The Statesman – India hopes Pakistan expedites visas for Jadhav’s parents; seeks his health certificate

Statesman News Service

New Delhi, 27 April 2017. India on Thursday stuck to its position that Kulbhushan Jadhav had been awarded death sentence by a Pakistan military court on ‘baseless’ charges while Islamabad claimed that the former Indian Navy officer had been tried for espionage in a ‘transparent manner’ in accordance with the law of the land.

Amid anxiety in India about the well-being and whereabouts of Jadhav, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay hoped at a media briefing that Pakistan would grant visas to Jadhav’s parents so that they could go to the neighbouring country and follow with the authorities the petition by his mother seeking the Pakistan Government’s intervention for his release and the appeal to be filed to the appellate court to initiate the process to get his conviction overturned.

The spokesperson said the visa applications of Jadhav’s parents needed to be expedited so that they could take further steps to secure justice for him. In response to a question, he said India awaited Pakistan’s response on his parents’ request.

The petition and the appeal on behalf of Jadhav’s mother were handed over by Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua in Islamabad on Wednesday since he has 40 days’ time to go in appeal as per the law of Pakistan.

On Pakistan’s contention that Jadhav’s trial was fair and transparent, the spokesperson said India had not been officially informed anything about it. India was not aware who defended him before the military court or if he was provided a lawyer at all.

Jadhav’s health was causing great concern to the entire country since he had been in the ‘illegal’ custody of the Pakistani authorities for over a year now. India had also sought his medical certificate from the Pakistani authorities.

The spokesperson said the government and Jadhav’s family would explore every option available to secure justice for him.

Meanwhile, in Islamabad, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said the military court’s ruling in Jadhav’s case was based on specific evidence and the trial was conducted in a transparent manner.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/india-hopes-pak-expedites-visas-for-jadhav-s-parents-seeks-his-health-certificate-1493316011.html

The Statesman – India says Arunachal part of India territory; hints at joining OBOR initiative

Would it not be a good idea to ask the opinion of the people of Arunachal Pradesh/South Tibet ? Of course neither India nor China are much interested in real democracy !
Man in Blue

Statesman News Service

New Delhi, 20 April 2017. While sending out a clear message to Beijing that Arunachal Pradesh was and would remain a part of the Indian territory, India on Thursday indicated that it might take part in the ‘One Beat One Road’ Summit being hosted by China next month.

“Assigning invented names to the towns of your neighbour does not make illegal territorial claims legal,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said when asked for response to China’s decision to rename six places in the North-eastern state, which Beijing calls ‘South Tibet’.

He confirmed that India had received an invitation from China for participating in the OBOR Summit, a signature initiative of President Xi Jinping. The invite was being considered.

Although China has invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the summit, India is said to be considering asking its envoy in Beijing to attend the meet. Nearly 30 Heads of State or Government are likely to participate in it.

India has already lodged its protest with China over the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is seen as part of the OBOR initiative, since it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). New Delhi is expected to reiterate this position if it takes part in the OBOR Summit.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/india-dismisses-china-s-renaming-of-places-1492696111.html

The Statesman – India-Pakistan Indus water talks delayed

Islamabad, 13 April 2017. The secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India on the Indus Water Treaty in Washington have been delayed, a media report said on Thursday.

The talks were scheduled for April 11-13 but are now likely to be held in the last week of April, official sources told The Nation daily on Wednesday.

Last month, Federal Minister for Power and Water Khawaja Asif had confirmed that after the US’ intervention, the secretary-level talks between Pakistan and India for resolving two controversial hydropower projects, including Kishanganga hydro electric project (330MWs) and the under-construction Ratle hydro electric project (850 MWs) was scheculed to be held in Washington in April.

When contacted, Commissioner Indus Water Treaty Asif Baig said that they have submitted their response to the World Bank and now they will contact India regarding their response.

When asked why the meeting was postponed, he said, April 11-13 was not the scheduled date for the meeting as it was just the proposed dates.

He said that the World Bank with the consensus of both countries will provide fresh dates of the meeting. He said that he does not know about the new dates, reports the daily.

Pakistan has been protesting over the design and construction of the two projects on the tributaries of the Indus in the Indian part of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 and involves six rivers: the Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.

Brokered by the World Bank, the treaty gave the right to use waters of the first three rivers to India and of the other three rivers to Pakistan.

India has said it has the right under the treaty to set up hydropower plants on the tributaries of the rivers flowing through its territory.

Pakistan fears this might reduce the water flow of the rivers into its territory.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/india-pakistan-indus-water-talks-delayed-1492071125.html

The Statesman – Altering Gilgit-Baltistan status unacceptable: India

New Delhi, 5 April 2017. The Union government on Wednesday asserted that Gilgit-Baltistan, which Pakistan wants to make a new province, are India’s territory with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj telling the Lok Sabha that it would be wrong to think that India will let go of any part of its territory.

