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Indian Muslim

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    By IANS,

    Kolkata : Observing that her government respected the court order declaring as unconstitutional the monthly honorarium paid to Imams and muezzins, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday assured the clerics of ensuring their livelihood.

    "Law will take its own course and we respect the court's order. But at the same time I want to assure that we will democratically ensure livelihood of Imams and muezzins," Banerjee said here at an event.

    Imams are preachers and muezzins those who call the faithfuls to prayer at mosques.

    "I know the Imams and muezzins are worried following the court order, but I want to assure you there is nothing to worry. We will ensure that you do not starve," she added.

    A Calcutta High Court division bench of Justice Pranab Kumar Chattopadhyay and Justice Murari Prasad Shrivastava Monday said the Banerjee government's payment of monthly honorariums to the Muslim clerics violated the principles of equality enshrined in the constitution.

    Banerjee in April last year announced the monthly payment of Rs.2,500 to Imams and Rs.1,500 to muezzins. Following the announcement, the Bharatiya Janata Party filed a public interest litigation challenging its legality.

    Muslim religious organisations are mulling to approach the apex court against the high court verdict.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : An umbrella body of Indian Muslim groups has challenged the Syrian ambassador's claim that Indian Muslims were fighting along with rebel forces in his country.

    The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) said the Indian government should ask the diplomat to provide proof to back his reported claim.

    AIMMM president Zafarul-Islam Khan said the ambassador had given a lame excuse that proof could not be presented to the Indian government because no senior Indian official had visited Syria recently.

    "The Syrian authorities (must) offer proof if they have any," said the statement.

    Khan said a British national of Indian origin, Abbas Khan, an orthopaedic surgeon, was caught by Syrian authorities from a rebel-held area a few months ago.

    "This surgeon was offering humanitarian aid to the injured but he has been branded a foreign fighter by the Syrian regime," Khan said.

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    By Irfan Engineer,

    A key Senate committee could vote as early as Wednesday on a measure authorizing U.S. military action in Syria. A key US Senate panel has approved a draft resolution allowing a 60-day military action in Syria. With this, the possibility of a military strike on Syria seemed inching one step closer. The resolution will now be put to vote on Wednesday, 4th Sept. 2013. Leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee agreed late Tuesday on details of the plan that would give President Barack Obama authority to order limited strikes against Syrian military targets for 60 days. He could extend the window by another 30 days under certain conditions. The US claims to know that the Syrian government used a chemical weapon near Damascus on Aug. 21 against those prosecuting war against Syrian Govt. President Barrack Obam asserted: "We have a high confidence that Syria used... chemical weapons that killed thousands of people." John Kerry, however said that it was beyond any reasonable doubt that President Bashar al-Assad's government had used chemical weapons on civilians in the attack last month that killed more than 1,429 people near Damascus. And the French Govt. differs with the US Govt.’s claim of “thousands killed” by the use of chemical weapons. The French PM claims that they have video that shows 281 people died due to use of chemical weapons. It is on the basis of contradictory figures and claims, “confidence” and not evidence that the US wants to authorize the military action against the Syrian Govt. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called US evidence for Assad's use of chemical weapons "absolutely unconvincing."

    US led forces went to war with Iraq on the pretext of weapons of mass destructions being hidden by Saddam Hussein regime. However, nothing was found after the war. If the US acted without any evidence then, this time even the claims from US itself are contradictory. While President Obama says thousands were killed, John Kerry gives the figure of 1,429. The “co-lateral damage” caused by unilateral and illegal military action by US itself would cause lives of hundreds of civilians. Around two million Syrians have reportedly fled the country since the uprising in the country in 2011 and the figure is expected to touch 3.5 million by end of the year, a United Nations report has stated. The UN says this is the worst refugee crisis for 20 years, with numbers not seen since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. More than 100,000 people are thought to have died since the civil war against President Assad began in March 2011.

    Anti-war activist Noam Chomsky categorizes any military action against Syria as illegal. He said, "that aggression without UN authorization would be a war crime, a very serious one, is quite clear, despite tortured efforts to invoke other crimes as precedents," In an interview with the Associated Press and Russia's state Channel 1 television, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the U.S. should present "convincing" evidence to the United Nations. He said he "doesn't exclude" supporting a U.N. authorization of force against Syria if there is such proof, but warned the U.S. against taking action without U.N. approval. "Only the U.N. Security Council could sanction the use of force against a sovereign state," Putin said. "Any other pretext or method which might be used to justify the use of force against an independent sovereign state is inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an aggression."

    At the U.N, secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said any use of chemical weapons in Syria is an “outrageous war crime.” However, he called on the Security Council to “unite and develop an appropriate response” to bring the perpetrators to justice. Obviously, he was not supporting the unilateral action of US military action. He further said that a political solution to the crisis in accordance with the U.N. Charter was the best way to proceed. He cautioned that any use of force to punish those responsible for the chemical attack would not be legal without U.N. authorization. “This is a larger issue than the conflict in Syria," Mr. Ban said. "This is about our collective responsibility to humankind.” The UN experts were working non-stop trying to determine whether chemical weapons were used on August 21 in neighbourhoods near Damascus but the report was not yet complete.

    By some counts, the U.S. has been involved in more than 50 significant military actions in the last half-century – an average of more than one a year – ranging from significant fighting in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan to lesser incursions in such far-flung countries as Kuwait, Bosnia, Pakistan, Libya, Grenada, Haiti and Panama. In Vietnam Napalm bombs were used by the US Army. Napalm B became an intrinsic element of U.S. military action during the Vietnam War. Reportedly about 388,000 tons of U.S. napalm bombs were dropped in the region between 1963 and 1973. The US Air Force and US Navy used napalm with great effect against all kinds of targets to include troops, tanks, buildings, jungles, and even railroad tunnels. The effect was not always purely physical as napalm had psychological effects on the enemy as well.

