09 May 2019

9 May ND: Malegaon’s wanted, linked to Pragya, held bomb training camps: Gauri Lankesh probe SIT to court/ Clerics want Agnivesh to apologise for 'scary' burqa remark/No ships specially diverted for personal use of Gandhis: Retd Admiral on PM’s INS Viraat remark

09 May 2019: 03 Ramazan 1440:Vol: 11, No:197
Malegaon’s wanted, linked to Pragya, held bomb training camps: Gauri Lankesh probe SIT to court
Bengaluru:4 missing members of Hindutva outfit Abhinav Bharat, all wanted for blasts in the Samjhauta Express, Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Dargah and Malegaon between 2006 and 2008, trained several suspects linked to the Sanatan Sanstha in making bombs at secret training camps across the country between 2011-2016, the investigation by Karnataka Police into the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh has revealed. This disclosure is part of documents submitted by SIT to a Bengaluru court.According to documents submitted in court by Karnataka SIT probing Lankesh case, 3 men linked to Sanatan Sanstha, and arrested in the Lankesh murder case, and four witnesses,who attended the training camps, described the presence of a “Babaji” and 4 “Gurujis” at the camps where training was given in making bombs.“Babaji” was identified after his arrest in Nov.2018—11 years after he went into hiding — in Gujarat as Suresh Nair, an Abhinav Bharat member accused in 2007 Ajmer dargah blast case.Nair’s arrest has also revealed that 3 other bomb experts at Sanstha-linked camps were Dange, Kalsangara and Ashwini Chauhan — all “proclaimed offenders” in Samjhauta Express case and 4 other blast cases, said sources. A fifth trainer who attended the camps has been identified by those arrested in the Lankesh case as Prathap Hazra, who is linked to the Hindutva outfit Bhavani Sena of West Bengal.Links between missing suspects from bombings tied to Abhinav Bharat between 2006 and 2008, and the members of a group associated with the Lankesh murder have unravelled in recent months in the course of the SIT probe.Dange, a former RSS worker who is considered a bomb expert and has an Interpol red corner notice against him, is on the most wanted list of NIA lsangara Hakla.Dange and Kalsangara carry a Rs 10 lakh reward on their heads while Hakla carries a Rs 5 lakh reward on his head.indianexpress
Lankesh murder: SIT denies report claiming it has linked Abhinav Bharat members to case
SIT conducting inquiries in the Gauri Lankesh murder case has denied a report published in Indian Express on Thursday that claimed four absconding members of Hindutva outfit Abhinav Bharat had trained several suspects with links to the Sanatan Sanstha who are believed to have killed the journalist, PTI reported.The investigators denied either Abhinav Bharat or Thakur had links to Lankesh’s murder. “SIT has not found in its investigation or mentioned in the chargesheet any link to Sadhvi Pragya, Malegaon blasts, Abhinav Bharat,” the SIT said in a statement. “There is no evidence to suggest the same. No documents purporting the same have been submitted to the court.”
Bhushan urges SC to review Rafale deal order
New Delhi: The Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan on Thursday told the court that its judgement in the Rafale deal issue should be recalled and reviewed since it was obtained by the Govt through "multiple falsehoods and suppression of material" and relevant information.  In a rejoinder in the case filed by former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha, he dismissed the contention of the govt against review of the judgement on grounds of national security, that the petitioners cannot ask for a roving and fishing inquiry on the basis of "subsequent" media reports and that the CAG had not found any wrongdoing in his report. Bhushan maintained that CBI did not take any action on the petitioners' plea for a CBI probe into the Rafale deal and their prayer was dismissed as if they were seeking a cancellation of the contract or review of the contract. He said the procurement contract suffered from various problems like the ex post facto AON was granted on May 13, 2015 after the announcement of the deal on April 10 of the same year and that parallel negotiations were being conducted by officials in PMO which were objected to by the Defence Ministry. The rejoinder affidavit also said there were objections of the ministries of Law and Defence to the removal of various Standard Clauses of the contract such as Sovereign Guarantee and Seat of Arbitration considered necessary for the deal as it was an Inter Govt Agreement. timesofindia
Dubai firm linked to Zakir Naik sold in 2017 over ‘negative publicity’ in media
Mumbai :In its chargesheet filed last week against Zakir Naik’s IRF, Enforcement Directorate has relied on a statement of a close aide of the preacher, claiming that one of his media companies was sold in 2017 due to the “negative publicity” in the Indian media and an economic slowdown in Middle East.The ED had recorded multiple statements of Najmuddin Sathak, an alleged Naik aide, who was arrested in March this year.ED has claimed that Sathak, a Tamil Nadu-based jeweller, was one of the directors of Dubai-based Global Broadcasting Corporation (GBS), which telecasts Naik’s speeches through Peace TV and other content provided by Naik’s Harmony Media Private Limited.According to the ED, a probe had shown that the GBS was established in 2006 and was linked to Naik.indian express
Deoband ulemas want Agnivesh to apologise for 'scary' burqa remark
