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Envoy in Pakistan didn’t know Hafiz Saeed, says Palestine’s ambassador in India

Palestine on Friday called back its Ambassador in Pakistan after he was seen in the company of Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed. “We are supporting India in its fight against terrorism and because of that my government decided to directly call our Ambassador to go back home and not to be a Palestine ambassador to Pakistan anymore,” Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haija told ANI.His statement has come after a photograph of Palestine’s Pakistan envoy Waleed Abu Ali sharing a platform with Saeed, who is designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations, at a rally in Rawalpindi is doing the rounds on the social media. “Our Ambassador does not know this person. When he starts speaking, he asks who is this person? Our Ambassador’s speech was after him, he made his speech and left. For us, even with that, it is not accepted and a decision has been taken,” he clarified. Saeed is accused of masterminding the Mumbai 26/11 attacks that claimed 166 lives.Also readEnvoy in Hafiz Saeed’s rally: Palestine issues ‘regret’, recalls himSpeaking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the country, Haija said, “Mr Modi is a great guest to Palestine, we welcome him there. I hope soon he will visit Palestine, waiting for his visit,”Earlier today, Palestine expressed deep regret after India took up the matter with its authorities. “Palestine has conveyed deep regrets over the incident and assured the Government of India that they are taking serious cognizance of their ambassador’s presence at this event,” said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement. The Government of India has strongly conveyed to the Palestinian side that the Palestinian Ambassador in Pakistan’s association with terrorist Saeed is “unacceptable”, it added.The MEA has conveyed the concerns to Haija as well as to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in Ramallah, State of Palestine. Palestine has also assured India that it will deal with this matter appropriately. “It was also conveyed that Palestine highly values its relationship with India and stands with us in the war against terrorism, and will not engage with those who commit acts of terror against India,” the MEA said.Saeed carries a bounty of 10 million USD (approx. Rs 66 crore) and continues to exercise a lot of influence in religious circles. He has recently been released from house arrest after a Pakistani court cited lack of evidence against him in the Mumbai attack case. India has protested against Pakistan time and again for ‘harbouring a terrorist’ like Saeed.

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Live updates: Sushma Swaraj speaks on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case in Rajya Sabha

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is making a statement on Kulbhushan Jadhav’s case and the treatment meted out to his family in Pakistan. Jadhav, 47, was allowed to meet his mother Avanti and wife Chetana Jadhav across a glass screen on Monday. India has maintained he was kidnapped and implicated. On Wednesday, political leaders cutting across party lines in Parliament condemned Pakistan’s mistreatment of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s family in Islamabad and demanded efforts to bring back the former Indian Naval officer who has been captured and sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terror. Here are the Live Updates:11: 25 am : It was nothing like a humanitarian gesture. Human rights of the family members were violated again and again & an environment of fear was created for them: Sushma Swaraj​11: 23 am: Even after her repeated attempts, the shoes of Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife were not returned. Pakistan says there was a camera or a recorder in the shoes, nothing can be more absurd than this as she traveled in 2 flights with those shoes on. It is an absurdity beyond measure: Sushma Swaraj11: 20 am : Not just his wife but bindi and mangalsutra of his mother were also removed: Sushma Swaraj in Rajya Sabha​It was nothing like a humanitarian gesture. Human rights of the family members were violated again and again & an environment of fear was created for them: Sushma Swaraj

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Muslim Women Bill that criminilises triple talaq to be introduced in Parliament

A bill seeking to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims is set to be introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill is listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on December 28, according to the list of business in the Lower House.The bill, prepared by an inter-ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, makes instant triple talaq or talaq-e-biddat in any form — spoken, in writing or by electronic means such as email, SMS and WhatsApp — “illegal and void” and provides for a jail term of three years for the husband.It was cleared by the Union Cabinet earlier this month.The bill was listed for introduction last week, but Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar later told reporters that it would be introduced this week.As per the provisions of the bill, the husband could also be fined and the quantum of fine would be decided by the magistrate hearing the case.The bill is being introduced as the practice still continued despite the Supreme Court striking down ‘talaq-e- biddat’.The proposed law would only be applicable to instant triple talaq and it would give power to the victim to approach a magistrate seeking “subsistence allowance” for herself and minor children.The woman can also seek the custody of her minor children from the magistrate who will take a final call on the issue.

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Day after meeting Kulbhushan Jadhav in Pakistan, wife, mother meet Sushma Swaraj

A day after meeting ‘convicted’ ex-Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav in Islamabad, his family met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Tuesday.Jadhav’s father along with his mother and wife met Swaraj at her New Delhi residence. Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh, who went to Islamabad with the family, also accompanying them. Foreign Secretary Jaishankar also attended the brief meeting.Jadhav’s meeting with his family members was not any ordinary meeting as they were separated by a glass barrier.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets his mother, wife from behind Pak smokescreenThe Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), to this end, clarified that the screen was placed due to security reasons and that Jadhav already knew this would be the setting.”It was there due to security reasons. We had already told them that you will be able to meet him but a security barrier would be there,” Dr Mohammed Faisal, Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, replied to a poser by ANI, in a press briefing in Islamabad.Also readFeel ashamed for acts against Pakistan and its people: Kulbhushan Jadhav in new ‘confessional’ videoFaisal substantiated his stance by adding that Islamabad considered Jadhav as “the face of Indian terrorism, especially in Pakistan.”In addition to this, the MoFA released another ‘confessional’ video of Jadhav’s, in which the convicted alleged spy was seen confessing that he did cross from Iran to Pakistan two years back.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav meets wife, mother for 40 minutes; thanks Pak govt for ‘grand gesture’Jadhav, in the video that was apparently shot before he got to meet his kin, also said that he had requested to meet his family members and that he was grateful to the Pakistan Government for letting that happen.Jadhav’s wife and mother, before meeting him, had visited the Indian High Commission in the Pakistani capital, after which they moved to the MoFA building.Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Islamabad JP Singh was also present during the meeting.Pakistan had agreed to facilitate the visit of Jadhav’s family and also assured their safety, security, and freedom of movement in the country.Jadhav was arrested in March this year, in Balochistan, Pakistan, over charges of alleged involvement in ‘espionage and subversive activities for India’s intelligence agency – the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).’India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.(With ANI inputs)

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Kulbhushan Jadhav meets his mother, wife from behind Pak smokescreen

In a carefully orchestrated event that played out through tweets, photos and videos, Kulbhushan Jadhav (47), on death row in Pakistan, met his wife and mother across a glass screen in Islamabad on Monday.After denying any communication with the former Indian Naval officer since his arrest on March 3, 2016, Pakistan arranged a meeting of mother Avanti and wife Chetana Jadhav at the Pakistan Foreign Office building, but denied any physical contact. Both women spoke to Jadhav through an intercom in the presence of five officials.Jadhav has been sentenced to death on charges of espionage and terrorism, a case that has become a rallying point in India, spurring calls for action to save the 47-year-old who New Delhi says was kidnapped and implicated by Pakistan.Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal indicated that it might not be the last such meeting. “It is not the last meeting. It should be categorically registered,” he said. But he repeated that Jadhav is a face of Indian terror directed against Pakistan.India has moved the ICJ in The Hague, on grounds that procedures were not followed under international law, a rare contest by the two nuclear-armed rivals at the top UN legal body.In May, the court put the sentence on hold till the case is conclusively heard.It was apparent that Pakistan was converting the humanitarian gesture into a full-fledged publicity blitzkrieg, by releasing a second video of Jadhav.Its diplomats portrayed visas to the two women and then a meeting on the birthday of its founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah a grand gesture ahead of the hearings at the ICJ.But a jail-like setting and not allowing the two women, who had travelled all along from Mumbai to meet the death-row prisoner did not go down well in India.Though there were no immediate reactions from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said, “The settings of the meeting and their full publicity have robbed it of any compassion and humanity.”The meeting was supposed to last 30 minutes. But at the request of Jadhav, it lasted 40 minutes. Pakistan’s Foreign Office also issued a new video message in which he is seen thanking the its government for arranging the meeting.All information about the meeting emerged through Pakistani Foreign Ministry tweets and images. Its spokesman Mohammad Faisal identified Jadhav with his military title. He also tweeted that the meeting was arranged in light of “Islamic traditions and based on purely humanitarian grounds.” “The mother and wife of Commander Jadhav sitting comfortably in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan. We honour our commitments,” informed Faisal.From Pakistan’s side, Foreign Office Director for India, Dr Fareha Bugti, was present at the meeting.After the meeting Faisal made it clear that it was not a consular access. He said India’s deputy High Commission was present during the meeting, but was not allowed to speak or participate in discussions.He, however, said that decisions on consular access will be taken by Islamabad keeping in view the law and interests of his country. He said that the meeting was positive and the two sides talked thoroughly, but refused to share its details.Earlier, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told a Pakistani media channel that his country has granted India consular access since an Indian diplomat will be accompanying the prisoner’s wife and mother. India downplayed the comments, maintaining that the its diplomat was only accompanying Jadhav’s family. Later Pakistani spokesperson himself overturned the statement of his own minister.The FO spokesperson claimed Jadhav had admitted to his involvement in acts of terror.THE FARCE PAK TRIALMarch 2016 India’s former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav arrested by Pakistan on charges of espionage and terrorism April 2017 Jadhav sentenced to death by Pak. India says he was kidnapped from Iran, where he ran a business May ICJ stays Jadhav’s execution on India’s petition against the farce trial Dec 20 Pakistan issues visa to 47-year-old’s wife and mother to visit Islamabad and meet him Dec 25 Jadhav meets his family, first time after his arrest in March 2016

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Join Naxals, will shoot you: Union Minister Hansraj Ahir to doctors skipping hospital event

Miffed over senior doctors remaining absent from a function he was attending at a government hospital in Maharashtra, Union Minister Hansraj Ahir today said “these people” should join the Naxals if they don’t believe in democracy, and the government will then shoot them down.The Minister of State for Home Affairs was speaking at the inauguration of a 24×7 store for generic medicines at a government-run hospital in eastern Maharashtra’s Chandrapur, which he represents in the Lok Sabha.”The mayor came, the deputy mayor came but what stopped the doctors from coming for the event?” an angry Ahir asked, noting the absence of senior doctors at the event.Also readHansraj Ahir: No one can stop India from wresting back PoK”What do the Naxals want? They don’t want democracy… So these people (the absent doctors) don’t want democracy, then they should join the Naxals. Why are you here? Then (once you join the Naxals) we will pump you with bullets, why you are dispensing pills here?” Ahir said, punning on the Marathi word ‘goli’ — which means both a pill and a bullet.Ahir wondered if it was appropriate for doctors to go on leave when a “democratically-elected” minister was on a visit.Also readVarun Gandhi pitches for ‘providing shelter to Rohingya refugees,’ gets slammed by MoS Hansraj AhirChandrapur is one of the four districts in Maharashtra which have been identified by the central government as affected by Left-Wing Extremism.

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UP government releases 93 prisoners on Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s 93rd birthday

The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh today released 93 prisoners from various jails of the state on the 93rd birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”It was decided to set free 93 prisoners convicted in different cases on the 93rd birthday of the former prime minister. These prisoners have completed their tenure in jail but could not be released due to non-payment of fine imposed on them,” Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar told PTI.To ensure that they walk free, the prisons department was asked to see if the fines could be paid by NGOs, trusts and others, after verifying their credentials.The names of convicts to be set free was picked up in a random manner from a list of 135 such prisoners who are not named or were serving imprisonment in another case, the official said.Former prime minister Vajpayee had represented Lucknow in the Lok Sabha five times — 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004.The BJP stalwart was the first and till now the only non-Congress leader who completed a full term as prime minister.He was also the first External Affairs Minister to deliver a speech in Hindi in the UN General Assembly in New York.

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Allowed Kulbhushan Jadhav’s meeting with wife, mother on ‘humanitarian grounds’: Pakistan

Pakistan on Monday said that it allowed the mother and wife of former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet him as a humanitarian gesture to mark the birthday of the country’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Accompanied by Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh, Jadhav’s wife Chetankul and mother Avanti met him at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Islamabad. A glass wall was put between Jadhav and the rest during the meeting. Speaking to media after the meeting, Dr Mohammad Faisal​, the spokesperson of the Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the meeting was not a “consular access” as the diplomat was present but was not allowed to speak to Jadhav. “This was conveyed to Indian High Commission categorically,” he said. Also readKulbhushan Jadhav LIVE updates | Not consular access, meeting allowed on humanitarian grounds, says Pakistan “An Indian diplomat was present during the meeting and he could see Jadhav but he was not allowed to speak to him,” Faisal​ said. It was the first meeting between Jadhav and his family since his arrest in March last year. Also readKulbhushan Jadhav case: At ICJ, Pak rejects India’s request for consular accessThe meeting was scheduled for 30 minutes, but it was extended for 10 more minutes on the request of Jadhav and his family members, the spokesperson ​said. “The meeting was very positive and they (Jadhav’s mother and wife) were satisfied. They thanked us before leaving,” Faisal said.On the question why a glass wall was put between them during the meeting, he said it was done “for security reasons.””We had already told them that you will be able to meet him but a security barrier would be there he said. Earlier, Pakistan released a video of Jadhav in which he thanked the Pak govt for ‘grand gesture’. “I requested a meeting with my wife and mother and I am thankful to Govt of Pakistan for this grand gesture,” he was heard saying in the video which was played several times before the Foreign Office briefing.The video message played by the Foreign Office during a press conference after Jadhav’s meeting with his family was recorded before their meeting, officials said.During the press conference, the spokesperson read out a statement repeating old allegations against Jadhav. He said he was involved in “terror activities” and was “face of Indian terror on Pakistani soil.” Jadhav was sentenced to death by a military court on charges of espionage and terrorism. India maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Indian Navy.