    Syrian President Bashar al Assad has denied use of chemical weapon alleging it was the rebels who deployed them. However, it is difficult to whether chemical weapons had been used in the conflict, and if there is evidence of it being used, which side used it. President Assad has not opposed investigations by UN into the allegations. Therefore the right thing would be to investigate, gather evidence and then proceed. The US want to carry out military action even before the UN report comes. Call for unilateral military action based on “claims” betrays nervousness of opportunity missed to carry out pre-planned military action that is waiting for pretext and the pretext is there in the form of “claims”, even if contradictory. International support to support President Obama’s decision to carry out military action has collapsed.

    The real objective of military action:

    The real objective of the impending military action is not to punish President Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons, nor it is to protect the people from Assad Govt. The hidden objective is to bring about a regime change through force. The civil war supported by the US has been sapping resources and getting prolonged without producing any results. The impending military action would mean striking artillery and rocket systems; aircraft; maybe even missile production facilities. Headquarters and other buildings could also be struck on the grounds that they are associated with units linked to the chemical weapons programme. These potential targets - artillery and aircraft for example - are a key element of President Assad's superiority over the rebels. If these assets are badly damaged, the military balance on the ground will significantly alter in favour of the rebels. Rebels include some of the former Al Qaeda fighters. President Obama said that the military strikes against the regime of Bashar Assad was part of a “broader strategy” aimed at ending the Syrian civil war. He made clear that he planned to help the rebel forces and allow Syria to “free itself”.

    It is this objective of the US that one should be wary of. The US and French supported rebel forces were provided every assistance in Libya to win the civil war and to weaken opposition to Israel. The Allied forces imposed a No Fly Zone on Libya to help the rebels. People in Lybia are agitating and asking tough question as to where US$103 billion worth budget has disappeared and questioning the oil theft.

    There is little doubt that the Muammar Qaddafi was a dictator and the President Assad would not get re-elected if a free and fair elections were held. It is for the people of Syria to struggle for democracy. But there is also little doubt that democracy cannot be established under foreign interference and support.

    Israel too has been calling for punitive strikes on Syria. Israel has occupied Golan Heights territory of Syrian and annexed in 1981. The Shia Alawite regime of Syria is seen as inimical force by Israel. Syria has been helping the Hizbollah in Lebanon, a Hassan Nasrallah led Shia resistance movement in against Israel. Iran has also provided support to Hizbollah’s resistance movement. The US has therefore directing its fire at the moment against the Shia axis of Iran-Syria-Hizbollah to secure Israel and weaken the Palestinian movement further. Assad in turn has been warning that any military intervention would exacerbate the chaos in the entire region. Comparing the Middle East to a "powder keg", Assad said "the fire is approaching today" and the entire region would explode.

    The crisis in Syria can, in the first instance, be resolved through dialogue between the rebels and the Government. International community should play role of a facilitator and promote fair systems to ensure popular regime and liberties as well as protection of human rights. If the dialogue and negotiations do not yield result, then in the second instance, the international community should decide based o n concrete evidence and investigations as to penal actions permissible to respect the human rights and dignity of all involved. There cannot be unilateral actions.

    Resolution 2131 (XX) of the UN states that:

    “ 1. No State has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any State. Consequently, armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats against the personality of the State or against its political, economic and cultural elements, are condemned.

    “2. No State may use or encourage the use of economic, political or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights or to secure from it advantages of any kind. Also, no State shall organize, assist, foment, finance, incite or tolerate subversive, terrorist, or armed activities directed towards the violent overthrow of the regime of another State, or interfere in civil strife in another State.

    “3. The use of force to deprive peoples of their national identity constitutes a violation of their inalienable rights and of the principle of non-intervention.

    “5. Every State has an inalienable right to choose its political, economic, social and cultural systems, without interference in any form by another State.”

    “6. All States shall respect the right of self-determination and independence of peoples and nations, to be freely expressed without any foreign pressure, and with absolute respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Consequently, all States shall contribute to the complete elimination of racial discrimination and colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

    However, the US wants client regimes installed in crucial countries so that it can act as a self appointed global cop and establish a new world order outside the UN system and enforce it on all the countries, to control the natural resources and sources of energy and the flow of world trade.

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    Dr.Mohammad Nazrul Bari,

    Today it looks right what Ranke said that “what we learn from history is that we do not learn anything from history.” It’s really very sad to see the situation in west Asia. But mind it, this problem is nothing to do with Shia and Sunni. If it is so, then why Saudi Arab and other loyal towards USA is not highlighting the problems in Bahrain (where Shia are in majority, ruled by Sunni minority)?

    Saddam was an undisputed dictator, he killed 5000 people with poisonous gas as it was reported. But US and his allies at the time of attacking Iraq said that Saddam is having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) so to save the humanity we have to remove him and find WMD. Two years ago Tony Blair, former English P.M. said that it was an intelligence failure there was no WMD in Iraq. Since US attack on Iraq, more than 10 Lakhs people died. So who will take the responsibility of killing lakhs of people and who may be punished?

    The NATO forces, headed by US, attacked over Afghanistan to eliminate Taliban and Al Qaida in 1998 on the name of establishing democracy. Now USA is talking to Taliban in Qatar. Recently news published with reference of Talibani leader in the English daily, “The Hindu”, that Sunni radical group, Taliban is now sending their militia to fight inside Syria against the ruling establishment. While Al Noosra, a sister organization of Al Qaida is receiving support from American allies in Syria. Even two month ago Al Zawahiri, the leader in command of Al Qaida from Iraq declared support to Syrian rebels. Last month only US has informed his people that there might be an attack of Al Qaida in America while they have given supply of 3200 tons of weapons to Syrian rebels including Al Nusra. Its looks funny that how America do not know that to whom they are giving support against Syria.

