14 May 2020

14 May News: Indian Railways cancels old ticket bookings done for travel upto June 30; Shramik, special trains to continue/ Plea in HC to release 3,288 Tablighi Jamaat members, illegally quarantined for 40 days despite COVID-19 negative. RSS-Backed Trade Union BMS to Protest Suspension of Labour Laws in BJP-Ruled States


14 May 2020: 20 Ramazan 1441: Vol: 12, No: 208


Indian Railways cancels old ticket bookings done for travel upto June 30; Shramik, special trains to continue

Indian Railways has cancelled all train tickets booked for travel till June 30 and said that a full refund will be issued to all affected passengers. However, the Railways clarified that this move will not impact the running of Shramik trains or 15 pairs of ‘Special trains’ that were started from May 12.In April, the national transporter announced that advance reservation, including e-tickets, will not be allowed “till further notice”.Additionally, Railways, which had stopped passenger train services March 22 onwards, earlier this month said that it plans to restart passenger services gradually and will run 15 pairs of special trains May 12 onwards. The tickets for regular trains being cancelled would have likely been booked in Feb-April 2020 period. “Competent authority has desired that all tickets booked...for the period up to June 30, 2020, may be cancelled and full refund generated,” a Railway Board order said. It added that the Shramik Special trains and Special trains services started with effect from May 12 will, however, continue to operate. 15 pairs of special train, meaning a total of 30 return journeys, are being run from New Delhi station connecting Dibrugarh, Agartala, Howrah, Patna, Bilaspur, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Secunderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Madgaon, Mumbai Central, Ahmedabad and Jammu Tawi.With effect from May 13, IRCTC has started taking destination address of all passengers booking tickets. This will help us in contact tracing, if required later, a Railways spokesperson said.  According to guidelines issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, all passengers shall be compulsorily screened and only asymptomatic passengers shall be allowed to enter/board trains. “If, during screening, a passenger has very high temperature/symptoms of COVID-19 etc, he shall not be allowed to travel despite having confirmed tickets. In such case, full refund shall be provided to the passenger,” the order stated.Neither Tatkal or Premium Tatkal Quota nor senior citizen quota will be available on these trains. RAC tickets will also not be allowed. So far, there is no order from railways to begin more services.PTI /moneycontrol/thehindu


Covid-19: Railways to allow waiting lists on special trains from May 22, may increase operations

Indian Railways has issued an order allowing waitlisting of passengers from May 22 for journeys not just on special trains, but also on all its upcoming services, reported PTI. The railways on Tuesday restarted its passenger services after nearly 50 days of being shut due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. 15 pairs of special trains are now connecting New Delhi with other cities in India. The lockdown, which has been extended twice, is scheduled to end in 3 days. In the new order, the railways has restricted the waiting list on trains to up to 100 passengers for the AC three tier coach, 50 for AC two tier coach, 200 for the sleeper class, 100 for chair cars and 20 each for first air-conditioned and executive class. This will apply to tickets booked from May 15 for journeys that begin from May 22.



Plea in Delhi HC to release 3,288 Tablighi Jamaat members, illegally quarantined for 40 days despite COVID-19 negative

A plea has been filed in Delhi High Court seeking release of nearly 3,300 members of Tablighi Jamaat who have been sent to various quarantine centres for around 40 days and not released despite reporting negative for COVID-19. The petition, which is likely to come up for hearing on Friday, sought direction to the authorities to comply with guideline of 14-day quarantine and to constitute a high level committee to enquire as to whether continuous confinement of members is violative of the provisions of the Constitution. Petitioner Sabiha Quadri, a social worker, alleged that many people have been illegally lodged in quarantine centres and submitted that several persons who are staying in those centres have written letters to the authorities but they have not been considered. The plea, filed through advocate Shahid Ali, claimed that the authorities have failed and neglected in discharging their duties and the continuous detention in the name of quarantine is not justified and violative of guidelines of the central government.  “A total of 3,288 people from Tablighi Jamaat have been put under different quarantine centres and till date none has been released from there, despite the fact that they are not in any manner infected with the disease and in case of many members, 3 consecutive reports with negative endorsement have come,” the plea said.It also sought to constitute a committee to investigate the death of two members of the organisation who died in the quarantine centre and to lodge FIR against the officials. PTI


UP’s azan crackdown: State files misleading affidavit in HC; police intimidates Muslim locals

In an ongoing case before Allahabad High Court, Uttar Pradesh govt has stated on affidavit that azan, the call to prayer in Islam, has been prohibited in the state since the nationwide lockdown was first announced, on 24 March. In its affidavit, BJP-led state government also seemed unable, or unwilling, to distinguish between azan and namaz, daily offering of prayers. While Muslims traditionally congregate mosque for namaz, mosques in Uttar Pradesh had stopped holding namaz in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown. Yet, the affidavit noted, “In case Azaan is permitted during the period of lockdown there is all likelihood of public assembly for Namaz in Masjid and the same shall not be in public interest and will prompt transmission of COVID-19 infection threatening human life.” Alarmist submissions by the state govt came in response to a public-interest litigation filed by Afzal Ansari, a member of parliament from BSP representing Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur constituency. On 26 April, Ansari wrote a letter to the chief justice of the Allahabad High Court, to raise concerns about incidents from across the state of local police, administration and goons preventing Muslims from calling the azan. He stated in his letter that there was no government directive preventing azan, and that since the lockdown began, only namaz at mosques was prohibited. He added that he had contacted local district magistrates and police superintendents. “Everyone is talking about some oral order but its source and authority is not disclosed,” Ansari wrote. “No written order for banning ‘Azaan’ is being shown.”caravanmagazine


SC sacrificed core principles during lockdown: Former judges, lawyers' body 

New Delhi:Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) issued a statement on Wednesday criticising the Supreme Court for “sacrificing the core principles of fairness and transparency in justice delivery system” during COVID-19 lockdown. NGO has former judges, and lawyers like Prashant Bhushan as members. The statement said the court has accepted without demur whatever the Union Government has put on affidavit and not carried out its constitutional duty of holding the government to account through powers of judicial review. “Whether on the issue of the rights of stranded migrant labour, the curbs on 4G internet in Kashmir or in important habeas corpus cases, we believe that the Court’s passivity in the face of dire need is difficult to comprehend,” it said.


