India: Concerns over organised mass protests, possible attacks in Valley

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Concerns over organised mass protests, possible attacks in Valley

The communication blackout, which has caused a great deal of resentment in the local population, has also helped prevent the organisation of protests across the Kashmir Valley, people familiar with developments said.

INDIA Updated: Aug 23, 2019 16:41 IST

Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Rezaul H Laskar
Smriti Kak Ramachandran and Rezaul H Laskar

Hindustan Times, Srinagar
CRPF personnel stand guard in front of closed shops in Srinagar on Thursday. (ANI Photo)
CRPF personnel stand guard in front of closed shops in Srinagar on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Organised mass protests and possible attacks by Pakistan-based terror groups are among the main concerns weighing on the minds of officials responsible for security in Jammu and Kashmir.

The communication blackout, which has caused a great deal of resentment in the local population, has also helped prevent the organisation of protests across the Kashmir Valley, people familiar with developments said.

“We are aware of the situation caused by the snapping of phone lines and the Internet and these are being gradually eased in parts of Srinagar. More restrictions will be removed in the time to come,” said a person who declined to be identified.

The people cited above pointed to the potential damage that could be caused by even one message that could be forwarded on messaging apps by elements intent on taking advantage of the existing situation.

The focus of security agencies has been on minimizing casualties and possible violent protests that could lead to confrontations, the people said.

 

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So far, the only death reported has been of a teenager who drowned in river Jhelum on August 5 while trying to evade paramilitary troopers, though there are reports that close to 100 people have been injured.

On Thursday, there were reports that pamphlets urging people to march towards the office of the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had been distributed in the hot spot of Soura. Hindustan Times couldn’t independently verify the reports.

The army also distributed pamphlets across the Kashmir Valley highlighting the benefits of the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35a of the Constitution.

Security agencies are also keeping an eye on all moves made by Islamabad’s military establishment and Pakistan-based terror groups, with the people pointing to the Jaish-e-Mohammed as the biggest concern.

“The Pakistani side did take some steps – for whatever reasons, including pressure from the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] – such as shutting down camps and cutting off financing. But none of this is irreversible,” said the first person cited above.

“More than the other groups, it is the Jaish-e-Mohammed that is the most active,” the person added.

Over the past few years, the number of terrorists being pushed across the Line of Control (LoC) has been an average of about 300 a year, the people said. Though the armed forces have been able to neutralise a number of these terrorists during infiltration attempts, others have managed to get through to the Kashmir Valley, they said.

Though Pakistan has taken steps to control the activities of terror groups and there continues to be pressure on the country from the international community — a crucial meeting of the FATF in Paris in October will decide whether Pakistan is to be placed on a blacklist for failing to counter terror financing – there continue to be concerns that Islamabad could again open the jihadi tap, the people said.

First Published: Aug 23, 2019 00:26 IST

Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change

(This article is courtesy of the Hindustan Times of India)

 

Iceland commemorates first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson are also due to attend the event.

WORLD Updated: Aug 18, 2019 09:47 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Reykjavik
This combination of Sept. 14, 1986, left, and Aug. 1, 2019 photos provided by NASA shows the shrinking of the Okjokull glacier on the Ok volcano in west-central Iceland.
This combination of Sept. 14, 1986, left, and Aug. 1, 2019 photos provided by NASA shows the shrinking of the Okjokull glacier on the Ok volcano in west-central Iceland.(AP)

Iceland on Sunday honors the passing of Okjokull, its first glacier lost to climate change, as scientists warn that some 400 others on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

A bronze plaque will be unveiled in a ceremony starting around 1400 GMT to mark Okjokull — which translates to “Ok glacier” — in the west of Iceland, in the presence of local researchers and their peers at Rice University in the United States, who initiated the project.

Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson are also due to attend the event.

“This will be the first monument to a glacier lost to climate change anywhere in the world,” Cymene Howe, associate professor of anthropology at Rice University, said in July.

The plaque bears the inscription “A letter to the future,” and is intended to raise awareness about the decline of glaciers and the effects of climate change.

“In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it,” the plaque reads.

It is also labelled “415 ppm CO2,” referring to the record level of carbon dioxide measured in the atmosphere last May.

