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    By TCN News,

    Abu Dhabi: Emirates India Fraternity Forum (EIFF) with the help of UAE authorities and Indian Consulate, Dubai managed to repatriate the bodies of two Indians workers who had died there on 27 June to Mangalore.

    Abdulla Sheb Abassa Beary 49 years old hailing from Manchakal, Mangalore, Karnataka passed away due to cardiac arrest on 24th Monday 2012. He was working as a driver in Bada Zayed. it is said that he suddenly collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where he breathed his last.

    Abdul Rauff Adam Shaikh 61 years old hailing from Belvai, Mangalore, Karnataka too had passed away due to cardiac arrest on 28th June 2012 on Friday morning. He was working with Al Nahar General Transport EST as a Truck Driver in Dubai.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Afzal Amanullah Thursday took charge as the secretary in the union parliamentary affairs ministry.

    Prior to the appointment, he was special secretary in the consumer affairs, food and public distribution ministry.

    A 1979 batch IAS officer, Amanullah has also served in the information and broadcasting ministry.

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    By IANS,

    Kolkata : Various Muslim organisations Thursday demanded early end to voting, exemption for teachers of the community from polling duty and arrangements to perform religious rituals during the coming West Bengal panchayat polls, which are being held during Ramadan.

    Taha Siddiqui, Pirzada of Furfura Sharif, met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the state secretariat, Writers' Buildings, and gave a memorandum listing the community's demands with regard to the participation of its members in the polls.

    Talking to media persons afterwards, he expressed "shock" at the polls being scheduled during the Muslim holy month.

    "We are shocked. But as law abiding citizens, we will go by the Supreme Court verdict," said Siddiqui, who

    "The polls should end by 4 p.m. or at least by 5 p.m. so that the community members can have the Iftar (the ritual breaking of fast)," he said.

    Siddiqui also demanded that Muslim teachers from schools, colleges and madrasahs should be exempted from polling duty.

    Fifteen Muslim organisations handed over a memorandum to State Election Commissioner Mira Pande calling for setting up extra polling centres in areas with over 40 percent Muslim voters so as to ensure those fasting did not have to stand in queues.

    They also demanded that the third phase of the polls on July 19 - which is a Friday - be either advanced or deferred by a day to enable members of the community take part in the prayers.

    "If that is not possible, then the vote should be halted between 12 noon and 1.30 p.m. so that they (community members) could participate in the Friday namaaz."

    The five-phase polls are slated for July 11, 15, 19, 22 and 25. Ramadan begins from the second week of July.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : As 92,000 Indians in Saudi Arabia have been given Emergency Certificates to enable them return home over the kingdom's Nitaqat work policy, very few of them are actually leaving. Most are using an extended grace period announced by Saudi Arabia to regularize their stay and switch jobs.

    According to Indian Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao, the new grace period ends Nov 3 after which the kingdom would become very strict in implementing the Nitaqat. Those overstaying or on invalid work permits would face arrest, huge fines and deportation with a ban on their return.

    Under Nitaqat or naturalization programme, private sector companies in Saudi Arabia are mandated to employ a certain percentage of locals.In fact, said Rao, the number of Indians has grown by 10,000 since March this year - from 2.88 million to 2.89 million, as on June 30, making Saudi Arabia among the countries with the largest number of Indian, the "preferred expatriate community" in the country. .

    The Indian embassy has tried to reach out to thousands of Indians through social media, 24X7 help desks, volunteers, the vernacular media and mobile units posted at exit visa offices to help Indians check their status and rectify it if required.

    Fanning across to cities, towns and even remote villages in Saudi Arabia, volunteers working with the embassy managed to contact Indians staying for long years in villages in the kingdom, asking them to check their work status and correct it ahead of the deadline.

    More than 200 companies had approached the embassy offering jobs for Indians, and a job fair was also organized in collaboration with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce.

    Over 600 volunteers, including the teaching and non-teaching staff of Indian schools, chipped in to help - for free, manning helpline desks, translating into vernacular languages embassy notices, and helping the affected Indians by explaining to them the circumstances, said the envoy.

    "It was unity in diversity in its truest sense - we all worked as a team..There were volunteers from Kerala trying to explain in broken Hindi the implications of the Nitaqat to affected workers, volunteers distributing snacks and water,' said Rao,

    According to the envoy, the implementation of the Nitaqat will help in streamlining the labour policy of the Saudi government. "Those who work will not come through contractors, they will get their salaries through net transfers, which will eliminate middlemen," he said.

    Asked how many of the 92,000 Indians given Emergency Certificates had returned to India, Rao said he did not have the figures.

    According to the Saudi labour ministry, 3.5 million workers have corrected their status since May 10. Of this, around 25-30 percent comprise Indians, or 80,000.

    The Indian government had been in touch with the Saudi authorities ever since it announced implementation of the work policy in March. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had visited Riyadh in May, the first visit by an Indian foreign minister in the last five years. Before that a high level Indian delegation, led by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi visited the kingdom to discuss the issue with the Saudi labour ministry.

    Rao feels the Nitaqat programme would in the long run prove beneficial by flushing out all illegal workers and pave the way for additional inflow of Indian workers, who are by far the "preferred expatriate community".