RSS-Backed Trade Union BMS to Protest Suspension of Labour Laws in BJP-Ruled States

New Delhi: RSS-affiliated trade union BMS on Thursday condemned “total withdrawal” of labour laws by BJP-ruled UP, MP and Gujarat, and announced a countrywide agitation against it.BMS also said migrant workers’ problems have aggravated during the novel coronavirus-triggered lockdown mainly because there is “gross violation” of laws by most of the states. Criticising freezing of labour laws as well as an increase in the working hours from 8 to 12 hours in some other states, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said in a statement, “It is learnt that many other states are readying to follow the trend. This is unheard in history and is rare even in most undemocratic countries.”“…we are pushed to the wall and there is no other way out except going for agitation. Hence BMS decided nationwide agitation in solidarity with the fight against the anti-worker ordinances in UP, MP, Gujarat as well as increase of working hours in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa and Odisha,”trade union said.PTI

Rare even in non-democracies, says RSS-backed BMS on labour law suspensions in BJP states; announces protest


Govt: Free food-grains for 8 crore migrant workers for 2 months, concessional credit to farmers

The government on Thursday announced a Rs 3.16 lakh crore package of free foodgrains for migrant workers, concessional credit to farmers and working capital loan for street vendors as part of the second tranche of fiscal stimulus to heal an economy hit hard by coronavirus lockdown.At a news conference, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said 8 crore migrant workers will get 5 kgs of grains and 1 kg of pulses free for two months, while 50 lakh street vendors rendered jobless by the lockdown would be given a working capital loan of Rs 10,000 each.As many as 2.5 crore farmers will be provided Rs 2 lakh crore of concessional credit through Kisan Credit Cards.Also for post-harvest (Rabi) and current Kharif crop requirements in May and June, NABARD will provide Rs 30,000 crore additional emergency working capital funding for farmers through rural cooperative banks and regional rural banks.She also announced a Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing sector through one-year extension of subsidised loan for affordable houses for the middle-income group with an annual income of Rs 6 lakh to Rs 18 lakh.Sitharaman said the central government will bear Rs 3,500 crore cost of giving free foodgrain and pulses to migrant workers. State governments will be responsible for implementation, identification of migrants and full distribution.Also to benefit of migrant workers, govt plans to allow inter-state portability of ration cards under PDS so as to allow them to use their cards anywhere to get benefit.For small businesses, the minister announced a 2 per cent interest subvention under MUDRA-Shishu loans of up to Rs 50,000. This would cost the government Rs 1,500 crore.For street vendors, the working capital loan would cost Rs 5,000 crore.She also announced Rs 6,000 crore employment push, using Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Rs 10,000 crore has been spent in the last two months on creating 14.62 crore man-days of work under MNREGS to help migrant workers.Announcing the second tranche of economic stimulus package, she said the work has been offered to 2.33 crore wage seekers till May 13.PTI


Centre Extends Subsidy For Middle Class, Says Will Boost Housing Sector

 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today announced a Rs 70,000 crore boost to the housing and construction sectors that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown, by extending an interest subsidy scheme meant to help middle class families build or purchase a house.


Rs 1,000 crore allocated to migrants from PM Cares will not reach them: Chidambaram

Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday claimed Rs 1,000 crore allocated by PM’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, better known as PM Cares, to support states’ welfare measures for migrant workers affected by the nationwide lockdown will not reach them. “PM-CARES has allocated Rs 1000 crore for migrant workers,” Chidambaram tweeted. “Please don’t make the common mistake. The money will not be given to the migrant workers but to the state governments to meet the expenses of travel, accommodation, medicine and food for the migrant workers. But nothing will go to the hands of the migrant workers.”Congress leader asked how a migrant worker will survive if he did not have any source of income.scroll


No Money, Stranded Indians In Gulf Countries Say They Can't Afford Tickets To Return

30-year-old Shahina has been anxiously waiting for her husband Arif Mohammed (name changed) since Indian government’s announcement of repatriating its citizens from Gulf and other countries. Shahina, who is expecting her third baby in the last week of May, wants her husband to come back at the earliest.Shahina has been sending out SOS messages to social workers in Oman to arrange for her husband’s return to Kochi, but in vain. With no salary for the last four months, Mohammed, who used to work as a cook in a small restaurant, has been living on the edge. “He has been starving for days now,” Shahina says.Even as the Indian government is gearing up for the second phase of Vande Bharat Mission — one of the largest repatriation efforts to bring back the Indians stranded abroad, many like Mohammed have failed to avail the service with no money to buy tickets. Over the first week of repatriation, government has brought back 8,500 Indians so far. The repatriates have to bear the charges of flying. To avail the tickets from Gulf countries to India, one has to fork out anything between Rs 12,000 to Rs 30,000. In the second leg of the operation— slated to begin from May 16, India is looking to bring back 30,000 Indians from 31 countries including Japan, Australia, France and Russia.outlookindia


14 Migrant Workers Killed In Twin Road Accidents In Madhya Pradesh And UP; Several Injured

At least 14 migrant workers were killed and dozens injured in two different road accidents in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh since late Wednesday evening.Six migrant workers have been killed and five others seriously injured when a speeding bus ran over them on Delhi-Saharanpur Highway near Muzaffarnagar, officials said today. The accident occurred near Ghalauli check-post.The accused driver, who was suspected to be under the influence of alcohol, has been arrested, said SSP Abhishek Yadav.The workers were going on foot to their homes in Bihar from Haryana when they were hit on Delhi-Saharanpur Highway between Ghalili Check Post and Rohana Toll Plaza, about 20 km from here late last night, the official said.The injured -- Sushil, Nathu Saini, Pawan Saini, Pramod and Ramji Rai --were rushed to hospital.Two of the deceased were identified as Bijender, 25,  and Harsh, 20. Rest were yet to be identified. outlookindia


