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Indian Muslim

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    By TCN News,

    Bhopal: At a press conference today, five organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal presented details of corruption of over 20 Crores by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh in providing economic rehabilitation to the survivors. These details were exposed through documents made available under the RTI Act.

    According to the complaint filed with the Joint Director Anti-Corruption, Central Bureau of Investigation, by the survivors’ organizations, more than 94 % of the payments made by Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh to the training agencies were fraudulent payments. These payments were made for trainees who did not complete their training or were not placed in any job by the training agencies.

    The allegations against the department were based on information gathered from 380 persons claimed to have been trained under the economic rehabilitation scheme. The organizations have also complained to the CBI that close to a fourth of the names of the beneficiaries of the economic rehabilitation scheme are false, more than half of the letters offering jobs to the trainees were forged and only 6 % of the trainees received the stipend due to them.

    The organizations said that as per the decision of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal in June, 2010, an amount of Rs. 104 Crores was transferred to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department by the central government for economic rehabilitation of the survivors. Out of this amount, between June 2011 and October 2013, Rs. 26 Crores have been paid to 22 training agencies by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department for providing training through 133 vocational courses to survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal and their families.

    The organizations including Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Children Against Dow / Carbide and Bhopal Group for Information & Action condemned the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department for its failure in providing economic rehabilitation and misappropriation of funds meant for the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : The enrolment of Muslim children in primary schools had gone up from 9.4 percent in 2006-2007 to 14.2 percent in 2012-2013, Human Resource Development Minister M.M. Pallam Raju said Monday.

    He said at the upper primary level during the 2012-13 period, enrolment of Muslim children had increased from 7.2 percent to 12.1 percent.

    "The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), which has been implemented since 2001 and was revamped in 2010 to align with RTE (Right to Education) norms, has ensured access to every child for primary education within one kilometre of her habitation, and for upper primary school, within three kilometres. The minorities, including Muslims, have benefited from the expansion of the elementary schools system," Raju said.

    The minister was speaking during the annual meeting of the National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education (NMCME) here.

    Raju said that in addition to universal access, the SSA programme strives to reach out to children who continue to study in madrasas, to provide them formal education.

    "Madrasas have been provided funds under the special training component of the SSA in the current year to cover children who are out of school," he said.

    "Free textbooks have been provided to 17.3 lakh students in madarasas under SSA. 40,000 madrasa teachers have been provided in-service training and 8,235 madrasas have been provided school grants under SSA in the current year," he said.

    Raju said the ministry had started collecting data on educational indicators of Muslims since 2006-2007, in order to track their educational development.

    "The districts with more than 20 percent Muslim population were identified for special attention under different programmes of the ministry," Raju said.

    Raju also said that the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) is another initiative for providing modern education to children studying in madrasas.

    "The allocation under the scheme has been increasing over the years, which has also meant a larger coverage of madrasas. As against 1,979 madrasas covered in the year 2009-10, 9,905 madrasas were supported with 23,146 teachers in 2012-13," the minister said.

    Raju said that greater focus will be given to the needs of education of minorities in the 12th Five Year Plan.

    "The enrolment of Muslim students in elementary schools exceeded the share of Muslims in the country's population. More girls are coming to schools, and we are now able to retain them. We have made considerable progress in bringing children with special needs into the school," he said.

    "The number of out-of-school children, which was close to 30,000,000 in 2001, has come down to 30 lakh (three million) by March, 2013," he said.

    Sharing details of new initiatives, Raju said that under adult education, a new scheme called Maulana Azad Talee-e-Baligan is being formulated to impart functional literacy to one crore Muslim adults in the age group of 15 years and above.

    "Another new scheme for establishing educational hubs by co-locating Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, girls/women hostels, degree colleges, polytechnics in few selected towns/districts which are educationally backward and have substantial Muslim concentration, is also being worked out," he said

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : A court here Monday issued fresh warrants against nine men, including Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley who is currently in a US jail, for involvement in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

    District Judge at Patiala House Court I.S. Mehta issued the non-bailable warrants against Headley and eight other Pakistanis, including Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana.

    The court has fixed the matter for April 14 for further hearing, sources said.

    Besides Headley and Rana, fresh NBWs were also issued against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafeez Saeed, 26/11 attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Pakistan Army officials Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali, top Al Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Headley's handler Sajid Malik and former Pakistani Army officer Abdul Rehman Hashmi.

    The court's direction came after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed it that these accused were absconding and the warrants issued against them earlier had not been executed yet.

    On Dec 24, 2011, the NIA charge sheeted the nine accused for allegedly entering into a conspiracy with members of banned terror outfits LeT and Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) to commit terrorist acts in India.

    The NIA charge sheeted them for planning and executing terror strikes in India, including the Mumbai attack. The court had taken cognisance of the charge sheet.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Under heavy opposition fire on his government's move to withdraw cases against Muslim leaders for their alleged role in the Muzaffarnagar riots, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav Monday said a final decision would be taken only after a threadbare scrutiny of the cases.

    He told reporters that for now his government had only sought a report on the matter from the district officials of Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

    "We have just sought opinion from the officials of these two districts, we will take a final decision later," he said while refuting charges the state government of the Samajwadi Party (SP) was indulging in politics of appeasement to garner votes in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

    "Seeking opinion does not mean that cases are being withdrawn," the chief minister said, adding that no innocent would be prosecuted in the Muzaffarnagar cases.

    The state government reportedly initiated a move to withdraw cases against some Muslim leaders, including Bahujan Samaj Party MP Qadir Rana, wanted in a case for making inflammatory speech and inciting mobs.

