra Modi is holding a key meeting with security and intelligence officials after Pakistan Air Force jets violated Indian airspace early today morning, sources said. NSA Ajit Doval, senior officials of the Indian Navy, Army and the Air Force and other security officials were present at the meeting, sources said. Meeting takes place in the background spiralling tension between India and Pakistan after an Indian Air Force fighter plane was shot down Wednesday and its pilot was reported missing in action.External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that an Indian Air Force pilot who engaged Pakistani jets that violated Indian airspace this morning is missing in action. He said India is verifying Pakistani claims that the pilot is in its custody.HT
Let’s not miscalculate: Imran Khan after Pakistan jets violate Indian airspace
New Delhi:Pakistan PM  Imran Khan today called for de-escalation of hostility in the aftermath of Pulwama attack. In a televised address, Khan said violation of Indian airspace by Pakistan air force was “a demonstration of our capabilities” after strike by Indian Air Force.He said, “We didn’t take action on Tuesday morning because we weren’t aware of the damage caused by air strike by India. We did not want to cause much collateral damage in India when there was not much damage on our side. The only motive of Pakistan’s strike today was to demonstrate that we have the capability to hit back.”He was referring to IAF strike in Pakistan. Khan said the country’s air force crossed LoC this morning to demonstrate its capability to carry out a similar exercise inside Indian territories. 3 Pakistan Air Force aircrafts were reported to have violated Indian airspace. Khan claimed that 2 MiG planes crossed the border in retaliation of Pakistan air force’s action. “They were shot down.Pilots are with us,” he said.Further, Khan appeared to play down the impact of IAF strike saying “not much damage was done” in the exercise. He appealed to PM Narendra Modi to resolve the issues through dialogue.“All wars have happened due to miscalculation. With all the weapons that you (India) and we (Pakistan) have, can we afford to miscalculate. If it escalates neither I or Mr Modi would be in a position to control its course. This is why I suggest that better sense should prevail,” Khan said.HT
Order on shutdown of airports in north India withdrawn, flights to resume
The order to shut down nine airports over the northern states of J&K,Punjab and Himachal has been withdrawn. Flight operations have already resumed from some airports,including Jammu. Civil Aviation official told PTI, "As of now, ops to these airports resumed (sic)."Order for shut down was issued a short while ago amid an escalation of hostilities with Pakistan. NDTV
J&K : ‘Lot of noise, thought the war had begun’
Srinagar:There was uneasy calm in the Valley Tuesday following the pre-dawn strike in Balakot, with local residents fearing that the situation between the two nuclear armed countries may escalate in the near future. Recent Govt orders for hospitals to stock up medicines and for food department to complete distribution of rations added to the sense of anxiety among citizens in Kashmir. Residents closely followed the developments related to air strike Tuesday even as markets remained open and traffic plied smoothly.Arshid Ahmad, who works for a private company in Srinagar, said people will suffer if Pakistan retaliates to the Indian action. “Unlike last time, Pakistan accepted that India crossed LoC. It means things will definitely escalate. Pakistan will also react now. There is fear and people panicked in the Valley. No one knows what is going to happen,” he said. Residents in Uri in north Kashmir said jets hovering over skies made a lot of noise early Tuesday. indianexpress
 ‘Blatant politicisation of sacrifices made by armed forces’: 21 opposition parties target BJP
New Delhi:Leaders of 21 opposition political parties on Wednesday condemned Pulwama attack and targeted ruling BJP over “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices made by the jawans. The opposition parties expressed solidarity with the armed forces in the fight against terrorism.Reading out a joint statement after the meeting of opposition party leaders, Congress head Rahul Gandhi said, “meeting of 21 parties expressed their deep anguish over blatant politicization of the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces by leaders of the ruling party.”his comes in the wake of BJP leaders including party chief Amit Shah saying at public rallies post-Pulwama attack that “only Modi Govt can avenge” the attack on security forces.“National security must transcend narrow political considerations. Leaders observed that PM has, regrettably, not convened an-all party meeting as per the established practice in our democracy,” reads the joint statement. The opposition parties expressed deep concern for the safety of the missing pilot, confirmed earlier in day by external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar. HT