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Kulbhushan Jadhav LIVE updates | No consular access for ex-Indian Navy official, reports Pak media

13:18 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Jadhav’s wife and mother will first visit the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The meeting is expected to take place at 1pm (Pak time).12:55 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Elaborate security arrangements are in place around Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From Pakistan Rangers to Anti-Terrorism squads and sharp shooters have been deployed on roof tops.12:48 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: The Pakistani media has started to gather outside Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.12:38 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Latest media reports from Islamabad say that Kulbhushan Jadhav has not been granted any consular access. 12:36 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Dr Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, took to Twitter and said that the meeting between Jadhav and his family has been allowed as a ‘humanitarian gesture’ on the birthday of ‘Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’12:33 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: There are conflicting reports over consular access being granted to Kulbhushan Jadhav. While Pakistan claims to have finally granted the access, India has downplayed the news and said that the Indian diplomat accompanying the wife and mother of Jadhav can’t be seen as consular access.12:32 IST Monday, 25 December 2017: Wife and mother of Kulbhushan Jadhav have reached Islamabad.

Vasundhara Raje govt approves 1% reservation for Gurjars, 4 other communities in Rajasthan

Five castes including Gurjars will get one per cent reservation within the 50 per cent legal limit in Rajasthan, a senior minister said here today.The state government took the decision on Thursday to provide reservation to the Gujjar/Gurjar, Banjara/Baldia/ Labana, Gadia-Lohar/Gadalia, Raika/Rebari and Gadaria communities.”The decision was taken to give one per cent reservation to Gurjars and other castes under the most backward category,” said state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore.A notification will be issued after the governor’s approval, he said.The present overall reservation percentage in the state stands at 49 per cent.The five castes were included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) list in 1994. After the state cabinet’s decision they can now seek benefits in educational institutions and job opportunities.The Rajasthan Assembly in October this year passed a bill to raise OBC reservation from 21 to 26 per cent to provide five per cent quota to Gurjars and other castes.However, the high court stayed the bill as it would have increased the reservation to 54 per cent.Later, the Supreme Court also directed the state government not to exceed the 50 per cent reservation limit.The government has taken the step in the wake of widespread agitation by the Gurjar community, demanding reservation under the backward class category.

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Hope Maldives will be sensitive to our concerns, says India

India said on Thursday that it attaches a lot of importance to its ties with the Maldives and hoped that the country will be sensitive to its concerns.Replying to questions on an anti-India editorial in a Maldivian newspaper, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Raveesh Kumar said it should not be taken seriously.The Maldives recently signed a free trade agreement with China, which is seen as Beijing’s growing influence over the island nation.”We have to see our relationship with Maldives in a broader perspective. It is an important country. We do attach lot of importance to our relationship with the country,” Kumar said.At the same time, he said India expects and hopes that the Maldives will be sensitive to New Delhi’s concerns.Also readMaldives to restore death penalty after 60 years – officialOn the FTA between China and the Maldives, he said India was trying to understand its implications.”We should look beyond these developments and we should have diplomatic discussions between the two sides to address any issue between the two countries,” said the MEA spokesperson.He said much attention should not be paid to things which are going around.Kumar also referred to a tweet by Maldivian Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim few days back in which he called the India-Maldives ties time-tested.”Relations with #India is time-tested and is based on people to people contact & cooperation in several sectors. We remain committed to further enhancing and strengthening existing ties,” Asim had tweeted.Meanwhile, asked about the the visit of the mother and wife of Indian death row convict Kulbhushan Jadhav to Pakistan to meet him, Kumar said the modalities of the trip were being worked out.”The modalities of the meeting are being worked out and who goes when, how do they go, how the meeting takes place, I think this is something the two countries are engaged in discussion,” said Kumar when asked about media reports quoting Pakistani officials that the mother and wife of Jadhav will be flying to Islamabad than taking the road trip via Wagah.Asked about the comment of a Pakistani official that Islamabad may allow the two women to interact with media if India does not have any objection, Kumar did not give a direct reply, saying, “We will see.”To a separate question, Kumar said Pakistan is under international obligation to protect the minorities in the country.On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said that India will take up at the highest level in the Pakistan government reports of Sikhs being forced to convert to Islam by a government official in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).Her reaction came after leading Pakistan daily The Express Tribune published a news story about the Sikh community raising serious concerns after being forced to convert to Islam by the government official in the Hangu district of K-P.

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63% plunge in foreign funding of NGOs: Govt

Foreign funding of NGOs has plunged by 63 per cent as the Centre has been coming down heavily against erring organisations and putting several international donors under the lens for working against the country’s interests.In the year 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, this was a sharp dip from Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16.In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore from foreign donors.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled registration of 4,842 NGOs banning their foreign funding for not filing their annual returns under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.The latest data on foreign funding of NGOs was given to Parliament on Wednesday.Soon after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014 intelligence agencies were told to identify advocacy groups that were receiving funds from abroad and were against the interests of the nation. Several NGOs put in the category of impacting the economic stability of the country were put on the list.Intelligence agencies also listed several donors as suspicious and blacklisted them. As a result in 2015 FCRA registration of more than 8,500 organisations was cancelled. This was a big jump from 2014 when only 59 NGOs faced action while only four lost their registration in 2013.Indian NGOs received over Rs 60,000 crore between 2009-10 and 2011-12.As part of stringent measures to monitor the activities of foreign funded bodies the Home Ministry in September asked over 1,200 organisations to give details of their bank accounts that receive funds from international donors.In July the Home Ministry issued notices to 5922 organisations including top educational institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and several other religious bodies for banning their foreign funding.”Once issues of money laundering, terror funding and derailing the country’s economic growth were raised there was a massive crackdown was planned which is continuing,” said a government official.Sources said many of the NGOs that faced the action were among the highest paid ones but did not file annual returns. Many of these were repeat offenders and failed to file their annual returns on foreign funding for four years between 2010-11 and 2014-15 despite constant reminders from the Home Ministry. All organisations are required to submit their annual return within nine months of the closure of the financial year.DIPPING NUMBERSIn 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, as opposed to Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore.

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Min backtracks, says Aadhaar not mandatory for property deals

The central government on Tuesday ruled out any move to make Aadhaar mandatory for property transactions. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri said the rural development ministry had advised states and union territories to explore the possibility of Aadhaar authentication for registration of properties under the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908.However, he clarified that such a move was not mandatory but would be based on consent.Earlier last month, the minister had favoured linking Aadhaar to property transactions in a way similar to the linkage of the national ID number with bank accounts. He had said such a move would go a long way in sucking out black money from real estate and also help in cracking down on benami properties. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also indicated several times that the government would crack down on benami property. Aadhaar linking with property could form a part of that drive. Puri was the first union minister to state that Aadhaar linkage with property transactions would be made mandatory.However, on Tuesday in response to questions, the minister said, “At present, there is no proposal to make Aadhaar linkage mandatory in property transactions.” To other questions, including one on whether the government had set any time-frame for linking the unique identification number for property dealings, he said, “(The question) Does not arise.” So far, up to 140 government schemes have made linking with Aadhaar mandatory to avail their services.

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NIA goofs up, no Interpol RCN for Zakir Naik

In a setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Interpol has rejected the government’s request to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, saying Indian agencies have failed to file a charge sheet against him.NIA Director YC Modi told DNA, “RCN was not issued against Naik so far. If Interpol has stopped now from issuing, it can be further pursued.” “The request for RCN against Zakir Naik was not accepted by Interpol as charge sheet had not been filed when the request was submitted to the Interpol Headquarters,” said sources in NIA.”Now NIA will submit a fresh request to Interpol as a charge sheet has already been filed in the concerned NIA court in Mumbai.” NIA had requested RCN against Naik on 19 May for ‘promoting enmity between two different religious groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, being a member of unlawful Association, etc’. The Indian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned Naik and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The NIA said that Indian youth, who joined the terrorist organisation ISIS, were highly influenced by his speeches.Within 10 days, the request was contested by Naik through London-based attorney Peter Binning of Corker Binning law firm on 29 May. The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files heard Naik’s plea and in a letter dated 11 December to Binning, the Interpol said, “After a thorough examination, the commission found that the data challenged raised questions as to compliance with applicable roles. As a result, it considered that the retention of this data in the Interpol information system was not compliant with the Interpol’s rules and decided that it should be deleted.” The law firm had earlier written to Secretary General of Interpol, France, seeking for a refusal to issue RCH against Naik.After hearing the plea and also the Indian government arguments, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files observed on 26 October, 2017, “The commission considered that according to the Ministry of External Affairs, an extradition request for an accused /fugitive can be initiated after a charge sheet has been filed. Furthermore, it considered that in its list of documents required to be enclosed as part of the dossier to extradite a fugitive criminal from a foreign country to India, a copy of charge sheet, duly countersigned by the competent judicial authority is required.”The commission further pointed that the information published by the Ministry of External Affairs on its guidelines for extradition appears different from that provided by the National Central Bureau (NCB) of Interpol of India, concerning the requirement to include charge sheet for extradition.””Therefore, in light of all of the aforesaid circumstances, the commission finds that, at this stage of the proceedings, the issuance of RCN for the Applicant’s arrest with a view of his extradition is premature and that maintaining the data in Interpol’s files would not be appropriate,” the Commission said.Naik’s foundation issued a statement saying that the Interpol’s Commission found after thorough examination that the request from the Indian NCB was not compliant with Interpol’s rules. Furthermore, the Interpol general secretariat has informed all Interpol NCBs that it has deleted the information relating to Dr Zakir Naik and urged them to update their national databases accordingly.

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Centre calls for all-party meet

The Centre has called for an all-party meeting on Thursday, a day ahead of the beginning of the Winter Session of the Parliament. The meet, called for by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, will be held at the Parliament Library in order to prepare a roadmap for the Session, which ends on January 5.Kumar had asked for the cooperation from across parties, specially from the Opposition, so that the session could carry on uninterrupted. The Centre has come under increasing attacks from the Opposition after the Winter Session of the Parliament was delayed because of the Gujarat polls.There are several significant bills that are up for this session. These include the bill on triple talaq and another on the constitutional status to the backward class commission.The Opposition, on the other hand, is convening its own members on the same day at the Parliament office of its senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad. The Congress is likely to send senior members including Anand Sharma, Mallikarjun Kharge, apart from Azad to the meet.

