20 January 2020

20 JAN. FLASH NEWS: New Caution To Government: NRC Fear Will Stalk Hindus Too/ SC declines stay on electoral bonds scheme, asks Modi govt and EC to respond in 2 weeks/ No more arms: World powers pledge to halt Libya weapon transfers

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*anti-citizenship act stir*
New Caution To Government: NRC Fear Will Stalk Hindus Too
New Delhi: Much of the resistance to CAA and its prequel, NRC, has advocated that it is Muslims who will be marginalised and forced to prove they belong in India.Ahead of the Supreme Court's review, NRC is now being deemed both discriminatory and dangerous by even long-term supporters of BJP and its government. Publicly, they are stating that NRC must be vetoed because it will allow a power surge through those who have the authority to review whatever evidence you offer of your citizenship; bribes will have free play; and it is not just minorities but the majority of Hindus who will find themselves cornered - pay up or be declared "doubtful".Mohandas Pai, a well-known BJP sympathiser - rightly or wrongly often called a BJP troll - tweeted: "All will suffer in the hands of corrupt lower level officials, who will demand large bribes, who can threaten you, disqualify you: with a broken Justice system the pain is not worth it".This new approach by analysts on the likely harassment of India's majority community is making large numbers of Hindus worried. Popular author Chetan Bhagat writes in TOI: "The sarkari babu will enjoy this extra power boost. Oh, and there will still be a rate. It's just that the stricter the criteria are, the higher the rate will be ... If you don't pay the rate, is it that hard for the babu to reject your genuine birth certificate (good luck proving its authenticity in court for the next 20 years)".The message these different analyses agree on: that Hindu majority will face serious and widespread harassment too.India's Nobel Prize winner Abhijit Bannerjee strongly points out that so much power given to officials is dangerous: "I'd be petrified by that thought and even if I were - you know just the fact that somebody will come and say 'Look, I'm in charge of making this list I could put doubtful next to your name... or I could not. And maybe you could pay me ten thousand rupees' ", he said in a recent interview.ndtv
*"NRC Secular, But A Secular Harassment For All": Chetan Bhagat To NDTV*
New Delhi: There will be abuse the moment NRC  is executed, author Chetan Bhagat told NDTV today, elaborating on an article he wrote for TOI in which he argued it "would cause secular harassment to all" and "must be shelved". Bhagat also pointed to the image problem faced by BJP, a party seen by many as practicing "identity-based politics" and one that "causes a lot of anxiety, especially in minority community", as more reasons to reconsider NRC."I'm not saying the fear is rational... the fear is real. BJP has always tried to polarise... that's what people think," Bhagat said, noting that if the NRC had been floated by another government, "if there was trust", it may have been better received."All kinds of documents will be missing... there will be huge anxiety. Even if you have papers, bureaucrats could reject them. Then what will you do? Go to court?" he asked, pointing out that the government would also struggle to deal with the crores who might be excluded.NDTV
* ‘Can’t do terror politics just because we have numbers’: BJP’s Chandra Bose on CAA*
New Delhi: West Bengal BJP vice-president and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose has said that a law should not be thrust on the citizens in a democratic country. He was speaking about the CAA passed by Parliament.“Our job is to explain to people that we are right and they are wrong. You cannot be abusive. Just because we have numbers today we cannot do terror politics. Let us go to people explaining benefits of CAA,” Bose said on Sunday, according to ANI.“Once a bill has been passed as an act, it is binding on the state governments, that is the legal position but in a democratic country you cannot thrust any act on the citizens of our country,” he added.Bose also said that he has suggested some modifications to the bill which will puncture the entire Opposition campaign. “We need to specifically state that it is meant for persecuted minorities, we should not mention any religion. Our approach should be different,” he said.HT

