20 May 2019

20 May ND: Gossip, inaccurate, EVM manipulation: Opposition leaders reacted to exit polls/ J&K: Human rights groups release report on alleged torture of civilians by security forces

20 May 2019: 14 Ramazan 1440:Vol: 11, No:206
Gossip, inaccurate, EVM manipulation: Opposition leaders reacted to exit polls
New Delhi:The exit polls that predicted a comfortable win for BJP-led NDA were met with suspicious eyes by leaders of Opposition parties, with West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee calling it a “game plan to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through gossip.” Most exit polls Sunday forecast another term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with some of them projecting that BJP-led NDA will get more than 300 seats to comfortably cross the majority mark of 272 in the Lok Sabha.In West Bengal, Mamata’s Trinamool Congress is predicted to lose seats with BJP making inroads in the Eastern state. Republic Bharat-Jan ki Baat has predicted 18-26 seats for the BJP, and 28 for the ruling TMC. In the previous Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the Mamata-led TMC had won 34 seats with a vote share of 39.8 per cent. BJP bagged only 2 seats. Discrediting the predictions of the exit polls, Mamata said: “I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip.The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together.”Party leader Derek O’Brien hinted at EVM manipulation over the poll prediction in favour of the BJP and said the “so-called exit polls will only confuse” the people and that one should wait for the final results on May 23.“Have ‘Delhi media’ who masquerade as ‘national media’ lost their credentials and credibility? So-called Exit Polls will only confuse. We await the verdict of the people. Modi ji had called the number 300+ even before Phase 7. Are these numbers to match that? EVM manipulation?” he tweeted. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh rejected the exit polls, saying their accuracy was ‘suspect’. “With so much experience, even if I go around Punjab to gauge the voter swinge, I would not be able to do it with complete accuracy.So how can these polls be accurate,” he said. Vice-President M Venkaiah mocked at the exit polls, saying they were not exact polls. “Exit polls do not mean exact polls. We have to understand that. Since 1999, most of the exit polls have gone wrong,” the Vice-President pointed out.indianexpress
 Mamata rejects ‘exit poll gossip’, asks Opposition to be united after prediction of NDA win
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has dismissed exit polls as “gossip” and urged Opposition parties to be “united, strong and bold”. She made the remark in a tweet soon after most exit polls predicted a comfortable majority for BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha elections that concluded on Sunday.“I don’t trust Exit Poll gossip,” the TMC chief said. “The game plan is to manipulate or replace thousands of EVMs through this gossip. I appeal to all Opposition parties to be united, strong and bold. We will fight this battle together.”
Exit Polls Being Used to Create False Impression: Kumaraswamy
Bengaluru:Slamming the exit poll results, which projected a big win for the BJP-led NDA government in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Karnataka CM H.D. Kumaraswamy on Monday said their predictions were being used to create a false impression of a Modi wave across the country,reports IANS.“Artificially engineered or manufactured Modi wave is being used by the BJP to lure regional parties well in advance to fill any shortfall after the results on May 23,” said Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets.Kumaraswamy said undue importance should not be given to polls, which just give temporary numbers emphasising that the exit poll exercise was an effort to create a false impression of a wave in favour of one particular leader and his party.caravandaily
Kumaraswamy voices concern over vulnerability of EVMs
‘Exit polls are all wrong, we’ll wait for the real results on May 23’: Shashi Tharoor
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has rejected the predictions of exit polls and said that he will wait till May 23 for the “real results”.“I believe the exit polls are all wrong. In Australia last weekend, 56 different exit polls proved wrong. In India many people don’t tell pollsters the truth fearing they might be from the government. Will wait till 23rd for the real results,” Tharoor tweeted. In another tweet, Tharoor wrote, “Actually they CAN all be wrong, as Australia (a much smaller and less diverse country than India) showed us last weekend. But you’re right that we are all better off waiting for the 23rd than wasting our time in empty debate about these imaginary numbers.”Besides him, several other Opposition leaders have expressed disappointment over the exit polls.”Every single exit poll can’t be wrong! Time to switch off the TV, log out of social media & wait to see if the world is still spinning on its axis on the 23rd,” tweeted NC leader Omar Abdullah.AP CM and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu too on Sunday said that Exit Polls have failed to catch the people’s pulse.ANI
Rivals plan to manipulate EVMs, increase security at counting centre: AAP to EC
New Delhi :With most exit polls predicting a clean sweep by BJP in the national capital, AAP on Monday alleged that opponents planned to manipulate EVMs ahead of counting of votes on May 23 and asked the Election Commission to provide additional security at a counting centre in South Delhi.“I have strong reasons to believe that the political adversaries will attempt to open the strong rooms and manipulate or replace the machines as a handful of such incidents have been seen in the past,” AAP leader Raghav Chadha said in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. Chadha, who is AAP’s South Delhi candidate, said such incidents have taken place in the past as well. “Alarming as it may be, this would not be the first time that an attack on the electoral system may take place,” he said.Chadha also sought the appointment of another independent observer by the poll watchdog and a bar on unnecessary movement in and around the premises.indianexpress
