Tolo News – Educational, judicial institutions ‘most corrupt’ : IWA Survey

The IWA has said 8,000 face-to-face interviews were conducted with Afghan respondents in 34 provinces, while International Anti-Corruption day is marked on Sunday.

Kabul – Afghanistan, 09 December 2018. The Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) survey shows that Afghanistan’s legal, judicial and educational institutions remain the “most corrupt” among government institutions.

Based on the survey, after insecurity, unemployment and corruption are among the major concerns of the Afghan people.

But, President Ashraf Ghani in his speech to a gathering in Kabul, marking International Anti-Corruption Day, highlighted the government’s anti-corruption campaign and expressed satisfaction with the performance of the Afghan legal and judicial institutions towards combating the trend.

“Who believes that our prosecutor and our judge do not (sway) on corruption? Thanks to the Chief Justice and the attorney general, and the whole legal and judicial system.

You must not forget that thousands of cases have remained unresolved for many years, but today, by the Grace of Allah, the cases are processed on a quarterly basis in the Supreme Court of Afghanistan,” said Ghani.

“We are still facing major challenges and obstructions, but I can say with satisfaction that some judgments from within and outside the country, about the national unity government regarding the issue, is not based on justice,” said Mohammad Sawar Danish, Second Vice President.

According to IWA, a total of 8,000 face-to-face interviews were conducted with Afghan respondents in 34 provinces of the country, of which, 14% of the respondents said that the legal and judicial institutions are the most corrupt institutions in Afghanistan; 10% said the ministry of education is the most corrupt, while 9% said that the attorney general’s office is the most corrupt institution in the country.

“Legal, judicial and educational institutions are named as the most corrupt institutions, but we should realize that we do not have another 17 years, we need to reform ourselves in the next two years, reform the government, reform the system, otherwise, we will face another tragedy,” said IWA chairman Sayed Ekram Afzali.

The survey also states that corruption exists on a large scale in Afghanistan’s election management bodies – the Independent Election Commission (IEC) and the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission (IECC).

Meanwhile, chairman of the IECC Abdul Aziz Aryayee also confirmed the existence of corruption in these areas. Aryayee said the election law is discriminatory.

“Corruption will not be eradicated from Afghanistan unless we consider broad-based and real reforms in our society for undertaking reforms in the election commissions to determine that these commissions work properly,” he said.

In addition, Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said corruption is threatening Afghanistan’s national security and the issue could impact on international aid to Afghanistan.

“It is time to put frameworks into practice to ensure that anti-corruption laws and strategies bring about real change for Afghan citizens,” said Yamamoto.

“Recognizing that the efforts and commitment of the government are yet to impact the lives of many Afghans, the United Nations maintains that corruption must be addressed in Afghanistan as a substantial obstacle to long-term peace and prosperity,” UNAMA said in a press release.

US ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said transparency is needed to deter, detect and disrupt corruption.

“Today is International Anti-Corruption Day. The United States and Afghanistan are jointly committed to shining a spotlight on those who would seek to benefit by stealing finances and resources from the people of Afghanistan,” Bass said.

“Financial transparency and merit-based hiring are key to deter, detect and disrupt corruption. The government of Afghanistan must continue its reforms to fight corruption to improve citizen trust in government.

Asset registration by government officials is a critical part of transparency and accountability. The government of Afghanistan has made progress in registering assets, and in Geneva committed to completing the verification process,” he said.

“Corruption hinders economic growth, erodes trust in government, and impedes peace and security. All parts of government must fight corruption, the judiciary, the legislature and the executive branch,” tweeted Bass.

Based on the IWA, the overall amount of money used in corruption in Afghanistan in 2018 is estimated at $1.7 billion.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/educational-judicial-institutions-%E2%80%98most-corrupt%E2%80%99-iwa-survey

Advertisements

The Tribune – Assembly session called to scuttle Insaaf March: Simarjit Singh Bains

Book Badals for sacrilege incidents, demands Sukhpal Singh Khaira

Sukhmeet Bhasin, Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo – Panjab – India, 08 December 2018. Rebel Aam Aadmi Party leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira and his group of MLAs, Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains and MP Dharamvira Gandhi along with the support of religious and social organisations started Insaaf March from Takht Damdama Sahib at Talwandi Sabo on Saturday.

