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September 24, 2018

Asha Kiran home issue: DCW summons social welfare department secretary

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DCW chief Swati Maliwal had earlier this week slapped notices on the department’s Secretary Dilraj Kaur over the issue after spending a night at the home with her team.

Suspects in burglary at Kailash Satyarthi's house identified: Police

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Kailash Satyarthi. | IANS File Photo

NEW DELHI: Three to four suspects involved in a burglary at child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi’s house here, wherein his Nobel Prize citation and medal replica were stolen, have been identified and will be arrested soon, a police officer said on Wednesday.

Following the Monday night burglary at Satyarthi’s south Delhi residence, the police have questioned local criminals, security guards and vendors but are yet to make any breakthrough. 

“From the closed-circuit television footage, we have unidentified 3-4 people involved in the crime. They will be arrested soon,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Romil Baniya told IANS. 

Besides the Nobel citation and the medal replica, gifts and awards received from various international organisations and heads of states, ancestral jewellery and electronic items were also stolen.

Satyarthi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 along with Pakistani education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.

China defends blocking US' proposal to impose UN ban on Masood

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BEIJING: China today defended its decision to block the US’ proposal in the UN for designating Pathankot attack mastermind and JeM chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, saying the “conditions” have not yet been met for Beijing to back the move.    

Replying to a spate of questions on China putting a technical hold for the third time on attempts to list Azhar as a global terrorist, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a media briefing here that Beijing resorted to this move to allow the “relevant parties” to reach a consensus.

“Last year 1,267 Committee of the UN Security Council discussed the issue regarding listing Masood (Azhar) in the sanctions list. There were different views with no consensus reached,” Lu said.            

“As for the submission once again by relevant countries to list him in the sanctions list, I would say the conditions are not yet met for the Committee to reach a decision,” he said. “China has put the request on technical hold, to allow the relevant parties more time to consult with each other. This is also in line with rules of the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and the rules of the discussion of the Committee,” he said.          

About the significance of US pushing for the ban against the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief this time unlike the last year when India pressed for his listing as terrorist, Lu said, “I would like to point out that the Committee has its own set of discussion rules.”   

“So, whoever submitted the request we believe all the members of the committee will act in line with regulations of the Security Council and its affiliations,” he said. To a question whether it will have an impact on China-India relations, he said Beijing and New Delhi “have exchanged views” on the issue.

“We don’t hope it will have a negative impact on our relationship,” he said. On criticism that China is continuously blocking the move at the behest of Pakistan, Lu said, “China’s action in the Security Council and its affiliations are in line with the regulations and procedures.”         

“We put out technical hold after we had several rounds of consultations with India. We hope relevant parties have enough time to consult with each other to make sure that the decision made by the Committee will be based on consensus representing the broad international community,” he said.     

China has put a “hold” on the US-initiated proposal, which comes barely weeks after India’s bid to get Azhar banned by the UN were scuttled by Beijing last December. This has prompted India to take up the matter with the Chinese government. On whether the issue on the ban on Azhar can be resolved this year as it dragged into the second year, Lu said, “It is not the length of time.”        

“It is a matter of time whether a consensus can be reached on the basis of full consultations.” Asked to identify specific reasons for blocking Azhar’s ban, Lu said, “Consultations in the Security Council and internal discussions of its affiliations has its own set of discussion rules.”            

“All the details are closed to the outside (world) for all these years the formation of the Security Council and its affiliations have been acting in line with these discussion rules. We hope there will be enough time for full discussion to reach a decision that can be justifiable in the international community,” he said.   

The US, supported by two other permanent members of UN Security Council -the UK and France- moved the proposal at the UN’s Sanctions Committee 1267 in the second-half of the last month to proscribe Azhar. The proposal, which was finalised after “consultations” between Washington and New Delhi, said JeM is a designated terror outfit and so its leaders cannot go scot-free.          

It was submitted just a day before the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. China has been constantly opposing efforts to get Azhar banned by the UN, which has proscribed his outfit JeM in 2001. The Chinese opposition is also seen by many as an action taken at the behest of its “all-weather ally” Pakistan.      

After the attack on the IAF base at Pathankot in January last year, India in February wrote to the UN calling for immediate action to list Azhar under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee. The efforts faced stiff opposition by China, which twice put a “technical hold” before finally blocking the Indian proposal in December.

Speaker's mace snatched, MLA 'molested', Opposition leader hospitalised in Bengal Assembly pandemonium

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Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan at SSKM hospital in Kolkata on Wednesday. | Express Photo Service

KOLKATA: West Bengal Assembly on Wednesday witnessed pandemonium during the tabling of the ‘West Bengal Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Bill 2017’ with the Speaker suspending leader of Opposition and Congress MLA Abdul Mannan.

The Congress leader fell sick during the scuffle and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance.

In the scuffle over the passage of Bill imposing payment of compensation on public properties damaged during violent protests Congress MLA Manoj Chakraborty repeated the feat of Tripura MLA Sudip Roy Burman by snatching the speaker’s mace.

However, he was caught mid-way by the marshall and the mace was returned to the speaker. The bill was passed unopposed after Left and Congress MLAs staged a walkout from the Assembly.

Terming the amendment of the bill as ‘draconian’ and claiming that it was aimed at curbing the right to protest, Congress and Left MLAs wore dresses made out of photographs of the vandalism unleashed by Trinamool Congress MLAs in the Assembly on December 1, 2006, when Mamata Banerjee was prevented from proceeding towards Singur. 

Speaker Biman Bandopadhyay asked the opposition MLAs to take off the poster dresses and settle down for discussing the bill. Opposition leader Abdul Mannan refused to oblige and took dresses of other MLAs and wore them. To this, the speaker suspended Mannan from Assembly and asked him to leave.

However, Mannan refused to leave and sat in the well of the Assembly in protest. He was guarded by other Congress and CPM MLAs. Stormy scenes began after speaker asked the marshall and security guards to evict Mannan from the Assembly. 

The opposition leaders tried to prevent the eviction of Mannan. In the ruckus that ensued, Opposition claimed that Congress MLA Pratima Rajak was molested. According to the marshall, 11 security persons were injured during the ruckus and were given first aid.

As a result of the uproar, Mannan took ill and was shifted to SSKM hospital. Trinamool MLAs and medical practitioners Manas Bhunia and Shashi Panja went to meet him.

The amendment of the 1972 Act has now made the destruction of public property in the name of agitation punishable by compensating with the destroyer’s private property. Earlier, it was punishable but did not entail compensation with one’s own property. On the other hand, West Bengal chief minister termed the incident as unfortunate. 

“It is unfortunate and unprecedented that the opposition does
not pay heed to the speaker. The bill would help protect people’s property and establish democracy,” she said.

Denouncing the bill at a press conference after the incident, Left legislative leader Sujan Chakraborty said that jizya tax (imposed by emperor Aurangazeb on non-Muslims) was better than the new bill. 

“In jizya there was an option to avoid it by coming on emperor’s side. But, this bill will snatch people’s property in the name of safeguarding public property,” he said. 

The Opposition has decided to boycott the tabling of Higher Education Bill 2017 on Thursday as well as the general budget to be presented on Friday at the State Assembly. They would hold protest dharna near Ambedkar statue outside the Assembly, he added.

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