“Memorials everywhere stand for either human accomplishments, like the deeds of historic figures, or the losses and deaths we recognise as important,” researcher Howe said.

“By memorializing a fallen glacier, we want to emphasize what is being lost — or dying — the world over, and also draw attention to the fact that this is something that humans have ‘accomplished’, although it is not something we should be proud of.”

Howe noted that the conversation about climate change can be abstract, with many dire statistics and sophisticated scientific models that can feel incomprehensible.

“Perhaps a monument to a lost glacier is a better way to fully grasp what we now face,” she said, highlighting “the power of symbols and ceremony to provoke feelings”.

Iceland loses about 11 billion tonnes of ice per year, and scientists fear all of the island country’s 400-plus glaciers will be gone by 2200, according to Howe and her Rice University colleague Dominic Boyer.

– Stripped in 2014 –

Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014, a first for Iceland.

In 1890, the glacier ice covered 16 square kilometres (6.2 square miles) but by 2012, it measured just 0.7 square kilometres, according to a report from the University of Iceland from 2017.

In 2014, “we made the decision that this was no longer a living glacier, it was only dead ice, it was not moving,” Oddur Sigurdsson, a glaciologist with the Icelandic Meteorological Office, told AFP.

To have the status of a glacier, the mass of ice and snow must be thick enough to move by its own weight. For that to happen the mass must be approximately 40 to 50 meters (130 to 165 feet) thick, he said.

According to a study published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)in April, nearly half of the world’s heritage sites could lose their glaciers by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate.

Sigurdsson said he feared “that nothing can be done to stop it.”

“The inertia of the climate system is such that, even if we could stop introducing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere right now, it will keep on warming for century and a half or two centuries before it reaches equilibrium.”

Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park, which was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in early July, is home to, and named after, the largest ice cap in Europe.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

First Published: Aug 18, 2019 09:12 IST

India: Piped water to be Modi 2.0 priority, the blueprint is in place

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Piped water to be Modi 2.0 priority, the blueprint is in place

The Jal Jeevan Mission, announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her first budget on July 5, is ready for cabinet approval and will be launched by the Prime Minister, Hindustan Times has learnt.

INDIA Updated: Aug 03, 2019 08:34 IST

Sunetra Choudhury
Sunetra Choudhury

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The blueprint for the Jal Jeevan Mission is ready and has already been approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee, government officials said. Only cabinet approval is pending.
The blueprint for the Jal Jeevan Mission is ready and has already been approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee, government officials said. Only cabinet approval is pending.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

What toilets were to the Narendra Modi government in 2014 — the symbol of a nationwide crusade to end open defecation and build a cleaner India — piped potable water could well be for Modi 2.0.

The Jal Jeevan Mission, announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her first budget on July 5, is ready for cabinet approval and will be launched by the Prime Minister, Hindustan Times has learnt.

It may even find pride of place in his Independence Day speech.

The objective of the mission is to give access to piped potable water to every rural household by 2024. Only 18% of households in the countryside now have piped water supply, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is aiming for an over fivefold jump in five years.

The blueprint for the Jal Jeevan Mission, which has been publicised with the tagline “har ghar, nal se jal”, translating as “water from the tap in every home,” is ready and has already been approved by the Expenditure Finance Committee, government officials said. Only cabinet approval is pending.

Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Shekhawat said: “The day the scheme is approved, we will start working on it. The blueprint of this is absolutely ready.”

Water is a state subject, and Jal Jeevan won’t be an easy mission for the central government to accomplish. Shekhawat’s big idea is to present it as a challenge to local administrations, and turn it into a contest between state governments for central funds. “Whichever state does the maximum amount of work, will get the maximum amount of funds,” he said.

There is a catch. To receive central funds for water projects, the states and their district administrators will have to fulfil some tough conditions — create an underground storage facility with a sustainable source of water, ensure that the water is piped to households and devise ways for treatment and reuse of discharged water in activities like agriculture.

“We have spoken to all chief secretaries and secretaries to do all three things together. They should start preparing their respective plans,’’ said Shekhawat .

