The Hindustan Times – Kolkata court issues summons to Shashi Tharoor over ‘Hindu Pakistan’ remark

A petition alleged that Congress leader and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s comment created disharmony and was a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings.

Kolkata – West Bengal – India, 14 July 2018. A Kolkata court has summoned Congress leader and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor for his remark that the BJP will pave the way for creation of a “Hindu Pakistan” if voted to power again, lawyer-petitioner Sumeet Chowdhury said on Saturday.

Chowdhury moved a petition before a metropolitan magistrate’s court on Friday, alleging that Tharoor’s comment created disharmony and was “a deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings”.

Tharoor was also sued under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (1) M Dasgupta directed issuance of the summons to the Congress leader through post and on his Twitter handle.

The court directed him to appear before it on August 14, the next date of hearing.

In his plea, Chowdhury submitted that Tharoor made a public statement that if the BJP is voted to power in the 2019 general election, the party would turn India into a “Hindu Pakistan”.

In the petition, he said Tharoor has refused to apologise for his remark.

Chowdhury alleged that Tharoor’s statement has hurt the religious sentiments of Indians and was intended to create conflict and disharmony, besides insulting a secular country.

In Thiruvananthapuram, the Lok Sabha member had said at a public gathering that if the BJP returns to power, it would rewrite the Constitution and turn India into a “Hindu Pakistan”.


The Hindustan Times – Gurugram has a Hindu-Muslim problem far bigger than the namaz row

On April 20, eight or ten young men from two villages, Kanhai and Wazirabad, rode their motorbikes to the public ground just as the Muslims were about to start their prayers and asked them to pack up, leave, and never return.

Snigdha Poonam

Gurgaon/Gurugram – Haryana – India, 09 July 2018. On 10 June, a Hindu priest and his followers met at a budget bar in Gurugram (previously Gurgaon) to declare war on Muslims.

The alcohol had been replaced by a vegetarian buffet, the doors and windows thrown open to light up the dark interior, the tables and chairs rearranged to host a press conference, but the smell of cheap whiskey remained thick in the air.

Ignoring the inappropriate setting, Narsinghanand Saraswati stared hard at the collected members of the press and made his urgent announcement: “We are about to launch a revolution on the land of Gurgaon.”

Just out of arrest for trying to set himself on fire in front of Haryana’s chief minister’s residence to protest public namaz in Gurugram, Sawaswati said he was going to organise a maha havan in the city to “destroy the enemies of Hindus.”

The president of All India Saints Council, Saraswati, who has built an army of 15,000 young Hindus to fight ISIS, was asked by journalists if he is counting on the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party in his “revolution”.

He fulminated in response. “No political party can save us. Advani ji is too old, retired. Modi ji hasn’t done anything for Hindus in four years to inspire any faith. I don’t know whether Yogi ji is with us or not anymore.” He said all he needed are young Hindus burning with anger, “Our motto should be: Gita in one hand and Gun in another.”

Living and Dying for Hindus

Sitting on his left, young and muscular Amit Hindu twirled his goatee. A wrestler trained in his village’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh akhada, the 23-year-old, who insists that he be known by his chosen last name, said he had only goal in life: “to live for Hindus and to die for Hindus.”

This is what he used to do all day with a bunch of unemployed friends, each affiliated with a local Hindu organisation, in an empty ground near his village, Kanhai, in Gurugram’s Sector 53.

“We used to treat the space as our office. We discussed problems, like the smuggling of cows, and came up with plan of action,” he said. This land was their turf for every day of the week except Friday when Muslims gathered there to offer the afternoon’s namaz. It made them very angry.

On April 20, eight or ten young men from two villages, Kanhai and Wazirabad, rode their motorbikes to the public ground just as the Muslims were about to start their prayers and asked them to pack up, leave, and never return. Yelling ‘Jai Shri Ram’, the young men spread through the crowd of worshippers and spelt out consequences.

Shot on a mobile phone, a video of the incident became instantly viral (“five lakh searches in five days”) and sparked off similar disruptions of namaz all over Gurugram the following Friday.

On April 27, Sector 53’s police arrested six friends of Amit for outraging religions feelings, disturbing religious worship and criminal intimidation. They were let out on bail three days later.

By June 10, two of them had been arrested and released again. “They had a fight with someone and busted his head,” Arvind Dahiya, the officer in charge of the police station, said. The young men keep making trouble, he added. “If it’s not Muslims, it will be someone else. Most of them are in and out of jail.”