    Prisons Minister and close confidante of the chief minister, Rajendra Chowdhary, earlier admitted the move.

    Saying this was a long-standing policy of the SP, he said the government was committed to ensuring no minority leader or person was falsely implicated in riot cases.

    The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the SP government for the move and called it very detrimental to the state's social fabric.

    "The riots in Muzaffarnagar began due to poor handling by the SP government, continued for several days due to the same government and now by trying to play judge on who is guilty and who is not, the government is only prolonging the pain of the riot victims," said BJP state spokesman Vijay Bahadur Pathak.

    Over 60 people were killed in riots in Muzaffarnagar and nearby areas in September 2013, while more than 43,000 were displaced.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : A petition was submitted Monday to the Uttar Pradesh and central governments by a group of activists and NGOs demanding justice and compensation to survivors of the Muzaffarnagar riots.

    The petition urged the authorities to ensure the safety of people and property in the region by setting up police posts in the vicinity of areas affected by the September violence that claimed over 60 lives.

    It also demanded that relief camps in the riot-hit areas should be allowed to operate until all those displaced from their homes are settled in new and suitable locations.

    The state government was duty bound to operate the relief camps and ensure a single window system to complete all administrative formalities regarding compensation, rehabilitation and other issues, it said.

    This window must also take care of issues such as banking facilities, restoring identity documents, certificates, ration cards and passports and also ensure speedy disposal of insurance and other claims.

    The petition said the state government must establish conditions so that people forced to flee their villages can return to a normal life.

    The state government was urged to initiate a joint reconciliation process involving riot survivors as well as the civil society and NGOs.

    The petition was followed by a programme held under the aegis of the Joint Citizens Initiative - an umrella group of groups including Rehnuma, Humsafar, Sanatkada Samajik Pehel (Lucknow) and Astitva (Muzaffarnagar).

    Survivors of the Muzaffarnagar riots also demanded that the FIRs lodged against rioters be followed up in right earnest. They sought their arrest, and legal aid to the victims be to fight their cases.

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    By TCN News,

    Riyadh: Renowned Indian businessman and a visionary of Islamic cultural issues, Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi held a luncheon meeting with a group of affluent Indian community members and discussed various issues including the forthcoming election of Delhi based India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC). Sirajuddin is the sitting president of IICC, an apex Islamic Centre with a mandate to provide a unified platform for promoting Islamic heritage and interfaith harmony and has been seeking third term for the highly prestigious post.

    Kaunain Shahidi, IICC Life Member, welcomed the guests highlighting the main objectives of the Centre as creating mutual understanding and amity amongst the people & depicting the true face of Islam. ‘Centre works on the cardinal principles of human values irrespective of faith, and projects Islam as most tolerant, liberal and forward looking religion.’ Shahidi said.

    Former student union leader & a well-known social activist Murshid Kamal informed that ‘It was acumen and farsightedness of Sirajuddin Qureshi which helped the Centre to grow many folds during his tenure’. Kamal highlighted the achievements of the Centre under the creative leadership of Sirajuddin as the centre managed to successfully organize the series of important activities and program including seminars, symposiums and interfaith dialogues on the various community welfare issues.

    Prominent community leader Nadeem Tarin also shared his views on long association with the centre praising Sirajuddin Qureshi’s humble style of functioning. Nadeem said ‘The facelift of the Centre and a its recognition was not possible without tireless and selfless efforts of Sirajuddin Qureshi’. ‘As a president he and his team managed all the challenges and created a positive image of IICC which has become an icon for Muslims in India and Centre needs his services for another term’ Nadeem added.

    Sirajuddin Qureshi who had won last election held in January 2009, against Congress leader and present External Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed, thanked the audience for all the support and ensured that if given responsibility for another term, would continue to cruise further. ‘We have a plan to set up Think Tank to identify and analyse the problems of Muslim community and offer tangible solutions so that the Muslims become the part of the Indian mainstream to serve the country as proud citizens.’ he mentioned while explaining the lists of projects as per his manifesto to further strengthen the centre and serving the community. Sirajuddin Qureshi also discussed the issues related to NRIs and requested the audience to get actively involved and use the resources of the Centre for their benefits.

    Answering the question of the audience, Sirajuddin highlighted the recently concluded ‘Personality Development’ courses through which more than 8000 students were trained and well placed in the industries with the help of India Islamic Culture Centre. Qureshi also promised countrywide regional chapter in other Indian states on the pattern of Delhi if got elected for the third term.

    Sirajuddin, a self- made entrepreneur, who has already carved a niche by leading the IICC, which is committed to the consolidation, synthesis, and assimilation of contemporary world cultures to the 21st Century looked confident for getting another term as President and keep on serving the community.

    Prominent IICC members Tarique Masood and Asif Daudi also spoke on the occasion, which was attended by a large number of community members. Some senior community members present were Syed Muneer, Khursheed Anwar, Ghizal Mahdi, Firoz Rahman, Laique Azmi, Dr. Misbahul Arfeen, Akhtarul Islam, Syed Qasier, Ahad Siddiqui, Dr. Dilshad, Zaigham Khan, Dr. Ahmad Badshah, Obaidur Rehman and Naushad Alam.

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    By IINA,

    New Delhi : The parents of Rashida, a three-year-old Muslim girl, could not imagine that the life of their little angle would end in a refugee camp away from their homes at such a young age.

    “My daughter was looking cheerful till Tuesday night,” the morning father, Mohammad Momin, told India Today weekly. “We had lit a bonfire of garbage collected from the camp. My wife took her into the tent around midnight,” Momin, who stays with his family in the Manna Maja camp in Shamli district since anti-Muslim riot erupted in Muzaffarnagar, added. As world children welcomed with their families the new year, Rashida breathed her last in the dirty camp after the distressed family could not find a doctor for her.

