Sunday, 29 December 2019

FLASH NEWS:CAA stir: Muslim organisations slam CM Yogi for justifying excesses on protestors ; CAA protests: Tourism worst hit, 7 countries issue travel warnings;Will consult states before NRC… may or may not use NPR data for it: Law Minister


CAA stir: Muslim organisations slam CM Yogi for justifying excesses on protestors
NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s justification of  police crackdown on “violent protesters” has not gone down well with Muslims, who said no “secular person” would speak like Adityanath who, they said, was setting a bad example for India’s democractic system.Mohammad Jafar, one of the vice-presidents of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, accused Yogi Adityanath of playing “communal politics” over the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the NRC. “Adiyanath’s actions are setting a bad example for the country and is responsible for bringing bad name to the country globally. This is a democracy and he cannot boast of silencing demonstrators.  Under the name of maintaining law and order, he is defending police firing and violation of human rights. This kind of crackdown cannot be justified,” said Jafar.He said the Uttar Pradesh CM “needs to learn from other states” like Maharashtra which are allowing large- scale protests in a peaceful manner.“Adityanath is living in denial if this is his idea of democracy and governance. This is not a matter of Muslims. It is a matter of saving India’s Constitution, but he is trying to convert the situation into a communal riot situation. He will fail and he won’t be able to suppress people from all religions and regions who are trying to save the Constitution.” Jamiat-Ulama president Arshad Madani also condemned the police’s brutality and the subsequent justification of the same by the CM. The prominent Muslim body aleged that videos on social media and  various news reports on the violence show that police has behaved “cruelly” and “ruthlessly” with protesters and people who were not even protesting.  “Governments are run on communal harmony and not how he is running the state. He is certainly not sounding like a chief minister. No secular person or a person who believes in democracy would make the statements he has made. He is boasting about brutality on the people of his own state,” Madani said.Navaid Hamid, president of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an umbrella body of 18 Muslim organisations, said Aditynath was doing a disservice to the nation with his militant acts and subsequent justification of the same. “This is state terrorism and against the established norms of governance...His brutality is bringing bad name to India and has become a centre of negative reporting across globe,” said Hamid.“Governments are run on communal harmony and not how he is running the state...He is boasting of brutality on the people of his own state, said JuH president Arshad Madani.newindianexpress
CAA protests: Tourism worst hit, 7 countries issue travel warnings
MUMBAI : India's tourism industry has been hit by a wave of violent anti-government protests against a new citizenship law that have rocked several cities this month, with at least seven countries issuing travel warnings.At least 25 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters, and demonstrations against the law continue. Officials estimate about 200,000 domestic and international tourists cancelled or postponed their trip to the Taj Mahal in the past two weeks, one of the world's most popular tourist attractions."There has been a 60% decline in visitor footfalls in December this year," said Dinesh Kumar, a police inspector overseeing a special tourist police station near the Taj Mahal who has access to visitor data. He said the decline was compared to December last year."Indian and foreign tourists have been calling our control rooms to check security. We assure them protection, but many still decide to stay away," said Kumar.The 17th century marble monument is in Uttar Pradesh, the northern state that has witnessed the highest number of deaths and intense bursts of violence in two weeks of unrest.A group of European tourists travelling in a group across India said they now planned to cut short their 20 day trip.The Taj Mahal, situated in the town of Agra, attracts over 6.5 million tourists every year, generating nearly $14 million annually from entrance fees. A foreign tourist pays ₹1,100 (about $15) to enter the grounds, although nationals from neighbouring countries get a discount.Managers in luxury hotels and guest houses around the Taj Mahal said last minute cancellations during the festive season have further dampened business sentiment at a time when the country's economic growth has slowed to 4.5%, its slowest