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Officers to get Rs Rs 20 lakh, informers Rs 2 lakh for info on drug trafficking

In order to crackdown on drug trafficking across the country and motivate police personnel, informers, and common citizens to report such instances, the Central government has issued new guidelines on Tuesday announcing rewards for those whose information would lead to seizures of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The government, however, has also clearly stated that any work done by an individual officer in his normal course of duties is not eligible for the reward.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has come up with ‘guidelines for grant of rewards to be paid to the officers, informers, and other persons, 2017’. It will also regulate the grant and payment of reward to informers and government officers.As per this policy, an officer is eligible for Rs 20 lakh reward during his entire career and Rs 50,000 at a time. However a maximum reward of Rs 2 lakh may also be given to an individual in exceptional cases by the Apex Central Rewards Committee.”Up to 50 per cent of the total admissible reward amount can be given at pre-trial stage if the test report from chemical lab turns positive,” the ministry said.Further the reward sanctioning authority should also consider several factors — like accuracy of the information, degree of risk involved, extent and nature of the help rendered by the informer, and whether the information also gave clues of the person involved in the drug trafficking racket — while granting reward to informers.Narcotics Control Bureau has been made the coordinating agency to process the reward proposal of other central and state agencies working in the field of drug interdiction.As per the new policy, reward should not be granted as a matter of routine and provision for special efforts made by the government officials in developing the information, effecting the seizure and post seizure investigation should also be taken into consideration.The reward scheme will be made applicable to informers whose information leads to seizures of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, controlled substances, forfeiture of illegally acquired property under NDPS Act and contravention of rules made there under, which is booked by any central and state agencies.It is also applicable to the officers of central, state and union territories who make seizures, successful investigation and prosecution and conduct post investigation work in respect of contravention of provisions of NDPS Act.The new reward guideline has not only included new drugs and psychotropic substances in the revised reward policy but also increased the rate of reward of the seized drug. The highest reward has been kept for cocaine and its salts which is Rs 2.4 lakh per kilogramme but it should be 90 percent or more of anhydrous cocaine and thereafter heroin and its salts which is Rs 1.20 lakh per kilogramme but it should 90 percent or more of diacetyl morphine. In Ganja, the reward is Rs 600 per kilogramme and it should be commercially acceptable as ganja. Even Mandrax tablets attract Rs 2000 per kilogramme. The destruction of illicit cannabis and opium poppy crop attracts Rs 10,000 per hectare and destruction of poppy straw calls for Rs 240 which is 20 percent of the present street price.In case of controlled and psychotropic substances, the maximum reward is 25,000 per Kg for seizure of Buprenorphine or Tidigesic and its preparations but it should be 100 percent pure. Interestingly, diazepam and its preparations can get reward Rs. 0.53 per tablet of 5mg, alprazolam and its preparations can get reward Rs 0.20 per tablet of 5 mg, lorezepam and its preparations Rs 0.296 per tablet of 5 mg and alprax and its preparations can get Rs 0.52 per tablet of 5 mg.The ministry has put up a clause wherein the rewards shall be reduced pro-rate if the purity is less than the prescribed level.

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Delhi cops to have two wings

To make their crime investigation and law and order management more efficient, the Delhi Police will divide into two wings. After making the decision to bifurcate the force, the Ministry of Home Affairs has now directed Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to divide the police force into two units — Investigation and Law and Order.The move for the reshuffle came after the force failed in clearing the backlog of cases.DNA recently reported that the force could solve on average only about 33 per cent of cases till mid November. The ministry issued directions based on strong recommendations from the Bureau of Police Research and Development in this regard.Documents accessed by DNA show that in a recent letter to the office of the Commissioner of Police, the Ministry of Home Affairs conveyed the Centre’s approval for the creation of 4,227 posts — 1,409 sub/assistant sub inspectors, 1,409 head constables, and 1,409 constables — to be operationalised in two phases — 50 per cent posts in 2016-2017 and remaining posts in 2017-2018.This will facilitate the separation of crime investigations and law and order functions.The commissioner then approved the districts- or unit-wise allocation of 4,227 posts in two phases. The allocation of these 4,227 posts (3,645 posts of 1,215 teams, each of which would include a sub inspector, a constable and a head constable, along with 582 posts) has been made across various Delhi Police units. Notorious districts such as Rohini and northeast have the highest number of 510 posts each.Core investigative units such as the Crime Branch and Special Cell have been allocated six and three posts, respectively. Apart from this, north district got 132 posts, central 117, outer 414, east 459 and Shahadra 321. A copy of the letter has also been sent to Additional Secretary, MHA, all the Special Commissioners, Joint Commissioners, Additional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and other officers of the Delhi Police.SPLIT AND ACTConsidering its dismal show in clearing backlog of cases, the Home Ministry has directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to divide the force for better performance

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Naqvi takes a dig at Congress over Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ remark against PM Modi

Taking a dig at the Congress over its suspended leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s “neech” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said the party was “roaming around with axes and chisels to damage the tree roots nourished by their ancestors”.He said the Congress was busy tarnishing the image of the prime minister and creating hurdles in his path of development.”When the Narendra Modi government is marching ahead on the path of development, they (Congress leaders) are busy creating anti-development chaos by fielding elements like Mani Shankar Aiyar,” Naqvi told PTI.The Congress had suspended the primary membership of Aiyar after the Gandhi family loyalist set off a firestorm recently by calling the prime minister “neech aadmi” (a vile person), remarks fraught with adverse consequences for the party in poll-bound Gujarat.The Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs also asked the Congress to clarify “who taught such abusive language to their leaders”.He added that the “real face of Congress” would be revealed after the announcement of Gujarat poll results on December 18.The Union minister asserted that under the NDA government, employment opportunities for minorities have seen a rise.”Central government jobs for those from minority community have shot up from 5 per cent to 9.5 per cent during the last three years,” he said.

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Beware, ISI laying honeytraps

The Central intelligence agencies has alerted the defence establishments in the country stating Pakistan-based Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is spotting talents amongst the defence personnel from Army, Navy and Air Force who are pursuing in National Defence College (NDC) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The are trying to allure potential Indian officers to work for them and for that are using their “young and female recruits in Bangladesh”.Sources in the agencies also alerted that ISI has also directed their young and female recruits not to shy away from getting married with the Indian defence forces cadets pursuing in the National Defence Courses eventually. According to the intelligence agencies, a few of the ISI female recruits who have been given this task are from Bangladesh colleges and fluent in Bengali, Hindi and English language. These female recruits are also sent to the US and UK for carrying out further studies and return and trap young Indian defence forces cadets. “ISI female staff are stationed near Pallabi, journalist residential areas, Mohammadia Society, Palash Nagar, and not far away from Mirpur Bangla High School and College, Bangladesh University of Business technologies and etc in Dhaka,” sources said.Sources also said that the Indian defence establishments have been alerted who thereafter have informed the Indian cadets there not to indulge into the any kind of relationship with any female ISI recruits.Earlier, intelligence agencies had issued an alert across the army establishments and security forces that the ISI posing as senior officers from Armed forces and Ministry of Home Affairs are calling lower staff and trying to extract sensitive information.The Intelligence Agencies have issued an alert across the army establishments and security forces that the ISI operatives posing as senior officers from Armed forces and Ministry of Home Affairs are making calls to extract sensitive information.The intelligence agencies have directed all field commanders to sensitise field formations and personnel under their command to refrain from sharing any information telephonically related to the defence forces, deployment and any other information which might put the national security at risk.Sources said ISI’s strategy, pinned by intelligence officials, involves drawing their attention with attractive profile photos, befriending them and then getting familiar over chats. Slowly, they encourage the personnel to divulge matters considered secret that can be used by the inimical force.According to sources, ISI has been using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to honey trap unsuspecting Indian personnel by providing training to women on how to make explicit calls and chats, in a field traditionally dominated by men.Delhi Police had last year reported some fictitious Facebook accounts, purportedly belonging to women that were used to identify and lure defence personnel.2015 INCIDENTIn December 2015, a serving Indian Army jawan was arrested on charges of maintaining close relationship with an agent of ISI. The jawan was identified as Havildar Farid Khan. It was revealed that he had provided vital information to the spy agency. It was the seventh arrest in the country-wide raid in the ISI spying case.

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Mom, wife can meet Kulbhushan Jadhav on Dec 25: Pakistan

Pakistan has allowed the wife and the mother of former India navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, to meet him on December 25 in a Pakistani jail. Jadhav has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court for espionage and terrorism.In a letter sent to the External Affairs Ministry here, Pakistan Foreign Office has suggested that Jadhav’s family can meet him on Christmas. The development has come right when Pakistan was supposed to submit its response to India’s accusation that the country violated the Vienna Convention by denying consular access to Jadhav.The Pak response has to be submitted to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on December 13.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed on Friday that Pakistan will grant visa to both the mother and the wife of Jadhav. Earlier on November 10, Pakistan had agreed to allow Jadhav’s wife to meet him. India has been pressing Pakistan to grant a visa to his mother Avantika as well, on humanitarian grounds.”We also raised concerns about the safety and security of Jadhav’s kin in Pakistan,” Swaraj tweeted. The minister further said she has spoken to Jadhav’s mother Avantika about the development.Describing it as a positive development, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Pakistan has also permitted an Indian diplomat to accompany Jadhav’s wife and mother during their trip. The diplomat will be present during their meeting in the jail. When queried whether allowing Indian diplomat to accompany Jadhav’s relatives in jail meant granting consular access, Kumar said it was too early to predict the nature of the access.Jadhav had filed an appeal with Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa to seek clemency, which is still pending. In October, the Pakistan Army had said it was close to a decision on Jadhav’s mercy petition.According to Pakistan, its security forces arrested Jadhav from the restive Balochistan province on March 3, last year, after he reportedly entered the area from Iran. India, however, maintains that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran, where he planned to start a business after retiring from the Indian Navy.After India approached ICJ, a 10-member bench on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav till the adjudication of the case. The ICJ had asked Pakistan to submit its response by December 13, before the court could start further proceedings. Pakistan is now expected to inform the ICJ that since it has agreed to provide consular access to the prisoner, India’s plea at the world court be declared infructuous.

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Govt will take all possible steps to ensure extradition of Vijay Mallya: MEA

As the extradition trial of Vijay Mallya continues in a court in London, the government today said it would take all possible steps to bring him back to the country.”The government of India would take all possible steps to ensure that we do not lag behind in our efforts towards extradition of Vijay Mallya to India,” spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Raveesh Kumar said in reply to a question on the issue. The extradition trial of Mallya, wanted in India on charges of Rs 9,000 crore fraud and money laundering, began at a UK court on Monday.The tycoon has been on self-imposed exile in the UK since he left India on March 2, 2016.Asked about the recent arrest of British national Jagtar Singh Johal by Punjab Police in connection with targeted killing cases in the state, the MEA spokesperson said the British High Commission has been given consular access to him. Kumar said Johal has been investigated for “very serious crime” including cases relating to targeted killing of certain individuals in India.Also read’No evidence’ to justify extraditing Mallya to India, defense lawyer tells UK Court”All due process of law are being followed since he is a British national. The British High Commission has been given consular access. We expect the law of the land to take its own course,” Kumar said.Asked about reports that 23 Indians from Tamil Nadu are stuck in Senegal as their employers refused to pay them their salaries, Kumar said the two companies where they were working have agreed to pay their dues following government’s intervention. He said eight workers have already returned to India and others are also coming back.

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New Indian envoy Gautam Bambawale presents his credentials to Xi Jinping

India’s new envoy to China Gautam Bambawale today submitted his credentials to President Xi Jinping, a formality which would enable him to officially function as the Ambassador.Xi received the credentials of Bambawale, and 10 other envoys, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The Chinese President welcomed the ambassadors to China and asked them to convey his sincere greetings and good wishes to the leaders and people of their countries. The Chinese government will provide convenience and support for the work of the ambassadors, Xi said, adding that he hopes they will actively contribute to bilateral relations between China and their countries.Xi said China will enhance mutual political trust, promote practical cooperation, deepen cooperation in international affairs, achieve common development with the countries and contribute to world peace, stability, the report said. Bambawale, a seasoned diplomat, arrived here last month. Till recently, he served as High Commissioner to Pakistan and earlier as India’s envoy to Bhutan. A 1984-batch India Foreign Service (IFS) officer, Bambawale succeeded Vijay Gokhale who took over as Secretary (Economic Relations) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).A deft hand in Sino-India relations, Bambawale earlier handled the China desk at the MEA which also included relations with Japan, China, South Korea, Mongolia and North Korea. A Mandarin-speaker, he had also served as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Indian Embassy in Beijing earlier. He came ahead of India and China resuming a high-level dialogue this month after Xi assumed his second five-year term after an endorsement by the National Congress of the ruling Communist Party in October this year.Bambawale’s posting here came at a time when the two neighbours are trying to put behind the Dokalam standoff, and work on a “forward-looking” approach in their ties.The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) dialogue mechanism, expected to be held in Delhi on December 11. During the visit, he is also expected to hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj and meet top Indian leadership, officials said here.Following the RIC dialogue, the 20th round of India-China border talks will be held in Delhi between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi. Both Doval and Yang have been designated as ‘Special Representatives’ who are also mandated to discuss all issues related to India-China relations. For the first time after the Doklam standoff, the two countries held their border consultation and coordination mechanism meeting here last month during which they reviewed the situation in all sectors of their border and exchanged views on confidence building measures and military contacts.The 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held in Beijing on November 17. The India-China border dispute covers the 3488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet while India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during 1962 war.
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Centre ‘concerned’ over Army Chief’s statement of troops crossing into Myanmar

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat recently confirmed that Indian troops crossed into Myanmar in 2015 for operations. The statement, however, is seen as a cause for concern, officials from the Home and External Affairs Ministry, reported The Hindu.The statement comes at a time when India and Myanmar have been in constant talks over the refugee crisis in the Rohingya region. A senior official said the diplomatic concerns had been conveyed to General Rawat.At a book release function in Pune on Friday, General Rawat elaborated on the cross-border raid carried out by the Army on NSCN-K militant hideouts in Myanmar. The strikes were carried out in retaliation for an ambush in Manipur when 18 soldiers were killed by Myanmar-based terrorists. At the time, General Rawat was commanding the Dimapur-based 3 CorpsAlso readWe push back Rohingya and not arrest them: DG BSFAccording to Myanmar’s constitution Article 41&42, no foreign troops can be deployed within the country’s boundaries for any reason. In a visit to Delhi in October 2016, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi had also reportedly repeated the concerns to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
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Triple Talaq law: Govt mulls 3-year jail term for offenders