    The remittances by Indians from Saudi Arabia in 2012 was $8.8 billion.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today wrote National Commission for Minorities (NCM) opposing any award or honor to Kandhmal priest Ajay Kumar Singh.

    NCM has decided to confer the Minority Rights Day Award on Father Ajay Kumar Singh, a Catholic priest based in Kandhamal, on July 5, despite the Orissa government’s warning that the move may have an “adverse impact” on the “communal harmony” in the district.

    VHP alleges that Father Ajay Kumar Singh is “involved in large scale conversions, working against the tribes since a long time and is main conspirator behind brutal murder of Saint swami Laxmananand Saraswati in Kandhmal in the year 2008.”

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    By TCN News,

    Lucknow: Rihai Manch has called the Indian Mujahedeen a “brain child” of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and has demnaded a white paper from the government. Earlier it has demanded a smilar white paper from the central govenrment on IB’s involvenment in all the terrorr cases in the country.

    Rihai Manch (Forum for the Release of Innocent Muslims imprisoned in the name of Terrorism) is on indefinite dharna outside the UP Assembly since May 20 demanding arrest of police officers involved in Khalid Mujahid's murder, issuing the RD Nimesh commission report and action report, and the immediate release of innocent Muslim youth imprisoned in the name of terrorism.

    Rihai Manch had been leading a sustained movement for justice for last 44 days. Several rights groups and individuals have expressed their support and took token participation in the demonstration.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: The Chairman of Popular Front KM Shareef congratulated the CBI for bringing the truth surrounding the fake encounter of Ishrat Jahan and 3 others.

    Such display of impartial investigation will surely strengthen the trust of the masses on the investigation process. Though it is a significant breakthrough but still few more conspirators belonging to the state government and IB were not named in the charge sheet.

    He also expressed hope that as the investigation is still in progress we hope that more names will be exposed soon.

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    By TCN News,

    New delhi: Former Union minister and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has assured his support for the restoration of minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University, while interacting with a delegation of Sir Syed Minority Foundation of India (SSMFI), Aligarh led by its General Secretary MD Perwez siddiqui.

    Eminent jurist and former Union minister Ram Jethmalani said that he was ready to support the AMU on every forum in its quest for the restoration of its minority character.

    This, he said, was necessary for "giving justice to Muslims and for the fulfilment of the basic objective behind the establishment of this university." Delivering a lecture on minority character of AMU at the university here, Jethmalani said he was sure that the Supreme Court would overturn the Division Bench judgement of Allahabad High Court, which stripped AMU of its minority status.

    He said he had moved a private member's bill in 1980 for the restoration of AMU's minority character and when the 1981 AMU Amendment Bill was being debated in the Parliament, he had given some suggestions, but they all went unheeded.

    Jethmalani said there was "no doubt that the AMU is a minority institution." The granting of the legal status of a university in 1920 had in no way diluted its main character, that it was established by Muslims and for Muslims of India, he added.

    Sir Syed Minority Foundation of India (SSMFI) , while thanking Ram Jethmalani for discussing the issue threadbare, said the issue of minority character was dear to all the Muslims of India.

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    Guwahati: Several serious issues were discussed during the round table consultation on the peace building process in Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) which took place in New Delhi recently. The meet which was attended by number of experts from different walks of life advocated for seizure of illegal arms which are said to be available in these troubled areas among other ways for solution towards peace.

    “Everybody present on the meeting agreed that until and unless the arms which are abundance in the BTAD areas seized peace is impossible. Peace cannot be attained at the gun point and the government should realize that,” said Hafiz Ahmed, president of Char Chapori Sahitya Parishad (CCSP), a literary body of Assam.

    Hafiz Ahmed

    Hafiz Ahmed, represented Assam in the meet where renowned journalist and academician Sanjoy Hazarika was also present. Hazarika added that the BTAD violence was not simply about illegal migration and agreed that unless all arms are seized peace cannot be established.

    Another point which was discussed during the meet was the matter of compensation for the victims for rehabilitation. “The state and central government both promised a compensation of Rs 3 lakh each besides the BTAD authority promising an amount of Rs 2 lakh. But just a few families have received Rs 3 lakh for their rehabilitation package. Moreover, most of the people were not provided the means of livelihood. So, they were not rehabilitated,” Ahmed said.

    They also discussed about the nearly 50, 000 people who have been living on the government lands but they could not been re-settled.

    “Besides, there are lot many problems in these areas like MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), RTE (Right to Education act) etc. are not properly implemented among the minority people. Such kind of discrimination should not be done and the rule of law should prevail in the BTAD area,” he added. In Bodoland University, recently, 150 people were employed in various posts but surprisingly not a single person from the minority community was given a job,” he rued.

    He also raised the issue how more than 500 Muslim workers were not allowed to continue their job at Food Corporation of India godown in spite of possessing valid licences.

    They also proposed to conduct an all community meet in Guwahati so that the gap can be bridged. “Besides, I felt that there are some positive stories like Bodo people helping Muslim people and vice versa and these should be collected and made a book to send a positive message among the mass. This concept was widely appreciated,” he added.

