21 May 2019

21 May ND: 22 Opposition leaders meet EC, demand 100% VVPAT checks in case of mismatch amid speculation of EVM manipulation/ SC dismisses new petition on verifying all votes with VVPAT/ Pranab Mukherjee "Concerned" Over Reports Of Alleged EVM Tampering

21 May 2019: 15 Ramazan 1440:Vol: 11, No:207
22 Opposition leaders meet EC, demand 100% VVPAT checks in case of mismatch amid speculation of EVM manipulation
New Delhi:Leaders from 22 Opposition parties submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission seeking 100 per cent matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs of all polling booths of an assembly segment in case of a discrepancy. In the meeting with Election Commission, that lasted about an hour,Opposition leaders also requested that the verification of VVPAT slips of 5 randomly identified polling stations per Assembly constituency should be done before the counting of votes and not after the completion of last round, according to ANI.“We told the EC that VVPAT machines should be counted first and if there is any discrepancy, then all of them in that segment should be counted,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told reporters here after meeting EC officials.Another Congress leader, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, said despite requests to the EC for the last 3 months, the poll body said it would meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue.“We raised these same issues in last one-and-a-half months. We asked Election Commission why have they not responded. Strangely, EC heard us for almost an hour and assured us they will meet us again tomorrow,” ANI quoted Singhvi as saying.TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said people’s mandate cannot be manipulated.“We are asking the EC to respect the mandate of people. It cannot be manipulated,” AP CM said.Among other leaders who attended the meeting were Congress’ Ahmed Patel, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, BSP’s Satish Chandra Misra, Sitaram Yechury of CPI(M), D Raja of CPI, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal, Derek O’Brien of TMC, Ramgopal Yadav of SP and Kanimozhi of the DMK.indianexpress
ECI fails to give assurances to Opposition on VVPAT verification
SC dismisses new petition on verifying all votes with VVPAT, says ‘let country elect its govt’
New Delhi:The Supreme Court today dismissed a new petition that sought matching of all VVPAT slips with EVMs during the counting of votes on May 23.Calling the petition a “nuisance”, the court said, “We won’t entertain such a plea over and over again. Can’t come in the way of people electing their representatives. Let country elect its government.”A vacation bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra refused to entertain the plea filed by a Chennai-based organisation ‘Tech for All’ saying that a larger bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had already dealt with the matter and passed an order, PTI reported. The SC had on May 7 dismissed a review plea filed by 21 Opposition leaders, seeking that random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs be increased to 50 per cent.HT
Pranab Mukherjee "Concerned" Over Reports Of Alleged EVM Tampering
New Delhi: Former President Pranab Mukherjee today expressed concern at allegations of EVM or vote machine tampering - described by him as tampering of voters' verdict -- and said the "onus of ensuring institutional integrity" lies with the Election Commission. "The safety and security of EVMs which are in the custody of the EC is the responsibility of the Commission," Pranab Mukherjee said.A series of video clips have surfaced, which, opposition parties say, prove that EVMs are being tampered with or being transported in private cars in parts of UP,Bihar, Punjab and Haryana. "There can be no room for speculation that challenge the very basis of our democracy. People's mandate is sacrosanct and has to be above any iota of reasonable doubt," said the former president. "A firm believer in our institutions, it is my considered opinion that it is the 'workmen' who decide how institutional 'tools' perform," he added.The remarks were seen to refer to current commissioners in the election body that has been under attack from the opposition over allegations of bias.NDTV
Questions Raised Over Movement Of EVMs In UP, Bihar After Videos Surface
Lucknow: Allegations of EVMs being tampered with or being transported in private cars in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana surfaced this morning along with video clips that the opposition said reinforce concerns about voting machines just ahead of the counting of votes in national election on Thursday.A mobile phone clip that emerged on Monday from the Chandauli parliamentary seat shows EVMs being off-loaded and put in a room inside what appears to be a counting centre.Supporters of SP candidate in Chandauli, who filmed video, can be heard questioning why the voting machines were being off-loaded a day after polling and why they were not brought in earlier. The administration says the machines seen in the video are about 35 reserve EVM units from an assembly segment in Chandauli. Officials said these voting machines reached the storage room and the counting centre later than other EVMs because of "logistical issues". According to the rules, reserve EVMs should be deposited at the same time as the machines used in voting. In eastern UP's Ghazipur, BSP candidate held a