Around 1,000 migrants protest in Mumbai, police use force then provide trains for their return

Around 1,000 migrant labourers assembled near a hotel in Mumbai’s Nagpada area on Wednesday, demanding a train for them to return to their hometowns, reported PTI. As more people continued to gather, police resorted to using force, but eventually arranged 3 trains for them.“Hundreds of stranded people, who wanted to go to their hometowns, gathered near hotel Rippon Palace and demanded that a special train be arranged for them to go to their native places,” said an unidentified police officer. Most of the migrant workers, with native places in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, protested that they had run out of money for rent, food and water. Police officials first attempted to reason with the workers that they were violating the coronavirus-induced lockdown and then began lathicharge after the numbers kept increasing. “A meeting was later held at Nagpada Police Station, during which the migrants were reassured that trains would be arranged to take them to their native places,” DCP(detection) Shahaji Umap said.scroll


Delhi citizens want public transport to open partially, odd-even rules for markets, says Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said his government received over five lakh suggestions from people over the last two days on easing lockdown restrictions after May 17 in the national Capital. The chief minister added that he will meet Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal at 4 pm to discuss the post-lockdown plan. Kejriwal said that the majority of respondents suggested that schools, colleges, spa, swimming pools and malls should remain shut during summer vacations. Many also suggested that hotels should not be opened but restaurants for home delivery and takeaway alone should be permitted, Kejriwal said.scroll


UP to charge Rs 10,000 for taxi rides from Delhi airport to Noida, Ghaziabad

UP State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) will facilitate those wanting to travel from India Gandhi International Airport to Noida and Ghaziabad-- but at an exorbitantly heavy cost. Be ready to shell out as much as Rs10,000 for a taxi ride from IGI Airport to any destination within a 250km radius. While scores of people are stranded at different places and struggling to reach home due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease, minimum cost of booking a taxi of UPSRTC will be Rs 10,000 for sedans and Rs 12,000 for an SUV.HT


Allow namaz at Karnataka mosques, Congress writes to CM Yediyurappa

Former Union Minister and Congress Karnataka MLC, C M Ibrahim has written to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to allow Muslims in the state to offer prayers at masjids during Eid. The letter states, "After consulting medical experts, take a suitable decision enabling Muslims all over the state to offer Idd prayers at Idgah Maidan or Masjids."Times Now


Hyderabad: Jamia Nizamia issues fatwa on Itikaf, Eid-ul-Fitr prayers

Hyderabad: Jamia Nizamia, one of the oldest Islamic seminaries in India, has issued a fatwa on Itikaf (secluding oneself in a mosque for a long period of time in order to pray) and Eid-ul-Fitr prayers in view of the lockdown. The fatwa suggests that one person from the locality should perform the Itikaf in the local mosque should be enough. However, doing it at home is not permissible, the fatwa said.One of the standout rituals of the last 10 days of Ramzan is the Sunnah of Itikaf. It is a practice of secluding oneself in a mosque doing continual prayer during the month of Ramzan. It starts from the 21st night of the month of Ramzan and continues till the sighting of the Eid moon.The fatwa issued with the signature of Jamia Nizamia chief mufti Moulana Mufti Mohammed Azeemuddin says that there must be at least a few people in every community who perform Itikaf in every masjid every year to keep the tradition alive. For men, Itikaf must be in a mosque but for women, place where they normally pray is acceptable.deccanchronicle


Media misreports linking Bareilly violence to Jamaat not taken down a month after police clarification

Last month, ABP News anchor Rubika Liyaquat during the show ‘Seedha Sawal’ aired a video of policemen charging a group of men with lathis. She claimed that police action was sparked by miscreants who attacked cops in search of members of Tablighi Jamaat in Izzatnagar’s Karampur in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. “Police visited Izzatnagar to save the area’s izzat,” said Liyaquat. Hindi word ‘izzat’ means respect in English. “The police had gone there to enforce quarantine, to save [people] from coronavirus and to search for Jamaatis. But stones were pelted at them,” she continued.Another mainstream media outlet that carried a similar report was TV Bharatvarsh. While this video is played, the ticker on TV screens reads — “The lockdown needs to end, uncivilized Jamaatis need to be controlled.” TV9 suggested that people associated with the Islamic organisation were behind the incident in Bareilly.Dainik Jagran played both the clips — the one aired by ABP News and the other broadcast by TV9. Dainik Bhaskar’s report carries a video statement of Ravinder Kumar, SP City, Bareilly, who said, “About 200-250 residents of Karmapur reached the police station and misbehaved with cops.” He subsequently gave the reason for scuffle which does not match with media reports. While there are inconsistencies in both police statements, none of them either claims that cops were patrolling the village in search of members of Tablighi Jamaat or ones who attacked policemen were associated with Tablighi.altnews


Video from March 20 viral as Muslims recently offering namaz in public in Delhi’s Patparganj

Several social media users have posted a one-minute video that shows a group of Muslims praying on the street. The man recording the video says, “Don’t these people fear corona? This should be stopped (Translated from क्या यहाँ कोरोना का दर नहीं? इसको भी रोकना चाहिए).”In last 20 seconds of the video, the man says that this happened near a mosque in Patparganj, East Delhi district. He also points to the cops and says, “Police are alert as well (translated from पुलिस भी तेनाप है).”On May 13, several Twitter users posted the viral video — Vice President of ‘Hindu Struggle Committee’ Diksha Kaushik (archive link), BJYM Telangana spokesperson Roop Darak (archive link) and Twitter handle @effucktivehumor (archive link).Similarly, several Facebook users also posted the viral video along with Hindi text. The same video was posted by Abhishek Dubey, IT and social media head of BJP Delhi, on March 20. At 16th second mark, the man behind the camera can be heard saying, “Today, on 20th…” Thus, almost a 2-month-old video of Muslims praying in public in New Delhi has been passed off as a recent occurrence.