pace in more than six years.In a bid to clamp down on violence and unrest, authorities have suspended mobile internet services in Agra. "Blocking the internet has affected travel and tourism in Agra by about 50-60%," said Sandeep Arora, president of the Agra Tourism Development Foundation that groups over 250 tour operators, hotels and guides.The United States, Britain, Russia, Israel, Singapore, Canada and Taiwan have issued travel advisories asking their citizens to either refrain from visiting or to exercise caution when visiting regions embroiled in India's protests.Jayanta Malla Baruah, the head of the Assam Tourism Development Corp., said the state, home to the world's largest concentration of one-horned rhinoceroses, is visited on average by 500,000 tourists during December."But this time, due to the ongoing protests and travel advisories by various countries, the number is down by 90% if not more."Reuters
"Take Immediate Action": Union Minister On UP Cop's "Go To Pak" Rant
Lucknow: Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has said "action must be taken" against the Uttar Policeman who was seen in a video making communal statements in a Muslim locality in Meerut last Friday. The policemen were dealing with violent protests that had broken out in the city after Friday prayers over the amended citizenship law.In a mobile phone video accessed by NDTV, Akhilesh Narayan Singh, who serves as SP (City) of Meerut, the second in command in the district, can be heard saying "go to Pakistan" to 2 men."If it is true that he made that statement in the video, then it is condemnable. Immediate action must be taken against him," Naqvi said, ANI reported. "Violence at any level, be it by police or by mob, is unacceptable. It can't be a part of a democratic country. Police should take care that those who are innocent should not suffer," the Union Minister said.In the video, police officer Akhilesh Narayan Singh can be seen walking in a narrow lane wearing riot gear. Some other policemen, also in riot gear, are seen walking with him.ndtv
Will consult states before NRC… may or may not use NPR data for it: Law Minister
New Delhi :Speaking about the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the NRC plan that have sparked protests across the country, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that a “proper legal process” will be followed for a nation-wide NRC, including consultation with state governments, and that “some” data collected for National Population Register (NPR) “may or may not be used” for NRC.His remarks, in a detailed interview to Sunday Express, assume significance as more than half-a-dozen state governments, including Bihar, led by BJP ally JD(U), have opposed implementation of a nation-wide NRC. At least two have also said they won’t allow NPR as it might lead to an NRC. Asked when the NRC would be implemented, Prasad said, “A position has to be taken. There is a legal process. First a decision, second a notification, then the process, the verification, the objection, the hearing of the objection, right of appeal. There will be a consultation with the state government, feedback will be taken. If anything is to be done, it will be done publicly. Nothing will be a secret on an NRC.”On documents that would be acceptable for a nation-wide NRC, Prasad said no decision had been taken on this.Defending the Centre’s decision to initiate a fresh NPR, Prasad said this was necessary as the Census data “cannot be made public” to any authority and the NPR data would be used to frame policies for delivery of welfare schemes. “NRC is a different concept altogether… The Citizenship (Registration of Citizen and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, talk about NPR… There is need for an NPR because Census details cannot be made public to any authority, but the NPR is required to frame policies for the delivery of welfare schemes.” indianexpress
BJP To Reach Out To Dalit Community Over Citizenship Law: Report
New Delhi: To counter opposition against the Citizenship Amendment Act, the BJP will hold a meeting on Sunday with members of the Scheduled Caste community leaders and highlight how the new law has benefitted the community whose members had come to India after facing persecution in Pakistan. The party has decided to make the Scheduled Caste (SC) community aware of the benefits of the CAA and reach out to intellectuals, doctors, academicians and professionals from the community to make them aware of the benefits that have accrued to the members of the community.The meeting will be addressed by BJP working president JP Nadda where MPs from the scheduled caste community are also expected to be present. Prominent personalities of the community and elected representatives would also attend the meeting.ANI