    If Saudi Arab is a champion of Sunni cause then why they spent 1 billion dollar to start a military coup in Egypt against Morsi. As I know that Morsi was not a Shia. His crime was simple, he opposes the attack of Israel on Syria and he wants solution of Syrian problem through negotiation.

    I want to make it clear that neither I am not the sympathizer of Bashr Al Asad in Syria nor I am against the Saudis led group. But Iran is the only country in whole Middle East who had some genuine interest in Palestine cause and the majority of Palestinian is Sunni. Its true, Iran is using the land of Syria to provide the arms and ammunition to Hamas and Hizbollah. If Syria will go from the hand of Bashar then Iran might be under attack. Then there will be big mess in west Asia.

    It is not right to portray the Syrian conflicts predominantly in terms of religious and political struggle between Suuni and Shia. This description is misleading and incomplete. This is thoroughly modern political disturbance for thoroughly modern reasons of national interests and regional hegemony in which ideology, ethnic rivalries and religious fervor played their parts but not central to the main issues. At the same time it is not the war between Christian and Islam. The article written by Yassin Musharbash proves that Al-Qaida kills eight times more Muslims than non-Muslims. Syria is one of the most strategic locations for natural gas pipelines to Europe. Syria is the site of proposed construction of massive underground pipeline and if, completed, could drastically undercut the strategic energy power of US and its ally Qatar and also would cut Turkey(Turkey is also supporting rebels in Syria) out of the pipeline flow. This project will ultimately favour Russia and Iran against western energy interests. In 2010, Iraq, Iran and Syria signed a deal in 2010 to construct the 3480 mile natural gas pipeline connecting Iran’s south Pars field to European customers. If we believe Iranian Deputy Oil minister, Javed Oji, then the capacity of this pipeline is around 3.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day.

    Javed Jamil is very much right in his observation that the military action in Syria would perhaps never turn into reality. USA is now more interested in perpetuating civil wars rather than starting new wars in west Asia. The problem is that Russia and China have taken a much tougher stand against American threats than they have done anytime before in the last three decades and the Iranian angle makes things more worse. The world, which had become unipolar with the end of the Cold War in 1990s, again may become bipolar. The old Communist bloc can have a bigger and more open support of the resurgent Islamic world this time. This may puncture the balloon of the myth of dependence of Middle East on US and his allies. The America definitely not wants any direct interference of Russia and China in his colonize region of west Asia since 1950s. Secondly, sixty percent of Americans oppose intervention in Syria, according to a recent Reuters poll. Just nine percent support intervention. Even if the use of chemical weapons is proven, just 25 percent of Americans would support intervention.

    If US attacked Syria, the Iran might block the Strait of Hormuz which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. It is the world's most important oil chokepoint due to its daily oil flow of 16.5-17 million barrels, which is roughly 40 percent of all seaborne traded oil. The majority of oil exported through this route travels to Asia, the United States and Western Europe.

    The closure of Strait of Hormuz would require the use of longer alternate routes at increased transportation costs because alternate routes include the 745 miles-long Petroline, also known as the East-West Pipeline, across Saudi Arabia from Abqaiq to the Red Sea. Closure of the Strait of Hormuz would affect the Arab world directly and the globe indirectly which leads to the price hike of oil products.

    (Dr.Mohammad Nazrul Bari is the Assistant Professor at the Department of History in the Central University of Karnataka.)

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    By Amulya Ganguli, IANS,

    Since Narendra Modi is not known for his modesty, his disavowal of any interest in the prime minister's post has been seen as a show of annoyance or umbrage over what must appear to him to be an unconscionable delay by his party to nominate him. It has also been interpreted as a pressure tactic for expediting the process.

    When he was elevated to the post of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) campaign chief, he probably thought that it was only a question of time before his selection for the coveted post was announced. For him, the possibility was all the greater because the Rashtriya Swayamsevek Sangh (RSS), the BJP's ideological guide, was backing him.

    But, to his surprise, a tiny group in the BJP which is against him has held firm. Its resilience presumably comes from the fact that it is headed by L.K. Advani, the hero of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement of the 1990s - and an anti-hero today in the eyes of the pro-Modi netizens - and Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha.

    Till now, their resistance had remained behind the scenes. But, now, Sushma Swaraj is believed to have told an RSS emissary that naming Modi at present will undermine her position in parliament.

    To strengthen the case of Modi's detractors in the BJP, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, too, has expressed his preference for delaying the announcement till after the assembly elections in the state lest the Gujarat chief minister's anti-minority image scares away the Muslim voters from the BJP.

    It is obvious that to Modi, all these roadblocks amount to a vote of no-confidence in him. As a result, he must be becoming increasingly aware that by the time his coronation takes place - if at all - he will cut something of a sorry figure since the reason for the delay will not only be known, but any negative outcome for the BJP in the polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi will be attributed to him, especially by Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Co.

    It is apparently to avoid such an embarrassment that Modi has said that he is not dreaming of becoming prime minister and that he will like to "serve" Gujarat till 2017.

    The reason why the BJP finds itself in such a curious situation where the poster-boy of a section of the party is persona nongrata to another is that the organization has been bereft of a credible leader ever since Atal Bihari Vajpayee's retirement from public life.

    As a matter of fact, Vajpayee himself was an exception for the party rather than the rule because of his across-the-board acceptability which led to him being described as the "right man in the wrong party". Since then, there has been no other BJP leader who has a pan-Indian appeal. Instead, all of them carry the baggage of being Hindu leaders with a sectional focus.