    Unnati, Ahmedabad based social organization who took initiative to organize the event will also brief the points to the union ministry for a better way out for peace. They have already submitted resolution copy to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Unnati has also vowed to bring out books with such positive stories in Hindi with the support from CCSP.

    Gurumayum Amarjit Sharma, Assistant Professor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, who also participated in the meet suggested that there should be cultural and sports programmes to bring the people of various communities closer in these troubled areas.

    They also advocated for a proper and neutral investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation on the whole incident. “I feel if such activities can be taken, peace will come in the BTAD areas,” Ahmed said.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Several Muslim bodies have condemend the ouster of Egyptian Presdient Dr Mohammad Morsi.

    Jamaat e Islami Chief, Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari has termed the sacking of elected democratic government of President Morsi by the Egyptian military as “utterly wrong, illegal, un-Islamic, murder of democracy and conspiracy of anti-Islam internal and external forces.”

    Ameer-e Jamaat has appealed to the people of Egypt to think if an elected democratic and constitutional government is better or military regime which is utterly against the requirements of democracy.

    The Chairman of Popular Front K M Shareef expressed deep concerns on the ousting of the first democratically elected president of Egypt by the armed forces. “It is a clear truth that this was a coup planned and executed by the military chiefs and Mubarak loyalists who badly missed the feel of power since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak,” he added.

    The toppling of President Mohammed Morsi’s government and suspension of the constitution is a setback not just for Egypt but for the democratic process across the Arab world, PFI chairmand further said.

    He has urged the Indian Government to put diplomatic pressure on the Egyptian armed forces through internal organization to bring back democracy in Egypt and reinstate Morsi who is the legitimate elected President of Egypt.

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    Note: Mission Bhartiyam is organisng a vigil at the India Gate, on Sunday, 7 July, at 4 pm in solidarity with Snowden and to demand from Indian government to provide him political asylum and to seel justice for him.

    By Ravi Nitesh,

    Edward Snowden made the news, the news that we all are slaves, slaves not in the sense of any physical labor, but because we are not free, we are not free as we think we are. It is because we are under surveillance, for all our communication, even personal, that obviously has very informative data about not only of us, but for our surroundings, our plans, our thought process and ideology and our plan as well as our network. Being in surveillance is not such a bad thing for many of us, as we are gradually , if not immediately, becoming habitual of this.

    We know that we are under surveillance when we roam in a mall, or at the metro station, even sometimes in offices and sensitive places on roads. These increasing modes of surveillance, though somewhere gives us some sort of safety but also gives us a kind of uncomfort. Now, what Snowden revealed is not this general kind of surveillance, instead it is something that is not exactly surveillance but theft, and therefore illegal. It is where our information is being collected and accessed by any intelligence agency of a foreign country without our knowledge and even without knowledge and consent of our country. This incident is highly unethical and unconstitutional. It is illegal and it violates our rights. It is cheating and forgery.

    After revealing this, Snowden became a villain for US intelligence. On the other hand, Snowden became a hero for many within and outside of US. Snowden shows the real spirit of being true and being right. It really doesn't matter what his affiliation was with NSA, what really matters is importance of the revelation he made and rightfulness of the revelation. If NSA was doing wrong , it must come before everyone either through Snowden or through anyone else. The unfortunate fact is that on one hand where people are in strong support of Mr. Snowden, most of the governments do not have enough courage to show any solidarity with him. Situation is pity where government is not responding to something for which people are offering solidarity.

    It is a situation where just by denying him asylum or by not voicing for his support, governments of the world are also helping in some kind to the illegal surveillance policy of US where they all also know that it is not in benefit of the any soverign country as well. The US presuure is so visible by incidents where India, Poland, Brazil denied asylum to Snowden, the plane of Bolivian president was diverted from France ,Portugal and Italy as these countries did not allow the use of the airspace and forced to ground at Austria on mere suspicion that Mr. Snowden is on board in the plane, the Vice President of Bolivia truly depicted the line “The president has been kidnapped by imperialism, and he is being held in Europe.”

    We all who are not on side of US on this issue and we, the people of this world who favor truth in all of its forms and in all situation demands that Snowden must get justice and all the 21 countries where he applied for asylum should grant him asylum on the basis of humanity and justice. It is a hard unfortunate to see that US is behind a single man who revealed some sort of information in public interest that not only affect US but also to billions of people across the world.

    Here it is a struggle US vs us and we, in our full capacity, can hope that our demand for Snowden will be heard and that our voice for Snowden in such a time will make a strong basis for protection of truth and justice all over the world where ‘courage to speak’ will be a virtue that we and future generation will grasp.

    (Ravi Nitesh is memeber of Mission Bhartiyam, a Delhi based social organiisation.)

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    By Shaheer Khan,,

    Houston, Texas: The twelfth annual convention of the Federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations (FAAA) was held on June 28-30, 2013 at Crowne Plaza Huston River Oaks, Houston, TX. The theme of the 2013 convention was "New Generation Alumni & Aligarh Movement" and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Alumni Association of Texas hosted the convention. Representatives from across the United States and Canada attended the convention. It has been one of the most widely attended conventions of the Federation.