Complaint filed in NHRC regarding manhandling of Priyanka Gandhi in Lucknow
New Delhi:Acomplaint has been filed in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding the alleged manhandling of Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra by Uttar Pradesh police in Lucknow on Saturday.Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday alleged that she was strangulated by a UP policewoman while on her way to meet the family of former IPS officer SR Darapuri and was also pushed due to which she fell down.Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also alleged that the Yogi Adityanath government supported the actions of the Uttar Pradesh Police against her when she was stopped from meeting ex-IPS officer SR Darapuri's family members and also manhandled by the cops in Lucknow on Saturday. Priyanka Gandhi said she was manhandled by Uttar Pradesh Police personnel who also grabbed her by her throat and pushed her when she resisted their attempts to stop her from visiting the house of retired IPS officer SR Darapuri.ANI
Priyanka alleges manhandling by police on way to residence of ex-IPS officer

FIR against SHO, 5 other cops for Bijnor death during protests
Lucknow :An FIR has been lodged against 6 policemen, including the then Station House Officer of Nahtaur police station, Rajesh Singh Solanki, over the death of 20-year-old Mohammad Suleiman in UP’s Bijnor district during the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.Satya Prakash Singh, who replaced Solanki as SHO, said that apart from Solanki, local outpost in-charge Ashish Tomar, constable Mohit Kumar and three other “unidentified” policemen have been named in the FIR filed by Suleiman’s brother Shoaib.Singh said Solanki has now been transferred to DCRB. Bijnor Additional SP (Rural) Vishwajeet Srivastava said Solanki has been transferred from the Nahtaur police station “because he was injured and could not work”.In what was the first admission of firing by the UP Police during the protests, Sanjeev Tyagi, SP, Bijnor, had confirmed on December 23 that Suleiman had died after he was shot by constable Mohit Kumar in “self-defence”.Suleiman, a final-year under-graduate student who was staying with his maternal uncle in Noida to prepare for UPSC exams, had come to Nahtaur since he was down with fever, his family said.indianexpress

Amid CAA, NRC fears, rush to apply for birth certificates in Malegaon, other towns
Mumbai :Amidst large-scale protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and fears of a nationwide NRC, at least four municipalities — Malegaon in Maharashtra, Kolkata, and Surat and Modasa in Gujarat — have reported a rise in applications for birth certificates.Soon after Assam published the final NRC in September, excluding 19,06,657 people, hundreds of kilometres away, in the Maharashtra town of Malegaon, several prominent mosques circulated a list of 23 essential identity documents and urged locals to ensure that have their papers in place and that they bore no errors.From 2,000 applications for birth certificates received by the Malegaon Municipal Corporation in August, the figure rose to 12,000 in September, 12,500 in October and 12,800 in November, records obtained by Sunday Express from the health department showed. This month alone, as of December 26, the Corporation had received 13,000 applications.Malegaon Municipal Commissioner Kishor Borde said that while he could not comment on the reasons for the rise in applications, he admitted that the town’s Muslim residents were putting identification documents together fearing the effects of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and a nationwide NRC.indianexpress
Maharashtra: Peaceful dharna against CAA, NRC in Dhule
Mumbai :More than 20,000 people cutting across all religions Saturday gathered in Dhule town to hold a peaceful protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the NRC.The demonstration, organised by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Dhule, was attended by members of all major political parties.Dhule SP Vishwas Pandhare said the protest was held between 11 am 2 pm, at the heart of the town. “Protesters carried out a peaceful dharna. We received great cooperation from the organisers and nothing untoward took place,” he said.Shawwal Ansari, vice-president of Jamiat in Dhule, said protesters handed over a memorandum, addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind, to the tehsildar at the end of the protest.The Jamiat claimed that more than 50,000 people gathered at a 2-km stretch during the protest.indianexpress
Retired IPS officer Darapuri, held over anti-CAA protests, ‘works on rights issues’
Lucknow : Retired IPS officer Sarwan Ram Darapuri, 77, who is among more than 200 people arrested by Lucknow police following violence during protests against the new citizenship law, has been working on rights issues since his retirement from the force in 2003, according to his son and others who have worked with him.He also unsuccessfully contested the last two Lok Sabha elections.The police have booked Darapuri, 1972-batch IPS officer, along with 34 others.Darapuri, who is lodged in Lucknow district jail since December 21, comes from Punjab’s Jalandhar district. He retired as Inspector General in UP Police, his last posting being the Police Training Centre, Sitapur.Post-retirement, he works to provide support to social justice movements on issues such as human rights, and rights of women, tribals, Dalits and minorities, among others, according to people close to him. He was involved in work on empowering the poor and the deprived communities, they said.He is also state president of Mazdoor Kisan Manch, and founder-member of Dr Ambedkar Mahasabha.“Darapuri founded Dr Ambedkar Mahasabha while being in services,” People’s Front’s state vice-president, Dinkar Kapoor, said. Darapuri was earlier associated with civil society organisations such as PUCL, Jan Sangharsh Morcha, Right to Food Committee in UP, Society for Promoting Buddhist Knowledge, among others, Kapoor said. His son Ved Kumar, 50, a businessman, said, “My father works on different rights issues. He participated in several protests and was detained by the police earlier, but this is the first time he was arrested and sent to jail.”Ved Kumar said the family is worried about his father’s health, as he was not keeping well for the last one week. indianexpress