“Since water is a state subject, implementation has to be done by states. They will have to work with commitment and priority and we are here to support them,” the minister added.

He is right in projecting the scheme as a challenge. Nearly 163 million Indians lack access to clean water, the highest number for any country, according to WaterAid, a non-government organisation. Frequent droughts have led to crop failures and led to rural distress in parts of India, where only around a third of the cropland has access to reliable irrigation systems.

According to data from the Jal Shakti ministry, in states like Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand, fewer than 5% of rural households have piped water. That compares with 99% of rural households that have piped water supply in Sikkim.

For the rural drinking water mission, the government raised its allocation by 22% to Rs 10,001 crore in 2019-2020 from Rs 8,201 crore last year.

A note prepared the Jal Shakti ministry and reviewed by HT says the plan is to co-opt NGOs to help village councils and their subcommittees manage the planning and running of the local water supply system. In cases where there isn’t enough water supply for a single village, water from multiple villages will be pooled and shared.

Experts pointed out the importance of groundwater in any national policy on water.

“There are two things. One, any national policy on water has to pivot around groundwater because groundwater is India’s water lifeline. Secondly, there is a complete policy vacuum on the urban water sector. The impact of urban use is directly felt, both downstream and upstream, in terms of availability in rural areas,” said Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

First Published: Aug 03, 2019 05:44 IST

India: In CBI crackdown on corruption, nationwide raids at 110 locations in 30 cases

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

In CBI crackdown on corruption, nationwide raids at 110 locations in 30 cases

Earlier this month, the CBI had searched premises of 13 companies and bank officials across the country for alleged bank frauds amounting to ₹1,139 crore.

INDIA Updated: Jul 09, 2019 13:56 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CBI,CBI crackdown,corruption
The Central Bureau of Investigation jointly serves as a national security agency and intelligence agency.(AFP Photo)

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting searches at 110 places across 19 states in its probe on cases of corruption and criminal misconduct/

“In a nationwide action, CBI is today conducting searches at around 110 places in 19 States/ Union Territories. CBI has registered around 30 separate cases relating to corruption, criminal misconduct and arms smuggling etc,” said a CBI official.

Searches were being conducted in various cities including Delhi, Bharatpur, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Jammu, Srinagar, Pune, Jaipur, Goa, Kanpur, Raipur, Hyderabad, Madurai, Kolkata, Rourkela, Ranchi, Bokaro, Lucknow and other places in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Andhraby Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar.

Earlier this month, the CBI had searched premises of 13 companies and bank officials across the country for alleged bank frauds amounting to ₹1,139 crore.

The search and seizure was one of the biggest simultaneous, synchronised actions against bank loan defaulters in recent times. The CBI’s top-brass, including its director Rishi Kumar Shukla, directly monitored the countrywide action.

First Published: Jul 09, 2019 12:03 IST

India in for drier, hotter summer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India in for drier, hotter summer

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

INDIA Updated: May 11, 2019 07:36 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
summer,summers in India,Pre-monsoon rainfall
Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

Pre-monsoon rainfall has been 21% below the long-period average (LPA) of 82.5mm between March 1 and May 8, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). North-west India, with a rain deficit of 37%, and peninsular India, with a shortfall of 39%, bore the brunt.

Rainfall triggered by cyclone Fani earlier this month managed to bridge the deficit in central, east and north-east India, which have now recorded normal pre-monsoon rains, according to data put out by IMD in its weather status report released on Friday. Central India has experienced 15% surplus rain over the LPA, mainly due to showers in the past one week.

Even so, extreme heat waves in most parts of India would mean large swathes of the country will remain dry before sowing begins in June for the Kharif crop with the onset of the south-west monsoon, which is critical in India, where nearly half the population is dependent on farming and 60% of the net-sown area does not have any form of irrigation.

Millions of farmers wait for the rains to begin summer sowing of major crops, such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds. Half of India’s farm output comes from summer crops dependent on these rains.

Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said.

Also read: Dust storm, light rain may lower temperature over the weekend

“The water level in big dams this year is 10-15% less than previous years despite many of the regions receiving good rainfall last year,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

Concerns of a weak monsoon this year have been fanned by a lingering El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterised by warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is associated with poor rainfall and more episodes of heat waves in the subcontinent.