The Modi government is planning a three year jail term with a fine for individuals giving instant triple talaq to their wives, according to the draft law. The government plans to introduce a bill in the Winter Session of the Parliament to make Triple Talaq a criminal offence. Supreme Court earlier in the year had declared Triple Talaq illegal, dubbing it unconstitutional in a split verdict. The draft bill has been finalised by the Centre and has been sent to state governments for further consultation. All states, except Jammu and Kashmir will be part of the law once it is passed in both houses of the Parliament. As per the draft bill, triple talaq victims can seek custody of minor children and also claim for maintenance for self and dependable children. The government plans to bring a law making it criminal offence, because even after SC verdict there have been cases where Muslim women have been given Triple Talaq. The government hopes that the new law will be an effective deterrent to curb the social menace. On 23rd November, Union Ministers discussed details regarding the proposed triple talaq legislation. Chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the meeting discussed various issues related to the proposed bill, which is expected to ensure that the instantaneous way of divorce will be a punishable offence. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Minorities Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Attorney General K K Venugopal besides others attended the meeting.In August, the Supreme Court had struck down the controversial Islamic practice of instant divorce or ‘talaq-e-biddat’ as arbitrary and unconstitutional. But there have been reports of a number of divorces by way of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ even after the judgement..
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Watch: PM Modi inaugurates Hyderabad Metro, takes first ride

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated the Hyderabad Metro Rail and took a ride along with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao in its maiden run.The first phase of the metro rail project covers a 30-km stretch between Miyapur and Nagole, having 24 stations.The train was driven by a woman driver covering four stations. The trains would run from 6 am to 10 pm initially.Prime Minister Modi was accompanied by Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana ESL Narasimhan, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Telangana’s IT Minister KT Rama Rao and state BJP chief K Laxman. ALSO READ Delhi metro fares among the lowest in the world: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri ALSO READ 3 lakh passengers ditched Metro after fare hike: RTIBefore the inauguration, Modi said: “We believe in cooperative federalism. There is no question of discriminating against states where we are not in power. We are committed to the overall development of our country.”

Rajnath Singh leaves for three-day Russia trip; to sign two key pacts on terrorism, organised crime

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Russia will sign two key pacts for cooperation in tackling all forms of terrorism and jointly fighting smuggling of narcotics during the three-day visit of Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Moscow, officials said.Singh, who left for Russia today, will sign an agreement on cooperation between the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation in combating terrorism and organised crime.The pact will reinforce the bilateral relationship through exchange and sharing of information, expertise, best practices and help in curbing terrorism and enhancing security in the region, a home ministry official said.
ALSO READ India may sign pact with Russia to combat terrorThe proposed pact, which will replace the agreement of October 1993, is a step towards consolidating the benefits accrued in the field of security and seeks to jointly fight the new and evolving risks and threats.The home minister will hold discussions with Vladimir Kolokoltsev, minister for internal affairs of the Russian Federation and other senior Russian leadership.The discussions would cover the entire gamut of bilateral, regional and international matters of mutual interest, the official said.Singh will also sign a joint action plan between India’s Narcotics Control Bureau and the Russian ministry of interior.As both the countries have a long history of close cooperation on matters of shared security concerns, this visit will provide an opportunity to further cement and strengthen the mutually beneficial bilateral ties between the two countries, the official said.Before leaving for Russia, the home minister said India and Russia share a special relationship which has withstood the test of time over the decades.”This year India and Russia are celebrating the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with each other. Looking forward to deepen and further India’s strategic and security partnership with Russia,” he tweeted.The home minister was scheduled to visit Russia on September 18, 2016, but he had cancelled it following a terror attack on that day at the Brigade headquarters in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 19 Army soldiers were killed.All four terrorists, who attacked the defence installation, were also killed by the security forces.

Winter session of Parliament begins December 15: Triple talaq, Bill to grant Constitutional Status to NCBC to come up

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Winter Session of Parliament will begin on December 15 a day after Gujarat election is over and conclude on January 5 during which key bills on triple talaq and constitutional status to the backward class commission will be taken up for passage.Announcing the dates for the parliament session recommended by CCPA after its meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar sought the cooperation of the Opposition parties to make the winter session meaningful. “CCPA met under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh and proposed that we will have winter session from December 15 to January 5,” Kumar said.Rejecting Congress attack that the government has delayed the winter session to avoid facing tough questions on demonetization, GST and unemployment issues before Gujarat polls for fear of being exposed, Kumar reminded that earlier also many times including during the rule of Cong Prime Ministers Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh, winter session have been delayed and begun even from January to avoid overlapping with polls.Replying to questions, Kumar said that the issues of National Commission for Backward Classes and triple talaq are two very important issues.“The country expects that the bills pertaining to these two issues will come to Parliament in this Winter Session. If that is the aspiration of the country, Government will have to respond to it,” Kumar said.The NCBC bill, which seeks to give a Constitutional status to the national body, which recommends reservations norms for backward classes is pending before Parliament and a select committee headed by BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav has already submitted its report to Parliament on the issue in Monsoon Session.While the bill to grant constitutional status to NCBC was passed by Lok Sabha without any amenmdnet but the same could be passed in Rajya Sabha only after an amendment, dropping a clause of the bill as Opposition parties forced four amendments into it.As the bill cannot be sent to President for assent now because two different versions of the bills have been passed by the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the bill may have to go to Lok Sabha again.In wake of some recent controversial triple talaq incidents, the government is bringing a bill, seeking to make it a punishable offence as the practice has continued despite the Supreme Court order against it.The two issues will be discussed threadbare during the three-week-long session. The session will have 14 working days. December 25, which falls on Monday and December 26 will be holidays on account of Christmas.The Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that he was hopeful that all members of Parliament will attend the session on all the working days as key issues are to discussed and bills to be passed.The announcement of Winter session dates comes daysafter a political row that saw top leaders from Government and Opposition trading barbs on each other.This could fail to relent the Opposition which has been alleging that the government wants to “run away” from facing the heat on key issues during Gujarat polls, which end on December 14, a day before the session commences now. Congress sources said that they would raise the issue in Parliament.

Delhi HC disposes off plea against Farooq Abdullah over PoK remarks, asks to approach MEA, MHA

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Tuesday disposed-off a PIL seeking action against National Conference President Farooq Abdullah for his reported controversial remarks on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).Court asked the petitioner to approach authorities and ministries like Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Law & Justice.The plea, filed by Delhi-based Maulana Ansar Raza who claims to be a social activist, had sought ‘immediate investigation’ and ‘arrest’ of the Srinagar MP alleging that he has favoured Pakistan and insulted India.It alleged that Abdullah has been making “such controversial remarks and statements by which the nation and its people feel ashamed of such persons being Indian citizens”.The petition, filed through lawyer Nawal Kishore Jha, has said the NC chief should be tried for penal offenses including sedition and treason under the IPC and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Intelligence Bureau be also asked to probe the entire issue.Abdullah had on November 11 said that PoK belonged to Pakistan and ‘this won’t change’ no matter how many wars India and Pakistan fight.”I tell them in plain terms — not only the people of India, but also to the world — that the part (of J&K) which is with Pakistan (PoK) belongs to Pakistan and this side to India. This won’t change. Let them fight how many wars they want to. This won’t change,” Abdullah had said.

After Sonia Gandhi’s attack, govt says committed to hold Winter Session, to decide dates soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Congress President Sonia Gandhi lashed-out, the government on Tuesday said that they are committed to hold Winter Session and will soon decide on dates.”We are committed to hold Winter Session of Parliament and in the next couple of days we are going to have cabinet committee on Parliamentary Affairs and decide the dates,” said Union Minister Ananth Kumar.On Monday, Gandhi said the government took the extraordinary step of not holding the winter session to escape answering questions on corruption in high places, conflict of interest of serving ministers and dubious defence deals.”The Prime Minister had the audacity to have a midnight celebration in Parliament to launch an ill-prepared and flawed GST but today he lacks the courage to face Parliament,” the Congress chief said.She also added that the Modi government in its arrogance has cast a dark shadow on India’s parliamentary democracy by sabotaging the winter session of parliament on flimsy grounds.However, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said there was no truth that the government was dropping the Winter Session. There are speculations that a truncated session will start from December 11.”Changing the schedule of Parliament session during elections is nothing new. The congress has also done it before,” he said.The winter session of Parliament traditionally convenes from the third week of November and lasts till the third week of December. Jaitley said the opposition party had also delayed a session in 2011 and even earlier because the sittings coincided with election campaigns.

Assam told to accept ration card to update citizen data

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following multiple instances where retired Army jawans in Assam were asked to prove their Indian citizenship, the Ministry of Home Affairs has told the state government that the ration card can be used to update data in the National Register of Citizens.The ministry in a letter to NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela has said that the ration card is to be treated as a valid ‘supporting document’ for the purpose of citizenship update, which is due on December 31.The letter also stated that while village panchayat certificates will not be considered valid until the Supreme Court rules on it, the ration card is can be accepted for the purpose.”While approving modalities dated March 13, 2015, the list of documents that were admissible, which were to be enclosed by each applicant was also approved. The list contained two supporting documents –ration cards and Gaon Panchayat certificates, issued by the Secretary of Village Panchayat. It is clarified that all documents as appearing on March 13, 2015, except Gaon Panchayat certificates, which is sub-judice, are valid documents.”The ministry’s latest move will bring relief to those refugees who entered Assam and were given shelter, ration cards by the erstwhile Congress government.The letter also said that that careful scrutiny and thorough investigation is done before disposing applications based on ration cards in accordance with Citizenship Rules of 2003.The letter said, “As far as linkage is concerned, all legally admissible documents may be accepted.”WHAT PROMPTED THE MOVEThe Home Ministry wrote to the state government following reports of retired Army jawans being asked to prove their nationality
The Centre said that the ration card is a valid ‘supporting document’ to update the National Register of Citizens
Citizens have to update their details before Dec 31

Moody’s rating: Sitaram Yechury slams Modi govt, says country lags behing in various global indices

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI(M) general-secretary Sitaram Yechury said there was nothing to celebrate about the Moody’s upgrading India’s sovereign credit rating as the country ‘lags’ behind in all parameters of other global indices.He also criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for delaying the winter session of the parliament and said these were the ‘signs’ that it was not willing to face the House.”The government is trying to represent the upgradation of India’s ranking by Moody’s rating agency as a sign of progress. But what is this rating all about? This rating tells us in which country the industrialists and investors will have more profit,” he said at a party programme here.”More profit to investors mean more oppression of working class and this cannot be a reason to celebrate. India has turned into a junior partner of US imperialism,” he said.The country, he said, “lags” behind other nations, even Bangladesh, in various global indices of growth such as education, eradication of hunger, poverty and employment.Moody’s Investors Service today raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time in more than 13 years and said that growth prospects of the country have improved with continued economic and institutional reforms.The US-based agency upped India’s rating to Baa2 from Baa3, changing outlook to ‘stable’ from ‘positive’ and said that reforms will help stabilise rising levels of debt.Yechury alleged that the Modi government is trying to evade the “uneasy questions” that it is likely to face in the parliament over the various corruption charges ahead of the Gujarat assembly poll.”The BJP government is trying to implement its model where it will not want to face the Parliament and its proceedings. It is very well aware that it will face uneasy questions in Parliament on various issues of corruption. They feel that the proceedings of the Parliament will have an impact on the upcoming assembly election in Gujarat, where the BJP is not in a very good situation,” the CPI-M leader said.Amid suggestions that the winter session of the parliament will be a truncated affair, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad yesterday said the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs will take a call on the issue.Yechury accused the ruling TMC in Bengal and the BJP of being engaged in “competitive communalism” in order to reap political benefits.”The TMC is pursuing the politics of appeasement of minorities and the BJP is trying to fan majority communalism.In this way both are helping each other to grow.”Actually, both the parties are hand in gloves with each other as their main enemy is CPI(M), who they know will never allow commnal politics in the state,” the Left leader said.

