*INDIA- ISLAMOPHOBIA, HUMAN RIGHTS & OTHERS*
SC dismisses plea to protect Ramjanmabhoomi remains, artefacts recovered during excavation; threatens to order a CBI probe against petitioners
Babri Masjid Demolition: Advani to Depose on July 24; Murli Manohar Joshi on July 23
Lucknow: A special CBI court on Monday set July 24 as the date for recording the statement of former deputy prime minister L.K. Advani in the 1992 Babri mosque demolition case. 92-year-old BJP leader’s statement under Section 313 of CrPC will be recorded through video conferencing.In his order, Special Judge S.K. Yadav also fixed July 23 for recording the statement of BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi through video conferencing.The court is recording the statements of 32 accused under Section 313 of CrPC to enable them to plead their innocence if they so want.The court, which is conducting day-to-day hearings to complete the trial by August 31, as directed by the SC, set July 22 for former Shiv Sena MP Satish Pradhan to depose before it through a video link.On Monday, it recorded the statement of accused Sudhir Kakar who appeared in person, though earlier he wanted to depose through a video link.Like other accused, Kakar claimed that he was innocent and was falsely implicated by then Congress-led central govt for political reasons.It will record statement of accused Ram Chandra Khatri on Tuesday.PTI
Row over invitation to PM Modi for Ram Temple bhoomi pujan unwarranted says VHP after backlash
VHP has defended Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust’s invitation to PM Narendra Modi for the bhoomi pujan on Aug.5 to mark the beginning of the temple construction in Ayodhya amid criticism by Congress and NCP for different reasons.It has also asserted that groundbreaking ceremony will be performed in line with all laid down protocols for ensuring distancing and safekeeping during Covid-19.On Monday, Alok Kumar, international working president of VHP, said the controversy over the invitation to PM who is yet to confirm his presence, is unwarranted.“There is no confirmation on who will be present for the ceremony. Invitations have been sent out by trust after deciding the names unanimously,” he said.Reacting to Congressman Hussain Dalwai’s comment that ex PM Jawaharlal Nehru had refused to attend a similar ceremony for the Somnath Temple which was reconstructed, Kumar said Indian secularism celebrates all religions and does not negate them. “The secularism to us means that the state does not prefer of patronize any religion and treats all of them equally,” he said.He went on to add, “It is a matter of record that PM Nehru had declined to attend inauguration of Somnath Temple. However this is only half-truth. It must be recalled that Somnath Temple was inaugurated by the then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Nehru had sent a letter to Prasad advising that the President of a secular country should not attend temple function. Dr. Prasad had retorted that he was prepared to resign from Presidency if that was Nehru’s view of the matter. Nehru did not pursue the matter.”Congress MP Digvijay Singh also questioned the invitation to PM. He said If PM Modi lays the foundation stone of the temple on August 5, all Shankaracharyas and Swami Ramnareshacharya ji of Ramanandi sect should be invited to the function and made members of Nyas. He also objected to the Centre’s decision of not including Shankaracharyas in the Nyas, but filling it up with VHP and BJP leaders.
Will see if political social distancing is done: Sena on Ram Mandir bhoomi pujan
Barely days after the date for the foundation stone-laying ceremony for Ram Temple in Ayodhya was finalised, Shiv Sena said that it will see if “political social distancing” is followed in invitations to various people, including Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that the Sena chief does not need an invitation to visit Ayodhya. “I have heard through the media that the date for the ceremony has been decided. Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas (Trust) has given an invitation to the prime minister. So he will go to Ayodhya on this occasion, we regularly keep going to Ayodhya. They will decide on the invitation, how many people to call, how to maintain social distancing. It is also to be seen if they follow political ‘social distancing’,” Raut said in an apparent jibe at BJP. The Sena leader added that the party has “paved the way” for the construction of the Ram Temple and it was instrumental in removing “obstacles” for it.
‘Some people think coronavirus will go away by building temple’: Sharad Pawar takes a swipe at Modi
NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Sunday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying some people think that building a temple will help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. “Eradication of the coronavirus is the priority of Maharashtra govt, but some people think that coronavirus will go away after temple is constructed,” Pawar told reporters in Solapur. “That’s why they would have organised the programme. I am only getting to know about this from you people.” BJP leader and ex minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the construction of the temple is a matter of faith, according to Hindustan Times.
6 injured in clash between upper caste, Dalit groups at Ayodhya; FIR filed
At least 6 people were injured when a fight between upper caste and Dalit children grew out of hand and people from both communities started pelting stones at each other at a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.The police have registered 2 FIRs in the incident that took place on July 18. Investigation process is underway, said police.Circle Officer(CO) of the area Komal Prasad Mishra said, “It began as a fight between children of the either community near a pond and escalated further. People from both sides pelted stone on each other in which few people got injured.”Both sides have filed counter complaints against the other for violence. Around 8 men are named in each of FIRs, said CO. Police have also slapped SC/ST prevention act against the upper caste men accused in FIR. Police are yet to make any arrests in the case.
Karnataka: Dalit Man Assaulted for ‘Touching’ an Upper Caste Man's Motorcycle
A Dalit man was thrashed by a mob, allegedly as he had “touched” a 2-wheeler vehicle of an upper caste man in Karnataka’s Vijayapura district. According to New Indian Express, Kashinath Talwar, a 28-year-old daily wager was going to work with his father in Minajgi village in Vijayapura on Saturday. A group of villagers thrashed him, accusing him of merely touching a motorcycle that was owned by an upper-caste person, which was parked near Chennamma Circle, says the complaint filed by Talwar’s father Yankappa.A video that has surfaced on social media shows a crowd raining blows on the man, as others hold him.Yankappa stated that the crowd also assaulted him and his son’s wife and daughter when they tried to rescue Kashinath. “The men used offensive words against our caste and threatened to set our community houses on fire,” Talwar stated in his police complaint. The local police have registered a complaint under SC/ST Atrocities Act, but no arrests have been made yet. 13 people had been named in complaint, NDTV reported.A Karnataka police officer Anupam Aggarwal said that villagers also filed a counter-FIR against Talwar.“When an investigation team reached the site of the incident today, they were told that he was beaten up when he took out his clothes and started showing his private parts to 2 girls who were washing clothes. We have registered a counter case,” he told NDTV.In several cases, counter-FIRs are filed by police to force victims of caste atrocities to either back down or come to a compromise. Writing for NewsClick, Parth M.N. reported recently that in Beed town of Maharashtra, after a Dalit woman filed a complaint against a lawyer for physical and sexual abuse, a counter-FIR was registered against the victim within hours.