She was responding to Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Bhartruhari Mahtab remark, wondering if the government has even properly responded to Pakistan’s move to make Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province.

Noting that some Western countries had criticised it, he asked, “What is our government’s response?” and urged the government not to forget history or it will be condemned to repeat it.

In her response, Swaraj said the Indian government had opposed Pakistan’s move the very day it got to know about it.

“Even raising a doubt over this government that it will let go of some area will be wrong,” the minister added.

She noted that both Houses of Parliament had passed resolutions which had reiterated India’s claim over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan, both under Pakistan’s occupation, and the government was bound by it.

She also quoted a BJP slogan which underlines India’s claim over the territory and noted that its founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee had “sacrificed” his life over this. “We are bound by Parliament’s resolutions and also our resolve,” she said.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/altering-gilgit-baltistan-status-unacceptable-india-1491385854.html

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The Statesman – 1984 riots: Jagdish Tytler refuses to undergo lie detection test

New Delhi, 30 March 2017. Congress leader Jagdish Tytler, who has been given a clean chit by the CBI in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, on Thursday told a Delhi court that he is not ready to undergo lie detection test as it amounts to cruelty.

Tytler’s counsel objected to the test, saying the CBI has not given any reason for conducting it and the agency’s plea for the test was a “gross misuse of law” and it was filed with “malafide intention”.

He also filed a list of events since the riots broke out till now to which the victims’ counsel said they would a reply to it.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Shivali Sharma listed the matter for April 18 for further arguments on the CBI’s plea for permission to conduct the test on Tytler and arms dealer Abhishek Verma for the purpose of further probe.

The move came in pursuance to the court’s December 4, 2015 order in which it was mentioned that lie detection test may be conducted, if required.

Verma, a witness in the case, also told the court that he was ready for the polygraph test if he is provided with adequate security as he apprehends threat to his life as well as to his family.

He also said he was ready to record his statement before a magistrate.

The CBI prosecutor, however, did not agree with the proposal of recording Verma’s statement and said the consent for polygraph test should be unconditional.

Advocate Prabhsahay Kaur, who represented the victims, questioned the CBI as to why it was refusing to record the statement when the witness was ready for it.

She also said that the witness should be given proper security if he apprehends threat to his life.

Meanwhile, the CBI filed a status report before the court in a sealed cover regarding its further probe in the case.

The case pertains to riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in north Delhi where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Tytler, who has denied any role in the riots, has been given a clean chit by the CBI thrice in the case but the probe agency has been directed by the court to further investigate the matter.

Verma has made several statements to the CBI against Tytler that he allegedly pressured the witnesses in the case.

The court had in December 2015 directed the CBI to further investigate the matter and had said it would monitor the probe every two months so that no aspect is left un-investigated.

The agency had reinvestigated the case of killing of Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh near the gurudwara after a court in December 2007 refused to accept its closure report. The CBI has filed three closure reports in the case.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/1984-riots-jagdish-tytler-refuses-to-undergo-lie-detection-test-1490883864.html

The Statesman – Adityanath as Chief Minister a step towards Hindu Rashtra: CPI-M

New Delhi, 23 March 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the RSS have taken “the most audacious step” to usher in a Hindu Rashtra by making Yogi Adityanath as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, the CPI-M has said.

“They have put in place, as Chief Minister of the biggest state of India, a person who has openly challenged the very precepts of the Constitution,” said an editorial in the CPI-M journal “People’s Democracy”.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist said his selection “is a clear signal that the BJP-RSS combine wishes to pursue the line of Hindu consolidation as the basis of its future political strategy”.

The editorial said that since becoming a member of the Lok Sabha from Gorakhpur in 1998, Adityanath became notorious for his record of Muslim bashing and direct incitement of communal violence.

It said his Hindu Yuva Vahini “was nothing but an armed vigilante group” and “in his political campaign and in his election speeches henceforth, he has had only one aim – Muslim bashing”.

“The specialty of the Yuva Vahini under Adityanath’s leadership was to intervene and convert any minor dispute or common place quarrel into a communal riot.

“To make such a person the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh can only be a deliberately thought out decision.”

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/adityanath-as-cm-a-step-towards-hindu-rashtra-cpi-m-1490264251.html

The Statesman – Maneka Gandhi hails passage of Maternity Bill in Parliament

New Delhi, 9 March 2017. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday hailed the passage of Maternity Bill, which allows paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, in Parliament, calling it a “historic” decision.

