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Hamas accepts Palestinian state with 1967 borders

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The Palestinian Hamas group has come out with a new policy document that accepts the formation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, without recognising the state of Israel and terms that the conflict in Palestine is not a religious one.

With this initiative, Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza strip since 2007 hopes to end its years of international isolation. Khaled Meshaal, the leader-in-exile of  Hamas has re-branded itself as an Islamic national movement thus ending its association with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity…Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be formula of national consensus,” the document reads.But it does not go as far as to full recognise Israel and says Hamas does not relinquish its goal of “liberating all of Palestine.”

After Hamas defeated Fatah in Palestinian territories controlled by Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President has been trying to pressurize Hamas by exerting financial pressure, including cutting wage payments and aid to Gaza.

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2007 and has carried out executed attacks in Israel and Israeli-occupied territories.

The Rafah border crossing, which links Egypt with Gaza, is the main entry and exit point for two million Palestinians who live under Israeli siege to enter the Strip. It has been sealed by Egyptian authorities since October 2014.

This move may allow Hamas to mend ties with Western countries and pave the way for reconciliation deal with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation headed by Abbas.

arti bali

By : Arti Bali

Senior Journalist

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86% NCR residents cite lack of severe punishment for sexual harassment: Study

For the survey, 5,221 responses were collected from Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida to understand the factors and possible remedies of sexual harassment against women and girls in public places.

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New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Lack of severe punishment is considered as the most rampant cause of sexual harassment by 86 per cent respondents in the NCR region, as per as study.

The study, done by Indian Institute for Integrated Women and Child Development (ISI-WCD) and released by the Women and Child Development Ministry, was one of 18 projects the ministry had sponsored, between 2015-17, in areas like economic empowerment of women, skill development, child trafficking, nutrition management and others.

For the survey, 5,221 responses were collected from Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida to understand the factors and possible remedies of sexual harassment against women and girls in public places.

According to the survey, 84 per cent of the responsdents think that availability of pornographic materials on mobile phone is also a cause of sexual harassment in NCR region while 83 per cent believes it is because of easy access to social media site Facebook or the internet.

“Revealing dresses of women has been seen as the reason for sexual assault by 53 per cent, 35 per cent and 37 per cent by residents of Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida respectively while informal behaviour of women has also been seen as the reason by 49 per cent, 30 per cent and 70 per cent from the three locations respectively,” the study notes.

The study also revealed that 35 per cent of men and 50 per cent women have perceived sexual aggression in men as responsible for sexual harassment of women.

It is also found that 70 per cent of the respondents have said to face sexual abuse from work partners or colleagues, 63 per cent from office seniors, 48 per cent from friends and 38 per cent from teachers.

According to the study, 87 per cent respondents agreed that women suffer from verbal abuse, 88 per cent have suffered from physical abuse and 94 per cent stated that they are being stared at.

On enhancing safety for women in public places, 96 per cent respondents suggested that crowded buses or stations should be under constant camera surveillance, 93 per cent wanted public places well lit, 90 per cent prefers frequent police patrolling, 94 per cent said legal punishments should be made harsher while 92 per cent said judicial disposals should be made quicker.

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Kim’s message: North Korea will not abandon its nuclear weapons

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North Korean Kim Jong un

As North Korea announced that it will cease nuclear weapons and missile testing is considered as a major boost to the upcoming meeting between Supreme leader Kim Jong un and US President Donald Trump.

But Kim’s statement has also made it clear that North Korea is only freezing the testing of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles but shows it clear intentions of not giving up the production of warheads or nuclear program or eliminate its existing arsenal .

while Defense Secretary James N. Mattis met with Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera of Japan at the Pentagon and discussed ways to further strengthen the U.S.- Japan Alliance, positively noting the increasing role the Japan Self-Defense Force is playing in regional security, including UNSCR enforcement and mutual asset protection operations.

Recognizing the threat posed by North Korea’s unlawful nuclear and missile programs, Secretary Mattis and Defense Minister Onodera has affirmed the importance of close cooperation among the United States, Japan, Korea and other like-minded nations in providing credible military backing to the maximum pressure campaign.

Additionally, the ministers finally agreed to continue enhancing the alliance capability to deter and respond to any North Korean aggression.

Mattis also discussed the recently released U.S. National Defense Strategy, and welcomed Japan’s determination to similarly review its National Defense Program Guidelines by the end of this year, the statement said.

Both leaders reaffirmed the importance of continued progress on the realignment of U.S. forces in Japan, including recent efforts to realize the permanent location for a field carrier landing facility, the statement said.

Trump will find it difficult to persuade Kim to dismantle the entire nuclear arsenal of North Korea in exchange
for sanctions relief and compensation as Supreme leader takes the nuclear weapons program as a matter of pride.

Main aim of International community is to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear missile programmes since the early 1990s but in 2017 it tested an H-bomb and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

North Korea is seeking to replace 1953 Korean War armistice with a peace treaty and the most significant issue for Kim is to lift the sanctions which is hurting DPRK’s economy.

