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India targets Pakistan at UN body over counter-terrorism record

The webinar was part of the UN body’s virtual counter-terrorism week, and India pointed out that terrorists have made innumerable attempts to infiltrate India “from their safe abodes across the border to carry out attacks”.

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Mahaveer Singhvi

India on Tuesday mounted a sharp attack on Pakistan during a virtual meeting of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, accusing it of sheltering and supporting terrorists and pushing a false narrative on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mahaveer Singhvi, joint secretary (counter-terrorism) in the external affairs ministry who led the Indian delegation for the webinar organised by the UN body, pointed out the meeting was being held on a day when the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked by a Pakistan-backed terror group 12 years ago and Indians and Afghans were killed.

“It is very unfortunate that a country which perpetrated terrorist attacks in Mumbai (2008), Pathankot (2016), Uri and Pulwama is now preaching to the world community,” Singhvi said in his intervention during the meeting with the theme “The global scourge of terrorism: Assessment of high risk threats and trends including the rise of violent extremism and hate speech in a pandemic environment”.

“While the world is coming together to battle the pandemic, it is unfortunate that Pakistan, a state which sponsors cross-border terrorism, continues to use every opportunity to peddle false narratives and make baseless, malicious and egregious allegations against India and interfere in our internal affairs,” he said, adding that the statement by Pakistan’s representative at the meeting was part of this pattern.

Singhvi added, “Even as Pakistan provides shelter and support to terrorists, it continues to peddle a false and motivated narrative on the situation in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It is seeking to portray its military, financial [and] logistical support to cross-border terrorism against India as a freedom struggle. It is also peddling misinformation about India’s domestic legislation and policies.”

The webinar was part of the UN body’s virtual counter-terrorism week, and Singhvi pointed out that terrorists have made innumerable attempts to infiltrate India “from their safe abodes across the border to carry out attacks and have even used unmanned aerial systems to smuggle weapons across our borders”.

At the global level, terrorists have tried to exploit financial and emotional distress caused by the pandemic, and used the increased presence of people online and on social media to disseminate misinformation through hate speech, fake news and doctored videos, he said. Another disturbing trend is the collection of funds by proscribed terror groups ostensibly for charitable activities but which would be used to finance terror, he said.

Singhvi described Pakistan’s statement claiming credit for eliminating al-Qaeda as “ludicrous” and said the group’s founder, Osama Bin Laden, was recently glorified as a “martyr” by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Parliament. “This is a chilling reminder of the patronage that international terrorists receive in Pakistan,” he said.

Khan had publicly acknowledged the presence of up to 40,000 terrorists in Pakistan and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team of the UN Security Council had reported that about 6,500 Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) are operating in Afghanistan, he said.

“Pakistan’s role as epicentre of terrorism has been well documented by numerous international organisations including UN and FATF. Unlike Pakistan, India does not make any distinction between terrorists and invariably condemns terror attacks anywhere in the world, including the one in Karachi, referred to by Pakistan’s representative in his statement,” Singhvi said.

The Indian official also criticised human rights violations in Balochistan, Kyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the discrimination against religious and cultural minorities.

India

‘Not allowed to meet anyone’: Delhi riots accused Umar Khalid tells court

Khalid was arrested under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the communal violence that took place in Northeast Delhi in February this year.

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Umar Khalid

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid, who is in judicial custody in connection with his alleged role in Delhi riots, on Thursday claimed that he is not being allowed to step out of his cell or meet anyone, alleging that it is a form of solitary confinement.

“Security does not mean that I should be punished like this,” Khalid told a Delhi court during a hearing. He said that this is being done on the orders of additional jail superintendent.

Khalid also said that he is not well from the last few days and due to the orders to keep him confined to the cell all the time, he is feeling discomfort, not just physical but also mental.

The court then summoned the jail superintendent, and posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.

On October 17, the court had directed the Delhi Police to give adequate security to Khalid. The order came on a petition filed by the JNU student seeking adequate security because of his “ideological differences and dissenting opinion”.

Khalid was arrested under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the communal violence that took place in Northeast Delhi in February this year.

A Delhi court had on September 24 sent Khalid to judicial custody till October 22. At the end of the custody today, the police moved an application to keep Khalid in the judicial custory for another month.

The court will hear the matter on Friday and is expected to pass the order of Delhi Police’s petition.

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India

Govt restores all existing visas, barring electronic, tourist and medical categories

This includes flights operated under ‘Vande Bharat’ mission, air transport bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation

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Indian Passport

New Delhi, Oct 22 : The government on Thursday decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic, tourist and medical categories, almost eight months after their suspension following the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent imposition of a nationwide lockdown

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also announced giving permission to all Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders and all other foreign nationals to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa

The ministry said in a statement that in view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February, 2020

The government has now decided to make a graded relaxation in visa and travel restrictions for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India

Under this graded relaxation, the government has decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas, except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa, the statement said

If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian mission or post concerned

Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply afresh for a medical visa, including for their medical attendants

Therefore, this decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research, medical purposes etc

The government has also decided to permit all OCI and PIO card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa, to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts

This includes flights operated under ‘Vande Bharat’ mission, air transport bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation

All such travellers will, however, have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other health/COVID-19 matters

While the restrictions on visas were imposed following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in February, commercial flight operations were suspended when the nationwide lockdown came into effect on March 25

However, the government has been allowing limited operations of Air India flights under the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission for certain categories OCI and PIO card holders and those Indians who were stuck due to COVID-19 outbreak since June.

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Business

Economy not circus lion that responds to ringmaster’s stick: Chidambaram

Chidambaram said the economy was largely determined by the market, by the laws of demand and supply, and by the purchasing power and the sentiments of the people, which are missing currently

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P Chidambaram

Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday criticised the Centre for its claims on reviving the economy. He said the economy was largely determined by the market, by the laws of demand and supply, and by the purchasing power and the sentiments of the people, which are missing currently.

“Unless the government puts money in the hands of the bottom half of the families and puts food on the plates of the poor, the economy will not revive smartly,” he added.

The Congress leader said if the government doubted about what he say, then “just listen to the voices of the voters of Bihar on their existential crisis — no work or not enough work, no income or little income, and their thoughts are on surviving, not on spending.

He also said that RBI Governor, SEBI Chairman and the DEA Secretary should tell the FM, in unison, that the vast majority of the people do not have the money or the inclination to buy goods and services.

“Is it not intriguing that the RBI Governor, the SEBI Chairman and the DEA Secretary should speak on the same day on the same subject? All three have tried to ‘talk up’ the economy. I wish the economy was a circus lion that would respond to the stick of the ringmaster!” Chidambaram mocked.

The former Finance Minister was criticising the statements made by the RBI Governor and the Economic Affairs Secretary.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das said on Wednesday that India is at the doorstep of a revival process from the ongoing pandemic.

Speaking at an event, he said that it is very important that the financial entities have adequate capital to support the growth. He noted that many of them have already raised capital while others are planning to do the same.

He said that after the pandemic is contained, the government will have to spell out a fiscal roadmap for the country.

Secretary, Economic Affairs, Tarun Bajaj on Wednesday said the Centre is open for further measures to boost the economy.

Participating at a CII event, he said that the government has received suggestions from various ministries and sectors on the needed measures.

Bajaj also said that while preparing the next Union Budget, the government would be looking at expenditure for this year and the requirements of various ministries.

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