The Lok Sabha passed the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 today. The Bill had already been passed by the Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session. It entitles the women working in the organised sector to paid maternity leave of 26 weeks, up from 12 weeks.

“I am very, very happy that we have made history today.

This will help thousands of women and produce much healthier children. We have been working on it for a long time,” said Maneka.

She also wrote a message on Change.org addressing the women who had petitioned her on the issue.

“This is a historic decision taken by our government. I had requested Honourable Minister for Labour to make these changes in relevant laws and I am grateful to him for taking up my request.

“While congratulating all working women who are planning to have a child, I assure you that we will continue to work for women in the country,” the Minister said.

Maneka also acknowledged that ensuring organisations implement the Bill by providing mothers the mandatory 26 week leave and making provisions for a creche will be an uphill task.

The Minister refrained from commenting on the issue of paternity leave.

She had earlier courted controversy when she remarked that paternity leave will just be a holiday for men.

The Bill also provides for maternity leave of 12 weeks to mothers adopting a child below the age of three months as well as to commissioning mothers.

It also makes it mandatory for every establishment with more than 50 employees to provide creche facilities within a prescribed distance.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/maneka-hails-passage-of-maternity-bill-in-parliament-1489070038.html

The Statesman – Manjeev Singh Puri new Indian envoy to Nepal

Kathmandu, 2 March 2017. India has proposed the name of Manjeev Singh Puri as its next ambassador to Nepal, with the term of senior Indian diplomat Ranjit Rae coming to an end, a media report said.

Puri is the incumbent Indian Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu confirmed that Puri’s name was sent to MoFA on Tuesday and the process for sending the agreement for his appointment would begin very soon, The Himalayan Times reported.

Outgoing Indian Ambassador Rae, whose term ended on Tuesday, had informed Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ of New Delhi’s decision during his farewell call on Wednesday, the daily said quoting sources.

Chargé d’affaires at the Kathmandu-based Indian Embassy, Vinay Kumar, refused to comment on the issue, the daily said.

I met the Ambassador at an event in Leuven University and had a pleasant conversation with him, but a Modi appointee can of course not be easily trusted

Read his biography at the link below

http://www.indembassy.be/pages.php?id=45

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/manjeev-singh-puri-new-indian-envoy-to-nepal-1488451341.html

The Statesman – Modi’s hate-mongering won’t work in UP: Rahul Gandhi

New Delhi, 23 February 2017. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is spreading hatred in Uttar Pradesh but the voters of the state will elect the Congress-Samajwadi Party (SP) alliance, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday.

“Modi ji has lost the elections (UP), he can spread hatred as much as he wants but UP won’t pay heed. Congress and SP will form the government here,” Rahul Gandhi said while the addressing the voters of his Lok Sabha constituency of Amethi.

The Gandhi scion went on to quote a few lines of a famous Hindi film song: “I have a message for those spreading hatred, you will neither become a Hindu nor a Muslim, you are a human being’s child and you will become a human being”.

Polling is on for 53 assembly constituencies spread over 12 districts, including the backward Bundelkhand region in the fourth phase of polling in UP.

Assembly segments in Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency are among the seats where the electoral exercise is taking place. However, in a first since 1998, Gandhi gave campaigning a miss in her constituency.

Elections for UP legislative assembly are being held in seven phases, with three more on February 27, March 4 and 8 to follow after today’s polling. Election results will be out on March 11.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/modi-s-hate-mongering-won-t-work-in-up-rahul-gandhi-1487841230.html

The Statesman – Palaniswami takes oath as Tamil Nadu CM

New Delhi, 16 February 2017. Loyalist of jailed AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala, E Palaniswami was on Thursday sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, bringing an end to weeks of political turmoil.

The AIADMK Legislature Party Leader, Palaniswami will retain most of the ministers from outgoing Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam’s cabinet in his 31-member ministry.

Among others, Palaniswami will hold portfolios of Home and Finance, besides Public Works, Highways and Minor Ports, which he had managed as a minister in the Jayalalithaa and Panneerselvam cabinets, sources said.

Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had invited Palaniswami, 64, earlier elected by AIADMK MLAs backing Sasikala as their legislature party leader, to form a ministry “at the earliest” and win a trust vote within 15 days.

The move came a day after Palaniswami met the Governor and submitted a list of legislators backing him.

The Governor’s invitation set off celebrations in the Sasikala camp even as outgoing acting Chief Minister O Panneerselvam pledged to continue his fight against “one family” taking over the AIADMK.

Panneerselvam said people were angry that a new government was being formed with the support of legislators who, he said, were held for days in captivity at a resort near here.

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/palaniswami-takes-oath-as-tamil-nadu-cm-1487244134.html