    The program started on Friday, June 28th with alumni reunion and dinner followed by a cultural program in the evening in which participants showed their talent.

    Vice Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah speaking at the banquet dinner

    The Saturday program started with a recitation from the Holy Quran. The official proceedings of the convention were kicked off with the first session chaired by Mr. Perwaiz Jafri, and a welcome address by Dr. Moyeenul Haque, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the host Association followed by the presentation of annual reports by Drs. Irfan Beg (Treasurer), Nausha Asrar (Secretary), Tariq Haqqi (President), and Mr. Perwaiz Jafri (Chairman, Board of Trustees). The second session was chaired by Prof. Wasi Siddiqui and included the introduction of various Alumni Associations’ official representatives from across USA. Each representative presented a brief account of the background and activities of their associations in the previous year.

    The theme of the third session was "Alumni and Alma Mater", chaired by Mr. Ali Rizvi and included a presentation by Mr. Faisal Saleem, entitled, "Interaction between alumni and AMU". Mr. Saleem summarized the results of recently conducted survey among the random sample of alumni to determine how they can help their alma mater which will have the maximum positive impact. The second presentation of the session was given by this writer, entitled, "Contribution of alumni towards AMU". In this presentation, contributions of various alumni associations and individuals for the spread of Aligarh Movement in general and their contributions towards their alma mater and its student community were highlighted.

    Dr. Nausha Asrar presented a framed copy of his poem to Mr. & Mrs. Shah

    The fourth session started after lunch break, Chaired by Prof. Habib Zuberi included a presentation by the Vice Chancellor.

    Vice Chancellor Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah spoke for about an hour and used a PowerPoint presentation. It is not possible to incorporate all the details of his speech in this report. Only main points of his talk will be presented here. Vice Chancellor started off by thanking the federation for the invitation and providing the opportunity to interact with AMU alumni spread across North America. He said that his mission (God willing) is to make AMU a top ranking university in India within two years. He said that he was going to Insha’Allah turn the University around so that its graduates can meet the new demands of both the market and the nation.

    Inaugral Session

    Lt. Gen. Shah dwelled a great deal on the need to improve the facilities at AMU especially the housing which is in pathetic shape. He added that this was one of the main reasons why foreign student’s numbers have declined. He stressed the need of modernizing the existing facilities and the building of new ones on campus. He informed the audience that the government has sanctioned funds for the construction of a hall of residence for 1000 boys and another one for 1500 girls. He was seeking additional assistance from the government and the Aga Khan Foundation for upgrading the campus infrastructure. He said university is paying special attention to providing sports facilities for students. He said that AMU should produce well-rounded graduates.

    Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Zameer Uddin Shah expressed pride in Aligarh Muslim University Alumni all over the world and hoped that they could assist him in his mission to achieve top spot for AMU in the nation. He mentioned the need for “Smart Class Rooms" equipped with modern teaching tools and asked for the help from alumni. He added that the Alumni's help will be appropriately acknowledged, and complete transparency will be maintained in financial matters. He also said that department of alumni affairs is already on the cards and he has identified a person to take charge of the department. The VC took questions after his speech.

    Perwaiz Jafri introducing the artists, Udayan Parikh and Alaap

    The fifth session was chaired by Mr. Umar Farooq and included the Panel discussion. Panelists included, Profs. Habib Zuberi, Wasi Siddiqui, Tariq Haqqi, and Tahir Hussain. Panelists debated on the topics which were discussed in earlier sessions and made recommendations for plan of action moving forward.

    The proceedings of the day were concluded in this session with the election for the post of president. The names of all office bearers of the federation along with their contact details will be listed on federation’s website ( This marked the closing of the day-long sessions of the convention.

    The evening program began with the recitation of Quran by Mr. Shakeib Mashood followed by welcome by Dr. Syed Abuzar, President of the host association.

    The guest of honor Mr. P. Harish, Consul General of India (Houston) was introduced by Mr. Latafath Hussain. Mr. Harish spoke eloquently and suggested the AMU alumni should move from ritual of Sir Syed Day celebration to spread of Sir Syed's mission of imparting modern education. His speech attracted a great deal of interest from Aligarh alumni and local Houston community.

    Group photo with Lt. Gen. (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah and Mrs. Shah

    Chief Guest of the evening, Lt. Gen (Retd) Zameer Uddin Shah was introduced by Prof. Tahir Hussain, newly elected president of the federation. Mr. & Mrs. Shah were presented with bouquet of flowers and symbolic gifts. Dr. Nausha Asrar, "Nash" presented a framed copy of his Nazm (poem) which he recited the previous night. Lt. Gen (Retd) Shah started off by thanking everyone for the honor and the wonderful gifts. Vice Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah reiterated many of the pointes he mentioned in his talk earlier in the day and affirmed his core mission of making AMU one of the top universities in India through pursuit of excellence in teaching and research.

    Vice Chancellor's speech was followed by presentation of community service Awards to Dr. Moyeenul Haque and Mr. Omar Farooq by the Vice Chancellor.