Army, BSF troops along International Border, LoC put on highest degree of alertness
Jammu: Army and BSF have been put on the highest degree of alertness along the border after air space violations by the neighbouring country and the night-long heavy firing and shelling by Pakistani troops on forward and civilians areas across the LoC which stopped on Wednesday. Authorities have ordered temporary closure of educational institutions in a 5-km radius along LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts today amid mounting tensions between the two countries. All residents of the border areas have been asked to remain inside their homes and not venture outside.PTI
Balakot air strikes: China offers tacit support to India, but rejects labelling Pakistan as terror sponsor
Wuzhen: China today appeared to have walked a thin line by tacitly supporting Indian air strikes in Pakistan, but making it plain that it would not label Islamabad as a state sponsor of terrorism.China’s deft balancing act became visible during comments by Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi during course of Russia-India-China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting in Wuzhen. Endorsing Chinese Foreign Minister’s remarks, External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj,on 2 occasions referred to Wang’s observation. But Chinese Foreign Minsiter was also emphatic against accusing Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. “China, Russia and India have reaffirmed our strong opposition to terrorism in its various forms and manifestations. At the same time, we believe that Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism,” Wang observed.Referring to “recent developments between India and Pakistan,”Wang said he appreciated “statements by Indian and Pakistani friends saying that they would exercise restraint and avoid escalation of the situation.” The hindu
India doesn’t wish to see further escalation of situation, says Sushma Swaraj in China
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said that India will continue to act with responsibility and restraint and does not want to see further escalation of the situation after the air strikes in Balakot across the border. Swaraj defended the “preemptive action”, urging all countries to show “zero tolerance to terrorism”. Swaraj visited China
IAF air strikes: Pakistan expresses reservation about OIC’s invitation to Sushma Swaraj
Pakistan has expressed its reservation about Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s invitation to India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to attend its meeting later this week in the wake of Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn strike, PTI reported.India has been invited to the inaugural plenary of the foreign ministers’ conclave of OIC, which is a group of Muslim majority nations, in Abu Dhabi from March 1 to March 2. Swaraj will attend the meeting as the “guest of honour”.At a press conference in Islamabad after a special meeting of its National Security Committee,Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the situation has changed now.He said he has spoken to his UAE counterpart and “expressed reservations” about inviting Swaraj to the conclave. “Aggression has been done against a founding member of OIC,” said Qureshi.The minister said PM Imran Khan has held telephonic conversations with UAE Crown Prince and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman over the development.OIC on Pakistan’s request summoned an emergency meeting of its Kashmir Contact Group in Riyadh. OIC expressed deep concern over the heightened tension between the two neighbours and called for immediate de-escalation in the region, according to Pakistan Foreign Office. OIC “condemned the Indian incursion and aerial violation... against an OIC founding member state”. “It urged India and Pakistan to exercise restraint and avoid any steps that would endanger peace and security in region,”it
Lok Sabha elections: Election Commission says it is monitoring situation after IAF air strikes
Election Commission of India said it is monitoring developments in the country after Pulwama attack and Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn strike across Line of Control, PTI reported. Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said the poll panel is duty-bound to carry out the mandate given by the Constitution. He was responding to a question on whether Election Commission’s schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, due to be held in the summer, would be affected by the developments in wake of the air strikes.“Election Commission does keep a watch on all the developments which take place,” said Lavasa. “And we are duty-bound to carry out our mandate, which has been given by the Constitution.”