sit-in outside the storage room for EVMs last night. Afzal Ansari and his supporters claim there was an attempt to take out a vehicle full of voting machines. Police and the district have denied the allegations. Afzal Ansari is the brother of jailed UP strongman Mukhtar Ansari, who has a number of cases against him.Afzal Ansari's opponent in Ghazipur is Union Minister Manoj Sinha of BJP. The sit-in ended after the returning officer of the district assured the protestors that arrangements are in place to have representatives of the candidates at vantage points around the EVM strongrooms and that there will be complete transparency. BSP and its ally Samajwadi Party protested outside voting machine storage rooms demanding police action.Ghazipur's BSP candidate Afzal Ansari and his supporters were seen having a heated exchange with a police officer.The EC called the allegations "frivolous" said the voting machines were maintained in "proper security and protocol".ndtv
EC rejects Lavasa’s demand, says dissent in poll code violation cases won’t be made public
New Delhi:Rejecting the demand of its officer Ashok Lavasa,the Election Commission today ruled that dissent and minority views by election commissioners in cases of model code violations would not be recorded in the final orders of the poll watchdog and made public.The full commission comprises CEC Sunil Arora and fellow commissioners Lavasa and Sushil Chandra.“In the meeting of the EC held today regarding the issue of Model Code of Conduct (MCC), it was interalia decided that proceedings of the commission’s meetings would be drawn, including the views of all the commission members. Thereafter, formal instructions to this effect would be issued in consonance with extant laws/rules, etc,” EC said.Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa has recused from meetings on violations of the MCC in protest over his minority decisions going unrecorded in the Commission’s final orders.Lavasa, however, justified his insistence on having his minority view recorded in the EC’s final orders. “If decisions of the EC are taken by a majority and you do not include the minority view (in the final order) then what is the point of a minority view?” Lavasa said.“All multi-member and statutory bodies have an established procedure of working. EC is a constitutional body and it should follow that procedure,” he further said.As per the law governing the functioning of the EC, business shall, “as far as possible, be transacted unanimously”.Dissent is, however, provided for in the Act itself: “If CEC and other Election Commissioners differ… such matter shall be decided according to opinion of majority”.indianexpress
No point in Lavasa’s dissent after campaign for elections over: Ex- CEC Rawat
Even as the Election Commission finds itself in the eye of a storm over EVM security and one of the Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa complaining that he was not being allowed to record his dissent, the Commission received some unexpected support from former Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat.By and large the Election Commission, said Rawat, had acquitted itself well, although, he agreed that the EC could have acted faster in some cases during the campaign this year or done things differently.However, there was “no meaning” of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa making his dissent public after the campaign for the last phase of elections was over, Rawat said.nationalheraldindia
Sought prompt action after Supreme Court frowned on delays: Ashok Lavasa
New Delhi: It was the Supreme Court’s strong observations on the poll panel’s delayed reaction to hate speeches that prompted him to intervene and seek “transparent and time-bound” disposal of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) complaints, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said.On April 15, the SC had asked the Election Commission (EC) searching questions on action taken against leaders for allegedly provocative speeches during the campaign. Subsequently,the same day, the poll panel issued orders temporarily banning BSP chief Mayawati, SP leader Azam Khan,UP CM Yogi Adityanath and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi from campaigning for their communal remarks.3 days later, Lavasa moved a note on strengthening and streamlining procedures of dealing with MCC complaints. And on May 16, he recused from meetings on MCC violations in protest over inaction on his suggestions and his minority decisions going unrecorded in the Commission’s final orders. Speaking on the eve of the meeting called to discuss his recusal,Lavasa justified his insistence on having his minority view recorded in EC’s final orders. “If decisions of the EC are taken by majority and you do not include the minority view (in the final order) then what is the point of a minority view?” Lavasa said. “All multi-member and statutory bodies have an established procedure of working. EC is a constitutional body and it should follow that procedure.”Lavasa had, on 5 occasions, opposed clean chits given to PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah on charges of violating the MCC during their campaign for the Lok Sabha polls. Responding to CEC Sunil Arora’s statement calling the controversy over Lavasa’srecusal “ill-timed”, “unsavoury” and avoidable, he said, “All controversies are unsavoury. They seem ill-timed as they pose difficult questions that remain unattended. They can be avoided if decisions and actions affecting the people are perceived as timely, fair and non-discriminatory.”indian express