An update by private weather forecaster Skymet Weather said on Thursday that after tapering down slightly during April, El Niño indices have risen again in the last two weeks although the increase has been marginal.

“During the beginning of monsoon, there is a 60% chance of El Niño conditions remaining steady. This is why we are expecting monsoon rain to be below normal in June and then gradually becoming normal in the latter part of July and August,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather. Deficient pre-monsoon rains and a weak beginning to the monsoon could have an impact on summer crop sowing, which may be compounded by deficient rainfall.

For a bountiful crop, the rains also need to be evenly distributed across regions. Robust summer rains, which account for 70% of India’s total annual rainfall, spur rural spending on most items and increases demand in other sectors of the economy. Rural sales, for instance, account for about 48% of all motorcycles and 44% of television sets sold annually if the monsoon is normal.

Also read: Heat wave conditions prevail in North India

Officials at IMD, however, said concerns about El Niño are premature. “El Niño conditions have definitely not gone up. June onwards, it will move towards neutral El Niño conditions. We don’t expect El Niño to amplify. At the most, there will be a sluggish start to the monsoon but it will not be detrimental in any way,” said KG Ramesh, IMD’s director general.

Last month was marked by heat waves in many parts of the country, including eastern Uttar Pradesh, western Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Vidarbha, and Telangana. Some northern parts of the country also recorded extremely high temperatures.

For example, Una in Himachal Pradesh recorded 41.7 degrees C on Friday; Sundernagar, also in Himachal Pradesh recorded 37.6 degrees C, Dehradun in Uttarakhand was at 38.7 degree C. The highest maximum temperature this summer recorded till now has been at Brahmagiri in Vidarbha on May 2 at 46.4 degrees C.

“Heat wave in central India, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh is expected in May which is the peak summer season… We have noticed that the temperature in the foothills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are also 3 to 4 degrees above normal. Temperatures also increase before a western disturbance approaches,” said Charan Singh, senior scientist at IMD. Due to an approaching western disturbance (WD) and moisture incursion from Arabian Sea, scattered rainfall and thunderstorms are expected in north-west India and north India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, on Sunday.

“The heat wave will abate. There will be scattered rainfall in northwest India till May 17. But it is unlikely to compensate for the deficient pre-monsoon showers over the country,” added Palawat.

First Published: May 11, 2019 07:32 IST

India: Supreme Court Justices Declare In ONe Voice: Chief Is Innocent

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Supreme Court Justices declare in one voice: Chief is innocent

The report said that the committee had found “no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint”, the committee said.

INDIA Updated: May 07, 2019 01:43 IST

Bhadra Sinha and Ashok Bagriya
Bhadra Sinha and Ashok Bagriya
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,SC,CJI
The report said that the committee had found “no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint”, the committee said.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

A three-member in-house committee of Supreme Court judges led by justice SA Bobde on Monday unanimously cleared Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harassment charges levelled by a former court employee, in a decision that was criticised by several leading lawyers for its lack of transparency and process.

The proceedings were ex parte (without the party concerned) after the complainant walked out of her third meeting with the panel citing lack of procedure.

The committee submitted its report to justice Arun Mishra, but refused to share its findings with even the complainant. It also cited a 2003 judgement in a case filed by lawyer Indira Jaising seeking the report of an in-house committee that looked into allegations of sexual harassment against judges of the Karnataka High Court.

Jaising said on Monday that the judgment was before the Right to Information Act and “cannot have any application in today’s time”.

The complainant, who said she was disappointed and dejected by the report, has said she will decide on her next step after consulting her legal advisors.

According to people familiar with the matter in the Supreme Court who spoke on condition of anonymity, justice Mishra will now decide whether the report should be placed before the full court as the committee was set up by a full court’s approval. The report was submitted to him because he is the senior most judge to whom it can be (see box).

In a statement, the secretary general of the Supreme Court said: “The in-house committee (of Justice SA Bobde, Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Indu Malhotra) has submitted its report dated 5.5.2019, in accordance with the in-house procedure, to the next senior judge competent to receive the report and also sent a copy to the judge concerned, namely, the Chief Justice of India.”