Blog : By Arti Bali,
arti

(Senior Journalist)

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Modi’s Kashmir strategy boomerangs : Youth radicalised, Army faces heat

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ARMY POLICE STATION JAMMU KASHMIR
The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is grim and both the PDP-BJP coalition government in the state and the Modi government at the centre has failed to put an end to the killings and violence in Kashmir, increasing radicalisation of youth who are taking up arms rather the crisis has deepened after the kathua gangrape came to light and the manner in which lawyers of the bar council and BJP ministers shielded the accused.

Against the backdrop of the increasing violence in Kashmir, the Indian Army has concluded it would prioritise bringing radicalised youth to the mainstream through a “collective approach” and convince militants to “shun violence and gun culture”. The issue of conducting de-radicalizing exercises along with counter-terror operations in the Kashmir Valley was discussed during the ongoing biannual Army Commanders’ Conference amid reports that Islamic State ideology was molding new-age militants in the state.

Director General Staff Duties Lt Gen AK Sharma said the priority is to conduct counter-terror operations to minimise collateral damage and de-radicalisation of youth who appear to be getting influenced by Islamic State ideology amid heightened violence in the Valley.

But after four years in power at the centre, Ministry of Defence under Modi government has decided to set up a Defence planning committee with National Security Advisor as its head.The DPC will prepare national security strategy, strategic defence review and doctrines; international defence engagement strategy; roadmap to build defence manufacturing eco-system; strategy to boost defence exports; and prioritised capability development plans for the armed forces.

Apart from internal situation in Jammu and Kashmir, there have been over 650 ceasefire violations in the state in 2018  that have claimed 31 lives, including 16 security personnel.

Moreover, the operations of the armed forces have also been obstructed by the locals in Kashmir.Modi was handed a peaceful Kashmir but his policy has created a mess in Kashmir.The similar policy is being implemented across India where minorities (Muslims, Christians ) are being attacked, Dalits are being lynched and ghastly incidents of rapes in Surat, Unnao and kathua (in which BJP ministers supported the accused) have taken place and the prime minister’s leadership is missing miserably.

But it appears BJP made it a point to change the demography of the state of Jammu and Kashmir by coercive action and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of BJP, has made strong inroads in the state since the formation of BJP Government at the center.

“There has been an unprecedented growth in our Shakhas across the country in the last six years. As on date, there are more than 57,000 Shakhas,” said Dr. Manmohan Vaidya, Akhil Bharatiya Prachar Pramukh (head of Media & Publicity) of RSS.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP used the surgical strikes by the Army to garner political dividends in Uttar  Pradesh elections by putting up posters showing Pictures of army officers which violates army rules, traditions and military ethos.

Modi lacks the leadership quality that’s why he politicised military operations and did not realise the consequence will be borne by the Army at the borders.

The Army has been defamed by the government as it has to work on the directives of the political ruling party at the centre, and the killings have only increased and there has been a trust deficit between the Army and the public.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti recently met Prime Minister and is learnt to have told that the situation is precarious with people getting killed regularly and requested to find ways to put a stop to this while also asking to urgently initiate the dialogue process to address alienation among the youths.

Modi has apparently no strategy to bring peace in Kashmir where armed forces are bearing the brunt of his unrealistic policies and Kashmiris are adopting Wahabism culture due to the harsh restrictions imposed by the government such as internet bans, blocking social media sites and section 144 and curfew.

Mehbooba Mufti has requested repeatedly to the Centre to initiate the dialogue process with all stakeholders including Pakistan but Dineshwar Sharma, the Centre’s special representative to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for talks, was a very late approach of the Modi government.

It seams as if appointing Dineshwar is a lip service to the ongoing unrest in Kashmir as Centre’s interlocutor had expressed his concern about the trend of local boys joining the ranks of guerrilla outfits.

Mufti must understand that BJP has a tendency to defame its regional political allies in various states and this applies in Jammu and Kashmir too.The annual report released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday has revealed a startling number of killings that took place in the year 2017, in the state.

According to the report, in 2017, there were 342 violent incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, in which 80 armed personnel, 40 civilians and 213 militants were killed. The report stated, “The year 2017 also witnessed a 6.21 percent increase and 166.66 percent increase in the number of terrorist incidents and fatalities of civilians respectively in comparison to the corresponding period of 2016.”

After the death of the Hizbul Mujahideen’s Burhan Wani, the protests were handled sternly and the protesters turned to stone pelting. The most alarming situation was witnessed when students, particularly schoolgirls were throwing stones at security personnel convey a deeper problem inside the Valley.Due to the heavy-handed approach by the government, the number of homegrown militants have swelled post-July 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has transformed Kashmir to a volatile situation where Kashmiris which form an integral part of India, feel alienated and Armed forces have to protect our borders from infiltration and due to politics by the political parties even unarmed mob targets them. In the current scenario, security personnel and the Kashmiris are bearing the brunt.

 

Blog : By Arti Bali,
arti

(Senior Journalist)

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