Muslim organisations protest against CAA-NRC in Chennai
CHENNAI: After series of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) last week, which kept police on edge, another round of protests was witnessed on Friday, as members of Islamic Jamaath Federation demonstrated against CAA and NRC in Washermenpet.The protesters, led by the Washermenpet area jamaath federation, gathered on Cemetery Road in Old Washermenpet around 1.30pm after Friday prayers.Police said that at least 1,200 people came together and raised slogans for about 2 hours against the BJP and Centre for implementing the Act. Many women and children volunteered to take part in the agitation and held placards and banners opposing CAA and NRC.They also raised slogans against the AIADMK and PMK, which voted in favour of implementing CAA and NRC in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath has planned a massive rally towards Raj Bhavan in Guindy around 10.30am on Saturday. The protesters have planned to gather near the Alandur court and proceed towards Raj Bhavan opposing CAA and NRC, which they said divides people based on their religion and is aimed at alienating native inhabitants, according to a press release.TOI

7 detained in Chennai for drawing anti-CAA rangoli on streets, released later
Chennai police have detained 5 individuals from the Besant Nagar area on Sunday morning for drawing rangolis or kolams on the streets to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC and the NPR.The police detained the protesters and took them to the station citing ‘unlawful assembly’. They were kept in a community hall next to the J5 Shastri Nagar police station. According to The News Minute, those detained include four women and one man -Gayathri, Arthi, Kalyani,Pragathi and Madan. The police also detained two advocates who later went to the police station.freepressjournal

CAA, NRC Part Of Their Agenda For Hindu Rashtra: P. Chidambaram
Former home minister P. Chidambaram speaking on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, said, "CAA violates the Constitution of India, specifically Article 14. It is under-inclusive, unequal, discriminatory and opposed to constitutional morality. Hence the opposition from all sections of people. We have posed some questions to those who supported the amendment. I did so in my speech in the Rajya Sabha. We have not got satisfactory answers. Unless those questions are answered to people’s satisfaction, we have to assume the government does not have good answers. Many eminent scholars and lawyers believe the law will be struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. That is also my view." He continued, "We are not inciting the Muslims, or any other section, to revolt against the law. The overwhelming majority of protestors are not Muslims; they are Hindus or belong to other non-Islamic faiths. Some are agnostics or atheists. To call the protestors Muslims and accuse others of inciting Muslims reveals the BJP’s narrow and closed mind. When CAA is implemented, you will realise it was a carefully designed plan to discriminate against Muslims. The burden will fall heavily on Muslims. The impact of NRC and CAA will be to identify and exclude Muslims. The evil consequences will also fall on others like Tamil Hindus migrating from Sri Lanka and Christians migrating from Bhutan. This is part of the agenda of pushing the idea of a Hindu Rashtra. All those who believe in a plural, inclusive and non-discriminatory society should push back on the plan."outlookindia

