14 September 2020

14 SEPT. NEWS: Academics, Rights Activists Condemn Umar Khalid's Arrest, Accuse Delhi Police of 'Witch Hunt'. China is watching — Political Establishment: 5 PMs, 2 dozen CMs, 350 MPs across all parties dominate key influencers tracked. Israel normalisation may partition Al-Aqsa Mosque: Analysts



Academics, Rights Activists Condemn Umar Khalid's Arrest, Accuse Delhi Police of 'Witch Hunt'


New Delhi: In a press statement issued soon after the arrest of Umar Khalid, a group of rights activists, academics and lawyers described the political activist as “one of our bravest young voices who spoke for the constitutional values of our country” and condemned the police action against him as a ‘witch hunt’. Khalid was arrested late night on Sept.13 and charged with sedition, offences under UAPA as well as murder and attempt to murder. The charges stem from police claims that Khalid and others who were involved in peaceful protests against CAA and NRC had “conspired” to trigger riots in Delhi so as to embarrass the Modi government in the eyes of the world. “As citizens deeply committed to constitutional values, we condemn arrest of Umar Khalid who has been subjected to a malicious investigation targeting peaceful anti-CAA protestors,” the statement says. “With deep anguish we have no doubt in saying that this investigation is not about the violence in Feb.2020 in the national capital, but on the completely peaceful and democratic protests across the country against the unconstitutional CAA.” Describing Khalid as “one of the hundreds of voices that spoke up in favour of the constitution across the country during these anti-CAA protests, always foregrounding the need for peaceful, non-violent and democratic means”, the statement said that “he has emerged as a strong and powerful voice of young Indians in favour of the constitution and of democracy.” The signatories to the statement are Ravi Kiran Jain and V. Suresh of the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties, lawyers Mihir Desai and N.D. Pancholi, academics Satish Deshpande, Mary John, Apoorvanand, Nandini Sundar and Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and rights activists Aakar Patel, Harsh Mander, Farah Naqvi and Biraj Patnaik.


Ex-JNU student Umar Khalid’s arrest a ‘conspiracy’: Prashant Bhushan;


Several people on social media have come out in support of former JNU student leader Umar Khalid who was arrested on Sunday by Delhi Police Special Cell in connection with communal riots which broke out in the Capital in Feb.Advocate Prashant Bhushan raised doubts about the investigation. “Umar Khalid’s arrest by Delhi police after naming Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Jayati Ghosh & Apoorvanand leaves no doubt at all about the mala fide nature of its investigation into Delhi riots. It’s a conspiracy by the police to frame peaceful activists in the guise of Investigation,” he said in a tweet.An Indian Youth Congress leader Srivatsa Y.B. said the arrest was targeted. “Kapil Mishra screamed ‘Goli Maaro’ in his hate speech which had a big role to play in the riots Forget arrest or UAPA, there was not even a FIR against him What has Umar Khalid done? BJP govt is purposefully hounding him. Will judiciary uphold liberty?” he tweeted.Author Saba Naqvi also supported Khalid and spoke against the arrest. “When an actor can be treated as an enemy of the people, what chance did#UmarKhalid have, a Left activist and Indian Muslim, outstanding student, against whom a narrative has been constructed by TV channels since 2016,” she said in a tweet.Student activist Gurmehar Kaur tweeted the statement Khalid had allegedly made. “ ‘We won’t respond to violence with violence. We won’t respond to hate with hate. If they spread hate, we will respond to it with love. If they thrash us with lathis, we keep holding the tricolour.’ –Umar Khalid #FREEUMARKHALID” she said.


Delhi riots: After Umar Khalid arresting, filmmakers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan receive summons


A day after arresting former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, Delhi Police Special Cell has summoned filmmakers Rahul Roy and Saba Dewan, asking them to join the investigation on Monday in connection with the Northeast Delhi riots.They have been summoned as the Special Cell (New Delhi Range) claims to have found their links with some students’ outfit, and with a WhatsApp group called the ‘Delhi Protests Support Group (DPSG)’.


Police Charges Against Umar Khalid Baseless: Father Dr. SQR Ilyas


NEW DELHI: Former JNU student and anti-CAA activist Umar Khalid’s father  Dr.SQR Ilyas has said that the case against his son is baseless and police have no evidence against him to back their charges of sedition and unlawful activities as police have invoked UAPA, a controversial anti-terror law.Ilyas was speaking with Clarion India from Karkarduma court where Khalid was to be presented before a magistrate for remand.The police have invoked UAPA and sedition just to make it difficult for him get bail and prolong his detention,” he said. The police have accused Khalid of being a “main conspirator” in Delhi riots along with former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain and UAH activist Khalid Saifi.Ilyas denied the allegation that his son held a meeting with Hussain. “The police are saying Khalid’s phone was tracked close to the network tower located in an area where Hussain’s phone was also traced. But how does this prove the two met.”Ilyas said that he was not allowed to meet his son.Clarion India


PUCL Writes To Delhi Police Commissioner Over 'Bias' In Delhi Riots Investigation