Muzaffarnagar: Swami Agnivesh’s remark that “women in burqa look like some other scary creature and the sight is frightening” did not go down well with the Muslim scholars and ulemas in UP’s Deoband. Deoband-based ulemas have now hit back at Swami Agnivesh for making the controversial statement and asked him to tender an apology for “hurting the sentiments of the minority community”. The noted scholar’s recent burqa comment came during his campaign for Congress in MP. “Women in burqa look like some other scary creature and the sight is frightening. The entire world must ban burqa,”Agnivesh had said. Muslim ulemas in Deoband have slammed Agnivesh and strongly condemned the statement. Qari Ishaq Gora, a Muslim scholar, said: “Nowadays, politics is being played on burqa across the country. This is against democracy and our fundamental right. Some people drag religious subjects into controversy for their own political gains.” “The election commission should take cognizance against people like Agnivesh and [BJP leader] Sangeet Som, and strong action should be taken for their publicly incorrect remarks,” scholar added. Mufti Asad Qasmi, said that Agnivesh stands exposed with his “poisonous” talk. “Swami has proved that he is a BJP-RSS man. We want to tell him that we had a good image of you in our mind. But, with your toxic words we now came to know that you are also like RSS and BJP,” said Qasmi. Warning against any kind of burqa ban, Mufti Asad Qasmi said, “We will not tolerate this kind of demand. If Agnivesh does not make an apology for his remark, we will go against him.”“Banning burqa is a direct attack against the religious beliefs of a particular community. Terrorists have no religion. We condemn the ghastly attacks [in Sri Lanka] but at the same time an entire community should not be persecuted,” said Mufti Arshad Farooqi. TOI
I’m a watch seller, not terror suspect: Riyaz Ahmed
Bengaluru:Standing outside Upparpet police station where he had come to file a complaint, Riyaz Ahmed, 60, was full of questions arising from fear. “Can you imagine the trauma my wife and children are facing? What if something goes wrong?What if someone attacks me? I’m the breadwinner of my 10-member family, who’ll care for them?”he asked. Ahmed, resident of Gangondanahalli in Chandra Layout,said his photograph is being wrongly aired by television channels as a ‘terror suspect’ seen at Majestic Metro station.A wristwatch seller on the pavements of Gandhinagar, Ahmed is the father of seven children, including four girls. Some of the children are married and live elsewhere. Besides his wife and kids, Ahmed’s sister-in-law and aunt live with him in a two-bedroom rented accommodation On Monday, Ahmed had passed the security check counter at the Metro station just 30 seconds before the man who refused to undergo a security check after the metal detector beeped during his body scan. On Wednesday, 2 vernacular channels beamed Ahmed’s picture, saying he’s the “terror suspect”. Ahmed learned about this from a neighbour. “Since it is Ramzan, there were a few relatives and friends at home. When my neighbour told me about this, I switched on the TV and was shocked to see the news. I was projected as a terror suspect. Worse, the news readers explained that I have come to the city to do something similar to what happened in Sri Lanka,” Ahmed said. Ahmed, who has been selling watches for three decades now, says he was born and raised in the same area. “I’ve made my living here and will die here. This is my motherland and I never thought one day I’ll be projected as a terror suspect,” he said. His wife and sister-in-law broke down after watching the news, and are scared that the public will attack him. While they asked him to stay indoors, Ahmed felt it’s important that he meet police and explain things.TOI
Pakistani Hamdard offers to help overcome India’s RoohAfza shortage during Ramzan
New Delhi: There may be some respite for Indian Muslims fasting in the holy month of Ramzan after all, if the Govt of India allows it.In response to reports about the popular drink RoohAfza being off the market during Ramzan, head of Hamdard Laboratories Waqf Pakistan has offered to supply it to India through the Wagah border.The offer was made a few hours after the report was published Tuesday. The report revealed why the sherbet, manufactured by India’s Hamdard Laboratories, had gone off the market.Breaking the fast in the evening with RoohAfza has been a tradition among many Muslims in India, especially in the north. Usama Qureshi, MD and CEO of Pak Hamdard, tweeted: “We can supply RoohAfza and RoohAfzaGO to India during this Ramzan. We can easily send trucks through Wahga(sic) border if permitted by Indian Govt.” In another tweet, he mentioned how Pak Hamdard, the company that manufactures the drink is growing by leaps and bounds.In another tweet, he mentioned how Pakistani Hamdard, the company that manufactures the drink is growing by leaps and bounds.theprint
Rooh Afza crisis hits Indian market; popular cold drink disappears from the market
'Indian Campuses Under Siege' Says Fact-Finding Jury of Human Rights Defenders