    “Rashida caught cold and had high fever in the morning. There was no doctor or medical staff near the camp. She died before I could take her to a doctor in Shamli,” the father said. “We didn't sleep in the night because the tents were leaking. We are also unable to cook food since our brick-hearth is wet. Officials are forcing us to leave the camps,” he said. With Rashida's death, the death toll in the relief camps reached 35. Reports about deaths at relief camps set for Muslims who escaped Hindu riots in Muzaffarangar have been vehemently denied by local government.

    Last week, the Samajwadi Party-led state government admitted for the first time that 34 children had died in different riot relief camps. Yet, Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) A.K. Gupta had come under fire from various quarters for his "insensitive" remarks after claiming that cold weather couldn't be a reason for deaths. Gupta had said if cold killed people, nobody would have survived in Siberia. Muslims troubles started after Hindu-Muslim clashes erupted in Muzaffarnagar, located in the western part of the Uttar Pradesh province.

    The riots resulted in the death of at least 60 and forced some 70,000 Muslims to flee their villages, according to the state government. In October 31, a fresh outbreak of violence killed four Muslims in the same region hit by deadly communal clashes. Muzaffarnagar district remains tense, with many who fled last month's violence still living in camps.

    The local government came under harsh criticism by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who raised its pitch against the SP government's "apathy" towards the riot victims. "The state government had claimed that the riot victims have voluntarily vacated Loee relief camp where maximum number of families were living in makeshift shelters,” BSP general secretary Swami Prasad Maurya said after visiting the relief camps on Wednesday. “The camp still has 120 families. The CM had said forceful evacuation was not done in relief camps, but the victims told us that they were driven away from the camps. The CM is lying,"

    Maurya claims solidified after Nadeem Ahmad, a refugee in the Bhura refugee camp of Shamli district, said that police forces following Akhilesh Yadav government tried to evacuate them by force on Wednesday. “Some of the policemen started throwing out our belongings. But when we requested them to let us collect out belongings, an officer announced that we have only two hours,” Nadeem said. “But a large number of villagers of the surrounding areas gathered after hearing the cries of women and children.”

    There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India and they have long complained of being discriminated against in all walks of life. Muzaffarnagar anti-Muslim attacks are not the first in India. Violence pitting Muslims against Hindus has been a defining feature of Indian politics since the country's traumatic separation from Pakistan in 1947, when hundreds of thousands of people were killed and millions were displaced. Religion and caste violence plays a central role in politics in Uttar Pradesh, one of India's poorest states with a population larger than that of Russia.

    In 1992, 2,000 people were killed in riots after the demolition of a 16th century mosque built near a sacred Hindu site in the Uttar Pradesh town of Ayodhya, on the banks of the Ganges River. Hindu political mobilization around that conflict thrust the BJP onto the national stage and played a role in bringing it to power in the late 1990s.

    [Photo Courtesy: IINA]

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    By IANS,

    Jammu : The Jammu and Kashmir government headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah held 137 cabinet meetings during the last five years where 1,147 important decisions were taken, an official statement said Monday.

    The Congress-National Conference coalition government completed five years in office Sunday.

    "The state cabinet, led by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, made as many as 1,147 important decisions aimed at public welfare, good governance and equitable development of all the regions and sub-regions of the state in its 137 meetings held during the last five years," said the statement, highlighting the government's achievements.

    The major decisions include the approval for holding the panchayat elections, the launch of Sher-i-Kashmir Employment and Welfare Programme for Youth (SKEWPY), appointment of the state chief information commissioner and state information commissioners, and approval to 6th Pay Commission recommendations for state government employees.

    They also included approvals for exploitation of geo-thermal energy in Ladakh, construction of two-room housing complex for Kashmiri Pandits, scheme for empowerment of women, the protection of women from domestic violence bill, the heritage conservation bill and the amendments to the tourist trade act.

    "The cabinet also approved creation of posts in newly created districts, creation of 18 polytechnic institutions and establishment of industrial training institutes," the statement said.

    Development of Retli Power Project and enhancement of its generation capacity from 690 MW to 850 MW, the 450 MW Baglihar Hydro Electric Project-II, and unbundling of HT/LT system in power development department, the state forest policy, the energy conservation bill, the anti-ragging bill 2011 and setting up of the national institute of fashion technology at Jammu were other major decisions.

    The state cabinet also approved historic Public Services Guarantee Act which got subsequently passed by the legislature and is currently being implemented in 13 departments. The act, which has made some 80 important public services time bound, also provides for punishment and fine to the officials for any delay or denial in providing these services to the consumers in a prescribed time frame.

    The bill also provides for compensation to the affected consumers out of the fine imposed on the erring officer or official.

    The state cabinet gave approval to creation of 13 degree colleges, and also the roll out of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) in the name of "Ummed" in the state to cover nine lakh rural families under its ambit. The scheme is intended to empower them by raising their economic status and organizing them in 90,000 self-help groups in all the 22 districts during the next five years.

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    By IANS,

    Srinagar: After the Hurriyat's 2002 split into the "hardliners" and "moderates" factions led by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq respectively, the section led by the Mirwaiz Monday appeared headed for another split.

    Facing flak from the faction led by hardline separatist leader Geelani who Monday accused its former chairman, Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat of lack of political foresight, the group saw serious differences crop up with leaders of constituent parties attack the Mirwaiz .

    In a major development, Shabir Ahmad Shah, chairman of Democratic Freedom Party, Muhammad Nayeem Khan, chief of National Front and Azam Inquilabi, chief of Mahaz-e-Azadi, accused the Mirwaiz of "having made the conglomerate a personal fiefdom".