*Impossible for Hindu minorities to show proof of religious persecution: Assam Minister Biswa Sarma*
Guwahati: Amid anti-CAA protest in Assam, state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that it is impossible for the person to go back to Bangladesh and collect a copy of police report to show the proof of religious persecution.“If a person has to prove it then he has to go to Bangladesh and collect a copy of the police report. Why would the police station in Bangladesh give that proof? So, said that it is not possible to prove the concept of religious persecution under the CAA,” Sarma, who is also a BJP leader, told media on being asked about his recent statement on CAA over religious persecution. ANI

*50 lakh Muslim infiltrators will be chased out of India if needed: Bengal chief BJP Dilip Ghosh*
Kolkata:Raking up another controversy, BJP West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh on Sunday said that 50 lakh Muslim infiltrators will be identified and "chased out of the country" if needed.This comes as the Bengal BJP chief was attacking West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee on the issue of appeasement.He said, "50 lakh Muslim infiltrators will be identified, if needed they will be chased out of the country. Firstly their names will be removed from voters' list then Didi [Mamata] can't appease anyone."This comes after Dilip Ghosh stoked a controversy a few days ago when he said that people damaging public property should be "shot like dogs".India Today

*Modi pursuing Jinnah’s dream, wants to deport Muslims to Pakistan or Bangladesh: Adhir Chowdhury*
Burdwan :Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to accomplish the dreams of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and that’s why he is aiming to deport the entire population of Indian Muslims to Pakistan or Bangladesh through CAA and NRC.He was addressing a ‘No CAA, No NRC’ meeting organised by his party in front of Burdwan town’s iconic Curzon Gate. “Indian Muslims had refused to respond to Jinnah’s vehement provocations for their bulk migration to Pakistan; rather our Muslims insisted that India alone was their country.thestatesman

*After Hasina, Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai Makes Negative Comment On New Citizenship Law*
NEW DELHI:After Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed questioned the contentions CAA passed by the Narendra Modi government, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai made negative comment about the law on Sunday.Karzai, who was here to attend the Raisina Dialogue, told The Hindu newspaper in an interview that “all Afghans have suffered over the years of conflict, irrespective of religion”.He categorically stated that “Afghanistan has no persecuted minorities”.Karzai said in the interview, “(CAA) was India’s decision, and they may have had reasons for it and the law brought to Parliament. We don’t have persecuted minorities in Afghanistan…the whole country is persecuted. We have been in war and conflict for a long time. All religions in Afghanistan: Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs, which are our three main religions, have suffered”.India Tomorrow

*Bengaluru: Over 100 makesift houses razed in Bellandur, cops claim residents ‘illegal Bangladeshis’*
Many families were pushed to the streets in Bengaluru on Sunday after the city police along with the municipal corporation demolished their makeshift houses. The police claimed that the tenants of these were illegal Bangladeshi migrants” and that they had sent an eviction notice to the owner of these houses earlier. Activists, however. said those residing in the area hailed from various parts of Karnataka, northern and north-eastern parts of the country and worked as domestic helps, construction workers and security guards here.Condemning the drive by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the police, advocate and activist Vinay Sreenivasa said, “More than 200 makeshift houses were demolished by the police in Kariyammana Agrahara on Sunday. Men who came in plain clothes to conduct the demolition drive said they were Marathahalli police providing protection to BBMP officials. However, there were no BBMP officials present near the site.”“When we asked the reason behind the move, they said they are getting it done because the people here are illegal Bangladeshis. They stopped the demolition only when we asked them to produce the order directing them to do so. If the people staying in these makeshift houses are Bangladeshis, they need to identify them first and then take action. Why do they have to demolish all the houses,” he added.Both BBMP and police refused to comment on the drive.“People living in these sheds are from this country only, there are people from North Karnataka, North India, and North East India. All the people have their documents, but since we were issued a notice by the police, we evicted them,” Chethan Babu said.Meanwhile, residents of the area alleged that they were forced to leave their houses without any information. “We are Indians, we have documents. Police arrived without any prior notice and demolished our houses here. Many people living here are from Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, and North Karnataka,” one Kumar Das said.indianexpress