Police patrolling a riot-hit area following violence in New Delhi. People’s Union for Civil Liberties has written to Delhi Commissioner of Police SN Srivastava and expressed concern over news reports alleging bias in Delhi Police’s investigation in the North East Delhi riots.  The group said that its concern is specifically in reference to FIR 59/2020. As HuffPost India’s Betwa Sharma reported in June, Arvind Kumar, a sub-Inspector of Narcotics Cell of Delhi Police’s Crime Branch, filed a complaint on March 6 that came to be known as FIR 59/2020.  “The scrutiny of several other chargesheets that have already been filed in the riots cases, indicates that Delhi Police is developing a theory of a wide-ranging and deep-rooted conspiracy to cause violence between communities in Feb, allegedly to destabilise India and ruin its international image,” PUCL said in its letter.  HuffPost India


'Delhi Police Can't Intimidate Me': Sitaram Yechury on 'Fabricated' Delhi Riot Claims


New Delhi: In his first interview after he was named in a supplementary chargesheet filed against Gulfisha Fatima, one of the accused in the Delhi riots case, that he was one of a handful of people who wanted “to provoke and mobilise the crowd” to turn Muslims against CAA and the National Register of Citizens, Sitaram Yechury has said the claims are a complete and total fabrication. He says the claim is being orchestrated by the Union home ministry on behalf of the government. In an interview to The Wire, Yechury said it was his constitutional right to speak against the CAA and NRC. He had done so all over the country but always peacefully. He said it was a complete fabrication to try and accuse him of provoking and mobilising the crowd to riot.


State using sedition as iron hand to curb free speech: Justice Lokur


New Delhi: Questioning the intent behind invoking provisions of the stringent NSA and UAPA against students and civil society members, former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur Monday said the Centre is using an iron hand to curb free speech. Addressing a virtual discussion on the “Freedom of speech and judiciary”, in the context of lawyer Prashant Bhushan depositing a fine of Re 1 in a contempt of court case, he was quoted by Live Law as saying, “State is using an iron hand to curb free speech. Suddenly you have a lot of cases charging people with sedition. Common citizen who say something are charged with sedition. Already 70 cases of sedition this year.”Citing the example of Dr Kafeel Khan, who was recently released from jail after the Allahabad High Court quashed his charges under the NSA, Justice Lokur said his speech at a protest against the new Citizenship Act was misread. “The Court said his speech was promoting national integration and unity,” he added.


"Has Delhi Police Forgotten...": P Chidambaram's Jibe On Chargesheet Row


Delhi Police have brought the criminal justice system to "ridicule" by mentioning the names of CPIM leader Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan's Yogendra Yadav and other scholars in a disclosure statement of an accused, attached to the February riots supplementary chargesheet, Congress leader P Chidambaram said. "Has the Delhi Police forgotten that between Information and Charge Sheet there are important steps called Investigation and Corroboration?" Mr Chidambaram, a former union home minister, tweeted."Delhi Police have brought the criminal justice system to ridicule by naming Mr Sitaram Yechury and many other scholars and activists in a supplementary charge sheet in the Delhi riots case," he added.


Delhi riot chargesheet: As Apoorvanand, Yechury step up attack, police say probe meticulous


Delhi Police has issued a statement on chargesheets pertaining to the Northeast Delhi riots, saying that “various interest groups are using social media platforms to raise questions about the fairness of the investigation”.The note, shared by Delhi Police’s Additional PRO Anil Mittal, sought to respond to “allegations” that “anti-CAA protesters, including social activists, academicians and students are being framed in false cases”. indianexpress


‘Paying fine doesn’t mean I have accepted verdict’: Prashant Bhushan files review petition in SC in contempt case


New Delhi :Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Monday filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against its judgment in last month’s criminal contempt case, saying paying a token fine does not mean he had accepted the verdict.The top court had held Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt for two of his tweets and asked him to pay a token fine of Re 1. While sentencing him, the Supreme Court had told Bhushan to pay the fine by Sept.15, failing which he would have to undergo simple imprisonment for three months and would be debarred from practising before it for three years.“Just because I’m paying the fine does not mean I have accepted the verdict. We have filed a writ petition that there must be an appeal procedure created for conviction under contempt,” Bhushan told the media before submitting the fine.Bhushan said that he had received contributions from several corners of the country for paying the fine, and a “truth fund” would be created out of such contributions to provide legal aid to those who are prosecuted for dissenting opinions.“The State is using all means to silence voices of dissent. The ‘truth fund’ will be used to protect the personal liberty to those persons who face the State’s persecution,” Bhushan said.indianexpress


UP's New Special Security Force Can "Search, Arrest Without Warrant"