Brahmins to Get Caste, Income Certificates in Karnataka
Karnataka state government has set up a Brahmin Development Board and asked all deputy commissioners to issue caste certificates to Brahmins.M.L. Varalakshmi, under-secretary to the revenue department, has issued a communication to all DCs asking for certificates are issued to Brahmins to reap benefits of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota introduced by Modi government. The decision brought “upper”-caste Indians into the reservation policy.This decision to set up a separate board and the subsequent order to all DCs came following reports of some tehsildars refusing to issue caste and income certificates to Brahmins eligible under the EWS quota.According to a report in the New Indian Express, the revenue department has announced certain eligibility criteria to get the certificates. While the 10% EWS law covers all savarna castes, Karnataka government has set up a board exclusively to cater to the interests of Brahmin community.
TN Human Rights Commission seeks report on Dalit boy being forced to clean faeces
Chennai: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday sought a report from Dharmapuri Collector and Superintendent of Police, into an incident in which a Dalit boy was forced to clean his faeces with his hands. SHRC member A. Chittaranjan Mohandoss took suo motu cognisance of a report on the incident, and sought a report from Dharmapuri Collector and SP within four weeks.14-year-old Dalit boy from Kodarampatty village, was forced to clean up his faeces from a field, after he was spotted defecating behind bushes on the fringes of a patta plot of land, in a village in Pennagaram on July 15.The boy was spotted by the owner of the land, Rajashekhar, who pulled him up and forced him to clear the faeces with his hands. Rajashekhar also hit him, according to the complaint by the boy’s father.
Atrocities Against Dalits & Tribals on the Rise Under BJP, Alleges Nath as Another Man Thrashed in Guna
Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath took on the current Shivraj Singh Chouhan government over the rise in cases of atrocities against dalits and tribals since BJP government came to power in the state.Nath mentioned in his tweets, an incident from Guna, where a man was beaten up mercilessly in a market and another of death of a tribal in Sagar after his tractor was seized by the forest department.“First a dalit farmer couple was beaten up in Guna and now a dalit man ‘Dharmendra Valmiki’ was beaten up publically in barbaric manner. A tribal man also died of shock when forest department acted against him,” said Nath in a series of tweets.Earlier, a farmer couple in Una was bashed up by the police leading to outrage across the nation.In second such incident from Guna, a viral video showed some locals thrashing a man outside an agriculture pesticide shop in Galla Mandi area over suspicion of theft.
As AAP insists on lawyers, it says: BJP engineered riots in Delhi
With the elected govt and Lt Governor sparring over the appointment of public prosecutors to argue cases related to communal riots cases in Delhi, AAP on Sunday alleged that the violence, which claimed 53 lives, was “engineered” by BJP, which had hatched a “deep conspiracy” ahead of Assembly polls in the Capital.AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh made the allegations during a press conference, where he highlighted the ongoing tussle between Delhi government and L-G Anil Baijal over latter’s insistence that 6 public prosecutors recommended by Delhi Police will argue the riot-related cases.“Riots in Delhi were an outcome of a deep conspiracy by BJP. The riots were engineered by the BJP. I am maintaining this from day one and reiterating today. I said this in Parliament as well that BJP organised the riots. And police, which comes under MHA, did not take any action,” Singh said. Singh’s attack on BJP comes amid a push by his party to emerge as an alternative to Congress on the national stage — the party has been holding regular media briefings to attack Congress, which, it maintains, has lost its relevance and credibility, especially against the backdrop of Rajasthan drama.AAP has been guarded on the issue of the riots since the beginning, with its top leadership facing criticism for not visiting Northeast Delhi in the initial days after the violence. Barring Sanjay Singh, the work of outreach among victims was left to Delhi Assembly fellows and professionals working with party.On Sunday, Singh, said,“police is not filing chargesheets in some cases, filing weak chargesheets in some, strong in some, writing extra things in some cases, hiding the truth in some,” Singh said.He said BJP wants lawyers of its choice to be appointed in order to “suppress the dark deeds and shield the dark faces” who were involved in violence.
India Rounds Up Critics Under Shadow of Virus Crisis, Activists Say: NYT
New Delhi: After spending several anxious days in prison, Natasha Narwal, a student activist accused of rioting by the New Delhi police, thought her ordeal was nearing an end.A judge ruled that Ms. Narwal had been exercising her democratic rights when she participated in protests earlier this year against a divisive citizenship law that incited unrest across India.But shortly after the judge approved Ms. Narwal’s release in late May, the police announced fresh charges: murder, terrorism and organizing protests that instigated deadly religious violence in India’s capital. Ms. Narwal, 32, who has said that she is innocent, was returned to her cell.“I felt like crying,” said her roommate, Vikramaditya Sahai. “We are grieving the country we grew up in.”As India struggles to quell surging coronavirus infections, lawyers accuse the authorities of rounding up government critics and keeping them in detention in the middle of a pandemic. It is part of a strategy, they say, to stifle activists who are protesting what they see as iron-fisted and anti-minority policies under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.In recent weeks, Ms. Narwal and nearly a dozen other prominent activists — along with potentially dozens of other demonstrators, though police records are unclear — have been detained. They are being held under stringent sedition and antiterrorism laws that have been used to criminalize everything from leading rallies to posting political messages on social media.