How reliable are exit polls? Data says not much!: Deccan Herald report
The exit polls have a history of underplaying UPA, while it has historically overplayed NDA performance.A DH analysis of the data for the past three general elections, collated by global investment bank UBS, reveals at an average exit polls have overplayed NDA’s performance by 4.3%, while it has underplayed the UPA’s performance by 8.9% at an average across all three previous elections.What is more surprising is the fact, that of the previous three elections, the two in which UPA ended up forming the government at the center, the exit poll had got even the direction wrong.In 2004, the average of the exit polls had predicted 252 seats for the then incumbent NDA, giving it yet another term at the center, and 186 seats for the UPA. However, in the actuals, UPA ended up forming the govt with 219 seats to its kitty, while the Vajpayee-led NDA, with 187 seats ended up occupying the opposition benches. The analysis reveals that the exit polls had overplayed the NDA’s performance by 25.8% back then while underplaying the UPA’s performance by 17.7%.Again in 2009, when incumbent UPA returned to power, the exit polls had predicted a loss of seats for UPA. However, UPA ended up with a huge gain in the number of seats. Back then, the exit polls had predicted that UPA’s tally to diminish to 196 seats. However, the coalition, in reality, won 262 seats, a variation of whopping 33.67%. On the other hand, NDA, which exit polls expected to gain turf, won 159 seats against predicted 187 seats – overplaying the performance by 14.97%.In 2014, when the country was riding on huge Modi-wave, though the exit polls got their directions right, yet they were completely off the mark when it came to the victory margin of NDA, like many other political pundits. While the exit polls gave NDA 274 seats, it ended up with 336 seats, a variation of 22.7%. On the other hand, the exit polls predicted 115 seats for the UPA, which faced a complete rout ending up with 60 seats.DH, on Friday, after speaking three different market analysts, had predicted that incumbent BJP would get around 240 seats in the exit poll on the standalone basis, however, the actual tally would be far lower, the analysts said.The exit polls, in recent times, have had a history of guessing the results wrong – both locally and internationally. Domestically, post-2014, the psephologists had predicted an astounding victory of BJP over the then Mahagathbandhan, which was completely opposite of the actual results. In Karnataka state elections last, the pollsters had predicted ruling Congress retain power, however, BJP turned out to be the single largest party.Deccan Herald
India Today Exit Polls: Massive Defeat for BJP in 'Dummy', Huge Mandate in Real
New Delhi:India Today TV channel came under fire last week for accidentally airing what it later called ‘dummy’ exit poll results. BJP-led NDA got just 177 seats with the loss of equal number of seats in the dummy but their tally has almost doubled in the real exit poll that the channel aired on May 19. However, the actual results will be out on May 23 only when the votes of Lok Sabha elections will be counted.Almost all exit polls, including that of India Today, on Sunday gave anything from simple to massive mandate to BJP-ruled alliance and a drubbing to Congress-led alliance.India Today has predicted NDA to win between 339 and 365 seats while the UPA was projected to win between 77 and 108 seats. Others will get 69-95 seats, as per the channel. In the dummy exit poll, NDA had got 177 seats, UPA 141 and others 224.India Tomorrow
 BJP's Estranged Ally Rajbhar Predicts ‘Massive Win’ For SP-BSP Alliance in Eastern UP
Balia: SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar cast his vote along with his family at the Mirganj Primary School of Balia on Sunday. He said the SP-BSP alliance will get a massive victory in eastern Uttar Pradesh.Rajbhar, who claims to have walked out of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh miffed over denial of seats of his choice in the state, has fielded 39 candidates for seats in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh phases. "No party will get a majority in these elections. But the SP-BSP alliance will get a massive victory in Purvanchal (eastern UP). Without our support BJP will suffer losses in at least 30 seats in Purvanchal. It is losing Balia, Gorakhpur and Ghazipur seats," said Rajbhar.He predicted that the saffron party will only win 15 seats in the state. "SP-BSP alliance will win 55-60 seats, while the Congress will gets 2-3 seats," he added. Rajbhar, who has considerable clout in eastern Uttar Pradesh, asserted that his party has not campaigned for the saffron party in these elections. "We are not with them now. We only asked for the Ghosi seat, which the BJP did not give us." SBSP chief, who has been playing spoiler to the BJP's plans in Uttar Pradesh, last week declared support for the Congress candidate in Mirzapur and SP-BSP-RLD alliance candidates in Maharajganj and Bansgaon. On Tuesday, he had dismissed the possibility of Narendra Modi being re-elected as the Prime Minister and said that India’s next PM will be “Dalit ki beti” (daughter of the Dalits).news18
UP governor sacks SBSP chief from cabinet on Adityanath’s recommendation
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Monday sacked SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar from the cabinet on CM Adityanath’s recommendation. Adityanath has also recommended that other party leaders holding the rank of minister of state be removed immediately. Rajbhar was the backward class welfare and divyangjan empowerment minister in Adityanath-led govt.
