India has clearly told at the US Security Council that Pakistan needs to change its “mindset” of differentiating between good and bad terrorists, advising them to focus on challenges posed by terrorism originating from the safe havens from across the border. The Indian Ambassador to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin, said on Friday that only by changing the terror mindset can peace come to Afghanistan at a special ministerial meeting on the conflict-torn country.
“There is a common Afghan saying that roughly translates as if water is muddied downstream, don’t waste your time filtering it; better to go upstream to clean it,” he said. Pointing out that support for voices of peace in Afghanistan alone is not enough, Akbaruddin said, “We must focus on addressing the challenges posed by cross-border terrorism emanating from safe havens and sanctuaries to our region and especially to Afghanistan.” He added that “If we do so, the decay, which has been inflicted on Afghanistan, can be made reversible”. It is India’s idea that Afghanistan retrieves its place and New Delhi remains devoted to work faithfully with its regional and international partners to bring peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan.
“It is with this in mind that our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Afghanistan on December 24, 2015, to inaugurate the Parliament building, stopped over in Lahore, Pakistan,” Akbaruddin said. He said, “Unfortunately, these visits were followed by a heinous and barbaric terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase on January 1, 2016, perpetrated and planned by the very same mindsets which attack the spirit of Afghanistan every day.” “These mindsets differentiate between good and bad terrorists. These mindsets refuse to see the reason for peace. They are mindsets that are reluctant to join hands in moving the region forward to build a shared future for our people and our youth. These mindsets, Mr. President, need to change,” he added.
In a huge setback to the Arvind Kejriwal and his party, the Election Commission (EC) disqualified 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs today for holding ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President by the poll commission. If President clears the recommendation, then it means that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will diminish to 46 from the existing 66.
The controversy over the “office of profit” took place following a 30-year-old lawyer Prashant Patel filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office, pointing out the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. The Congress party had also filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 to seek disqualification of 21 AAP legislators positioned on this application. Later, the proceedings were released against on MLA Jarnail Singh following he resigned as the Rajouri Garden MLA to fight the Punjab Assembly polls in February 2017. In March 2015, Arvind Kejriwal had appointed an MLA and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015 to immune the post of parliamentary secretary from the description of office of profit with reviewing effect.
The Kejriwal’s party had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no financial benefit being involved in it. The party’s efforts got a setback when President Pranab Mukherjee declined support to the proposed Amendment in June 2016 and the Delhi High Court set sidewise the order appointing MLAs as parliamentary secretaries. Commenting on the matter, the opposition parties Congress and BJP have demanded the direct resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as CM of Delhi on moral ground. “This must be the first ever recommendation in EC history where a recommendation has been sent without even hearing the main matter on merits,” the AAP said.
In an early-morning ceasefire violation along the border in Jammu and Samba districts, the officials said two people including a woman were killed on Friday and at least six injured when Pakistani troops targeted Indian villages with artillery and mortar. The matter took place amidst an eruption along the highly militarized border between the two neighbors, who often accuse each other of violating a 2003 ceasefire.
The neighboring country’s border force (Pakistani Rangers) opened heavy fire and shot mortars on Indian villages and posts in RS Pura, Arnia and Ramgarh sub-sectors since 6:30 am on Friday, a senior BSF official said. The official said, “Our troops are responding appropriately.” The killed villagers identified by the official as Bacho Devi, Sai Khurd and Sahil Kumar of Korotana. The schools within a 4 km radius of the border have been closed as a precautionary measure, said Dr. Arun Kumar Manhas, additional deputy commissioner of Jammu district. The people of the affected areas are not coming out of their houses due to being frightened over the intense shelling.
The audio clips of big explosions could be heard as its being shared on various WhatsApp groups. A police officer from Samba said that Pakistani rangers targeted Indian posts at Chambliyal, Fathwal, SM Pura and Narianpur with heavy and small arms. Later, he informed that Pakistan prolonged the arc of fire and targeted seven more Indian posts – Kandral, Nanga, Majra, SP-1, SP-2, Tanver and Mallu chak. In the current series of fire, Pakistani troops have been targeting almost 40 villages and hamlets.
Elaborating the condition along Indo-Pak border as “tense”, Director General of Border Security Forces K K Sharma said on Thursday that he directed his troops to retaliate with “full force” and “teach them a lesson”. “We can describe the situation as tense. Earlier, there had been firing along the Line of Control and now they have started firing along the international border as well,” said Sharma.