The march will conclude at Patiala on 16 December after passing through various villages in Bathinda, Sangrur and Patiala districts.

Addressing the gathering, Bains alleged that the state government had deliberately called the three-day Vidhan Sabha session to sabotage the march led by 10 MLAs.

He added that all 10 MLAs would not attend the Assembly session, instead would go to people’s session.

He claimed that earlier during the Bargari march, both Congress and SAD had organised rallies at Lambi and Patiala, respectively, to sabotage their march, but still people turned out in large numbers.

Khaira said the Akal Takht Jathedar should take away the Faqr-e-Quam title from Parkash Singh Badal and case should be registered against the Badal family over sacrilege incidents.

Besides, the Jathedar should call Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to the Akal Takht for taking a “false vow” and claiming that he would end drugs in the state after assuming power.

Further lashing out at SAD and Congress, Khaira said in the past 70 years these two parties had not been able to resolve the stray cattle menace, despite taking cow cess from the people. He alleged that both SAD and Congress looted Punjab.

Dr Gandhi said, “Punjab is facing economic, religious and political crisis. The condition is such that a large number of people are going abroad in search of employment.”

They claimed that they were holding this march to mobilise people on various issues concerning the state, including betterment of farmers and youth.

Meanwhile, the United Akali Dal and Dal Khalsa announced support to Khaira for the march. UAD president Mokham Singh took part in the march.

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/assembly-session-called-to-scuttle-insaaf-march-bains/695700.html

Outlook India – J&K: When a Sikh girl’s desire to donate a kidney to a Muslim friend becomes a long battle

Authorities at the SKIMS have not cleared the case as Kohli’s father has made a representation against her decision.

Naseer Ganai

Srinagar – Jammu & Kashmir – India, 08 December 2018. When 23-year-old activist Manjot Singh Kohli decided to donate her kidney to her ailing friend Samreen Malik in the summer of this year, little did she know that she had to face a long battle.

Five months down the line, Kohli is so angry with the “delaying procedure” of the Sheri Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Srinagar (SKIMS) that she says she will move the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to settle the case.

“I think this case will not take much time in the High Court as I am a major,” Kolhi told Outlook. “I expect in one hearing the High Court would give decision in the case as any delay will cost life here,” she added.

She says judgments of different courts are clear that any major person in good health can donate her kidney according to her own will.

According to Kohli, in August this year she came to know through social media that Samreen was suffering from kidney failure. “I was shocked. I called Samreen and she confirmed it. I came to Srinagar as her family had brought her here for the treatment,” she said.

Kohli hails from Udhampur district while Samreen is from Rajouri. Kohli after completing her B.A Hons in English from Shimla in 2015 started her social work in Jammu. She also runs an NGO called ‘International Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Council’.

It is during her work as an activist, she met Samreen who is a graduate from the University of Jammu, and they became good friends. “When I heard about her illness, I realised that I must help her out,” she said.

Samreen’s family members were ready to donate kidney to her but their kidneys didn’t match her. Her mother’s kidney was also rejected due to ailments. As Manjot offered her kidney to Samreen, doctors found it a perfect match. However, when when Manjot conveyed her decision to her parents, her father didn’t agree.

“I can understand his anxiety. He is a father and like every father he is worried about his child. But I am a major, I have taken a decision and it is biggest decision of my life,” she said, adding “for girls of my age marriage is a biggest decision of their life but for me Samreen’s life is priority.”

Authorities at the SKIMS have not cleared the case as Kohli’s father has made a representation against her decision. “The institute convey its reservations through the media but they don’t talk to us. I have written to the SKIMS authorities that they should directly communicate to us so that we can approach the court,” said Kohli.

Dr Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS, says the father of the donor has made a representation against allowing the girl to donate her kidney, adding the authorization committee of the hospital has decided that the case will be decided by the court now.

But Kohli rejects it. “Rajasthan High Court’s recent judgment and other judgements of different courts are explicit about the issue. The family cannot come between in a decision of an adult person about donating kidney for transplant. Besides, I am living separately and I must be allowed to take decision about my body,” says Kohli.

Samreen is overwhelmed by the support from Kohli who is with her for the past five months. She hopes for a better future now and wants to study fashion designing. “We have been friends and sisters and we will be like this always,” she said.

