16 November 2020

With BJP's Tarkishore Prasad, Renu Devi as Deputies, Nitish Takes CM Oath; opposition Grand Alliance boycotts ceremony. SC notice to Centre, UP on plea for release of Kerala scribe Siddique Kappan arrested on way to Hathras. UN envoy decries Israel’s move to expand illegal settlement.



16-11-2020 , UPDATED: 19:55 IST


·     With BJP's Tarkishore Prasad, Renu Devi as Deputies, Nitish Takes CM Oath; opposition Grand Alliance boycotts ceremony.

·     SC notice to Centre, UP on plea for release of Kerala scribe Siddique Kappan arrested on way to Hathras

·     ‘Tribals are not Hindus’: Jharkhand assembly passes resolution.

·     Vaccinating 130Cr people with injectable Covaxin a challenge: Bharat Biotech 

·     UN envoy decries Israel’s move to expand illegal settlement.

·     Abu Dhabi's Etihad to start direct flights to Israel next year; Hamas slams UAE meeting with Israel settlers




With BJP's Tarkishore Prasad, Renu Devi as Deputies, Nitish Kumar Takes CM Oath

Nitish Kumar was sworn in as Bihar chief minister for a fourth straight term on Monday at a ceremony in Patna in presence of Union Home minister Amit Shah and BJP chief Jagat Prakash Nadda even as RJD decided to boycott the event. Replacing Sushil Modi, who had been Kumar’s deputy for 15 years, BJP leaders Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi took oath as the Deputy Chief Ministers of Bihar. Kumar, along with a 14-member council of ministers, was administered the oath of office at Raj Bhavan by Governor Phagu Chauhan, a day after JD(U) chief staked claim for the formation of a new government in the state. Among those who took oath, five ministers were from the JD(U) while one each was from Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). JD(U) ministers included old hands like Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Ashok Choudhary and Vijay Kumar Chaudhary besides new faces Mewa Lal Chaudhary and Sheela Kumari Mandal.Other than the two Deputy CM designates, those from the BJP included Mangal Pandey, who held the Health portfolio in the previous government, and Amarendra Pratap Singh, Ramprit Paswan, Jibesh Kumar and Ram Surat Rai. HAM MLC Santosh Kumar Suman, son of Jitan Ram Manjhi, also took oath besides Mukesh Sahni, the founder of VIP. The newly-formed Bihar Cabinet will hold a meeting tomorrow. A special session of the state legislative Assembly to be held on November 23.While Tarkishore Prasad belongs to the same Bania community as Sushil Modi, the BJP hopes to send a message to women, who are believed to have voted in larger numbers for the party than the men, with the selection of Renu Devi, who is a Nonia. She earlier served as BJP national vice-president.After taking oath, Nitish said, “Based on the public’s decision, NDA has once again formed the government in the state. We will work together and serve the people”. On Sushil Modi not returning as his deputy, Kumar told ANI, “It is the decision of BJP to not field Sushil Modi as the Deputy Chief Minister. They should be asked about this.”There was no official word from the BJP, though sources said Sushil Modi might be accommodated in the Rajya Sabha in the seat that has fallen vacant with Ram Vilas Paswan’s death, and made a minister at the Centre, or named the Governor of a state.



Bihar opposition Grand Alliance boycotts oath-taking ceremony

RJD, which is spearheading 5-party Mahagathbandhan, and its allies- Congress, CPI-ML, CPI and CPI(M)- decided to remain away from the swearing-in function of of Nitish Kumar."RJD boycotts oath-taking ceremony of this puppet government. The mandate is for a change, and against the (ruling) NDA. The peoples verdict has been changed by the rulers order," RJD alleged in a tweet.RJD, which emerged as the single largest party in Bihar with 75 seats, also claimed the state is getting a "helpless government by the two helpless parties".Bihar Congress president Madan Mohan Jha said they were with the RJD on the issue and will not be part of the swearing-in function.Jha said so far he hasn't received any invitation for the oath-ceremony and even if it comes "neither me nor anybody else from the party will participate in the oath function at Raj Bhavan".AICC media panel member and MLC Prem Chandra Mishra said this government was being formed "against the wish of the people so we don't want to be part of it."CPI-ML, which has bagged 12 seats as a member of the opposition alliance, also decided to remain away from the oath-ceremony.




'BJP Made You CM': Chirag Paswan's Swipe In Congratulating Nitish

LJP president Chirag Paswan said on Monday that he hopes Nitish Kumar remains an "NDA CM" in a dig at JD(U) chief as he "congratulated" him on taking oath of office for the seventh term. Paswan, whose LJP had walked out of NDA in Bihar vowing to oust Nitish Kumar from power in the state, also congratulated the BJP on "making" him the CM. "Congratulations to Nitish Kumar on becoming the CM again. I hope the government completes its term and you continue to remain an NDA chief minister," Paswan tweeted after Kumar was administered the oath of office by Governor Phagu Chauhan at the Raj Bhavan.PTI



Karunanidhi’s elder son Alagiri likely to form a political outfit, join BJP-led alliance

Chennai : After getting actor-turned-politician Khushbu into its fold, the state unit of BJP is working towards obtaining the support of another prominent face, M K Alagiri, the elder son of late M Karunanidhi, and brother of DMK president M K Stalin.Ahead of the 2021 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, an alliance with Alagiri may give shape to a broader political front in the state.Sources in the state BJP unit and Alagiri camp confirmed there has been significant progress in the alliance talks. If everything goes as per the plans of the national party, Alagiri will likely meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on November 21, when the latter is scheduled to visit Chennai. A senior BJP leader said the meeting between Shah and Alagiri is likely to happen on November 21 in Chennai. “It is likely to be a one-to-one meeting,” the leader said.