‘Exit polls ploy to break your confidence’: Priyanka Gandhi’s message to Congress workers
New Delhi:Congress general secretary for east Uttar Pradesh Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has urged party workers to keep their morale high and not get disheartened by “rumours” and exit polls after they predicted a massive victory for BJP-led NDA in the Lok Sabha election. In an audio message to party workers, Priyanka also asked them to stay alert and cautious and exuded confidence that the hard work put in by the Congress leaders and cadre would bear fruit.“These rumours and exit polls are a ploy to break your confidence. It is all the more important that you stay alert and maintain a constant vigil at strong rooms and counting centres. We are sure our and your hard work will bear fruit,” she said.HT
K'taka Cong leader appeals Muslims to 'join hands' with BJP if need arises
Bengaluru :Amid poor numbers given by exit polls to the Congress in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, senior Congress leader Roshan Baig Monday dropped hints of quitting the party, and humbly appealed to Muslims to compromise with the situation, if NDA returns to power."Well if NDA is coming back to power, I humbly appeal to Muslim brothers to learn to compromise with the situation," he told a section of media here.Asked if that means Muslims should join hands with BJP, Baig said if need arises, they must as the Congress had given just one ticket to a Muslim leader in Karnataka."If needs be, (Muslims) must join hands. We must not remain loyal to one party. What happened to Muslims in Karnataka? The Congress gave just one seat," he blurted.PTI
NaMo TV goes off air as Lok Sabha poll conclude
New Delhi:NaMo TV, a channel on the air since March 31 that exclusively featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s past speeches and content related to the ruling BJP went off the airwaves on May 17, according to executives of two DTH operators who asked not to be named.“The broadcast stopped 2-3 days back. We stopped receiving signals from the source on the Internet which was operated by the BJP,” said a top executive of a leading DTH operator.According to the first person cited above, BJP paid DTH providers ~25 lakh per month to air the channel for these two months. The channel, which carried a picture of Modi as its logo, was on air when polling for the general election was underway, leading to protests from opposition parties.On April 11, the Election Commission directed NaMo TV to not air any content that has not been pre-certified by the panel mandated to certify or authorise political ads. HT
6 Surat Hindu Mahasabha men held for celebrating Godse birthday
Surat: 6 Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha activists have been arrested for celebrating the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse at Suryamukhi Hanuman temple in Limbayat area of Surat on Sunday.The event was allegedly organised by Hiren Sumra alias Hiren Mashru, a member of the Hindu Mahasabha who is also a priest at the temple. About 15 youths are reported to have attended it. The organisers had invited a cameraperson of a local channel. They lit about 100 lamps and distributed sweets as part of the celebration. TV channel aired the event, and video clips were circulated on social media.Surat police then picked up Sumra and 5 others, all residents of Sanjay Nagar in Limbayat — from the temple. Sumra said: “We have celebrated the birthday of Godse, we have done nothing wrong. Like other people’s feelings are attached to Mahatma, our feelings are attached to Godse, and we have shown this by celebrating his birthday. This is the first time that we celebrated his birthday.”indian express
Ground Report: Did Hindus in West Bengal Really Flee Before the Elections?
Baghakali:  Various media organisations recently ran the news that Hindus were fleeing their houses in Bagakhali village, Diamond Harbour. Footage of people leaving the village and ransacked houses were also circulated on social media.The Wire visited the Muslim-dominated village, located about 50 km south of Kolkata, on May 18. The village consists of 30-32 families and comes under the Diamond Harbour parliamentary constituency. This reporter found that roads in the village have been partially barricaded by the state police, and Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed. As we drove through the main road, we saw a few ruined shops. However,the atmosphere was not grim; people appeared warm as we crossed a market place.Residents told The Wire that on May 12, around 9 pm, 8-10 unknown people blocked the road being taken by Azam Shah Mulla, the Trinamool Congress block president. “They asked Mulla saab to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. When he refused, they attacked him,” said Nooruddin Shek, who lives in Bagakhali.Another resident, Rasul Alam said, “A fight broke out on the road. We couldn’t even recognise these people. Some shops on the road were vandalised. The police came and stopped it.”Alam said the next day, they were attacked again by a group of 25-30 people. “Bombs were hurled” and their houses were ransacked. “They were chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while breaking our house,” Alam said. “All those people were outsiders. We didn’t know even one of them. Some were dressed in CRPF uniforms,” Alam added.thewire