    Leaders of all the three parties which are presently constituents of the Hurriyat headed by the Mirwaiz took strong exception to a secret letter allegedly written by the Mirwaiz to the head of his group's Pakistan chapter, Yusuf Naseem.

    "We have a copy of this letter which has clearly asked the head of the Hurriyat's Pakistan chapter, Yusuf Naseem not to entertain any separatist leader who does not conform to the dictates of the elements those consider Hurriyat their personal property," Nayeem Khan told IANS.

    "Our stand is very clear on this. How can you be representing 'Hurriyat' which means freedom by excluding those from its fold who fight for and seek freedom?"

    Khan termed it a clear attempt to somehow manage the removal of senior pro-freedom leaders like Shabir Shah, Az1am Inquilabi and others including himself.

    "They know if they initiated or attempted our expulsion from the Hurriyat in Kashmir there would be stiff resistance. So they decided to announce this through the Hurriyat's Pakistan chapter. It is unfortunate, shocking and selfish," he said.

    Meanwhile, Bhat came under attack for saying during a recent seminar that the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir were irrelevant and Kashmiris should stop waiting for the Taliban to come and liberate them from India.

    Spokesman of Geelani-led Hurriyaty said: "If the UN resolutions are irrelevant, then the existence of UN as an institution is also under cloud. It took 100 years for UN resolutions on Taiwan to be implemented. Our case is just 65 years old, how come we claim that the resolutions are dead?"

    Asiya Andrabi, chief of women's separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Milat went a step further and said those who thought the UN resolutions on Kashmir are irrelevant are "deadwood" and they must be expelled from the separatist camp.

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    By IANS,

    Mumbai: The Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) Maharashtra unit has chosen to remain non-committal on the number of Muslim candidates it will nominate for the ensuing 2014 Lok Sabha elections from the state.

    "Muslims would definitely be given representation in decision-making bodies ... but for (Lok Sabha) candidature, it would be solely merit - it may be more or may be less," said AAP national executive member and social activist Mayank Gandhi Monday.

    Gandhi was responding to a demand for adequate representation made by a group of Muslim organisations under the banner of National Movement for Social Justice, Good Governance and Empowerment of Minorities, which Monday met and formally extended support to AAP.

    They included Maulana Salman Husani Nadwi, Chairman of Ekta Manch which is a federation of 26 political parties from Uttar Pradesh and announcing support to AAP which is gearing up for a massive campaign prior to the 2014 general elections.

    AAP plans to make a big entry in Maharashtra by contesting a majority of the 48 Lok Sabha seats, including targeting stalwarts like Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Nitin Gadkari and Gopinath Munde, Nationalist Congress Party's Praful Patel and Congress' Suhilkumar Shinde, among others.

    In the 2009 elections, for the first time in many years, not a single Muslim leader from any political party was elected to the Lok Sabha from the state, which has a huge Muslim population - around 15 million as per the 2011 Census.

    Subsequently, the Congress sought to make amends by nominating Hussain Dalwai to the Rajya Sabha - the sole representative of the community in parliament.

    "After the British rule, we felt there would be a change, but both the Congress and the BJP have let us down. Now that the AAP has emerged as a new force, we hope they will carry forward the good work," Nadwi said.

    Some major organisations which have thrown their weight behind AAP include the Jamat-E-Islami Hind, AMU Alumni Association of Maharashtra, Husaini Sunni Foundation, United Muslims of Maharashtra, Nadva Foundation of Mumbai and Imaan Foundation.

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    By TCN News,

    Cambridge, MA, USA : One month after Harvard students and community organizations launched a year-long fast in support of the survivors of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, support for their cause is growing.Over 50 people fasted for a day in December and organizers expect hundreds more to join in coming months. “The outpouring of spontaneous support for the fast in the first month has been heart-warming and we hope to build on it as we enter the 30th anniversary year of the disaster”, said Shashank Shukla, a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and one of the organizers of the campaign.

    On December 3rd, 1984 in Bhopal, India, a lethal explosion at a Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) pesticide plant in the middle of the city killed 8,000 people instantly and poisoned thousands. 347 tons of hazardous waste still lie at the site, and widespread soil and groundwater contamination has led to high incidence of cancers and birth defects. In 1989, Union Carbide negotiated a secret deal with the Indian government paying about $400 for each victim. The deal was struck with no consultation with survivor groups and vastly under counted the people affected. In 2001 UC was acquired by Dow Chemical which has since refused to acknowledge responsibility for the actions of its subsidiary. Dow is now facing criminal charges in Indian courts.

    The 365-day relay fast which has attracted national media coverage in India was launched in coordination with the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) a coalition of survivor groups and international solidarity organizations many of whom have been working on the issue for three decades.The goal of the fast is to draw attention to key survivor demands: clean-up of the contaminated site, medical relief and economic rehabilitation of all survivors, and prosecution of Dow Chemical, whose subsidiary Union Carbide's pesticide factory was the site of the 1984 disaster. Pooja Parameswaran, an ICJB organizer and a Cambridge based scientist believes that public opinion is key to changing the situation.“The fast is a vehicle to mobilize support around the world. Both Dow and the Indian government realize that Bhopal is a huge blot on their international image and it’s not something that they can wish away”, she said.

    Reena Shadaan of ICJB–North America believes that this is a critical year for the campaign, “For me the 30th anniversary is a call to action. It's a disgrace that survivors have had to fight for justice for almost three decades” she said. “This is a situation that calls for global solidarity, so that we can ensure justice in Bhopal and in all places that people are struggling against corporate crime. Justice in Bhopal will set an important precedent.