*Muslim community being cornered via legal route: DU professor Deshpande*
HYDERABAD:  An attempt to corner the Muslim community was underway through a legal route, said Satish Deshpande, a sociology professor from University of Delhi, while delivering the ninth SR Sankaran Memorial Lecture on ‘Casteism and Communalism organised by CDS, on Sunday. "Today’s communal agenda is to overthrow the existing reality — equality of all religions. Our Constitution doesn’t recognise the difference between religions. The communal agenda is to 'correct' personal law, so that due recognition will be given to the Hindus, that is the communal agenda," he said.The professor further said that an attempt to create a unifying national project of othering Muslims was on its way, and all other sections of the society are invited to participate in it.newindianexpress

*Back in UP, Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar takes on state govt over CAA ‘killings’*
Meerut:Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Sunday met with the family members of five people who were killed during a protest against CAA and NRC in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut . Since the leader was denied permission to visit their houses, he met them at a public place.Azad alleged the family members narrated horrific tales of police atrocities during the interaction and accused UP police of opening fire on people during the protest.“Cops had killed people during protest against the CAA and stern action should be taken against the guilty policemen,” he said. Azad also said the Bhim Army has moved the high court over the matter, which would hear it on January 23.HT
FIR against 'unidentified' for controversial hoarding, calling 'Get rid of CAA, NRC by returning to Hinduism' in UP
Varanasi: An FIR has been lodged against unidentified persons for a controversial hoarding near Varanasi railway station. The hoarding near the Englishiya Line crossing read, "Hindu dharma mein ghar vapasi karo... CAA, NRC se chhutkara pao (Get rid of CAA, NRC by returning to Hinduism)".Inspector Ashutosh Ojha said that the FIR under section 295 A and 505 of IPC has been lodged."Investigation has been launched in the case and those involved in putting up the hoarding would be identified soon," he added.According to sources, a lesser known outfit, Hindu Samaj Party, had placed the hoarding on the busy road.The outfit's state Vice President Roshan Pandey,had made a video viral on social media with his message in which he claimed to have put up the hoarding in response to the protest being staged at Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi.The hoarding, which also has photographs of some Muslim women wearing saffron pagdi, was removed by the police late Saturday evening.It came up at a time when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Union Minister Smriti Irani and other leaders were in Varanasi to address a rally in support of the CAA at Sampurnanand Sanskrit University.Pandey, along with his supporters, had also tried to stage a sit-in at Lanka to give a call for marching to Shaheen Bagh in Delhi but was prevented by the police.IANS

Slaps, Hair Pulling - In Madhya Pradesh, Officials vs Pro-CAA Protesters
Rajgarh: Violence broke out at a pro-citizenship law rally in Madhya Pradesh's Rajgarh district on Sunday after officials and local police clashed with CAA supporters determined to carry out a march despite imposition of prohibitory orders. District Collector Nidhi Nivedita slapped a BJP worker after protesters assaulted two Deputy Collectors, Priya Verma and Shruti Agrwal, and a few police officers. At least three people were injured as cops resorted to a lathi-charge to control the situation."Permission was denied to hold a rally... still around 50 to 100 persons, violating Section 144, took out the march. When they were stopped by police and administration, those present started misbehaving... pulled one of our women officers by her hair and kicked her, besides trying to pull clothes of both women officers," Ms Nivedita said.ndtv
Hundreds March With Candles Against CAA From Jamia To Shaheen Bagh
New Delhi: Hundreds, including women and children, on Sunday evening took out a massive anti-CAA march from the gates of Jamia Millia Islamia to Shaheen Bagh as the chorus to demand repealing of the amended Citizenship Act grew louder in Delhi.The march was high on symbolism with some locals dressed up as Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar. Three men assumed the identity of martyred revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, one of them in prison clothes and tied in chains.The protesters, chanting "Azadi" and "CAA-NCR Par Halla Bol", and other slogans also paraded a mock "detention camp" portrayed with a cell on wheels inside which sat little children of multiple faiths and chanted slogans.ndtv
Pune: BJP MP Girish Bapat's son files complaint against anti-CAA protestors near Sambhaji Garden
BJP MP Girish Bapat’s son Gaurav Bapat has filed a complaint against the participants in the protest organised in solidarity with Shaheen Bagh protestors on JM road on Saturday night.He has objected to the permission for the protest through the night and has stated that he will start protesting if no action is taken by cops. While the organisers have said that they had permissions in place, they will decide what to do only after the cops talk to them. Meanwhile, the cops have stated that they are seeking legal opinion on the issue.An anti-CAA and anti-NRC protest was organised in Pune in solidarity with Shaheen Bagh protestors at JM road. The protest started at 6 pm and continued through the night as the protestors sat sloganeering and singing songs as well as making rangolis. Over 100 citizens had participated in the protest which occupied the footpath outside the Sambhaji Garden.Bapat has lodged the complaint against the protest in Deccan police station. He has stated that the slogans were anti-national and that they have breached the Supreme Court order of not gathering and raising volume past midnight.Pune Mirror