    Advani, the perpetual No.2 after Vajpayee, tried to don the non-sectarian mantle a la the undisputed No.1. But his role as the fiery 'rath yatri' (chariot-rider) of the 1990s, bent on removing the "ocular provocation" of the Babri Masjid, was a hindrance.

    The BJP's mistake was that after the failure of Advani as a prime ministerial candidate in 2009, it chose the most controversial of its four chief ministers to be the front-runner for the post. Admittedly, none of the others - Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chhattisgarh's Raman Singh and Goa's Manohar Parrikar - has the in-your-face, dominant behavioral traits of Modi that appeals to a section of the party and the RSS.

    But, what is not realized is that a low-profile can be an advantage in a democracy unlike an abrasive personality like Modi, who was called a "modern-day Nero" by the Supreme Court for his role during the 2002 riots in Gujarat. In choosing him, the BJP was clearly pushed by the RSS, which acted through its nominee in the party president's post, the unprepossessing Rajnath Singh, who was once described as a "provincial" by BJP M.P., Jaswant Singh.

    If the RSS prefers provincials - Nitin Gadkari was another - instead of the BJP's so-called Delhi-based leaders, the reason is that the former are relatively simple souls, without the urban polish of Advani and others. Modi, too, is an outsider in this respect, not least because he lacks fluency in English, the language of cosmopolitan India.

    This is the reason why his supporters want him to gate-crash into Lutyens' Delhi, an exclusive club according to them, which is characterized by the bonhomie among politicians across the ideological spectrum barring the extreme Right (RSS) and the extreme Left (Maoists).

    It is possible that Modi has sensed that it will not be so easy for him to gain entry into the gated enclosure and that it is better for him, therefore, to remain confined to Gujarat, where he is the lord of all he surveys.

    (07-09-2013-Amulya Ganguli is a political analyst. He can be reached at

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai : Ignoring criticism from the opposition to the plans of the Maharashtra government to modernise "madrassas" (Islamic seminaries), top minority leaders and scholars said the move would help transform the Muslim community.

    "The scheme is intended to bring Muslim boys and girls studying in madrassas into the academic mainstream and help develop a competitive edge among them to face the challenges of the 21st century," Minority Development Minister Naseem Khan told IANS here Saturday.

    Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan approved the proposal, first envisaged by Khan, to modernise 1889 madrassas in the state with an initial outlay of Rs.10 crore for 200 selected Islamic seminaries, starting this academic year.

    "We are in the process of identifying the first 200 madrassas which will be given grants for modernisation. Within three years, we hope all the 1889 shall be covered and we will initiate the modernisation process," Khan said.

    He pointed out that the state government's decision was in tune with the recommendations of the Justice R. Sachar Committee in the "Report on Social, Economic and Educational Status of the Muslim Community in India", submitted to the union government in 2006. The modernisation of madrassas was also part of the Prime Minister's 15-Point Programme for Minorities.

    However, major state opposition parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have criticised the move, terming it mere "appeasement of minorities."

    All India Muslim Personal Law Board General Secretary Abdul Sattar Shaikh said the plan was "unique and great", and students in madrassas would be immensely benefitted.

    "I think it is a revolutionary scheme and more than two lakh Muslim students studying in madrassas, many hailing from weak economic backgrounds, shall get the advantage of modernisation," Shaikh remarked.

    "We have been waiting for some such positive measure since a long time. This time, the Maharashtra government has done commendable work in trying to seriously uplift the status of education, especially for poor Muslims," Jamait Ulma Hind Maharashtra President Maulana Mustaqeem Azmi said.

    Describing the scheme as "visionary", All India Ulema Council General Secretary Maulana Mehmood Daryabadi said it is evident that a lot of planning and thinking has gone into the scheme to make it effective.

    "Now, the officials must ensure that it is implemented at the ground level at the earliest... We have already lost a lot of valuable time and must not lose any more," Daryabadi urged the government.

    Islamic scholar and head of Mumbai's well known Islamic seminary, the Dar-ul Uloom Mohammadia (in Bhendi Bazaar) Maulana Sayed Athar, termed the move as "great and timely."

    "It is truly a timely initiative and the Muslim students will get the opportunity to learn English, Hindi and Marathi, besides other vocational courses by trained teachers," Athar said.

    He called upon the state government to announce the names of the eligible madrassas at the earliest so they could start implementing the new scheme.

    All India Shia Muslim Personal Law Board general secretary Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi said that with madrassas now preparing to impart modern and vocational education, Muslim students from economically weaker sections will be at par with more competitive students when they enter the job market or choose to go for higher and foreign education.

    Under the new scheme, a one-time grant of Rs.250,000 will be provided to the madrassas for basic infrastructure, drinking water, toilets, laboratories and libraries.

    In addition to this, three qualified teachers will be given grants for teaching non-religious general subjects like English, Hindi, Marathi, earth sciences and social science, besides mathematics.

    Besides, madrassa students in the ninth or tenth class in local schools will get an annual scholarship of Rs.4,000 while those studying in junior colleges will get Rs.5,000.

    In an attempt to ensure that the funds are properly utilised, the state government has threatened to stop grants to madrassas which fail to ensure that their students appear for the Class X examinations.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Zarina Bibi, a resident of a remote village in West Bengal's Murshidabad district, is a happy woman today. She can travel confidently to the bazaar far away and buy goods with no apprehension of being cheated - thanks to Saakshar Bharat, India's ambitious adult literacy programme.

    Speaking via video conference from her village Madhupur to the august gathering in Vigyan Bhavan here Saturday, Zarina said she had always wanted to learn the alphabets and numbers but did not know how to till she learnt of the Saakshar Bharat programme being run in her gram panchayat.