Illegal Reservation of Lok Sabha seats Leading to Low Muslim Percentage in Parliament: Report
New Delhi:Underrepresentation of Muslims in politics has been extensively debated, especially after 2006 Justice Sachar Committee report, which highlighted the lack of adequate ‘Muslim voice’ in the govt.As voting in the Lok Sabha polls comes to a close on Sunday, the issue is back in the spotlight with a report that will soon be released by Zafar Mahmood’s ZFI.The report by Zafar Mahmood, a former officer on special duty to the Sachar Committee, seeks to improve the opportunities for Muslims to contest and get elected to the Parliament, the state assemblies and the local bodies through correction in the ground-level delimitation exercise. “The Section 9 (1) (c) of the Delimitation Act mandates that those constituencies shall be reserved for SC where their percentage is highest in the state. However, this law has been violated,” read the new report.Mahmood is now the chief editor of ‘Restoration of Representational Justice to Muslims in India – Case for De-reservation of Illegally Reserved Electoral Constituencies’. He, along with other activists, plans to approach the judiciary for a constitutional remedy to curb the violation of law and to assure justice to the underrepresented Muslims and Dalits. Editorial Board – Rev Fr Packiam, T Samuel, Laxmi Sharma, Nirmal Singh.“Constituencies and wards with Muslim concentration were declared as ‘reserved’ from where only Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates can contest. With this move, it was found that Muslims are being systematically denied political participation,” Mahmood pointed out.He has also raised concern about constituencies that have a high Scheduled Caste population but are not reserved. “This is injustice to SCs as their larger population sections remain unrepresented and do not benefit from MPLAD funds,” he added.“The matter had been adequately flagged by Justice Sachar Committee but the detailed study was left to be done by the Delimitation Commission to whom this issue was never referred by either government,” Mahmood said.In order to fill this gap, ZFI established its Delimitation Cell where this matter has been professionally and deeply researched since 2012.Now,countrywide comprehensive data is in its final stages of compilation.”News18
Cleric denies Muslims turned away from AAP
New Delhi:A top Muslim social activist on Saturday refuted CM Arvind Kejriwal’s claim that Muslims in the city voted for the Congress, saying the votes were split between AAP, Congress and even BJP in some places. Replying to a question on how he sees AAP performing in national capital, while campaigning in neighbouring Punjab, the Delhi CM said that, “…the Muslim votes have been shifted entirely to Congress”. AAP has fielded nominees in all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab. Countering his claim, Mufti Mohammad Mukaram, also Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid, said, “I don’t believe this is correct. Muslim votes have been split between all three parties.In seats such as East and North-East Delhi, they have voted in favour of AAP candidates, while in others, they have leaned towards Congress. They voted on the merits of those in fray. Since Congress, this time, fielded old faces who bring experience, the move might stand to benefit them.”He claimed many Muslims voted for AAP’s East Delhi nominee Atishi in Okhla, while its candidate for North-East, Dilip Pandey, also drew minority votes in some places. Responding to his claim, Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit said, “I don’t what know what he is talking about. Every citizen has the right to right to vote wherever or whoever he/she wants to. However, people of Delhi are not in favour of Kejriwal’s model of governance and the sentiment might be reflected in the poll results.”new indian express
BJP Wants Kamal Nath Govt To Prove Majority, Writes Letter To Governor For Special Session
BJP on Monday demanded Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath to prove majority on the floor of the House and asked Governor Anandiben Patel to convene a special session of the state Assembly.The demand came a day after exit polls predicted a landslide victory for BJP in the state in the Lok Sabha elections.Leader of Opposition in Assembly Gopal Bhargava said his party will ask Governor Anandiben Patel to convene a special session of the state Assembly "to discuss important issues and test the Congress govts strength".I am writing a letter to the Governor for convening a special session of MP Assembly shortly. We want discussion on important issues like the farm loan waiver and (to) test the government's strength, Bhargava told PTI.He said the Congress, instead of debating issues in the House, was dumping papers at former CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan's residence, claiming that loans of 21 lakh farmers in MP have been waived. Congress was skirting debate on important issues, he said.During decisions and financial matters we are going to seek division to test whether the weak Congress government enjoys its support in the House, Bhargava said.outlookindia