India, China hold first border consultation mechanism meet after Doklam standoff

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and China on Friday held their first meeting on the border consultation and coordination mechanism here after the Dokalam standoff and reviewed the situation in all the sectors of their border and exchanged views on enhancing CBMs and military contacts.The 10th round of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was held in Beijing, a press release from the Indian Embassy here said.The WMCC was established in 2012 as an institutional mechanism for consultation and coordination for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas.It was established to deal with the tensions over recurring border incursions as well as to exchange views on strengthening communication and cooperation, including between the border security personnel.The India-China border dispute covers the 3,488 km long Line of Actual Control (LAC). While China claims Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet, India asserts that the dispute covered Aksai Chin area which was occupied by China during the 1962 war.Today’s talks were held in a constructive and forward- looking manner, the release said.Both sides reviewed the situation in all sectors of India-China border and agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an important prerequisite for sustained growth of bilateral relations, it said.The two sides also exchanged views on further confidence building measures (CBMs) and strengthening of military-to- military contacts, it said.The talks between the delegations headed by Pranay Verma, Joint Secretary (East Asia), Ministry of External Affairs and Xiao Qian, Director General, Department of Asian Affairs, were the first such dialogue between the two countries after the 72-day-long standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim section.The standoff which began in mid-June ended on August 28 after Chinese troops stopped building a key road close to India’s Chicken Neck corridor. India objected to the construction highlighting its security concerns. The road was being built by the Chinese troops in the area also claimed by Bhutan.This is the first round of talks between the two countries after Chinese President Xi Jinping began his second five-year term as the chief of the ruling Communist Party of China last month.Today’s talks took place ahead of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s planned to visit to India to take part in the Russia, India and China (RIC) Foreign Ministers meeting expected to be held in New Delhi next month.Chinese officials earlier said Wang is expected to meet his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj as well as top Indian leaders.The contentious issues bedeviling both the countries, including the $ 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as Bejing’s veto blocking UN listing of JeM leader Masood Azhar as a global terrorist are expected to be discussed during Wang’s talks with Indian leaders.Ahead of the talks, Chinese officials have expressed optimism that differences over the listing of Azhar by China in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council may be resolved soon. China has blocked India’s application last year and vetoed a similar resolution sponsored by the US, the UK and France twice this year.Also the 20th round of India-China border talks headed by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi, who are the designated Special Representatives, are expected to be held in New Delhi next month.The dates for both RIC and border talks are yet to be announced.The Special Representatives were also mandated to discuss all issues related to India-China relations.The delegations at today’s talks comprised of diplomatic and military officials from each side.The two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the WMCC at a mutually convenient time, the release said.

Engg students barred from exams for attendance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hundreds of engineering students of the Indus University were barred from appearing for retest of their last semester examination on Tuesday for not having the required attendance.While some of them staged a protest, the university management held a meeting that lasted for nearly three hours to find a solution to the issue.An engineering student requesting anonymity said, “I will fail if I am not allowed to appear for exams. This is a way to charge extra fees from students.”Professor Bhanu Pratap Sharma, head of the Department of Architecture, Indus, said, “As per UGC, students have been asked to maintain their attendance. Some do not have sufficient attendance and hence were not allowed to sit for the exams.”Rohit Singh, who was the president of the Office of Student Affairs and graduated in July this year, said, “The university has mandated 80% attendance from last year. However, it has been lenient and even allowed those with 60% attendance to appear for exams this year. But, nearly 50% engineering students do not have the minimum required attendance and were barred from appearing for exams.”He added, “Today, I received a call from some faculty members as well as students. I will visit the university on Wednesday to sort out the matter. It is mulling over to give grace to students who had genuine issues like medical problem due to which they could not attend classes.”Singh said he was made the president of the Office of Student Affairs in 2014 after students created ruckus. “For the next two years, I acted as a bridge between the management and the students, and actually made them understand the importance of attending classes.”

ASEAN: India meets with USA, Japan and Australia to address common interests in Indo-Pacific

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and United State’s Department of State met in Manila on November 12, 2017 for consultations on issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region.The discussions focused on cooperation based on their converging vision and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in an increasingly inter-connected region that they share with each other and with other partners.They agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity.The Indian side highlighted India’s Act East Policy as the cornerstone of its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

Keralite Tourism minister finds his ‘Rajya’ in Rajasthan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan may not be able to win over Kerala in tourism but the desert state, known for his warm hospitality all set to give Tourism minister to the country, a native of Kerala. Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Tourism, Electronics and IT Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday filed his nomination for Rajya Sabha seat from Rajasthan. The seat had fallen vacant after Venkaiah Naidu was elected to the post of vice president.Alphonse wore a traditional Rajasthani turban when he reached the state assembly to file his nomination. He was introduced to the state legislators at a meet that was held in the morning prior to the nominations.Senior members of the state cabinet were present when Alphonse filed his nomination. Chief minister Vasundhara Raje proposed the same. The nomination was filed in four sets and senior ministers and legislators also signed as proposers. The nomination was handed over to returning officer Prithvi Raj who administered oath as candidate to the union minister. Alphons took the oath in the name of God in English. Speaking to the media after filing his nomination, Alphonse said addressing the issues of Rajasthan would be his priority and he would enhance the tourism potential of the state.Monday was the last day for filing the nominations for Rajya Sabha elections. The nominations are scheduled to be scrutinized on November 8 and November 9 is the last day for withdrawal of nomination.But with Congress not fielding a candidate, Alphonse is sure to reach the upper house from Rajasthan. This will once again take the number of ministers from Rajasthan in the Modi cabinet to six. And the number of ministers reaching Parliament through Rajasthan once again reaches to two. At the same time with the nomination of Alphons, Rajasthan gets another non Rajasthani minister. The other minister who is a RS MP from Rajasthan is Vijay Goel. The other four ministers from Rajasthan are elected parliamentarians namely Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Arjun Meghwal, PP Choudhary and CR Choudhary.Rajasthan has always been a safe route to RS for ministers of the party in power at the centre. Both Congress and BJP have had ministers who were RS MPs from Rajasthan. Some of them are:Vijay Kumar Goyal – Minister of Youth Affairs and sports — is presently a RS MP from Rajasthan.Ram Jethmalani – Union Minister of Law Justice and Company Affairs in the Vajpayee Government was RS MP from Rajasthan.Jaswant Singh who had joined politics under the tutelage of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat became the Union Minister of External Affairs in the Vajpayee cabinet during his first stint in RS.Najma Heptulla, the RS MP from Rajasthan from 2004 – 10 went on to be the Union Minister of Minority AffairsAnand Sharma of the Congress was a RS MP from Rajasthan when he held the portfolios of Union Minister for Commerce and Industry and Textiles.Santosh Bagrodia the former Union Coal Minister was RS MP from Rajasthan.

Attack on Sikh boy in US: Sushma Swaraj asks Indian Embassy for report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought a report from the Indian Embassy in Washington over a Sikh boy being allegedly beaten by two students on a sidewalk near Kentridge High School in Washington State.”I have seen news reports about the beating of a Sikh boy in US. I have asked @IndianEmbassyUS to send me a report on the incident,” Swaraj said in a tweet.According to The News Tribune, a teenage boy followed the victim and knocked him to the ground with a punch.The victim was there after punched several more times as he tried to protect his head and crawl away.The local Sikh community has responded to the incident with outrage.The victim’s father claimed that his son was targeted because he was a Sikh.However, school officials said the attack was not religiously or racially motivated, but was instead a continuation of an earlier classroom dispute

Senate confirms Kenneth Juster, old India hand, as US Ambassador to India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Senate confirmed by a voice vote the nomination of Kenneth Juster as the next US Ambassador to India.Juster, 62, is an old India hand who played a key role in the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal.He would replace Richard Verma as the top American diplomat to India. The position has been lying vacant since January 20 after Verma resigned from the post with the swearing in of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.The latest development follows Juster’s nomination confirmation which was on last Friday agreed by the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a voice vote, reflecting the bipartisan support his nomination has in the Congress.Juster is soon expected to be headed to India for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad later this month. The annual summit is being co-hosted by India and the United States.Trump’s senior adviser and daughter Ivanka Trump will be leading a high-powered American delegation of entrepreneurs to the GES, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Powerful Democratic Senator Mark Warner welcomed the Senate confirmation of Juster.”I was proud to support Ken’s nomination to be our country’s representative in India, one of our most important defence partners in the region,” he said.”I have known Ken since we were in law school in the 1970s. As Ambassador, I trust his decades of work on critical issues like trade, cybersecurity and defence will help advance the US-India relationship in a positive direction,” Warner said.Juster was nominated to be the Ambassador to India on September 5. He has over 35 years of experience as a senior business executive, senior law partner, and senior government official, including serving as the US Under Secretary of Commerce from 2001 to 2005.Juster founded and served as the US Chair of the US-India High Technology Cooperation Group, and was one of the key architects of the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership initiative between the United States and India.His work related to India played an important role in the transformation of the US-India relationship and helped provide the foundation for the historic civil nuclear agreement between the two countries.Most recently, Juster had served as the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council.Juster played a key role in enhancing the Indo-US ties under the Bush administration.Juster has also served as the Counsellor (acting) of the State Department from 1992-1993, and deputy and senior adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State from 1989-1992. In the private sector, he has been a partner at the investment firm Warburg Pincus LLC, Executive Vice President at Salesforce.com, and senior partner at the law firm Arnold & Porter.He has also served as Chairman of Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and as Vice Chairman of The Asia Foundation.Juster holds a law degree from the Harvard Law School, a masters degree in Public Policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a bachelors degree in Government from Harvard College.

Faster services at IGI soon

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Passport reading machines, web cameras, additional e-visa counters, and computers with additional manpower, will give travellers a better and hassle free travel experience at the immigration counters of IGI airport, by the end of this month.The step has been taken to ease congestion at the immigration counters during peak hours following repeated complaints from travellers.Sources said that following regular complaints, a meeting was recently held under the chairmanship of the Union Home Secretary where officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) were also present. According to sources, it was discussed in the meeting that technology upgradation, introduction of modern equipment and additional space, along with added manpower, is what the immigration department need to be lanced with, without any delay.In order to implement the discussion on the ground, a team of home ministry officials visited the immigration counters at the IGI airport on Tuesday. Sources said, DIAL will provide additional space for at least 10 more immigration counters at the departure area by November 15 and these counters will be made operational by January 2018.”The Bureau of Immigration will provide manpower and other equipment like passport reading machines, computers, web cameras, to make counters functional by November 20. At least ten e-Visa counters would also be made for electronic visa facility for foreigners by November 30 this month. Furthermore, 25 more counters will be made functional by January 2018,” a senior officer said.In addition, the Bureau of Immigration will also provide additional manpower of 1,800 personnel for improving immigration services by filling up vacant posts. “These would include personnel from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and also some ex-servicemen,” the officer said.Home ministry officials said the increase in passengers due to grant of e-visa to citizens of over 160 countries in the recent past which led to the arrival of a large number of tourists, was one of the key reasons that led to overcrowding of counters demanding immediate attention. Besides, there have been allegations that many immigration officers leave counters in rush hours for tea/ lunch/dinner breaks and that some of them were not well trained.

Parliament’s winter session likely to be curtailed owing to Gujarat polls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The winter session of Parliament is likely to be a curtailed affair as most MPs would be busy campaigning for the Gujarat assembly polls to be held in two phases in December.While a final call is yet to be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, two senior government functionaries said the session could be held in November end and may last a week or ten days. The date of the meeting of the CCPA headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh has not yet been finalised, they said. The Gujarat elections will be held on December 9 and 14 and the counting of votes will take place on December 18 together with Himachal Pradesh, which goes to poll on November 9. The winter session is usually held from the middle of November till the third week of December. “It is already November 2. We still don’t have the dates for Parliament. I am hoping Parliament to start either on November 20 or 21. Why the government is so cagey about announcing the dates.”It may be a good idea to make a Parliament calendar at the top of the year. Why are they playing games before announcing the dates,” TMC leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien told PTI. The CPI’s D Raja deplored any attempt by the government to have a short session. “The government has not yet communicated formally to us.Shortening of winter session is not right. Our Parliament is not even sitting for a minimum of 100 working days in a year. Elections are happening in the states but it cannot be the reason to shorten the winter session”, Raja, CPI leader in the Rajya Sabha, said.

Deeply disappointed, says India as China once again blocks move to ban Masood Azhar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sharp reaction, India on Thursday slammed China’s double standards as it once again blocked a move by the US to sanction Masood Azhar as ‘global terrorist’.Beijing used its veto power to block a resolution by the US to ban the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief.All 15 nations, except China, have agreed for sanction against Masood Azhar.“Deeply disappointed that once again, a single country blocked international consensus on designation of an acknowledged terrorist Masood Azhar,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.“India strongly believes that double standards and selective approaches will only undermine international community’s resolve to combat terrorism,” the statement read.“Can only hope that there will be a realisation that accommodating with terrorism for narrow objectives both short sighted and counter-productive,” New Delhi said.A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the Council.The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN’s list of banned terror outfits. China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN after having blocked the move in February this year at the United Nations.This is the second year in succession that China has blocked the resolution. Last year, China had done the same to stall India’s application before the same Committee.