    "I did not know how to read and write.. Today, I can read the Bangla alphabets, count from one to 100 and also do simple math. I can go confidently to the bazaar today and do my shopping without any fear of being cheated," she said in Bangla, which was translated by R. Bhattacharya, secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy.

    The video conference was part of the International Conference on Alliance for Literacy, Peace and Development in South Asia held at Vigyan Bhavan, with Union Human Resource Development Minister M. Pallam Raju and Minister of State Shashi Tharoor among the guests.

    There was also a volunteer teacher from Meenapur in Muzaffarpur in Bihar who said his area was affected by Maoist violence but still they had managed to do "good work" in the area and had achieved the target of educating 555 people.

    Anu Priya, a representative of a village from Villupram in Tamil Nadu said 2,000 villagers were being taught. They had held six exams so far. The next batch of 114 adult students were well prepared for the next exams, she said. "The people have learnt a lot of things. Now they are willing to go to the bank, and have the power to sign.. They are happy," she said.

    The adult literacy programme has helped people of Panavada gram panchayat in Thanam in Andhra Pradesh to participate in self help groups and microfinance. They can understand numbers much better, said the representative in Telugu, which was translated by Union Minister Pallam Raju.

    A catchy song for boosting literacy was also played on the occasion. Penned by Javed Akhtar, the song in Hindi goes, "Tan, tan tan, baji school ki ghanti, chalo school tumko pukare (the school bell goes ring, ring,ring; It is beckoning us to school, let us go). The video has Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Imran Khan and Anoushka Sharma mingling with school kids as they study and play.

    Saakshar Bharat is the world's largest adult education programme, which envisages making 70 million adults literate by 2017.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : With Indian Mujahideen lynchpin Yasin Bhatkal not naming German bakery blast convict Himayat Beg as an accomplice, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Saturday said that action will not be taken against anyone found innocent after a full investigation.

    Answering queries from media persons here about Bhatkal's reported remarks to interrogators that Baig had nothing to do with 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that there had only been preliminary investigation so far.

    "Preliminary investigation with Bhatkal. Till whole investigation done, (we) can't reach any conclusion," he said.

    However, he cited example of 2006 Malegaon blasts in which the investigating agency has told the court that it has found no evidence to link nine Muslims arrested in the case.

    "If someone is innocent, there will be no action," Shinde said.

    Bhatkal, wanted by police in twelve states for alleged involvement in a string of bombing incidents and other terror activities in the last five years, was arrested alongwith his accomplice Asadullah Akhtar last month from India-Nepal border.

    Baig, who was sentenced to death in the blast case, had last month pointed to the Bombay High Court discrepancies in separate investigations conducted by Maharashtra, Delhi and Bangalore police in the terror case.

    Answering a query if foreign agencies had helped the authorities in nabbing Bhatkal, Shinde said country's intelligence agencies were keeping a track.

    "Our intelligence agencies (were) on track for several days," Shinde said.

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai : Taj Mohammed Rangrez, a history teacher from Udaipur, created history by becoming the first person to win a whopping Rs.1 crore on TV reality game show "Kaun Banega Crorepati 2013". He "can't believe it".

    All came to a standstill when the show's host, megastar Amitabh Bachchan, tossed the Rs.1 crore question to hot seat contestant Rangrez. But he answered it correctly to become the first contestant to win the desired title of a 'crorepati' on the seventh edition of the show, which went on air Friday.

    Rangrez is ecstatic.

    "It is a moment to rejoice and celebrate and extremely difficult to believe that 'I am a crorepati'. It is splendid indeed to know that I am also the first contestant this season to have won Rs. 1 crore," Rangrez said in a statement

    "I was confident of the game and did not want to exhaust my lifelines at the start of the game itself," added the City of Lakes' Fatehgarh School teacher, whose seven-year-old daughter is partially blind.

    He wants to use the money for her treatment as well for his family's welfare.

    "Now that I have won, my priority remains in treating my daughter who is partially blind. Also, I wish to buy a house, educate three underprivileged girls and get two orphan girls married," he said.

    Rangrez has been a teacher since 10 years. He answered every question with confidence until the ninth question, where he first used a lifeline.

    Upon his victory, he was joined on stage by his elder sister.

    The episode featuring the first crorepati winner of the season will air Sep 15.

    "Kaun Banega Crorepati", aired on Sony Entertainment Channel, is the Indian adaptation of the internationally popular format of "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : The deaths in Saturday's communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar district in Uttar Pradesh rose to 12 Sunday, police said. Fearing escalation of the clashes, the army has been sent to the violence-hit areas, officials said.

    An earlier report, quoting Muzaffarnagar district administration officials, said the toll was 14.

    On Saturday, at least six people, including a television journalist and a local photographer, were killed when two communities clashed after a "mahapanchayat" in Muzaffarnagar.

    Mob of people pelted stones and exchanged fire. Around 40 people injured in the clashes were admitted to hospitals.

    Violence started when some people pelted stones at a bus carrying people to the "mahapanchayat", where elders of two religious groups were meeting to sort out the simmering tension between the two communities ever since three youngsters were killed Aug 27 over a case of harassment.

    Eight columns of the army, requisitioned from Bareilly, were sent to the violence-hit areas Saturday night after the violence spread to rural areas.

    The situation was tense but under control, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Arun Kumar told IANS Sunday.

    Officials said four senior police officials were sent by the state government as "officers on special duty" to Muzaffarnagar and neighbouring districts, including Shamli, where tension has been reported.

    Following the violence, curfew was imposed in the area Saturday night, and police have urged people not to step out of their houses in violation of the restrictions, and have warned trouble-makers not to further vitiate the atmosphere.

    Director General of Police Devraj Nagar is monitoring the situation from Lucknow, and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is learnt to have given a dressing down to senior officials.