Post-2013 riots, Jats and Muslims in UP's Shamli struggle to maintain social fabric
UP:  Shamli was in the eye of the 2013 communal riots between Jats and Muslims in which 62 people, including 42 Muslims, were killed and tens of thousands were displaced. Over the last 5 years, efforts have been made by both communities to rebuild the social fabric that was ripped to shreds. But these efforts have mostly failed. The only Muslim family in Jat-dominated Lisarh village says returning to the village was an obligation because of livelihood. Frenzied mobs over the last 5 years sowed hatred and suspicion among communities when, over cow protection, they consumed the life of Akhlaq in 2015 in UP, killed Rakbar Khan and Pehlu Khan in 2017 in Rajasthan, and murdered police officer Subodh Kumar Singh in UP last year, not to talk of the brutality with which they finished off their victims in Jharkhand, Haryana,J&K and Assam.50-year-old Mohammad Islam—who lives with 6 other family members—has 13 bighas of land and has a good business of wood-work here. “We also left the village and came back only after four months when village elders made an appeal to return.15 other Muslim families came with me but some houses belonging to Muslims were again set on fire. They got scared and left. Though there has been no violence since then, I often ponder about my existence in the village,” Islam says as he recalls how his house was burnt and all valuables were stolen when violence broke out. At one time, according to 2011 census, Lisarh had a population of 13,077 people of which 2,500 were Muslims.Today Islam and his family are the only Muslims who live here.In Muzaffarnagar’s Kutba village, Muslims who fled haven’t returned even after 5 years. With no Muslim in the village now, houses of Muslims either lie abandoned or have been turned into cowsheds. Eight Muslims were killed in the riots here. “We used to live in harmony,”says Narender, a Jat farmer, whose son is an accused in a murder case.This was a well-planned move by politicians to polarise Hindus and Muslims. All local BJP politicians gave incendiary speeches asking Jats to “save their honour”."There was widespread killing thereafter. Why would Hindus kill Muslims otherwise? Actual perpetrators are roaming free but poor people like my son have been falsely implicated,” he adds. Political scientist Sudha Pai, who has spent much of her professional life studying UP’s communal and caste politics, says disregard for law led to an increase in communal clashes and hate crimes in the last 5 years. “There was a total breakdown of law and order--whether it was mob violence or communal clashes. The govt did not stop cases of lynching which have been going on. In fact, in many cases, victims were persecuted," Pai said. Cow is a running theme in the Mewat region—which comprises parts of Rajasthan and Haryana where many Muslims have either been falsely implicated on charges of cow slaughter and some like Rakbar Khan’s family have seen much worse. Saleemuddin, a cattle farmer in Alwar district, has stopped buying cows in fear of cow indian express
TN: NIA searches premises of ‘Shahadat’ accused
Madurai:After taking over investigation into the activities of a fundamentalist group on WhatsApp, which goes by the tagline ‘Shahadat (martyrdom) is our goal’, from the district police, NIA on Monday launched simultaneous searches on the premises of ten accused who were arrested in connection with a case related to alleged conspiracy to eliminate those who spoke against Islam. 4 NIA teams launched the searches in the early hours in the Muslim-dominated Kilakarai and Devipattinam areas, sources privy to the agency, said.Separate teams also launched searches on the premises of five accused at Muthupettai in Tiruvarur district and a couple of accused in Chennai and Cuddalore, the sources said. The searches launched around 3 am, lasted more than five hours at the residence of accused M. Mohamed Ribas, 37, a Sri Lankan Tamil at Kilakarai.Searches on the premises of three other accused, including the prime accused A Sheik Dawood at Devipattinam lasted more than seven hours, the sources said. The teams believed to have seized literature hailing ‘Shahadat’ and ‘jihad’, SIM cards and electronic gadgets, the sources said.The searches were launched as part of ‘further investigation’ to ascertain whether group members had established links with IS or other fundamentalist outfits in the country and abroad, which supported the jihadi movement, the sources said. The team from Kochi, searched the residence of S. Abdul Rashid, 22, of Lalpettai based on warrants issued by the NIA court in Poonammallee in Chennai.Sources privy to the investigation said that Rashid’s father Sadullah was working in Dubai for the last 10 years. Rashid, an MCA graduate, is said to have worked in a chemical company in Cuddalore before he went to join his father in Dubai a month ago. thehindu
Malegaon Blast Case: Pragya Thakur, 2 Other Accused Exempted From Court Appearance
Mumbai: A special court here has granted exemption to 2008 Malegaon blast case accused Pragya Singh Thakur, Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Chaturvedi from appearing before it this week.When the matter was taken up by the special NIA court on Monday, the three accused filed applications through their lawyers seeking exemption from appearance.While Thakur and Chaturvedi said they are busy with preparations for the upcoming results of Lok Sabha polls, which they had contested, Purohit cited personal difficulties.The court allowed the applications.The court also allowed an application filed by lawyers of the accused persons to visit the blast site in Malegaon, a town about 200 kilometers from here in Nashik district.Last week, the special NIA court, which is conducting a trial against seven accused in the case, had directed all of them to appear before it at least once a week.Currently, the court is recording the testimony of witnesses in the case.PTI