33 years on, kin of 1984 riot victims await justice

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over three decades after thousands were massacred in the anti-Sikh riots that broke out after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, the Sikh community continues to hope for justice.Members of several riot-hit families gathered to mark the 33rd anniversary of the 1984 carnage and their lives in last three decades with a discussion “Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre”, organized by Amnesty International here on Tuesday. The families lit candles in remembrance of the lives lost in the carnage.Darshan Kaur (57), who lost 12 members of her family in the massacre, recalled in a tearful voice how she saw her husband being burnt in front of her eyes. “I survived along with my three children. We have been advised to forget the past and build our future. But, is it possible to forget the past? All we want is justice. We need closure,” she said.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Leader of Opposition, Sukhpal Khaira, demanded that both the Houses still owe an apology to the riot-hit families. “We cannot forgive and forget. Out of over 241 cases which were referred to SIT, FIR was registered only in 12 cases,” said Khaira.Reiterating that 1984 was not a ‘riot’ but a ‘pogrom’, Lt General (retd) H S Panag said the people who were killed were unarmed and defence-less. “If we forget now, such incidents could occur in future too,” he said, while asserting that a yardstick should be laid down as per UN basic principles under human rights laws for providing compensation to victim families.Over the last three decades, at least 12 inquiry commissions and committees have looked into the 1984 killings. In February 2015, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) constituted a three-member special investigation team (SIT) to re-investigate criminal cases filed in Delhi in relation to the 1984 Sikh massacre.Over two years and three term extensions later, the SIT stated early this year that it had closed 241 cases and filed charges in 12 cases.

Ministry to use Artificial Intelligence for keeping a tab on firms

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiming to improve efficiency and reduce time taken for inspection, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs plans to introduce new technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), to scrutinise books of firms registered under the Registrar of Companies (RoC). The move is expected to prevent financial fraud, put a curb on black money, and crack down on shell companies.”We will utilise technology to the maximum. In the coming months, we will implement Artificial Intelligence in our systems. We will build an early warning system, which will send signals if there is any heightened activity or fraudulent financial activity in the registered firms. The ministry will also start scrutinising accounts of active registered firms soon,” P P Chaudhary, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, and Law and Justice, told DNA.He further said:”Currently, we have a robust system for data mining, but with the use of technology, the response time will be immediate. We have to be proactive rather than reactive. Use of technology will strengthen the corporate structure, which will enable proper administration of companies. It will also increase confidence of domestic as well as foreign investors.””All these measures will help in finding the true owners of the firms. It will also help locate benami properties, besides putting a curb on unscrupulous activities, creating a transparent and robust system,” he added.The ministry had recently struck off nearly 2.24 lakh companies from its registered list for failing to comply with regulatory requirements, and freezed their bank accounts. These companies were inactive and were not carrying out business activities for quite some time. Additionally, 3 lakh directors from these shell companies were also disqualified.Besides, the ministry has asked chief secretaries of all states to identify movable assets and immovable properties of struck off companies and restrict the transfer of such assets, till these companies are restored. States have also been requested to share information with the ministry in a time-bound manner.Nearly 16.87 lakh companies are registered with the RoC. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs regulates these unlisted firms.

Bhutanese King lands in India on a 4-day tour amid tension over Doklam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three months after the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam, Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, accompanied by Queen Jetsun Pema Wangchuk and Prince Jigme Namgyal Wangchuk, arrived here on Tuesday on a four-day visit. The visit assumes significance as throughout the Doklam crises Bhutan, despite allurements, supported India. The royal couple was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the airport in New Delhi. “Special gesture for a valued friend. EAM @SushmaSwaraj receives Their Majesties, The King, The Queen and The Gyalsey (Prince) of Bhutan,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.”The visit would provide an opportunity to both the sides for reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation, including plans for befitting celebrations of golden jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in the year 2018, and to advance the special bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation,” a statement issued by the MEA read. “The visit of His Majesty the King of Bhutan is in keeping with the long standing tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries,” it added.Experts here believe that visit of the King at this juncture will help India send a strategic signal to China, which is trying to make inroads into the tiny Himalayan kingdom. India is resisting Beijing’s efforts to bypass New Delhi and bilaterally settle border dispute with Bhutan. According to India, the area falls in a tri-junction ie, between Bhutan, India and China, and can be settled only after an agreement between all three parties.

Rift in AAP? Party revokes suspension of Amanatullah Khan, Kumar Vishvas ‘furious’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The AAP has revoked the suspension of Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, three days before the party’s annual national council meeting, inviting a stinging backlash from its founder member Kumar Vishvas.The move is expected to further alienate Vishvas within the party.Khan’s suspension in May had capped a bitter spat within the party following a string of poll upsets. The MLA had called Vishvas an “agent of the BJP” while accusing him of plotting to split the AAP.The party had formed a three-member committee comprising Ashutosh, Atishi Marlena and Pankaj Gupta to look into Khan’s issue. However, it was largely seen as an exercise to mollify Vishvas and prevent a split.”Ashutosh called me yesterday and told me that the party has decided to revoke the suspension. I think my services are required in the upcoming polls in Gujarat,” Khan said.However, Vishvas lashed out at the decision, suggesting that the party was merely trying to provoke him into reacting so that he can be thrown out in the guise of disciplinary action.”But I will not let that happen. Amanatullah is merely a mask. Such masks are used to sideline people politically, which has been done before,” Vishvas said, refusing to name the face or faces behind the mask.He also claimed that unlike the previous years, his name does not figure in the list of speakers at the November 2 meeting according to the draft of the agenda circulated by the party.Calls to Ashutosh, Marlena did not elicit any response.Khan, a member of the all powerful Political Affairs Committee of the AAP, and a prominent Muslim face of the party was never out of the good books of the party leadership.Even after his suspension, Khan found himself in crucial house panels of the Delhi Legislative Assembly. Kejriwal also visited Khan during iftar, sending Vishvas a message.

431 Pakistani minorities, mostly Hindus, will be eligible to get PAN and Aadhaar cards

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 431 Pakistani nationals, mostly Hindus, have been granted long-term visas by the government, thus making them eligible for PAN and Aadhaar cards as well as allowing them to buy property, a home ministry official said.The move, amidst the strained India-Pak relations, is in line with the Narendra Modi government’s policy to help minorities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who come to India after facing alleged persecution in their home country.”The Ministry of Home Affairs granted long-term visas to 431 Pakistani nationals last month. They are from minority communities of that country,” the official told PTI.Under the latest policy of the Centre, those belonging to minority communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, namely –Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians– staying in India on long-term visas, are allowed to purchase a small dwelling unit sufficient to serve the needs of a family for self-use and suitable accommodation for carrying out self-employment.However, they are barred from buying immovable property in and around restricted or protected areas, including cantonment regions.Such communities are also allowed to obtain PAN cards, Aadhaar numbers and driving licences, take up self-employment or do business, and are allowed free movement within the state of their stay and transfer of long-term visa papers from one state to another.The 431 Pakistani nationals with long-term visas will now also be able to open bank accounts without prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India.The home ministry had also recently given security clearance to 1,800 Pakistani nationals of the Ahmadiyya community to attend the 123rd ‘Jalsa Salana’ at Qadian in Gurdaspur district of Punjab from December 29 to December 31.’Jalsa Salana’ is an annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya community.No Pakistani national was given visa to attend the congregation last year, while 5,000 Pakistani nationals had attended the event in 2015.The grant of long-term visas to a large number of Pakistanis and security clearance to Ahmadiyya community members of Pakistan were the highest in a single month in nearly two years, even as India-Pakistan relations nosedived after the January 2, 2016, terror attack in the Pathankot air base in which seven security personnel were killed.The terrorist attack on an Army station in Uri, the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Army on terror infrastructures in PoK and the regular violation of ceasefire by Pakistani forces have further deteriorated bilateral relations.The statement of Pakistani leadership eulogising Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani after his killing in Jammu and Kashmir in July 2016 further soured the relations between the neighbouring countries.The home ministry had also approved over 4,000 visa applications of people belonging to Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and a few select countries in September.A total of 6,025 visa applications were received in September, out of which 4,057 were cleared, another home ministry official said.Prior approval is required from the home ministry for issuing visas to nationals of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and a few other countries.The Pakistani nationals, whose visa applications were approved, would be given the travel document mostly under the medical visa category.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been prompt in responding to distress calls of Pakistani nationals seeking visas for medical emergencies.These medical visas were sought by the Pakistani nationals for undergoing liver transplant surgeries, cancer treatment etc, in India.

Govt rejects reports of China increasing military presence near Doklam, says ‘status quo prevails’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ministry of External Affairs have emphatically rejected media reports of Chinese increasing their troops in the vicinity of Doklam plateau near the tri-junction of India, Nepal and Bhutan which saw a stand-off between Indo-China forces recently. MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “I would like to reiterate that there is no new development at the face-off site and its vicinity since the August 28 disengagement,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. He further went on to say, ” The status quo prevails in the area and any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect and mischievous”. Both sides were locked in a 73 days stand-off from June 16 before talks broke the deadlock. However India is not dropping its guard even as peace prevails in Doklam. Recently Bipin Rawat said that, the Army has to remain prepared to counter any Doklam-like situation along the Sino-India border. Asked if there was any possibility of a Doklam-like standoff with China in any other part of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Rawat said, “We have to remain prepared”.

Swiss couple brutally thrashed in Fatehpur Sikri, Sushma Swaraj seeks report from UP government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has sought report from the Uttar Pradesh government in connection with the brutal assault of a young couple from Switzerland in Fatehpur Sikri.The Union Minister, who is known for her prompt replies on Twitter, said that she has asked the UP government to submit a report in the case. “My officers will reach them in the hospital,” Swaraj said in another tweet.The incident took place on Sunday when Quentin Jeremy Clerc and his girlfriend Marie Droz were attacked outside the railway station in Fatehpur Sikri.According to a Times of India report, the attackers not only chased and harassed the couple, they also thrashed them so severely that Clerc suffered a skull injury and Droz’ arm was broken and she got multiple bruises.’The boys wouldn’t stop walking along despite our protests. All the while they kept taking pictures and trying to get close to Marie. From whatever little we could understand, they were asking our names and the place where we had put up in Agra. They were harassing us. They asked us to accompany them to some place, which we refused. A little after stones and sticks began to rain on me. When Marie intervened, she, too, wasn’t spared,’ Clerc was quoted as saying by the Times of India.Though an arrest has been made in the case, but the incident brings back the focus on safety of foreign tourists in India.The months from October to March are a traditional tourist season in India with millions visiting various historical places. Fatehpur Sikri is the historical city that was founded by Mughal empror Akbar in 16th century.

US will provide India with best tech for military modernisation: Rex Tillerson

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her US counterpart Rex Tillerson also discussed further strengthening of the Indo-US strategic partnership and collaboration on security and prosperity” in the Indo-Pacific region.She said the two sides have agreed to hold the inaugural meeting of 2+2 dialogue at an early date. The 2+2 dialogue involves talks between the defence and the external affairs ministers.”We also reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded commerce in accordance with international laws in order to achieve a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Swaraj said in a joint press conference with Tillerson here, without any reference to China.On his part, Tillerson said the US also looks for further cooperation in the broader Indo-Pacific region as both India and the US promote a rules-based and sustainable approach towards economic development.S Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US will provide India with best technologies for its military modernisation which include offers to supply F-16 and F-18 fighter jets.After holding wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Tillerson said the US supports India’s emergence as a “leading power” and it will continue to help New Delhi strengthen its military capability.”The US supports India’s emergence as a leading power and will continue to contribute to the Indian capability to provide security throughout the region,” he said addressing a joint press conference with Swaraj.In the talks, both the sides deliberated extensively on further enhancing bilateral defence and security ties as well as ways to deal with challenge of terrorism in the region.”We are willing to provide India best technologies for its military modernisation efforts which include ambitious offers by American industry for F-16 and F-18 fighter planes,” said Tillerson.Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a bilateral meeting with US Defence Secretary James Mattis on the sidelines of a meeting of ASEAN defence ministers in Clark in the Philippines.A host of issues relating to defence and security cooperation was discussed at the meeting, officials said here.Swaraj appreciated the US administration’s intent to make available to India advance defence platforms, adding New Delhi was looking forward to making further progress in this area.”We believe that further liberalisation of the legal framework and full implementation of the bilateral understanding on India’s Major Defence Partner status will facilitate co-production and co-development,” she said.India was granted the ‘Major Defence Partner’ status by the previous Barack Obama Administration, providing for transfer of technology and deeper cooperation in the defence sector.”We have also agreed to hold the inaugural meeting of 2+2 Dialogue Mechanism at an early date. We also agreed to encourage industrial partnerships between our defence companies,” she said.The new 2+2 format will involve India’s External Affairs Minister, the US secretary of state, the Indian defence minister and the US defence secretary.Mattis had visited India last month, in first cabinet- level visit to India under the Trump Administration, and both sides then had decided to accelerate the pace of India-US defence cooperation.After the visit, Mattis had said there is a “generational opportunity” between the two largest democracies of the world to work together.The defence and security ties between India and the US have been on an upswing.The Trump Administration had last month told the US Congress that defence cooperation with India would be an important pillar in the bilateral relationship as it needs the country to be a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific region.It had also informed the Congress that it “strongly supports” transfers of F-18 and F-16 fighter proposals put forth by Boeing and Lockheed Martin respectively. Both the companies have offered to assemble these planes in India.Last year, India and the US had signed a crucial logistics defence pact enabling their militaries to use each other’s assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, making joint operations more efficient.