Justifying its stand on not making the report public, the statement by the secretary general’s office said, “The in-house committee has found no substance in the allegations contained in the complaint date, 19.4.2019 of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India. Please take note that in the case of Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India and others (2003), it has been held that the report of the committee constituted as a part of the in-house procedure is not liable to be made public.”

Reacting to the committee’s findings, the complainant said in a statement that she was disappointed and dejected. “I am highly disappointed and dejected to learn that the In-House Committee ‘has found no substance’ in my complaint and feel that gross injustice has been done to me as a woman citizen of India. I am now extremely scared and terrified because the In- House Committee, despite having all material placed before them, appears to have given me no justice or protection and said nothing about the absolutely malafide dismissals and suspensions, indignities and humiliations suffered by me and my family. I and my family members remain vulnerable to the ongoing reprisals and attack,” she said.

Hindustan Times has learnt that the three-member committee looked only into sexual harassment allegations and did not go into the merits of the disciplinary action taken by the Supreme Court against the complainant. The woman was dismissed in December 2018 and she has claimed this was part of the harassment she faced.

HT also learns that the panel has said in its findings that before April 19, when she wrote to 22 judges of the court, the complainant did not raise the allegation of sexual harassment or victimisation despite having an opportunity to do so when she challenged the disciplinary action in December 2018.

The panel has said the woman can avail the remedy of a statutory appeal against her dismissal and if she does so the appropriate forum will look into it. She was removed from service on account of insubordination after the woman was moved out of the CJI’s home office to a different department in the Supreme Court premises.

No merit was found by the committee in the allegations of harassment and subsequent victimisation of the complainant and her family members, including her arrest in a cheating case and the suspension of her husband and brother-in law who work as a Delhi police constable, at the instance of the CJI.

The committee in its report has also recorded that despite material being presented against the complainant, it has not relied on it as the same was given after she walked out of the inquiry proceedings on April 30, and could not be confronted with the evidence.

With regard to alleged police excesses against the complainant’s family, the panel has concluded that all the members were booked in criminal cases prior to the alleged incident. An FIR was filed against the complainant in 2011 and 2012 and the one against the husband was lodged in 2015.

In her allegations, the complainant has asserted that her husband was suspended in connection with a 2015 case only in December 2018 which was a part of the victimization effort led by the Chief Justice.

The people familiar with the matter said a letter written by Supreme Court Judge Justice DY Chandrachud demanding an external member – preferably a retired woman Supreme Court judge – on the probe panel, was not accepted.

The committee members felt that as per the procedure of in-house inquiry laid down in 1999, legal assistance is not envisaged. The complainant has also criticised the panel for adopting a non-transparent procedure. She said, “From the media I have learnt that the CJI was perhaps called by the committee for his version. However I am not aware whether any of the other persons named in my complaint who would have knowledge of matters mentioned in the complaint, especially my victimisation, were called by the committee for their evidence.”

Some lawyers say the committee could have been more transparent. Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde said: “The complainant walked out and the inquiry proceeded ex parte. The enquiry committee cannot compel her participation. Yet it proceeded, rendered an ex parte finding, and it’s report while legally defensible, will still remain wanting in public perception. The independence of the judiciary, rests on public trust and public trust is not maintained by one-sided inquiries.”

Senior advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan added: “The procedure adopted has had questions raised about it for more than a week now, and the concerns of the bar associations and stake holders in the court have not been appropriately addressed. It would be incumbent that a methodology be followed that is consistent with sexual harassment law and due process be applied that protects both the accuser and the accused in a truly transparent manner.”

The committee had its defenders too. Senior advocate Aishwarya Bhatti said: “My view is that the committee has submitted its report after following procedure laid down in law. This committee comprised of the second senior most judge of the court, who will also go on to become the CJI and two eminent sitting women judges. I think it is best now to leave things. It is now for the next senior most judge who receives the report to consider it and decide if more needs to be done.”