MP Govt May Reopen Sunil Joshi Murder Case Involving Pragya Thakur
Madhya Pradesh government is planning to reopen an old murder case against BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Singh Thakur. Congress-led government in the state will seek a legal opinion on reopening the murder case of ex-RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, in which Pragya Singh was acquitted, state Law Minister P C Sharma said Tuesday.Joshi was shot dead in Dewas district on December 29, 2007. Thakur and seven other accused were acquitted by a court in 2017 due to lack of evidence against them.The state government will appeal in a higher court to reopen the Joshi murder case, Sharma said. Dewas collector has been asked to submit a report in connection with the case, the minister added."We will seek a legal opinion on that report and then take a decision about moving a higher court," he said.Sharma claimed that the then district collector took a decision on his own to shut the case, instead of sending it to the law department for a legal opinion."The district collector should have sent the report to the law department instead of deciding that there was no need to move a higher court," he said.An accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, Thakur is currently out on bail.PTI
Arunachal MLA, son among 11 killed in ambush
Suspected members of a Naga extremist group today gunned down 11 people including a legislator and candidate of NPP in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh. Police said the assailants, allegedly belonging to the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland, ambushed the vehicles of NPP candidate Tirong Aboh’s family was travelling in near Bogapani at around 11.30 a.m. Among the dead was his son.The NPP had fielded Aboh from the Khonsa West Assembly constituency that he had won in 2014 on a People’s Party of Arunachal ticket. Election to the constituency was held on April 11.P.N. Thungon, the Deputy Commissioner of Tirap district, confirmed Aboh’s death as well as that of 10 others.thehindu
Activists Demand Independent Investigation Into Torture Used by Armed Forces in Kashmir
NEW DELHI:Prominent human rights activists have demanded the setting up of an independent commission to investigate the use of torture by the armed forces in the Kashmir valley. The demand began to surface after two Kashmir-based human rights groups brought out a 560-page report which documents the cruel forms of torture used by the security forces in Kashmir. The activists have not just demanded an independent investigation into the methods of torture used in Kashmir but also for some institutional changes that can curb such happenings.On Monday, APDP and JKCCS released the first comprehensive report on torture in Jammu and Kashmir which revealed that rape, sodomy, electrocution including in genitals, sleep deprivation and hanging from the ceiling, are some of the cruel forms of torture being used by the armed forces and police against people in Kashmir valley since 1990. “There must be an investigation into happenings. An independent commission should be constituted to investigate these cases of torture,”said human rights activist Apoorvanand.Ravi Nair,Executive Director, South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, believes that torturing of inmates is not going to stop unless there are some institutional reforms.CaravanDaily
India cuts off UN panel after J&K report: thehindu
Reacting angrily to a submission from Geneva-based Human Rights Council (HRC) on the alleged violations in J&K, India has informed the United Nations body that it will no longer entertain any communication with HRC’s Special Rapporteurs on its report. The report from UN body came at the same time a report from 2 NGOs in the State on the alleged cases of torture was released in Srinagar, which was endorsed by a former UN Special Rapporteur.The current Special Rapporteurs on Extrajudicial Executions, Torture, and Right to Health — Agnes Callamard, Dainius Puras and Nils Melzer — had referred to a June 2018 report of the Office of the OHCHR and written to the govt in March 2019, asking about steps taken by New Delhi to address the alleged human rights violations listed in the report.In addition, the Special Rapporteurs had listed “13 cases of concern” from 2018 alone, in which “4 children were among 8 civilians killed by members of the security forces.” Rejecting all the claims, the Indian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva replied to OHCHR on April 23, saying that “India... does not intend to engage further with these mandate-holders or any other mandate-holders on the issue,” whom it accused of “individual prejudice”.India had also rejected the OHCHR’s report on the ‘Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir’ — first-ever such report on Jammu and Kashmir that came out in June 2018 — and accused the High Commissioner of Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of “clear bias” in bringing it out.