Kohli has won hearts in Kashmir. “Manjot Singh Kohli it is people like you that keep human values and humanity alive and thriving in this world. More power to you,” read a Facebook post. And, there are hundreds of such posts.

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/jk-when-a-sikh-girls-desire-to-donate-kidney-to-a-muslim-friend-becomes-a-long-battle/321386

The Hindu – Kartarpur game plan of ISI, says Amarinder Singh

‘The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor is clearly a game plan of the ISI’

Special Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 09 December 2018. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday said the fact that Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa had broken news of the opening of the “’Kartarpur corridor” to Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their Prime Minister, was indicative of “a bigger conspiracy hatched by the Pakistan Army.”

An official statement, citing an interview of Captain Amarinder Singh to a TV channel, said, “The opening of the Kartarpur corridor is clearly a game plan of the ISI. A bigger conspiracy seems to have been hatched by the Pakistan Army against India.

Since Partition

Captain Amarinder said the demand for the opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor had been pending since Partition as several holy Sikh shrines (Sri Nankana Sahib, Sri Panja Sahib, Dera Sahib and Kartarpur Sahib) had been left in Pakistan.

Even former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Dr. Manmohan Singh had taken up the issue. He said he himself had raised this issue with his Pakistan Punjab counterpart Parvez Elahi, and with the then President, Pervez Musharraf, during his previous tenure as the chief minister.

“The Sidhu affair was being unnecessarily hyped, and those raising it had clearly failed to see the ISI’s game plan,” he added.

Captain Amarinder said Imran Khan was undoubtedly making efforts to bring peace and harmony to India, but at the same time, he should also prevail upon the top brass of Pakistani Army, “to ensure that killing of our soldiers at the borders is stopped immediately.”

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kartarpur-corridor-punjab-cm-dubs-it-a-conspiracy-of-pak-army/article25704316.ece

Sikh24.com – Punjab government approves Rs 1.59 billion to develop and beautify Dera Baba Nanak area

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 04 December 2018. Highly hailing the initiative of India and Pakistan on Kartarpur corridor, the Punjab government has termed the move as a historic step.

A resolution in this concern was passed by the Punjab cabinet on December 3 announcing constitution of a Dera Baba Nanak Development Authority for the development and beautification of the area in and around Dera Baba Nanak ahead of the 550th birthday celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

It is noteworthy here that the Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh has already announced a slew of development projects for upgrading the infrastructure and facilities for the millions of pilgrims expected to visit the area during the historic occasion, for which the year-long celebrations were kicked off by the state government on November 23 this year.

“The cabinet, at its meeting here, said with the laying of the foundation stone for the corridor, a long-pending demand of the Sikhs had been fulfilled, thus paving the way for opening the way for devotees to visit the historic Kartarpur Gurdwara, close to the Line of Control” reads a press release from the Chief Minister’s Office.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sanctioned Rupees 1.59 billion for the beautification of Dera Baba Nanak town.

Sikh24 has learnt that these funds will be used for developing the road running through the main market of Dera Baba Nanak on the lines of the Amritsar heritage street. The project work is expected to begin later this week.

“A sum of Rupees 90 million has been earmarked for improving facilities, including the installation of street lights, within the Municipal Committee limits of the town” informed the local legislator Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

He added that Rupees 610 million have been reserved for implementing a project to draw water from the Uppar Bari Doab Canal for supplying the water to 40 villages of the constituency facing water scarcity.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/12/04/punjab-government-approves-rupees-1-59-billion-to-develop-and-beautify-dera-baba-nanak-area/#.XAvf9eJ7nIU

NDTV – “Hope India Will Respond Positively To Kartarpur Corridor”: Pakistan PM

The Sikh community has responded very positively to the effort to open the Kartarpur border, Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 06 December 2018. Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistan Army on Thursday hoped that India will respond “positively” to Pakistan’s “goodwill gesture” of opening the Kartarpur border for the Sikh pilgrims.

On 28 November Mr Khan laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor on the Pakistani side while on 26 November Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh laid its foundation stone in Punjab’s Gurdaspur.

The corridor will connect Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev’s final resting place in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district in India, fulfilling a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.

Addressing the Cabinet, Mr Khan said: “Unfortunately the Indian media has given Kartarpur (border opening) a political colour, as if we did this to gain some sort of political mileage… This is not true. We did it because it is part of (the ruling) Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s manifesto,” he said.