Ramzan in riot-torn Northeast Delhi: As desperation grows with lockdown, charities feed the hungry: Saba Naqvi's spl report

Vicious communal violence broke out in Northeast Delhi on Feb. 23, and continued for 3 days. A month later, nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19 was implemented on March 25. Before long, media and state narratives began to claim that Muslims were “super carriers” of the coronavirus. By then, media persons had mostly disappeared from the riot-torn areas. Many people in Shiv Vihar and Mustafabad lost their homes in communal violence in February. Covid-19 has pushed them to edge.Until a few months ago, Mohammad Qasim used to own a tiny zardozi (embroidery) unit in the Jafrabad neighbourhood, where he embroidered lehengas and sold them to big showrooms in the national capital.Around 3 weeks ago, he opened a grocery shop and is now distributing rations to those in need. Most of skilled zardozi workers from Bareilly and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh who worked for Qasim were able to leave for home, but some got left behind. Qasim’s friend Babbu Malik is a community leader and businessman who used to trade in ready-made garments. He dealt in jackets made from nylon polyester fabric imported from China. They were manufactured in Jafrabad and sold all over India. Now, the entire supply chain has been snapped. Malik has dipped into his reserves and along with his friends, started distributing food packets for free. “It is the month of Ramzan when those who can, will give,” said Malik. “Inshallah [God willing], no one will starve in the neighbourhood.”Similarly, Haji Waseem Ansari a garment manufacturer who had to shut his unit employing a few hundred workers, says he is getting frequent distress calls from those in need. He says it is God’s will that he give whole-heartedly this Ramzan. Nadeem Siddiqui, who runs a small transport business, spends his days procuring edible goods from wholesale markets to distribute in Jafrabad. Jafrabad has a thriving middle class, which makes such acts of charity possible. At food distribution outlets run by the state, the quality of the food is abysmal. “We are only alive because we are now eating what dogs eat, as we have no money to buy anything,” said the caretaker of a mosque.Delhi state govt has been distributing cooked food on the premises of Manoj Public School, located opposite the destroyed Medina Masjid. But Reyazuddin’s family has been fasting during Ramzan and the food is distributed at a time when they cannot eat it – at 11 am and 6 pm. However, he is grateful to volunteers of Jamiat Ulema, who distributed 10 kg wheat, five kg rice, oil, dal and dates to break the fast. scroll


Muslim youths come to Hindu family's rescue, help with funeral in sealed containment zone

Tumakuru: When 60-year-old H S Narayana Rao died a sudden death at the sealed Zone-II here in the wee hours of Tuesday, his impoverished family of four, including his wife, 2 sons and a daughter, struggled to come to terms with the loss.But a team of Muslim youths came to their rescue by presenting them Rs 5,000 to boost their morale and helping with the funeral arrangements. As no relative could enter the zone, these youths shouldered the responsibility by turning into the bereaved family's temporary kin.newindianexpress


Lockdown: With kin unavailable, Hindu man's funeral managed by Muslim neighbours in Mumbai

Mumbai:Members of Muslim community helped in performing the last rites of their 72-year-old Hindu neighbour in Sewri area here after the deceased's relatives could not reach for his funeral due to the lockdown. Pandurang Ubale, who was paralysed since the last few months, died at his residence in Zakaria Bunder area of Sewri on Monday. He had been staying in Muslim-dominated locality along with his wife and son since some decades.After his death on Monday, his relatives staying in suburban Mulund, Belapur in adjoining Navi Mumbai and Alibaug in neighbouring Raigad district could not come over to his place in the wake of coronavirus-induced lockdown.


Coronavirus ‘may never go away’, could become an endemic:WHO

World Health Organization said the novel coronavirus “may never go away” and that people will have to learn to live with it. Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has infected a total of 43.47 lakh people in the world and 2.97 lakh patients have died. “This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away,” Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies director, said at a virtual media briefing in Geneva. “HIV has not gone away – but we have come to terms with the virus...we have found therapies and we have found the prevention methods and people don’t feel as scared as they did before.”scroll


'Coronavirus fuels anti-Asian racism, xenophobia': HRW urges govts for immediate action

Since the novel coronavirus outbreak emerged in China, Asians have become targets of hate speech, Human Rights Watch (HRW)said,urging govts for immediate action. "Asians and people of Asian descent have been targets of derogatory language in media reports and statements by politicians as well as on social media platforms, where hate speech related to Covid-19 also appears to have spread extensively," US-based rights group said.It said the govts -- from US to Europe, Africa and some Asian countries -- have directly or indirectly encouraged hate crimes, racism, or xenophobia by using anti-Chinese rhetoric and advanced anti-immigration and white supremacist. “Govts should act to expand public outreach, promote tolerance, and counter hate speech while aggressively investigating and prosecuting hate crimes,” John Sifton, Asia advocacy director of HRW, said.Italian civil society group Lunaria has collected over 50 reports and media accounts of assaults, verbal harassment against people of Asian roots since Feb, HRW noted.Citing Sky News' early May report, HRW said UK police forces showed at least 267 anti-Asian hate crimes recorded across the country.The watchdog added it also received similar reports from France, Australia, Spain, Russia, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, South Korea, Japan, and Indonesia. Meanwhile, in Sri Lanka, India, and Malaysia, Muslim minorities have been the targets of hate speech and held responsible for the spread of the virus. Spreading to at least 187 countries globally, the virus infected over 4.28 million people and killed over 292,300, while recoveries exceeded 1.5 million, according to data compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University.Anadolu Agency

Indonesian clerics allow Eid prayers at home


Indonesia's top Muslim clerical body issued on Thursday a fatwa (ruling on Islamic law) allowing Muslims to perform Eid al-Fitr prayers at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.“Eid prayers can be performed in a congregation with family members at home, especially those living in areas where the virus spread remains uncontrolled (red zones),” said the Indonesian Ulema Council in a statement.Muslims all around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, during which they avoid eating from dawn until sunset.Anadolu Agency


Saudi Arabia invests in Hollywood amid COVID-19 crisis

The entertainment industry is one of the sectors hardest hit by the global pandemic. And that is giving some nations like Saudi Arabia a chance to invest.Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Los Angeles, the US.



