|NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – MONDAY, MAY 7, 2018
FRONT PAGE NEWS
Seven Indians working with Indian power company KEC International were abducted by suspected Taliban gunmen in northern Baghlan province of Afghanistan on Sunday.
While no group has claimed responsibility so far, Baghlan Governor Abdulhai Nemati said that a Taliban group was behind the abduction. Nemati was quoted as saying that Afghan authorities had spoken with the Taliban group, via local people, and had been told that the KEC employees had been mistaken for government staff.
Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “We are aware of the abduction of Indian nationals from Baghlan province in Afghanistan. We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained.”
This is the third case of abduction of Indians in Afghanistan in the last four years. In July 2016, Indian aid worker Judith D’Souza was rescued more than a month after she was kidnapped in Kabul.
In June 2014, Father Alexis Prem Kumar, a Roman Catholic priest from India, was abducted by unidentified gunmen in the Afghan city of Herat. He was released in February 2015.
KEC, a global infrastructure engineering, procurement and construction major, is one of the largest Indian companies in Afghanistan that is responsible for electricity supply in the country.
Stepping up his criticism of the Congress in the final stages of the poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday raked up the National Herald case to launch a direct attack on Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Hitting back at the Congress for targeting BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, he said the “mother and son who are out on bail” and are facing allegations of involvement in a “Rs 5,000 crore scam” are questioning the BJP.
In his speech at a massive public meeting of BJP workers from the Hubli-Dharwad region, Modi also warned the Congress not to breach the “decorum” of public life and said: “Congress ke neta kaan kholkar ke sun lijiye. Agar seemaon ko paar karoge, tho yeh Modi hain, lene ke dene pad jayenge.”
Playing the nationalism card, he attacked the Congress, saying it had raised “questions on the surgical strike” and the valour of the country’s soldiers.
Modi also attacked Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, saying he is immersed in superstition. He spoke without simultaneous translation in Kannada as people cheered and chanted his name when local MP Prahlad Joshi started translating at the beginning of his speech.
At Chitradurga, Modi flayed the Congress government for celebrating “jayantis of sultans” for the sake of “vote bank politics”. He was apparently referring to the state government’s decision of celebrating “Tipu Jayanti” every year on November 10.
In Jamkhandi, he said it has been a year since Ram Nath Kovind became President, but “Madam Sonia ji did not get time to pay a courtesy call on him”. “The President might be a Dalit, but the office was an institution and the Congress… did not have that much of wisdom (to visit him). Today they are speaking about Dalits.”
With Rahul Gandhi posting a video on social media, highlighting the alleged “anti-Dalit” statements of BJP and RSS leaders, the Sangh hit back by accusing the Congress president of indulging in “low-level politics”.
Rahul posted the video with the hashtag “AnswerMaadiModi (Please answer Modi, in Kannada)” and targeted the BJP-RSS for their “anti-Dalit” mindset and alleged that the “fascist ideology” of these outfits demanded that Dalits “exist at the bottom rung of society”. He also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on attacks on Dalits. “In this disturbing video, the dangers of this mindset and how it’s openly propagated by senior RSS/ BJP leaders is revealed,” he wrote.
Reacting to the video, RSS Sah Sarkaryavah Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement that the Congress and Rahul often made “unsuccessful attempts to mislead society”. “A falsehood attributed to me and Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagawat has been posted on his (Rahul’s) official Facebook page, which says that RSS wants to end reservation provided to SCs and STs by the Constitution. This is completely baseless and false,” he said, while demanding that the Congress and Rahul reveal the “official source” of the information “on the basis of which he was making such claims”.
Five Hizbul Mujahideen militants, including an assistant professor at Kashmir University, were killed on Sunday in an encounter in Shopian district. As protesters clashed with the forces near the encounter site and later across south Kashmir, five civilians were killed and over a hundred were injured. Many of them had pellet injuries in their eyes, said doctors who attended to them in Shopian and Srinagar.
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the deaths of civilians “depressing” and called for “political intervention”. “It sounds very depressing to note that our state is losing young lives to the unending cycle of violence,” she said. “It has brought to the fore the stark fact that the gun, either that of a militant or that of security forces, is no solution… I have reiterated it time
On Sunday morning, a joint team of the J&K Police, the Army and paramilitary forces cordoned off Badigam village in Shopian based on inputs about the presence of four top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders and the assistant professor who had joined the militants only 36 hours ago.
With the militants rejecting police’s call to surrender, a gun fight followed that lasted several hours. All five militants were killed and an Army personnel and a policeman injured.
Claiming that the Hizbul Mujahideen’s top command in Shopian had been wiped out with Sunday’s encounter killings, DGP S P Vaid said, “They were all top commanders operating since 2015 and were responsible for recruiting and motivating boys to join militancy. It (their killings) will have an impact in Shopian and Kulgam to a great extent.”