Delhi riots: Delhi HC reserves order in plea by Ishrat Jahan challenging extension in time for investigation
Delhi High Court has reserved order in a plea challenging the order dated 15/06/20 passed by ASJ Dharmender Rana wherein the police was granted an extension of 60 days to complete investigation in cases pertaining to Delhi riots against Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan, LiveLaw.in reported.The judgment has been reserved by the Single Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait.Filed by Congress Counselor Ishrat Jahan, the petition argues that the said order is erroneous, bad in law, and is based on conjectures and surmises that go against the settled principles of law.
HC Orders Police to Protect Witness in Delhi Riots Cases; Police Still 'Examining' Threat
New Delhi: On July 18, Shanno and her husband unexpectedly ran into SHO of Bhajanpura police station at office of DCP, northeast Delhi. SHO wanted to know why she was there. Shanno told him exactly why she was there: to hand over a copy of a Delhi high court order dated July 17 that directed the DCP to provide security to her family. The order said: “This court considers it apposite to direct the petitioner (Shanno) to appear before respondent no. 3 (DCP, northeast Delhi) on 18.07.2020 at 10.30 am. The respondent no. 3 shall evaluate the threat perception and provide such security to the petitioner and her family as he considers warranted.”This is perhaps the first ever high court order to provide security to any witness of the communal riots that took place in Delhi.Shanno’s husband, Saleem, had shot videos of some of the perpetrators of the violence in their neighbourhood on Feb.25. On July 19, Shanno told The Wire that she and her family still feared they would be attacked by “RSS men”. On the night of July 18, Bhajanpura SHO, Ved Prakash, and several other policemen, went to Shanno’s residence in Ashok Mohalla, to ask about the “issue”.“I told them that he (SHO) knew everything, including the people in the area who threaten us,” said Saleem. “Then they recommended that we install CCTV cameras and told us that the policemen would be on duty for our safety during the day.”Her lawyer, activist Mehmood Pracha, said he would move the court of the magistrate in Karkardooma on Monday to register a case for the incidents detailed in Shanno’s complaint.
100 days and counting: Activists demand release of Gulfisha, jailed student in Delhi violence case
Rights activists, academicians, and students have demanded the immediate release of Gulfisha Fatima, a recent MBA graduate and community organizer from Jaffrabad, arrested for taking part in protests against the new citizenship matrix. 28-year-old Gulfisha was arrested on the basis of an FIR on Jaffrabad sit-in protest against CAA on 9 April and slapped with the draconian UAPA on 18 April along with Jamia Millia Islamia student leaders Safoora Zargar and Meeran Haider in connection with the Delhi violence conspiracy case.
Varavara Rao is ‘almost on his deathbed’, his lawyer tells Bombay High Court
Telugu poet Varavara Rao’s lawyer told the Bombay High Court on Monday that his client is “almost on his deathbed”, PTI reported. Rao is an accused in Elgar Parishad case, and has been in prison since 2018. He had tested positive for the coronavirus last week after he had been admitted to JJ Hospital in Mumbai. “His condition is very serious,” Rao’s lawyer Sandeep Pasbola told the court. “He hit his head against the hospital bed while he was at the JJ Hospital and sustained severe injuries. Besides Covid-19, he suffers from several ailments, he is hallucinating and is delirious.” Pasbola said that if Rao were to die, it should be in the presence of his family. Following this, the court ordered NIA, which is probing the Elgar Parishad case, and the Maharashtra government to inform it of Rao’s health condition. The court also asked the NIA and the Maharashtra govt to examine if Rao’s family could be allowed to see him “from a reasonable distance”. A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and SP Tavade asked the two entities to provide the information by July 22.
HC asks Maharashtra, NIA to respond to plea by Gonsalves and Teltumbde to be tested for Covid
Bombay high court on Monday asked Maharashtra government and NIA to respond to a petition filed by activists Vernon Gonsalves and Dr. Anand Teltumbde, who are lodged in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail in connection with Elgar Parishad case, seeking directions to authorities to make the undertrials undergo coronavirus disease tests.They sought to undergo Covid-19 tests, as they were in close touch with Telugu poet and social activist and a fellow accused in the case, P Varavara Rao (81), who was found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease, at Sir JJ Hospital on July 16.
‘Things can’t go on like this’- author, activist Arundhati Roy writes to jailed friend prof Saibaba
After the news of the reputed poet Varvara Rao’s failing health spread like wild fire, worries about many other jailed activists have started haunting again. One of many of these students, teachers, activists is Delhi University professor GN Saibaba. Celebrated Indian author and political activist Arundhati Roy’s moving letter to GN Saibaba raises serious questions on the working of this ‘democratic’ regime which is ‘scared of its own writers and scholars.’
Sedition case: Stay the proceedings against me, Vinod Dua urges Supreme Court
Senior journalist Vinod Dua has urged the Supreme Court to stay the proceedings in a sedition FIR registered against him by Himachal police.The request from senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing from Mr. Dua, was made before a Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit immediately after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the State, sought an adjournment.. Singh said the police have sent his client, a Padma Shri awardee, another questionnaire on July 8. This when the apex court had already criticised the ‘unnecessary’ questions asked in an earlier supplementary questionnaire on June 30 and advised Dua not to reply to them. Mehta denied sending Dua any questionnaire after the one on June 30.The court finally listed the case for further hearing on July 27.