‘No connection with global events’: Army chief downplays border skirmishes with China

Underplaying recent incidents of scuffles between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh and Sikkim, Army Chief General MM Naravane Thursday said both incidents are “neither co-related nor do they have any connection with other global or local activities”.“All such incidents are managed by established mechanisms where-in local formations from both sides resolve issues mutually as per established protocols and strategic guidelines given by the PM after the Wuhan and Mallaparam summits,” the Army chief said in a statement.General Naravane further pointed out that temporary and short duration faceoffs between border guarding troops do occur along LAC “due to the differing perceptions of the alignment of boundaries which are not resolved”.“There were two incidents at Eastern Ladakh and North Sikkim where aggressive behaviour by both sides resulted in minor injuries to troops post which both sides disengaged after dialogue and interaction at local level,” he said. Last week, Indian and Chinese troops clashed at two points along the LAC, leaving personnel injured on both sides. The incidents took place in the Naku La sector — it’s a mountain pass in Sikkim at an altitude of over 5000 metres — on Saturday, and in a contested area near Pangong Tso, a lake in Ladakh, on the night of May 5-6.indianexpress

‘Face-off With China in Sikkim & Ladakh Not Linked’: Army Chief


J&K: Shah Faesal’s detention extended by 3 months under Public Safety Act

Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday extended the detention period of bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal by three months under Public Safety Act, PTI reported. Faesal, who was booked under PSA on Feb.15, was about to complete three months of detention under the law and was due to a review as per the rules. An unidentified official said that Faesal’s detention was extended barely hours before it was to come to an end on Wednesday.He was charged for advocating “soft separatism” through his social media posts and articles, according to govt dossier. scroll


Kashmir: Family of civilian killed in CRPF firing says he was ‘murdered without any provocation’

The family of the civilian who was fatally shot by a Central Reserve Police Force jawan in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday claimed that he was “killed deliberately”, AP reported. CRPF identified the deceased as Peer Mehrajudin, the son of Ghulam Nabi, and a resident of Makhama village in Beerwah Budgam.The news of his death triggered protests in his village. Forces were deployed and the police resorted to shotgun pellets and tear gas to quell the protestors who reportedly threw stones at them. Authorities also shut down 2G mobile internet services in the district to scuttle any possibility of spread of protests. Many were injured in the clashes. At least two women with pellet injuries to their eyes were taken to the main hospital in Srinagar for treatment, an unidentified doctor told the AP.Mehrajuddin was driving a car, with his uncle in the passenger seat, when he was shot by a CRPF trooper at a security checkpoint in Kawoosa.  His uncle Ghulam Hassan Shah, an assistant sub-inspector in Jammu and Kashmir Police, alleged that Mehrajuddin was “murdered” without “any provocation”. He added CRPF’s version of events was a “blatant lie”, as bullets pierced the car from front side, which was stationery at that time.scroll


Kashmir: Govt Asks Kin of Slain PDP Leader to Pay 17 Years' Rent for Govt-Allotted Safehouse

On March 24, the day the nationwide lockdown to counter COVID-19 pandemic was announced, the family of the late Ghulam Nabi Patel, a pro-democracy Kashmiri politician, received a demand for outstanding rental dues of Rs 7,42,080 for their quarters at the MLA hostel housing colony in Pulwama.The arrears date from 2003, when the family had been moved into these quarters because of threats against Patel from militants in Kashmir. The secure government quarters did not save Patel. On the afternoon of April 25, 2018, he was shot dead in an attack by militants at Rajpora, Pulwama. His family, now financially weak, continued to reside at the government quarters. As registered migrants from Jammu, they felt secure there since, to resettle migrants in Kashmir, local administration guarantees housing.Since the accommodation had been provided by J&K government to protect Patel, the family believes that eviction notice from the district commissioner (DC) and the demand for rental dues are proof of the harassment of pro-democracy politicians in Kashmir.

Pakistan awards Diamer-Bhasha dam contract of 442 billion PKR to joint venture between Power China & FWO

PM Imran Khan’s government has signed a whopping 442 billion Pakistani Rupees (PKR) contract with a joint venture of a Chinese state-run firm and a commercial arm of Pakistan’s military for the construction of the Diamer-Bhasha dam.Chinese state-run firm China Power holds 70% and Frontier Works Organisation(FWO), a commercial arm of Armed Forces of Pak, 30% share in the consortium, Dawn newspaper reported.The contract signed on Wednesday covers construction of a diversion system, main dam, access bridge and 21MW Tangir hydropower project.PTI



After Mob Attacks, Trade Boycott, Muslims Being Forced to Convert to Hinduism in Delhi, Haryana Villages

New Delhi:After a hate campaign launched by print, electronic and digital media against Muslims in the wake of the coronavirus spread that resulted in mob attacks on Muslims and their trade boycott, Muslims are now being forced to convert to Hinduism in several villages of Haryana as also in villages in Bawana area of Delhi, bordering Haryana’s Sonepat district. The latest example of the forced conversion has come from Harevali village in Bawana area where all the 12 Muslim families with about 60 members, were forcibly converted to Hinduism on May 5. This is the same village where a Muslim youth Dilshad, who is also known as Mahboob, was beaten mercilessly by youths from the Hindu Jat community on April 6 after he had returned from the Tablighi Jamaat mission in Bhopal. The accused, who prepared a video of the assault and circulated it on social media, are now forcing Dilshad to withdraw the police case.A resident of the village on conditions of anonymity told India Tomorrow that 5 elders of Muslim families were forcibly taken to village temple where they were subjected to “shuddhikaran” ( purification)  or conversion by making them drink water with drops of “gau mutra”(cow urine) in presence of entire village.“After these rituals in the temple, Muslim elders were told that they and their family members were Hindus from now onwards and would not practice Islam like performing ‘namaz’ or Salat, observing fast or burying their dead. We were told that we will now cremate or burn the bodies the way the Hindus do in the village”, said a villager. The villager alleged that Hindus had asked village Muslim graveyard into a “gaushala” (cow shed). The Muslims used to bury their dead in the graveyard which is one ‘kila’or five bighas in area, a big property worth several crores of rupees.The villager said that they did not oppose the “shuddhikaran” because of fear of atrocities from Hindu villagers. Asked if Muslims were observing the Ramzan, he said, “We are observing fast and performing ‘namaz’ also inside our houses secretly, without our Hindu neighbours coming to know of it”. According to another Harevali villager, Hindus in Nagal village, about 3 kilometres from Harevali, were forcing half a dozen Muslim families to convert to Hinduism. India Tomorrow