New Delhi: In the last few years, the number of universities in Gujarat has swelled from 15 to over 50. “But these universities have no buildings, professors, vice chancellors, clerks, registrars, etc. Several of them are said to be in primary Govt schools or in tehsildar’s office.”Professor Hemant Kumar Shah, of the well-known H.K. Arts College of Ahmedabad, stated this to a fact-finding jury put together by a nation-wide collective of human rights defenders called People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space in India (PCSDS), to delve into state of university campuses since 2014.Professor Hemant also added that the shortage of teachers “was so bad” in his state that he was asked by his head “to teach environmental science to all second semester students in the college together in the hall which has a seating capacity of 735 people, since the college didn’t have enough teachers to take division-wise classes”.In Feb, Shah was in the news for resigning from his post as the in-charge principal of the college protesting the trust body’s decision to cancel an event in the institution featuring its alumnus Jignesh Mewani. Ramakant, a student of the fine arts department of Patna University could identify with Shah’s outlook on the shortage of teachers in Govt-funded universities and colleges, mainly stemming from an increased cut in funding. Ramakant and fellow students have been demanding the appointment of permanent teachers among other facilities in their university for some time now. He told the jury members comprising PCSDS’ People’s Tribunal on Attacks on Educational Institutions in India that,“The university doesn’t have any permanent teacher and even the ad-hoc teacher has been removed.”The state of Delhi University is marginally different, he said, because although there are 5000 vacancies, “almost all are filled with or operated by ad-hoc teachers.”thewire
‘Grave injustice’: Arun Shourie on clean chit to CJI
New Delhi:The Judges of In-House Inquiry Committee of the apex court, which gave clean chit to CJI Ranjan Gogoi on the allegations of sexual harassment against him, has done grave “injustice to the complainant, CJI and the Supreme Court as an institution,” former Union Minister Arun Shourie said.Shourie alleged that the members of the inquiry panel were acting as the “members of a club”.“In the current controversy in sexual harassment allegations made against the CJI, the three judges who were asked to investigate the matter have behaved like the members of a club. They have done grave injustice to the complainant, CJI and to the SC as an institution,” he said. He said that because of the infirmities in the whole procedure of dealing with the allegations, doubts will always linger that the three members of the committee were shielding the CJI which will corrode the credibility.HT
Differences crop up between RSS leaders, groups over women’s entry in Sabarimala Temple
Differences have cropped in RSS over the Supreme Court’s verdict allowing women of all ages into Kerala’s Sabarimala temple as some senior leaders have called for changes in age-old rituals and suggested intervention by religious leaders to take a decision. But Sabarimala Karma Samithi, an apex body of Hindu outfits that spearheaded the agitation against the top court’s verdict in September last year, and Ready to Wait activists have vehemently opposed the stance. Both took to social media to vent out their ire.Ready to Wait is a collective of women floated after the top court gave its judgment and have said they will enter the hilltop shrine only after they attain the permissible age.It all began after senior RSS leader and former all-India boudhik pramukh R Hari’s articles in RSS-supported weekly Kesari exhorting religious leaders to help change some of the ‘outdated’ customs and rituals in the community. Hari had also written an article hailing the Supreme Court verdict in RSS mouthpiece ‘Janmabhumi’ last year.Hindu Ikya Vedi leader RV Babu had also supported him, saying “these changes should come from religious leaders, not from the govt.”But for Sabarimala Karma Samiti and Ready to Wait, the suggestions were difficult to digest and they came out openly against the senior leader. Sanku T Das, one of the vocal leaders, alleged in his Facebook post that Hari has a personal interest in supporting the entry of all women in Sabarimala.HT

Other Backward Classes: Centre’s panel to seek 8-10% OBC sub-quota
The commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes is all set to recommend a fixed quota, possibly between 8 and 10%  of 27% OBC quota for about 1,900 of the 2,633 castes on the central list, Indian Express has learnt.Presently, half of these 1,900-odd castes have availed less than 3%  of reservation in jobs and education, and the rest availed zero benefits during the last 5 years.The central Govt had appointed the Commission under Justice (Retd) G Rohini on Oct.2, 2017, and after several extensions to its term, its report is almost complete in time for the expiry of its term on May 31.indian express
Over 100 Hindu inmates of prisons in Delhi join Muslims in observing roza
New Delhi: Over 100 Hindu inmates of prisons in Delhi are observing roza, the dawn-to-dusk fast during Ramzan, along with Muslim prisoners.In a statement, the Tihar prison administration said out of 16,665 inmates lodged in 16 central jails of Delhi prisons, 2,658 prisoners are observing rozas. Out of these 2,658 inmates, 110 are Hindus.There are 31 Hindu women inmates and 12 Hindu adolescent inmates observing the fast during the holy month of Ramzan, the statement read. According to prison authorities, 'langar' timings have been modified to ensure availability of prescribed meals for 'sehri' and other prayers."Inmate canteens have been stocked with Rooh Afza, dates and fresh fruits which can be purchased by inmates. Arrangements for 'roza iftar' have been made in all central jails," the authorities said.Religious and charitable organisations have been permitted to make visits to conduct prayers and 'roza iftar' with inmates, subject to usual security precautions, they said.PTI