IAF air strike BJP's attempt to sabotage LS polls: CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan
Hours after a dozen Indian Air Force war planes conducted a pre-dawn raid in Pakistan, a senior CPI(M) leader in Kerala raised many eyebrows saying the strike was part of an attempt by BJP to trigger a war and derail the upcoming general elections."BJP govt, which fears defeat in Lok Sabha polls,is trying to polarise communities through war mongering," said CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan."Instead of finding a solution to the insurgency in Kashmir, BJP Govt is trying to make things worse by making the people of Kashmir enemies of the state,"he said,addressing a rally in Idukki. Balakrishnan's comment came even as several leaders cutting across party lines, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, hailed the IAF action.theweek
World Peace Possible Only After Pak Eliminated From Global Map: Shiv Sena
Mumbai: A day after Indian jets bombed in Pakistan's Balakot, Shiv Sena demanded continuous operations, dubbing the Pakistan "dangerous" for the entire world.Shiv Sena, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ''Saamana'', said there cannot be peace across the globe until Pakistan is wiped off the world map.PTI
did not issue statement on India,Pak clashes:Taliban
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said today the group has not issued any statement about the ongoing clashes between India and Pakistan.Mujahid told Reuters that “statement circulating about their comments on India,Pakistan clashes was fake”.“We have not said that India, Pakistan clashes will affect the Afghan peace process. The statement shared on social media and with news companies is fake,”he said. Reuters
NIA launches crackdown 2.0 against top separatists in Kashmir
On a day IAF struck in Pakistan, NIA launched a massive crackdown against separatists and raided 7 locations, including the residences of Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohommad Yasin Malik, in Srinagar in the terror funding case. Apart from Mirwaiz and Malik, those raided included houses of Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Zafar Akbar Bhat, Naseem Geelani, Masrat Alam and Shabir Ahmed Shah.Shah is already lodged in Tihar jail on money laundering charges while Alam is in prison since 2010. Malik was taken into custody some days ago and lodged in Kothi Bagh police station.Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani's son Naseem Geelani and his close aide and head of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Ashraf Sehrai were also raided.Zafar, ex top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who now heads the separatist outfit JKSM, was architect of the ceasefire by Hizbul Mujahideen in July 2000. Zaffar, along with 3 other commanders, held talks with then union home secretary Kamal Panday in Srinagar for the settlement of Kashmir tangle.Joint Resistance Leadership of separatists called for 2-day protest strike against NIA raids,wide spreads arrests and attempts to tinker with State subject Law under the pretext of 35 A.dnaindia
NIA Raids On Kashmiri Separatists: Another Evidence Of Centre's 'Iron Fist Policy'?
After Centre’s assurance, SC declines further orders on alleged harassment of Kashmiris
New Delhi :The Supreme Court today declined to pass any further order on a plea on the alleged targeting of Kashmiris post-Pulwama attack after taking note of Centre’s statement that no fresh case of violence against them has been reported since Feb.22.Today, Attorney General KK Venugopal submitted that no attacks have been reported against Kashmiris after Feb.22 order by the apex court, directing chief secretaries and DGPs of states and Union Territories to ensure “prompt” action to prevent any incidents of violence or intimidation and social boycott of Kashmiris and other minority communities in the aftermath of Pulwama attack. Petition by advocate Tariq Adeeb said that “immediately after the (Pulwama) attack, mobs and vigilante groups engaged in vitriolic hate speech and began attacking and threatening Muslims and Kashmiris throughout the country” and referred to some of these alleged instances. The plea alleged that Centre and states have not been effective in curbing this and sought the court’s intervention.At least 10 Kashmiri students were booked and 24 others suspended or rusticated from colleges across the country over “anti-national” social media posts. Several Kashmiri students, especially in Uttarakhand and Haryana, had to pack up and leave following cases of assault and violence.indianexpress
Babri Masjid litigant endorses PM Modi, says ‘tenure of PM Modi, CM Adityanath good’ -
New Delhi:  Ahead of the 2019 elections, PM Narendra Modi has received support and praise from unexpected quarters. Iqbal Ansari, a litigant for the reconstruction of Babri Masjid at the disputed land in Ayodhya, has endorsed the Modi govt, saying that his “tenure was good” and that he “deserves praise.”Ansari also lauded the Yogi Adityanath Govt in UP, adding that people who work well “must rule the nation.” Notably, the NDA govt’s stance on Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid debate is contrary to Ansari’s perspective, as the Modi Govt has backed the construction of Ram Mandir at the site in Ayodhya. ​Meanwhile, praising the BJP leaders, Ansari said, "When the tenure of PM Modi and CM Yogi has been good, people will praise them. Since they deserve praise, I also praise them. I want parties who work well to rule the nation. The tenure of both Modi and Yogi has been going well,” Ansari said, Times Now