    The campaign uses a Facebook page where supporters upload their photos with a simple message on the day they fast.The page attracted over 400 followers in just a month and their content is already being seen by thousands of viewers. Some high profile activists in the US have also expressed their support. Noted environmentalist and author Diane Wilson was so moved by the campaign that she fasted for 30 straight days to express her support. On January 6, 2014, former NBC producer Bobby Lindsey from Texas started another 30 day fast to express his solidarity with the survivors demands.

    Nitin Gujaran, a software engineer in Boston and a volunteer for the Association for India’s Development (AID) believes that the reason they are seeing such widespread support is because the lesson of Bhopal is universal. “People really respond to the message that this is part of a broader fight for a world in which there are no more Bhopals”, he said.

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    By TCN News,

    Mumbai: Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) hosted an “Inter-school quiz competition” in AZAM Campus premises, Pune for class IX students across Urdu and English medium schools.

    “The crucial idea behind the Inter-school quiz competition was to bring up the platform for all Urdu and semi English schools together to compete their knowledge and to provide encouraging step for students to come forward with such events,” the organisers said.

    The chief guest for the event was, Mr. Munawar Peerbhoy (Chairman, Haji Gulam Mohammad Azam Education trust), and special guests for the event were ­Mr. Dawood Khan (INA foundation), Mr. Mujeebullah Khan (Retired Army Officer), Mr. Jameel Shaikh (Dist. Judge/Member of Co-op. Appellate Mumbai).

    AMP conducted aptitude test in 26 schools from 31st December 2013 to 2nd January 2014 and shortlisted group of 2 students from each school to perform in finale. On the day of finale (4th Jan 2014), 2 rounds were conducted. The questions for the contest were consist of various categories including Islamic, Indian Culture, History, Geography, English, Sports, Science, Current affairs and visual aptitude.

    In the first round, all shortlisted groups of students from 26 schools have performed and 5 groups reached final round which are ANGLO Urdu Girls School (Azam Campus), IQRA English School (Dapodi), Lady Taherunnisa Urdu School (Yerwada), Anjuman-E-Islam Peer Mohammed School (Bund garden), ANGLO Urdu Boys School (Azam Campus).

    Before the announcement of final results, chief guest Mr. Munawar Peerbhoy said, “The Team - AMP has done a wonderful job from the planning till the execution of such a big contest while managing their busy professional life. I would like to request all the school re-presenters to provide their encouraging support to Team - AMP when they visit their school to conduct different types of educational activities whilst encourage students to gain knowledge in different domains.” Also he added in the motivation of Urdu medium schools, “Many times I have heard that, the students who has studied in Urdu medium don’t have a bright future, however this is completely wrong statement as I can see many people around me studied from Urdu medium and occupied respected positions.”

    With the supportive comments to Mr. Munawar Peerbhoy, Special guest Mr. Jameel Shaikh said, “AMP is doing a great job for the community. In near future, if AMP is organizing lectures for students to gain knowledge about Indian constitution and laws, I would like to be a speaker.”

    In the announcement for the result to the contest, Sariya Ansari and Shaikh Ayesha from ANGLO Urdu Girls School has won the Winner’s trophy with Medals and gift vouchers, first runner-up’s trophy with Medals and gift vouchers received by Shaikh Afreen and Saniya Sayyed from Anjuman - E - Islam Peer Mohammed School, and second runner-up’s trophy with Medals and gift vouchers catch by Attar Bushra and Farheen Siddiqui from IQRA English school.

    Prizes were distributed by the guest to all winners and certification were distributed to all participants.

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    By IANS,

    Lucknow : Social activists have accused the Uttar Pradesh government of providing inadequate and slow relief to victims of communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli.

    Accusing official agencies of forcing the victims living in relief camps to sign undertakings in lieu of compensation, an umbrella grouping of NGOs said the government must realize its duties towards its citizens.

    The Joint Citizens' Initiative (JCI) said late Monday that the government needs to work towards a comprehensive rehabilitation of those hit by the September riots that killed over 60 people.

    Thousands were also forced to flee their homes and take shelter in makeshift camps.

    Shamshad of Kharad village in Muzaffarnagar district narrated how the police acted as mute spectators while frenzied mobs torched mosques and killed innocents.

    He alleged that the district administration had refused to recognise the claims of compensation made by the victims.

    At an event held at Gandhi Bhawan here, Kavita Krishnan, national secretary of the All India Progressive Women Association, spoke about the sexual assaults on women living in relief camps.

    She urged the state to ensure the safety and security of women who survived the violence.

    Syeda Hameed, a member of the Planning Commission, said the Uttar Pradesh government was duty bound to provide support to all those who were ready to go back to their homes.

    "The government should put in all the resources at its command to ensure that a peaceful and safe environment welcomes these people back into their homes," Hameed told IANS.

    Earlier, the JCI submitted a memorandum to the state and union governments seeking a single window system so that survivors could go through administrative formalities regarding compensation, rehabilitation, availing banking facilities, getting back lost identity documents and related issues.

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    By IANS,

    Hyderabad : Tension prevailed at Osmania University again Tuesday with the pro-Telangana students trying to take out a rally clashed with the police.

    Witnesses said one student was injured when she was hit by one of the gas shells fired by the police to disperse students trying to break the security cordon and take out a rally, defying ban orders.

    Demanding separate Telangana state without any restrictions, the students wanted to take out a rally and lay siege to the assembly.

    As the prohibition orders are in force, police stopped the students, who were raising slogans of 'Jai Telangana'. The protestors pelted stones on policemen deployed at the NCC Gate. The police retaliated with firing of teargas shells.