“We have religious sites that are important for Hindus and Buddhists; we should open them up and facilitate the people,” Mr Khan said, without explaining.

The Sikh community has responded very positively to the effort to open the Kartarpur border, he said.

“It is to them (Sikhs) what Medina is to us Muslims. We hope that India will also respond positively in return,” the Prime Minister said.

In a separate press conference in Rawalpindi, Director General Major General Asif Ghafoor of army’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Pakistan has taken several positive initiatives for peace with India, and the latest one was the groundbreaking of the Kartarpur corridor.

Mr Ghafoor said that the corridor will be constructed in six months after which 4,000 Sikh pilgrims will be able to visit daily.

“It will be a one-way corridor from the Indian side to Kartarpur, and the Sikh pilgrims will remain restricted to Kartarpur,” the officer added.

Mr Ghafoor also raised concern over the increasing ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary allegedly by the Indian forces, saying 55 civilians have been killed in cross-border aggression this year, the highest in history.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pak-pm-imran-khan-says-hope-india-will-respond-positively-to-kartarpur-corridor-1958903

Dawn – The Afghanisation of politics

Cyril Almeida

Op/Ed, 09 December 2018. Call it the Afghanisation of politics. You can guess what they don’t want, but you can’t really be certain about what they do want. And maybe it makes a kind of sense: you can’t ever be defeated if you never say what it is that you really want.

Politics in Pakistan mirroring Pakistan on Afghanistan.

What does Pakistan, the state of Pakistan, want in Afghanistan? Given how obsessed we are, or the state of Pakistan is, with Afghanistan, you’d think there would be an easy, capsule answer to toss out and pop in.

Like: national security! India is the enemy! Politicians are corrupt!

But it’s not all that easy with Afghanistan. You can say with high confidence that the state doesn’t want India in Afghanistan and does want the Taliban to be part of the ruling dispensation. But that’s not really saying all that much.

The Pakistani state doesn’t want India in Afghanistan because it fears encirclement or whatever. Fine, at least it’s some kind of logic. But ‘no India in Afghanistan’ translates into what exactly?

As the government stumbles from crisis to crisis, as ministers begin to knife each other, it’s increasingly hard to figure out what this was and is all about.

No physical presence? No military presence, but economic stuff acceptable? No presence meaning no influence? And no influence with whom: the Pakhtuns or the non-Pakhtuns? And if no influence anywhere, how do we negate India’s ties to the non-Pakhtuns in Afghanistan?

The ‘Taliban in government’ stuff is difficult to flesh out, too. We seem sure, or we say so anyway, that we don’t want to go back to the late ’90s, ie the Taliban outright ruling Afghanistan. But if we don’t want them to rule 100 per cent, then what per cent of power do we want for the Taliban?

Fifty per cent? 75? 25? 40? 10?

Nobody knows. And maybe not even ourselves.

If you don’t say what you want, you can never be defeated.

Contrast that with the Americans and the Afghan government. Wild conspiracy aside, it’s pretty easy to say that the Americans would rather have defeated the Taliban than not. Maybe the Americans would have wanted a residual military presence in Afghanistan, maybe they’d have stuck around to keep an eye on Pakistan and our nukes.

But you can pretty easily assert that the Americans, if they could have, would like to have militarily defeated the Taliban.

Same with the Afghan government. If it could, the Afghan government would rather not have to make peace with the Taliban.

The last Afghan government or this one would rather that the US military or, less likely, the Afghan army have defeated the Taliban, and the Afghan government get more power, more durability and become the long-term political solution in Afghanistan.

You can quite clearly see that no Afghan government will get what it really wants. But at least you can be sure what it, this, the previous or any non-Taliban Afghan government, really wants.

Not so with Pakistan.

And now it has infected politics here. The Afghanisation of politics is really the mysteriousness of what’s going on here. As the government stumbles from crisis to crisis, as ministers begin to knife each other and confusion and chaos reign, it’s increasingly hard to figure out what this was and is all about.

What do they want?

We know that they don’t want Nawaz in. Fine. They hate it when one of their own turns on them, and few have belonged to and turned on as spectacularly as Nawaz has. But after Nawaz, what?

Imran may have been the obvious alternative, but it’s become blindingly obvious that there was zero preparation. And you can’t really blame Imran for that: why should he prepare in the final months for something he had not really prepared for in 22 years?