Only those who say Bharat Mata ki jai can stay in India: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan
Pune :Amidst continuing protests over the new citizenship law and a proposed nationwide NRC, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Saturday said that only those who are ready to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” should be allowed to live in India.Addressing the 54th state conference of ABVP, the student wing of RSS, Pradhan on Saturday said, “Aaj desh ke saamne chunauti kya hai? Ek taraf desh me nagarikta… ginti kiya jayega ki nahi kiya jayega? Kya Udham Singh ki balidan bekar jayegi? Kya Bhagat Singh ki balidan bekar jayegi? Kya Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose ki balidan bekar jayegi? Kya is desh ki karoro asankhya janata jo swatantra sangram me ladai kiye the… isiliye ki aazaadi ke 70 saal ke baad is desh is vishay pe vichar karega ki nagarikta ke baare me hum gine ki na gine? Kya is desh ko hum dharamshala banayenge? Kya is desh ko jo aaye woh reh payega? Is vishay pe chunautiyan hame sweekar karna padega. Is vichar ko spasht karna padega. Bharat me Bharat Mata ki Jai kehna hi padega. Aise log hi reh payenge (What is challenge before this country today? On one side, this country’s citizenship… to be counted or not? Would Udham Singh’s sacrifice go in vain? Would Bhagat Singh’s sacrifice go in vain? Would Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s sacrifice go in vain? Did the crores of people who fought for Independence do so so that 70 years after Independence, this country would discuss whether we should count our citizens or not? Do we want to make this country to be an inn? Should anyone who comes to this country be allowed to live here? We have to face this challenge. This point has to be made clear. In India, one will have to say Bharat Mata ki Jai. Only those people will be able to live here),” Pradhan said, adding that most countries in the world had a provision for registering their citizens.indianexpress
We the People: Voices from across the country on ‘being Indian’
New Delhi :Resident, usual resident; citizen, non-citizen; immigrant, illegal immigrant; Muslim, non-Muslim; Kashmiri, non-Kashmiri. In the year 2019, ascendant nationalism made way for narrowing the definitions of who is a national. From Kashmir to Assam, the complex matrix of identities woven over hundred of years of history and geography disintegrated into a jumble of numbers (370, 1971, 19 lakh), while old identities proved strong despite the passage of centuries from Sabarimala to Ayodhya. The contesting figures took the form of protests against the government towards the end of the year. This seemed to have a common identity defined by the following characteristics: young, articulate, seeking its rights under the Constitution, and rallying around the Preamble, beginning with the words, ‘We, the people of India’.The Sunday Express reached out to men and women across the Republic, from the uneasy calm of the Kashmir Valley to the angry disquiet of a campus, the desolation of Bastar to the solitude of a rape victim, and the hope for a job next to Millennium City Gurgaon to the longing for a temple in Ayodhya — to find out, in their own words and their own photographs or sketches, what they talk about when they talk about ‘being India’ and ‘being Indian’. What does the Constitution mean in their lives, in letter and spirit? Which rights matter to them the most, at home and beyond, as they enter 2020, 70th year of the Republic.indianexpress
We The People: ‘I wish in the new year we start looking at people as humans, not as Hindu, Muslim’:Sartaj Ali, AMU
We The People: ‘I enjoy the right to speak against PM, if necessary… Even after speaking against him, people are not prosecuted’:Anshuman Singh, Student Kolkata
We the People: ‘The most beautiful thing about Constitution was that Kashmir had a special identity… That is now gone’:Shoib Khalil, Hotel owner in Srinagar
We the people: ‘The real issue is jobs… This isn’t time for CAA, NRC’:Sanjay Kumar, graduate

Married 2 years ago, Pak Muslim woman can’t live with Indian husband due to pending long-term visa; with CAA, her fears have multiplied
Ludhiana : 2 YEARS ago, in the winter of 2017, Sidra Rafique (32), a Pashto-speaking woman from Mansehra district in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, had crossed over to India via Wagah. For the newly-wed bride and her husband Ramish Aman (28) from Haldwani of Nainital, India’s former external affairs minister late Sushma Swaraj had played cupid. Responding to Sidra’s request for visa on Twitter in no time, Swaraj wrote, ‘’Sidra – Hindustan apni betiyon aur bahuon ka visa inkaar nahi karta. Tumhe visa zaroor milega (India doesn’t reject visas of its daughters and daughters-in-law. You will surely get a visa)…”Married 2 yrs ago, Pak woman can’t live with Indian husband due to pending long-term visa Sushma Swaraj’s reply to her tweet in 2017.Sidra and Ramish’s story dates back to 2008. They had to cross several hurdles including resistance from Sidra’s family before finally getting married in Rawalpindi on Nov.22, 2017. However, if it wasn’t for Swaraj, who approved Sidra’s visa for India, the wedding would have never taken place. “Her visa was already rejected before too and my in-laws had declared that if it is rejected again, there will be no wedding as my wife won’t be able to shift to India,” says Ramish.Immediately after Swaraj’s reply to Twitter, the Indian embassy in Pakistan contacted Sidra and her visa was ready within hours.Despite all this, today, Sidra’s life is far from a happy one. Nearly two years after her three-month short term visa granted by Swaraj expired and she applied for a Long Term Visa (LTV) in Feb.2018, the application still remains pending. The couple hasn’t been given any reasons by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) or the local FRRO for the same. As a result, Sibra and Ramish cannot live together. Sibra cannot step out of Haldwani, while her husband works in Delhi.The couple says that the amended citizenship law has made them even more wary. “I wish Sushma ji was alive today. She might have given me an answer on why my LTV is still pending. She had called me daughter-in-law of India and because of her I was able to come to India. But now because of my pending LTV, I cannot move anywhere. I cannot even visit Delhi to live with my husband,” says Sidra.indianexpress