Swaraj in Bangladesh: EAM says combating terror major challenge, says deeply concerned with violence in Rakhine

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday co-chaired the fourth Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) with Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.Both leaders reviewed various aspects of bilateral relations. External Affairs Minister was greeted by Bangladesh Foreign Minister and the High Commissioner of India Harsh Shringla on her arrival in Dhaka earlier today.Swaraj, who is on two-day visit, will also be meeting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. This is Swaraj’s second visit to Bangladesh. She last visited the country in 2014.Later addressing the press, Swaraj highlighted the issues discussed by JCC. She said, ” We discussed common challenges, one such challenge is that of terrorism, radicalisation & extremism. We will continue to fight this scourge together and along with other like minded countries.We are determined to protect our societies from threat of ideologies of hate, violence and terror by adopting a zero tolerance policy and a comprehensive approach in fighting violent extremism and terrorism at all levels.”Swaraj also said: External Affairs Minister also weighed in on the existing Rohinhya crisis. She said that India is deeply concerned with the spate of violence in Rakhine state. EAM said that India has urged for the situation to be handled with restraint, keeping in mind welfare of the people. Regarding long-term solution, Swaraj said, “It is clear that normalcy will only be restored with the return of the displaced persons to Rakhine state. The only long term solution to the situation in Rakhine State is rapid socio-economic and infrastructure development. that would have a positive impact on all the communities living in the state”. Bangladesh has asked for the global community to chip in with help after huge influx of Rohingya Muslims who are fleeing Rakhine state of Myanmar. India so far has taken a hard stance on Rohingya Muslims issue, with Centre telling SC in an affidavit that they are potential security threats. With ANI inputs

Missing Indians in Iraq: Families asked to provide DNA samples

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Families of all 39 Indians who went missing in Iraq three years ago have been asked to undergo DNA tests for unspecified reasons.”All of us have been asked to undergo DNA test; don’t know why. We are very nervous,” Gurpinder, the sister of Manjinder, who is one among the 39, told ANI.In 2014, 39 Indian labourers, mostly from Punjab, were reportedly taken hostage by ISIS when it overran Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul. The workers were trying to leave Mosul when they were intercepted.There has been no word on them but the government has insisted that without information otherwise, the workers are still considered alive.External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had earlier told family members that an Iraqi official quoting intelligence sources had told Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retired) V.K. Singh that the kidnapped Indians were deployed at a hospital construction site and then shifted to a farm before they were put in a jail in Badush.However, reportedly earlier in July, the Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Eshaiker al-Jafari had asserted that his dispensation possessed no substantial evidence on the missing persons.

Sushma Swaraj urges Indian mission to grant medical visa to Pakistani boy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has directed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to issue a visa to a Pakistani child for medical treatment in India.The child’s father, Kashif, had requested Swaraj on Twitter to grant medical visa for treatment of Abdullah, saying he needed post-liver transplant evaluation in India.”The treatment of your child must not suffer for want of medicine. I have asked Indian High Commission to issue medical visa. @ChachaKashif,” the minister tweeted yesterday.Kashif had said the child’s medicines were about to finish and he needed immediate medical consultation in India.In another tweet, Swaraj said a medical visa has also been approved for a Pakistani woman, who wants to undergo liver surgery in India.The woman’s son, Rafique Memon, had requested Swaraj to intervene and grant visa to his mother.Swaraj also responded positively to a request by Nazir Ahmed that his eight-year-old child Mohammad Ahmed is awaiting medical visa for a year.”We will issue visa to facilitate treatment of your 8- year-old child in India,” she said.Swaraj has been taking a sympathetic approach in granting medical visas to Pakistani nationals, notwithstanding strain in ties between India and Pakistan over a host of issues, including cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.​

Are you protecting yourself or your relationship?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Common problems plaguing relationships today are affairs, power struggles, lack of communication and loss of love. As difficult as it is to understand how these problems get generated, one thing is very clear that couples create their own path to crisis.And when that happens, couples stop being themselves when with their partner. Ironically, they feel good outside their relationship – when at work or with their friends or children, but not so around their partner. This leads to a lot of unpleasant and uncomfortable interacting patterns.A major reason why this happens is because they create a wall of protection – mainly to save themselves from the stress and tension the relationship generates. Communication is the first thing which is hampered by the shield created. While some do this consciously, others do it unconsciously. It’s impossible to love someone and at the same time try to protect oneself from them. It’s like wanting to have the cake and eat it too. Eventually love takes a back seat. Soon the protecting practice is mirrored by the partner one is protecting oneself from. This results in total disconnect. If not addressed, the wedge between the couple increases and only becomes difficult to bridge with time.So effectively, what happens is that when partners are together they disconnect themselves from each other and when not, they reconnect with themselves. Affairs, many times, are a result of this practice. People tend to reconnect with many parts of themselves which they lost or never knew existed, thanks to an affair. The real problem here is nether the relationship one is in or one’s partner. The problem lies in not being oneself. Individuals struggling to be themselves when with one’s partner is the biggest sign of a relationship malfunction. People seldom realise this and go through a lot of pain and suffering which come from not being able to be free to be themselves in a relationship.Instead of being someone you inherently are not, you need to focus on what has disabled you from being yourself with your partner. The reasons can be galore. But once understood, they can help safeguard a relationship from any distress, rather than safeguarding yourself. Otherwise, how can you solve a problem when you don’t really know what the problem is?Relationship and couples therapist. Helps couples and individuals deal with their relationship problems [email protected]

NCB faced with manpower and infra challenges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is India’s nodal agency to fight drug trafficking, but it is facing a host of challenges, crippling its capacity to fight the powerful cartels on the ground. The NCB has 700 officials, 400 less than its sanctioned strength.Its major challenge is gathering intelligence. The unit has a small team of around 20 to 25 people in about 25 states. It does not have offices in a few states.The NCB is heavily dependent on local enforcement agencies and state police forces. “Sadly, anti-narcotics units in states are not a top priority. These units are headed by low-rank officials, except in Punjab where an Additional Director General-level officer is heading the unit,” said a senior officer. According to him, this is one of the major hurdles. The local police can generate huge intelligence pertaining to drug trafficking but they have failed to do so, he said.The second biggest challenge is how to stop pilferage of Schedule–H or prescription drugs. “It has been found that a truck full of Schedule–H drugs has been smuggled into Bangladesh,” said the officer. The manufacture and sale of all drugs under Schedule–H are covered under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940. But lack of proper mechanism to check manufacture and sale, and easy availability lead to pilferage of Schedule–H drugs. Thirdly, local enforcement agencies have often been found inefficient with not much interest in proper implementation of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.Another important aspect is the lack of infrastructure with the NCB. This leads to various operational hurdles.Also, drug networks are spread across the globe and there is a need for strong relations with other countries to break networks.To deal with this, the Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted a multi-stake coordination centre for all agencies, border-guarding forces and police establishments and forces in the states to interact with the NCB and together fight the drug menace. The Ministry has established a Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD) and ordered coordination meetings on monthly basis.”In pursuance of the mandate of the NCB to have effective coordination amongst the various drug law enforcement agencies as well as different departments/ministries dealing with policy matters, the Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted Narco Coordination Centre (NCORD),” a ministry notification said.The notification further pointed out, “Various enforcement agencies in the country like the state police, the border guarding force, DRI, Custom and Central Excise, besides the NCB (which is the Nodal Agency) have been vested with the task of enforcing the NDPS Act. Different departments/ministry like the Department of Revenue (Ministry of Finance), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs, deal with different aspects including policy matters for the purpose of effectively preventing and combating abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and illicit trafficking.”

Adnan Sami mesmerises audience with medley of hits on shores of Dal Lake in Srinagar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singer Adnan Sami dished out a medley of his hit songs to a mesmerised audience on the shores of the Dal Lake in Srinagar. The Pakistan-born singer said he was blown away by the natural beauty of Kashmir.Sami, who performed in front of a select audience at the SKICC lawns, started off with his famous number “Mai Sirf Tera Mehbooba”.”Today I have come to realise that there is hell; because today I have seen heaven (Kashmir),” the singer said to thunderous applause from the crowd.Sharing anecdotes from his life in between songs, Sami said he has a very deep connection with Jammu and Kashmir. “Not only because my mother is from Jammu but I learned Hindustani classical from santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, who hails from Jammu as well.”It was because of him that I could show the world that Hindustani classical can be played on piano as well,” he added.The concert was organised by the tourism department to a boost to tourist footfall in the state. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, several ministers of the Jammu and Kashmir government, and senior civil administration and police officials attended the concert. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Saturday termed Adnan Sami as a great musician and singer. The minister made this comment while going to attend the musical gala of Sami, who performed for the people of the Kashmir Valley in Srinagar on Saturday.Speaking to ANI, Rijju said that, ‘He’s a great musician, great composer, and great singer.’ The minister said it was good that Sami voluntarily agreed to perform at ‘Rhythm in Paradise’ concert.Earlier, the Pakistani-origin singer said that music had always helped to bridge ties between countries, especially when it comes to India and Pakistan.Renowned conductor Zubin Mehta had performed at the Shalimar Mughal Gardens in September 2013, the last major musical event in the valley. With inputs from PTI and ANI

Sushma Swaraj welcomes Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin for bilateral talks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday welcomed the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan here, who is on a three-day official visit to India.The visit, which commenced on Thursday, will culminate on October 7.Ukraine Foreign Minister Klimkin will hold talks with EAM Sushma Swaraj as well as with other high-ranking officials.The visit aims at restoring the bilateral dialogue and cooperation between the two countries.The two countries will discuss preparations for the sixth meeting of the Ukrainian-Indian intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, technical, industrial and cultural cooperation, which is scheduled for the beginning of November.The last visit at the ministerial level between the two countries was made in 2011. ​

India summons Pakistan envoy; issues demarche after killing of 3 minors in Poonch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Tuesday summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner and issued a demarche over the death of three minors in “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani forces in the Poonch sector.Pakistani diplomat Syed Haider Shah was summoned to the external affairs ministry by the joint secretary, in-charge of Pakistan, and it was conveyed that “such deliberate targeting of civilians was not acceptable and was against humanitarian norms and practices,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a release.A strong protest was lodged over the death of three Indian children in “unprovoked ceasefire violation” by the Pakistani forces in the Poonch sector on Monday, it said.Strong concern was also expressed over the continued unprovoked firing by Pakistani forces across the Line of Control and the International Boundary in violation of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding.”503 such violations have been carried out by Pakistan forces so far during 2017,” the ministry said.​