Lucknow: A special force will be set up in Uttar Pradesh, with powers similar to CISF (Central Industrial Security Force), that can search and arrest without a warrant, the state government said on Sunday. Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force or UPSSF will be tasked to protect courts, airports, administrative buildings, metros, banks, among other government offices. In a series of late-night posts, UP government Twitter handle quoted Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi as saying that "eight battalions of UPSSF will be constituted initially at a cost of ₹ 1,747.06 crore".The initial infrastructure for the force would come from PAC, a special unit of UP Police. UPSSF "will be a dream project" for Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Awasthi pointed out. ndtv


UP Forms Police Team To Probe 'Love Jihad' In The State


“Love jihad” conspiracies are back on the agenda for the Yogi Adityanath government with a 9-member police team probing Hindu-Muslim marriages in Kanpur.  This comes a couple of weeks after several right wing groups had alleged a conspiracy. So called “love-jihad” had also been something that Adityanath had campaigned about when he was voted to power. Inspector General, Kanpur Range, Mohit Agarwal said told Indian Express, “The inquiry would find out if is there any connection between Muslim youths involved in such cases. The probe team would also look into the conspiracy part and see if youths are being funded from abroad.” The report said, one such case that the right-wing organisations, including the VHP had cited turned out to be a false.  Indian Express report said that a 21-year-old woman told the court that she married a Muslim man on her own accord and converted. Huffingtonpost/ Indian Express


Madhya Pradesh: Minor alleges rape, BJP cries ‘love jihad’


Bhopal :A rape case lodged by a 16-year-old against a 40-year-old man in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh has been termed a case of “love jihad” by BJP leaders, including the state unit president.The accused, Mohammad Ateeq Mansuri alias Sikander Khan alias Sameer Singh, was arrested within four hours after the victim registered a complaint on Sept.11. In her complaint, 16-year-old has alleged that she was raped on the pretext of marriage over the past 2 years.State BJP president VD Sharma termed the incident “inhuman” and a “blot on humanity”. “This matter of love jihad will not be tolerated in Madhya Pradesh and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has taken serious note of it. The government will look into the network of this love jihad and work seriously on it.” In a press meet late Sunday night, police informed that investigation has revealed that Mansuri “took up Hinduism in 2011 and identified himself as Sameer Singh”. He then married a Hindu girl but divorced her in 2017, police said. indianexpress


Sudarshan TV show row: 7 former civil servants move SC, seek authoritative ruling on ‘hate speech’


Seven retired civil servants belonging to an informal collective named Constitutional Conduct Group have filed an intervention application in Supreme Court seeking an injunction against the telecast of a show on Sudarshan TV, allegedly communalising the selection of Muslims in UPSC exams, legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.The top court's bench of Justices DY Chandrachud & KM Joseph had earlier refused to pass a pre-broadcast injunction order in this regard but had noted that during the hearing it had been highlighted that the expression of views derogatory to a particular community had a "divisive potential" and the petition had thus raised significant issues bearing on the "protection of constitutional rights".The court while doing so had thus issued notice to Union of India, Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association as well as Sudarshan News, returnable on September 15. nationalheraldindia


Assam Govt Replaces 7 Muslim Foreigners' Tribunal Pleaders With Hindus in Border District


Guwahati: Exactly a year ago, Assam finance minister and influential state BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, while addressing local media, had expressed concern about the exclusion rate of people from the districts bordering Bangladesh in the updated National Register of Citizens NRC. The rate was 6-7% for the districts. For those dwelling in the autonomous districts, it was 16%.The minister essentially revealed that the ruling BJP and its government suspected possible irregularities in the NRC exercise, in the border districts. Both the state government and the BJP had last year also wanted re-verification of 20% of the updated NRC figures in the border districts of Dhubri, Karimganj, South Salmara and Hailakandi. They had also asked for 10% re-verification in the other parts of Assam.An affidavit was placed before the Supreme Court bench hearing the NRC case. The apex court had rejected the plea after then NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela said that 27% re-verification had already been done. thewire


China is watching — Political Establishment: 5 PMs, 2 dozen CMs, 350 MPs across all parties dominate key influencers tracked


New Delhi :In the Overseas Key Information Database (OKIDB) developed by the Shenzhen information technology firm with links to the Chinese government and the Communist Party, politicians account for the largest group of high-profile individuals being monitored through their online presence.From Ministers to Mayors, sarpanches, and legislators to Members of Parliament, the database includes at least 1,350 politicians and lawmakers across parties — BJP, Congress, Left and almost all regional outfits; spread across the country from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in the north to Odisha in the east, Maharashtra in the west, and Tamil Nadu in the south.As Indian Express sifted through granular data over a two-month-long investigation, it found that the database that took just two years for the Shenzhen-headquartered company to build using Artificial Intelligence and big data techniques. In the OKIDB are at least 40 former and current Chief Ministers and Deputy CMs or their family members. They are not just from BJP-ruled or Congress-ruled states, but also from states led primarily by regional parties — including Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, and Delhi. These include Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Hemant Soren, AAP’s Manish Sisodia, BJD’s Naveen Patnaik, TMC’s Mamata Banerjee, and Shiv Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray. Also on list are a dozen current and former Governors of states.Significantly, OKIDB tracks 70 Mayors and Deputy Mayors of big and small cities in India. Also, just in terms of numbers, most politicians being tracked belong to the two big national parties, BJP and Congress, with at least 200 from each. Politicians from Left parties including the CPI, CPM, and Forward Bloc, are also in good numbers — there are at least 60 who are either current or former MLAs and MPs belonging to one of the parties from Left. indianexpress