Mayawati replaces 'Muslim' state BSP chief with a 'backward'

LUCKNOW: Shifting her party’s focus on most backwards for 2022 UP elections, BSP chief Mayawati appointed Bhim Rajbhar as party’s UP chief, replacing former Rajya Sabha member Munquad Ali, who had been appointed to the post in Aug.2019. Highly placed sources in the party said that the change in organization came after the party came up with an unimpressive performance in the recently concluded UP bypolls and Bihar polls. Party supremo Mayawati held a meeting with senior members of the party on Thursday to discuss the election results and is learnt to have expressed her displeasure at “certain communities” not voting for the party even though she “quit chief ministership for them”. Interestingly, Ali had replaced another OBC, RS Kushwaha on the post. He was the only Muslim office-bearer on a key post in organisation after the departure of Naseemudin Siddiqui, who has joined Congress.



Priyanka to lead Congress’s solo campaign in 2022 UP Assembly election after SP rejects alliance

Lucknow:Congress party will contest the next UP Assembly election in 2022 alone and party’s general secretary in-charge of the state Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will lead the campaign. This comes after Samajwadi Party chief Akhiles Yadav rejected the possibility of an alliance with Congress in UP for the next assembly polls. Sources told India Today that Congress party is preparing to fight 2022 UP election under the leadership of Priyanka Gandhi. She is likely to begin a camp in Lucknow as part of Congress’s preparation for UP election due in less than 18 months. India Today






SC notice to Centre, UP on plea for release of Kerala scribe Siddique Kappan arrested on way to Hathras

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh government and its police chief on a plea made by Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) for release of its secretary Siddique Kappan. A Bench led by CJI Sharad A. Bobde scheduled a hearing on Nov.20 after KUWJ’s lawyer, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, pressed for bail. CJI Bobde said the Bench would like to hear the State. Sibal said the journalist was detained along with some others on October 5 while on their way to Hathras in UP, where a Dalit girl was allegedly gang-raped by 4 men. An FIR had been registered under UAPA in the case. Kappan is lodged in Mathura jail, KUWJ noted. “But FIR does not have his name in it. There is no reference of an offence against him. But he is in jail since Oct. The magistrate says go to jail. The jail authorities say go to the magistrate... My Lord, this man is a journalist”, Sibal submitted. But the CJI referred to the last hearing when Sibal was advised to approach the Allahabad High Court for the journalist's freedom.“But I am not able to meet this gentleman... I have no access to him. He is in jail”, Sibal replied. Sibal persisted, “I would not have tried to come straight to you under Article 32, but this is the case of a journalist... We want bail”.He also pushed for an immediate stay order against the State, but did not succeed.



SC plea today, journalist Siddique Kappan’s family asks: Aren’t we citizens?

Lucknow: 7 days after his arrest, Republic TV Editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami obtained interim bail from the Supreme Court in an alleged suicide abetment case. Forty-one days after his arrest, another journalist is still waiting for justice from the country’s highest court.It’s a traumatic wait, says his family.“After hearing that Arnab Goswami was granted bail, I am forced to think that my husband was denied due justice. Since the arrest, the court and jail authorities have not allowed us to even meet him. We haven’t heard anything about him, this is terrible. We have approached the judiciary and the govt at various levels, but justice is yet to come our way. Are we not citizens of this country?’’ asks Raihana, 37, wife of Siddique Kappan, a Delhi-based journalist who has been jailed in UP’s Mathura.



‘PFI link, anti-CAA, riot intention’ — What Kerala journalist headed to Hathras is accused of

New Delhi: An “intention” to start a riot, funds collected from “known, unknown sources”, association with Muslim organisation PFI and a history of “organising demonstrations to protest against CAA” — this is what UP Police has against Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan and 2 others booked under sedition and terror charges last month. Siddique, along with Atiq-ur-Rahman and Masood Ahmed, both office-bearers of Campus Front of India, the student wing of PFI, and a man identified as Alam were arrested on 5 October while on their way to Hathras to report on the alleged gang rape and murder case that made national headlines. ThePrint has accessed court records, including the initial remand application, court orders and police records, including case diaries, to piece together the case and evidence against the journalist.Police claims to have strong evidence against the 4 men — Athikur Rehman, Alam, Siddique and Masood — to show that they wanted to “start a riot in Hathras on the basis of caste, as they had done in the past during opposition to CAA on the basis of religion”.For this, the police claims the men collected money from a number of “known, unknown sources” through “print and electronic means”