Bihar Police arrests 13 minors from Aurangabad during CAA protests, passes them off as 'adults' in FIR
Bihar police have arrested 13 minors and identified them as "adults" over anti-Citizenship Amenment Act protests on 21 December 2019 in town of Aurangabad turned violent. All arrested are Muslim youths.Firstpost had earlier reported that Bihar Police had altered the age of two minor boys and passed them off as adults in FIR. The next hearing is on 28 January when the Juvenile Justice Board will decide on their age.Lawyer for the minors Meraj Khan said after the board's decision he would move for their bail plea. Most of the minors are aged between 14 and 17, Khan said and added that while one is 13, another one is as young as 12. 12 minors have been lodged in adult prison for the past one month with hardened criminals, Khan said. Only one was sent to a juvenile home after he sustained serious injuries in both his hands during police lathicharge. "It is a straightforward case. We have their birth certificates, documents and we have presented them before the Juvenile Justice Board on 16 January. On 28, the board will declare them juveniles."When contacted, Aurangabad SP Dipak Baranwal said that the case is an "old one now" and he "does not remember the details". On 21 December, town of Aurangabad had observed a protest at Ramesh Chowk, where most of the gatherings and speeches are usually held. RJD and its allies had called for a bandh to rally against CAA and NRC. But the peaceful protests turned violent near the end.The police in Aurangabad had arrested 46 people the same day, and named more than 80 in its FIR. Among those picked up by the police were four of Mohammad Enamul Rab's relatives, who were taken from their homes, which included his younger brother Saddam, his uncle Mukhtar, brother-in-law Rizwan, and another brother Imran.One of Rab’s brothers, Saddam, is 12, as is recorded in his school certificate, which Firstpost examined.firstpost
50% jump in people held for illegally entering Bangladesh
New Delhi:The number of people caught while trying to cross over to Bangladesh from India increased by over 50% with a total of 2,971 people arrested by BSF in 2018 as compared to 1,800 in 2017, according to latest data from NCRB. A large number of those who were caught trying to illegally emigrate were women and children. NCRB “Crime in India 2018” report says that out of 2,971 people arrested in 2018 while making an “outward movement” to Bangladesh, 1,532 were men, 749 women and 690 children. This corresponding numbers was 1,477, 268 and 55 in 2017.On the other hand, “inward movement” from Bangladesh came down marginally to 1,118 in 2018 in comparison to 1,180 in 2017. NCRB data does not explain the motives of those arrested by BSF, which manages the international borders in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Assam.HT