But at least they could have done some prep. And enforced some discipline.

Aha, but the point is to keep all of them weak: Imran, Nawaz, Asif, whoever. Imran was just the latest beneficiary of the system’s periodic need for a new, or old but compliant, face. Again, plausible.

But there’s weak and then there’s catastrophic. If nothing else, you need the civilian front to stop from collapsing in on itself. Because immediate collapse requires constant hand-holding and in that case no one gets anything done.

Plus there’s the stuff with the other folk.

What on earth is the Shahbaz thing all about? One possibility is that as Imran stumbles and the PTI lists, it’s become necessary to keep the pressure on the other side. Because you can’t afford for your precious experiment to be knocked over so soon.

But Shahbaz? It’s like going out of your way to make an example and enemy of the one chap who was desperate to be your friend. And while he maybe can’t do much for you as your friend, he could do something to you as your enemy.

What do they want?

The Asif stuff is equally puzzling. The GDA was primed, ready and willing to eat into the PPP’s seat count in rural Sindh. If you were going to keep up the pressure on Zardari, as seems obvious before and since the election, then why allow him to sweep to total victory in Sindh?

Of all the levers that you could want and you would want to deny your target, surely a total sweep of his base is a good idea to prevent. If they could do it to Nawaz in Punjab, why not Zardari in Sindh?

What do they want?

For now, we can only guess what they don’t want. The Afghanisation of politics has arrived. And it may be the greatest head-scratcher yet.

The writer is a member of staff.

cyril.a@gmail.com

https://www.dawn.com/news/1450345/the-afghanisation-of-politics

The Statesman – Military Literature Festival 2018 begins with tribute to Indian soldiers of WWI

Open for all, the three-day MLF is being attended by military historians from India and abroad, authors, and serving as well as retired military personnel.

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 07 December 2018. The second edition of Military Literature Festival kicked started on Friday with sessions by noted military historians, experts, and defence strategists during various panel discussions on topical subjects related to military history and literature.

Open for all, the three-day MLF is being attended by military historians from India and abroad, authors, and serving as well as retired military personnel.

The Festival is a joint initiative of distinguished military historian and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, with full support extended by the Western Command, Indian Army.

Besides panel discussions and shows related to various wars and military, the MLF will also include martial dances, weapons display, medallion gallery, artists’ corner, cultural activities and exhibitions, food and cuisine, book fair, children’s Saragarhi Samvadh.

Inaugurating the MLF at the Lake Club Chandigarh, Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore dedicated it to the valour of the over 74,000 Indians who had laid their lives in the First World War.

He termed the MLF as a befitting tribute to the unknown martyrs, to mark centenary year of the Great War.

Recalling the unparalleled sacrifice of the Indian soldiers in the two World Wars, the Governor said, “This year also marks the centenary of the Great War of 1914-1918, a time for remembrance of the 74,000 Indians who fell and 67, 000 others who were severely wounded, many of whom never recovered, and they lie in, or their ashes are interred in foreign fields”.

Badnore said that it was a matter of great pride for the country that sent 1.3 million soldiers in these expeditions. The Indian soldiers proved their mettle in these missions by winning 11 Victoria Crosses and significantly six more were won by British officers leading Indian troops, he added.

The Governor expressed satisfaction that during the festival, many important speakers would also focus on the known and unknown facets of these wars to make the younger generation aware of the unique role of Indian soldiers in these expeditions.

He appreciated the fact that the MLF was not confined to the World Wars but will also focus on the heroism and unparalleled courage of the great Maharana Pratap, Shivaji, and many other such warriors who have always been a great source of inspiration.

The MLF is also going to have deliberations on Mahabharata, the world’s longest epic, which was set in this very region, he noted.

Describing Punjab as the Sword Arm of the nation and the Tricity of Chandigarh as the retirement hub of military stalwarts, the Governor said that on assuming charge of Administrator UT, he found that approximately 90 Lieutenant Generals and 133 Major Generals were living in the City Beautiful after retirement.

“I found that no other city that I know of can boast of so many senior and distinguished retired and serving officers staying in one city,” he said.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/military-literature-festival-2018-begins-with-tribute-to-indian-soldiers-of-wwi-1502714518.html

Outlook India – Amritsar Train Tragedy: Magisterial report on probe gives clean chit to Navjot Kaur Sidhu

Navjot Kaur Sidhu was the chief guest at the Ravana effigy burning event where the incident took place and had said earlier that she came to know about the accident as soon as she left the site.