Human rights lawyer slams SC for denying ‘Arnab privilege’ to commoners

Mumbai: Human rights lawyer Mihir Desai, in a Facebook post, highlighted the selective approach purportedly maintained by the Supreme Court for hearing case. He described how the top court favours the rich and the powerful and fails to pay due attention to the pleas of common people.He said that Republic TV editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami was entitled to be released on bail because bail, not jail is the rule. But “Are 3,50,000, yes, 3 lakh 50 thousand undertrials (many of them for years and many for petty offences) who are as on 11th Nov.in jails across India likely to get bail? More than 1,20,000 of them have been jail as undertrials for more than a year,” he said.He took a dig at police and courts over the incarceration of 83-year-old activist Stan Swamy, 80–year-old poet-activist Varavara Rao, student activist Safoora Zargar, journalist Siddique Kappan and other advocates of human rights and free speech. MuslimMirror



Police book 1 man in 10 Delhi riots cases with 3 cops as witnesses in all, court gives bail

New Delhi: One man, 10 cases and three police witnesses — this is the story of Neeraj (goes by his first name), who was arrested in connection with the Delhi riots that took place in Feb. Delhi Police has named Neeraj in 10 cases of rioting. And in all of these cases, only 3 policemen — 2 constables and one head constable — have been cited as witnesses. If one goes by Delhi Police’s version, the policemen saw Neeraj — in jail since 9 April — damaging public property at 10 different locations in Bhajanpura. A Delhi court has, however, thrashed the police’s theory to grant bail to Neeraj, on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 20,000 for each of the cases. Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav noted in all 10 orders — seen by ThePrint — that the statements of police witnesses was of no “consequence to the prosecution case”.Among other things, the judge, in his orders, took note of the belated registration of FIRs and questioned the three policemen for not reporting the crimes on the days when they saw Neeraj committing them.



'Figments of Imagination': India on Pakistan’s ‘Proof’ of Terror Activities

New Delhi: A day after Pakistan made a series of allegations against the Indian government on fomenting terrorism, India termed them as “fabricated”, “figments of imagination” and an attempt to shift focus from “its internal political and economic failures”. On Saturday, Pakistan’s ISPR director general Major General Babar Iftikhar and foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a high-profile hour-long press conference in which they claimed to have evidence of India’s alleged role in terror incidents, ranging from Balochistan to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as in Gilgit-Baltistan in Pok. Pakistan said that all “evidence” would be presented as a dossier to world capitals and international organisations including UN and OIC. At the briefing, they played 3 audio files, which they claimed were of RAW handlers, and displayed screenshots of other unverified documents showing financial transactions.



Bengaluru riots case: Accused’s family says 17-yr-old being tried as an adult

A petition filed in Karnataka High Court has sought relief for a man arrested in connection with the riots in Bengaluru on August 11, alleging that investigating agencies arrested him and jailed him at the central prison in Bengaluru even though documents showed that his age is 17. The petition pointed out that those under the age of 18 should be under the charge of a juvenile police unit and should not be in a police lockup or in jail. "The detenu child continues to be illegally detained in the Central Jail Prappana Agrahara,  Bangalore amidst convicts and criminals which will adversely reflect on his mental and physical health, in violation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015 and Rules, 2016 and Article 21 of Constitution," reads the petition filed in the HC. The mother of the accused person approached the police soon after the arrest was made on Aug.12. Basawa Kunale, the lawyer representing the accused in the case, stated that investigating officials were informed that the arrested person is 17 years old and documents were produced to support the claim."The mother told DJ Halli police that he was 17 and she also presented the documents related to the accused person to NIA. Still, no action was taken. Then she approached lawyers highlighting that her son is 17 years old and has been lodged in the central prison," lawyer told TNM. Her son has been in judicial custody for the past 3 months.



‘Tribals are not Hindus’: Jharkhand assembly passes resolution

New Delhi: In  a move that might unnerve RSS mission’s to club   around 150 million  Adivasis (aborigine people)  into Hindu fold,   Jharkhand Assembly this week passed  a resolution  unanimously  seeking  separate Sarna Code’  in the forthcoming census. Adivasis across the country are agitating for the inclusion of a separate tribal religion code in the upcoming 2021-22 census as at present, they are not classified as a separate religious entity.  A host of organizations also filed petitions in MP High Court pleading separate religious code.Jharkhand, CM, Hemant Soren moved the resolution for the provision of separate Sarna Code’ for tribals. It was passed unanimously in the state legislature.During the discussion in Assembly, CM Soren said that there have been attempts to make tribals extinct as no governments had showed any seriousness on the issue. The most prominent reason for the drop in the numbers of tribal population is their mental immaturity, he said. CM said he wanted no politics on Sarna Code and expected all support from the Opposition parties on the issue who’s JMM is leading the coalition government in the state.“Sarna Code is important for the tribals and govt is committed towards it,” said Soren and added it will send a good message in the Country. However, opposition leaders, mainly BJP leaders who lost the power last year, alleged the state government is doing politics on the issue. BJP legislative party leader Babulal Marandi said, “I wanted to raise some technical issues related to the proposal, but I was not given time to speak in the House.” It is to be noted that demand for a separate ‘Sarna’ religion was growing among the population for many decades.‘ Sarna’ followers are nature worshippers who do not consider themselves Hindus and have been fighting for a separate religious identity for decades.On Sept.20, Adivasis from Jharkhand staged a massive protest, forming a huge human chain that included hundreds of people from villages, towns, blocks and panchayat wards, and many organizations and committees as well.According to the Constitution of India and government reports, Adivasis have cultures and traditions different from other religions.MuslimMirror



Won’t tolerate religious conversion of tribal people: Shivraj Singh Chouhan

MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said religious conversion of tribals in the name of service would not be tolerated.Addressing a gathering in Bhopal on ‘Tribal Pride Day’ on Sunday, he said steps were being taken to prevent illegal conversions. “Religious conversion in the name of service has been going on for years.” Chouhan remembered freedom fighter Birsa Munda on his birth anniversary, saying he was admitted to a German Christian school after undergoing conversion. “Soon Birsa realised it and left school and rejoined the mainstream.”Birsa shook the British and fought for his culture and tradition. “Our tribal people never bowed whenever their traditions have been attacked. They have always hit back,” he noted.