    "When tension was simmering for the last 10 days, the chief minister is angry as to why the violence, despite anticipation, was not contained in time," a close aide of Akhilesh Yadav told IANS Sunday.

    With the monsoon session of the state assembly just a week away, Akhilesh Yadav is keen to end the hostilities at the earliest, the aide said.

    Opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), criticised the government, saying it has failed in maintaining communal harmony, peace, law and order in the state.

    RLD state president Munna Singh Chauhan said the government has forfeited the right to continue in office.

    BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak told IANS that the fact that the army had to be called in to contain violence in Muzaffarnagar has proved beyond doubt the "failure of the Samajwadi Party government in the state".

    State Congress president Nirmal Khatri condoled the loss of life and said the government had failed to protect the interests and safety of the people in the state.

    Akhilesh Yadav, meanwhile, said police have been pressed into service, and urged people not to be swayed by rumours.

    "I urge people of the state to maintain peace, communal harmony and warn mischief makers," he told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting in the state capital.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : A group of Syrians along with members of a Delhi-based NGO Saturday organized a protest march to the US embassy here demanding a stop to the ongoing "war mongering against Syria".

    The group of around 40 Syrians, along with members of the NGO Forum of People Against War, marched from the Odisha Bhavan in Chanakyapuri to the US embassy. They were stopped near the British High Commission in the high-security diplomatic enclave.

    “The USA in the name of establishing democracy in Syria is playing a war game on the nation,” said Munir, a Syrian national and a doctorate from Osmania University who had come from Hyderabad to join the protest.

    The US is planning a military strike on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons on Aug 21 in Damascus, a charge the Bashar al-Assad regime has denied.

    The protest was also joined by students of the Jamia Millia Islamia and Jawaharal Nehru University.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Hyderabad: A teenage Muslim girl, student of polytechnic engineering who went missing since April 2012, has suddenly appeared and has informed her family shocking tale of rape and bondage.

    The young girl who was living with her family in Santosh Nagar area of old city was studying at Teegala Krishna Reddy engineering college in Meerpet at the suburb of city. According to her, the college canteen owner Satya Prakash Singh kidnapped her from college premises and confined her as sexual slave for last 15 months.

    When she went missing family had registered a missing complain at the Santosh Nagar police station. Interestingly when police investigated on the family’s compliant they even interrogated college canteen owner but at that time he snub any knowledge about missing girl.

    According to her statement, given to the police, 33 year old Satya Prakash Singh, a native of Bihar who was maintaining canteen at her college, confined her in a flat in Uppal area where he use to rape her repeatedly and torture her most of the times in intoxicated condition.

    Two days back in the middle of the night, she finally found an opportunity when the kidnapper was sleeping in drunken condition; she escaped the clutches of Prakash Singh and reached her home where she narrated her ordeal to the family.

    Her family immediately took her to Santosh Nagar P.S. where police after recording her statement changed the missing person case lodged by her family one year back by booking Satya Prakash Singh in more severe Sections of IPC like 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel her for marriage), 376 (rape), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

    According to local media reports canteen owner has been arrested and the girl has been made to undergo medical tests at Government maternity hospital in Nayapul.

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    By TCN News,

    Kuwait: Rajindar Sachar, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and the head of “The Rajinder Sachar Committee”, (who was appointed in 2005 by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to prepare a report on the latest social, economic, and educational conditions of the Muslim Community of India) will attend the 3rd anniversary programme of the Indo-Kuwait Friendship Society (IKFS) to be held 1 November 2013 at Salmiya Indian Model School.

    Justice Sachar will be the Chief Guest of the event.

    Justice Sachar was also a member of United Nations’ Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights said that he is very much impressed with IKFS’ activities and contribution towards restoring National Unity, Patriotism, and the Indian national Integrity despite of caste and religion.

    Dr. Ghalib Al-Mashoor, President of IKFS said our members are very much honored to receive such a great personality in their 3rd anniversary celebrations and added that IKFS will bestow Justice Sachar with IKFS Excellence Award for his valuable contributions towards social justice.

    Justice Sachar will be accompanied by his daughter Madhavi Sachar, along with IKFS Patrons Sami Bubere (Chief Editor of Indo-Gulf Times, Ummeeth magazines and President of Mumbai based Sahyogh Cultural Society) along with Dhaval Bhatia (International trainer) who has agreed to conduct memory classes which IKFS hopes to mesmerize the students of Salmiya Indian Model School to be held at SIMS auditorium on1st November 2013.

    Prominent Personalities both from India and Kuwaiti community will grace the function along with many Patrons of IKFS and various Executives of Indian Associations. A.K.S Abdul Nazar, IKFS General Secretary said.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Activists of Popular Front of India staged a protest demonstration at Jama Masjid in Delhi to oppose US plans to attack Syria on the pretext that the regime had used chemical weapons to attack the rebels.

    They also raised slogans against the continued repression by the army of the democratic forces in Egypt.

    In a press release K M Shareef, the Chairman of Popular Front of India said that the hypocrisy of US President Barrack Obama was glaringly evident in the moral indignation expressed by him at the use of gas in killing women and children in Syria.

    World cannot forget the fact that US had encouraged and supported Iraq when it used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war funded by the enemies of Islamic revolution, he added.

    The Obama administration has already killed more people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen than what George Bush had done, he reminded. Such hypocrisy is to be exposed and fought off by freedom loving people, the statement continued.

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    Khan said he will raise Muslim issues in parliamentary forum meetings

    TCN News,

    Delhi/Hyderabad: Mohd. Ali Khan, member of Rajya Sabha from Andhra Pradesh has been appointed Congress whip in the upper house by party chief Sonia Gandhi.

    Mr. Khan since starting of his tenure in 2008 has made a mark by giving good attendance and being consistent in asking questions on the floor of the house. In 2010 TCN report card on Muslim Rajya Sabha members M.A. Khan topped the list by putting 90 questions.