Mirwaiz barred from holding rally in Srinagar
SRINAGAR:Authorities today barred Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from organising a rally on the 29th death anniversary of his father, Moulana Muhammad Farooq, in Srinagar and placed him under house arrest.Restrictions on movement of vehicles were imposed in most areas falling under five police stations in the old city. Nigeen residence of the Mirwaiz was placed under a security cover on May 20 evening to stop him from leading any rally.The Hurriyat chairman had called for a rally from the historic Jamia Masjid to the Martyr’s Graveyard at Eidgah area in the old city to commemorate the death anniversary.Unknown gunmen assassinated Moulana Muhammad Farooq at his residence on May 21, 1990. 12 years later, on May 21, 2002, People’s Conference founder Abdul Ghani Lone was also assassinated by unknown gunmen at a commemoration ceremony at Eidgah. Meanwhile, normal life was affected by the shutdown call issued by the Hurriyat on the occasion. Most offices, educational institutes and banks remained closed.Besides the separatists, all regional parties, including NC, PDP, the People’s Conference and J&K Peoples Movement, paid tributes to the separatist leaders.thehindu
Pakistan names Moin-ul-Haq as new envoy to India
New Delhi :Pakistan on Monday named Moin-ul-Haque, its envoy to France, as its next High Commissioner to India, a month after his predecessor Sohail Mahmood took charge as Foreign Secretary of Pakistan.Confirming the major appointments, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Naghmana Hashmi, career diplomat, was being sent to China. She will replace Masood Khalid, the incumbent envoy to China, after completion of his tenure. indianexpress
We said we were Dalit, he said what can Dalits do to us: Alwar gangrape victim
Alwar :Nearly one month after a 19-year-old was gangraped by 5 men in Alwar, while she was on her way to the market along with her husband to purchase clothes for a wedding, she says she is still struggling to cope with the trauma, and finds it “very difficult to sleep” at night. “I was finding it difficult to even get out of bed at one point because I could not stop thinking about what had happened. It kept replaying in my mind, but I have forced myself to get back some sense of normalcy now,” she said.“Even then, when I lie down to sleep at night, the entire incident comes back to me, and it becomes very difficult to sleep…I want those men to hang, not just because of what they did to me but because I want to ensure that no other woman has to ever go through this again,” she says.The incident occurred on April 26, while wedding preparations were on in full swing at the woman’s marital home. At 3 pm, the couple left home on a motorcycle. On the way, however, they were stopped by 6 accused, who were riding two motorcycles.“They first asked us our names, and our fathers’ names. Then one of the men asked us what our caste was. We said we were Dalits, he said, what can Dalits do to us?” she says.“I feel that they made up their minds when we revealed our caste. They are Gujjars, and they thought we would be helpless, but we are intent on proving them wrong,” she says.Police arrested all the 6 accused — 5 for the rape and the sixth for circulating videoclips of crime.NHRC sent a notice to the Congress government in Rajasthan, which removed Alwar SP and suspended the in-charge of the local police station for delay in action.With BJP and Dalit groups calling for a speedy probe, and staging protests, the gangrape became a Lok Sabha poll issue. During his campaign, PM Narendra Modi alleged that no action was taken until Alwar went to polls on May 6. "The first arrest was made only on May 7," said kin of the victim.indian express
Muslim  Passenger asks for water, Air India crew returns with Iftar food, wins Twitter