Chinese firm that tracks influential Indians also harvested data of over 35,000 Australians


A Chinese company that has been monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also reportedly amassed the personal details of more than 35,000 Australians as part of a giant global database targeting influential figures.An investigation by Indian Express has revealed that Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited, a company with links to Chinese government, and Chinese Communist Party, is monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organisations in its global database of “foreign targets.” indianexpress


China sends hardcore ambassadors to South Asia to push BRI and undermine India: HT


By sending Nong Rong, a Chinese politician with close links to United Front Works Department (UFWD), as ambassador to Pakistan, Beijing is making an all out bid to influence South Asia in support of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and divide critics of the Xi Jinping regime. Ambassador Nong replaces career diplomat Yao Jing in Islamabad this week.A study of Chinese ambassadors posted in South Asia shows that Beijing’s present representative to Bangladesh Li Jiming and former Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan had links with the UFWD. This organisation, in which President Xi Jinping served for many years, is mandated with psychological operations with the task of influencing political, economic and intellectuals in other countries and the objective of systematic penetration into systems of targeted country. indianexpress


Spike In Demand And China Trade War Make Laptops Disappear From Indian Market


With Work-from-Home (WFH) and online classes becoming the new norm in India, the country is witnessing shortage of laptops. According to various laptop market dealers based in Delhi, there has been a spike in the purchase of laptops in the market during the last 3-4 months and the production has not been able to keep pace with the rising demand. Moreover, shipments of laptops and computer spare parts which are mostly imported from China are also stuck at ports, leading to delay in productions in the backdrop of the ongoing Indo-China trade-war. With all these factors the laptop market is facing serious uncertainties. A Nehru Place-based laptop retailer on condition of anonymity said, “Yes, it’s true we are facing some back-end issues for supply of laptops by various manufacturing companies. Their representatives are complaining about hardware shipments being delayed since most of them are imported from China.” He said that the laptop models available on the e-commerce websites and retail markets are generally different and that several corporate offices are waiting for their laptop consignments for over two weeks now. outlookindia


PM Modi seeks parliament's unequivocal support for armed forces


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before the start of 18-day monsoon session of the parliament on Monday, said he believes that the parliament and its members will give an unequivocal message that the country stands with the soldiers strongly at a time when they are deployed on the borders under adverse circumstances.“The current session of the parliament is distinct for another reason. Our soldiers are performing their duties on the borders with chivalry. They are deployed in inaccessible hilly areas where snowfall will also start soon,” The Prime Minister said. timesofindia


Parallel development of Hindi, other Indian languages under new education policy: Amit Shah


Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said India’s linguistic diversity is its strength as well as a symbol of unity and the new education policy provides for parallel development of Hindi and other Indian languages.In a series of tweets and a video message in Hindi, on the occasion of Hindi Divas, Shah said Hindi is an unbreakable part of Indian culture and it has been an effective and powerful medium of national unity and identity since the freedom struggle.“With the new education policy of the Modi govt, there will be parallel development of Hindi and other Indian languages,” he said. Shah appealed to employees of government offices, banks and other institutions to use Hindi as much as possible along with local languages. thehindu


Parliament proceedings: Lok Sabha passes two Bills on Day 1


The monsoon session of the Parliament kicked off on Monday with Lok Sabha assembling first.  On Day 1, Lok Sabha passed two Bills. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan seeks to take up The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2020 and The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2020, for discussion. Both the Bills have already been unanimously cleared by Rajya Sabha, after the scrutiny of parliamentary committees. thehindu


‘Save your own life as PM busy with peacock’: Rahul Gandhi’s fresh salvo at Modi govt


Launching a sharp attack against the Modi government over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that people of India will have to be ‘atmanibhar‘ (self-reliant) and ‘save their own lives because PM is busy with a peacock.’ He also targeted the prime minister for the “unplanned lockdown” calling it “gift of one man’s ego.” In a tweet posted this morning, Rahul wrote, “India’s coronavirus cases will cross 50 lakh this week and active cases will cross 10 lakh. Unplanned lockdown was the gift of one man’s ego, which led to the spread of coronavirus across the country. Modi government said “be self-reliant (atmanirbhar)”… which meant “save your own lives” because the Prime Minister is busy with a peacock.” indianexpress


No data on deaths, job losses among migrant workers during lockdown: Government


Government of India on Monday told Parliament that there is no data available on the deaths and job losses among migrant workers due to the imposition of lockdown during coronavirus pandemic. The Ministry of Labour and Employment, in a written reply, also said the government has not maintained state-wise break-up of distribution of free ration to migrant workers.To a question of whether thousands of migrant labourers have died during coronavirus lockdown, the government responded saying, "No such data is available." indiatoday