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 06 December 2018. A report of the magisterial probe into the Amritsar train tragedy that killed around 60 people and left several injured has apparently given a “clean-chit” to Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Navjot Kaur Sidhu, was the chief guest at the Ravana effigy burning event where the incident took place. Earlier she had said that she came to know about the accident as soon as she left the site.

Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner B Purushartha, appointed the special executive magistrate by the government to probe the accident, indicted the son of a Congress councillor, who organised the event as well as officials of Amritsar district administration, municipal corporation, railways and local police, official sources said.

The crowd watching the burning of a Ravana effigy near Joda Phatak on October 19 were mowed down by a passing train.

A 300-page report of magisterial probe into the accident stressed that Saurabh Mithu Madan, son of the Congress councillor and a close aide of the Sidhus, should have ensured safety of people at the venue, official sources said.

The report submitted to the Punjab Home Secretary last month also blamed Amritsar administration and municipality officials over safety measures and permission given for holding the event.

The role of railways also came under the scanner for giving the green signal to a fast train despite the presence of a huge crowd on the tracks.

The Home department has put up the file pertaining to the report before Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for further action.

Notably, an inquiry conducted by the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety into this incident had blamed “negligence” of people, standing on the railway track, for the tragic incident.

Meanwhile, Additional Director General of Police (Railways) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota is conducting a separate inquiry into the accident to fix responsibility.

The statements of over 150 people including railway officials and Navjot Kaur Sidhu were recorded by Purushartha, while Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had questioned the Railways for giving clean chit to loco-pilot of the train, had submitted his statement in writing.

Opposition Akali Dal had earlier rejected the institution of the magisterial probe and sought registration of case against Navjot Kaur Sidhu and the event organiser, claiming that she allegedly left the venue without bothering about the victims.

Earlier, Sidhu had urged all political parties to avoid indulging in mudslinging. Sidhu, who visited the civil hospital to meet the bereaved families, said the accident was an outcome of negligence and that it was not motivated.

https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/amritsar-train-tragedy-magisterial-report-on-probe-gives-clean-chit-to-navjot-kaur-sidhu/321305

The Hindu – Centre may bring back curbs in Andamans

The Restricted Area Permit regime was lifted this August from 29 islands, including North Sentinel, to promote tourism

Nistula Hebbar

New Delhi – India, 05 December 2018. The Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, Nand Kumar Sai, has said the Centre may like to revisit its decision to lift the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) system from 29 islands of Andaman and Nicobar, after the death of USA citizen John Allen Chau.

Mr. Sai, who is leading a delegation of the Commission to the islands, told The Hindu that the lifting of the regime proved problematic and the decision had “many pros and cons that needed to be re-looked”.

“I feel that the government should rethink its decision to open these 29 islands to foreigners as the presence of the Sentinelese and their desire to avoid [contacts with] outsiders demonstrate that these are sensitive zones,” he said.

However, the death of John Allen Chau could not be linked to the withdrawal of the regime. “The Commission will deliberate upon the issue once we return to Delhi and finalise our report on the incident.”

To develop tourism, the RAP regime, in place since 1963, was lifted around August this year from 29 islands, including the North Sentinel (where Chau was reportedly killed).

Though the regime was withdrawn, a tourist is required to take permission from the Forest Department and the local administration as it is protected under two other Acts.

Mr. Sai said there might have been some carelessness in tracking the movements of Chau. “We have spoken to senior members of the administration, including Lt. Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Admiral (retired) D.K. Joshi,” he said.

“It is good that the administration is persisting in its efforts to recover Chau’s body; it should be done without further disturbing the Sentinelese,” he said.

“We also met representatives of NGOs working here, including those of the VHP and the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram (affiliated to the RSS)…,” he said.

“Our visits to the Nicobar islands have revealed that there has been much conversion activity by Christian missionaries, and our view is that further contact with tribal groups that have various degrees of exposure to other societies should be on their own terms, and nothing should be forced upon them,” he said.

The delegation will be in Chennai on Thursday and then return to Delhi.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-may-bring-back-curbs-in-andamans/article25674111.ece