Opposition’s show of strength today at Hemant Soren’s swearing-in ceremony in Jharkhand
New Delhi :Jharkhand Mukthi Morcha chief Hemant Soren will be sworn-in as the 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand at a ceremony in Ranchi today. Soren succeeds BJP leader Raghubar Das and will be given the oath of secrecy by Governor Droupadi Murmu at 2 pm today in Ranchi’s Mohrabadi grounds. Soren emerged as the winner from both the Dumka and Barhait constituencies.The swearing-in is expected to turn into a display of Opposition unity, similar to the oath-taking ceremony of JDS leader H D Kumaraswamy as the Karnataka CM in Bengaluru in May 2018.From Congress’s Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, P Chidambaram and Ahmed Patel to NCP’s Sharad Pawar, SP’s Akhilesh Yadav, BSP’s Mayawati, TMC’s Mamata Banerjee, DMK’s MK Stalin, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, JD(S)’s H D Kumaraswamy and CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar, top leaders of the Opposition are expected to be present at the swearing-in as they are all said to have accepted Soren’s invitation.Hemant Soren has also extended an invite to the former President Pranab Mukherjee. Chief Ministers including Rajasthan’s Ashok Gehlot, Madhya Pradesh’s Kamal Nath, Chhattisgarh’s Bhupesh Bhagel and Maharashtra’s Thackeray are also likely to attend.indian express

J&K to observe Accession Day as public holiday, parties slam new calendar
Jammu, Srinagar :In a first, Jammu and Kashmir will observe a public holiday on October 26 to mark Accession Day. Maharaja Hari Singh, the last Dogra ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, had signed the Instrument of Accession on this date in 1947. This comes after J&K and Ladakh authorities dropped Martyrs’ Day and the birth anniversary of National Conference founder Sheikh Abdullah, on July 13 and December 5, respectively, from its list of gazetted holidays.July 13 and December 5 were public holidays in the state of J&K which has now been made a Union Territory. Martyrs’ Day was observed in the memory of protesters killed in firing by soldiers of Hari Singh on July 13, 1931. With this, the new UT of J&K will have 27 public holidays instead of the previous 28, according to a list of public holidays issued by the General Administration Department on Friday.Former MLA and senior Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, who is also the grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh, tweeted, “From next year, 26th Oct, day my grandfather, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession to India will be observed as a state holiday.”The government’s move has triggered anger in the Valley, with mainstream political parties lashing out at BJP and demanding a review. NC MP Hasnain Masoodi said the decision is “not acceptable”. “Whosoever has taken this decision has done no good to the country and the people of the country. These are two most important events, but if you downplay… and delete the holidays, the message they want to give is that we don’t care for these events,” he said.PDP spokesperson Tahir Sayeed said the “decision reveals the communal and fascist mindset of BJP”.J&K Pradesh Congress Committee demanded a review. “Sheikh sahib has a huge contribution in politics and the aim of BJP is to disregard it…” J&K PCC chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said.indianexpress

There are no magic short-term bullets (to fix economy)… Budget shouldn’t aim for surprises:Ex-CEA Arvind Subramanian
In a new paper published by Harvard University’s Center for International Development, Subramanian, former chief economic advisor, and Josh Felman, former IMF resident representative to India, have argued that the economy is facing a “twin balance sheet” problem from bank loans to real estate routed via non-banking financial companies in the post-demonetisation period. This, they warn, would make it difficult to arrest the current slowdown. Earlier, he had concluded that India’s growth had been overestimated by 2.5 percentage points (2011-12 to 2016-17). While official estimates pegged growth at 7%, actual GDP is likely to have been 4.5%, he had said. Subramanian said, "The only way to get a good reading is to look at the indicators. If you just look at the basic numbers, say, on consumption, investment, trade and taxes, they are all either in negative growth territory or barely positive this year. Thus, non-oil import growth is about minus 5%, non-oil export is also negative, nominal growth in GST and direct tax collections, only about 3.5 to 3.6%, which is basically zero in real terms. If you look at these numbers from a comparative perspective, it does not resemble even the 2002 slowdown. During that slowdown, GDP growth was 4.5, but all the above numbers were actually in the positive to fairly positive growth territory. The current slowdown has greater resemblance to that of 1991. It may not really be so in terms of macro (stability) numbers — foreign exchange is sound, current account is sound and inflation is sound — but in terms of real growth indicators, it (the situation now) resembles much more 1991-92, when we had a growth of 1.1%."