NCW Has No Data on 'Love Jihad', But Its Chairperson Met Maharashtra Guv Over 'Rising Cases'

New Delhi: In response to a request made under the Right to Information Act, the National Commission for Women has revealed that it does not maintain data on “love jihad” cases, throwing its own earlier claim in this regard into question. On October 20, chairperson for NCW, Rekha Sharma, met with Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari. Among the issues the 2 discussed, according to a tweet posted by the official handle of NCW were “rise in love jihad cases.”While this tweet itself was widely criticised, it coincided with the discovery of tweets defamatory to women, made from the account of chairperson Sharma. As AAP raised a cry for her removal, Sharma, claimed that her Twitter handle had been “hacked,” deleted the tweets and made her account a private one.Amidst the outcry over Sharma’s own tweets, the fact that NCW had innocuously made a claim of “love jihad” – a phrase the Sangh parivar coined to describe an imaginary Muslim conspiracy to convert unsuspecting Hindu women to Islam – had garnered comparatively fewer comments.“Love jihad” is not a term officially recognised by Indian law. Stranger still was the fact that Sharma had met, of all people, the Maharashtra governor over this claim. The same governor had hurried a dawn swearing-in of Fadnavis’s government last year and had, more recently, chided the state chief minister for having become ‘secular‘ over temple gates remaining closed in view of the health crisis.



Muslim Girl in Bihar Burnt To Death Because She Refused To Marry a Hindu Boy, Isn’t It “Love Jihad”?

NEW DELHI:In a heinous incident, a 20-year-old girl identified as Gulnaz Khatoon was burnt alive by sprinkling kerosene over her body in Rasoolpur village under Desari Police Station of Vaishali district in Bihar.While she was set ablaze on October 30 on the day of Eid Milad-un-Nabi, she expired in Patna Medical College Hospital on November 15 during treatment.She had sustained 75 per cent burn injuries. She was engaged and was to be married after four months.The “Godi media” is completely silent and have avoided reporting/airing the the incident. May be it is not “Love Jihad” by their own standards because the girl in question happens to be a Muslim.It has been more than two weeks since the incident took place, the accused persons have not been arrested though the victim named them in a video statement before she breathed her last. Vaishali District Superintendent of Police Dr. Gaurav Mangla said that the accused persons are on the run and three police teams had been formed to nab them. He said that if the accused don’t surrender within the next three days, the police will start proceedings for seizure of their properties. Meanwhile, the family members of the victim have refused to bury the body and they are sitting  in the middle of the road with victim’s body on a bier, demanding that the accused be arrested. #JusticeforGulnaz was also trending on twitter throughout the day today, with more than 70,000 persons having tweeted, condemning the ghastly murder. he reason for the accused persons to kill her, according to her family members, was that she refused to marry one of the accused-Satish Rai.India Tomorrow




SC to continue hearing plea against demonizing entire Muslim community for Jamaat issue

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday will continue hearing on a plea filed by Jamiat Ulama I Hind against Union of India – asking it to direct the government and the media not to demonize the entire Muslim community for the spread of COVID-19, because of one religious congregation, by Tablighi Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz. Previously, the top court bench of CJI S. A. Bobde and Justices A. S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian has directed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to submit a list of acts on which the govt has exercised powers. During hearing, the bench asked: “Does the govt have the power to ban TV broadcasters association?”Regarding the reply, CJI Bobde objected to a junior officer filing it. That reply had said that no incident had taken place on Jamiat Ulama complaining of Centre not taking any step to stop motivated TV broadcasts targeting Muslim Community during Covid pandemic after Tablighi Congregation at Delhi. SG has agreed to file a fresh affidavit.The plea filed by Jamiat and the secretary of its legal cell, through lawyer Ejaz Maqbool, contended that the unfortunate incident of the Tablighi was being used to “demonise” and blame the entire Muslim community.India Legal



Javadekar notes absence of self-regulation by OTT platforms, says looking into suggestions

New Delhi: Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar Monday weighed in on the absence of self-regulation for OTT (over-the-top) platforms, expressing concern about some of the content streamed while emphasising that the government wants to stay out of regulating them. Addressing a webinar on National Press Day, he noted that print media had a “self-regulation” body in the Press Council of India (PCI) — whose chief is appointed by the government but has representation from media organisations — while pointing out lacunae in regulation for OTT platforms and TV news channels. Referring to streaming platforms, he said they have “no PCI kind of mechanism, nor is there self-regulation for them”. “There are good films on OTT platforms, ordinary films, bad films, and even very bad films on them,” he added.