The staff and crew members of an Air India Alliance flight recently won the Internet by offering a Muslim flier an Iftar platter when he had just asked for some water. Journalist Rifat Jawaid was travelling from Gorakhpur to Delhi while he was observing Ramadan. He was due for his Iftar meal at a time when he was on-board the flight, so he asked an air hostess for a bottle of water.Thirsty and starving from the day-long fast, he quickly finished the first bottle of water and asked for another from the air hostess, stating he has been observing Ramadan.Upon hearing this, she asked him to get back to his seat and returned in a while with food for him. The kind gesture moved the scribe so much that he took to Twitter and shared his experience with his audience in details.Rifat wrote, “On my way back to Delhi in Air India Alliance from Gorakhpur: Iftar time was nearing so I walked up to cabin crew member, Manjula, asked for some water. She gave me a small bottle. I asked, ‘can I pls have 1 more bottle since I'm fasting?’”“Manjula replied, ‘why did you leave your seat? You pls return to your seat.’ Minutes later she arrived with two sandwiches and said, ‘please don't hesitate to ask for more.’moneycontrol
Ayodhya’s Shri Sita Ram temple hosts Iftar
Ayodhya:In the holy month of Ramzan, a temple here hosted Iftar on Monday.Setting an example of communal harmony, people cutting across religious lines, sat together to relish the Iftar meal in the premises of Shri Sita Ram temple.Speaking to ANI, priest of the temple Yugal Kishor said: “This is the third time we have organised an Iftar party. I will continue to do the same in the future as well. We should celebrate every festival with great zeal.”Echoing similar sentiments, an attendee Mujammil Fiza said that he also celebrates Navratri with his Hindu brethren every year.ANI
Houthi drone attack 'hits arms depot' at Saudi airport in Najran
Yemen's Houthi rebels said they launched a bomb-laden drone into Saudi Arabia, targeting an airport with a military base - an attack acknowledged by the kingdom.It was not clear if there were any injuries or what the extent of damage was.The Houthis' Almasirah satellite news channel said early on Tuesday the attack targeted the airport in Najran with a Qasef-2K drone, striking an "arms depot".Najran, 840km southwest of Riyadh, lies on the Saudi-Yemen border and has repeatedly been targeted by the Houthis.A statement earlier on the state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted Saudi-led coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki as saying the Houthis "had tried to target" a civilian site in Najran, without elaborating.Al-Maliki warned there would be a "strong deterrent" to such attacks and described the Houthis as the "terrorist militias of Iran".aljazeera
Al-Qaeda’s former Mufti: Gulf fools underestimate dangers of war with Iran
Al-Qaeda’s former Mufti Mahfouz Ould Al-Walid, known as Abu Hafs Al-Mauritani, has criticised the Saudi war on Yemen and its reliance on the US against Iran.Ould Al-Walid explained, on his Facebook page, that it is unlikely that a US-Iranian war is planned. But a confrontation “by mistake or miscalculation” is possible.He added: “Some of the fools who are Gulf rulers hoping for a war between Iran and the US, though this war is unlikely to occur. However, if it erupted, the Arab Gulf monarchies will be the first victims.”“In case of a confrontation, the Gulf States will pay the cost of the war. And in case of non-occurrence, they will pay the price of peace,” Ould Al-Walid continued.Al-Qaeda’s former Mufti identified a strategic difference between Saudi Arabia and Iran.“Iran is fighting with the Shiite groups in the region (the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Shiite militias in Iraq, and Syria), and has grown stronger. In contrast, Saudi Arabia is fighting Sunni groups in the region and has exhausted its energies with them.”middleeastmonitor
Iran slams 'genocidal taunts' by US, increases uranium stockpiles
A top Iranian official has called on the United States to address Tehran with respect, not with a threat of war, a day after Donald Trump issued an ominous warning to Tehran on Twitter.The war of words on Monday came as the semi-official Tasnim news agency announced Iran has, in line with an earlier decision, scaled back some of its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal."Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won't 'end Iran'," Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, wrote on Twitter.aljazeera       
US Congress asks Trump not to withdraw from Syria
Hundreds of US congressmen and senators have sent a letter to the White House urging President Donald Trump not to pull troops out of Syria.The bipartisan plea argues US should remain engaged in the conflict to protect regional allies.Democrats and Republicans have voiced concerns after Trump announced the withdrawal in Dec.