146 Academics From Across the World Demand Varavara Rao's Release
New Delhi: A group of 146 scholars from across the world have come together to ask the Indian government to release 80-year-old Telugu poet Varavara Rao from prison. Rao is currently in Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital for neurological and urological treatment. He has also tested positive for COVID-19.Rao has been seriously unwell in prison over the last month, and his family has alleged that his medical condition was ignored and allowed to worsen by the authorities. It was only after several appeals from his family, rights activists and lawyers that Rao was moved to a hospital.Signatories of the statement include Naom Chomsky, Barbara Harris-White, Jan Breman, Alpa Shah, Gyanendra Pandey, Christophe Jaffrelot, Ania Loomba and others.Several appeals have been made for the poet’s release, arguing that it is unethical to keep the undertrial octogenarian in jail in the midst of a global pandemic, especially given his frail health.
Vikas Dubey encounter: SC asks U.P. to consider having ex-judge of top court in inquiry committee
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to expand the committee probing the encounter deaths of history-sheeter Vikas Dubey and his associates to include a former judge of the court and a retired Director General of Police even as it reminded Yogi Adityanath government about its responsibility to arrest, detain and give a fair trial to an accused in a court of law. “You must understand that as a State government, you should be capable of arresting, detention and trial of an accused till he is found innocent or guilty”, CJI SA. Bobde addressed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for U.P.The present inquiry panel has a retired Allahabad High Court judge. The court directed the State to provide it with a draft notification with the names of a former apex court judge and police officer proposed to the probe panel. It will consider their names and pass orders on July 22.
Pressure from Manipur CM Biren Singh to drop drugs case: cop to court
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and a top state BJP leader have been accused by a senior officer of state Narcotics and Affairs of Border Bureau (NAB) of allegedly putting pressuring on department to drop the case against a person accused in a drug seizure raid which took place in June 2018.The accusation come in the form of a sworn affidavit Additional Superintendent of Police, NAB, Thounaojam Brinda filed in Imphal High Court on July 13.The police have put the value of confiscated illegal narcotics and cash at more than Rs 28 crore.
Tablighi Jamaat: Delhi Court allows 121 foreigners from 2 countries to walk free on payment of fine
A Delhi court Monday allowed 121 people from Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh to walk free on payment of ₹5,000 each, after they accepted mild charges under plea bargain process, related to various violations including visa norms while attending Tablighi Jamaat event here during lockdown. Metropolitan Magistrate Jitendra Pratap Singh allowed 79 Bangladeshi nationals to walk free on payment of a fine of ₹5,000 each, said advocate Ashima Mandla appearing for them. M.Magistrate Rohit Gullia allowed 42 Kyrgyzstan nationals to walk free on payment of a fine of ₹5,000 each, said advocate Fahim Khan appearing for them.PTI
NCERT adds scrapping of Article 370 to Class 12 textbook, deletes portion on ‘separatism’
New Delhi: The scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir last August has now been included in the revised Class 12 political science textbook of NCERT.The revised textbook — ‘Politics of India since Independence’ — a copy of which has been seen by ThePrint, talks about the scrapping of Article 370 in the chapter, ‘Regional Aspirations’. The textbook has been revised for the 2020-21 academic session. The revised portion, where the chapter talks about Jammu and Kashmir, says J&K had a special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. However, “in spite of it, the region witnessed violence, cross-border terrorism and political instability with internal and external ramifications”.It also says the Article “resulted in the loss of many lives, including that of innocent civilians, security personnel and militants. Besides, there was also a large scale displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from the Kashmir valley”.
Govt looking to privatise over half of state-owned banks : Report
The government is looking to privatise more than half of the state-owned banks to reduce the number of state-owned lenders to just 5 as part of an overhaul of the banking industry, government and banking sources said. The first part of the plan would be to sell majority stakes in Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of Maharashtra and Punjab & Sind Bank, leading to an effective privatisation of these state-owned lenders, a government official said. "The idea is to have 4-5 government owned banks," said one senior government official. At present, India has 12 state-owned banks. The government official said that such a plan would be laid out in a new privatisation proposal the government is currently formulating, and this would be put before the cabinet for approval. The finance ministry declined to comment on the matter.
India’s gross debt seen at 88% of GDP in FY21: SBI Report
As the coronavirus pandemic brings the economy to a grinding halt, raising the need for the higher government spending, India's gross debt is likely to touch ₹ 170 lakh crore, which is 87.6% of the GDP, according to the SBI Ecowrap.The report also said that the higher debt amount will shift the FRBM target of combined debt to 60 % of GDP by FY23 by 7 years with the target now seen achievable in FY30 only.IANS
No postal ballot as over 70 lakh electors in 65-plus age group in Bihar
With over 70 lakh electors above 65 years of age, the Election Commission of India (ECI) decided against extending postal ballots to them in the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections, for which 34,000 additional polling stations are being prepared in view of COVID-19 pandemic, due to the logistical challenges posed, an ECI source said. ECI had recommended extending the postal ballot facility to electors over 65 years as the age group had been termed most vulnerable to COVID-19 by Union Health and Family Welfare and Home Ministries.
Vehicles Set On Fire In Bengal After Alleged Gang-Rape, Murder Of Student
Kolkata: Bengal's National Highway 31, which connects state capital Kolkata to Siliguri, turned into a battlefield Sunday afternoon and evening after locals blocked the road to protest the alleged gangrape and murder of a school girl.The protest took place at Chopra, which is around 500 km north of Kolkata. For almost two hours the police tried to disperse the protesters but were met with fierce resistance, forcing the cops to resort to a lathi-charge and firing tear gas.he violence, which began at around 2 PM, lasted for several hours and at least three buses and police vehicles were torched.Police believed they had dispersed the crowd at around 5 PM but the protesters simply moved on another arterial road and began attacking cops with bows and arrows.