Going to jail doesn’t make anyone a criminal, argued Sube Singh Bohra, the ex-headman of Wazirabad and the father of BJP’s councillor from the village, who rallied Gurugram’s administration for the bail out of the six young men. Holding out a plate of homemade sweets, the village patriarch proceeded to offer a series of justifications on their behalf.

“BJP’s president Amit Shah was also in jail on criminal charges. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“I just got out on bail myself. I had been arrested for threatening the police commissioner of Gurugram.”

“What do you think happens in any fight? You either break someone’s head or someone breaks your head.”

A member of the newly formed Sanyukt Hindu Sangarsh Samiti, an umbrella organisation for Gurugram’s vast network of Hindu-interest groups, Bohra said the rising number of Muslim migrants in the villages left the native Hindus with no other option but to fight for survival.

“Otherwise a day will come when we will cease to exist”. In his own village, he later mentioned, Muslims made up less than 2 percent of the population.

“This city is sitting over barrels of gunpowder,” said Rajeev Mittal, a leading light of the Sanyukt Hindu Sangarsh Samiti. “Sparks have been flying across the two sides. The matter has been under control because of the tolerance of Hindus, but things can blow up any day,” he said.

“Our own Muslims we can live with, but the majority of Muslims arriving in Gurugram are from Bangladesh. All of them undocumented. Most of them Rohingyas,” he said, checking his phone for alerts from WhatsApp groups buzzing with Hindu solidarity.

The Gurugram police deny the presence of undocumented migrants from Bangladesh in the city. Official denials do not rattle Rajeev Mittal, however. “It is not a small issue,” he maintained. “These people aren’t worthy of living in civilized society by nature or by behavior. Do you know that Rohingyas burn people alive and eat their flesh?”

Being Muslim in Gurgaon

A native of Nadia district in West Bengal, Akbar Ali can live on fish curry. It’s what he has been cooking every day for a living since he left his village ten years ago. Two months ago, he left his cooking job in Mumbai to join his uncle’s restaurant in Sector 49’s Bengali Market in Gurgaon.

The market caters to the needs of blue-collar migrants from West Bengal who provide their services to white-collar residents of South City, one of Gurugram’s many private townships, as maids, cooks, drivers, security guards and construction workers.

Dozens of people from Nadia live in Ali’s tenement; hundreds from other districts live around Bengali Market; and thousands from his state live in the backyards of shopping malls, gated colonies, and private townships across Gurugram’s newly developed sectors.

Akbar Ali has an Aadhaar card of which one copy remains in the possession of his landlord. He is happy to not live in one of Gurugram’s migrant ghettos where the landlords affix the renters’ identification papers to the gates.

However, the right to privacy isn’t as big a concern for him and his people as the right to offer namaz in the vicinity of their homes or workplaces.

Of Gurugram’s ten official mosques, eight lie in the older areas and remain largely inaccessible to the Muslim migrants settled on the other end of the district. Some travel the long distance nevertheless. Many of them head to their nearest empty ground, park, pavement, parking lot, during lunch time on Fridays.

Ali doesn’t have many options himself. He could pray inside the tin shed put up in the middle of the market by fellow shopkeepers, but its surfaces sizzle in the summer. For now, he travels in his uncle’s auto rickshaw to New Gurugram’s only (unfinished) mosque in Sector 57 where thousands of Muslims offer namaz in four shifts every Friday.

“There must at least be at least 100,000 Muslims offering namaz every Friday if 500,000 are estimated to live in Gurugram,” said Altaf Ahmed, an entrepreneur who lives in a gated colony. For years he offered Friday’s prayers in an open space in Sector 45.

“I used to work in Unitech’s Cyber Park in Sector 39 and it was the closest public space available near my office. Most people who prayed there were office-goers,” he said.

Responding to pressure from the Sanyukt Hindu Sangarsh Samiti, the district authorities reduced the number of approved public sites for namaz from 73 to 37. “People are not offering namaz in open by choice.

Just try offering namaz under the sun for half an hour. You will know. We are not asking anyone to give us space for free. Assign us land where we can build mosques,” Ahmed said.

A Divided City

Having lived in Gurugram for 11 years, Ahmed said that even his privilege doesn’t shield him from the petty prejudices bubbling under the city’s cosmopolitan facade. “In the offices, Muslims don’t want to bring up their Muslimness to the table.