First Published: May 06, 2019 17:12 IST

Interpol takes up India’s red notice on fugitive Zakir Naik

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Interpol takes up India’s red notice on fugitive Zakir Naik

Red notices are requests issued to Interpol’s 194 member states worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

INDIA Updated: Apr 24, 2019 07:19 IST

Neeraj Chauhan
Neeraj Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Interpol,India news,Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik(HT file photo)

A high-powered panel of global law enforcement organisation Interpol last week took up India’s request for issuing a so-called red notice against fugitive Indian Islamic preacher, Dr Zakir Naik, 54, according to two Indian officials aware of the development who asked not to be named.

Red notices are requests issued to Interpol’s 194 member states worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

Naik is wanted in India for money laundering and hate speech and also for allegedly promoting enmity and hatred between different religious communities.

He fled India after the terrorists, who attacked a Dhaka cafe and killed 22 people in July 2016, said they were Naik’s admirers.

The Interpol panel took up India’s request as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been trying have Naik declared as an international fugitive.

The preacher lives in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency. An Indian request for his extradition is pending with the Malaysian government since January 2018. In July 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Naik would not be deported as long as he was not creating problems in Malaysia.

According to one of the officials, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) met on April 19 to discuss India’s request.

CCF is a five-member independent body that ensures requests from Interpol member states seeking red notices conform to the rules.

NIA has been arguing before the global law enforcement organisation that Naik was spreading hatred through his speeches, funding terrorists and laundering money over the years, according to the officials.

The Interpol cancelled a red notice against Naik in December 2017 as he was yet to be charged in India then.

Naik, too, approached the Interpol in 2017 claiming he was being targeted. He linked the cases against him to the alleged religious persecution of minorities in India.

NIA contested Naik’s claim in 2018 saying they have “solid evidence” against Naik.

NIA filed a charge sheet against Naik in October 2017 and submitted a copy of it to Interpol as well. “After we submitted a detailed charge sheet and other evidence establishing his crimes including religious conversions, inciting Muslim youth to join Jihad and routing massive funds, Interpol referred the red notice request to the CCF,’’ the second NIA official said.

The official added the panel met last week but that India is yet to be updated about its final decision. “We are positive that the CCF will recommend a global arrest warrant against Naik, which will restrict his movements.”

He added the panel will take a final call in a couple of days. The official said NIA wanted to be a part of the CCF meeting to convince its members regarding its case but did not get the requisite permission to do this.

Retired CBI officer NS Kharayat, who headed Interpol’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in India (CBI is the nodal agency for Interpol in India), told HT, “The CCF basically discusses the legal aspects of a red notice request. If they find any religious or political motive behind any request, they don’t issue the global notice. However, in the cases of terrorism, where a person has done an act of waging war against a sovereign nation, the CCF should immediately issue the red notice”.

In its charge sheet , NIA has accused Naik of deliberately insulting religious beliefs of the Hindus, Christians and Islamic sects like the Shias, and Barelvis. It said Naik’s speeches have influenced recruits to join the so-called Islamic State (IS), which overran swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and carried out attacks across the world. Iraq and Syria declared victories over the IS in 2018 and 2019.

The government has attached Naik’s properties since he fled India. His Islamic Research Foundation has been banned and some of his associates have been arrested.

Attempts to reach Naik for comment were unsuccessful.

In a speech in Malaysia’s Kangar in December, Naik insisted he had never broken any Indian law. “But because I was spreading peace, I was giving a solution for humanity, all the people who do not like peace to prevail, they do not like me,” news agency Reuters quoted him as saying. He claimed he was being targeted because of his work to spread Islam.

Interpol publishes red notices at the request of a member country. They must comply with Interpol’s Constitution and rules. A red notice is an international wanted person notice, but not an arrest warrant, and Interpol cannot compel any country to arrest someone, according to the Interpol website. In 2018, Interpol issued 13,516 red notices.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 07:19 IST

India: Hyderabad A Safe Haven For Terrorists, Says BJP’s Bandaru Dattatreya

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Hyderabad a safe haven for terrorists, says BJP’s Bandaru Dattatreya

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) consider each other “friendly party” and have worked together in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections too. All the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana went to polls in a single phase on April 11.