Minor's Rape: Over 10,000 Women Protest In Kerala, Seek Action Against Teacher-BJP Leader For Allegedly Raping His Student
Women in more than 10,000 homes all over Kerala protested on Monday against police dropping rape and other charges under POCSO against a school teacher who allegedly raped his 10-year-old student several times. The accused, who happens to be the teacher of the student, is aslo a local BJP leader. The accused is currently on bail. Another accused, who is also a teacher, was, however, not booked at all despite a complaint lodged by girl’s mother in March this year.The protest led by Women Justice Movement (WHM) is demanding removal of IG(Crime Branch) S Sreejith as investigation in-charge and setting up of a new investigation team led by an efficient lady IPS officer, arrest of both the culprits under POCSO Act and action against the police officers who tried to mislead the investigation.India Tomorrow
“I don’t think anyone has taken it (Assam floods) seriously. There have only been quick-fixes and band-aids,” says Adil Hussain
Assam is in a state of crisis as it is being ravaged by floods. An annual natural phenomenon, floods have claimed lives, crops, property in the north-eastern state time and again. As per latest reports (July 19) by ASDMA, 84 people have lost their lives and 2,400 villages devastated, taking the tally of total people affected to 25, 29, 312.“I don’t think anyone has taken it seriously. All the governments since Independence, before we could blame it to the British, I don’t think anyone has actually bothered about it. There were quick-fixes and band-aids, but no research (which I know of) has been done. The flood happens every year, at the same time and the volume of water is almost the same. Even after that if we say we do not have a solution for it, I feel either we are either lying or we are not trying hard,” says actor Adil Hussain, whose hometown is in Assam.
Delhi rains: Downpour damages central dome of 200-year-old Masjid Mubarak Begum
NEW DELHI: Heavy rains in the national capital on Sunday morning damaged the main dome of the almost 200-year-old mosque — Mubarak Begum — located in the heart of Shahjahanabad, near Chawri Bazaar metro station.Witnesses claimed the central dome of the heritage building had come crashing down around 6.45 am. Delhi Wakf Board (DWB) is the custodian of the historic mosque, which was commissioned by a brahmin nautch girl in 1823. She was known as Mubarak Begum hence the masjid got its name. Mohammed Zahid, muazzin — a mosque staffer, who recites the call to prayer, said no one was present inside the hall when the incident took place.
Rajasthan govt revokes general consent for CBI probe
Rajasthan government on Monday revoked the general consent under Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, 1946, which is required for CBI investigation. In a notification, the government, said, that prior consent of the state government shall be required on a case-to-case basis by the CBI for investigation of any offence or class of offence under the said Section 3 of DSPE Act.Probing into an alleged plot to topple the Rajasthan government, Special Operations Group of the state police force has served a notice on Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat under a CrPC section which requires him to appear before the investigation officer when called. The notice was sent to the personal secretary of Shekhawat in connection with the audio tapes, in one of which the minister is allegedly heard during a purported conversation to bring down Rajasthan government. Appearing for Sachin Pilot and 18 MLAs, who have been served disqualification notices by the Rajasthan Assembly Speaker, senior Advocate Harish Salve Monday said intra-party debates were permissible and cannot be regarded as “unprincipled defection”. “Issuing disqualification notice for inner party dissent is a violation of freedom of speech of the legislator,” he added, while speaking before a Rajasthan High Court bench which was hearing the petition against the disqualification notices issued to the dissident MLAs. The court will resume its hearing at 10.30 am Tuesday.
"Check Authenticity": Union Minister Served Notice On Rajasthan 'Sting'
Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has been asked to appear for questioning in an investigation into allegations of a conspiracy to pull down the Rajasthan government. Shekhawat, a senior BJP leader, has denied the allegations.Last week, the Congress alleged that rebel MLAs in high-profile dissident Sachin Pilot's camp were plotting with the BJP against the Ashok Gehlot government. Two FIRs were filed soon after the Congress came out with the allegations, one referring to "Gajendra Singh".The party released transcripts of audios that emerged online, and claimed these had voices of Union Minister and rebel MLA Bhanwar Lal Sharma, allegedly discussing bribes.Mr Shekhawat, Union Minister for "Jal Shakti", confirmed that he had received the police notice and that he had been asked for voice samples and a statement.
Gehlot Govt Criticised For Using Sedition Law in MLA 'Horse Trading' Case
Jaipur: PUCL has raised questions over Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government’s use of the sedition law in Rajasthan against two people who are accused of horse trading.The matter pertains to 3 FIRs registered by the Special Operations Group (SOG) based on complaints lodged by the chief whip of the state Congress Mahesh Joshi, under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 124 A (sedition) of IPC.
"PM At 45 By Joining BJP...": Congress Leader's Swipe At Sachin Pilot
New Delhi: Taking a dig at Sachin Pilot over his rebellion in Rajasthan, veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva on Sunday asked why former deputy chief minister was in such a "hurry" and whether he was "aspiring" to become the prime minister by 45 years of age by joining BJP.The former Union Minister also lashed out at Mr Pilot over the timing of his rebellion and said when the entire country is fighting COVID-19 and China in the wake of the border standoff, he is seeking appointment as Rajasthan chief minister."Congress formed a majority government in Rajasthan and Sachin Pilot became his (Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot's) deputy. He got four important portfolios also, as well as the post of PCC (state Congress unit) chief," Ms Alva told PTI Bhasha in an interview.
On MLA's "35-Crore Bribe" Claim, Sachin Pilot Says "Vexatious, Concocted"
New Delhi: Sachin Pilot said today he was "saddened but not surprised" by a Congress MLA's sensational claim that he had tried to bribe him into joining the BJP in Rajasthan. The rebel leader also threatened "appropriate and strictest possible legal action" against Giriraj Singh Malinga, a recent Congress recruit who moved from BSP last year.Giriraj Singh Malinga alleged on camera that Sachin Pilot had offered him Rs 35 crore to switch to the BJP, but he turned it down. He also said he had informed Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot about the secret offer at the time.