After CAA, Kerala govt now decides to not implement NPR, will inform Census body
Kochi:Kerala government headed by CM Pinarayi Vijayan has decided not to implement the proposed NPR. This comes after the Kerala government moved Supreme Court against CAA recently and also passed a resolution against the law. On Monday, Kerala cabinet decided to not implement NPR in the state. The government said the Census Registrar General will be informed about the decision and that Census will be done as per norms.Kerala General Administration Department had last week directed all officials to ensure that NPR is not mentioned while sending communications on Census 2021. The note to the district collectors was sent following social media speculations over the implementation of NPR in Kerala. Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday lashed out at the Centre over the controversial CAA, NRC and NPR and said the state would not implement the 'whims and fancies' of the RSS, but would uphold the values of the Constitution.indiatoday
All Congress-ruled states set to pass resolution against citizenship law

Ahmedabad: BJP’s claim that Indian Muslims won’t be affected by CAA a jumla, says Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha
Ahmedabad :BJP’s statement that Indian Muslims have no danger from CAA is like a poll “jumla” (rhetoric) which is very similar to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise made before the general elections that citizens would get Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts, Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha said here on Sunday.The interaction with the mediapersons on police clampdown at Delhi’s Jamia Millia in December was organised by Gujarat Alliance Against CAA, NPR & NRC, a group formed by various civil rights activists of Gujarat. Tanha was accompanied by another student of the university, Ayesha Renna, who has become the face of the agitation against the new citizenship law at Jamia after a video showing her stopping police from attacking fellow protesters went viral on the social media last month.“Has the Central government been able to satisfy the people of the country? Have the people received Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts? It is a jumla by the government to say that Indian Muslims have no danger from CAA. It is a lie.”Lauding people of Gujarat for holding anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests, Renna said that it is like striking at the heart of Modi and Shah.Local leaders such as Mujahid Nafees, head of the Minority Coordination Committee, also criticised the CAA and NRC, calling them against the ethos of India’s constitution.

Leave Country If You Can’t Accept Vande Mataram, Says BJP Minister; Twiiter Calls Him ‘Communal Cow’
Union Minister of State for MSME Pratap Chandra Sarangi attacked the Congress for spreading misinformation about the CAA, saying  that those who do not accept India's freedom, unity, and Vande Mataram, have no right to stay in the country."Those who set the country on fire are not patriots. Those who do not accept India's freedom, unity, Vande Mataram, have no right to stay in the country," said Sarangi in a press conference in Surat.However, Sarangi's comments did not go down well with the people on Twitter, who called him communal for the loose statement.indiatimes
*ISI agent held in Varanasi: After falling in love in Karachi, Class 8 Rashid agreed to pass on 'sensitive info' including photos of anti-CAA/NRC protests' to Pakistan*
New Delhi: On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh ATS arrested Mohd Rashid, an alleged ISI agent, who was working in Varanasi and was passing on information to his handlers in Pakistan since March 2019.In the month of July 2019, military intelligence agencies received inputs regarding a youth from Varanasi passing on critical information to Pakistani Intelligence agencies over WhatsApp. The agency worked on this input through months of discreet surveillance and analysis with the support of other central agencies.Rashid (23) was staying with his maternal grandfather and uncle in Chandauli, in Varanasi district as his parents Mohd and Shehzadi Begum got divorced and remarried. With education till Class 8, he had worked at a tailoring unit and medicine store in Varanasi. Later he started fixing flex signboards for a living. Rashid has relatives in Karachi and had visited them twice in 2017 and 2018-19 to attend some marriage functions. He used to stay with his aunt Hasina, her husband Shagir Ahmed and their son Shajeb in Orangi Town in Karachi. He reportedly fell in love with one of his cousin during his Karachi visit. He was also tasked to send information on sensitive places and protests and rallies in India. They promised him money and assured to help him marry his cousin in Karachi. He also sent videos and photos of recent protests at BHU and anti-CAA/NRC protests in Lucknow on being asked by his Pakistani handlers. indiatoday
*SC declines stay on electoral bonds scheme, asks Modi govt and EC to respond in 2 weeks*
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday sought response of the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea seeking stay on the electoral bond scheme meant for funding political parties.The top court, however, refused to grant an interim stay on the electoral bond scheme.A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant asked Centre and the Election Commission to file their responses within two weeks to the interim application filed by NGO ‘Association for Democratic Reforms’ for staying the scheme.Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, alleged that the scheme is a means for channelising unaccounted black money in favour of the ruing party.Bhushan also referred to a document of RBI while seeking stay of the scheme.“We will see that. We are listing it after two weeks, the bench said.PTI
Supreme Court seeks Centre’s response on plea challenging NIA Act
NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court on Monday asked the government’s response on a petition challenging the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Act of 2019, saying the law concentrated police powers in one centralised agency which would act on the “whims and fancies” of the Central government.A Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman issued notice to the government on a writ petition filed by Umar M., secretary of the Solidarity Youth Movement based at Kozhikode in Kerala.thehindu
India's richest 1% hold 4-times more wealth than poorest 70%: Oxfam study
Davos:India's richest 1 per cent hold more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country's population, while the total wealth of all Indian billionaires is more than the full-year budget, a new study said on Monday.Releasing the study 'Time to Care' in Davos ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum (WEF), rights group Oxfam also said the world's 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than 4.6 billion people who make up 60 per cent of the planet's population.The report flagged that global inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast and the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade, despite their combined wealth having declined in the last year."The gap between rich and poor can't be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these," said Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, who is here to represent the Oxfam confederation this year.The issues of income and gender inequality are expected to figure prominently in discussions at the five-day summit of WEF, starting Monday. WEF's annual Global Risks Report has also warned that the downward pressure on the global economy from macroeconomic fragilities and financial inequality continued to intensify in 2019.Concern about inequality underlies recent social unrest in almost every continent, although it may be sparked by different tipping points such as corruption, constitutional breaches, or the rise in prices for basic goods and services, as per the WEF report.Regarding India, Oxfam said the combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at Rs 24,42,200 crore.indiatoday
63 Indian Billionaires Have More Money Than Union Budget For 2018-19: Oxfam