Muslim Man Lynched for Relieving in Public in UP’s Bahraich

BAHRAICH; 23-year-old man was beaten to death allegedly by four men in Bahraich district for relieving in public.The incident took place in Khairi Dikoli village late Sunday following which three people were detained.According to reports, Sohel was answering nature’s call in front of his uncle’s house. His neighbours — Ram Moorat, Aatma Ram, Rampal, Sanehi and Manjeet — objected to it and attacked him with sticks.Superintendent of Police Vipin Mishra, said that Suhail was seriously injured and rushed to the district hospital. He succumbed to his injuries during treatment. he deceased’s uncle, Chintaram, has lodged a complaint on basis of which a case has been registered, Mishra said.He further said Ram Moorat, Sanehi and Manjeet have been detained and efforts were being made to nab the remaining accused. IANS



Unidentified assailants attack man outside Kandavara mosque

MANGALURU: An unidentified assailants attacked secretary of Karnataka Muslim Jamaat, Mangaluru while he was coming out mosque after prayers, near Kaikamba, on Sunday night.The victim has been identified as Abdul Aziz, 55, resident of Kaikamba and the incident took place around 10.30pm.According to police Aziz was recently appointed as secretary of Karnataka Muslim Jamaat, Mangaluru. On Sunday he participated in a programme and after which went to Kandavara Mosque for prayers. While he was coming out of the mosque, two unidentified assailants attacked him with lethal weapons.Aziz was immediately rushed to a private hospital in Mangaluru and police added his condition is stable. The incident is recorded in nearby CCTV.



Australia’s Top Diplomat in India Applauds RSS

Disregarding allegations that RSS has conducted anti-minority pogroms and drew inspiration from the Nazis, Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell visited the Nagpur headquarters on 15 November to applaud its activities. ’Farrell’s visit, which featured a meeting with RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, instantly invoked memories of the international outrage that erupted after German Ambassador Walter Lindner visited the group’s headquarters in July 2019. The Jerusalem Post, one of the many international media outlets to cover the scandal, reported, “The RSS shares the fascist ideology of the Nazi Party and supports extreme Hindu nationalism.” Indian journalist Siddharth Bhatia, one of many within India to criticize the visit, wrote that the RSS “has never made any secret of its love for Adolf Hitler,” adding, “Given how carefully Germany in the post-War years has worked to eliminate Nazism and all its manifestations, he also would have known what signals his visit would send. Yet, he went anyway.”Clarion India



Obama On Manmohan Singh, Gandhis, BJP, "Divisive Nationalism" In Book

New Delhi: Barack Obama's comments on Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi in his memoir "A Promised Land", widely reported last week, drew reactions from both sides of the spectrum with members of the ruling BJP flagging former US President's critical observations on the former Congress president.However, Obama's account of his India visit in the book -- which covers his campaign for the White House and his first term between 2008 and 2012 -- also underscores his concern about "divisive nationalism touted by BJP".He also wonders whether impulses like violence, greed, corruption, nationalism, racism, and religious intolerance are "too strong" for any democracy to permanently contain.Noting India's transition to a more market-based economy in the 1990s, which, he says, led to soaring growth, a tech boom and a rising middle class, Obama writes: "As a chief architect of India's economic transformation, PM Manmohan Singh seemed like a fitting emblem of this progress: a member of the tiny, often persecuted Sikh religious minority who'd risen to the highest office in the land, and a self-effacing technocrat who'd won people's trust not by appealing to their passions but by bringing about higher living standards and maintaining a well-earned reputation for not being corrupt."




‘Gupkar Alliance wants what Pakistan does,’ claims BJP, questions Congress’ stand on Article 370

BJP on Monday criticised the newly formed People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, or Gupkar Alliance, describing it as “unholy”. At a press conference, BJP’s spokesperson Sambit Patra said that the alliance was aimed at opposing the implementation of laws duly passed by Parliament.“Gupkar Alliance wants exactly what Pakistan and anti-India countries want,” he said. “Pakistan has gone to every forum and spoken against the removal of Article 370. Gupkar Alliance says the same thing.”People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a tie-up of six parties, which was formed in October with the agenda of reinstating the now abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, which provided special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.



‘Fabricated’, India denies Pakistan ‘terror’ funding allegations: aljazeera

India has denied allegations by its arch foe Pakistan that the Indian govt had helped fund armed groups on Pakistani soil, with a foreign ministry spokesman dismissing them as “fabricated” and “figments of imagination”.Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday accused India of sponsoring “terrorism” aimed at destabilising the country and undermining its economic partnership with China. He said that Islamabad would present its evidence to the United Nations and other international bodies.“This desperate attempt will find few takers as the international community is aware of Pakistan’s tactics,” India’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.He added that Pakistan itself funds rebels – an allegation Islamabad also denies. A statement from Pakistan’s military said India was “training, harbouring and launching… terrorists into Pakistan,” from 87 training camps – 66 in Afghanistan and 21 in India.




Pakistan: Imran Khan's PTI Wins Most Seats in Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Election

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s PTI on Monday won most of the seats in the legislative assembly election in Gilgit-Baltistan in northern Pakistan, keeping alive the tradition of success in the region by the party ruling the country.India has slammed Pakistan for its decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said any action to alter the status of the militarily-occupied region has no legal basis. Elections were held on 23 seats of the third legislative assembly on Sunday amidst tight security due to the threat of militancy.Unofficial results compiled by the various media outlets showed that PTI won at least 8 to 9 seats, but it was still well short of a majority to form the government. However, it was in a position to form the government as 6-7 independent candidates also won.Geo TV reported that PTI won 8 seats, independent candidates 6, PPP 5, PML-N 2, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JIU-F) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) 1 seat each.However, Dunya TV reported that PTI won 9 seats, independents 7, PPP 4, PML-N 2 and MWM 1 seat.The official results were still not known as election authorities may take some time to announce the outcome.