They know the perception others have of them: we marry several times, we eat meat from morning to night, our wives wear burqas and our fathers keep beards,” he said. “In her posh school, my daughter is asked, ‘are you from Pakistan?’ She is too young to even know what Pakistan is.”

Gurugram, argues Radha Khan, a resident of the “millenium city” for the past ten years, is a “place built for Hindus.” The social inclusion consultant asks how a place that thrives on migrants can call itself city when it can’t accommodate their religious diversity. “Where are the mosques, the churches, the gurudwaras?”

To feel Gurugram’s Hindu dominance, she said, one needn’t venture out of their high-rise apartment. “Hindu festivals are publicly celebrated, from karva chauth to krishnashtami. Space is cleared for people to play with colours on Holi or burst crackers on Diwali. Cultural performances are organised.

In a Resident Welfare Association (RWA) meeting that my husband once attended, the proposal to build a temple came up, but it was later vetoed.”

On Eid, though, she said, Muslim residents wonder if wishing each other openly is too loud an expression of their religious identity. “Muslims in these housing societies are increasingly aware of the constraints under which they live. Many of them no longer carry meat from the markets for the fear of being branded as beef eaters but order it home from supermarkets.”

At Wellington Estate, a housing society in DLF’s Phase 5, only 1 or 2 percent of the residents are Muslims, said Ajay Jain, the secretary of its RWA. He briskly added that 99 percent of maids and cooks who work in the society are “Mohammedan ladies. Mostly Bengali.”

Almost all of them, he mentioned, go by Hindu names. It keeps things simpler, he explained. Jain doesn’t think the lack of namaz space for a society’s residents or their staff should be an RWA concern.

The issue wouldn’t have come up in the first place, he argued, if Muslims didn’t insist on praying in public. “Don’t the Hindu residents carry on with their bhajan-kirtan inside their homes?”

When historian Veena Oldenburg hired a maid for her house in Phase 3 of DLF’s Cyber City 13 years ago, she knew her as Usha. “Later, she revealed that she is Kohinoor. It’s a common story. No one will give them a job in the city if they identify themselves as Muslim,” she said.

Irrespective of the discrimination they face in the city, Bengali migrants continue to pour into Gurugram in search of opportunity. “First Kohinoor came with only her daughter. Thirty of her relatives have joined her since: three sisters, two brothers, their mother,” said Oldenburg who has been researching Gurugram’s history for over a decade.

All About Land

The region has no deep-rooted history of communal tension, Oldenburg mentioned, because it has had few Muslims until a few years ago. “It being a Hindu-dominated society, the tension among communities was based on caste. Khap panchayats ruled on social conflicts and their focus was on controlling the women.”

The arrival of Muslims has changed the social dynamic of the villages, Oldenburg argued.

Like most things in Gurugram, this too revolves around land.

“Gurugram’s development began with villagers selling and leasing their land. Some landowners sold their land and suddenly had more money than they had ever seen. Some drank it away, others bought big cars, went on big holidays, threw lavish weddings. Several went broke.

They remain uneducated, unskilled, but they have a chip on their shoulder about having owned land in the past. They are the core of the bloodthirsty lot who hate any intrusion into their villages. They have nothing to rent out. They mark out poor migrants,” said Oldenburg.

Then she described a different kind of Gurugram’s landowners.

“They did better. Some sold their land and re-invested the money into the property business. Some went into partnerships with real-estate companies.

Others held on to a portion of their land and built multi-storey tenement houses with basic rooms and common bathrooms to rent out to labourers arriving to build the new Gurugram. They don’t want the migrants to be driven away.”

War and Peace

The conflict between their interests came to a head with the row over public namaz. On May 27, after two weeks of namaz disruptions, 200 people representing different faiths from 360 villages of the district convened at a mahapanchayat to call for communal harmony to keep alive “the cosmopolitan culture of the international city.”

“When I went village to village mobilising support, the villagers spoke about their anxieties,” said Pradeep Zaildar, a Congress leader. “Gurugram’s development has brought in companies and companies have brought in migrants, who live on their property and work in their remaining farms.

They are afraid that if the communal incidents persist, the companies will leave Gurugram, its progress will stop, and they will end up starving. They have no option but to come together.”