The encounter and the subsequent killing of the militant commanders triggered massive protests across south Kashmir. Five civilians were killed and over a hundred were injured when they clashed with police, army and paramilitary forces in several parts of south Kashmir. The protesters also set on fire two vehicles of the Fire & Emergency Services in Shopian.
It’s less than a month before US President Donald Trump and People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong Un meet for the first time, and Pyongyang is continuing its scathing assessment of Washington’s diplomatic overtures.
Criticizing what it describes as “misleading” US claims that the purported Trump policies of heavy political pressure and crushing economic sanctions are the reason the DPRK expressed a willingness to negotiate, Pyongyang on Sunday decried Washington’s “dangerous attempt” to bring to a halt a historic detente on the Korean Peninsula.
Quoting a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Pyongyang’s state-run news outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) warned that “The US is deliberately provoking the DPRK at the time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is moving toward peace and reconciliation.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that if the U.S. quits the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers then Washington would regret it “like never before”.
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the agreement when it comes up for renewal on May 12, demanding his country’s European allies “fix the terrible flaws” or he will re-impose sanctions.
“If the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history,” Mr. Rouhani said in a televised speech in northwestern Iran.
“Trump must know that our people are united, the Zionist regime [Israel] must know that our people are united,” he said.
“Today all [Iran’s] political factions, whether they be from the right, the left, the conservatives, reformers and moderates are united,” he added.
J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said there is “absolutely no need for a CBI probe” into the rape and murder of an eight-year-old Bakerwal girl in Kathua and “if you don’t trust J&K Police, there is no one left to be trusted in the state”.
Mufti said that “to question the officers of the Crime Branch team based on their religion or which region they belong to is shameful and dangerous”. “Each time there is a crime, we can’t organise a referendum to choose the team of investigators,” she said, adding, “Those who question the Crime Branch investigation have a vested interest and their aim is to protect the perpetrators of this heinous crime”.
“When a villager was tied to a jeep (by Army in Budgam last year), we were told not to be critical of the illegal action because it will lower the morale of the forces. What about J&K Police? If you don’t trust J&K Police, which is at the forefront of a war in the State and is fighting in very difficult circumstances, who is left to be trusted in J&K?” Mehbooba Mufti said.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday advised Muslims to pray on the premises of religious places or at their homes. His comments came two days after Hindu radicals had stopped namaz at several public spots in Gurgaon and a few hours before the chief minister left for Israel and the UK.
“There’s been a rise in namaz offerings at public places. It’s fine as long as no one objects. But ideally, namaz should be held within the precincts of religious places like mosques and idgahs and, if there’s a shortage of venues, at private places,” Khattar told reporters in Chandigarh.
Asked about Sangh parivar groups’ threat to continue disrupting namaz at public places, Khattar said: “To maintain law and order is our duty and we’ll do it. We are ensuring that harmony is maintained and there is no tension. We have alerted our officials.”
The state government later appeared to have realised that the chief minister’s statement could be misused by mischief-makers.
An official statement issued in New Delhi before Khattar left on his 10-day trip said that if anyone had any problem with somebody offering prayers at public places, he could inform the administration and police. “The state government is bound to maintain peace,” the statement added.
Members of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangharsh Samity had prevented namaz at 10 spots in Gurgaon last Friday after similar disruptions on April 20 and 27.
Union minister V K Singh on Sunday warned Muslims, who supported the presence of Pakistan founder’s portrait in the Aligarh Muslim University, and said they were “insulting” their forefathers who had rejected his ideology. “If you are a Muslim and want Jinnah’s portrait on your walls, then this is a huge insult of your forefathers who had rejected his ideology. You are an Indian today because of them,” Singh said in a social media post.
“If you are not a Muslim, but support the portrait’s presence because you think that protests against it curbs your freedom, then you should think if you would like on the walls of your house a picture of somebody whose hands are stained with the blood of your own people,” he said in another post.
The Union Minister said that freedom was everybody’s right. “…But we tend to forget that how many great people shed their blood in achieving it. Will they be proud today of the manner in which you are using your freedom?” the former Army chief asked in the post titled ‘Let us protect our freedom from abusers.’
Justice Kurian Joseph, a member of the Supreme Court collegium, on Sunday said the government’s decision to send back the five-judge panel’s recommendation for elevating Uttarakhand Chief Justice K.M. Joseph to the top court was unprecedented and needed more discussions.
“Things that should not have happened had happened – that is the general feeling,” the judge told reporters in reply to a question on the sidelines of an event in Kochi. “There is no precedent of the names recommended by the collegium being returned (by the
The collegium had on May 2 deferred a decision on reconsidering its recommendation after it was sent back last month.
Mohammad Rafi Bhat’s career as a militant lasted less than two days. The 33-year-old assistant professor with a doctorate in sociology held classes at Kashmir University till Friday noon before joining the rebels’ ranks. He died in a gunfight with security forces in a Shopian village on Sunday morning.