Was asked to resign in 24 hours': Odisha professor who said 'India should not go to war with Pakistan'
Nationwide war mongering that has followed Pulwama attack claimed its first victim in Odisha when Madhumita Ray, an assistant professor with School of Rural Management in KIIT University, had to resign from her post for her antiwar and ‘anti-army’ views in a discussion on leading Odia TV channel Kanak TV on Feb.18. Notably, Achyut Samanta, founder of KIIT, is also an MP from the ruling BJD.There was a heated debate between Ray and a retired Colonel of Indian Army Purna Chandra Patnaik on the desirability of war with Pakistan with the former sticking to her ‘no war’ views and calling for a political process in Kashmir and Colonel calling her an ‘anti-national’ on live TV. Significantly, this particular edition of the popular show ‘Manoranjan Mishra Live’, however, is not available on the channel’s website.Ray says she was asked to resign ‘within 24 hours’ by university authorities 2 days after the show was aired on Feb.18 despite the fact that she was entitled to a one-month notice as per the terms of service. “I chose to resign rather than give up my freedom of expression. Next morning I got a message saying my resignation had been accepted, and within 15 minutes I had a man from HR in my room asking me to sign the relieving letter. I did not want to engage with anyone after that, so Feb.21 was my last day,” she says. outlookindia
DoT Official Suspended After Flagging MLA Kapil Mishra's 'Incendiary' Video
New Delhi: Ashish Joshi, bureaucrat who complained to the commissioner of the Delhi Police over a “highly incendiary” video posted by former AAP leader Kapil Sharma, was on Tuesday suspended by Department of Telecommunications.He now faces disciplinary action.Mishra had, on February 24, uploaded to Twitter a video of himself reciting a poem, in which he vowed to “wage war” against “traitors” who would be “dragged out of their homes onto the streets”. Subsequently, Joshi – the controller of communications account in Dehradun – wrote to Delhi CP Amulya Patnaik to register his concern. Twitter forced Mishra to take the video down – not before it gained significant traction. YouTube has since removed clip from its website as well.Journalist Barkha Dutt, activists Kavita Krishnan and Shehla Rashid, politician Navjot Singh Sidhu and actor Naseeruddin Shah were all referred to as “traitors” in the video.“Those who wanted me arrested by showing a fake letter, that person lost his job,” Mishra posted on Twitter on Tuesday. “This Ashish Joshi is suspended from his job.”Speaking to the Hindustan Times on Monday, Joshi said, “I do not know most of the people the person has named in the video. I have filed a complaint in public interest. It is shocking when a person incites violence by asking people to come forward and drag people out of their homes.” thewire
Non-bailable warrant against Arnab Goswami, 3 other Republic TV journalists
Srinagar: A non-bailable warrant has been issued against Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami and three other journalists by the court of the chief judicial magistrate of Srinagar on Saturday, in a case filed by PDP leader Naeem Akhtar.According to Scroll, alleging that the channel telecast “scandalous” content against him, Akhtar had filed a plea seeking punishment for the accused under Section 499 and Section 500 of IPC, which relate to defamation.As reported by Kashmir News Service, court had on Dec.27 directed Goswami, channel’s special Srinagar correspondent Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil, Senior Associate Editor Aditya Raj Kaul and anchor, Sakal Bhatt, to appear before it.But Goswami, Kaul and Bhatt cannot answer the summons on Saturday because of the situation prevailing in the Kashmir following Pulwama attack, Irshad Ahmad, the counsel for the defendants, told the court. However, he said Fazil cannot appear before the court due to her personal and professional engagements. Rejecting the defendants’ application seeking personal exemption from appearance,CJM said the accused were required to appear in court and submit surety bonds.siasat
SC to hear Centre’s plea seeking stay on possible eviction of tribals, forest dwellers tomorrow
New Delhi :The Supreme Court has agreed to hear on Thursday the Centre’s plea seeking a stay on the possible eviction of around 11.8 lakh tribals and traditional forest dwellers, whose claim for right over forest land has been rejected under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the Centre’s plea be listed for hearing on an urgent basis.The apex court had earlier asked 21 states to apprise it about the action taken by them over the eviction of tribals and forest dwellers whose claim have been rejected.PTI
SC to CBI director: Provide details of alleged contempt by ex Kolkata police chief in Saradha case
The Supreme Court today directed CBI Director to file affidavit giving details about the alleged contempt committed by West Bengal police and the then Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar in connection with Saradha chit fund scam cases.A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked CBI Director to provide information in support of allegations of tampering and destruction of call data records by Kumar who was then heading the West Bengal SIT.The SC said the affidavit has to be filed within 2 weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on March 26.PTI