J&K: Human rights groups release report on alleged torture of civilians by security forces
2 J&K-based human rights groups on Monday released a detailed report on alleged torture of civilians in the state, and called on UN to investigate the matter. The report, released by Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons and the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, used 432 case studies to study alleged torture by security forces in the Kashmir Valley since 1990 and stated that “widespread use of torture continues unabatedly”.The report claimed no one has been prosecuted for alleged human rights violations till date because of “legal, political and moral impunity extended to the armed forces”.Civilians have been systematically and institutionally tortured by the state to curb dissent, the rights groups added. “Torture has remained unnoticed and survivors continue to suffer in silence.”While scandals in American prisons such as Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq received international attention, “torture remains hidden in J&K, where tens of thousands of civilians have been subjected to it”, the rights groups said. The activists cited the example of school principal Rizwan Pandit, who was killed in March while he was in the custody of the state police’s Special Operations Group. The police claimed that 29-year-old died while “he was trying to escape from police custody”,they added.According to the report, 301 of 430 people allegedly tortured include women, students and juveniles, political activists, human rights activists and journalists.The report listed the forms of torture allegedly carried out, and claimed that there had been 24 cases of waterboarding and 238 cases of sexual
Rape, Sodomy and Electrocution Forms of Torture Used in Kashmir by Security Forces: Report
Kashmiri Pandits’ outfit vows to launch ‘sustained’ struggle for identity restoration
Kashmiri Pandits have “pledged” to launch a “sustained struggle” in J&K for the restoration of their “lost identity and rights”, an outfit representing the community said. Members of the community had to flee the Kashmir Valley in the wake of the spread of terrorism in 1989-90.The pledge was taken at a convention titled “Future of next generation of Kashmiri Pandits” in Jammu.“The community’s leaders have pledged to launch a sustained struggle for the restoration of the lost identity of the community and its political, social, economic and cultural rights in the state,” organiser’s of convention Youth All India Kashmiri Samaj (YAIKS) said.PTI
Mirwaiz hopes new govt will review Kashmir policy
Srinagar:Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said he hoped the new regime in India will change its Kashmir policy as “former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee also had realised that military approach was no solution”. Speaking at a seminar in Srinagar,Mirwaiz said, “Kashmir issue will not be resolved through army might and violent methods. I hope the new government to be formed in India will review its Kashmir policy.”The Mirwaiz said separatists were reasdy to support dialogue between India and Pakistan over the protracted Kashmir issue. “Anti-Kashmir measures like the closing down of the [Jammu-Srinagar] highway, raids by the NIA and ED [on traders and separatists], [wrongful enforcement of] Public Safety Act (PSA), and transferring land to [Armed] Forces, will not lead to any solution,” he added.Former prime minister Vajpayee, the Mirwaiz said, realised that there was no military solution to the Kashmir dispute and advocated a solution within the ambit of humanity. “We aren’t against the people of India. We are against the policies of India that are being implemented here,” he added.He said the Government of India must roll back its decisions, especially on the ban on JKLF and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI); end the “stalling of the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs)”; and release separatist leaders without any pre-conditions.“It was unfortunate that New Delhi choked all means of peaceful protests, seminars. How can ideas come up when all space stands choked?” he asked.thehindu
UP ‘babus’ make beeline for Mayawati’s residence