Supreme Court judge UU Lalit recuses himself from hearing pleas against Andhra CM Jagan Reddy 

Supreme Court judge UU Lalit on Monday recused himself from hearing pleas seeking action against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy for levelling allegations against the judiciary."I have difficulties. As a lawyer, I had represented one of the parties. I will pass an order for it to be listed before a Bench without me," Justice Lalit said.PTI






Vaccinating 130Cr people with injectable Covaxin a challenge: Bharat Biotech 

Even as India's first indigenous coronavirus vaccine Covaxin is entering its third phase of human trials, Bharat Biotech on Monday raised the logistical query on how to vaccinate 1.3 billion (130 crore) people with two injectable doses. Terming the exercise a "challenge" it also said that work was on single-dose nasal drop vaccine. Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) Chairman and Managing Director Krishna Ella said the company's Bio-Safety Level 3 (BSL-3) facility currently has limited capacity but hoped to reach one billion (100 crore) doses by next year. "We have partnered with ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) for Covaxin and as we speak, we are entering phase III trials but I am not happy because it is a two-dose injectable vaccine. If we have to vaccinate 1.3 billion population with two dose vaccine, we need 2.6 billion (260 crore) syringes and needles," he said.IANS



Over 250 register for the COVID-19 vaccine trial at AMU

Aligarh:More than 250 applications have been received for the trial of Covid-19 vaccine 'Covaxin' at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Hospital of AMU. According to Prof Mohd Shameem, principal investigator, all applications will be screened as per the protocol and procedure laid down by ICMR before inclusion in the study/trial. The resource persons from Bharat Biotech will visit AMU in the coming days for training of staff for the vaccine trials. IANS



"Delhi Has Crossed Peak Of Third Covid Wave, No Lockdown": Minister

 Delhi will not be put under another lockdown in the wake of the third wave of COVID-19 since it has already peaked out, state Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today, dismissing all speculation. "There is no chance of a lockdown," Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today. "I can tell you today that the peak of Delhi's third wave is gone," Jain said. When asked about markets being shut down, he said, "It has not even been considered. The festival is over, the crowds will get thinner now on."However, he said people ought to be cautious and wear masks. "The lockdown was a learning exercise...What we learnt was that the gains from a lockdown were the same as those from wearing masks." Delhi on Sunday recorded 3,235 new COVID-19 cases and 95 deaths due to coronavirus, state government data shows.




Vaccine Will Not Be Enough To Stop Pandemic: WHO Chief

Head of WHO said Monday that a vaccine would not by itself stop the coronavirus pandemic.The pandemic is raging months after it broke out, with infections soaring past 54 million and claiming more than 1.3 million lives."A vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them," director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic." WHO's figures for Saturday showed that 660,905 coronavirus cases were reported to UN health agency, setting a new high water mark.AFP





UN envoy decries Israel’s move to expand illegal settlement

UN’s Middle East envoy says he is “very concerned” by Israel’s decision to advance construction in an illegal Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem that would make establishing a contiguous Palestinian state even harder, reiterating that “settlement construction is illegal under international law”.The move also risks angering the incoming US administration led by President-elect Joe Biden, who has opposed settlement expansion and hopes to revive negotiations over a two-state solution. On Sunday, the Israel Land Authority announced on its website that it had opened up tenders for more than 1,200 new structures in the settlement of Givat Hamatos, according to the Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now.“If built, it would further consolidate a ring of settlements between Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank,” Nickolay Mladenov, UN envoy to the Middle East peace process, said in a statement.“It would significantly damage prospects for a future contiguous Palestinian State and for achieving a negotiated two-state solution based on 1967 lines, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. Settlement construction is illegal under international law and I call on the authorities to reverse this step.”Brian Reeves, a spokesman for Peace Now, said the move allows contractors to begin bidding on the tenders, a process that will conclude just days before Biden’s inauguration in January. Construction could then begin within months. Palestinian Authority and European Union’s foreign policy chief have also criticised Israel’s move.




Hamas slams UAE meeting with Israel settlers

Hamas has slammed UAE after it received an Israeli settlement chief along with settlers and businessmen.In a statement, the movement said: "Receiving the head of the settlement council in the West Bank by UAE and signing economic deals with him represents actual support for settlement activity in the occupied West Bank."Hamas added: "We believe that the growing ties between UAE and settler groups in the occupied West Bank boost the Israeli occupation's ability to implement its colonial annexation plans.""UAE's collaboration with settler groups violates all resolutions of the Arab League that call for boycotting all forms of colonial settlement activity."



Abu Dhabi's Etihad to start direct flights to Israel next year

Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways said on Monday it would start daily flights to Tel Aviv in March after the UAE and Israel's established formal ties this year.Flights will start March 28 and will be timed to connect with Etihad services to and from China, Thailand, India, and Australia, the state-owned carrier said in a statement.The announcement comes as the aviation industry faces its worst-ever crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has wrecked air travel demand.



