Tolo News – Government accused of double standards in probing sexual abuse claims

Member Nabil’s team said the government is ignoring sexual abuse allegations against certain officials. Some critics and presidential candidates on Saturday accused the Afghan government of double standards in assessing sexual abuse allegations against public servants.

Kabul – Kabul Province – Afghanistan, 22 July 2019. Recently, President Ghani’s administration came under repeated accusations of sexual abuse of women by a number of high-ranking officials of the cabinet, including some ministers.

The issue was first raised by General Habibullah Ahmadzai, a former security adviser to President Ghani, who alleged that some members of the president’s administration were trading government positions for sexual favors.

The issue continued to trigger more allegations against the government institutions by a number of former officials and women’s rights activists.

A woman politician who ran for last year’s parliamentary elections, Hamida Wardak claimed that she has credible evidence which proves that some former members of the election commission had “illegitimate” demands from her in return for her success in the polls.

Ahmadzai apologized for his recent comments in an address to reporters on July 16, but he reiterated that certain groups within the government have continued with “sexual favors from women” in return for key posts.

Referring to these issues, Arif Kayani, a spokesman for Rahmatullah Nabil’s election team, said that the district governor of Wakhan, Abdul Maruf Khairkhwah was suspended after allegations of harassment of a foreign tourist in the northeastern province of Badakhshan.

But, he said, sexual abuse allegations against individuals closed to President Ghani were “repeatedly ignored”.

“Unfortunately, government suspends a person who is accused [of sexual abuse] based on some reports but forgets big cases which involve close aides of the leader [election] team,” Kayani told Tolo News on Saturday.

A female member of the Afghan Senate, Anarkali Kaur Honaryar, said such cases should be probed impartially.

“We demand that these cases should be investigated thoroughly,” she reiterated.

The allegations have been repeatedly rejected by government.

“The Attorney General’s Office has the authority to investigate this issue and we are happy with its activities,” President Ghani’s spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

He said the Attorney General’s Office started probing the claims by Ahmadzai from the first but their time was wasted due to “lack of evidence” on the allegations.

This comes as a senior official of the United Nations last week called for an investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse of women in Afghanistan.

The Tribune – Agro-experts inspect cotton crop sown with drip irrigation

To formulate doses of fertilisers, pesticides by next year

Kulwinder Sandhu, Tribune News Service

Moga – Panjab – India, 21 July 2019. Cotton crop sown using drip irrigation in Fazilka, Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa districts is growing healthy without any report of pest attack. This was observed by a team of agro-experts who inspected the cotton crop this week.

The Union Government is encouraging the farmers to adopt drip irrigation technology for cotton crop by providing a subsidy of 80 per cent on the total cost of the equipment to overcome the scarcity of power in peak summer months and preserve the constantly depleting underground water.

Under the instructions of Dr Kahan Singh Pannu, Secretary, Agriculture, the team of experts comprising Dr Joginder Singh, Dr Jaswinder Singh Brar and others, observed the condition of crop mainly for nutrients management in the villages of Hisar district in Haryana for a comparative study in Punjab villages.

Cotton on drip irrigation in Haryana started about two years ago, while in Punjab this project was initiated during the current season.

Dr Joginder Singh and Dr Brar said at present, mostly the farmers were following the doses of macro and micro nutrients as recommended for conventional methods by agricultural universities. “The purpose of the study is to reduce the intake of fertilisers and pesticides in the crop sown on drip irrigation,” they said.

They observed that there was an urgent need to work out the actual doses of fertilisers which were required on cotton sown on drip irrigation. “The scientists are working on this project and hopefully we will evaluate the doses by the next cropping season,” they added.

Wondelgem: Gaardenierspad – Maisstraat

Wondelgem – Evergem
10 July 2019

Wondelgem’s land mark

Japanse Duizendknoop – Japanese knotweed

Maisstraat – De Wondelgemse watertoren

Van Beverenplein – Funfair

Francisco Ferrerlaan

Van Beverenplein – Tramstop

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

DNA India – Punjab: Accused in biggest heroin haul dies in police custody

Gurpinder Singh, who was arrested in a raid by the Customs department at the Attari border on June 30, was reportedly sick for some time in an Amritsar jail.

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 22 July 2019. Barely a few weeks after the biggest ever drug haul was busted in Punjab on June 30, the main accused in the case, Gurpinder Singh, died on Sunday in police custody.