Suspected Rohingya Refugees, Including Women, Boys, Sent To Shelter Homes    
Aizawl: 12 suspected Rohingya refugees, who were rescued in Mizoram’s Aizawl 3 days ago allegedly from a human trafficking gang, have been shifted to state-run shelter homes, a senior police officer said.A group of eight women and four boys was arrested from the house of a local woman in Aizawl on Sunday for living in India without valid travel documents.The woman, who had hosted the group, told police that she provided them shelter as a favour to her cousin in Tahan, Myanmar.She also said that it was the fifth time that people took refuge at her home, before being sent to Myanmar.“While the boys were sent to a home for orphans, the women were moved to another protected shelter home, both maintained by the state social welfare department.PTI
‘Most damaging effect of majoritarianism on India’s polarised democracy is undermining of rule of law’
In their book, ‘Majoritarian State: How Hindu Nationalism is Changing India’, anthropologists Angana P. Chatterji and Thomas Blom Hansen along with political scientist Christophe Jaffrelot make an elaborate analysis of the socio-cultural and political changes that the country is witnessing post BJP’s sweeping victory in 2014.“Triumph of BJP in 2014 brought about two unprecedented events: never had the Hindu nationalist movement won an absolute majority in Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, and never had this movement, known for its hostility to the personalisation of power and for its collegial governance, been so influenced by one politician, Narendra Modi,” they write in the introductory chapter of the book.In an interview,Chatterji and Hansen discuss their new book, why they feel that the recent wave of Hindu nationalist ideology is different and more worrisome than what existed before, as well as how this phenomenon is impacting India. They said, "The most damaging effect of majoritarianism on India’s polarised democracy is the undermining of the rule of law. Law enforcement in India has always been fairly ineffective and biased against the poor and minority communities. Layered onto that, since 1960s, following each episode of mass violence (such as in Gujarat 2002, Odisha 2007-08, and UP  2013), arbitrariness and inadequacies of ad hoc commissions and central and state human rights bodies to respond to the crisis and contain majoritarian nationalism have become endemic.Further, the legal institutionalisation of state impunity in ‘disturbed’/conflict areas, such as the AFSPA that is in force in Kashmir and the Northeast have created extraordinary situations. These tendencies are compounded in today’s political climate, as the ruling party uses the police and other state agencies for blatantly partisan ends and as it allows majority vigilante violence against minorities to flourish across the country.The distinct feature of India’s majoritarian state is that the state does not need to execute any threats. In fact, it has abdicated its monopoly on violence. Instead, RSS and its allies have weaponised civil society. This is where the threat of unaccountable violence comes from. The effect is chilling and sends 3 clear messages: those opposing Govt cannot expect to be protected by the law and are vulnerable to attacks by ubiquitous vigilantes, internet trolls, etc; might is right, i.e. only those with political clout, and a mass following, can expect some measure of protection maybe even justice; the de facto tolerance of Hindu vigilantism signals that there is a ‘right’ way to be a Hindu, that every Hindu ought to be a nationalist; that the life of a Hindu always is more valuable than that of a non-Hindu; and, that one can kill non-Hindus with impunity. This can only encourage more unaccountable and rogue violence. This undermining of the rule of law and promotion of public violence as a legitimate instrument of politics is the biggest threat to Indian democracy, and a major threat to the social and political freedoms that so many people in India have come to desire and cherish." indian exprss
‘PM is lying about INS Viraat incident; check with Bachchan in case of doubt’: Wajahat Habibullah
Yet another lie of PM Narendra Modi that Rajiv Gandhi had used Indian Navy's aircraft carrier INS Viraat for a vacation to Lakshwadeep is rubbished by the one who should know. Wajahat Habibullah was the Adminstrator of Lakshwadeep and had hosted then PM .Debunking all of this is Habibullah, who was the Administrator of Lakshadweep Islands, from August 1987 onwards. Lakshadweep is governed by an administrator appointed by the President of India.“I left PMO in Aug.1987 and I was in Lakshadweep as the administrator. As the administrator, I had to organise a meeting of the Island Development Authority in Kavaratii, one of the islands of Lakshadweep.The previous meeting had taken place in Andamans in 1986, and now it was the turn of Lakshadweep,” explains Habibullah.nationalheraldindia
No ships specially diverted for personal use of Gandhis: Retd Admiral on PM’s INS Viraat remark