On 10 June, hours after the “Hindu revolution” was “launched” in Sector 10,” Zaildar repeated the call for peace at an “interfaith iftar” organised to resist Gurugram’s polarisation in Sector 27.

“We can’t allow ourselves to be scared by this intimidation. We must come together and fight. This evening is a slap in their faces,” Mohammed Amin, a factory worker from Manesar, called out to the city’s secular citizens in one of the speeches.

“I have lived in a bubble for far too long,” said Rita Jain, an optician circulating plates of fruit around the hall. For a few years now, my clients have been making divisive statements such as, ‘this is my country. We can accomodate Muslims but they must know their place.’ I can’t sit and listen anymore.”

“This isn’t going to change the world, said Veena Oldenburg, “but there was a message and it went out.”

It may not be enough to stop the agitating Hindus in their tracks. Amit Hindu said his group would prevent namaz being offered in public after the month of Ramzan that ended in mid-June.

On 29 June, a group of Muslims were stopped from reading namaz in a vacant plot in DLF Phase 3. An officer at the local police station said they had received a complaint alleging misuse of public land. A similar incident was reported from Sector 34 on the same day.

Regardless of the disruptions, Altaf Ahmed said the city’s Muslim community will continue to push for their rights. “We will put up a united front against them.”

The Hindustan Times – Scindia or Kamal Nath to be Madhya Pradesh CM if Congress win, says state leader Bawaria

The Congress high command has studiously refused to announce a chief ministerial candidate, and top leaders including Kamal Nath and Scindia have also skirted the issue

C B Singh and Punya Priya Mitra

Jhabua/Bhopal – Madhya Pradesh – India, 02 July 2018. Congress general secretary and in-charge of party affairs for Madhya Pradesh, Deepak Bawaria on Monday said that either the state party president Kamal Nath or the head of campaign committee Jyotiraditya Scindia would become the chief minister after the party wins the election due by year end, indicating that the race for the top post was still open.

He said, “The Congress is winning the next elections that is 100 per cent sure and we have decided that either Scindia or Kamal Nath would become the chief minister”.

Asked if he was ruling out former chief minister Digvijaya Singh from the race, he quipped, “When I have said who will be the chief minister, there is nothing else to add. The public is wise enough to understand”. Digvijaya Singh has in the past ruled himself out of the race for chief ministership.

The Congress high command has studiously refused to announce a chief ministerial candidate, and top leaders including Kamal Nath and Scindia have also skirted the issue. As late as last Saturday, Scindia in a meet the press programme had deflected a question in this regard by saying that the first priority at present was to ensure that Congress wins.

“We are all there because of the party, if Congress loses then we will all lose,” he had said refusing to be drawn into the chief ministerial candidate debate.

This is not the first time that Bawaria has given a controversial statement. On June 23, Bawaria had created quite a stir at the function of the Bauddh Samaj in Bhopal by saying that the party’s working president Chaudhary Surendra Singh could become deputy chief minister if Congress came to power in the state.

Reacting to his statement, state Congress spokesperson Manak Agrawal said, “Bawariaji is AICC general secretary and whatever he says should be taken as the view of the AICC.”

The BJP has predictably reacted to Bawaria’s statement. State Minister for Parlimentary Affairs Narottam Mishra dismissed Bawaria’s statement as wishful thinking. “Let him continue saying who will be deputy-chief minister or chief minister, the fact is BJP is going to win the elections for the fourth time under leadership of Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Can Congress really not come up with a better candidate than Kamal Nath, severly tainted by his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh pogroms ?

The Hindustan Times – Jind youth killed over elder brother’s inter-caste marriage

Dalit neighbours picked up fight with Jat victim’s family over his brother’s wedding to a lower caste girl and attacked them with lathis and farm implements, leading to his death.

Hardik Anand

Jind/Rohtak – Haryana – India, 24 Jun 2018. A 23-year-old man was killed in Jind by his neighbours who were upset at his elder brother’s inter-caste marriage, the police said on Saturday.

The deceased has been identified as Sompal Singh, the youngest of the three brothers. He worked as a labourer.

Sompal’s elder brother Satyawan, a Jat, had married a Dalit girl three years ago against her family’s wishes. This had upset their Dalit neighbours in Chandralok Colony, who often fought with them over petty issues.