SC seeks Centre reply on plea on changes in foreigners rules
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today sought Centre's response on a petition challenging two notifications related to Passport Rules and Foreigners Rules that allow religious minorities, except Muslims, facing persecution in neighbouring countries, to stay in India even if they had entered without valid documents.A bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjiv Khanna sought the response on a petition by the Nagarikatwa Aain Songsudhan Birodhi Mancha (Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill), which has challenged amendments to the Passport Rules and Citizens Rules framed under the respective statutes. The notice is returnable in six weeks. Contending that Govt could not have issued the two notifications in 2015 without amending law, petitioner has asked the top court to declare Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules 2015 notified on September 7, 2015 "discriminatory, arbitrary and illegal".Similarly, the Forum and others including Hiren Gohain, Manjit Mahanta and Harekrishna Deka, have also sought the Foreigners Amendment Order, 2015, notified on Sept. 7, 2015, be declared illegal.Besides seeking the strike down of 2015 notifications and the 2016 order of the Union Home Ministry in this regard, the petitioners want a direction to Centre to take effective steps for the "conservation and preservation of the distinct culture, heritage and traditions of the indigenous people of Assam".Bill to amend Passport Act and the Citizenship Act to buttress the amendment to Rules is likely to lapse with the imminent dissolution of the present Lok Sabha in view of the forthcoming general elections. IANS
Police begin verification drive in Deoband, 2 held
Lucknow: 4 days after UP ATS arrested 2 Kashmiri youths for suspected links with Jaish-e-Mohammad, Saharanpur police have launched a “verification drive” of youths staying in hostels and other rented accommodation in Deoband area of the city. During the drive, police Tuesday arrested 2 Bangladeshi youths staying in a boys’ hostel posing as students. Both were sent to jail after being produced before a court and police said they were held for not having passport and visa. They might be taken into police custody for detailed interrogation if needed, police said.Shahnawaz Teli (26) and Aqib Ahmed Malik (28), JeM suspects arrested earlier, were also staying at a private boys’ hostel in Deoband area posing as students. Both are presently in 10-day police custody and being interrogated by ATS. “Several youths belonging to other districts and states and also from abroad are staying in Deoband on rent. They stay at guest houses, private boys’ hostels and even private accommodations. There is no record of guest houses and private hostels running here, therefore we have started a drive of verification of such youths,”said Deoband SHO. He said notices were being sent to these accommodations to provide details of the youths staying there. “We have asked them to provide details of the youths staying at their places. We are also holding meetings with those running hostels and guest houses,” added Singh.CO, Deoband said, “owners of the guest houses and the hostels have been warned through notices to provide specific details soon and action would be taken against those who failed to respond accordingly or if something suspicious is found at the places run by them.”indianexpress
RSS has launched campaign to project Gadkari as next PM: Prakash Ambedkar
Mumbai:Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief and convener of Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, Adv Prakash Ambedkar, has alleged that RSS has launched a campaign to project Nitin Gadkari as next PM  and that Congress is also in agreement to it. He said that NCP supremo Sharad Pawar should contest against Gadkari to demolish the plan. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi doesn't have a suitable candidate to field against Gadkari from Nagpur constituency. RSS is projecting him as the next PM and Congress is praising him for the work he has done, while Gadkari has started praising Jawaharlal Nehru's policies. "This indicates at some secret deal between BJP and Congress. The former should field a strong leader from Nagpur to rule out such speculations," Ambedkar said.He challenged UPA to field Ashok Chavhan from Nagpur or Sharad Pawar himself should contest from the constituency, Ambedkar added.  He cleared that the option of a mega alliance is open for the next 2 days. Congress and NCP have resorted to dynasty and caste politics. He also said that the Congress has not yet cleared its stand on their proposal for joining the mega-alliance."Congress should clear its stand on RSS before Feb.28.Otherwise, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi will announce all 48 Lok Sabha candidates on March 1,"Ambedkar said. He also predicted that BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will harm both the parties. Their cadres will be destroyed in each others' constituencies. Times Now
Working with Election Commission to address political bias and manipulation, reveals Twitter