New Delhi :A day after PM  Narendra Modi accused the then PM  Rajiv Gandhi of using INS Viraat for his ‘personal holiday trips’, former chief of Naval Staff Admiral L Ramdas (retd) refuted Modi’s claim and said no ships were specially diverted for the personal use of Gandhi family.In a press statement today, Admiral L Ramdas (retd) said: “No ships were specially diverted for the personal use of the Gandhi family. Only one small helicopter was left at Kavratti to meet any emergency medical requirements of PM and his wife.”“I am drawing on written responses from V Admiral Pasricha – then Capt and commanding officer INS Viraat, Admiral Arun Prakash– commanding INS Vindhyagiri, which was accompanying INS Viraat, and Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh – commanding officer of INS Ganga. I am also referring to a note from an officer who was then Naval Officer in Charge of Lakshwadeep islands,” statement further read.The press statement, which highlights the events of Dec.1987, said that Rajiv Gandhi and his wife Sonia Gandhi were on board INS Viraat and enroute Lakshadweep to chair a meeting of the Islands Development Authority from Trivandrum. Ramdas said that he had hosted a dinner for the Gandhis onboard INS Viraat, adding that there were no other parties or any other ship during that time.indianexpress
INS Viraat: Naval officers debunk PM Modi’s claim
SC Upholds EC's Move to Reject Ex-BSF Jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav's Varanasi Nomination
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today rejected the plea of sacked BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, challenging Election Commission's decision to reject his nomination papers from Varanasi Lok Sabha seat.A bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi said, "we do not find any grounds to entertain the plea of Yadav".Advocate Prashant Bhushan,appearing for Yadav, said, as per earlier verdict of the apex court, the election petition can be filed during enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct. Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for ECI, also referred to various apex court judgments and said election petitions can only be filed after polls are over as it would vitiate the electoral process.At the fag end of the hearing, Bhushan sought liberty from the court to file an election petition after polling is over."We have done what we could have done. We find no grounds to entertain this petition," the court said.Yadav, who was dismissed in 2017 after he posted a video online complaining about the food served to troops, was fielded by SP as its candidate from the Varanasi seat against  PM  Narenda Modi.Yadav, in his plea, had termed the decision of the poll panel discriminatory and unreasonable and had said it should be set aside.PTI
BJP bid to ‘bribe’ journalists: J&K Police register FIR
Jammu:J&K police has registered an FIR against “a group of persons” in connection with an alleged attempt by several BJP leaders to bribe media persons in Leh last week,just ahead of polling in the constituency.A group of 7 journalists had alleged last week that senior BJP leaders including state chief Ravinder Raina and MLC Vikram Randhawa had tried to bribe them after a press conference on May 2 by handing them envelopes that contained cash to get them to favour BJP in their poll narrative.According to sources, police registered FIR on directions of a local court. Police had approached the court with a complaint forwarded by District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Leh, Avny Lavasa. Lavasa had forwarded the complaint to the police after a fact finding inquiry ordered by her found prima facie merit in the allegations.indianexpress
'Did Congress Waive Off Farm Loans?' Asks Smriti Irani, Attendees Say 'Yes' In MP
Political leaders, while delivering speeches at their rallies, often seek validation from the attendees. PM  Narendra Modi, the communicator-in-chief of the ruling BJP, is a prime example of it. Union Minister Smriti Irani followed in his footsteps but faced an embarrassing situation on Wednesday when at a rally in Madhya Pradesh's Ashok Nagar, she sought some answers of the audience."During the campaign for the assembly elections, the Congress promised to waive off farm loans. Did they do it? Were your loans waived off?" Smriti asked.Contrary to her belief, the answer was surprising and ignominious for the minister. A large section among the attendees, started chanting, "ho gaya, ho gaya" (yes, it's done, it's done), suggesting the Congress had already delivered its poll promise.Irani had to stop her speech for a good 30 seconds before asking the next question. The video of the blooper was posted by Congress (MP) on its Twitter handle which was shared by many social media users.outlookindia
Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Warns of Shift from Left to BJP, but It May Be Too Late
In districts across West Bengal, Left supporters, specifically CPI(M) supporters, are marching with saffron flags, and chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” alongside BJP candidates.In an interview to CPI(M) mouthpiece Ganasakti,ex CM  Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee warned the people of West Bengal, “There is no use in leaping from a TMC frying pan into the BJP’s fireplace.”Describing BJP’s rise in the state as a “danger”, Bhattacharjee said, “In some places, the danger is already present. Our task is to bring back the people from this self-destruct mode.”Diverging from the party’s stance, Bhattacharjee said in Lok Sabha polls, the principal opponent is BJP, rather than Mamata Banerjee’s TMC. Other CPI(M) leaders have insisted that TMC – which routed the Left from it’s 3-decade rule in the state – and BJP are two sides of the same coin.Left veteran and former CPI(M) politburo member has serious respiratory illness and his eyesight is fading, keeping him away from active public life.Across Bengal, erstwhile Left supporters are drifting towards the saffron party, despite their diametrically opposite ideologies.The red brigade is losing sheen, both in terms of organisational structure and popularity with the masses. The crossing over is fulled by the allure of money in some cases and strong disdain for arch-rivals TMC, or both.Political commentators believe that the Left’s West Bengal poll strategy was misplaced from the start, and helped BJP.Maidul Islam, who teaches political science at Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, told The Wire, “Left is attacking BJP and TMC with the same intensity. Equating them is a wrong formulation and may backfire.”Islam explained that considering this is a Lok Sabha election, Left’s principal opponent should have been BJP and not TMC. From the Left’s election campaign, it is understood that “they (Left) made TMC their primary opponent and went a little soft on BJP” Islam said.thewire