S&P projects Indian economy to contract 9 pc; says COVID-19 will restrain economic activity


S&P projects Indian economy to contract 9 per cent in current fiscal.S&P Global Ratings on Monday slashed its growth forecast for India to (-) 9 per cent in the current fiscal, from (-) 5 per cent estimated earlier, saying that rising COVID-19 cases would keep private spending and investment lower for longer."One factor holding back private economic activity is the continued escalation of the COVID-19," S&P Global Ratings Asia-Pacific Economist Vishrut Rana said. nationalheraldindia


Wholesale price index inflation rises 0.16% in August; food, manufactured items turn costlier


Wholesale price-based inflation rose 0.16 per cent in August as food items and manufactured products turned costlier. Wholesale price index based (WPI) inflation was in the negative territory for four straight months — April (-) 1.57%, May (-) 3.37%, June (-) 1.81% and July (-) 0.58%. thehindu


UP: Prayagraj land ‘occupied by Ateeq Ahmad’ handed over to admin


Lucknow :As part of action against politician Ateeq Ahmad, Prayagraj police on Sunday freed up government land with a market value of nearly Rs 89 crore in Khuldabad police station area and handed it over to the district administration. A statement issued by police said that Ateeq Ahmad had “occupied” government land – number 19 and 65 with area 4,350 and 2,680 square metres respectively worth around Rs 59 crore, along with land number 3 and 3A of area 3148 square meter worth around Rs 30 crore. indianexpress


‘Our values don’t recognise same-sex marriage’: Centre tells Delhi HC


New Delhi :Centre today opposed a plea filed before the Delhi High Court seeking recognition and registration of same-sex marriages under Hindu Marriage Act, 1956.Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta before the division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan submitted that such registration is not permissible as the prayer, if granted, would run contrary to the statutory provisions already in place.“Our law, society, values don’t recognise marriage – which is a sacrament – between a same-sex couple,” submitted Mehta in the Delhi High Court, adding that one has to a man and a woman for a marriage to not fall within degrees of the prohibited relationship under the Hindu Marriage Act. indianexpress


J&K: Centre's Sudden Decision to End SHG Scheme Renders 15,000 Engineers Jobless Overnight


Srinagar: On August 12, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha released a coffee-table book highlighting developmental interventions made in J&K in the past one year. Projects executed by unemployed engineers working under a 17-year-old government scheme found special mention in it.This recognition of their services, however, did little to cheer up thousands of these unemployed engineers who have comprised self-help groups (SHGs) under this scheme.This is because, two days before the function, J&K administration suddenly announced the closure of the scheme – a move that has left around 15,000 engineers jobless in the conflict-riddled region where the graph of unemployment rises with each passing day.“The practice of reserving a proportion of projects for Self Help Groups of engineers is abolished forthwith,” reads the government order of August 10.For Syed Parveez, the decision came like a bolt from the blue. 49-year-old mechanical engineer was among the first few engineers to register under the scheme when it was launched by the government in 2003.Like Parveez, most of SHG engineers have families to provide for and having crossed the upper age limit, are ineligible to apply for government jobs. thewire


NEET: Crowds Outside NEET Centres Belie Govt Claim Of Social Distancing Arrangements


Ahead of the NEET exam, Centre and National Testing Agency (NTA) had a set of protocols to ensure precautions in the wake of Covid-19, but reports and several accounts on Twitter suggest that no social distancing was followed on Sunday outside some of the exam centres. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ tweeted that NTA informed him around 85-90% students appeared for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test. As many as 15.97 lakh candidates had registered for NEET, which was earlier postponed twice in view of the pandemic. NTA’s set of guidelines included staggered entry and exit of candidates to ensure social distancing outside the examination hall. The agency had also said in its release last month that adequate arrangements had been made outside the centres to enable candidates to stand with adequate social distancing while waiting. huffingtonpost


No action will be taken to demolish 48,000 slum clusters in Delhi, Centre tells Supreme Court


 Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that no action would be taken to demolish 48,000 slum clusters situated within safety zones along rail tracks in Delhi immediately.Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said consultations were on among the Railways, the Delhi government and Union Ministry of Urban Development to reach a solution, taking into consideration the fact that any immediate move would cause the displacement of over 2 lakh families living in these clusters amid COVID-19 pandemic. The court scheduled the case for hearing after a month. thehindu


UP farmers headed to Delhi to protest against 3 recent farm ordinances stopped at border


New Delhi :A group of Uttar Pradesh farmers marching to the national capital to protest against the three recently cleared central farm ordinances were stopped at the Delhi-UP border, police said.A senior police officer said the farmers, affiliated to the Bharatiya Kisan Union, were going to the Jantar Mantar, but were stopped at the NH-24 near the Ghazipur border, and asked to send their representatives who would talk to the authorities.The rest of the group has been told to wait at the border, he said.They were raising slogans against the ordinances — Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance. indianexpress


Mamata announces monthly allowance, free housing for Brahmin priests ahead of assembly polls