Twitter is collaborating closely with Election Commission of India to help address issues such as political bias and manipulation on its platform in real-time, Colin Crowell, Global Vice President of Public Policy of Twitter, said here. A day after appearing before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on IT, Crowell told IANS that Twitter has established lines of communication with the poll panel to check manipulation on its platform as the world's largest democracy gets ready for the 2019 polls."We are working with the poll panel very closely and have established a protocol and mechanism for them to reach out to us when they need to. We have a dedicated global team that is cross-functional and prepared to address manipulation in the run-up to Lok Sabha elections," elaborated Crowell.IANS
SIO calls for laws to curb mob lynchings
Jamshedpur: Students Islamic Organization of India (SIO) has asked political parties to change their approach towards the minority community and aim for total development and empowerment of the minorities. In the run up to Lok Sabha polls, SIO has come forward with recommendations for political parties and asked them to incorporate them in their manifestos. Among the issues are education, employment, freedom and security of Muslims.“A comprehensive scheme must be developed for the rehabilitation of the innocent citizens falsely accused in terrorism cases and subsequently acquitted.These people must be adequately compensated for the duration of their incarceration,”said SIO national secretary Syed Muzzakir.SIO also sought comprehensive laws for the prevention of discrimination against religious minorities in employment, education, housing and other public utilities, and for the prevention and punishment of all kinds of harassment and violence on the basis of religious identity. timesofindia
Fatwa asks MLA’s daughter to wear burqa in politics
Vijayawada: Raising the political temperature by another notch in Vijayawada West Assembly constituency, which has a sizable Muslim population, a fatwa was issued to Shabana Khatoon, daughter of MLA Jaleel Khan, who is aspiring to contest the ensuing elections on TDP ticket, directing her not to enter active politics without burqa. The fatwa was issued by Muslim clerics in the city based on a complaint by ex mayor and TDP leader Mallika Begum. In 2009, Jaleel Khan had made Muslim elders issue a similar fatwa against Mallika Begum when she contested Assembly polls. Jama Masjid Maulana Abdul Qadir Rizvi on Monday announced that the fatwa issued to Mallika Begum in 2009 is also applicable to Shabana Khatoon. “It is applicable to every Muslim woman,” he stressed. Since Vijayawada West MLA Jaleel Khan met TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, along with his daughter seeking party ticket for her and got an assurance, there has been dissent in the party cadre in Vijayawada West constituency. TDP senior leader Nagul Meera, who is also aspiring to contest from Vijayawada West constituency, and other leaders, including Mallika Begum expressed their unhappiness to the party leadership on the issue. Newindianexpress
Delhi Budget 2019-20: Education gets major share in Rs 60,000-crore outlay
New Delhi: AAP Govt has presented a Rs 60,000 crore annual budget for the financial year 2019-20.  Dedicating the budget to the soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack, Deputy CM and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia said, “This budget is dedicated to those martyred so that their children get good education, their parents receive proper healthcare and their family is more secure. This budget is dedicated to making their dreams for their family and country come true.”MLAs present in the Delhi Assembly also gave a standing ovation to Indian Air Force for carrying out pre-dawn air strikes in Pakistan.The Govt said that this year’s budget is “2 times more” than the one presented in 2014-15, while it was pegged at Rs 53,000 crore the previous year.indianexpress
Afghan man detained for allegedly trying to enter Israeli embassy in Delhi
Security personnel at embassy of Israel in the national capital on Tuesday detained an Afghan man and handed him over to Delhi Police over suspicion of trying to enter the embassy. Police said the man’s antecedents are being verified.HT
Russia, Syria urge US to withdraw its troops
Russia and Syria have called on the US to leave Syria and to allow people inside a refugee camp in the southeast of the country to be evacuated by Russian and Syrian forces.A joint statement released today by Russia's Ministry of Defence said Russian and Syrian forces had prepared buses to relocate refugees at the camp in Rukban area and would guarantee them safe passage so they could start new lives.Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees are facing harsh living conditions at the Rukban camp near Syria-Jordan border, despite Russian attempts to set up "humanitarian corridors" through the region last week."We also call on US, whose military units are on Syrian territory illegally, to leave the country,"joint statement issued today read.aljazeera

Syria flag missing as Assad visits Iran
Only Iranian flag was flying at a reception in which Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was meeting Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran, causing controversy.Activists said this indicates Tehran’s “disrespect” of Al-Assad, despite their alliance, and their mutual interests. However, others said that protocol dictated that the guest’s flag be absent, this was refuted by some who said during other official visits foreign flags have been on display. Activists posted photos showing the presence of the Iranian flag alone, during meetings with presidents, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.middleeastmonitor
US senators want report on Khashoggi killing from intel community