Bureaucrats, they say, are the best psephologists. They do not conduct exit polls but they have their ears to the ground.In UP, since past one week, bureaucrats - retired as well as serving-have been seeking appointments with BSP chief Mayawati.Armed with outsized bouquets, they have been ‘wishing her the best' for the elections and ‘praying for her bright future'. A staff in Mayawati's house said:"These officers are coming for courtesy visits and ‘Behenji' is meeting them all on days she is not campaigning.Most of them have served under Behenji when she was the CM and there are some new ones too belonging to the Bahujan Samaj. They are also giving her feedback about the prevailing situation."Such visits before the election outcome are called ‘bhool na jana' (do not forget us) visits in the local parlance.One such retired officer, who had served in the CM's secretariat between 2007 and 20-12 when Mayawati was CM, admitted that he had called upon Behenji."I went to wish her good luck in these elections. BSP is making a comeback and there is nothing wrong in wishing luck. You do not go to wish politicians when their chips are down," he said.A few officers, however, have deliberately kept out of these ‘bhool na jana' visits.IANS

Mumbai sees surge in zakat fund collectors in month of Ramzan
Maulana Obaidullah Qasmi is an imam at a city mosque. Six years ago, he established a madrassa for girls at his native Sitamarhi in Bihar and every Ramzan he approaches the community for donations, including zakat, the 2.5% of annual savings Muslims must give in charity. He is seeking this charity for his madrassa this Ramzan too. While Qasmi has appealed to the community to donate to his madrassa, there are hundreds ofother maulvis, safeers (representatives) from madrassas and other community-run institutions who are pounding the streets of Mumbai braving the scorching sun and in the relative coolness of the night, seeking zakat. There is no better time than the holy month of Ramzan to seek it as most Muslims give out zakat. One of the five pillars of Islam-the other four are kalima or the declaration that God is one and Muhammad is His Prophet, namaz, roza and haj-zakat is mandatory on those who can afford it. It is considered to be a tool to uplift the community's impoverished as the zakat fund cannot be spent on the financially strong. Keeping this in mind, Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) conducted an online National Zakat Survey last month. There were 4589 responses from 191 cities in India and abroad. "Our survey found that 60% of the people give zakat to same set of individuals and organisations every year," says AMP's president Aamir Idrisi. Other notable findings, adds Idrisi, are that 40% of people give zakat in Ramzan while 55% don't care to find whether zakat has betterred lives of those who received it. The community gives around Rs 10,000 crore annually in zakat in India, estimates Idrisi. Who must give zakat? Anyone who is not indebted and has annual savings of 7.5 tolas gold or 52.5 tola silver or its equivalent in rupees which comes around Rs 25000 today has to give zakat. Who can receive zakat funds? The Quran, says senior cleric Maulana Rizwan Khan, prescribes eight kind of people who can receive zakat money. Many are disappointed that a chunk of zakat is not reaching the targeted beneficiaries and some unscrupulous elements pocket the money they collect.Ex-MLA Sohail Lokhandwala recounts an incident a couple of years ago.He says that he visited a north Indian town where he met a person who would collect zakat fund in Mumbai. TOI
1st  madrasa run by RSS to be set up in Uttarakhand
Deoband: RSS is gearing up to put its plan into action of establishing madrasas across the country. RSS has finally planned to establish its first madrasa in Uttarakhand. The land has already been purchased and the construction will begin soon.RSS since long ago has been planning to establish madrasas in the country which will provide modern education along with Islamic education. In this connection, RSS has identified land in Uttarakhand which is also called Dev Bhumi where the first madrasa run by RSS will be established. The madrasa to be opened by Muslim Rashtriya Manch co-organisation of RSS, will, in the beginning, give admission to 50 girl students. According to sources, the first madrasa of RSS will be established in a village of Haridwar district of Uttarakhand. Muslim Rashtriya Manch state Chief Seema Javeed confirmed the report and said that the arrangements are in place and the land has been purchased. She said the syllabus has been prepared according to the wishes of PM Narendra Modi. Modi had wished for an education system which ensures the Quran in one hand and computer in the other.Such reports have created apprehensions among Muslim quarters. While some see no harm in the establishment of such madrasas, others sniff a planned conspiracy of Sangh Parivar. They say the history of Sangh Parivar shows that if Parivar wants to establish madrasa it could only be to affect the culture of Muslims. It is feared that they will try to create differences between Muslims and scholars by establishing such madrasas.siasat