‘No PM Ever Stooped This Low’: 200 DU Teachers Slam Modi for Rajiv Gandhi Remarks
New Delhi:Over 200 Delhi University teachers have issued a public statement condemning PM  Narendra Modi for making “derogatory and untrue” remarks about former PM Rajiv Gandhi. Their statement came after Modi in a rally on Saturday targeted Congress president Rahul Gandhi on the Rafale issue and said “your father was termed ‘Mr Clean’ by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrashtachari No 1′ (corrupt number 1).”“Modi has lowered the dignity of the office of the PM  by making derogatory and untrue remarks about late Rajivji, who made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation,” the statement issued Monday night and signed by 207 teachers read.No PM  has ever “stooped” to this level through such actions as has Modi, it said.The statement has also been tweeted by the Gandhi family’s close aide and Congress leader Sam Pitroda.The statement was also signed by ex-Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Aditya Narayan Misra, 2 DU executive council members, 3 academic council members, DUTA vice president and joint secretary, and a member of the varsity’s finance committee. caravandaily
Nobody has courage to make movie on Prophet:Giriraj
New Delhi,: Hours after a Bihar court granted him bail in a poll code violation case for making controversial remarks against the Muslim community, Union minister Giriraj Singh made another provocative statement. In an apparent reference to the controversial Malayalam movie, the minister said anybody can make a film like "Sexy Durga" but nobody has the courage to make one on Prophet Mohammed or Fatima. Giriraj Singh was addressing a public meeting in support of BJP's South Delhi candidate Ramesh Bidhuri. PTI
VVPAT verification may delay 2019 Lok Sabha election results to May 24: EC sources
The Lok Sabha elections results may be delayed a day due to an increased number of VVPAT verifications, sources in the Election Commission said ."As per the previous plan, the results of the elections are scheduled to be declared on May 23. But results may be delayed and the final results may be declared to May 24 due to an increased number of VVPAT verifications," the official said, requesting anonymity.Explaining the reason behind the delay, the EC official said that an increase in the number of VVPAT verification from one to five polling booths in each Assembly segment of a Parliamentary constituency, as directed by the apex court on April 8, could delay the counting by more than five-six hours and the final tally is likely to be clear on May 24.  IANS
Video of EVMs being taken out of Amethi strongroom causes panic
A video of EVMs being taken out of a strongroom in Amethi in UP  and loaded on a truck has caused panic among Congress supporters in the area. Congress President Rahul Gandhi is seeking re-election from here with Union Minister Smriti Irani contesting opposite him as the BJP candidate.In the viral video, which has been reported by Jagran newspaper, Amar Ujala, News18 and many other publications, a man is seen carrying EVMs from the strongroom to a truck, parked nearby. A man, who is being described as a Congress supporter, appears in front of the camera to term the activity hugely suspicious since the authorities had not informed the members of different parties for the movement of these EVMs.The strongroom in question, according to media reports, is situated inside the Manishi girls’ school in Gauriganj area of Amethi.jantakareporter
EU rejects Iran N-deal 'ultimatum', regrets US sanctions
European Union has rejected Iran's 60-day "ultimatum", referring to Tehran's decision to quit parts of the 2015 nuclear agreement a year after the US withdrew from the landmark accord signed with major world powers, including the EU.In a joint statement with the foreign ministries of France, the United Kingdom and Germany, the EU urged Iran to respect the nuclear deal, and said they regretted fresh US sanctions imposed on Tehran. The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was designed to curb Iran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief."We strongly urge Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the JCPoA in full as it has done until now and to refrain from any escalatory steps," the statement read."We reject any ultimatums and we will assess Iran's compliance on the basis of Iran's performance regarding its nuclear-related commitments under JCPoA." Tehran announced it would resume high-level enrichment of uranium if world powers do not keep their promises under the deal.aljazeera
Trump and Kushner being sued for keeping Saudi meetings off the record                               