Omar Abdullah dragged into Rajasthan row, threatens to sue Bhupesh Baghel over Sachin Pilot-BJP deal jibe
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday said he will pursue legal action against Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel after the latter alleged a BJP "deal" led to the release of Omar Abdullah, who was detained under the PSA. With this, Abdullah has finally broken his silence on the political crisis in Rajasthan involving his brother-in-law Sachin Pilot.Rajasthan Deputy CM Sachin Pilot is Omar Abdullah's brother-in-law and is married to his sister Sara Abdullah Pilot.On Monday, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel in an interview hinted at a potential deal between BJP and Sachin Pilot that led to early release of Omar Abdullah.Baghel had said "I have been tracking Rajasthan events closely, but it does make anyone curious why Omar Abdullah was released? He and Mehbooba Muftiji were booked under the same sections of the law. While she is still languishing, he is out. Is it because Abdullah is the brother-in-law of Sachin Pilot?"
*SOUTH ASIA, INDO-PAK & J&K*
Indian, US navies conduct drills in Indian Ocean amid border row with China
A US Navy carrier strike group, led by USS Nimitz, on Monday conducted maritime drills with Indian warships in the Indian Ocean region (IOR), against the backdrop of India-China border standoff in Ladakh, people familiar with developments said on Monday.The passage exercise involved a total of eight Indian and US warships, said an official. The drills also came at a time when tensions have mounted over China’s activities in South China Sea, where the US Navy just conducted a major exercise that involved two carrier strike groups.
Bihar: Indian man injured after Nepal police opens fire along border in Kishanganj
An Indian was injured after Nepal police shot at three men near India-Nepal border in Bihar’s Kishanganj on Sunday, reported ANI. The injured person has been shifted to a hospital.According to the police, the incident took place when Jitendra Kumar Singh and two of his friends went to the border area around 7.30 pm, reported TOI. Singh received bullet injuries in his hand. A probe is underway, said Kishanganj superintendent of police.This is the second such incident to have been reported from the India-Nepal border in the last month-and-a-half. On June 12, the Nepal Armed Police Force had opened fire on a group during a clash at a border point near Sitamarhi in Bihar. One Indian was killed and two injured.
"PM Fabricated Strongman Image": Rahul Gandhi's Fresh Attack Over China
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "strongman image" is "now India's biggest weakness", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said this morning as he sharpened his attack on the government in his latest video on the issues facing the country."PM fabricated a fake strongman image to come to power. It was his biggest strength. It is now India's biggest weakness," Mr Gandhi, 50, wrote in a tweet as he shared a video message, referring to the June 15 clash with China in Ladakh. In the nearly two-minute video, shared 2 days after Congress leader said India will pay a "huge price because of the government's cowardly actions", Rahul Gandhi is heard talking about China's "strategy to restructure the planet".
Under Fire, J&K Govt Plays Down Decision to Give Armed Forces More Building Rights
Srinagar: In June last year, two months before parliament read down Article 370 of the Constitution and brought Jammu and Kashmir under Centre’s direct control, the high court directed the J&K chief secretary to consider an Indian Army proposal for allowing the construction of a transit camp in the scenic Sonamarg valley. The proposal had faced stiff resistance from Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA), a local body that regulates construction and ensures the protection of the ecologically sensitive area.The army subsequently went to court. In its status report, the government informed the court that the matter was placed before the chief secretary, and a decision was taken allowing a location to be declared a “strategic area” for “direct operational and training requirements of armed forces”.Following the government’s stand, the bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar on July 4, 2019 gave the army permission to set up the transit camp.Now, almost a year later, the term “strategic areas” has been incorporated into J&K laws to facilitate construction by the armed forces.
Coronavirus Vaccine Human Trial Begins, Result In 3 Months: AIIMS Head
Human trials of indigenously developed coronavirus vaccine, COVAXIN, began today, AIIMS-Delhi Director Dr Randeep Guleria said, adding that it would take at least three months for researchers to arrive at the first set of data.Phase 1 of the three-phase human trials started as coronavirus cases in India crossed the 11 lakh-mark with 40,000 fresh cases of COVID-19."It (starting trials) is heartening because it's an indigenous vaccine; making a new vaccine is an achievement. Even if a vaccine is first developed somewhere else in the world, India will be mass producing it. We are good at it," he said.
Oxford’s Covid vaccine candidate’s initial results show it is ‘safe’
Vaccine candidate developed at University of Oxford is safe and induces immune reaction, preliminary results released and published in medical journal The Lancet on Monday said, raising hopes for a cure for Covid-19 that has killed tens of thousands and disrupted human activity across the globe.Explaining how the vaccine works, study lead author Andrew Pollard said: “The new vaccine is a chimpanzee adenovirus viral vector (ChAdOx1) vaccine that expresses SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. It uses a common cold virus (adenovirus) that infects chimpanzees, which has been weakened so that it can’t cause any disease in humans, and is genetically modified to code for the spike protein of the human SARS-CoV-2 virus”.“This means that when the adenovirus enters vaccinated people’s cells it also delivers the spike protein genetic code. This causes these people’s cells to produce the spike protein, and helps teach the immune system to recognise SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Bengal to impose complete lockdown for two days a week beginning July 23
West Bengal will go in for complete lockdown twice a week beginning July 23 to contain the spread of coronavirus disease, home secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay announced on Monday.“There will be complete lockdown across the state on Thursday and Saturday this week. Next week, the first lockdown will be clamped on Wednesday (July 29) and the second date will be announced on Monday,” he said.West Bengal on Sunday registered 2,278 cases and 36 deaths, marking the highest single-day spike on both counts.
Coronavirus: Kerala makes rapid antigen tests, 14-day quarantine mandatory for returning migrants
Kerala government has made it mandatory for all migrant workers entering the state to undergo rapid antigen assay-based tests for the coronavirus, followed by 14 days of room quarantine. Arrangements for the same have to be made by the labour contractors. However, in case of individual migrant workers, they will have to bear the cost of testing on their own.