RSS to Set up its First Madrasa in Uttarakhand
Kerala: CPM leader Jayarajan’s comment on face veil courts controversy
Kannur: CPM Kannur district secretary M V Jayarajan has demanded that Muslim women who queue up in polling booths should remove their face veil.Jayarajan made the controversial comments during the LDF campaign speech at Pilathara on Friday ahead of the repolling on Sunday.  Jayarajan’s comment has kicked up a row with the IUML coming out against it. “The voters should remove their veil when they enter the queue to cast their votes so that their face could be caught in the video camera. The Election Commission should not allow those who enter the booth wearing their veil before the web camera, to cast their votes. If the officials could stop women with face veil, it would help prevent bogus voting in Pamburuthi and Puthiyangadi. If this happens, the vote share of the LDF in Pamburuthi and Puthiyangadi will increase considerably,” he had said during the election speech.Earlier, KK Ragesh MP, LDF election committee chairman, had raised the same demand at a meeting convened by District Collector Mir Muhammad Ali in connection with the repolling in Kannur.  K Surendran, the chief election agent of UDF, opposed this demand at the meeting. But, Jayarajan again raised the issue at the election meeting. Jayarajan has also lodged a complaint with Chief Electoral Officer and District Collector in this indian express
Ahmedabad: Modh Modi families who follow best of Hinduism, Islam
Ahmedabad: Come Ramzan Eid a fortnight later, the household of Satellite-resident Jignesh Modi, would prepare 40 kg of sheer khurma (a traditional Eid sweet delicacy) to celebrate the culmination of month-long Ramzan fasting. The family would also undertake largescale charity for the poor. Hindu by religion, this family belonging to Modh Modi caste, are followers of Hazrat Davalsha Pir at Amran in Morbi district of Saurashtra. They are one of the 500-odd families scattered around Gujarat and Maharashtra who follow customs of both Hindu and Muslim religions, epitomizing communal harmony. “My family’s association with Hazrat Davalshah Pir began 125 years ago when my great grandfather kept a mannat at the dargah making a wish for a child. He and his wife were childless as every infant would soon die after birth. The mannat got fulfilled when he was blessed with seven children, one after another. Ever since, our extended family follows Hazrat,” said Modi who is in dairy business.Interestingly, the family’s kuldevi is Bahuchar Mata and they celebrate all Hindu and Muslim festivals with equal fervour.They also follow syncretic practice wherein a couple is married as per Hindu rituals but is taken to the dargah for blessings the second day. Rupesh Singa, member of the extended family and a resident of Ashram Road, said he observes all roza fasts for nearly three decades.“My wife, a Deravasi Jain, also observes roza fast. It’s all about faith as we find peace when we visit Amran Dargah,”he said.TOI
HC seeks JNU reply on plea for early hearing of contempt petition in sexual harassment case
New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Monday sought JNU's response on a plea by several women students seeking early hearing on a contempt petition filed against the varsity and a professor who is accused in a sexual harassment case.Justice J R Midha issued notices to the university, its vice chancellor, professor Atul Johri and Delhi Police on the early hearing application and listed the matter for consideration on July 2.The court also called for the records of the main petition on the next date.The students sought early hearing after the court on May 3 listed the contempt as well as the main petition for hearing on Oct.31.In the main petition, the students have challenged clean chit given by JNU's Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to the professor. ICC report of July 23 last year followed the high court's May 29, 2018 direction to the committee to find out whether a prima facie case of misconduct was made out against the professor to suspend him from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the women students, said there was urgency on hearing because the petitioners are scholars who will not be able to complete their PhD if not given access to laboratory.PTI
At Ground Zero of TMC-BJP conflict, fear casts long shadow over polling