Inflation will push Indian bond yields higher: Aditya Birla fund
Mumbai: Even as RBI takes a page out of US Federal Reserve’s playbook to push down borrowing costs, yields in the nation are headed higher as price pressures are unlikely to abate soon, according to Aditya Birla Sun Life AMC Ltd.Inflation is expected to remain elevated over the next 6-12 months, said Maneesh Dangi, who oversees $23 billion of debt assets. That view is at odds with most economists who say last month’s spike in consumer prices will start to cool once new harvests come in.An increase in inflation and fears of a wider fiscal deficit led to yields jumping in early December, prompting the RBI to resort to a Fed-style Operation Twist to cheapen long-term borrowings. Yields have eased since the first tranche was announced, but data last week showing a spurt in inflation to more than a five-year high has put the authority’s accomodative stance at risk.theprint

Malaysian PM Mahathir rules out trade action over Indian palm oil boycott, again criticises India’s citizenship law
Malaysia will not take retaliatory trade action against India over its boycott of palm oil purchases amid a political row between the two countries, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday.India, the world’s largest edible oil buyer, this month effectively halted imports from its largest supplier and the world’s second-biggest producer in response to comments from Mahathir attacking India’s domestic policies.“We are too small to take retaliatory action,” Mahathir told reporters in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia. “We have to find ways and means to overcome that,” he added.94-year-old premier of Muslim-majority Malaysia has criticised New Delhi’s new religion-based citizenship law and also accused India of invading the disputed region of Kashmir.Mahathir again criticised India’s citizenship law on Monday, saying he believed it was “grossly unfair”.Reuters