Covidtesting made mandatory for 10% of workers in Haridwar industrial units
Authorities in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar said on Monday all industrial units will have to ensure at least 10% of its employees are tested for coronavirus disease after more than 220 cases were detected from a single unit at the SIIDCUL industrial hub. C Ravi Shankar, Haridwar’s district magistrate, ordered all the industrial units to mandatorily test minimum 10% capacity of its total strength of employees as the number of Covid-19 cases have spiked in the last one week.
Karnataka Govt In Dock Over Irregularities In COVID Procurement
Karnataka State Government is in the dock over alleged corruption charges related to buying of medical equipment and ration at a much higher prices than available in the market for tackling COVID 19 crisis.The allegations have been levelled by former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, the current Leader of Opposition in the assembly.The serious graft-related allegations of a scam to the tune of Rs 2000 crore have come at a time when the general population of the state is struggling to eke out a livelihood in the wake of Coronavirus crisis and spike in the number of cases recently.The former Congress chief minister has sent written complaint to Public Accounts Committee and State ACB demanding that the government come clean on the allegations made referring to the scam.Siddharamaiah, in his complaint, has specified details about buying medical equipment like ventilators, N- 95 masks and sanitisers at exorbitant cost than the prevalent market rate, amounting to corruption to the tune of Rs 2000 crores. India Tomorrow
Eid Al-Adha: Goat Breeders, Traders Worried as Maharashtra Curb on Livestock Market Impacts Demand
MUMBAI – Goat breeders and traders in Maharashtra are worried about the virtual absence of demand for the animals just a little over a week before Eid Al-Adha, also called Bakr Eid. The state government has said mandis will not be allowed to operate because of Covid-19.Breeders across the state are concerned about the sharp fall in demand for the animals. Thousands of farmers and cattle dealers are also witnessing the virtual collapse of business just days before Bakr Eid, when demand soars every year. Deonar abattoir here, one of the largest and busiest, is virtually deserted. According to officials at the abattoir, every year during Bakr Eid an average of more than 12,000 cattle are brought from other parts of the country.But because of the ban on buying and selling of animals, there has been virtually no transfer of cattle this year. More than 5,000 farmers, butchers and others are involved at Deonar during Bakr Eid every year.Last week, the state government issued guidelines disallowing livestock markets from operating anywhere in the state.Reacting to the overall ban in the state, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Maharashtra, has urged chief minister Uddhav Thackeray to reconsider his decision and allowing ‘Bakra Mandi’ with additional safety measures in 27 of the 36 districts in the state, which are not that badly impacted by Covid-19.
Students challenge UGC directive to conduct final year examinations by September 30 in Supreme Court
Over a dozen students from across the country have moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of UGC guidelines dated July 6, whereby all the universities/ colleges have been instructed to conduct final year Examinations by Sept30, LiveLaw.in has reported.Petitioners, which include a COVID-19 positive student, have pointed out that there are many final year students, who themselves or their family members are COVID-19 positive."Forcing such students to appear in the final year University Examination on 30.09.2020, is flagrantly violative of their Right to Life, as enshrined within Article 21 of Constitution of India," they have submitted.
Coronavirus India lockdown Day 118: Maharashtra reports 8,240 new cases, 176 deaths
India saw a record single-day jump of 40,425 COVID-19 cases, pushing its tally past the 11-lakh mark on Monday, while the total number of recoveries crossed 7 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data.The death toll due to the disease rose to 27,497 with 681 fatalities reported in one day.Here is a list of State Helpline numbers. You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here.Maharashtra reported yet another spike of more than 8,000 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, adding 8,240 cases to take its total case tally to 3,18,695. Of these, 1,31,334 are active cases. With 176 new deaths, the State's total death toll has risen to 12,030.
Over 7 lakh cured, recovery rate at 62.6%;Health Ministry
More than 7 lakh persons have been cured of COVID-19 and discharged till now and the case fatality rate in the country continues to register a steady drop, according to a statement issued by the Health Ministry on Monday. The Ministry said India’s case fatality rate now stands at 2.46%.
Union Health Secretary ICMR DG ask states to ramp up testing capacity
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and ICMR DG Dr Balram Bhargava have written to all States to ramp up testing capacity, reported ANI.In a letter to the states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and ICMR DG Dr Balram Bhargava have asked the states to add more labs and enhance the existing testing capacity of the approved labs.
Hyderabad: Man arrested for plasma fraud, cheated over 200 persons, say police
A 25-year-old man was arrested by Hyderabad police Monday on charges of cheating COVID-19 patients after luring them with assurances to donate plasma and also to arrange anti-viral emergency drugs. The police suspected that the accused, Sandeep Reddy, a resident of Srikakulam in AP, had cheated over 200 persons in this manner.As he observed a huge demand for plasma donors and also anti-viral drugs, he started looking out for his gullible victims on social networking platforms and started contacting them over phone.
Muslim doctor from Rajasthan fighting COVID-19 loses battle to virus, leaves family in distress
A Muslim Corona Warrior from Rajasthan, Dr Azizuddin Sheikh who was fighting COVID-19 as a front line worker lost the battle to the deadly virus after contracting it 45 days ago, leaving his family in distress.Dr Azizuddin was a 40-year-old corona warrior from Rajasthan and has been a topper of his batch all through his study period. He also served in Arab countries for a few years and was serving as a paediatrician at Avanti Bai Hospital and Duffein Hospital, Lucknow.“No one ever thought that in the continuous fight to save others, he will lose his life,” says Saad, a close relative of Dr Azizuddin.His relative said that Dr Azizudin was a dedicated doctor who was working 16 to 17 hours battling the pandemic. The family is worried about their survival and find themselves in a dilemma as he was the only earning member of the family.TwoCircles
At least 14 dead as COVID-19 spreading in Egypt's prisons: HRW
At least 14 prisoners and detainees have died from likely COVID-19 complications in scantly-monitored outbreaks of the disease at Egyptian detention centres, according to the HRW.The United States-based rights group said its report on Monday was based on witness accounts, leaked letters from prisons and reports by credible local rights groups. It covered the period until July 15.