Tajikistan prison riot kills prominent opposition members
Prominent members of outlawed Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan opposition party (IRPT) were among those killed in a prison riot on Monday, the Tajik government confirmed. The insurrection, which took place in Vakhdat, about 10km east of the capital, Dushanbe, claimed the lives of at least 32 people, including three prison guards and 29 inmates, the government said.Authorities said they believed the ISIL group was responsible for setting off the disturbance after a fight broke out between members of the group and IRPT.According to the justice ministry, members of ISIL armed with knives killed three security guards before executing several fellow prisoners."In order to intimidate the other prisoners, the Islamic State members executed five people and 10 others were savagely beaten," a statement from the ministry said, referring to the ISIL group.At the time of publication, ISIL had yet to claim responsibility.Maran Turner, the executive director of the prisoners of conscious Freedom Now organisation, called on the Tajik government to ensure the protection of all prisoners in its custody and to "conduct a thorough, transparent, and independent investigation into the riot".Karimov was a member of IRPT's supreme political council, and was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 2016 for alleged involvement in a coup attempt.His peer, Ghozi, was a founding IRPT member who was abducted in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2017 and was forcibly taken to Tajikistan by government agents.Relatives of the detained activists informed human rights groups that the detainees were subjected to torture and kept incommunicado.aljazeera
Pakistan-Sri-Lanka Trade Drop To Zero After Sunday-Easter Bombings
Trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka has come to a sudden halt after the Sunday-Easter bombings. The reason for the termination of trade between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is believed to be the escalating violence against the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.“Rice and textile exports to Sri Lanka from Pakistan have stopped. Potato export has also reduced drastically,” said Pakistan-Sri Lanka Business Forum Chairman Aslam Pakhali. “It is the Muslim community in Sri Lanka that imports Pakistani products and sells them there. They are partners of Pakistani exporters,” said Pakhali, adding that the properties of Muslims were damaged during the recent wave of violence over there.“Their shops, superstores and godowns are being targeted. The goods exported from Pakistan have been unloaded at the Sri Lankan port, but the importers are not getting them cleared because of the deteriorating law and order situation there,” he added.“The goods, especially fruits and vegetables, in godowns are perishing. Sri Lanka is a major importer of Pakistani rice and textile products, but the exports have come to a halt,” he added.Pakhali said a delegation of the forum held a meeting with the Sri Lankan ambassador in Pakistan and emphasised that the Muslim community over there be protected.A Sri Lankan businessman Zainul Abideen said through WhatsApp that Muslims in Sri Lanka was facing a ton of problems and was under siege.EurAsian Times
Egypt kills suspected fighters a day after tourist bus bombing
Egyptian security forces have killed 12 suspected fighters in Cairo, the interior ministry said on Monday, a day after an explosion blasted a tourist bus, wounding several people.A rudimentary device containing nails and pieces of metal detonated on the perimeter of the Grand Egyptian Museum near a bus carrying 25 South African tourists from the airport to the pyramids district on Sunday, wounding a number of people. The ministry said in a statement carried by state TV that its national security forces had information that leaders of the armed Hasm group were planning "to carry out a series of attacks during the coming period to trigger chaos in the country". The statement did not say whether the suspected fighters were connected to Sunday's attack, but said the Egyptian forces killed them during raids on their hideouts in the 6th of October and el-Shorouk districts of the capital. Egypt accuses the Hasm group, which emerged in 2016 and has claimed several attacks, of being a wing of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.The Muslim Brotherhood movement denies the claim and has distanced itself from the group. It says it seeks change through peaceful means only.Human rights organisations have accused Egypt of carrying out extrajudicial executions and of trying civilians in military courts as part of the crackdown.aljazeera
Christchurch attacker charged with terrorism: police
The man accused of shooting dead 51 Muslim worshippers in the Christchurch mosque attacks was formally charged with terrorism for the first time on Tuesday, New Zealand police said.In addition to the terror charge, Brenton Tarrant also faces 51 charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder over the March 15 attacks."The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch," police said in a statement.New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has characterised the mosque killings a well-planned "terrorist attack" since the day Tarrant, a self-described white supremacist, allegedly carried them out.AFP
Jokowi declared Indonesia president
Jakarta: Losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto is to legally challenge the official result of Indonesia's election as hardline conservative groups threaten street protests after incumbent Joko Widodo was confirmed as the winner of last month's vote.The Indonesian Election Commission announced the official results in the early hours of Tuesday morning, bringing forward by more than 24 hours an announcement that had been expected on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera suspends journalists for Holocaust denial video
Al Jazeera has suspended two journalists over a video they produced that denied the facts of the Holocaust.The Qatari state-funded broadcaster had published the video on its online AJ+ video service in Arabic.During World War Two, six million Jewish people were systematically killed by the Nazis.Al Jazeera's video said this number had been exaggerated and "adopted by the Zionist movement", and that Israel is the "biggest winner" from the genocide.Its narrator also asked, "why is there a focus only on them?" - referring to the Jewish victims - before claiming that the community uses "financial resources [and] media institutions" to "put a special spotlight" on Jewish suffering.The video was published on the AJ+ Twitter and Facebook pages on Friday evening local time, with a caption asking: "What is the truth of the Holocaust and how did the Zionist movement benefit from it?"bbc
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:42 PM)


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