    A similar attempt by the students last week had led to the tension on the campus.

    Police arrested about 30 students near state assembly building as they staged a protest demanding that the assembly take up debate on the Telangana bill. The students of Nizam College located near the assembly voiced their concern over the delay in the debate on the bill.

    Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill 2013, sent by the President last month for the assembly's view, is yet to be taken up for debate due to protests by legislators from Seemandhra opposing state's division.

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    By IANS,

    Riyadh : The Saudi Arabian government is mulling over proposals to expand the Nitaqat system, a labour policy to create jobs for its nationals, in its bid to reduce the number of foreign workers and create more jobs with higher salaries for its citizens in the country.

    Under the proposed law, expatriates in the country would be able to stay a maximum of eight years and would be discouraged from bringing their families, the Arab News reported Monday.

    Expatriate workers living in the country with their wives and two children will be considered as two foreign workers under the proposed system.

    The couple will accumulate 1.5 points and will incur a quarter of a point per child.

    An expatriate receiving a salary of 6,000 Saudi riyals (about $1600) and more per month will be equivalent to 1.5 points in the new system.

    However, expatriate professionals whose degrees have been attested by Saudi authorities, will be exempted from the salary rule.

    Many Saudi nationals and expatriates have opposed the proposals, saying these would discourage foreign professionals from working in the country and affect businesses.

    “The ministry has floated these proposals for discussion on its website. The move to discourage foreigners to bring their families is not a good idea,” Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of an NGO, Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives, said.

    Badawood said the ministry’s plan to consider payment of an 8,000-Saudi riyal monthly salary to a Saudi worker as equal to employing two Saudis could reduce the productivity of professionals.

    “Paying a high salary to a well-trained and hard-working Saudi will be a wise decision to keep him in the company and win his loyalty,” he was quoted as saying.

    Rafeek Younus, vice-president and managing director of Saihati Group, a Saudi engineering group, said the ministry should avoid taking decisions that would send a wrong message to businesses and investors.

    He said the new proposed rules would discourage Saudis from opening small and medium-sized enterprises.

    According to the draft law, a Saudi worker who earns a salary of 4,000 Saudi riyals per month will account for a full national employee, while those who receive 2,000 Saudi riyals a month will be treated as half a national employee in the Nitaqat system.

    The ministry said an expatriate who has completed four years in the lunar calendar will count for 1.5 points in the Nitaqat system.

    Those who have completed five years will earn two points, while those working for six years will earn 2.5 points, and those who have completed seven years will earn three points at the start of eighth year since receiving their work permits.

    According to the the new proposed law, three points are the maximum a foreign worker can earn.

    The new law will not apply to nationals who cannot be deported from the country, like refugee Palestinians, the report said.

    The new law was proposed after a study found that unskilled workers stay for more years in the country than skilled ones.

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    By TCN News,

    New Delhi: Civil rights activists have condemned the vindictive actions’ against human rights activist Teesta Setalvad secretary of Citizen's for Justice and Peace and her husband Javed Anand.

    “In the latest round of vindictive actions against human rights defender Teesta Setalvad secretary of Citizen's for Justice and Peace the Gujarat police Crime Branch has registered a false FIR on malicious grounds of cheating etc. This time the vindictiveness of the Gujarat police has extended to also implicating two Survivors Salimbhai Sandhi who lost five family members including his son Mohammed and Firoz Gulzar Pathan who also lost four from his family in the vicious attack on Gulberg Society on 28.2.2002. Javed Anand also a human rights defender has also been roped in as a co-accused in this malicious and motivated case,” a joint statement said.

    The timing of the FIR is significant given the fact that for a full eleven months after CJP and Sabrang had given satisfactory explanations to the Crime Branch investigations had been dropped. In a written complaint to the Crime Branch, Ahmedabad police, the office bearers of Gulberg Society had accused complainant Feroze Khan of forging the letterhead of the society. A former employee of CJP, Rais Khan has been at the root of this and 2 other false criminal complaints against Teesta Setalvad. In both he has been aggressively aided by the Gujarat police.

    The sudden filing of this FIR soon after the Ahmedabad Magistrate's acceptance of the SIT report is not without significance. The timing of this FIR replete with a threat of arrest is seen by us as efforts to prevent prompt filing of appeal in the Zakia Jafri case against Narendra Modi and 59 others.

    These activists see the FIR as a “deliberate campaign to vilify the efforts to procure justice for the victims of the carnage of 2002 and strongly condemn the mala fide attempts to embroil human rights activists like Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand in false cases and demand an immediate withdrawal of these cases.”

    They have extended their solidarity to the struggle for the rights of the 2002 victims and support to Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand.

    The joint statement was signed by following persons:

    Achin Vanaik, Academics
    Aditi Mangaldas, Artist
    Aamir, ANHAD
    Ahmed Sohaib, Academics/JTSA
    Ambarien Alqadr, Academics/JTSA
    Asad, Activist JSSF
    Anuradha Bhasin Jmawal, Senior Journalist
    Annie Raja, NFIW
    Anuradha Chenoy, Academics
    Apoorvanand, Academics
    Anwar khalil, Advocate
    Arshad Ajmal, Activist
    Abha Bhaiya,
    Azam Khan, Hyderabad
    Bhasha, Senior Journalist
    Bhavna Sharma, Anhad
    Bakhtiyar Shiekh, Law Gradute
    Colin Gonsalves, Human Rights Law Network
    Cranti, Ahmedabad
    Darpana Academy
    Eisar, Advocate
    Gulrez kamal Warsi
    Harsh Dobhal, Journalist
    Harsh Kapoor, South Asian Citizens Web
    Indu Prakash Singh, CityMakers Rights Defender
    Ikshula Arora, JSSF
    Jaya Mehta, Economist/Sandarbh Kendra Indore
    Jayshree Joshi Eashwar
    Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Academics
    Kavita Srivastava, PUCL
    KM Shrimali, Historian
    KN Panikkar, Historian
    Kumar Sundaram, Anti Nuclear Activist
    Manisha Sethi, Academics/JTSA
    Mansi Sharma, Activist
    Manan Trivedi, Anhad
    Mohammad Arif, AISF
    Mohd Shariq, Advocate
    Nabanipa Bhattacharjee, Academics/JTSA
    Nandita Das, Actor/Producer
    Navaid Hameed, MOMIEN
    ND Pancholi, PUCL
    Noorjehan Safia Neyaz, BMMA
    Preetika Nanda JSSF
    Praful Bidwai, Writer/Activist
    Purwa Bharadwaj, Activist
    Ram Puniyani, Writer/Activist
    Rupesh, Cultural Activist/Paigham-e-Mohabbat
    Sanghamitra Misra, Academics/JTSA
    Sanjay Kapoor, Senior Editor
    Sanjiv Bhatt, IPS
    Sohail Hashmi, Filmmaker/Writer
    Satya Sivaraman, Journalist
    Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist/Anhad
    Sheba George, Sahrwaru
    Shahid Ali, Advocate
    Surya Gridhyal JSSF
    Saiyed Danish JSSF
    Shweta Sanjiv Bhatt, Gujarat
    Suman Bhattacharyya, Kolkata
    Sukumar Muralidharan, Senior Journalist
    Sunil Sagar, Advocate
    Shoeb Shakil, Advocate
    Tanweer Fazal, Academics/JTSA
    Tanveer Husain khan, ANHAD
    Tajally Shehreyar JSSF
    Tanveer Nasrin, Kolkata
    Umar Daraj, Advocate
    Vineet Tiwari, General Secretary, PWA Indore
    Vinod Kumar, Cultural Activist/Paigham-e-Mohabbat
    Wilfred D Costa, INSAF
    Zakia Soman, BMMA

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    By TCN News,

    Hyderabad: Popular front of India has demanded reservation for Muslims in legislatures. It also urged all the main stream political parties to give good representation to Muslims and the other downtrodden in the coming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

    PFI put forward this idea during its state general assembly held in Kurnool on January 4 and 5, which was attended by the State Executive Council members and various district leaders of the organisation. Mr. KM Shareef , the Chairman of Popular Front of India, Mr. Hameed Mohammed, Mr. Anish Ahmed, national executive members attended the General Assembly as Chief Guests.

    KM Shareef called upon the community leaders to work towards achieving empowerment of Muslims and the other downtrodden.

    At the end of the function a resolution was passed demanding repeal of draconian laws like UAPA, implementation of Sachar Committee and Rangnathan Mishra recommendations besides promoting communal harmony.

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    By Saiyed Danish,,

    Muzaffarnagar: The hollowness of the claims of Uttar Pradesh government that the state machinery tried its best to save the Muzaffarnagar riot victims or they are receiving adequate compensation following their displacement from their native villages post violence can be easily measured by a single visit to Basikalan camp.

    The Basikalan camp in Muzaffarnagar falls under the police station of Shahpur. The victims who have camped here belonged to the twin villages of Kutba and Kutbi which are 6 kilometres from where they are staying now. A total of 250 families and 800 people are currently living in the camp there. Apart from Muslims and Jats, the twin villages also have Jeevat, Prajapatis, Valmikis and Sonars.

    Riot victim Shaukeen Shareef with his four children.

    Their biggest pain is that present MLA of Budhana for which they all had campaigned with great enthusiasm in the 2012 assembly elections turned a blind eye to them when the riots broke at the night of September 8. Nawazish Khan is MLA from Budhana.

    “On the night of riots we kept on trying our MLA’s phone number but after not attending the calls initially he switched off his phone. We were foolish to think that he would take care of our community after winning the elections,” says village chief Mursaleem.

    “I used to live in kasbah Soligaon. The attackers caught me in the village. I was thrashed badly but I somehow managed to run from the village. The police did not file any FIR there as their station fell in Jat area. Finally, paramilitary took me to hospital where I was treated,” says Mohammad Yameen.

    “When we tried to escaped overnight from our villages amid heavy firing and violence. The attackers had blocked us from both sides. Mursaleem contacted paramilitary and sent other vehicles also to rescue as many Muslims as possible. Without him we would all have been dead,” says another victim Hasan.

    “Shahpur police created a very negative role in the riots. When we approached them to complain about heavy firing from the Jats’ side they laughed and said that it was the sound of fire crackers. It was the CO of Budhna who ensured our safe passage from Kutba to Basikalan,” Hasan adds.

    The victims recall that the Jats had become quite active from before the riots and were giving inflammatory speeches for many weeks before the night of violence.

    File photo of Kandhla based Adv. Asad Hayaat who has taken up victims' cases.

    “There is Dr. Sanjeev Walian of BJP, Pradhan Devender of Kutbi village, Upender who worked as dealers whose involvement we clearly remember. Together they had formed an organization called Sandhya Shakti Sangh. They would conduct meetings twice a week and specially appeal all the youth to attend them,” says Mursaleem.

    “Out of 8 people killed in Kutba village, 4 are from my family only. I have lost everyone in this violence. What kind of compensation should I await?” asks a melancholic Imran from Kutba village.