Kolkata :West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 and free housing for more than 8,000 poor Sanatan Brahmin priests of the state. The decision was taken ahead of the assembly polls in 2021.“We had earlier provided land to the Sanatan Brahmin sect to set up an academy at Kolaghat. Many priests in this sect are financially weak. We have decided to help them by providing them with an allowance of Rs 1,000 per month and also free housing under the state government’s housing scheme,” Banerjee said. Congratulating people on Hindi Diwas, she also said that her government respects all languages and does not have a linguistic bias.“We respect all languages. We have decided to form a new Hindi Academy. We have also decided to set up a Dalit Sahitya Academy. Dalits’ languages have influence on the Bengali language,” she told reporters.PTI / indianexpress



India overtakes Brazil to record highest number of COVID-19 recoveries in world: Johns Hopkins data


India on Monday overtook Brazil to register the highest number of COVID-19 recoveries in the world at 37,80,107, according to Johns Hopkins University data. According to data, 19,625,959 people around the world have recovered from the coronavirus infection while the total number of COVID-19 cases across the world are 29,006,033 and total number of deaths reported globally stands at 9,24,105.Johns Hopkins University, which has been compiling COVID-19 data from all over the world, put India in the number one position in terms of the number of recovered coronavirus cases at 37,80,107, followed by Brazil at 37,23,206 cases and US at 24,51,406 cases. According to the Union Health Ministry, India’s recovery rate has touched 78 per cent reflecting the increasing number of high recoveries per day. The total number of active coronavirus cases in India stands at 9,86,598 as on date while the number of COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 48,46,427.PTI


Coronavirus: WHO records single-day rise in worldwide cases


WHO reported a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 3,07,930 in 24 hours. India leads the world in new cases reported each day and set a global record with 97,570 new cases in one day, according to a Reuters tally.More than 28.93 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and at least 921,437 have died, according to Reuters. Covid-19 cases are rising in 58 countries, including surges in Argentina, Indonesia, Morocco, Spain and Ukraine. indianexpress


Covid vaccine likely by March 2021, will take it first if people have a 'trust deficit': Vardhan


Union Minister Harsh Vardhan today said that while there has been no date fixed on the availability of a potential Covid-19 vaccine, chances are it may be ready by the first quarter of 2021.He assured the vaccine will be first made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity. livemint


‘Covid-19 made in Wuhan lab controlled by China govt’, claims virologist, offers evidence


Chinese virologist Dr Li-Meng Yan has claimed that the novel coronavirus was made in a government controlled laboratory in Wuhan and asserted that she has scientific proof to back the claim.The virologist, who became the whistleblower against the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, was in December last year tasked with looking into a cluster of Sars-like cases coming out of mainland China. The top scientist working in Hong Kong claimed that she discovered a cover-up operation during her investigation and said that the Chinese government knew about the spread of the virus before publicly acknowledging it.


17 Lok Sabha MPs test positive for COVID as monsoon session begins


Seventeen members including Meenakshi Lekhi, Anant Kumar Hegde and Parvesh Sahib Singh of Parliament have tested positive for COVID-19 in the mandatory tests carried out ahead of the monsoon session started on Monday.Lok Sabha members were tested at Parliament House on Sept.13 and 14, reported NDTV.BJP has a maximum number of 12 COVID affected MPs, YRS Congress has two MPs, the Shiv Sena, DMK and RLP one each.Around 200 of 785 MPs are above the age of 65 years, the population vulnerable to coronavirus.


Great grandson of last ruler of Oudh succumbs to COVID


The great grandson of the last king of Oudh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah -- Prince Kaukab Quder Saajad Ali Meerza, has passed away.He died in Kolkata on Sunday evening.He was the last surviving great grandson of Wajid Ali Shah and Begum Hazrat Mahal.87-year-old had tested positive for COVID-19 a week ago, his family said.He is survived by his wife, who belongs to Lucknow's famous Khandaan-e-Ijtehaad family, two sons and four daughters.IANS


Another Lockdown From Sept.25? Government's Fact-Check


New Delhi: The government today denied reports that another lockdown had been recommended from September 25 because of a spurt in coronavirus cases in the country. Press Information Bureau denied the news in a post with a "Fake News" alert. Reports that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had called for another lockdown from September 25 have been widely shared online, along with a screenshot supposed to be of the agency's order. ndtv




Israel normalisation may partition Al-Aqsa Mosque: Analysts


A statement embedded in UAE and Bahrain normalisation agreements with Israel, brokered by the US, may lead to the division of Al-Aqsa compound because it violates the status quo, analysts say.According to a report by NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem (TJ), the statements mark a "radical change in the status quo" and have "far-reaching and potentially explosive ramifications".Under the status quo affirmed in 1967, only Muslims can pray within al-Haram al-Sharif, also known as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which consists of 14 hectares.Non-Muslims can visit but cannot pray at the site. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed this status quo in a formal declaration in 2015.However, a clause included in the recent accords between Israel and Gulf Arab states indicates this may no longer be the case. "According to Israel [and apparently to the United States], anything on the Mount that is not the structure of the mosque is defined as 'one of Jerusalem's other holy sites' and open to prayer by all - including Jews," the report said.The same statement was repeated in the accord with Bahrain, announced on Friday.Khaled Zabarqa, a Palestinian lawyer specialising in Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem affairs, told Al Jazeera the statement "very clearly says the mosque is not under Muslim sovereignty". aljazeera