    After a vote-of-thanks by Mr. Perwaiz Jafri, the official proceedings of the convention concluded with the singing of university anthem, “Tarana-e-Aligarh". Vice Chancellor, Zameer Uddin Shah enthusiastically participated in the singing of the Tarana.

    In the last part of the day long program Ugayan Parikh took the center stage and mesmerized the audience with his captivating voice. His magical and soulful vocals transported the Houston community and visiting alumni into an evening of fun and loud cheers. He was ably assisted by Alaap on Tabla.

    The next day was marked by a semi-formal round of discussion with Vice Chancellor Shah who urged the AMU community to support their alma mater in every possible way. He discussed his plan to organize World Alumni Summit in Aligarh in March 2014 to coincide with the annual convocation and invited the alumni to the summit in large numbers.

    Dr. Saif Sheikh also invited every one to XIII annual convention of the federation of Aligarh Alumni Associations to be held in Chicago from June 20-22, 2014.

    The Convention gave alumni and well-wishers of AMU an opportunity to turn mere reunion into tangible plans for their part in furthering the Aligarh movement. This shows that there is a common thread that binds all of us, so let us work to strengthen it further for the good of our mother institution not only in words but through actions as well.

    In conclusion, one needs to commend the AMUAA team in Houston for putting together this very successful convention. It was heartwarming to see all most all participating associations pledged to contribute to the call by Vice Chancellor for infrastructure improvement.

    (Shaheer Khan is Indian American scientist and community activist. He lives in Foster City, CA.)

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    By TCN News,

    Ahmedabad: Arguments in the Zakia Jafri Protest Petition against Narendra Modi and 59 Others continued for the fifth day on Thursday with counsel for Jafri, Mihir Desai highlighting the deliberate lacunae by the Special Investigating Team in probing the illegal post mortems that were held in wide public view at the Godhra railway yard as part of the “high-level çonspiracy masterminded Narendra Modi with the full connivance of then health minister Ashok Bhatt, now deceased, Gordhan Zadaphiya and others, with the active participation of Jaideep Patel and other VHP men who were deliberately galvanized to use the fact and sight of the tragically burnt corpses to build up and spill venom against innocent members of the Muslim minority.”

    Desai argued that the question which the SIT has simply not bothered to ask is, under whose orders, the post- mortem was being conducted in the Railway Yard Itself without any facility and equipments and also by doctors who were not trained to do Post Mortem? The motive behind this was clear, he argued.

    A day earlier, giving a comprehensive overview of arguments for “Conspiracy to commit mass murder” against Narendra Modi and 59 Others, counsel for Zakia Ahsan Jafri has argued in court hat the issue before the Court is whether the events after the Godhra carnage that included mass reprisal attacks where thousands of innocents members of the minority were massacred, raped and killed were “spontenous,” as the state government has argued, which could not have been anticipated, prevented or controlled; or was it part of the larger conspiracy, where entire state machinery “aided and abated the events.”

    The court is hearing Jafri's petition against closure report of Special Investigation Team which gave a clean chit to Modi and others in the face of the charge of complicity in the riots as levelled by Jafri in her complaint in 2008 before the Supreme Court.

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    By Sheikh Qayoom, IANS,

    Srinagar : With two incidents in two weeks, and a chief minister passing the buck to the army and to the separatists, peace or the modicum of it in Jammu and Kashmir has been severely jolted once again.

    Tensions had heightened in summer capital Srinagar last week after eight army soldiers were killed and 13 injured in a deadly guerrilla ambush June 24 on the heavily guarded Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway.

    The attack shifted focus to renewed militant violence in a city believed officially to be free of militancy, which had been prompting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to advocate revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), at least from the Srinagar and Jammu capital cities.

    This was followed by the killings of two youngsters in north Kashmir's Bandipora district on Sunday in a firing incident the people accuse the army of.

    While 18-year old Irfan Ganai was killed when he came out of his home around 3.30 a.m. on Sunday morning allegedly during an army ambush, 28-year old Tariq Ahmad Laharwal was killed in the second firing incident during the protests that followed Irfan's death in Markundal village of Bandipora district.

    Abdullah has literally expressed his "helplessness" over the killings of the two youngsters, although he said investigations were on to find out the truth.

    Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an official function, Abdullah, when asked about who killed the two youngsters, said: "I think you should pose this question to the army".

    He, however, added: "I won't go into specific details. This is the job of the police and other investigating agencies."

    He also chose not to comment on the much hyped AFSPA revocation he has been championing for the last three years.

    "I won't talk about the AFSPA right now because two incidents in the recent past have given credence to voices both for and against the revocation."

    Obviously, Omar meant voices against AFSPA had become stronger after the killings of the youngsters allegedly, by the army, and the voices in favour of AFSPA had become stronger because of the killings of army troops in Srinagar.

    The statement clearly betrayed the chief minister's anger, disgust and "helplessness".

    There have been localized protests in the villages of Bandipora district after Sunday's incident. The authorities had to change the north Kashmir route of the Amarnath Yatra which had been proceeding through the Srinagar-Sumbal-Baltal highway till June 30.

    The Yatris are presently taking the Srinagar-Ganderbal-Baltal route to reach the north Kashmir base camp.