No meeting planned on palm oil with India in Davos:Malaysian  minister
KUALA LUMPUR: International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking today said no meeting has been scheduled between him and his Indian counterpart during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week amid the palm oil spat between the two countries.However, he said, “along the way, we may bump into each other and a hello always leads to something good”.Leiking said he had not established any contact with Indian officials in Davos or received any invitation for a discussion with them.“The only invitation to Davos is through Malaysian government. There are no plans to meet anyone in particular but we may bump into them,” he said.freemalaysiatoday
Piyush Goyal not to meet Malaysian counterpart in Davos amid palm oil row
India moves to seek closer military ties with Sri Lanka:aljazeera
Sri Lanka and India have pledged to strengthen military ties and widen maritime links with neighbours after security talks, the president's office said on Sunday, as New Delhi moves to counter Chinese influence in the region.China, a longtime regional rival of India, has been widening its footprint in the region, including building ports and expressways and upgrading airports in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.India's National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met on Saturday with recently elected Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and discussed setting up a maritime research coordination centre, Rajapaksa's office said in a statement.It did not give details of the proposed centre but said other nations in the region should be included as observers.It said the two countries also discussed closer military and coastguard cooperation."Sri Lanka-India military ties go back a long way so it's nothing new, but what is important is clearly a greater incentive for these ties because of the China factor," said Jabin Thomas Jacob, Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University in Noida, India.The meeting followed Gotabaya's visit to New Delhi last November for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who offered $450m in aid to Sri Lanka after his landslide victory in the presidential election.aljazeera

SC issues notice to UP govt over PIL against name change of Allahabad to Prayagraj
New Delhi: Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government after hearing a plea filed by a petitioner challenging the validity of Allahabad's name being changed to Prayagraj.The petitioner has said that the state government cannot change the names of railway stations, central universities and other institutes as they are controlled by the central government.Uttar Pradesh government changed the name of the historic city of Allahabad to Prayagraj in a move which BJP justified was to correct the wrongs made by Mughal emperor Akbar 500 years ago.The move came under heavy criticism from the Opposition, scholars and historians who said the government is tampering with history.indiatoday

Dalit-only schools on table:150 Ambedkar Navodaya Vidyalayas set up in Dalit dominated districts
New Delhi:Modi government is considering a chain of exclusive residential schools for Dalit children to try and thwart criticism of its record on social justice, but some activists have drawn a parallel with America’s former racial segregation policy.The proposal before the social justice and empowerment ministry is to start 150 Ambedkar Navodaya Vidyalayas on the pattern of the countrywide Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, which teach talented children from poor families.Like the Jawahar Vidyalayas, Ambedkar Vidyalayas will conduct classes from VI to XII and hold entrance tests, but all their pupils will be from the Scheduled Castes. These schools will be set up in districts with high Dalit populations.Ashok Bharati, president of the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha, a Dalit rights advocacy group, rejected the idea of exclusive schools for Dalits, saying it would perpetuate inequality.He cited the erstwhile “Equal but Separate” doctrine in America that allowed, among other things, separate schools with equal facilities for African American and White children. He said this policy was legally challenged on the ground that it perpetuated racial discrimination.“By setting up exclusive schools for Dalits, government would be perpetuating the caste system. There are already so many misconceptions among people about the reservations for the deprived sections in education,” Bharati said.telegraphindia
Gandhi wanted to spend 15 August, 1947 in Pakistan:M J Akbar's  Book
NEW DELHI: Mahatma Gandhi wanted to spend August 15, 1947, the first day of freedom, in breakaway Pakistan rather than in India, says a new book by former Union minister M J Akbar.This was, however, neither tokenism nor a gesture of support for a country carved out of multifaith India in the name of one religion, Islam, the author writes in "Gandhi's Hinduism: The Struggle Against Jinnah's Islam"."It was a promise of defiance. Gandhi simply did not believe in the partition of India, and the creation of new, 'unnatural' borders by an arbitrary scalpel in a fit of what he described as momentary madness," he says.The book analyses both the ideology and the personality of those who shaped the fate of the region, and spells out the blunders, lapses and conscious chicanery that permeated the politics of seven explosive years between 1940 and 1947.Gandhi, a devout Hindu, believed faith could nurture the civilisational harmony of India, a land where every religion had flourished, it says.TOI