INDIA Updated: Apr 22, 2019 12:01 IST

Asian News International
Asian News International
Hyderabad (Telangana)
Bandaru Dattatreya,terrorists,AIMIM
BJP leader and Secunderabad MP, Bandaru Dattatreya, alleged that Hyderabad is a safe haven for Islamic terrorist activities (Bandaru Dattatreya/Twitter )

BJP leader and Secunderabad MP, Bandaru Dattatreya, alleged that Hyderabad is a safe haven for Islamic terrorist activities and that the police are not taking stern action because the K Chandrashekhar Rao-led TRS government is aligned with AIMIM.

“Recent investigations of NIA reveal that Hyderabad is a safe haven for Islamic terrorist activities. A large number of people are being recruited in Hyderabad,” said Dattatreya.

“TRS government is aligned with AIMIM that is why the police are sometimes unable to take stern action. I demand that the state government forms a special cell under a DG or IG rank official for the investigation of these activities,” the Secunderabad MP added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had recently claimed that TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR) may be the ‘driver of the car’ but the steering is actually controlled by AIMIM.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) consider each other “friendly party” and have worked together in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections too. All the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana went to polls in a single phase on April 11.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday carried out searches in three places in Hyderabad and at one place in Maharashtra’s Wardha district in connection with an ISIS module case. In 2016, NIA had filed a chargesheet in the case and had named three persons as accused.The agency nabbed four accused and recovered 13 mobile phones, 11 SIM cards, one iPad, two laptops, one external hard disk, six pen drives, 6 SD cards, three Kenwood Walkie Talkie sets and other incriminating material from their possession.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

First Published: Apr 22, 2019 10:55 IST

India: Top Terrorist Commanders Killed

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Top commanders killed in Valley, Jaish activates new launch pads across LoC: Officials

According to the counter-terror and police officials, none of whom wished to be identified, the reason for the activation of the launch pads is to boost the Jaish’s strength and capabilities in the state.

INDIA Updated: Apr 16, 2019 11:03 IST

Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
JeM,terrorism,Jaish-e-Mohammed
Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad(AP file photo)

Terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) launch pads in new locations across the Line of Control have been activated ahead of a possible effort to push terrorists from the Pakistan-based group into Jammu and Kashmir, top counter-terror officials and senior Jammu and Kashmir police officials said, although the latter added that this is because Indian security forces have eliminated most of the Jaish leadership in the valley.

They added that Mohammad Umair, JeM chief Masood Azhar’s nephew, who was seen around Pulwama in February, when a terrorist affiliated to it carried out a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy, killing 40, has either been killed or has gone back to Pakistan.

According to the counter- terror and police officials, none of whom wished to be identified, the reason for the activation of the launch pads is to boost the Jaish’s strength and capabilities in the state.

After the Pulwama attack, Indian security forces have been able to eliminate the majority of the Jaish leadership in the valley, they added, with only one commander, who operates under the codename Munna Bihari currently active in the Shopian district.

Previously, Indian forces have gunned down Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Athar eldest son Usman Haider and brother-in-law Abdul Rasheed Kamran’s son Talha Rasheed. Soon after Pulwama, the security forces gunned down Jaish divisional commander Kamran on February 18.

In a recent audio clip, broadcast over the Jaish’s Rang-o-Noor channel, Ibrahim Athar indicates that Mohammed Umair may have also been neutralized by the Indian security forces. In the audio clip, Athar is heard telling his cadre that Umair and Kamran have already reached “heaven.”

HT learns that many of these launch pads are in the scenic Lolab Valley, north of Kupwara, and around 114 km north-west of Srinagar.

Also read | ‘Pakistan failed to achieve objective in counter-attack’: IAF Chief BS Dhanoa

The effort to amplify the infiltration of terrorists coincides with the melting of snows on high mountain passes. Post Pulwama, the Pakistan Army cleared terrorist launch pads fearing a repeat of the 2016 Indian surgical strikes. After the Indian air strike at Jaish’s biggest terror training camp at Balakot, the globally proscribed group has threatened to get even by targeting innocents in hinterland India or security forces in the Valley. Communication intercepts indicate that Jaish will ratchet up violence in the Valley in the coming months, the counter-terror officials said.