Washington:In a new bid to force the Govt in the United States to release information about the killing of US-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a group of US senators introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require Director of National Intelligence to submit a public report on the assassination.A UN human rights probe found evidence that Khashoggi's killing was premeditated. Seeking more information, Senators Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich, Jack Reed, Chris Coons, and Kamala Harris, introduced legislation on Tuesday calling for a public report on the killing."I and other believe that the American people have a right to know what this administration knows about this horrendous and gruesome killing," Senator Ron Wyden, lead sponsor of the bill and senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Al Jazeera.aljazeera
Palestinian governor of Jerusalem arrested by Israel
Israeli police arrested Adnan Ghaith, the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, in a dawn raid today, according to a local NGO."Governor was arrested in a raid on his home in Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan," Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a statement.Ghaith was among 21 Palestinians rounded up in overnight raids carried out by Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem, Maan reported.Many of those rounded up were members of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem.It remains unclear why the governor was arrested and Israeli police have yet to issue an official statement. Ghaith, appointed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in August last year, was previously arrested several times by Israeli forces, last of which was in Nov.aljazeera
Qatar refuses any deal undercutting Palestinian rights
Qatar has called on the international community, including US, to have a more inclusive approach in their policy towards the Middle East.  Qatar "had no interest in anything that is not a two-state solution, 1967 borders, the right of return, clear designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine," Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said.  Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner, started a regional tour to promote the so-called “Deal of Century” – a backchannel plan to reach a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.   “Anyone that looks at the situation right now – the polarisation in the region – is quite certain that things will not remain like this,” bin Jassim said.  Anadolu Agency
Green Left becomes first major Dutch party to back Israel boycott
Dutch Green Left Party has become the first mainstream political movement in the Netherlands to endorse a boycott of Israel.The party backed the Palestinian-led, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement during its General Congress meeting on 16 Feb.“BDS is a legitimate means to help Palestinians in their fight for justice,” the motion in question states. The motion also states that Green Left “will be alert and resist forcefully attempts in any country to criminalise BDS”.Green Left has 14 out of 150 seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Dutch parliament.In response to the news, Dutch Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, a pro-Israel advocacy group, condemned the Green Left, and claimed that BDS “is linked to terrorist groups”.middleeastmonitor
UK must justify Hezbollah ban expansion: Labour Party
Britain’s opposition Labour Party said that interior minister Sajid Javid had to provide evidence to justify his decision to widen a ban on Lebanese Hezbollah, Reuters reports. Britain said it plans to ban all wings of Hezbollah due to its destabilising influence in the Middle East, classing the movement as a terrorist organisation. “Home Secretary must therefore now demonstrate that this decision was taken in an objective and impartial way, and driven by clear and new evidence, not by his leadership ambitions,”Labour spokesman said.Asked about comments, PM Theresa May’s spokesman said it was for Labour to explain their decision.MEMO
Trump, Kim meet for 2nd summit in Vietnam's Hanoi
US President Donald Trump has met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for their second summit. 2 leaders shook hands and exchanged smiles ahead of their 20-minute scheduled meeting.Asked if he has "walked back" his stand on the pace of denuclearisation of North Korea, Trump briefly said, "No."In his opening statement, Trump said it was an "honour" to sit down agains with the North Korean leader."It is great to be with you. We had a very successful first summit."Kim for his part said that after more than eight months, "obstacles have been overcome" by the two countries paving the way for their second meeting.AP reports that Donald Trump's convoy was seen leaving the Marriott Hotel in Hanoi ahead of a dinner with Kim Jong Un.Vietnam's Hanoi is hosting the second summit between North Korea and US on Feb. 27-28.aljazeera
Nigeria's Buhari Wins Second Term as President
Abuja: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari won a second term at the helm of Africa’s largest economy and top oil producer, the electoral commission chairman said on Wednesday, following an election marred by delays, logistical glitches and violence.He defeated his main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president. Buhari secured 56% of votes, compared with 41% for Atiku,Buhari faces a daunting to-do list, including reviving an economy still struggling to recover from a 2016 recession and quelling a decade-old insurgency that has killed thousands of people in the northeast, many of them civilians. thewire