On Friday night, Sompal’s eldest brother Ramjeet was walking near his house after dinner when his drunk neighbour Satish Kumar confronted him and started abusing him for bringing a Dalit girl home. As per Ramjeet, Satish said, “Your brother Satyawan made a mistake by going in for love marriage with a girl of our caste. He will have to pay for it.”

Ramjeet said he had a minor scuffle with Satish after which both of them went home.

“I had just reached home when Satish along with his family members reached our house with lathis and sharp agricultural implements. They shouted that they will teach us a lesson for bringing a girl of their community to our home.

My youngest brother Sompal came out of the house hearing the noise and Satish’s family brutally attacked him with lathis and sharp implements on his head. Satyawan, his wife Neelam and I were also beaten up when we tried to save Sompal,” said Ramjeet.

He said the accused ran away when other neighbours gathered outside their house and called the police. The family rushed Sompal to a hospital where doctors declared him brought dead.

Based on the complaint, the police registered a case against seven members of Satish’s family, including his wife and two other women, under Sections 148, 149, 302 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code.

Inspector Dinesh Kumar said Satish and his brother Deepak have been arrested while other five accused are on the run.

“None of the accused is related to Satyawan’s wife, so there is no clear explanation as to why they were so angry about the marriage that they could kill someone over it. It has been found that accused were drunk. Things will be clear after interrogation,” Kumar said.

The Hindustan Times – Can the Kairana winner usher in a new era for Muslim women?

Despite the global atmosphere of antipathy to Muslims, Tabassum Hasan has turned the myth on its head

Syeda Hameed

Kairana – Uttar Pradesh – India, 11 June 2018. With the victory of Tabassum Hasan in Kairana, are we looking at a watershed moment for Muslim women in national politics?

Only two days before this woman made contemporary history, an exhibition was held by Muslim Women’s Forum (MWF) titled Pathbreakers: The Twentieth Century Muslim Women of India.

It featured 21 women, whose major work was in post-Independence India, and who became fellow architects in building a new nation which rose from the destruction and devastation of Partition.

The MWF came into existence in 2000 as a leadership training and advocacy group. Its first president was Begum Saeeda Khurshid, who was among the 21 women selected. Among them were were Muslim women who became MPs and MLAs in the first three elections.

Sharifa Hamid Ali, born in Surat, sat in the Constituent Assembly. She went to the UN Commission on Status of Women as India’s representative and prepared a model nikahnama. Mofida Ahmed was an MLA from Jorhat in Assam, Aziza Imam, Anis Kidwai and Qudsia Aizaz Rasool were members of Parliament.

Some of the participants were writers, poets and chroniclers of their time. Surayya Tyabji designed the Indian flag at the behest of Jawaharlal Nehru using the Ashoka Chakra at the centre instead of the charkha.

The MWF decided thus to break the stereotype of Muslim women as cloistered victims of triple talaq, polygamy, burqa and halala.

Freedom brought with it two nation states and a dawn which was bloody and violent.

Thousands of refugees were thrown across the border on both sides. The woman who tended to the Hindu sharnarthis in the camps was 28-year-old Anis Kidwai whose husband, a district commissioner, was murdered in Dehradun by mobs because he was Muslim and tried to stop their killing spree.

Along with Subhadra Joshi and Mridula Sarabhai, she worked day and night in refugee camps. Being Indian was her only identity.

As we delved into research, stories came tumbling out from every corner of the country. Having opened a door, I hoped others would take it further.

At the colloquium, which accompanied the exhibition, questions were raised about why only elite women have been featured. One speaker, who works with weavers in UP, spoke about path-breakers in his village. Why mark them as Muslims, some asked? Why not ‘women’ without the Muslim tag? We had opened up a new vista.

I am the last generation to have had personal contact with some of these women and many others who are outside this cohort. It was providence that the day after these women emerged from decades of oblivion, a woman got elected to Parliament from UP by a huge margin.

What does this signal for Muslim women? That they have returned to the fray? That despite the global atmosphere of antipathy to Muslims, there is one woman who has turned the myth on its head?

Syeda Hameed is an educationist, women’s rights activist, and a former member of the Planning Commission of India

The views expressed are personal

The Hindustan Times – Goa church clarifies after archbishop says constitution in danger

In his annual pastoral letter, Archbishop of Goa Filipe Neri Ferrao wrote that the Indian Constitution was in danger and that a “new trend” of mono-culturalism was putting human rights at risk.