    Despite the tensions that have been building over the two incidents, and another fierce gunfight in south Kashmir on July 1 in which three guerrillas and a local policeman were killed, the annual Amarnath Yatra has been proceeding without a hiccup.

    The comparatively fewer number of pilgrims so far for the Himalayan cave shrine is attributed to the Uttarakhand flooding that claimed hundreds of lives in the Alaknanda and Mandaikini valleys.

    "The number of pilgrims for the Amarnath Yatra is likely to pick up in the coming days," said an official of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the Yatra.

    The official also said following strict compliance of Supreme Court orders, no unregistered pilgrim is being allowed to proceed towards the two base camps of Baltal in the north and Nunwan (Pahalgam) in the south of the Valley this year.

    As reports of guerrillas planning fresh infiltration from across the Line of Control (LOC) into the state appear in the media, peace remains fragile and deceptive in Kashmir, where governance and official authority have been following an inverse relationship with violence during the last over 23 years.

    (Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted at

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Congress leader Digvijaya Singh Friday said the union home ministry must clarify whether David Headley, key conspirator in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, told NIA that Ishrat Jehan, shot dead by Gujarat Police, had terrorist links.

    Digvijaya Singh, who met Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Friday, said confusing statements were being made by different security agencies - the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

    "Unofficial, selective leaks in the Ishrat Jehan case are creating confusion in the public mind, and that is not in the interest of internal security," Singh told reporters after his meeting with Shinde.

    "The home ministry must clarify whether Headley told the team which went to the United States to interrogate him that Ishrat Jehan had terrorist links," he said.

    The call from Singh came as reports claimed that Headley had told the NIA during his interrogation in the US that a terrorist plan, plotted by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) had failed after the death of Ishrat Jahan and the three men who accompanied her.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : CBI director Ranjit Sinha said Friday that his agency was taking assistance from other agencies on the killing of Ishrat Jahan in Gujarat.

    Sinha told the media here: "We have taken assistance from other agencies that includes NIA (National Investigation Agency), Intelligence Bureau (IB). We are investigating all angles. IB is cooperating with CBI."

    Ishrat Jahan was shot dead by Gujarat Police in an alleged shootout nine years ago on charges of being a terrorist.

    The CBI has said in its chargesheet that Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in cold blood and that she was in no way a terrorist.

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    By Abdul Gani,,

    Guwahati: Senior Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja said that the Narendra Modi government must be answerable to the Judiciary for the fake encounter that killed 19-year-old Mumbra college student Ishrat Jahan in 2004.

    “CBI has collected some credible evidences and accordingly CBI filed an affidavit and now it’s before the judiciary and judiciary will have to monitor and pursue the case. If Modi’s administration is responsible, it must be held and made accountable and answerable to the judiciary,” the CPI National Secretary told reporters during his Guwahati visit on Friday.

    CPI leader D Raja speaking during a party meet. Photo: Dasarath Deka

    Raja, though believed that CBI has been misused by various political parties, stressed on making the Modi government accountable. “During that time under Modi’s leadership such massacre could not have been taken place in Gujarat in 2002 followed by fake encounters. Now, the encounter was proved to be a fake one. As CBI has come up with credible evidence it’s up to the Modi government to explain the reality,” Raja who is in Guwahati to meet his party people added.

    He also advocated for at least functional autonomy for CBI which is the premiere investigating agency of the country and a supreme authority to monitor CBI.

    “CBI being the main investigative agency we have in our country many seek its help. But unfortunately it’s being misused by both the Congress and BJP. It’s not confined to a political party only. I think CBI should be allowed to work freely. CBI must act impartially and objectively,” Raja further said.

    In its chargesheet, the CBI said Ishrat Jahan was branded a terrorist out to kill Modi and was shot along with other three in ‘cold blood’.

    0 0

    By IANS,

    Lucknow : The Uttar Pradesh government Friday announced the setting up of a committee to frame rules and regulations for slaughter houses in urban areas.

    The high-level committee -- constituted under the chairmanship of director, Urban Local Bodies -- will comprise commissioners of Agra, Kanpur and Lucknow, executive officials of Mau and Ferozabad and member secretary of the state Pollution Control Board.

    The rules to be framed by this committee will be as per the provisions of Uttar Pradesh Nagar Palika Act, 1916, and the Uttar Pradesh Nagar Nigam Act, 1959.

    The key points will be "identifying the places of slaughter houses, excluding slaughter houses from populated areas and defining the number of animals to be slaughtered as per the local requirement," an official told IANS.

    The committee has been asked to send its proposal to the state government within one month.

    0 0

    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The BJP Friday asked the union home ministry to explain the change in its affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan alleged staged shootout case.

    The principal opposition party also accused the government of misusing the CBI to target Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former state minister Amit Shah.

    Talking to newspersons here, Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman asked whether the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had briefed the prime minister about its inputs in the Ishrat Jahan staged shootout case.

    BJP leaders said that while the first affidavit from the union home ministry to the Gujarat High Court said that there was reliable information with the central government that the Lashkar-e-Taiba was plotting the assassination of top leaders of Gujarat, the revised affidavit said the information from the Intelligence Bureau was a tip-off, and could not be seen as valid ground for the shootout.