Amnesty criticises rights crackdowns in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt
Human rights group Amnesty International has highlighted crackdowns on freedom of speech and political opposition in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt in a report on human rights in MENA region. Amnesty said that crackdowns increased significantly across the region and researchers documented abuses in a large number of countries. Amnesty did not limit its commentary to MENA govts, it also criticised those of the West that were willing to overlook the abuses when their interests were at stake.aljazeera
25 killed in Egypt train crash, fire at Cairo station
A speeding railcar crashed into a barrier at Cairo's main train station, causing its fuel tank to explode and triggering a huge fire that left at least 25 people dead today, officials said. Railway officials said the train was speeding and collided head-on with the barrier. At least 47 people were also injured in the accident. Mohammed Said, the head of Cairo Railroad hospital, said there are concerns the death toll could rise further following the blaze.PTI
Iran’s Prez rejects resignation of his foreign minister
Iran’s president rejected the resignation of his Foreign Minister today, throwing his full support behind the diplomat who negotiated the country’s nuclear deal with world powers as both men face growing pressure from hard-liners as the accord unravels under American pressure.President Hassan Rouhani earlier gave a speech praising Javad Zarif after the Foreign Minister’s sudden resignation shocked the Islamic Republic late on Monday night. His rejection of the resignation, reported by the state-run IRNA, continued that praise.“Since I consider you in the front line of resistance against broad pressures by the U.S., I consider acceptance of your resignation against the expedience of the country and I do not agree with it,” Rouhani reportedly told  Zarif.AP
Nepal’s Civil Aviation Minister Adhikari among 7 killed in helicopter crash
Kathmandu:Nepal’s Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Rabindra Adhikari and six others were killed when their helicopter crashed in eastern Nepal’s mountainous Taplejung district, according to a media report.The deceased on board the Air Dynasty helicopter included its pilot, prominent aviation and hospitality entrepreneur Tsering Sherpa, PM  KP Sharma Oli's personal aide Yubaraj Dahal and Deputy DG of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal Birendra Prasad Shrestha, an Air Dynasty official was quoted as saying by the Himalayan Times.Moments after the chopper was reported missing, local residents in Pathibara area informed the police about a huge flame at the crash site.Chief District Officer of Taplejung Anuj Bhandari quoted the locals as saying they heard a loud bang followed by a sight of smoke and fire in the area.It has been learnt that the minister along with other officials had planned to visit Pathibhara Temple and then fly to Panchthar to observe the under construction airport at Chuhan Danda.PTI
Sudan denies hosting Muslim Brotherhood members
Sudanese National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) denied the presence of Egyptian regime opponents in Sudan, who were said to be threatening Egypt’s national security. “Sudanese authorities firmly deal with any information related to threatening the Egyptian security.”NSIS’s head of the press and information department, Mohammad Hamed Tbeidi, said in the capital of Khartoum.“Any problem reported in the media is being dealt with seriously,” Tbeidi reiterated, noting that both Egypt and Sudan were having “a political will to resolve any threat they face.” Egyptian Consul General in Khartoum, Ahmed Adly, said that his country wanted Sunda’s “unity, security and stability,” calling on the media in Egypt and Sudan “to assume their role in raising awareness of the importance of strategic relations between the two countries.” Adly stressed preventing what he described as “minor personal differences between Egyptian and Sudanese people.”MEMO
Muslim Brotherhood has had no legal presence since 1954: Cairo court
Cairo Administrative Court upheld a decree dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood group, saying that the group has had no constitutional or legal presence since 1954, according to media reports.The court said that Egyptian Revolutionary Command Council of July 23 revolution issued a decree in 1954 to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood and confiscate its money and assets. Moreover, Cairo Court of Urgent Matters imposed in 2013 a ban on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and confiscated all its property. Egypt Today
Flash: views & NEWS
With air strikes, PM Modi locks his political script for Lok Sabha polls:Prashant Jha
A Strike Where TV Knew More Details Than Indian Air Force:Rajiv Tyagi
After India’s Strike on Pakistan, Both Sides Leave Room for De-escalation: Maria Abi-Habib; nytimes
Airstrikes Had 3 Targets, But Hit Bullseye in Just One:Siddharth Varadarajan
By washing feet of sanitation workers, Narendra Modi merely mocks their plight:Shoaib Daniyal
Modi Knows War With Pakistan Is Not an Option:Pravin Sawhney
IAF strike in Pakistan: How the world media reported

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


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