Rajasthan: 77 infants dead in December in Kota hospital, govt admits problems
Jaipur :Rajasthan government has set up a high-level committee to inquiry into the deaths of 77 infants in the first 24 days of December at J K Lon Government Hospital in Kota. Ten of the deaths happened in a span of 48 hours between December 23 and 24.Speaking to reporters after visiting the hospital, Secretary, Medical Education Department, Vaibhav Galriya, said there were several problems at the hospital, including improper maintenance of equipment and shortage of oxygen lines.In its report to the Principal, Kota Government Hospital, the Paediatrics Department, however, said most of the equipment is functional and none of the patients died due to lack of resources. The registered cause of death ranges from pneumonia to septicaemia. No post-mortems were conducted as the deaths were not suspicious.indianexpress
Bengaluru : Pejawar Mutt seer Vishwesha Teertha Swami passes away at 88
Bengaluru :Pejawar Mutt seer Vishwesha Teertha Swami passed away on Sunday morning. He was 88. The seer was admitted to KMC Hospital on December 20, after he developed breathing difficulties. He was in the ICU ever since. He was moved from KMC Hospital to Udupi Sri Kirshna Mutt today morning.

Protesters in Turkey denounce Russia over Idlib assault as over 235,000 flee from violence in 2 weeks
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the Russian consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on Saturday to protest the intensifying Russian and Syrian government attacks on Syria's last rebel-held province of Idlib.The demonstrators, mostly Syrians living in Turkey, gathered close to the Russian consulate in downtown Istanbul to "show the world that Russia is complicit" in the killing of civilians in Syria's northern Idlib region, according to Mohammed Kreimesh, a protest organiser. "We wanted to also highlight the regime's brutality against civilians and shed light on the humanitarian situation unfolding in Idlib," Kreimesh told Al Jazeera.Protesters in Istanbul, including women with their children, held pictures of victims of the attacks, while some brandished a banner that read: "Russia is killing our people and children and the world is not doing anything.""What does Russia want from us? Kids, wives are dying. People are dying," Syrian demonstrator Ahmed Marwan, 24, told AFP."We aren't terrorists, we are humans. We came to this country to live. Leaving your homeland isn't easy but we live in this pain. Enough already.""We are here to protest this massacre going on in Syria," Turkish protester Gulden Sonmez said.While Turkish police blocked the group from walking to the consulate, located in the busy Istiklal Street, they allowed a small number of demonstrators to unfurl a banner that read: "More than 30,000 children killed by Russia and Assad regime."The latest violence has displaced more than 235,000 people, according to the United Nations, while many civilians have been killed despite international calls for a de-escalation.International Rescue Committee warned on Saturday that conditions in the region are at a "breaking point", adding that the continued violence could displace as many as 400,000 in the coming weeks.The increase in air raids came as Syrian forces advanced on the ground. They have since December 19 seized dozens of towns and villages from armed rebels.aljazeera
Five stabbed at Hanukkah celebration near New York City
A man attacked a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi's home north of New York City, stabbing and wounding five people before fleeing in a vehicle, police said.Police said the stabbings happened at about 10pm local time on Saturday (0300 GMT Sunday) in Monsey, one of several Hudson Valley towns that have seen an influx in large numbers of Hasidic Jews in recent years.Saturday was the seventh night of Hanukkah. The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley region tweeted reports that the stabbings took place at the house of a Hasidic rabbi during Hanukkah celebrations.Several state and local officials have described the location of the stabbing as a synagogue. The rabbi's home is next door to a synagogue.The Saturday night attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the United States, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month.aljazeera



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