PLO: Normalisation prepares for formation of military alliances led by Israel


Secretary-General of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, said yesterday that UAE and Bahraini normalisation deals with Israel prepare for the formation of military alliances in the region led by Israel, Anadolu reported.In a press conference held in Ramallah, Erekat said: “Israel will never be a tool to protect the security of Arabs, but a tool to undermine the security of the Arab states.”“Bahraini, Israeli, American agreement to normalise relations is now part of a bigger package in the region. It is not about peace, it is not about relations between countries. It is a military alliance being created in the region led by Israel.” Anadolu agency


Hungary will be only EU country to send minister to Israel-UAE accord signing


Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will be the only EU diplomatic leader to attend the signing ceremony on Tuesday in Washington for Israel-UAE peace deal, his spokesman said on Sunday, Reuters reports.“At the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump, as the only European Union minister, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will also attend … the signing ceremony in the White House on Tuesday,” Mate Paczolay told Hungarian news agency MTI.Under the accord, which Trump helped broker, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. The agreement also firms up opposition to regional power Iran, which UAE, Israel and the United States view as the main threat in the conflict-riven Middle East. middleeastmonitor


Bahrain opposition rejects Israel normalisation, calls to resist


Bahraini opposition groups have said they reject a decision by the Gulf state to normalise relations with Israel, with a leading Shi’ite cleric on Sunday calling on the region’s people to resist, Reuters reports.Cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim, living in Iran, said he was against normalisation between Arab countries and Israel, in a statement published by dissolved Bahraini opposition party al-Wefaq, a group close to Qassim. middleeastmonitor


Bahrain civil society groups reject normalisation agreement


 Civil society groups in Bahrain have rejected govt’s normalisation agreement with Israel which is expected to be signed formally in Washington DC on Tuesday. 17 organisations have issued a joint statement to this effect, with signatories including the General Federation of Workers’ Trade Unions in Bahrain, the Bahraini Bar Association and the Bahrain Women’s Association. “We adhere to the constants of the Bahraini people regarding the just Palestinian cause and the provisions of the constitution that criminalise normalisation with the Zionist entity, in accordance with the official and popular Arab and Islamic consensus rejecting normalisation with this criminal entity,” said the groups. “All forms of normalisation with the Zionist entity initiated by some countries have neither produced peace nor restored the usurped rights of Palestinian people, but have, rather, encouraged the enemy to commit more crimes against Palestine and the holy Arab and Muslim sites, foremost of which is Holy Jerusalem.” Middleeastmonitor


Israel approves 1,000 settlement units in occupied West Bank


Israeli authorities approved 980 settlement units in the illegal Efrat settlement in occupied Bethlehem, reported Wafa news agency.Hasan Brijiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-apartheid activist, told Wafa that Israel announced its approval of the construction of 980 new settlement units.The activist said that this means Israel’s plan to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank will be implemented gradually, pointing out that vast areas of agricultural land will be seized as part of the expansion of the settlement.Earlier this year, Defence Minister Naftali Bennett approved 7,000 settlement units in the illegal Efrat settlement. middleeastmonitor


Israeli handed a Jewish settler 3 life sentences for killing Palestinian family


An Israeli court handed a Jewish settler 3 life sentences Monday for murdering a Palestinian toddler and his parents in an arson attack on their home in the occupied West Bank.Amiram Ben-Uliel, 25, was sentenced by the Lod court following his conviction in May for the 2015 killings. He was also found guilty of two counts each of attempted murder and arson, along with conspiracy to commit a hate crime.The arson attack killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh. His mother, Riham, and father, Saad, later died of their wounds. Ali's 4-year-old brother Ahmad survived with burns on his body.The settler had sought to avenge the killing of an Israeli a month earlier. aljazeera


Hamas welcomes formation of ‘United Leadership of Popular Resistance’


Hamas has welcomed the formation of “United Leadership of Popular Resistance”, considering it a practical step to turn the national consensus into measures on the ground.“The formation of this body witnesses the beginning of the implementation of the national decisions taken during last week’s conference of Palestinian secretaries-general held in Beirut,” Hamas official Hussam Badran said in a press release.“We are confident that all Palestinian national institutions will proceed with more steps to turn the rejection of all projects intended to liquidate the Palestinian cause into practical moves,” Badran added.“All Palestinian factions have agreed to start implementing the outcomes of the secretaries-general’s conference, but some Arab states running towards the normalisation of ties with the Israeli occupation brought the formation of this body to the top of the conference’s agenda.” Badran stressed on the importance of maintaining internal unity and putting aside all differences to save Palestinian cause. Middleeastmonitor


