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Kashmir issue to figure in Tom Lantos HR Commission

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A Kashmiri woman shows her hand with a message

Washington, Nov 13The Kashmir issue will figure again in the US with the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission calling a hearing on Thursday to examine the human rights situation in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in a “historical and national context”, following abrogation of its special status on August 5.

The Tom Lantos HR commission said: “Witnesses will examine the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the context of the region’s history and larger patterns of rights violations in India and Pakistan, and will offer recommendations for action by the Congress.”

Among the witnesses called to testify are: Anurima Bhargava, Commissioner, US Commission on International Religious Freedom, Sehla Ashai, Human rights lawyer, Yousra Fazili, Human rights lawyer and Kashmiri-American cousin of Mubeen Shah, detained Kashmiri businessman, and Arjun S. Sethi, Human rights lawyer and Adjunct Professor, Georgetown Law.

Earlier, in a Congressional hearing on Kashmir, on October 22, Alice G. Wells, Acting Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of South and Central Asia, in her testimony had said the State Department was closely monitoring the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following abrogation of its special status.

She told the House Foreign Affairs Sub committee on Asia and the Pacific that while the US supports the objectives of the Indian government that revocation of Article 370 was driven by a desire to increase economic development, reduce corruption, and uniformly apply all national laws, the “Department remains concerned about the situation in the Kashmir Valley, where daily life for the nearly eight million residents has been severely impacted since August 5”.

“We welcome actions by the Indian government to improve the situation and address local grievances.”

The Tom Lantos HR Commission, in a statement said the “Indian government’s decision to change the legal status of the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir has attracted intense attention due to persistent reports of human rights violations, including a crackdown on freedom of expression; the arbitrary “preventive” detention of hundreds of politicians, lawyers, journalists, and other civil society figures and related fears of enforced disappearance; and the use of excessive force against protesters.”

“The increased militarisation of the security presence in the region and the economic and social consequences of the Central government’s actions, including continuing restrictions on internet and phones, have also provoked widespread concern. In addition, militants have targeted migrant workers from outsider Kashmir, and have threatened businesses to maintain a protest shutdown.”

A follow-up OHCHR report in July 2019 found little improvement and reiterated the “urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and to deliver justice for all people in Kashmir. Nor are the human rights problems limited to the Kashmir region. Patterns of human rights violations have been documented at the national level in India and Pakistan, including by the US Department of State in the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices,” it said.

On October 26 too, the US Congress told Indian envoy Harsh Vardhan Shringla that despite his “update” on the situation in Kashmir, many people have painted “a much different picture”, and asked him to provide answers to several queries, including how many have been detained under the Public Safety Act, on reports of use of rubber bullets, and whether journalists and members of the US Congress will be allowed free access to the region.

The Congress, in a letter, said that following Shringla’s briefing members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on October 16 about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, it requested for “more specific information regarding some of the questions raised at that time”.

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MP Police to help UP counterpart in hunt for gangster Vikas Dubey

Madhya Pradesh police are said to be scanning phone call details of some of them to check if Dubey had any associates operating in Madhya Pradesh.

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Vikas Dubey.

Gwalior, July 7 : Madhya Pradesh Police will help its Uttar Pradesh counterpart in the hunt for absconding gangster Vikas Dubey, who along with his gang had gunned down eight police officials in Bikru village in Kanpur district on June 3.

Deputy Inspector General of police, Gwalior range, AK Pande said the Madhya Pradesh police are offering all help to the Uttar Pradesh police to nab the fugitive.

The development comes after the Uttar Pradesh Police sought the MP police help in hunting down Dubey.

The possibility of Dubey slipping into the infamous ravines of Chambal can not be ruled out. Posters of the most wanted criminal have already appeared in public places in Gwalior, Bhind and Morena districts. The award on Dubey”s head has been raised to Rs 2.5 lakh.

Madhya Pradesh Police teams have been combing areas under their jurisdiction.

The Uttar Pradesh Police had inputs that Dubey could try to enter Madhya Pradesh via Rajasthan too.

Director General of Madhya Pradesh Police Vivek Johri on Monday ordered screening of all vehicles crossing the MP-UP border at all points.

The search started in the ravines of Chambal as Vikas Dubey had spent time in Gwalior in the past while absconding from Uttar Pradesh.

ADGP (Gwalior Range) Rajababu Singh says his batchmate in Kanpur, ADG Jaynarayan Singh had suspected the gangster could seek help from the network of criminals operating in both states.

Madhya Pradesh police are said to be scanning phone call details of some of them to check if Dubey had any associates operating in Madhya Pradesh.

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India

Modi may have compulsions for not wishing Dalai Lama: Congress

Surjewala, however, wished the Dalai Lama on behalf of the entire nation, while asserting that it”s a “privilege” to have the Dalai Lama”s “blessings”.

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, July 6 : The Congress, which has been consistently training it’s guns at the Centre, took a sharp dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for allegedly not wishing the Dalai Lama on his birthday. The Dalai Lama turned 85 on Monday.

The Congress” communication department chief Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “We waited for Hon”ble PM to lead the nation in wishing HE the Dalai Lama a very Happy Birthday. (But) Modi ji may have had his compulsions for not doing so.”

Surjewala, however, wished the Dalai Lama on behalf of the entire nation, while asserting that it”s a “privilege” to have the Dalai Lama”s “blessings”.

Beijing views the Nobel Peace Prize winner as a dangerous separatist. The Dalai Lama fled into exile in India way back in 1959 after an uprising against the Chinese rule.

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India

‘Gujarat hub of Chinese investment’: Congress hits out at PM Modi

Citing the overarching anti-Chinese goods sentiment in the country and how several traders’ bodies have boycotted selling Chinese products, Khera asked the centre to articulate its own policy on the matter.

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pawan khera

New Delhi, July 6 : The Congress on Monday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging his home state Gujarat has become the ‘epicentre’ of Chinese investment in India.

This remark comes amid the India-China border tensions that saw 20 Indian soldiers get martyred in the Ladakh region following which the Centre brought curbs on Chinese investments.

“On the one hand, our brave army is pushing the PLA back from the Ladakh border, and on the other hand, PSUs continue to give contracts to Chinese companies,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said at a late night press conference here.

Calling Gujarat the “hub of Chinese investment”, Khera claimed that the process of Chinese investment in Gujarat continues. He also referred to 3 major MoUs signed in the last five years involving Rs 43,000 crore.

“One Industrial Park, the other is the Smart City Project and the Textile Park… Rs. 43,000 crore of MOUs in the last five years is fine, but, in the last 20 days also, the process doesn’t see any question mark, any comma, any full stop from the government. The Prime Minister comes from Gujarat, therefore the question will obviously be asked to the Prime Minister,” he said.

Using strong phrases like “special fondness for China”, the Congress asked the Prime Minister whether the Gujarat government will “reconsider” its approach.

Khera also asked about an alleged agreement with the China Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and whether it will be revoked or not. “We also want to know whether all those companies that you have given special status will be shown the door or not. People want to know, has there been any change in your policies?” he asked.

Citing the overarching anti-Chinese goods sentiment in the country and how several traders’ bodies have boycotted selling Chinese products, Khera asked the centre to articulate its own policy on the matter.

The Congress’s counter-offensive comes days after the ruling BJP had launched a scathing attack on the party and its interim President Sonia Gandhi for allegedly receiving funds from the Chinese government for the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, that she heads.

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