DNA SPECIAL: Law soon to make consumer the king

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Making consumer the king, Union Cabinet will soon give its nod to a bill that seeks to bring sweeping changes in the existing consumber protection law and prescribe graded punishment for manufacturers, sellers and service providers of a product which is faulty or end up causing harm to consumers.After the vetting from Law Ministry, the Consumer Affairs Ministry headed by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has sent the Consumer Protection Bill, 2017 to Cabinet Secretriate, two years after it was introduced in Lok Sabha in August 2015.A copy of the 70-pages bill accessed by the DNA shows that any manufacturer or service provider can be punished with imprisonment for up to two years with fine up to 10 lakh rupees and for five years imprisonment and fine up to 50 lakh for any subsequent offence for making an false or misleading advertisement which is prejudcial to the interest of the consumers.Punishment for manufacturing for sale or stroring, selling and distributing or importing products containing adulterant and spurious goods, if results in death of consumerss, can lead to punishment “up to life imprisonment and not less than seven years” and with fine not less than 10 lakh rupees.In case of grievous injury to consumers, the punishment is imprisoment up to seven years and fine up to five lakh rupees, in case of non-grievous injury, it is imprisoment up to one year and fine up to three lakh rupees.Even in case of no injury, the offence regarding containing prodcuts “adulterant” will lead to imprisonment up to six months and fine up to one lakh rupees. In the first conviction, the offence could lead to supension of license for up to two years and in case of second or subsequent conviction, license of such people can be cancelled. These have been cognizable and non-bailable offences.The bill makes product manfacturer will face liability “even if he proves that he was not negligent or fraudulent in making the express warranty of a product” and the consumer will be entitled to compensation for any harm caused by a defective product.The conditions are if the product contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in design, there is a deviation from manufacturing specifications, the product does not conform to the express warranty and it fails to contain adequate instructions or correct usage to prevant any harm or any warning regarding imporper and correct usage.The service provider faces liability among other things for “conscious withholding of any information, which caused harm” and if it did not conform to express warranty or the terms and the conditions of contract. A prodcut seller is liable if he has altered or modified the product and this was the substantial factor in causing harm or made an express warranty of a product different from the one made by the manufacturer and the product failed to conform to that.The Bill will lead top creation of a powerful Central Consumer Protection Authority to investigate into matters relating to violations of rights of consumers, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements. It will look into consumer complaints, issue safety notices for goods and services, and pass orders for recall of goods and against misleading advertisements.As per the bill, the Authority can, besides acting on complaint of consumbers or any directive of the central government, can take up investigations even su motu or “of its own motion” to determine whether there exists a prima facie case of violation of consumer rights, any unfair trade practice, any false or misleading advertisement. Similarly the bill entail setting up of Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions at the district, state and national levels for adjudicating consumer complaints.Once it comes in force, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 prevaing so far, will undergo a massive change, revolutionising consumer rights in India. The bill’s provision will be application throughout India barring Jammu and Kashmir.After going through Standing Committee and GoM routes, the70-pages bill is finally ready to be taken up by Parliament once the Cabinet gives its nod. Food and Consumer Affairs Paswan says the government is keen to bring the bill in Winter Session.Whoever fails to comply with the direction of the Authority will face imprisonment not less than six months or a fine which may extend to 20 lakh rupees or both.The Authority, which has been vested with the power of reviewing the existing law in this regard and recommend appropriate remedial measures at later stages, shall also recommend adoption of “international covenants and best international practices on consumer rights” to ensure their effective enforcement.Besides, the authority, which will consist of a Chief Commissioner and not less than five Commissioners appointed by the central government and is headquartered in the NCR region, also have the power to pass orders for recall goods if it is satisfied about violation of consumer rights and unfair trade practice by a person.Under the new law, the consumer will be entitled compensation if any harm is caused to him by a defective product manufactured by a product manufacturer or serviced by a product service provider or sold by a product seller. While the product seller will beOne of key recommendation of the Standing Committee on the bill was however, done away with later as the GoM headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley decided that celebrities endorsing products with unrealistic and dodgy claims will not have to go to jail but instead face a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and a ban on appearing for advertisements for up to three years.NGOs and various rights groups had opposed the change but the government arrived at a decision arguing that the provision for jailing celebrities for endorsing dodgy products exist nowhere in the world.KEY PROVISIONS OF NEW BILLImprisoment up to life term and not less than seven years and with not less than Rs 10 lakh for manufacturing for sale, storing, selling, distributing, importing products containing adulterant or spurious goods.
Any manufacturer or service provider can be punished with imprisonment five years imprisonment and fine up to 50 lakh for any subsequent offence for making an false or misleading advertisement which is prejudcial to the interest of the consumers.
Manufacturer will face liability even if he proves that he was not negligent or fraudulent in making the express warranty of a product and the consumer will be entitled to compensation for any harm caused by a defective product.

SEE PICS: VP Venkaiah Naidu unveils new Mahatma Gandhi statue at Rajghat; says people should strive to realise Bapu’s dreams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday, the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, said people should strive to realise the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi and usher in ‘Ram Rajya’, where all would be equal with no discrimination of any kind.He was interacting with the students of ‘Dayanand Vidyalaya’ after unveiling the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat here on the occasion of the 148th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.Underlining that Gandhi’s teachings are universal truth, the Vice President said the Mahatma’s desire to build ‘Ram Rajya’ should be properly understood and requested the government and the people to work in that direction, an official release said.’Ram Rajya’ means an ideal rule, where there was no fear, hunger, corruption, exploitation and discrimination, he said.”It is our duty at various levels and we must all work for the ideals of Rama Rajya and… the expectations of Mahatma Gandhi,” he added.Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, among other dignitaries, was present on the occasion.

Safeguarding India’s interests abroad

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of External Affairs has good reason to be well-pleased with itself. Its long-lasting dreams of isolating Pakistan in the region, bringing terrorism on the global agenda and partnering with major world power the United States, have been successfully realised.PM’s personal engagementThe NDA claims that it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal active engagement on the foreign policy front that has led to the expanded, active engagement. During the past three years and four months, the PM spent 146 days abroad, visiting 49 countries. He visited eight countries twice, four countries thrice and went to the US five times.But while the government may be happy with results, critics say these visits have not given India the requisite economic gains promised, as they have neither translated into required increase in FDI or the ambitious ‘Make In India’ scheme.Looking at the world with new eyesOver the past three years, PM Modi’s global outlook, underscored by linking domestic change to foreign policy has broken many glass ceilings. Ahead of India approaching the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to seek relief for its citizen Kulbhushan Jadhav, there were apprehensions within the government.The core team that deliberated the pros and cons of going to the ICJ included External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials. They were apprehensive as whenever India had earlier taken Pakistan to task on any international forum, it had shot itself in the foot. Be it complaining against Pakistan’s aggression in Kashmir in 1948 or agreeing to set up an international tribunal in 1965 to delineating boundaries in Kutch region of Gujarat, India had failed to meet its objectives.This time around, insiders confide that PM Modi cut short debate, asking senior officials of the MEA to show confidence and look at the world with new eyes. “India is not a power to be ignored,” he was quoted as saying. Diplomats here say that the decision to seek relief from the ICJ was typical of PM Modi’s “anti-status quo” style, and in line with his “disruptionist attitude.”
Finding acceptability within international communityIt was initially a challenge for Narendra Modi to find acceptability within the international community after becoming Prime Minister. Ignored and almost excommunicated by many in the world, and even denied a US visa when he was chief minister of Gujarat, not much was expected of him on the foreign policy front. But soon he surprised observers by inviting the South Asian heads of government to his swearing-in — the invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was a masterstroke.For a leader who had barely uttered a word about foreign policy during his election campaign, this dramatic and welcome gesture presaged the first of many foreign policy surprises that Modi would unveil. He met former US President Barack Obama an unprecedented eight times, ensuring India-US relations — which were rocked after the Khobragade episode — were brought back to an even keel.Countering PakistanPM Modi’s emphasis on foreign policy works on three mantras — ‘Act East’, ‘Link West’ and ‘Neighborhood First’, which help determine his three pillars — trade, energy and security. In this regard, redoubling investment and protecting Indian interests in the larger Indian Ocean region, outreach to the US, intensification of the emerging partnership with Japan, balancing ties with both China and Russia, nurturing important partnerships in Western Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, and the Persian Gulf, he has achieved substantial gains.But despite such gains, the government’s foreign policy has not been without challenges. As relations with Pakistan remain tense, his government has looked to boost ties with other neighbours — Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka — to effectively isolate Pakistan in the region. This has been done by granting concessions to neighbours for “good behaviour.”When the UN tribunal awarded Bangladesh 19,467 sq km of the 25,602 sq km sea area of the Bay of Bengal, the PM put his foot down when suggestions came that India should go in for an appeal. Also, he once and for all settled the land boundary issue with Dhaka, with the exchanging of conclaves — a long pending issue between India and Bangladesh.No gain on NSG, UNSC membershipOn the American front, though the PM has revived work on Indo-US nuclear deal, there are still no gains on other fronts. Due to continued Chinese opposition, India had made no progress on being a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) or on moving towards permanent membership of the UN Security Council. But the feather in the cap is that during this time, India gained entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).Fast-track & para diplomacyPM Modi has also introduced “fast-track diplomacy” and “para diplomacy” into the lexicon of Foreign Office. Explaining what “fast-track diplomacy” means, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that it had three faces — proactive, strong and sensitive. It also means showing one’s presence in multilateral forums, and taking follow-up measures to carry forward the leads gained by high-profile visits and exchanges.Para diplomacy is where each state and city is encouraged to forge special relations with countries or federal states of another country or even cities of their interest in order. Indian states before were never part of foreign policy. So far, there has been agreement between Mumbai and Shanghai, Ahmedabad and Guangzhou, and similar “sister states” agreement between Gujarat and the Guangdong province of China. Earlier, Varanasi signed a partnership agreement with Kyoto in Japan, and the recent bullet initiative between Japan and the state of Gujarat is another example of para diplomacy.Keeping pace with PMAccompanying the prime minister on any of his foreign trips is a sought-after affair both for officials and the media. When Manmohan Singh was PM, he would pack his engagements and finish a five-day tour in just three days.However, PM Modi has taken this punishing schedule to the next level. An official who had accompanied him during his tour to the United States that took him to New York and San Francisco states he will never forget those taxing six days, as he looked to keep pace with the programmes lined up for the PM. He said he had just two-three hours to take rest and even then he was busy planning the next programme.Courting the Indian diasporaA new element PM Modi has introduced in diplomacy is the courting of people of Indian origin. In the supplementary demands of grants voted by Parliament in the Winter Session, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought a whopping Rs 1,014 core for special diplomatic expenditure against Rs 120 crore as was set aside in the main Budget in last March. It is no secret that the amount has been hiked in geometric proportions to bear the costs of mega events and reception of the PM by those of Indian origin during his trips.By doing this, former diplomats believe the PM has changed the rules of the game, where earlier it was seen as undiplomatic to organise events for NRIs in foreign countries, lest they be seen as lobbying and pressuring the country in question. Instead, Modi’s efforts to court the estimated 25 million strong Indian diaspora worldwide have been meticulously planned affairs. In Toronto, he spoke to 8,000 people at the Ricoh Coloseum; in New York, he appeared in front of 18,000 at Madison Square Garden; in UK, he addressed 60,000 people at Wembley Stadium. All of this has helped build his image as a global leader.Criticism of Modi’s foreign policyBut the question remains. Are these punishing schedules, “rock star” NRI events really helping the nation? Congress leader and former minister Manish Tewari maintains that expect for the “spectacularisation” of diplomacy, there has been no substantive takeaway from any foreign visit at all. Tewari maintains that though Prime Minister Modi met former President Barack Obama five times and current President Donald Trump once, he has not walked away with a single big takeaway from any of those meetings.”After the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, there is not a single big idea as to how to move the relationship to the next level. In fact, there is no fresh idea in the relationship at all,” Tewari said. Also highly critical of the Modi’s effort of engaging the diaspora in particular, Congress leaders have said that “India has got nothing out of it.”Tewari also contends that the high-flying diplomacy has not helped India raise growth in the manufacturing sector that has immensely impacted jobs in the country. This ensures that despite initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’, foreign governments have not helped India achieve its target of creating 10 million jobs.

PM Modi was happy I was freed, asked me to take care of my health: Father Tom Unzhunnalil

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Father Tom Uzhunnalil, the Kerala priest who was released recently after more than one-and-a- half years in captivity in Yemen, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and thanked them for their support.Speaking about his ordeal in Yemen, he said: “God has a mission for all of us & my mission has, to be present for the old and the dying. I have prayed for those who kept me (captive). They gave me food and didn’t harm me physically.He also spoke about his meeting with PM Modi saying the PM asked him to take care of his health: He said: “He was happy that I was freed. He said take care of your health now.”
ALSO READ Kerala priest Father Tom Uzhunnalil meets PM Modi, was rescued from ISIS captivityThe Ministry of External Affairs had been making all possible efforts to secure his safe release and was in constant touch with countries in the region which could help secure his release, the ministry said in a release.”After the required rest and recuperation period in Vatican City, Father Tom returned home today. On arrival, he was received by Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism K J Alphons. Father Tom also met Prime Minister and External Affairs Minister,” the release said.
ALSO READ Captors didn’t hit me, gave tablets for diabetes: Father Tom UzhunnalilFather Uzhunnalil was abducted on March 4, 2016, reportedly in an incident of terrorist attack in Aden by an unidentified group and taken to an unknown place, the ministry saidThe Rev Tom Uzhunnalil was kidnapped from a home for senior citizens in Aden, southern Yemen, established by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in March 2016. Four nuns were killed during the attack. Uzhunnalil’s voice broke as he publicly expressed his condolences.The priest said he didn’t know his kidnappers’ identities or affiliations and believed their motive was ransom, although the head of Uzhunnalil’s Salesian order, Don A. F. Artime, said they had no knowledge of any ransom having been paid.The mechanisms behind his release also were unclear, but the Vatican has thanked the Sultan of Oman in a statement and Uzhunnalil thanked leaders.The priest said that his captors never harmed him, even if in some videos they made it appear that way in an effort to get a speedy response in negotiations. They provided tablets to treat his diabetes and took care of his basic needs. He was transferred several times during his captivity, but he doesn’t know where he was held. His captors kept their faces covered in his presence, he said.

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