Following giving his tributes to BSF head constable A Suresh, who was killed in motiveless firing by Pakistan on Wednesday night, he said, “Martyrdom of A Suresh will not go waste”. Describing his death as “unfortunate”, Sharma said that the BSF constable was struck by a bullet that seemed to have crossed through a small gap in his bunker. “Is tarah ki yudh ki sithati mein, aap isko occupational hazards keh saktey ho (In such a war like situation, one can describe it as occupational hazards). To avoid casualties due to sniper fire, we have provisions for bulletproof helmets and jackets for the troops, but even then many parts of the body remain exposed,” Sharma said.
Sharma added that it is not the first time that Pakistani Rangers directed to unprovoked firing towards the Indian side. Indicating that the BSF never violates ceasefire but only retaliates to the violations from the other side, Sharma said that “we are a peace-loving country and we do not want to create war-like situation”. “However, we are more than prepared to meet any situation on the border, whether infiltration or ceasefire violation,” he added.
The National Investigation Agency and Uttar Pradesh police have found demonetized notes worth about Rs 100 crore from an under construction house in Kanpur, which has become one of the biggest hauls since old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 banknotes were banned in November 2016. The currency belonged to four-five “individuals or companies” including a distinguished detergent-maker, an NIA official said.
A UP police official said that a builder from Sisamau took the team to the site where the currency was held. According to the investigating agency suspicions, the cash was kept a secret with an intention of converting the money into legal currency through illegal ways. A senior NIA official spoke on the condition of anonymity, “We got the information that huge amount of demonetized currency was being stored in an under-construction house in the Swarup Nagar locality of Kanpur…Since there was no terror angle involved, the information was shared with the UP police and a joint raid was conducted.
Following the government banned 500 and 1000 rupee notes, hundreds of crores of the demonetized currency have been directed into the formal banking system of which a larger part of them is illegal. More than 99% of the demonetized notes have been returned to the banks, as per the RBI estimates. The Income Tax (I-T) department has been enlightened about the recovery and asked to find out how the money was to be exchanged. In November last year, the NIA had recovered Rs 36.34 crore in demonetized money in Delhi.
As per the reports, three spectators of Jallikattu or bull taming sport were killed and several injured at various places in Tamil Nadu when bulls attacked them. In a village in Sivaganga district, two persons were killed when a bull attacked them after being released. Almost 50 people were injured in the attack.
In the same manner, in a Jallikattu in Trichy district, around 350 km from here, one viewer was killed and several others were injured in a bull’s attack. At the same time, Jallikattu was equally flagged off by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam at Alanganallur in Madurai district. About 1,000 bulls and over 1,200 bull tamers participated in the event. Jallikattu is Tamil Nadu’s traditional sport, a part of Pongal festivities. As per the rules of the Jallikattu, a bull tamer will be awarded a prize if he hangs on the hump of the animal for a certain period of time. The winning bull tamers and the owners of untamed bulls are awarded prized like cash, consumer durables, two-wheelers and others.
Two cars have been added to the award list for the Allanganallur event this year. Following huge protests last year against banning the sport, Jallikattu was held after the passing of an ordinance amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. On January 14, the year’s first Jallikattu event was held in Madurai.
On Tuesday, the Attorney General K K Venugopal said that the crisis in the top court seems to be unresolved and hoped it will be “fully settled” in a couple of days, comments that come a day following he stated that everything was settled in the higher judiciary. A crisis surged on January 12 following four senior judges – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – candidly condemned the working of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Venugopal told PTI that “Yes, I think it has not been settled. Let’s hope things will be fully settled within 2-3 days”. When asked reports about the impasse enduring, Venugopal said he has to agree with the view. Asked whether he had a meeting or spoke with any of the four judges or the CJI, Venugopal said, “Nothing of that sort has happened.” Venugopal, however, hoped that things will be solved in the next couple of days. The four top Supreme Court judges had resumed work on Monday, contradicting the festering tensions erupted by their accusations against the Chief Justice, while the Attorney General had depicted the first-time crisis as “a storm in a tea cup”.
The four judges had highlighted certain issues, including the assigning of cases in the top court, and said there were certain problems affecting the nation’s highest court. On Sunday, the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra had met a seven-member delegation of the Bar Council of India and Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh and had assured them that the crisis would be resolved soon and amiability would conquer.