Prosecution of Israel occupation is a major test for ICC: Palestinians Abroad
Popular Conference of Palestinians Abroad said that International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing a “real and historic” test to prosecute leaders of the Israeli occupation and achieve justice for Palestinians,. “ICC is currently facing a real and historic test to make sure Israeli war criminals will not evade punishment and to put an end to the dangerous crimes committed against the Palestinians,” Mu’taz Al-Masloukhi, head of the body’s legal committee, said in a press release.He added: “There is more hope for the Palestinians and all other persecuted people in the world that justice is coming soon.”Israel political and military leaders are afraid of being held accountable for their crimes against Palestinians, Al-Masloukhi explained.
Hamas chief reveals direct talks with Fatah
Head of Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, revealed on Sunday that the movement is involved in direct talks with Fatah. Haniyeh made his comment when speaking to Qatari journalists and media.The former Palestinian Authority Prime Minister noted that there are plans to organise a conference to provide a platform for him and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas to address the people of Palestine. He also revealed that the direct meetings between Hamas and Fatah are the first in 10 years.“Hamas does not have any restrictions or conditions for restoring Palestinian unity,” he explained, pointing out that his movement is open to any initiative by any mediator to bring the Palestinians together. “There are no justifications for Oslo,” Hamas chief added, because it divided the Palestinians.
Egypt legislators vote on deploying troops to Libya
Egypt's parliament is expected to vote on Monday to authorise the president to deploy troops to neighbouring Libya if Turkey-backed forces there move to retake the key coastal city of Sirte.Turkey, meanwhile, demanded an "immediate" end to the support for rebel commander Khalifa Haftar in Libya after trilateral talks held in Ankara between Libyan, Turkish, and Maltese officials on Monday."It is essential that all kind of help and support given to putschist Haftar - which prohibits ensuring Libya's peace, tranquillity, security, and territorial integrity - ends immediately," Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said.
Trump: US backs expansion of Turkey efforts in Libya
US President Donald Trump has told Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan that Washington backs the expansion of Turkey’s efforts in Libya, the New Khaleej reported yesterday.Citing the intelligence news website, Tactical Report, the New Khaleej said that during a call last Tuesday, both presidents agreed that the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya is the legitimate representative of Libyans.Trump told Erdogan that the US prefers the expansion of Turkish efforts in Libya in order to avoid American interference.
UAE launches Arab world’s first mission to Mars
UAE has today successfully launched its mission to Mars, the first of three similar missions to take place this month. The Hope probe was originally due to launch last week but was postponed twice due to weather conditions at the launch site in Japan’s Tanegashima Space Centre.The historic mission is also the Arab world’s first and is expected to reach Mars’ orbit by February next year, marking the 50th anniversary of the unification of the Emirates. Although unlike the other two space missions to Red Planet, it will not land but will orbit the planet for a whole Martian year, or 687 days. The spacecraft will gather data on Mars’ climate and weather, it is hoped it can further our understanding of how Mars lost much of its air and water.
UAE leader Mohammed Ben Zayed accused of complicity in torture
French media have confirmed that a complaint has been filed against the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi accusing him of torture and enforced disappearances in the ongoing war in Yemen.The charges against Mohammed Bin Zayed have been made by the International Coalition for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms and six Yemenis who have demonstrated that they were subjected to torture and violence in UAE-run prisons.Given his overriding military authority, the Bin Zayed, it is alleged, is “complicit in acts of torture” in Yemen. French courts operate with “universal jurisdiction” and thus have the capacity to prosecute and convict the perpetrators of such crimes and their accomplices if they are on French territory.
Saudi King Salman, 84, admitted to hospital
Saudi Arabia’s 84-year-old ruler, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has been admitted to hospital in the capital Riyadh, suffering from inflammation of the gall bladder, state news agency SPA said on Monday, Reuters reports.The king, who has ruled the world’s largest oil exporter and close US ally since 2015, is undergoing medical checks, the agency added, without giving details.After the news, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi postponed a visit scheduled to Saudi Arabia, said Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.The de facto ruler and next in line to the throne is the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, widely referred to as MbS, who has launched reforms to transform the kingdom’s economy and end its “addiction” to oil.The crown prince’s reforms have been accompanied by a purge of top royals and businessmen on charges of corruption, and a costly war in Yemen, which have all unnerved some Western allies and investors.
Erdogan visits Hagia Sophia after reconversion to mosque
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan paid a surprise visit to Hagia Sophia just days before the first Muslim prayers will be held at the Istanbul landmark since it was reconverted to a mosque last week.In a quick visit billed as an inspection, Erdogan took stock of the conversion work, the president's office said on Sunday, providing images showing scaffolding inside the building.Diyanet, the country's religious authority, said Christian icons would be curtained off and unlit "through appropriate means during prayer times".Authorities said last week the mosaics would be concealed with either curtains or lasers when the first prayers are held.
G20 fails to reach an agreement on allocation of funds to poor nations
G20 finance ministers, at a meeting on Saturday, under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia, failed to reach an agreement on the possibility of allocating fresh special drawing rights (SDRs) to member countries or reallocating SDRs from rich members to countries facing a liquidity crisis because of the covid-19 pandemic. “G20 International Financial Architecture working group also discussed the possibility of a SDR allocation or of countries that have excess SDRs granting or lending them to countries that need them. There was no consensus on the issue," said the communique on G20 finance ministers and central governors meeting.
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. Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 9:58 PM)