    Mohd. Ali Khan has been member of many parliamentary committees including consultative committee on Home Affairs. Before getting appointed to Rajya Sabha Mr. Khan was president of Andhra Pradesh Congress Seva Dal, Chairman of Society for Employment Promotion & Training in Twin Cities (SETWIN), and former director of Andhra Bank.

    Speaking with TCN Mr. Khan said his basic duty as ruling party whip will be to maintain relation between opposition and Government functionaries in the Parliament, to organize his party men for voting on the bills, to ensure conclusive ending of debates and the tough task will be to ensure safe and timely passage of bills.

    Mr. Khan said becoming a party’s official whip will not curtail his right to ask questions but he will continue to work in the frame work of his party as loyal Congressmen.

    He said after Wakf amendment bill which was recently passed in both the houses, there is no major legislation meant for Minorities in next corner. He informed us that his party has planned to make legislation based on Sachar Committee recommendations but it might be dragged on after elections due to continuous logjam in the Parliament.

    Congress whip Mohd. Ali Khan said he used to raise issues concerning Muslims and other oppressed sections in the Parliament and will continue to do so in the party’s parliamentary forum. He told us he is planning to raise the issue of arrest of Muslim youths in the parliamentary forum meeting scheduled in Jharkhand to press for legislation for legal aid to youths who are languishing in jail without any evidence.

    Mr. Khan also thanked Ms. Sonia Gandhi and parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath for giving him this responsibility, he termed UPA as only Government which has fulfilled all its election promises.

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    By Staff Reporter,

    Kabul/Kolkata: The Taliban have denied Afghan officials allegations that they were behind the abduction and killing of Indian writer Sushmita Banerjee in eastern Paktika province of Afghanistan.

    The police had found the 49 year old Banerjee's bullet-riddled body near a Madrasah on the outskirts of Paktika's provincial capital, Sharan city, a day after she was dragged out of her husband's house on late Wednesday by unidentified gunmen and repeatedly shot at .

    Zabiullah Mujahid, the Taliban's spokesman in Afghanistan, quoted by AFP news agency said, ''We checked with our local Taliban fighters in the area and they also heard the reports and allegations that the Taliban were behind the assassination of this woman who had converted to Islam. But this is the enemy's propaganda that is blaming us for killing a woman.''

    Sushmita Banerjee, was the author of the popular memoir, Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife, a book detailing her experiences as an Indian woman married to an Afghan man, in the backdrop of Taliban's rise to power in the 1990s.

    Her book was published in India in 1998 and was eventually brought to silver screen in 2003. The Bollywood movie Escape From Taliban saw Manisha Koirala donning the role of Sushmita Banerjee . She later commented that the movie showed her Afghan husband and family in bad light and had distorted her story.

    According to her publisher, she was in Afghanistan to work on a new book, which is about the current scenario of women in that country.

    Her body will be flown back to Kolkata, on the initiative by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

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    By TCN News,

    Aligarh: The Residential Coaching Academy, Aligarh Muslim University, organized a motivational workshop for students aspiring for the civil services in the Kennedy Auditorium.

    Addressing the students on this occasion,AMU Pro-Vice Chancellor, Brigadier (Retd.) Syed Ahmad Ali said that there was no substitute to hard work and he hoped that the workshop would provide ample motivation to our students to work hard and qualify the civil services in a large number.

    AMU Pro-VC addressing the Motivational Workshop at Kennedy Hall

    Dr. Shah Faesal, Civil Services Topper of 2010, urged the students to prepare for the civil services examination by planning to approach the different subjects intensively and exhaustively.

    Mr. Jane Alam, Joint Secretary, MHRD said that it is not very difficult to qualify the civil services examination as the number of serious students writing the examination was low. Mr. Ahteshamurrehman, IRS, said that it was better that the students from professional streams took the civil services examination, as they had a special approach towards studying what was useful for the civil services examination.

    Audience at Motivational Workshop at Kennedy Hall

    Mr. Hammad Zafar emphasized that students from Madrasa backgrounds should also take on the coveted examination as they were industrious and had special ability to work hard. He said that Sir Syed in 1883 had formed the Mohammadan Civil Services Fund to assist students who wrote the civil services examination in England. He said that we needed to get inspiration from the great visionary.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi: There has been a rise in incidents of communal violence and there was need to be alert in the wake of upcoming elections, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Saturday.

    Shinde said he had spoken to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav with regard to fresh communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar of the state in which a television channel journalist and five others were killed Saturday.

    He said 451 incidents of communal violence had taken place this year.

    "It is true that communal incidents have increased since last year. This year, till now, 451 incidents have taken place," he said and added that 410 incidents had taken place in 2012.

    He said Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth had held a meeting of chief secretaries and director generals of police of seven states and told them to be fully alert to incidents of communal violence.

    Officials said chief secretaries and DGPs of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir attended the meet.

    Shinde said there was a need to be alert in view of assembly polls in five states and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

    "Elections are coming...we have to be alert," he said.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh will open modern schools in Muslim-majority areas to provide better education facilities to their children, an official said.

    These schools would be opened in 40 districts, where the Muslim population is more than 25 percent.

    Orders to prepare a blueprint for the schools has been issued by Chief Secretary Jawed Usmani. "This is essentially being done to provide better education facilities to children from the minority community," an official told IANS, not wishing to be named.

    The government's scheme is being supervised personally by Urban Development and Minority Welfare Minister Azam Khan.

    Identification of sites for the schools has already begun, an official from the minority welfare department said .

    The scheme would be implemented in two phases, with 20 districts in each case. The population of Uttar Pradesh is around 210 million, of which around 20 percent are Muslims.

