January 18, 2019

India not worried of Trump's Muslim ban, at least for now

Delhi/India/Politics by

U.S. President Donald Trump. (File | Reuters)

NEW DELHI: US President Donald Trump’s decision of closing his country’s border to refugees and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries has caught the world off guard. Watchers of the India-US relation feels that Indian Muslims have little to worry about, but emigrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia could be in for extreme vetting before entering the US.

President Trump has contended that the order titled “Protection Of The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” was part of a strategy to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists”. He has established a religious test for refugees from Muslim nations. Officials hope that the main aim of the decision would be to keep refugees out.

“India is not really worried at the moment as the religious radicalisation has not been a big problem in the country and it has not been a source of refugees. So far no Indians have been arrested abroad for being involved in acts of terror,” a senior MEA official said requesting anonymity. India has the second largest Muslim population in the world and though largely non-radicalised the spill-over effects of the Islamic State’s ascension have been felt in Kerala.

President Trump had signed an executive order banning entry of citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia with immediate effect. The countries that have been left out of the order of Trump’s ban have been Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia from which the perpetrators of 9/11 hailed.  

The MEA officials added that the involvement of citizens of Pakistan in several cases could have raised a red flag with the US administration as the executive order specifically mentions the 9/11 terror attack saying that “State Department policy prevented consular officers from properly scrutinizing the visa applications of several of the 19 foreign nationals who went on to murder nearly 3,000 Americans.”

In his first televised interview Trump indicated of things to come. He has said that even though Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not among countries that will face a visa ban to enter the country, their citizens will face “extreme vetting”.

Arrivals from Muslim countries being detained at US airports: Reports

Delhi/India/Politics/World by

The move makes good on one of Trump’s most controversial campaign promises, when he vowed to stem immigration from various Muslim countries which he insists pose a terror threat to the United States.(File |AP)

WASHINGTON: US authorities wasted no time implementing Donald Trump’s order halting Muslim arrivals, detaining travelers arriving at American airports within hours of the US president signing the tough new measures, media reports said Saturday.

The New York Times reported that airport officials as early as Friday night began detaining travellers, some of whom already had been aboard their flights when Trump announced his executive order closing America’s borders to refugees.

Trump’s order suspends entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days and indefinitely halts the admission of refugees from Syria.

It also bans entry into the United States from travellers from seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — for 90 days.

The order paved the way for what Trump has pledged will be “extreme vetting” of visa applicants’ backgrounds — with some exceptions made for members of “religious minorities,” a caveat many see as a way to apply favorable treatment to Christians from majority Muslim states. 

The move makes good on one of Trump’s most controversial campaign promises when he vowed to stem immigration from various Muslim countries which he insists pose a terror threat to the United States, and to subject future arrivals to “extreme vetting.”

The Times said the detentions have been met with early legal challenges, as lawyers representing two Iraqi refugees being held at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport filed a court appeal for their release, alleging that the two travellers were being unlawfully detained.

Protests against quota for women: Shutdown in Nagaland

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The State Cabinet had on Friday decided not to defer the polls as demanded by the tribal organisations and Opposition Congress.

GUWAHATI: Tribal organisations shut down Nagaland on Saturday protesting against the State government’s decision to go ahead with the February 1 civic elections.

The Joint Co-ordination Committee, which is a conglomerate of some influential tribal bodies, is boycotting the polls as the government reserved 33% seats for women in civic bodies and called an indefinite Nagaland bandh.

According to reports received here, there were sporadic incidents of violence in commercial hub Dimapur. The protestors pelted stones at vehicles and did not allow the movement of even ambulances.

The district magistrate had convened a meeting with election officials at Dimapur Government College but the protestors laid siege to the educational institute and did not allow the officials to enter it. Except for some places in eastern Nagaland, the bandh was total.

The State Cabinet had on Friday decided not to defer the polls as demanded by the tribal organisations and Opposition Congress.

“…Adequate arrangements may be taken by the administration and police for smooth conduct of the elections. However, the State government is ready for dialogues with the tribal organisations to explain its position,” the Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The Nagas are governed by customary laws, which are protected under Article 371(A) of the Constitution. The tribal bodies argue that quota will infringe upon the Article since the customary laws do not endorse quota. They insist that Article 371(A) provides full authority to the Nagas to decide their fate.

“The Municipal Act infringes upon Article 371(A). If we protect the power of 371(A), no law of India can come and disturb us,” said Vilhousa Seleyi, president of Angami Public Organisation.

“We won’t mind if women contest the election and get elected but we won’t accept quota for them,” said Toniho Yepthomi, president of Sumi Hoho.

Nagaland has 16 recognised tribes and each has its own apex organisation. Any decision taken by these male-dominated bodies are final and binding on people. In the village level, the Village Councils wield such powers. Now that the polls will be held, there is a perception that people will not turn up to cast votes. If they do so, they will surely face the wrath of the organisations.

Some apex bodies of the tribes had asked the candidates to withdraw from polls or face excommunication. Subsequently, 140 candidates of different political parties and tribes pulled out. There are 395 candidates in the fray for election to 26 town and municipal councils. Six others recorded nil nomination. Of the 395 candidates, 17, all belonging to Ao tribe, have been “stripped of their social and customary rights/status and ex-communicated from Ao citizenship for 30 years” by their apex organisation Ao Senden. Action against the remaining candidates is likely if they do not fall in line by January 31.

Rashtriya Janata Dal plans to stir Bihar’s special status pot

Delhi/India/Politics by

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (File | PTI)

PATNA: After the political heat generated by demonetisation led to cracks in Bihar’s ruling alliance becoming more prominent, a renewed cry about the state’s victimhood in economic and industrial matters may help stitch the rift. 

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the party with the largest number of MLAs in the grand alliance government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, plans to organise a campaign to pressure the Centre to grant Bihar special category state status, indicated party leaders. They believe it will put a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar on the mat and throw a hot potato at the Modi-led Centre while widening RJD’s acceptance levels among Bihar’s masses.

“Lalu Yadav wants a vigorous public campaign for special state status for Bihar. State finance minister Abdul Bari Siddiqui has set the stage for it,” said an RJD leader, referring to the demands raised by Siddiqui at the pre-budget meeting of state finance ministers in Delhi earlier this month.

The call for special category state status was made by JD(U) when it ruled the state in alliance with the BJP. They put tremendous pressure on the UPA-II Central government then. Dozens of rallies on the issue addressed by Nitish Kumar and a statewide signature campaign helped JD(U) consolidate its position among the masses in Bihar.

RJD, which was then an ally of the Congress-led Centre and the main Opposition party in Bihar, had not been keen on the issue. But now, with it being the biggest party in Bihar’s grand alliance and the Centre having a BJP government, Lalu is serious about leading the call for special status.

“We have demanded funding by the Centre for Bihar’s rapid growth. PM Narendra Modi had announced an economic package of `1.25 lakh crore ahead of the Assembly elections in October-November 2015. But Central funds aid remains inadequate,” said Siddiqui.

RJD leaders know that JD(U), whose support for demonetisation created differences in the ruling alliance, will support the special category state.

Some RJD leaders describe the party’s plans to lead a public campaign as “stealing JD(U)’s thunder”. The two parties still do not see eye to eye on many issues and engage in subtle one-upmanships.

“Special category state status is a very legitimate demand of Bihar and the Centre cannot escape any longer,” said RJD legislator Bhai Birendra.

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