30 years in exile, Kashmiri pandits demand one place for their settlement in Kashmir
JAMMU:Despite the social media having been deluged by displaced Kashmiri pandits’ video clippings vowing to “return and die” in the Valley, the community on Sunday appeared to be plagued by self doubts over the prospects of their return.They demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should settle the community living as “refugees in their own country” for the past 30 years at one place in the Valley.In the backdrop of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s film Shikara on exodus of Kashmiri pandits, to be released in February, several Kashmiri pandits have taken to social media to express their love and willingness to return to their homeland in the Valley to “live and die” there.“Haji Sahib, we will come back. We will live and die in Kashmir. Our ashes will be immersed in river Vitasta in Kashmir,” is one such video clipping among many similar ones doing the rounds on social media.PTI

Why was Kaseem not held for 14 years: HC to Telangana govt.
HYDERABAD :Observing that the case of arrested associate professor of Osmania University Chinthakindi Kaseem ‘acquired unique colour’, the Telangana High Court on Sunday directed the Advocate General to explain why the police failed to act against the professor in cases registered against him in 2012 and 2019.A Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A. Abhishek Reddy passed the direction, after hearing contentions of the counsels of the government and the professor for over two hours at CJ’s residence here at Banjara Hills. Following the Bench’s order in the Mr. Kaseem’s habeas corpus petition which was heard the previous day, the Mulugu Police of Siddipet Commissionerate brought him to the CJ’s residence amidst tight security.After recording the arrested professor’s statement and contentions of both the sides, the Bench noted that it was ‘rather surprising that police had never moved against Mr. Kaseem for past 14 years despite accusing him of involvement in five criminal cases’. thehindu
 No more arms: World powers pledge to halt Libya weapon transfers
Berlin: Several foreign powers signed a landmark agreement to limit external interference in the war in Libya and to push the country's warring factions towards a peaceful end to the fighting.Speaking to journalists after a much-anticipated summit in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday's agreement advances a political process and rules out a military solution to the conflict, which escalated. "We reached an agreement on a comprehensive plan to support a ceasefire in Libya," said Merkel, acknowledging the road to peace in Libya would be long and arduous."We all agree that we should respect the arms embargo and that the arms embargo should be controlled more strongly than it has been in the past," added the German leader, though she confirmed potential sanctions for violators were not discussed.Sunday's deal marks a new stage in diplomatic attempts towards ending the country's most recent bout of fighting, which began when renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar's eastern-based forces began an assault on the capital, Tripoli last April, leading to more than nine months of fighting in which more than 2,000 people have been killed, according to UN.aljazeera
*'One missile targeted the mosque': Over 100 Yemeni soldiers killed in attack on camp*
Over 100 Yemeni soldiers have been killed in missile and drone attacks blamed on Houthi rebels, on a mosque in a military camp in the central province of Marib, medical and military sources said on Sunday."We strongly condemn the terrorist attack on a mosque by the Houthi militias... which left more than 100 dead and dozens injured," Yemeni foreign ministry said on Twitter.An army spokesman said that the dead included soldiers and civilians, and that the Houthis would face a "ruthless" retaliation to the strike.Missiles struck the mosque at the al-Nasr camp, located about 170km east of the capital Sanaa, during evening prayers.Medical source at a Marib city hospital, where the casualties were transported, told AFP that at least 83 soldiers were killed and 148 injured in the strike.Islah party (Muslim Brotherhood) controls most of Marib so there is little opposition to Hadi and his forces in the province.Qahtan, a pro-Hadi soldier in Marib, told Middle East Eye that Marib had become the stronghold for pro-Hadi forces as it was safe for them and they did not face any opposition.“I was a soldier in Aden and then in Shabwa and we used to face opposition not only from UAE-backed forces but also from residents who support UAE," he said.“We withdrew to Marib where people supported Hadi and his government but it seems that now there is another kind of danger in Marib,” referencing attack on Saturday.Mohammed Taher, a fighter in Marib said, “pro-Hadi forces have two enemies nowadays, Houthis and UAE-backed forces and it is difficult to face them both.”Middle East Eye
Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq


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