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    By Mohd. Ismail Khan,,

    Hyderabad: After stiff insistence from Andhra Pradesh High Court State Government finally resurrected the defunct Minorities Commission, but just four months after its reorganization commission has again found itself in troubled waters.

    On May 16th Congress state Government reconstituted Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission after a deadline notice from the High Court, to reinstitute the commission which was defunct since April 2009. State Congress appointed its state general secretary and spokesperson Abid Rasool Khan as the chairman of the Minorities Commission which is consisted of vice-chairman and other five members from different minority religious groups.

    Abid Rasool Khan with other members of Commission.

    Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy communicated his seriousness regarding Minority welfare while declaring the appointment of Minorities Commission, he stated that need for commission was felt more so after the establishment of Minorities Commissionarate and to monitor the utilization of massive budget allocation of Rs. 1,027 crore for minorities welfare nearly 110 per cent hike over that of the previous fiscal – Rs. 489 crore. Mr. Reddy even took a step ahead and given cabinet post to the chairmanship of Commission.

    Abid Rasool Khan who enjoyed credible image in the state Muslim community took up the job with much required vigor to undo the loss of obsolete period of commission. He started calling frequent meetings of Andhra Pradesh Minorities Finance Corporation, Minorities Welfare Department to monitor various welfare schemes.

    In the beginning Minorities Commission initiatives were welcomed by jesting bureaucrats with many officials absenting from the meetings, resulting in lack of cooperation and in the recent month led to an alleged spat between Commission and the namesake Minorities Ministry which started feeling sidelined by the commission.

    Now four months down the line the seriousness behind the formation of Commission is exposed, since its reformation not a single rupee is being allotted to Minorities Commission by Minorities Welfare Department from Rs. 10.27 billion budget.

    Result, since its reorganization Commission is running without paying salary and housing allowance to its staff, with liability of pending bill receipts of Rs. 12 lakh on printing and stationary charges. Commission chairman Abid Rasool Khan who was allotted cabinet rank in much publicity, is not yet provided Govt. vehicle or any security.

    Speaking with Minorities Commission Chairman Abid Rasool Khan a loyal Congressman ruled out any wrong doing on the part of state Congress Govt. and put the blame on slack bureaucracy running in various Minority Welfare Departments. “Government and Chief Minister had the will to appoint the commission, they did it. They were seriousness so they appointed a man they trusted who would deliver on promises. However certain group of officials working in Minority Welfare Departments taken Commission screening on their programs as infringement of their rights, so they are devising ways to derail our efforts.”

    Mr. Khan said in the beginning of Commission’s meeting to monitor various Minority welfare scheme, the officials didn’t showed up and after warning when they did, some of them working under same department for 10 years or more didn’t had any proper records or data to place before the commission.

    When officials found no escape from scrutinization process they started jamming files in various departments including, files to clear basic functions of the commission itself. Thus given open combat call to the commission.

    Commission Chairman said when he took over the office he observed that only 7% of total welfare budget of Rs. 1027 Crore is being utilized, “This is the kind of menace created due to redtapisim, in every financial year budget allocation is not getting utilized, same is the situation in present fiscal year even though half year is passed only 7% of allocated budget is employed, at the time when it got a hike of almost 110%.” Mr. Khan said Commission pressing for proper utilization of funds didn’t go down well with the Minority Welfare department officials.

    Abid Rasool Khan in its personal capacity was making recommendations for appointment of fresh blood in the newly formed Minorities Commissionarte, even though the proposed 69 posts were getting lobbied by many employees of various agencies which report to the Minorities Welfare Department (MWD).

    Minorities Commission review meeting with Minorities Finanace corporation officials.

    Soon after taking charge Commission also started taking notice of thousands of Crore’s worth Wakf properties computerization program, much to the aghast of Minority Ministry which was handling it for years but without any concrete result. The big chunk budget made up for fee reimbursement and Scholarship program also came under the radar of commission.

    Abid Rasool Khan also revealed that Commission started taking notice of Andhra Pradesh Minorities Finance Corporation Scam which caused alarm in Minority Welfare Bureaucracy Circles. Last year 56 crore were siphoned off from APMFC budget fund of 95 crore which was meant for scholarships for poor Muslim students.

    Mr. Khan claimed that not a single penny from that stolen amount is still being recovered, so commission has decided to file a petition before High Court for a CBI probe, already former APMFC chairman llyas Rizvi is under scanner by CID, and CBI probe could very well roll many more heads in Muslim bureaucracy circles.

    Chairman said Minorities Commission is powerful body with many power of appeal and penalty like a court, he said tactics of some vested interests to harm the commission will not be successful as its powers will remain unrestricted and could be used against its detractors.

    Mr. Khan said even after stiff opposition and tactics to derail, the Commission is functioning as per its programs and today itself 14 cases were being heard and disposed off with orders of strict actions. He said Commission has already written to Chief Secretary to guide its officers to be more serious in Commission’s affairs.

    Abid Rasool khan didn’t rule out the hand of State Minority Affairs Ministry in creating troubles for Commission from apparent jealousy of getting secondary, “This could also be a factor, but one should not stood so low that interest of community gets jeopardize in personal enmity.” He said Commission could also approach State Governor for necessary action if tactics to harm the Commission continues.

    Minorities Commission Chairman said these strategies of some vested interests to disrupt the functioning of Commission has made him and the members more determined to carry forward the work, as now they realized the gravity of job they are doing.

    Abid Rasool Khan who is holding a three year term said his family is also backing him as they too understand the importance of Commission and its post for the welfare and protection of Muslim community, he said “I am grass root politician, I came up to this post by getting started as municipal councilor. Officials who think they could bend me to make commission fall in line by employing their cheap devices, should be ready for a surprise.”

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