Peace Now: New settlement construction to cut Jerusalem from West Bank

Israeli settlement watchdog organisation, Peace Now, reported yesterday that new Israeli settlement construction aims to split occupied East Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank.Peace Now revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Israel Land Authority yesterday began accepting bids for 1,257 housing units to be built in the settlement of Givat HaMatos."Construction in Givat Hamatos will severely hamper the prospect of a 2-state solution because it will ultimately block the possibility of territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem," the watchdog said.It added: "This move today represents the latest progression since February 2020 when the tender was published for 1,077 units out of the 2,610 Plan T for Givat HaMatos. Between then and today, 180 units were added to the tender."



Official: Unpaid salaries' crisis aimed at forcing Iraq to normalise ties with Israel

A member of the Economic and Investment Committee in the Iraqi Parliament, Mahmoud Al-Zajrawi, said he believes the country's financial crisis is "fabricated" in an effort to force Baghdad to normalise relations with Israel.In an interview with Arabic Post news site, Al-Zajrawi explained that the government of Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has asked the Parliament's permission to borrow 41 trillion Iraqi dinars ($12.6 billion) from national banks to pay the salaries of state employees, adding that he does not rule out the possibility that the financial crisis in Iraq, such as delaying the payment of state-employees' salaries, and resorting to borrowing, being a means of external pressure aimed at paving the way for Israel to sign a peace agreement with Baghdad.He added that the US and some European and Gulf countries are trying to provide assistance to Iraq in return for normalising its relations with Israel.




Hamas, Fatah delegations head to Cairo for meetings

Leaders from the two main Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah left the Gaza Strip yesterday to join mutual meetings for delegations of their movements in Cairo, Anadolu reported.An official source told Anadolu that the leaders included Hamas Political Bureau member Khalil Al-Hayya and senior Fatah leader Ahmad Hillis.The source, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: "2 leaders are to join delegations of their movements in Cairo," noting that their meetings are related to national reconciliation and the truce between the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and Israel.Hamas spokesman Abdul-Latif Al-Qanou told Anadolu that Hamas' delegation is headed by the Deputy Chief of the movement's political bureau Sheikh Saleh Al-Arouri, and the meeting is an effort to reach a "comprehensive national agreement".




Israel: Netanyahu heard calling rival Bennett 'little dog'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heard calling his right-wing rival Naftali Bennett "little dog" in recordings dating back to 2018, local media revealed.

The recording was aired by Israeli TV Channel 13, which said it would air more recordings today.According to the Times of Israel, the recording was made by Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu aide who later turned state witness in a series of graft cases against the Israeli prime minister.




Syria asks returning Palestine refugees to prove property ownership in Yarmouk

Palestinian refugees have started to apply to return to Yarmouk refugee camp, but they are facing difficult conditions ahead of their return, Quds Press reported.In addition to tackling unsafe infrastructure, returnees have been asked to provide proof of property ownership, as well as historic electricity, water, and telephone bills. Speaking to Quds Press, Abu-Ziyad, a Palestinian refugee, said: "These are difficult conditions because we were displaced from the camp nine years ago."Damascus governorate started to receive applications from the returnees on Tuesday, stating that anyone who wants to return to the refugee camp should provide proof that their homes are safe for them to return to, and ownership paperwork, in addition to other certificates.



Macron criticises media over coverage after France attacks

President Emmanuel Macron called a New York Times writer to criticise English-language coverage of France’s stance on what it calls “Islamist separatism” after recent attacks, arguing it amounts to “legitimising” violence. “When France was attacked five years ago, every nation in the world supported us,” Macron told Ben Smith during the call, which Smith described in his Sunday column.“So when I see, in that context, several papers which I believe are from countries that share our values … when I see them legitimising this violence, and saying that the heart of the problem is that France is racist and Islamophobic, then I say the founding principles have been lost.”In his column about their exchange, Smith said the French president argued “foreign media failed to understand ‘laïcité'”, or secularism, a pillar of French policy and society.




Pakistan’s capital blocked off over anti-France protest

ISLAMABAD:A rally in the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi which attracted up to 5,000 people on Sunday spilled over into Monday, with around a thousand protesters gathered at the roadblock preventing them from entering the capital. Pakistan authorities sealed off a major road into the capital Islamabad for a second day Monday as a far-right religious party held fresh anti-France protests.A rally in the neighbouring city of Rawalpindi which attracted up to 5,000 people on Sunday spilled over into Monday, with around a thousand protesters gathered at the roadblock preventing them from entering the capital.Commuters faced lengthy delays on alternative routes into the city.Mobile phone services were restored around lunchtime on Monday, after being suspended for more than 24 hours to prevent rally organisers from coordinating with each other.Pakistan has seen small and scattered protests over the past few weeks in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent remarks on Islam.AFP



British Muslim Labour Party members raise Islamophobia fears in new report

London:More than a third of British Muslim members of Labour Party claim to have witnessed Islamophobia within UK’s Opposition party ranks, according to a new report on Sunday.An investigation by the Labour Muslim Network reported by ‘ITV News’ found that 44 per cent do not believe the party takes Islamophobia seriously and 48 per cent have lost confidence in the party’s complaint structures. Around 59 per cent of Muslims surveyed said they did not feel well represented by the party.Ali Milani, an Iranian-origin Labour Party member who stood against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat in 2019 general election, claims a fellow party member told him that Muslims could not be MPs because of “their propensity to violence” and asked if he was a terrorist, The Independent paper quoted ITV news report as saying.“It hurts to feel like I experienced that sort of abuse from a party member and it not only took a year for them to get back to me, but the complaint was lost. It’s just hurtful,” said Milani.PTI