Goa – Goa State – India, 05 June 05, 2018. The Goa Church on Tuesday tried to tone down the sharp criticism of the political environment in India in Archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao’s annual pastoral letter, with a senior official at the Bishop’s House insisting that “one or two statements” made by the top church functionary were taken out of context.

“One or two statements of the Bishop have been taken out and I will say taken out of context and made an issue out of. My thing is this, we do not make any further comments and explanations of the letter.

“If you want you read the (pastoral) letter online and try to understand the context why it is being said, what is said,” Secretary to the Bishop Father Joaquim Loiola Pereira told reporters here.

The pastoral letter, which was formally released by Ferrao on Sunday, had said that the Indian Constitution was in danger and that a “new trend” of mono-culturalism, which demands uniformity in what and how one eats, dresses, lives and even worships, was putting human rights at risk.

“At the time of elections, the candidates confuse the minds of many people by making false promises. And the people, on their part, often sell their precious vote for selfish, petty gain….

“In this context, particularly as the general elections are fast approaching, we must strive to know our Constitution better and work harder to protect it.

“Today, our Constitution is in danger, (it is a) reason why most of the people live in insecurity,” Ferrao said in his pastoral letter for 2018-19 which was formally released on Sunday but circulated only on Monday.

The pastoral letter is an annual letter written in June by Archbishop’s to Church parishes across the state.

Ferrao, as Archbishop of Goa, is the spiritual and religious leader of Catholics in Goa who account for 26 per cent of the state’s population of 1.5 million.

The Hindustan Times – SIT files first chargesheet in Gauri Lankesh murder case

The 650-page charge sheet filed before the First Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate details the role of alleged gunrunner and Hindutva activist T Naveen Kumar alone as an accomplice in Gauri Lankesh’s murder, which had triggered a nationwide outrage.

Bengaluru – Karnataka – India, 30 May 2018. The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh on Wednesday filed its first charge sheet in the sensational case, naming alleged gunrunner and Hindutva activist T Naveen Kumar as an accused.

Naveen Kumar has been charged under section 302 (murder), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 118 (concealing a conspiracy) and 114 (abetment to the crime) of the IPC, and also under provisions of the Arms Act, SIT sources told PTI.

The charge sheet contains the statement of about 131 witnesses, the sources said.

The SIT has submitted that it would submit more documents relating to the case in future.

Lankesh, 55, known for her left leaning and strong anti-Hindutva views, was shot dead in front of her house here on September five last year.

Naveen Kumar was arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearm and ammunition on February 18. During the probe, the SIT claimed, it had found evidence of his involvement in the killing of Lankesh, and also arrested him in that case.

The Arms Act case against Naveen Kumar would be heard by a city court on Thursday.

Naveen Kumar, hailing from Maddur in Mandya district, was arrested with a firearm and bullets when he was waiting for a client at Majestic bus stand in Bengaluru.

Sources claimed he had not only supplied firearms to the assassins of Lankesh but also conducted a recce of the area around her residence and provided them vital inputs about her.

He is also suspected to have ferried the prime accused to a place close to Lankesh’s house.

Police said Naveen Kumar had named a man from Shivamogga Praveen Kumar, arrested by the city police in connection with an illegal arms case in May, in the Gauri Lankesh murder case.

The sources said the SIT has taken into custody four more people suspected of involvement in Lankesh’s killing.

They have been identified as Manohar Edve (30), Sujith Kumar alias Praveen (37), Amol Kale alias Bhaisab (40) and Amit Degwekar alias Pradeep.

While Edve and Praveen are from Karnataka, Kale and Degvekar are from Maharashtra and Goa respectively.

They were arrested for hatching a plan to kill Kannada writer K S Bhagawan, known for his anti-Hindutva stance, the sources said.

“Their involvement in Gauri Lankesh case is very much likely. That’s why we have taken them into custody and are interrogating them closely,” said a source in the SIT.

The Hindustan Times – India, Netherlands discuss cooperation across various sectors

India and The Netherlands on Thursday explored cooperation across multiple sectors at a CEOs Round Table attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte.

New Delhi – India, 24 May 2018. “Netherlands is the fourth largest investor in India in diverse sectors,” Kumar said in an earlier tweet.

The CEOs Round Table was preceded by a bilateral meeting between Modi and Rutte at Hyderabad House here.

Rutte arrived here on Thursday morning on a two-day visit to India that will also see him going to Bengaluru.