A lawsuit has been filed against US President Donald Trump and his son in law, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, alleging their failure to keep records of meetings with foreign Govt officials, including some from Saudi Arabia.The lawsuit was filed yesterday in a District of Columbia Court by three different institutions including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). On its website, the group describes itself as a non-profit organisation of lawyers seeking to “reduce the influence of money in politics and help foster a Govt that is ethical and accountable.”Details of numerous instances where Trump and Kushner are said to have broken the law have been cited, including five meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Note takers were also absent during Kushner’s meetings with top Saudi officials. The lawsuit describes Kushner as having several meetings recently in Riyadh that “excluded State Department officials, thereby avoiding the creation of a record of his conversations.”middleeastmonitor
Rights Groups Decry China's Ban on Fasting During Ramadan:VOA
Rights groups are calling for greater international attention on the Chinese Govt due to recent cases of alleged rights abuses, including the latest clampdown in Xinjiang to ban Uighurs, young and old, from fasting or observing Ramadan, which starts this week.They also denounced Beijing's treatment of prominent rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been held incommunicado since 2015.In Xinjiang, Uighur households are asked to keep an eye on one another and will receive collective punishment if any of them is found to be fasting, according to Dilxat Raxit, spokesman for the exile, Germany-headquartered World Uighur Congress.Even local officials or pro-Beijing Uighurs are monitored to see if they've truly given up their own religious belief and pledged absolute loyalty to the Communist rule, which sees fasting as "a sign of extremism," Raxit said.VOA
Chinese ambassador denies Xinjiang Muslims banned from fasting during Ramadan
Rumors that China has banned Muslims from northwest China’s Xinjiang Province from fasting during Ramadan were denied in a tweet from the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan on Monday. Starting May 5 and continuing until June 4 (though dates vary), the month of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims all over the world. The Chinese Govt, however, has reportedly banned civil servants, teachers and students from participating in Ramadan since 2015.The Xinjiang Food and Drug Administration has been accused of forcing restaurants and canteens to continue offering food during Ramadan, which is deemed disrespectful to Muslims. China’s ambassador to Pakistan, Zhao Lijian, retorted: “Wasn’t this a story of 2015?” Zhao then went on to explain the fasting restrictions were only for “Communist party members, who are atheists; Govt officials, who shall discharge their duties; students who are with compulsory education & hard learning tasks.” Taiwan News
Scores of Jewish settlers enter J'lem's Aqsa: Official
Scores of Jewish settlers today forced their way into Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound to mark Israel’s “Independence Day”, according to a Palestinian official. “Since today morning,over 130 Jewish extremists have entered the compound to mark the 71st anniversary of Israel’s creation in 1948,” Firas al-Dibs, a spokesman for Jerusalem’s Religious Endowments Authority (Jordan-run authority responsible for overseeing the city's Muslim and Christian holy sites), said. According to al-Dibs, the settlers entered Al-Aqsa -- accompanied by Israeli police -- through the compound’s Al-Mugharbah Gate. “Settlers took a brief tour of the compound, performing Talmudic rituals near the Dome of the Rock Mosque,” he said. Anadolu Agency
Israel forces attack Palestinian worshippers leaving Al-Aqsa
Israeli occupation forces attacked worshippers leading the old city through Damascus Gate after performing night prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque last night.In video which has circulated on social media, occupation officers could be seen assaulting Palestinians in the area before sound bombs and tear gas were used to disperse the peaceful crowds.No injuries were reported.Mounib Mahdi Abu Assab was arrested from his home in the Old City, with eyewitnesses saying he was taken in for interrogation. Thousands of Palestinians performed tarawih, night prayers help during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, at Al-Aqsa Mosque.MEMO
Calls for protests in support of Palestine against ‘attempts to annihilate the cause’
As 71st anniversary of Palestinian Nakba approaches, the Palestinian Forum of Britain (PFB) has called on everyone who believes in freedom and human rights to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people against attempts to “annihilate” their cause.In a statement the group said that since the occupation began, Palestinians have successfully confronted scores of plot and campaigns to eradicate their cause and will continue to do so.The call comes as leaked reports in the Israel press have revealed details of the US’ peace plan, dubbed the “deal of the century”, which will expected to be unveiled next month. The details appear to show that the Palestinians will continue to live under Israel’s military control and be subjected to its rule. They will also suffer the loss of Jerusalem as their capital and large swathes of the occupied West Bank would be annexed by Israel, under the terms of the deal.This, the forum said, “constitutes a great threat to the Palestinian cause unless the world’s free people agree on a stand to confront and defeat it.”middleeastmonitor