    Referring to Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh's remarks about the need for clarity on remarks of central agencies in the encounter case, Sitharaman said the home ministry must clarify its position.

    "We cannot have the home ministry remaining silent. It should tell us what was the need to change the affidavit between 2007 and 2009. On whose instructions was it changed," she said.

    Sitharaman said the CBI charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan case, filed Wednesday, have raised a lot of questions.

    "Is the CBI charge sheet based on inputs from the home ministry, or is it based on evidence?" she asked.

    The BJP spokesperson said the IB informs the prime minister about matters concerning the states, and asked if the agency also informed the prime minister of the Ishrat Jahan case.

    The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheet in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case, filed Wednesday, said that Ishrat Jahan and the three men with her were killed in cold blood, in an operation jointly conducted by Gujarat Police and the Intelligence Bureau.

    Sitharaman hit out at Digvijaya Singh, stating that he had spoken about a twin power-sharing formula in the Congress at the centre which was not serving the country well. She alleged that the Congress leader also visited the homes of people linked to terrorist activity in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh.

    The shootout that killed 19-year-old Mumbai college student Ishrat Jahan and the three men who were with her occurred June 15, 2004, in Ahmedabad.

    0 0

    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Over 115 women signed a letter seeking apology from the national spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Meenakshi Lekhi for her “sexist slandering” of deceased Ishrat Jahan on a television channel.

    They allege, “As the noose is tightening around the conspirators who cynically and coldly planned and executed the killing of teenaged Ishrat Jahan and three other people in 2004, there is a concerted campaign – the final, last ditch bid to save their skins – by tarnishing the image of this college student.”

    Responding to mounting evidence of staged encounter, she had asserted on Times Now TV channel that ‘here was a girl travelling with men unrelated to her’. Then she outdid herself by reiterating yesterday that since Ishrat came from a deprived background, she was a “fit case” for being a terrorist.

    The letter signed by 117 women acadmecians, activists, journalists, writers, filmmakers, etc further added, “This kind of personal slander reflects BJP’s deeply sexist and patriarchal character, besides of course communal and class prejudice. That their woman spokesperson chose to do so makes it worse. Ms. Lekhi would like us to believe that all those young women who travel and work independently are ‘suspicious’ and could have terrorist links, and are therefore fair game for encounter killings.”

    Condemning her “insensitive sexist slandering of a girl who cannot defend herself,” and demanding an immediate apology, these activists have sent the letter to the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women for appropriate action.

    Full text of the letter: Women Condemn Meenakshi Lekhi’s sexist slandering of Ishrat Jahan

    As the noose is tightening around the conspirators who cynically and coldly planned and executed the killing of teenaged Ishrat Jahan and three other people in 2004, there is a concerted campaign – the final, last ditch bid to save their skins – by tarnishing the image of this college student. There have been planted stories in the media linking her to a terrorist group –all of them false and concocted, even as the Gujarat High Court has clearly said that the CBI’s mandate is to simply investigate whether Ishrat and others were killed in cold blood.

    But Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi’s rantings on prime time TV touches a new low. Responding to mounting evidence of staged encounter, she asserted on Times Now TV channel that ‘here was a girl travelling with men unrelated to her’. Then she outdid herself by reiterating yesterday that since Ishrat came from a deprived background, she was a “fit case” for being a terrorist. This kind of personal slander reflects BJP’s deeply sexist and patriarchal character, besides of course communal and class prejudice. That their woman spokesperson chose to do so makes it worse. Ms. Lekhi would like us to believe that all those young women who travel and work independently are ‘suspicious’ and could have terrorist links, and are therefore fair game for encounter killings.

    We condemn Ms. Lekhi’s insensitive sexist slandering of a girl who cannot defend herself, and demand an immediate apology.