W.Bengal: After communal clashes over 'Corona blaming' in Hooghly, prohibitory orders imposed, net suspended till Sunday; 93 people arrested

Hooghly district administration has issued prohibitory orders and suspended internet services, including broadband, in the subdivisions of Serampore and Chandannagar till 6 pm on Sunday. Violent clashes took place in Telinipara area after members of one community got into a verbal altercation with members of another over why they were roaming around during the lockdown even after 5 of their community members tested positive for Covid-19.  On Tuesday, CM Mamata Banerjee had slammed a section of BJP leaders for allegedly instigating communal clashes and said those who would be found guilty would not be spared.After CM’s strong warning, raids were conducted. As many as 56 people were arrested on Tuesday. A day before, 37 people were arrested in connection with the clashes. “In total, 93 people have been arrested so far. We are conducting further raids,” said a senior police officer of West Bengal Police. Tension continued to prevail in Telinipara on Wednesday but there were no new episodes of violence. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPc, which bans the assembly of over 4 people, are in place and police has been patrolling the area. Internet services were snapped to keep a check on spread of fake news. State Urban Development Minister and senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim visited the affected area and held a meeting with police officers there. indian express


Fact Check: Images of anti-Hindu violence in Pakistan passed off as riots in Bengal


New Delhi:Communal violence broke out at Telinipara in Hooghly district of West Bengal recently, following which Section 144 was imposed and Internet snapped. Amid this, a set of pictures of injured people and burning houses is going viral on social media with the claim that this was how Dalit Hindus were beaten up and their homes set ablaze in the riots.India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) has found the claim along with the pictures to be misleading. The viral pictures are from an incident of anti-Hindu violence in Pakistan and not Bengal’s Telinipara.indiatoday


Court grants bail to student arrested in Delhi riots case

A Delhi court haaas granted bail to Gulfisha Fatima, an MBA student and anti-CAA activist associated with women’s collective Pinjra Tod, in a case related to communal violence during protests against the CAA  in northeast Delhi in Feb. Additional Sessions Judge Naveen Gupta granted the relief to Fatima on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 20,000 and a surety of like amount.Fatima, an MBA student, was arrested for allegedly instigating a crowd of protestors that led to riots in the area. The court granted the relief to the woman activist, arrested on April 9, on the ground of parity as 3 co-accused in the case, including Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) member Shafoora Zargar, have been granted bail in the case.Advocate Mehhmood Pracha, appearing for Fatima, told the court that she has been falsely implicated in the rioting case and other co-accused have been granted bail earlier.PTI


Cops send Jamia student Chandan Kumar notice under UAPA, to be questioned in Delhi riots case

Delhi Police Special Cell has summoned Chandan Kumar, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, in connection with riots that broke out in Northeast Delhi in February.In their notice under Section 43F – UAPA, ACP (SIT) Dhram Singh Negi states, “In connection with the case – you are requested to join the investigation on May 13 at 2 pm. If you fail to appear, appropriate legal action will be taken against you. This may be treated as urgent.”So far, six people have been arrested in connection with the riots since the lockdown was announced — including Zargar, Haider, former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, activist Khalid Saifi and Shifa. AISA national president N Sai Balaji said, “Delhi Police, after adding charges of UAPA to the FIR, is targeting and witch-hunting students. Chandan raised concerns about Covid-19 and its spread in Delhi, lack of transportation, and one of the head constables of the special cell contracting Covid-19, but the Delhi Police paid no heed. Balaji alleged that police had earlier assaulted Kumar in December. indianexpress


Sharjeel Imam contends UAPA invoked at eleventh hour just to deny him bail, Delhi HC issues notice

Delhi High Court has issued notice in Sharjeel Imam's plea seeking bail in terms of Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 in the case related to alleged inflammatory speeches during the anti-Citizenship Act protest near Jamia Police Station, earlier this year, reports notice was issued by a Single Judge Bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao.The petition also seeks to set aside an order passed by the trial court allowing Delhi Police to probe him for alleged commission of offences under the UAPA.Under UAPA, the permissible period of investigation is 180 days.Imam was arrested on Jan.28 in pursuance of an FIR under Section 153A/124A/505 of the Indian Penal Code.In his petition before the Court, Imam has contended that the invocation of UAPA on 88th day of his custody was with the sole intention to curtailing his liberty by depriving him of right to the statutory bail after custody of 90 days in terms of Section 167(2) CrPC. Pursuant to the invocation of UAPA, Imam's plea for default bail under Section 167 CrPC was rejected.It is contended that the order allowing more time to Delhi Police to carry out probe under UAPA was devoid of the essential requirements under Section 43D(2) of UAPA.It is alleged that neither was Imam given notice under the said Section nor was a report by Public Prosecutor submitted.The matter would be heard next on June 10.nationalheraldindia


Delhi riots: HC sends notice to police on CPM leader Brinda Karat's plea for early hearing

Delhi High Court has sought the police response on CPM leader Brinda Karat’s plea seeking early hearing of her petition for making public the list of persons arrested in connection with the violence in the northeast Delhi.A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar issued notice to Delhi Police and gave it three weeks to file the response to Karat’s application seeking early hearing. The bench listed the matter for further hearing on June 17.The main petition, which has sought that a list of the arrested persons be put up outside the police control room and police stations in the district, and should be updated on a case-by-case basis, is listed for hearing on June 16.The application for early hearing said people are not allowed to go out except for essential services.