‘If attacks continue,’ says Islamic Jihad official, ‘it would take just hours to bomb Israeli cities’
Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziyad Al-Nakhaleh, has insisted that if the battle in Gaza continues, it will take resistance groups just a “few hours” to bomb all Israeli cities. Al-Nakhaleh pointed out that the Israeli occupation forces are targeting civilians in the besieged territory in order to put pressure on the resistance.“What happened in Gaza is a live-fire exercise in preparation for the great battle that we think is inevitably coming,” he added. “However, there are implicit agreements between the Palestinian resistance forces to counterattack immediately when Israel attacks us.”Islamic Jihad official explained that the organisation met with Hamas in Cairo and took decision to activate the joint operations room for resistance counterattacks “We will not accept Israel’s imposition of an equation that enables it to bomb our citizens’ homes while preventing us from responding,” he stressed. Palestinians’ main demand at this stage is to end the siege on Gaza and stop the attacks on the March of Return protests. Adding that the Great March of Return protests will not stop, he said that, “Israel must abide by the commitments it made in understandings with Cairo.”It was these understandings which led to the acceptance of a ceasefire. According to Al-Nakhaleh,resistance groups in Gaza expect another Israeli offensive during the summer as part of an attempt to disarm them. He suggested that efforts are now being made to contain the Gaza Strip with this objective in mind.“Nevertheless, as a resistance organisation, we will fight in any war launched against us with due diligence, readiness and preparation.” MEMO
Taliban attack on US-based aid group raises concern in Kabul
A deadly Taliban attack on a US-based aid group in the Afghan capital has raised concerns among other relief organisations that they could be targeted.Authorities said Wednesday's assault on Counterpart International in Kabul killed at least nine people as fighters set off a huge explosion and battled security forces for over six hours.Anti-poverty group CARE, which has its offices close to Counterpart International, said three of its workers - a driver, a watchman and a technical adviser - were killed in the blast."This attack reflects the increasing dangers of humanitarian work in conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan and the unfortunate daily reality of violence for many Afghan families,"CARE said.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid today said it targeted the NGO because it promoted "western culture", including encouraging the mixing of the genders, which is a taboo for the armed group.Mujahid claimed the US-based organisation was also training Afghan security forces, without elaborating on the allegation. The attack came as Taliban hold talks with US in Qatar.aljazeera
Burqa Ban pushing Muslim women out of Sri lanka’s public spaces
27 year-old Farzana Hussain* from Wellampitiya, a town about 4kms east of Colombo, Sri Lanka, has been wearing the burqa since she was 11. Following the deadly attacks, the Sri Lankan govt banned the covering of face that “hinders the identification of individuals in a way that threatens national security.” Since the ban on April 29,Hussain hasn’t left her house. A schoolteacher by profession, who teaches the Qur'an – the way of reading and memorizing it – she says the ban has made it ‘difficult’ for her to go out.She says she’s lucky that the school holidays haven’t ended yet, but if the ban isn’t lifted by the time schools reopen for the new session, it will be hard for her to teach.“We have been advised to stay at home unless there is a dire need to go out. If I’m not allowed to cover my face, I will stop going out to teach because I prefer covering to teaching,” Hussain says,hoping the ban is lifted soon. Meanwhile, Zareen Rashid* from Colombo is scared that even if the ban is lifted, it will be hard to avoid the racism.“The niqabis are still going to go through racial discrimination and will be asked to remove it in public places. Going out with the niqab after the ban being lifted will be equivalent to walking in hell because people will call you a terrorist. Staying indoors will be a better option than going out,” she says. Rashid hasn’t left her house since the ban. However, she knows she will have to remove her niqab as soon as college begins. She says, wearing it has strengthened her connection with God; making her feel brave and confident, and it hasn’t stopped her from achieving anything she has wanted to. Without her niqab, she says she feels ‘naked’.For 33 year-old Ayesha Muhsin in Colombo, wearing the niqab made her feel safe and secure, even if sometimes she felt she was being judged. “Travelling alone with the niqab is easy, as you don’t feel uncomfortable about the trishaw driver acting funny,” says Muhsin, who has given up wearing the niqab after the ban to make sure her face is very visible but is still faced with suspicious glares because she wears the hijab that covers only her head. But, she believes, not wearing the niqab is equally dangerous. Women like Hussain, Wadood, and Muhsin believe that ban will indeed help with “public protection”, a narrative Lankan govt has sold to its citizens.news18
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Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:38 PM)


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