Singh, who was arrested in a raid by the Customs department at the Attari border in Punjab’s Amritsar on June 30, was reportedly sick for some time while he was lodged in an Amritsar jail.

On Sunday morning, he started throwing up while brushing his teeth and was immediately rushed to a civil hospital. However, he died on the way, Deputy Superintendent of Police Kamaljeet Singh said. His body has now been sent for a post-mortem to the Amritsar civil hospital.

On June 30, the Customs Department had seized 532 kg of suspected heroin worth Rs 2,700 crore, in the biggest-ever drug haul, which was being smuggled in a truck through the trade route at the Attari border.

The consignment of mixed narcotics was brought to Attari from Pakistan through Integrated Check Post (ICP) and was concealed under hundreds of bags of rock salt in the truck, officials had said.

Of the 600 bags which were recovered, 15 were suspected to contain narcotic materials. On further examination of the 15 bags, it was found that they contained 532 kg of heroin, 52 kg of mixed narcotics and its value was placed at Rs 2,700 crore.

After the consignment was intercepted, Customs (Preventive) Commissioner Deepak Kumar Gupta had called it the biggest achievement in the annals of the Indian Customs history.

The Hindu – Yogi Adityanath pins Sonbhadra blame on Congress – Samajwadi Party

Omar Rashid

Lucknow – Uttar Pradesh – India, 21 July 2019. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday held the Congress and partly the Samajwadi Party responsible for the Sonbhadra killings over a land dispute, which he said were a result of the “sins” committed by the previous Congress governments.

Mr Adityanath said “going to the bottom” of the case, the incident “is an example of a political conspiracy and goondagardi (hooliganism)”, and had exposed the “anti-Dalit and anti-tribal face of the Congress”.

He said the National Security Act would be invoked against all those involved in the land grab incident.

The CM, who visited the affected village in Sonbhadra and met the families of the victims, also claimed that the main accused in the shootings, gram pradhan Yagya Dutta, was an “active member” of the SP, while his brother belonged to the Bahujan Samaj Party. Both have been arrested.

In an apparent dig at Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who had a 24-hour stand-off with the Mirzapur administration over the issue, Mr Adityanath said the Congress, which was “shedding crocodile tears”, should apologise to the poor tribal families for starting the land dispute leading to the loss of 10 lives.

According to the two-member probe by the Yogi Adityanath government, the land dispute in Umbha and Sipah villages in Ghorawal, Sonbhadra, where the shoot-out took place, traces its genesis to 1955, when a tract of barren tribal land was illegally registered under the name of a public trust, Adarsh Cooperative Society, run by a then Congress Rajya Sabha MP.

Then, in 1989, when the Congress was still ruling in UP, the government said the trust’s land was transferred in the name of individual members of the trust, who then sold it to the accused gram pradhan in 2017 after failing to get possession. A three-member committee under the Additional Chief Secretary-Revenue has been formed to probe the entire matter.

Compensation increased

Mr Adityanath, meanwhile, increased the compensation for the families of the deceased to Rs 18.5 lakh from Rs 5 lakh, while the injured would receive Rs 5 lakh against the Rs 50,000 announced earlier.

The CM, while assuring all help and development to locals, also promised them that houses would be provided to members of the SC and ST communities of Sonbhadra within a year, while a separate committee would be formed to pay attention to the overall development of the district. The affected villages would also get a police outpost, an Anganwadi centre and a fire tender centre.

Ms Vadra, who was prevented from visiting the affected village in Sonbhadra by the Yogi Adityanath government, tried to take credit for the CM’s visit. “Better late than never, standing with the victims is the duty of the government,” Ms. Vadra tweeted.

‘Fulfil demands’

She said when thousands of Congress workers and justice-loving people supported the voice of the victims of Umbha village, the government realised that it was a “serious incident.”

Ms Vadra also asked the Yogi Adityanath government to implement the promises made by him in Sonbhadra and also fulfil their demands.

Ms Vadra had on Saturday endorsed the five-fold demand put forth by the tribals: Rs 25 lakh compensation to the family of each victim; ownership rights over the land they have been cultivating for generations; fast track hearing of the July 17 killings in Ghorawal; withdrawal of cases against “innocent” villagers over the land dispute; and security for tribals leading the fight for their land rights.