Basirhat:In 2017, Basirhat, a town bordering Bangladesh in West Bengal’s North Parganas district, saw communal clashes over a 17-year-old’s Facebook post in adjoining Baduria. Following the clashes, public anger was directed at TMC, whose offices were vandalised. Communal fault lines ran deep on Sunday as Basirhat went to polls. Amid sporadic incidents of violence,BJP alleged that Hindu voters were being prevented from voting, while TMC alleged that central forces were harassing voters and asking them to vote for BJP. Jyotipriyo Mullick, State Food Minister and TMC district head for North 24 Parganas, blamed BJP.“BJP is trying to divide the country on religious lines and Basirhat is an example… But it will not work in Basirhat, we will get Hindu votes…We will win with a huge margin…Like in other parts of Bengal, central forces acted brutally. They were asking people to vote for BJP and harassing the voters…they were acting like BJP agents,” said Mullick.While TMC’s Idris Ali won the seat by a margin of 1.09 lakh votes in 2014, the party has fielded Bengali actor Nusrat Jehan this time. Congress has fielded Qazi Abdur Rahim.At the ground level, BJP has roped in former Left leaders and workers, who joined the party in last 5 years, for booth management in most areas. Santanu Chakraborty,son of exCPI(M) MP from Bashirhat Ajay Chakraborty, and Tapas Ghosh, CPI(M) branch secretary in Basirhat, are among them.“In this seat, Muslims constitute 54% of the population. We are confident of getting Hindu votes as well as Muslim votes… Here, it is about Hindu survival… Our skills in booth management helped the party today,” said Tapas Ghosh. indian express
In Modi’s Varanasi, dissent is brewing as development promises fail and divisions grow
“I don’t fake things. Sometimes, if I don’t want to speak the truth, I can tell you the extended truth. But I don’t lie.”At a primary school in Varanasi, Vaibhav Kapoor, BJP leader and head of the party’s social media campaign, made this remark as he explained how the campaign to re-elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi – from a constituency that he won by 581,023 votes in 2014 – was going. It was in the bag, Kapoor claimed, as India prepared to vote in the last phase of general elections on May 19. As Kapoor, a bunch of party managers and national spokesperson Nalin Kohli told school children about Swachh Bharat or clean-India campaign, “truth” they said was that there was no contest here in Modi’s constituency, where he won 56% of the vote in 2014, where people could not – in the telling of party managers – conceive of an alternative. They spoke of the “next step”, what would be after Modi won, new partnerships and trust in the next generation. The “extended truth” that Kapoor referred to– hidden from party propaganda – appeared to unfold away from school premises and its Swachh Bharat pin-up charts. Among the ranks of the boatmen at the Dasashvamedha ghat – the oldest set of steps going down to the river, where Brahma the creator is said to have sacrificed 10 horses – and local shopkeepers, a consensus appeared evident: If things are so certain for Modi, why is his campaign so shrill? Modi has made personal attacks, for instance, on opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, calling his father, assassinated in 1991, “Corrupt No.1”.This is the story of the quiet voices from the margins of Varanasi, one of 80 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most important state electorally.Among them were the boatman and his friend – both requested anonymity – who complained how no business was possible each time Modi campaigned because the ghats were closed. Both were Nishads, a group of other backward class Hindu communities in UP and Bihar, who traditionally depend on riverine occupations.
Not consulted on Bahrain 'peace meet': Palestinians
Palestinian leadership has not been consulted about a US-led conference in Bahrain next month designed to encourage international investment in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said.Washington announced the conference on Sunday, describing it as the unveiling of the first part of President Donald Trump's long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan."The cabinet wasn't consulted about the reported workshop, neither over the content, nor the outcome nor timing," Shtayyed told Palestinian ministers in the presence of reporters on Monday. Palestinian officials will not attend the conference, Social Development Minister Ahmed Majdalani said."There will be no Palestinian participation in the Manama workshop," Majdalani, who is also a member of the executive committee of the umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation, told Reuters news agency."Any Palestinian who would take part would be nothing but a collaborator for the Americans and Israel."US officials said the conference would include representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as some finance ministers.Shtayyeh reiterated Palestinians' core demands for a two-state peace deal with Israel, which include gaining full control of the occupied West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem.