    Due to active endeavours of Mursaleem, 90 people from this camp alone will be getting new homes soon. However, contrary to the state government claims most of the victims have not received compensation.

    So far, only 9 villages have received a somewhat rehabilitation package and too after Supreme Court intervened into the matter and admonished U.P. government.

    “The government has adopted the system of providing the compensation on the basis of the number of hearths used in the families. One cooking stove or hearth stands for a married couple which amounts to the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh as per announced by the U.P. government for one family,” informs Mursaleem.

    “This way, if a large joint family has three married couples then properly it should be getting three stoves but the irregular system of compensation also calculates it in terms of the number of main gates a house has. Even in this system, one large joint family, which live sin home whose entrance is through only ‘one main gate, inadequately gets the compensation meant for one small family only,” he explains.

    Yasir (28), is married. His wife is pregnant and he has already two children to care for. He has not yet received his pension. Shaukeen Shareef has four children. He also has his voter and ration card but has not got compensation yet.

    Another man Mohtashem says in his helpless voice that he lost everything in the riots as his house was burnt by the attackers.

    “Since my stay in this camp I have not received any help form the government. We are managing somehow with the help of our chief,” he says.

    Asad Hayaat, a Kandhla based advocate who is looking after the cases of compensation highlight gross laxity on the part of government in providing compensation to the riot victims.

    File photo of Mursaleem, village chief at Basikalan camp who saved many lives the night violence took place.

    “I think government’s compensation policy is unfair. They have proudly announced that they had provided Rs. 5 lacs to 1800 families but they also issued a diabolic order that if any victimised family which has already received the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh be found returning to its native village, the entire amount will be taken back from them. This is neither compensation nor rehabilitation,” he says.

    “We know cases where the government has calculated that the valuation of a person’s property is Rs. 25 lakh, but even that family is receiving a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh once they sign the affidavit that they will never return to their native villages again. That means that if that family wants to sell their property in the native village they will not be allowed to do so. In such a scenario, valuation properties left by the victims come down to a few thousands. I don’t think this can be anybody’s idea of justice,” he argues.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : Delhi Police are looking for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives who tried to recruit in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district following last year's riots, said sources Tuesday.

    Delhi Police, on the basis of inputs by an intelligence agency, registered in December a case of criminal conspiracy and membership of the banned terror outfit.

    Acting on the information, Md. Shahid and Md. Rashid were arrested from Haryana's Mewat district.

    During interrogation, police found that Rashid along with another LeT member went to Deoband and met Liaqat, a 58-year-old resident of Muzaffarnagar and a government school teacher, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) S.N. Srivastava told a press conference.

    Srivastava said both of them stayed at Liaqat's house for a few days.

    Liyaqat took the two to Thana Bhawan railway station in Muzaffarnagar district, where he arranged their meeting with Zameer, another resident of Muzaffarnagar, and left the place.

    Srivastava skirted a query on recruitment, saying now there is a one-sided version from those who have been arrested and "we are now looking to arrest more LeT members".

    He said that the "truth will be unravelled after more arrests".

    Another investigating officer told IANS that Zameer has a criminal background and he constructed mosques.

    Police sources said Shahid and Rashid with the other LeT member went to collect scriptures from Muzaffarnagar to radicalise the riot victims to join the outfit.

    Liyaqat and Zameer belong to Muzaffarnagar but they were not riot victims, said Srivastava.

    The duo told Zameer they want to kidnap people and demand ransom money for the construction of a mosque in the area. Zameer, however, backed off.

    Rashid and the other person then went back to Mewat through Palwal.

    Liyaqat and Zameer were detained and their statements were recorded.

    Sources said that a search is now on for LeT operatives Abdul Subhan, Aftab Ansari, Aamir Raza Khan and Jawed Baluchi.

    Abdul Subhan is wanted as he along with Rashid was also planning to kidnap people for ransom for construction of mosques.

    The September riots in Muzaffarnagar claimed over 60 lives, and displaced over 43,000 people.

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    By IANS,

    New Delhi : BJP Tuesday sought a probe in the revelation that terror outfit LeT tried to recruit youth from Uttar Pradesh's riot hit Muzzafarnagar district.

    The Congress said it only reinforced what Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had earlier said, while the Bharatiya Janata Party demanded that the issue be taken seriously.

    "The issue should be probed and taken very seriously," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Rajnath Singh said Tuesday.

    The statement came after news reports claimed suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists approached Muzaffarnagar riot victims to recruit men.

    The men, whose statements have been recorded, are residents of relief camps in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli. They are believed to have told investigators that two Imams from Mewat - Hafeez Rashid and Shahid - allegedly made numerous visits along with a senior LeT operative, currently on the run, according to the report.

    Congress' Digvijaya Singh said it reinforced Rahul Gandhi's statement.

    "What Rahul Gandhi had said about terrorist groups trying to recruit the Muzaffarnagar riot victims is true and has been reinforced. It is important to understand that there is fundamentalism whether it be a Hindu or a Muslims. Since it is a threat to the country so everybody has to fight against it collectively," Digvijaya Singh told reporters.

    Rahul Gandhi, in a rally before the recent assembly polls, said he received intelligence report of terror outfits approaching Muslim youth in riot hit areas of Uttar Pradesh.

    BJP attacked Gandhi for his comments, questioning how intelligence inputs were shared with him though he was not a part of the government.

    "Who gave information to whom... the facts that have been revealed need to be probed," Rajnath Singh added.

    Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said suitable measures should be taken so that any conspiracy from across the border can be tackled.

    "On the whole issue of conspiracy, particularly the challenge from across the border, the entire attitude of the government of India has been very indifferent, at great cost to the country," Prasad said.

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