    1. Manisha Sethi, academic, Delhi
    2. Mansi Sharma, activist, Delhi
    3. Shabnam Hashmi, activist, Delhi
    4. Saba Dewan, filmmaker, Delhi
    5. Sanghamitra Misra, academic, Delhi
    6. Mona Das, academic, Delhi
    7. Sucharita Sengupta, academic, Delhi
    8. Shohini Ghosh, academic and filmmaker, Delhi
    9. Sabeena Gadihoke, academic, Delhi,
    10. Seema Misra, Lawyer, Delhi
    11. Pushpa, Writer, Bangalore
    12. Uma V Chandru, Activist and academic, Bangalore
    13. Neelanjana Mukhia, Activist
    14. Rakhi Sehgal, activist, Delhi
    15. Ramlath Kavil - Mumbai
    16. Supriya Madangarli, writer, Mumbai
    17. Amrita Shodhan UK
    18. Geetanjali Gangoli- UK
    19. Penkoottu, Kozhikode, Kerala
    20. Prasanna P. R, Kochi, Kerala
    21. Bitopi Dutta, researcher, Guwahati
    22. Namrata Kilpadi Misra, Freelance editor and Gandhinagar
    23. Ammu Abraham, feminist, Mumbai
    24. Arfa Khanum Sherwani, Senior Anchor, Rajyasabha TV
    25. Khadeej Arif, Journalist, London
    26. Peggy Mohan, Writer, Delhi
    27. Brinda Bose, academic, Delhi
    28. Anurdha Chenoy, academic, Delhi
    29. Ruchi Shroff, Vadodara, Gujarat
    30. Sania Mariam,student ,kolkata.
    31. Rohini Hensman, writer, Mumbai
    32. Malini Sood, freelance editor, New Delhi
    33. Bindu Menon, Academic, Delhi
    34. Dr. Ayesha Sultan, Hannover Medical School, Germany
    35. Teena Gill (Film maker, New Delhi)
    36. Nandini Rao, Activist, Delhi
    37. Rajashri Dasgupta, Journalist. Kolkata.
    38. Kriti Budhiraja, JNU Delhi
    39. Anuradha Bhasin, Journalist, Jammu
    40. Minnie Vaid, Writer, Mumbai
    41. Mamta Jaitly, activist, Jaipur
    42. Renuka Pamecha, activist, Rajasthan
    43. Mary Abraham, Student, Delhi
    44. Kavita Srivastava, activist, Jaipur
    45. Anuradha Talwar, activist, West Bengal
    46. Dipa Sinha, Economist, Delhi
    47. Komal Srivastava, activist, Rajasthan
    48. Dr. Meeta Singh, health activist, Rajasthan
    49. Nishat Hussein, activist, Rajasthan
    50. Pragnya Joshi, activist, Udaipur
    51. Smita Chakraburtty, Phd Scholar, Calcutta University, Kolkata
    52. Sumati Pannikar, Research Fellow, JNU
    53. Samreen Naaz, student, Kolkata
    54. Shipra Nigam, Consultant Economist, New Delhi
    55. Rizwana Akhtaree, Human Rights Defender, Bhubaneswar.
    56. Tanuja Dh,
    57. Meena Saraswathi Seshu, Activist
    58. G. Arunima, academic, New Delhi
    59. Aparna Sanyal, Film maker, New Delhi
    60. Saba Hasan, Artist, New Delhi
    61. Shweta Kishore, Researcher, Melbourne Australia
    62. Ruchika Sharma, Academic, New Delhi
    63. Irene Dhar Malik, Film Editor & writer, Mumbai
    64. Shashwati Talukdar, Film maker, Dehradun
    65. Monica Mody, poet and academic, San Francisco
    66. Shikha Sen, Documentary Editor, New Delhi
    67. Seema Duhan, Student, CA
    68. Shaweta Anand, Student, Delhi
    69. Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bangalore
    70. Ammu Joseph, Journalist, Bangalore
    71. Arpita Das, Delhi
    72. Suma Josson, Activist, Mumbai
    73. Sanam Roohi, PhD Candidate, NIAS/AISSR, Bangalore
    74. Aprajita Krishna
    75. Kavita Krishnan, activist, Delhi
    76. Kirtana Kumar, Director, CARP/Little Jasmine/Theatre Lab
    77. Sheeba Aslam Fehmi, writer and academic, Delhi
    78. Shazia Nigar, journalist, Bhubhaneshwar
    79. Taranga Sriraman, activist, Mumbai
    80. Dr. Shelley Dahiya, New Delhi
    81. Rupa Gulab, Writer, Gurgaon
    82. Poornima Joshi, writer, Delhi
    83. Amabrien Alqadr, Academic and filmmaker, Delhi
    84. Himadri Sekhar Mistri, Research Scholar, Delhi School of Economics
    85. S M M Ausaja, Film Historian, Mumbai
    86. Nandini Lal, writer, Washington DC
    87. Nandini Chandra, Academic, Delhi
    88. Tahira Hasan, activist, Lucknow
    89. Jyotsna, Journalist, Delhi.
    90. Afreen Haque, Journalist, Kolkata
    91. Smita Chakraburtty, Phd Scholar, Calcutta University, Kolkata. West Bengal.
    92. Divya Rajagopal, journalist, Mumbai
    93. Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bangalore
    94. Rajeshwari Saroja, Academic, Mumbai
    95. Jyotsna Khatri, filmmaker, Delhi
    96. Snigdha Sheel, photographer, New Delhi
    97. Purwa Bharadwaj, activist, Delhi
    98. Nikita Agarwal, activist, Delhi
    99. Ameen, Activist, New Delhi
    100. Shehla Rashid, Policy Analyst, Delhi
    101. Nabanipa Bhatacharya, academic, Delhi
    102. Suraiya Patel, Entrepreneur, Mumbai
    103. Virginia Saldanha, Activist, Mumbai
    104. Dr. V. Mohini Giri, Delhi
    105. Rukmini Rao, Secunderabad
    106. Aashima Sharma, Student New Delhi
    107. Abha Bhaiya, Delhi
    108. Chinmayee Subhash
    109. Vasanth Kannabiran
    110. Suneeta Achutya
    111. Anita Dixit, academic, Kolkata
    112. Sona Mitra, Economist, Delhi
    113. Shefali Sewak, Lawyer, Delhi
    114. Neha Kohli, Researcher, Delhi
    115. Namrata Ganneri, academic, Delhi
    116. Bharati Jagannathan, academic, Delhi
    117. Meera Ahmad, Academic, Delhi

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