NE Delhi Riots: PUDR Demands Status Report, FIRs Be Made Public

People Union for Democratic Rights on 12 May put out a list of points regarding Delhi Police’s investigation into the north-east Delhi riots.PUDR said, “If recent media reportage of the investigation and prosecution in the riot -related cases is to be followed, the impression conveyed is that a group of persons, mostly Muslims, were responsible for the riots and the many acts of gruesome violence in it, in which the majority of those affected were also Muslims. While there has been no sharing of information with the media on the progress of the vast majority of the ‘over 700’ FIRs registered, the police have however put forward (through the selective pursuit of a particular line of investigation) the theory of an alleged ‘conspiracy’ that sees the riots as the handiwork of Muslims and anti-CAA protest organisers.”The civil liberties and democratic rights organisation said that they condemn “this blatant attempt to actively derail justice by re-scripting the truth of the NE Delhi riots, under the active aegis of the State. Based on its own fact-finding investigation, interviews with victims and lawyers, media reports and official statements, PUDR would like to draw attention to the following points”.


Hyderabad Muslim Women Forum Condemn Arrest of Safoora, Other Women, Demands Their Unconditional Release

HYDERABAD:Strongly condemning “the targeted arrests” of 3 Muslim women-Gulfisha, Safoora Zargar and Ishrat Jahan-and charging them under draconian UAPA by linking them with Delhi violence in February this year,  the Hyderabad Muslim Women’s Forum (HMWF) has demanded dropping of all the charges against them and their unconditional and immediate release from jail. Expressing their solidarity and support to them, the forum, in a statement, also demanded an immediate halt to all such “malicious attacks, detentions and arrests of students, activities and organisations”.India Tomorrow


Assam journalist asked to appear before NIA on anti-CAA stir

GUWAHATIMAY :A digital media reporter in Assam has been called by NIA in a case related to protests against the CAA in December.“I have not been issued any summons. An Additional Superintendent of Police, identifying himself as D.R. Singh, called me, asking me to go to their office in Sonapur for some information about an NIA case registered in Guwahati. I have been told to report at 12 noon tomorrow (Friday),” Manash Jyoti Baruah with the Mirror of Assam portal, told The Hindu on Thursday. “I knew from the case number that it was related to the arrest of (peasant leader) Akhil Gogoi and the anti-CAA protests that claimed a few lives last year,” said  Baruah, who earlier worked for a television channel.thehindu


‘Against the ethics of independent journalism’: Chandigarh Press Club

 Chandigarh Press Club has criticised the Delhi Police for threatening The Indian Express’ Delhi-based journalist Mahender Singh Manral with criminal prosecution if he did not join a probe and subsequently creating pressure on the journalist to disclose his sources . The Delhi police action, members said, is highly condemnable and against the ethics of independent journalism. The Delhi Police sent a notice to The Indian Express reporter, through the city editor and chief reporter, requiring the journalist, who had reported that police investigations found the possibility of the audio clip of Tablighi Jamaat leader, Maulana Saad, being doctored, to join a probe on this matter.indianexpress




Army’s new proposal allows youths to serve for 3 yrs, cites patriotism, unemployment

Indian Army has proposed a 3-year “Tour of Duty” programme that allows youths to serve in the force as officers and in other ranks, PTI reported. This “game changing” proposal is being examined by the top commanders of the force. Unidentified officials told the agency that there is a “resurgence of nationalism and patriotism” in the country. The proposal is for youth who do not want to join the force permanently but want to experience military life for a limited period. The Army aims to bring people closer to the 1.3-million-strong force.The selection process will remain the same that is followed for regular recruitment with age and fitness level being the key criteria. Currently, the Army recruits youth under the short service commission. This is for a tenure of 10 years and can be extended to 14 years.Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand said that if the proposal is approved, it will be a voluntary engagement. According to the proposal, there will be no restrictions on the roles of those selected under the programme.Meanwhile, the Army is also mulling to induct personnel from paramilitary forces and central armed police forces under the ‘Inverse Induction Model’.scroll



Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, 8 others elected unopposed to state Legislative Council

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray and 8 other candidates were elected unopposed to the state Legislative Council. Shiv Sena leader was contesting his first-ever election. The elections were to take place on May 21. However, an unidentified polling official said that all nine candidates were elected on Thursday itself, since they were unopposed. “The result was officially announced on Thursday after the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended at 3 pm,”official added.Other members elected on Thursday were Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson Neelam Gorhe of the Shiv Sena, four candidates of BJP– Ranjitsinh Mohite Patil, Gopichand Padalkar, Praveen Datke and Ramesh Karad, NCP leader Shashikant Shinde and Amol Mitkari and Congress leader Rajesh Rathod.scroll/PTI


Can’t You Imagine a System Where No One Wants Credit: Ex-CJI on Ayodhya verdict

NEW DELHI – Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has cleared the air from the controversy relating to the Ayodhya judgment, which did not name the author judges. He said, “Can you not imagine a system where the five judges have agreed on a conclusion… where they do not want to take credit?”Speaking at a Webinar on Judicial Independence on Wednesday, hosted by the Confederation of Alumni for National Law Universities (CAN) Foundation, Gogoi said, “Why does a judgment need to have an author? It (Ayodhya judgment) is signed by five judges. The five judges are the authors… Can you not imagine a system where the five judges have agreed on a conclusion… where they do not want to take credit?”Gogoi was one of the five judges of a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, which had in November last year ruled unanimously in favour of building a Ram Temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. It had also granted a five-acre land to the Muslim parties for the construction of the mosque elsewhere in Ayodhya.



Taxpayers, Not Donors or Parties, Are Bearing the Cost of Printing Electoral Bonds: RTI

New Delhi: Despite the fact that the electoral bond scheme has been seriously questioned by different sections of society across the country and the petition challenging its legality in the Supreme Court is still pending, the Modi government is pressing ahead with it.As per the response to an application filed under RTI, electoral bonds worth Rs 19,000 crore have been printed so far. Of these, bonds worth more than Rs 6,200 crore have been sold in 13 phases altogether.It is worth noting that the cost of printing the electoral bonds is not borne by the buyer but by the government. That means the printing cost is being borne by the people – taxpayer – indirectly.The cost of printing one electoral bond comes to Rs 25, with an additional 6% GST charged both by the Centre and the state governments.