“While Pakistan has taken some uncontrolled action against its nationals involved in terrorism to curry favour with Financial Action Task Force (FATF), it is continuing to shelter Indian fugitives like Dawood Ibrahim gang, remnants of Indian Mujahideen and Sikh radicals. If Pakistan really means business, why provide shelter and comfort to Indian fugitives,” said one of the officials.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 06:57 IST

PDP ruined 3 generations in Kashmir, says PM Narendra Modi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Lok Sabha elections 2019: NC, PDP ruined 3 generations in Kashmir, says PM Narendra Modi

Modi also took a jibe at Abdullah over his recent remark over a separate PM for Jammu and Kashmir. “Some are threatening of two prime ministers, some are speaking the language of anti-nationals but I want to make it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and their ‘vanshwaad’ [dynasty rule] will not survive for long,” he said.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Apr 15, 2019 00:23 IST

HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Kathua/Moradabad/Aligarh
NC,PDP,Kashmir
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding a wave stronger than the support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. (Nitin Kanotra/HT Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was riding a wave stronger than the support it received in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while also attacking the two main parties in Kashmir during his campaign for the second phase of polling.

Modi was in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua to campaign for Union minister and the BJP’s Udhampur Lok Sabha candidate Jitendra Singh. Voting will be held for the constituency on April 18.

“I have visited the entire country… I have seen a more powerful wave this time as compared to 2014,” Modi said. He said that opinion polls and surveys showed the BJP was set to win three times the seats that the Congress was projected to get.

The Prime Minister blamed two political families of Kashmir – one of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and the other of Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti – for “ruining” three generations in the state and said he will not allow them to “divide” the country.

“These families have sucked the blood of people of J&K for long and I challenge them – let them field all their relatives in the polls, abuse me as much as they can, but I will not allow them to succeed in their nefarious design of dividing India,” he said after starting his speech in the local Dogri language.

Modi also took a jibe at Abdullah over his recent remark over a separate PM for Jammu and Kashmir. “Some are threatening of two prime ministers, some are speaking the language of anti-nationals but I want to make it clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and their ‘vanshwaad’ [dynasty rule] will not survive for long,” he said.

Abdullah questioned why the BJP made two members of the Mufti family chief ministers. “‘We have to rid J&K of these two political families,’ says Modiji in 2014 and then promptly goes and makes not one but two members of the Mufti family CM of J&K,” Abdullah tweeted.

Launching an attack on the BJP, Mufti said leaders of the party “are suffering from the disease of fear”.

At another rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad, Modi renewed his attack on the Congress and other opposition parties over the issue of national security.

“What used to happen earlier was terrorists would come from Pakistan, attack us and the Congress government would only lament before the world that we have been attacked. But in this new India when terrorists attacked Uri, our brave soldiers conducted a surgical strike,” he said.

“The second big mistake the terrorists made was in Pulwama after which we killed them in their home through air strikes,” Modi added, referring to the air strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot after a February 14 suicide bombing in Kashmir killed 40 troopers of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). He added that the Congress did not have faith in India’s armed forces.

The PM said that wrong policies of the Congress led to the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1989.

In Aligarh, Modi raised the issue of nationalism, a key plank of the BJP’s outreach to voters.

“They [Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party] have fielded such candidates in this election who have reservation over Vande Matram. Those who cannot respect Vande Matram, cannot respect mother India. Their (SP-BSP) thinking is only one – abuse Modi as much as they can,” he said.

The Prime Minister also launched an attack on Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, saying he did not get time to attend the government’s Jallianwala Bagh event with vice president Venkaiah Naidu as he was busy with “parivar bhakti”, an oblique reference to the Gandhi family.

Responding to the allegations, Singh accused the PM of playing “dirty politics”. He alleged the central government had deliberately chosen to hold a “parallel event” instead of supporting the initiatives and programmes of the state government. “I had personally approached the Prime Minister several times over the last two years to seek support for ensuring that the centenary of the historic event is observed in a befitting manner but the central government had failed to respond suitably,” the Punjab CM said. He added that the PM was trying to mislead the people of the country with politically motivated falsehoods.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Apr 15, 2019 00:22 IST