White House begins ‘peace plan’ roll out with Bahrain-hosted economic workshop
S.Africa ANC backs minister on Israel embassy stance
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has backed the country’s Minister of International Relations, Lindiwe Sisulu, who has come under attack for her role in downgrading South Africa’s embassy to Israel.Sisulu has been attacked from a number of fronts, including by South Africa’s Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD).Vice-president of SAJBD, Zev Krengel, last week accused Sisulu of being “the single biggest enemy” of South Africa’s Jewish community, claiming she is “obsessed with criticising the Jewish state [Israel]”. Krengel’s attack continued: “Either the minister [Sisulu] was electioneering and trying to cosy up to BDS-SA [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions South Africa] movement and other radical elements within the Muslim community, or she was adding to internal ANC struggles, and trying to embarrass president [Cyril Ramaphosa].” middleeastmonitor
No invitation to emergency summits in Saudi : Qatar
Qatar has not received an invitation to two summits, a foreign ministry official said, in apparent reference to emergency meetings of Gulf and Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia earmarked for this month after attacks on Saudi oil assets.On Sunday, Saudi King Salman proposed holding the two summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss the implications of last week's drone attacks on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of the United Arab Emirates."Qatar, which is still isolated from its neighbours, did not receive an invitation to attend the two summits," the director of the Foreign Ministry Information Office said in a tweet on Monday, citing State Minister for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad al-Muraikhi.aljazeera
Sudan army rulers, protesters in talks over new governing body
Khartoum :Sudan's army rulers and protest leaders remained locked in talks early Monday to finalise a new governing body that would replace the generals who took power after ousting longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir last month.The resumption of talks comes following pressure from world powers to reach an agreement over an interim government that would be civilian-led -- a key demand of demonstrators.The talks began at around 12.30 am IST on Sunday and were still continuing in the early hours of Monday, an AFP correspondent reported from the presidential palace where the negotiations were being held."The meeting is still on to discuss the transitional body," the Sudanese Professionals Association, which initially launched the nationwide protest campaign against Bashir, wrote on Twitter."We are not in a hurry for the crucial victory ... whatever be the outcome, it will be a step forward," it wrote without elaborating.The generals and protest leaders have been at loggerheads on the thorniest issue -- the makeup of the new governing body that would rule Sudan for a three year transitional period after the ouster last month of Bashir.AFP
US ambassador in China makes rare visit to Tibet
BEIJING:US ambassador to China is making a rare visit to Tibet to meet local officials and raise concerns about restrictions on Buddhist practices and the preservation of the Himalayan region’s unique culture and language.US Embassy in Beijing said Terry Branstad is visiting the Tibetan Autonomous Region and neighboring Qinghai province from Sunday through Saturday. Qinghai is a traditionally Tibetan region also known as Amdo and the birthplace of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader.Branstad’s visit will include official meetings along with visits to religious and cultural heritage sites, schools, and “other places of interest,” the embassy said in a statement.  The embassy called the visit “a chance for the ambassador to engage with local leaders to raise longstanding concerns.” It said Branstad would also “learn first-hand about the region’s unique cultural, religious, and ecological significance.”AP
Turkey orders arrest of 249 foreign ministry personnel in post-coup probe, says NTV
ANKARA:Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of 249 foreign ministry personnel over suspected links to the network of a US-based cleric accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, broadcaster NTV said on Monday.Authorities have carried out regular operations against the alleged followers of Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, since the failed coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016. Gulen denies allegations he was behind it.The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the arrest of 249 members of Turkey’s foreign ministry after investigations found that they had committed irregularities in the ministry’s past entrance exams, NTV reported.It said 78 suspects had been detained so far in operations across 43 provinces and that police were seeking the rest.Over 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while some 1,50,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of the post-coup purges.Reuters
Regime attacks kill 12 in Syria's de-escalation zones
12 civilians were killed in attacks by regime forces in Syria’s northwestern de-escalation zones, sources with the White Helmets civil defense agency said on Monday. Four children were among the victims in the attacks that targeted the town of Kafr Nabl in Idlib province and Qastun in Hama last night, the sources said. The new deaths brought to more than 415 civilians, who have lost their lives in Idlib since April 25. Some 1.5 million people currently reside in Idlib, half are displaced from other parts of the war-torn country. Anadolu Agency
European Council extends sanctions on Syria regime
Council of the European Union has extended sanctions against the Syrian regime for another year and added 11 prominent businessmen and five entities to its embargo list originally imposed in 2011.Their inclusion brings the sanctions list to 270 persons and 72 entities that will be targeted with a travel ban and an asset freeze. This is a slight increase from the previous year when 259 persons and 67 entities were targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze.“These businessmen and companies are involved in luxury estate development and other regime-backed projects, and as such support and/or benefit from the Syrian regime,” said the Council in a statement published on its website.middleeastmonitor
Trump says fight would be 'official end of Iran'
US President Donald Trump on Sunday told Iran not to threaten the United States, saying it will be Tehran's "official end". "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" Trump tweeted.He did not elaborate on the nature of the threat.Over the past few weeks, tensions between Washington and Tehran have escalated as the U.S. deployed a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East, citing an imminent threat from Iran. On Thursday, the New York Times cited intelligence sources as saying that Iran had recently deployed military vessels -- armed with missile-launchers -- in the Gulf, raising fears of possible conflict.Anadolu Agency    
Flash: views & NEWS
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:51 PM)


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