Research: Annexation will have ‘series of negative consequences’ on Israel

Israel’s plan to annex illegal Israeli Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank “is likely to spark a series of negative consequences”, the country’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) warned on Tuesday.“The idea of unilateral annexation of territories in the West Bank, while supported by [US] President [Donald] Trump, is likely to spark a series of negative consequences, and should therefore be avoided,” INSS said in a long and detailed research document published on its website.The research stressed that the “progress toward annexation is expected to propel a series of significant events with negative consequences for Israel, led by the termination of security cooperation with the PA [Palestinian Authority] and the collapse of the PA.”



Biden urged to ‘leverage’ US aid against Israel’s rogue behaviour

Some 51 anti-war groups, including a think tank backed by George Soros and Charles Koch, have urged US presidential hopeful Joe Biden to leverage America’s annual $3.8 billion aid to Israel to pressure the Zionist state to abide by UN Security Resolutions and international law, in a letter calling on Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee to commit to a “principled foreign policy”.In the seven-page letter, seen by MEMO, signatories decried US foreign policy, describing it as having been “overly focused” on confronting perceived adversaries and the global projection of US military power. “Doing so has militarized our response to global challenges, distorted our national security spending priorities, toxified our political discourse, and left us woefully ill-prepared to confront the growing transnational threats to human security we face today that do not have military solutions,” noting that the cost of American militarism since 9/11 has been more than $6.4 trillion.


Abbas: Palestine will reconsider deals with Israel, US amid annexation plans

President Mahmoud Abbas announced that Palestine will reconsider the deals and understandings reached with both Israel and the US, should Israel annex parts of the occupied West Bank.“We will hold the American and Israeli governments responsible for all the consequences,” Abbas said.The televised announcement comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated the new Israeli government has “the right and the obligation” to decide if and how it wants to apply sovereignty over the occupied West Bank during his one-day visit to Israel yesterday.



Israel destroys barns, seize water pipes in northern Jordan Valley

Israeli occupation forces raided and demolished livestock pens belonging to Palestinian bedouins in Al-Baqaa villages in the northern Jordan Valley of the occupied West Bank, reported Wafa news agency.Local human rights activist Aref Daraghmeh said occupation forces invaded the Al-Baqaa area, before destroying and confiscating water pipelines owned by a local resident, identified as Mowaffaq Daraghma.


Jordan court: Gas deal with Israel cannot be cancelled

Jordanian Constitutional Court has ruled that it is illegal to cancel the natural gas deal signed with Israel, RT Arabic reported.The court said that it would be “completely inconsistent” with obligations stipulated in the peace agreement between the two countries.In a statement, the court said that the Jordanian Constitution stipulates that only the king can declare war or ratify treaties and agreements.


Egyptian intellectual El-Mahdi: Sisi created death squads in Sinai to implement the deal of the century

Egyptian intellectual Amine El-Mahdi has told Arabi21 that General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi formed death squads in apato implement the so-called “deal of the century”.He added that Al-Sisi’s militias are not there to prevent an armed rebellion and that armed operations are carried out against the peaceful population, poor recruits and junior officers.These armed operations justify the government’s forced displacement and genocide against the local population, said El-Mahdi.At the beginning of this year, US President Donald Trump announced that Jerusalem was Israel’s undivided capital under his so-called “deal of the century” and half an hour later Al-Sisi announced that he supported the announcement.


Accusations of normalisation after Israel broadcasts Egypt TV series

An Israeli TV channel has broadcast two Egyptian television shows igniting outrage and accusations of normalisation across the Arab world.One of the soap operas starring famous Egyptian actor Adel Imam, “Awalem Khafeya” (Hidden Worlds), is being aired on Makan 3, an Israeli state channel.The series follows a journalist who investigates an actress’ suicide and discovers a trail of corruption.Magnum television company, which produced the series, has been accused of selling it to the Israeli channel, whilst the actor himself has been accused by some social media critics of selling it himself.


Taliban claim deadly attack on court in Afghanistan's Paktia

A truck packed with explosives blew up near a military court in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez on Thursday, killing at least five people in an attack claimed by the Taliban armed group.The explosion comes two days after at least 56 people were killed in attacks elsewhere in the country, including women and newborn babies, dealing a setback to peace plans in the war-ravaged nation."A car bomb explosion took place near a military court in Gardez city, which is a populated area. Dozens of civilians are feared to be dead and wounded," said Tariq Arian, an interior ministry spokesman.Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement the armed group was responsible for the attack.aljazeera






Child sexual abuse in Muslim communities is 'underreported' because young victims are too scared to tell anyone about it:Britain's Islamic authorities


Britain's biggest Islamic authorities believe that child sexual abuse within the Muslim community is 'underreported' because it is a 'taboo subject'. Muslim Women's Network (MWN) presented written testimony to Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) stating that 'scale of the problem is hidden' because victims are 'forced' into silence. Inquiry also received written testimony from Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) stating it thinks cases are 'underreported... due to cultural issues and stigma'. All religious organisations are being investigated by IICSA, which was set up by British govt in 2014 following the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal. MWN said: 'We feel that even our knowledge is only the tip of the iceberg and the scale of the problem is hidden due to the silence of victims (such silence forced upon them them due to a number of cultural barriers). dailymail





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Supreme Court Verdict on 4G in Jammu and Kashmir Undermines the Rule of Law:Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj

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Indian Muslims face renewed stigma amid COVID-19 crisis: Murali Krishnan,

                   ‘Ranjan Gogoi has stooped so low that his only option is to attempt pulling down person differing from him’

Vindictive Govt finds sedition under every stone: vendetta for protests against CAA :Ashlin Mathew


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 8:13 PM)*


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