Turkey seeks approval to deploy peacekeepers in Azerbaijan

Turkey’s government has submitted a motion to parliament, seeking its approval to deploy peacekeepers to monitor a ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the state-run news agency reported.Turkey, which threw its weight behind its ally Azerbaijan in the conflict, has been engaged in talks with Russia for a role in monitoring the ceasefire that ended 6 weeks of intense fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.Russian and Turkish defence ministers signed a memorandum last week to create a joint monitoring centre in Azerbaijan.The bill submitted to the parliament on Monday requests a one-year mandate to send Turkish peacekeepers, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would determine the number of troops to be sent.The motion is expected to be debated in the coming days. It states that civilian personnel could also be deployed as part of the peacekeeping mission.





25 suspected female Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami activists arrested

Police on Saturday night arrested 25 women -- all of whom are suspected activists of Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami -- from Jhaudia Bazar in Kushtia Sadar upazila on Saturday night. Acting on a tip off, police conducted a drive in the area and arrested them while they were in a clandestine meeting, said Mostafizur Rahman Ratan, officer-in-charge (OC) of Islamic University (IU) police station in Kushtia. Shajeda Begum, union unit Ameer of women's section of Jamaat-e-Islami, and Suraiya Begum, wife of Jhaudia Mosque's Imam Mokarrom Hossain are among 25 arrested.  Dhaka Tribune




Bangladesh: Hefazat-e-Islam selects Babunagari as new Ameer, Kasemi made Secretary General

Chittagong:A council meeting of Qawmi madrasa-based radical Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh selected the next Ameer and Secretary General of the party on Sunday. Incumbent Secretary General Junayed Babunagari and the party's Dhaka city unit President Nur Hossain Kasemi have been elected the next Ameer and Secretary General, respectively. Hefazat’s Central Organizing Secretary Azizul Haque Islamabadi confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune. It was the first meeting of the council of Hefaza-e-Islam after the death of the platform’s supreme leader Shah Ahmad Shafi. “A 151-member central committee of Hefazat-e-Islam Bangladesh has also been announced at the council meeting,” said Azizul.Dhaka Tribune



Iran blasts ‘hate-mongering’ in Saudi king’s comments

Tehran:Iranian foreign ministry has responded to Saudi Arabia’s call for global action against Iran, calling in turn on the kingdom to refrain from “baseless allegations and hate-mongering”.The remarks came a day after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud urged the world to take a “decisive stance” to address Iran’s efforts to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.“The kingdom stresses the dangers of Iran’s regional project, its interference in other countries, its fostering of terrorism, its fanning the flames of sectarianism and calls for a decisive stance from the international community against Iran that guarantees a drastic handling of its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and develop its ballistic missiles programme,” the king said in an annual address to a top government advisory body.



Iran denies top Al-Qaeda leader killed in Tehran

Iran has disputed a recent report in The New York Times that a senior Al-Qaeda leader was killed in its capital Tehran three months ago by two Israeli assassins, stating that it had no Al-Qaeda terrorists in its country. On Saturday the Times said Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, also known as Abu Muhammad Al-Masri, the terrorist group's second-in-command was shot dead on 7 August along with his daughter in the streets by the assassins on a motorbike, allegedly at the behest of US. According to US intelligence officials he had been in Iran's "custody" since 2003, but that he had been living freely in the upscale Pasdaran district of Tehran since at least 2015. Although the Sunni jihadist organisation has been vehemently opposed to the Shia theocracy of Iran and have fought against it in regional conflicts, the report explained that it is plausible that by keeping Al-Qaeda officials in Tehran, Iran might receive some "insurance" that the group would not conduct operations within its borders or to run operations against US.However hours after the report, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed the claims as "Hollywood-style scenario-making" by US and Israeli officials.



Syria veteran FM dies of unknown causes, aged 79

Syria's long-time Foreign Minister Walid Muallem passed away at the age of 79 today, marking the demise of one of President Bashar Al-Assad's most prominent diplomats.Muallem, the cause of whose death was not revealed by the regime, had reportedly been frail and in poor health for some time. His last public appearance was last week at the conference for the return of Syrian refugees, which was held in Damascus and snubbed by much of the international community. He was assisted by two men while wearing a surgical mask, and was said to have lost weight.






It is not for law to decide on any other matter concerning marriage of two adults:

M R Shamshad



Changing perceptions and ideals of the young Arabs: Asad Mirza



Anxiety of oppression:Hasina Khan



India Skipped China-Led Bloc But Can't Turn Away From Trade:Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg



Manusmriti and a Divided Nation:P.B. Sawant



Nitish Kumar’s Journey From Trenchant Modi Critic To the Most Reliable Executor of ‘Moditva’:Nalin Verma



Nitish Kumar shouldn’t have opted for CM post; with eroding status, he will be shadow of what he was before:Amulya Ganguli/IPA



Israel Uses Cover of US Elections to Wipe Entire Palestinian Community Off the Map:Yumna Patel






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