This is his second visit to India since June 2015, but the first after being re-elected as Prime Minister in 2017.

The Dutch leader’s visit comes within a year of Modi’s visit to The Netherlands last June.

According to figures released by the External Affairs Ministry, India and The Netherlands have a bilateral trade of $7.621 billion (April 2017-Feb 2018).

The Netherlands is also home to a 235,000-strong Indian diaspora, the largest in mainland Europe.

Rutte’s visit is expected to boost the economic and political cooperation between India and The Netherlands.

In the not too distant past stage democracy was important to the governments of the Netherlands. Now they are only to pleased to sit down with elected dictator Modi.
The Man in Blue

The Hindustan Times – Sushma calls on Myanmar President, Rohingya refugee crisis on the plate

An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August last year after large-scale violence following a military crackdown.

Nay Pyi Taw – Naypyidaw Union Territory – Myanmar, 10 May 2018. External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday called on Myanmar President U Win Myint soon after she arrived in Nay Pyi Taw for talks with the country’s top leadership on key bilateral and regional issues, including the Rohingya refugee crisis.

An estimated 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August last year after large-scale violence following a military crackdown. The exodus of refugees in large numbers has resulted in a major crisis in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Swaraj is in Myanmar on a two-day visit for discussions on a number of bilateral and regional issues, including the situation in the Rakhine State from where lakhs of Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh.

Myanmar is one of India’s strategic neighbours and it shares a 1,640 km border with a number of northeastern states, including militancy-hit Nagaland and Manipur.

On her arrival in Nay Pyi Taw, Swaraj was warmly received by India’s ambassador Vikram Misri and permanent secretary of ministry of foreign affairs of Myanmar U Myint Thu.

In December, India had announced a development assistance of $25 million for Rakhine State.

India on Wednesday sent to Bangladesh its second relief consignment to help tens of thousands of displaced following a military crackdown.

The Hindustan Times – 18 journalists killed in India in 5 years between 2012-2016: UNESCO

The UNESCO report said after a steep decline prior to 2014, the killings sharply rose across Asia and the Pacific region, with a total of 107 killings, and a high of 27 in 2016.

New Delhi – India, 03 May 2018.The number of journalists killed all over the world has seen a sharp rise in five years, with 530 such deaths, 18 of them in India, being reported from 2012 to 2016-end, a UNESCO report released on Thursday said.

The report on ‘World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Global Report 2017/2018’ said the number of killings was 67.72 per cent higher than the 316 recorded during the previous five-year period—from 2007 to 2011-end.

Syria, with 86, recorded the highest number of killings, followed by Iraq (46) , Mexico (37) , Somalia (36), Pakistan (30), Brazil (29), the Philippines and Yemen (21 each), Afghanistan (20), Honduras (19), India (18), Libya (17) and Guatemala (14).

Ten journalists were killed in Bangladesh, 10 in Ukraine, eight in France and six each in Paraguay and Turkey.

“The year 2012 proved to be the deadliest year on record, with 124 journalists killed,” said the report, released on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, which is marked today.

Although the number of journalists killed every year has seen a slight decline since 2012, the figures are still alarmingly high, the report said.

“With a number of Member States that have experienced periods of violent conflict, the Arab region remains the most dangerous for journalists, with 191 journalists killed between 2012 and 2016, including a significant peak of 50 deaths in 2012,” it said.

Despite registering a decline in the following years, the overall the region represents 36 per cent of all cases.

Latin America and the Caribbean saw an increase in the number of journalists killed during the period, with 125 killings overall and a peak of 28 in 2016.

“This trend can be largely attributed to organised crime, drug trafficking and corruption,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report said.

After a steep decline prior to 2014, the killings sharply rose across Asia and the Pacific region, with a total of 107 killings, and a high of 27 in 2016.

Comparatively, Africa, with 73 deaths, has seen a distinct decline in the killings of journalists over the last five years, down from 26 in 2012 to seven in 2016.

“Killings throughout Central and Eastern Europe have fluctuated over the past five years, presenting no clear trend but remaining relatively low,” the report said. As many as 17 journalist were killed in the region.

A generally low-risk region for lethal violence against journalists, Western Europe and North America (17 killings) have seen uncharacteristically high killings in the past three years largely due to violent extremism, it added.

Of the total 530 killings in 2012-2016, as many as 166 were TV journalists, 142 print, 118 radio, 75 online and 29 cross-platform.