Rafi was the first university teacher to take up the gun, testing the government’s Kashmir policy.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah said as much in a tweet: “Sadly, this is also an answer to those who claim jobs & development are the solution to the violence & alienation in Kashmir.” Omar said that if educated and gainfully employed young men chose the path of militancy, it should serve as a wake-up call for those who have “turned a deaf ear towards repeated pleas for dialogue”.
Rafi taught the morning class before leaving for the Friday prayers by noon. When he failed to turn up for the next class at 3pm, nobody thought he would never be back. He called up his father at 7 A.M. Sunday morning, to say he was trapped inside a security cordon. He asked the family to forgive him if he had done anything wrong.
Sometime after Rafi’s call, the police asked the family to come to the encounter site at Badigam in Shopian and plead with their son to surrender. Rafi’s father, mother and elder brother were on their way to Shopian when they learnt of his death.
Kashmir University has ordered the campus closed for the next two days amid fears of possible violence.
An adult couple has a right to live together without marriage, the Supreme Court asserted yesterday. The top court held that live-in relationships were now even recognized by the Legislature and they had found a place under the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.
The observations came while the apex court was hearing a plea filed by one Nandakumar against a Kerala High Court order annulling his marriage with Thushara on the ground that he had not attained the legal age of marriage. Nandakumar, who had approached the top court, will turn 21 on May 30 this year. The high court had also granted the custody of Thushara to her father after noting that she was not Nandakumar’s “lawfully wedded” wife.
A bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said: “It is sufficient to note that both appellant no 1 and Thushara are major. Even if they were not competent to enter into wedlock, they have right to live together even outside wedlock.”
While setting aside the order of the high court granting custody of woman to her father, the apex court said that “we make it clear that the freedom of choice would be of Thushara as to with whom she wants to live”.
The excess water released in the heavy water extraction process may well prove to be a lifesaver for thousands of patients diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Realising the health benefits of “deuterium depleted water” (DDW) and its potential to treat cancer, the Heavy Water Board (HWB) is looking for partners to sell it in India. India is now its biggest producer in the world, generating millions of tonnes of DDW in the process every year.
Preliminary research by the Tata Memorial Hospital in collaboration with the HWB suggests that the DDW, if administered to breast cancer patients two weeks ahead of surgery or chemotherapy, can help speed up recovery and also cut down on chemotherapy dosage..
Antilia, home to the richest business family in India, is on course to celebrate a double wedding this year. Isha Ambani, daughter of Mukesh Ambani, appears set to marry industrialist Ajay Piramal’s son Anand in December.
Last month, Akash Ambani, Isha’s twin, was engaged to Shloka Mehta, youngest daughter of Russell Mehta, owner of the Rosy Blue empire and one of the world’s largest diamantaires. Their engagement ceremony was held in March at a five-star resort in Goa.
Anand Piramal, the 32-year-old scion of the $10-billion Ajay Piramal group, proposed to Isha at a temple in Mahabaleshwar this weekend. Anand and Isha have been long-time friends.
Sources confirmed that the marriage would take place in December and in India – around the same time Akash Ambani’s wedding is scheduled.
KL Rahul smashed a classy unbeaten half-century after young off-spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman’s exploits with the ball to guide Kings XI Punjab to a comfortable six-wicket win over laggards Rajasthan Royals in in Indore yesterday. Chasing a modest 153-run target, Rahul anchored Kings XI’s innings scoring 84 off just 54 balls with the help of seven boundaries and three sixes.
Earlier, Mujeeb led an impressive bowling display from Kings XI to restrict a struggling Rajasthan to a modest 152/9.
In the second match yesterday, Suryakumar Yadav’s half-century and an all-round performance from Hardik Pandya powered Mumbai Indians to a 13-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders, at Wankhede stadium, Mumbai.
Yadav (59 off 39) struck his fourth fifty of the tournament before Pandya (35* off 20) plundered the KKR attack to nudge the hosts to 181/4.
KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (36* off 26) tried his best to get his team over the finishing line but failed. In the final over, KKR needed 23 runs, but Krunal Pandya bowled well to hand Mumbai a crucial win. In the end, KKR finished with 168/6.
Team / Matches Won / Matches Played (so far)
Sunrisers Hyderabad 7/9; Chennai Super Kings 7/10; Kings XI Punjab 6/9; Kolkata Knight Riders 5/10;
Mumbai Indians 4/10; Royal Challengers Bangalore 3/9; Delhi Daredevils 3/10; Rajasthan Royals 3/9
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Freedom does not come about of itself. It must be struggled for and then defended anew every day of our lives. – Angela Merkel
An insurance salesman was getting nowhere in his efforts to sell a policy to a farmer. “Look at it this way.” he said finally. “How would your wife carry on if you should die?”
“Well . . . ” drawled the weather-beaten man, “I don’t reckon that’d be any concern of mine — long as she behaves herself while I’m alive.”
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Newsletter May 7, 2018
May 7, 2018