Israel to impose second lockdown as coronavirus cases surge


Israel will enter a 3-week nationwide lockdown, starting Friday, to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus after a second-wave surge in new cases.PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced the lockdown ahead of the Jewish holiday season, which starts with the Jewish New Year on September 18 and ends with the Tabernacles holiday on Oct. 9. aljazeera


Saudi accuses detained Palestinians, Jordanians of supporting terror


Saudi Public Prosecution has accused Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners being held in the kingdom of being affiliated to terror groups and supporting or financing terror acts, a Jordanian lawyer revealed.Mustafa Nasrallah, who is defending a number of the Palestinian and Jordanian prisoners, said in a video posted on Twitter by the Prisoners of Conscience account, that these accusations were given by the Saudi State Intelligence Services.“Saudi Public Prosecution refers to terror acts as supporting the Palestinian national resistance of the Zionist occupation, supporting the Palestinian people and highlighting the Palestinian cause,” the lawyer said. middleeastmonitor


Netflix can air 'porn' in Saudi but not criticism of MBS


The co-CEO of the streaming service Netflix has acknowledged that Saudi Arabia allowed the shows such as “Queer Eye”, “Sex Education” and “Orange is the New Black” to be aired in the normally conservative kingdom in exchange for agreeing to remove a controversial episode of Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” which was critical of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) over his role in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.In an interview on CNN discussing censorship and human rights, Reed Hastings said it was a “very difficult decision”, but explained that the episode in question was still available in the kingdom on YouTube, despite it being pulled from Netflix at the behest of the Saudi government as it violated their laws.However, in being able to stream content that would be considered “pornographic” or at the very least inappropriate in the conservative country, Hastings said Netflix had reached a “troubling compromise”, one that was not taken lightly. middleeastmonitor


Lebanon Maronite Patriarch reiterates call for an international probe into Beirut blast


Lebanon’s Christian Maronite Patriarch Beshara Al-Rai yesterday reiterated his demand for an international investigation into the Beirut port explosion which killed nearly 200 people and wounded thousands more, Anadolu reported.Speaking at the 40-day memorial service dedicated to the victims of the explosion, Al-Rai said: “The confusion in the local investigation, the conflicting information, the increasing doubts about the cause of the explosion and the negligence of those responsible are pushing us to call again for an independent international investigation.”“Justice does not contradict with sovereignty and there is no sovereignty without justice, and if the authorities, for political reasons, reject the international investigation, then it is the United Nations’ duty to impose it because what happened is close to a crime against humanity,” he said. middleeastmonitor

 Iran becoming more secular, less religions: new study


Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution was a defining event that changed how we think about the relationship between religion and modernity. Ayatollah Khomeini’s mass mobilisation of Islam showed that modernisation by no means implies a linear process of religious decline.Reliable large-scale data on Iranians’ post-revolutionary religious beliefs, however, has always been lacking. Over the years, research and waves of protests and crackdowns indicated massive disappointment among Iranians with their political system. This steadily turned into a deeply felt disillusionment with institutional religion.In June 2020, our research institute, the Group for Analyzing and Measuring Attitudes in IRAN (GAMAAN), conducted an online survey with the collaboration of Ladan Boroumand, co-founder of the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran.The results verify Iranian society’s unprecedented secularisation. theprint



Yoshihide Suga: The strawberry farmer's son on track to be Japan's PM


Born in 1948 to a family of strawberry farmers, Yoshihide Suga's steady rise to the top sets him apart from the political elite that has long dominated Japanese politics.His political journey began when he worked on a parliamentary election campaign soon after graduating from Tokyo's Hosei University.He later worked as a secretary to a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker, before embarking on his own political career.He was elected to the Yokohama City Council in 1987, and in 1996 he was elected to Japan's Diet for the first time. bbc


TikTok rejects Microsoft bid at eleventh hour


Microsoft has said that its offer to buy the US operations of hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok has been rejected, paving the way for Oracle to make a last-minute bid.US President Donald Trump gave a 15 September deadline for the Chinese-owned app to sell or shut down.The Trump administration claims TikTok and other Chinese apps are national security threats.Microsoft and Oracle led the race to buy TikTok from Chinese firm ByteDance.The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that Oracle, which sells database technology and cloud systems to businesses, had won the bidding war, citing people familiar with the matter. BBC



Nearly 7 months after Delhi violence, a continuing attempt to target dissenting voices:Harsh Mander



China is watching — Hybrid warfare: What data they collect, why cause for concern:Jay Mazoomdaar , P Vaidyanathan Iyer



Hindi’s century-long struggle to be recognised over a more powerful Urdu:Adrija Roychowdhury


Should Hindi be imposed in the country? Language experts debate:Prerna Mittra



Is It a Crime To Peacefully Protest Against the Government's Policies?Badri Raina


Delhi riot: Disclosures naming politicians, professors not admissible evidence in court, experts say


Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq



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