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Maldives more inclined towards China: Navy chief

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Navy chief Sunil Lanba

New Delhi, May 23 : Maldives is a “challenge” for India at the moment as the current government in the island nation is more inclined towards China, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said today, indicating that the ties between New Delhi and Male are yet to reach a level of normalcy.

Lanba, however, added that patrolling of the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by the Indian Navy has again commenced and that India would continue to work with the government of the archipelago nation.

He also said there is no necessity to get a military dimension to the Quad involving India, the US, Australia and Japan.

“Maldives is a challenge at the moment. The present government in Maldives is more inclined towards China. The constitution has been tweaked and some islands have been given to the Chinese for development. There is no news at the moment of any listening post in the Maldives. There is some development that is going on,” Lanba said in response to a question at an event at the Vivekananda Foundation International.

India’s ties with Maldives nose-dived after it criticised the Abdulla Yameen government for imposing a 45-day emergency in the archipelago nation earlier this year.

During the crisis, India had ignored calls for military intervention from the opposition parties in the island nation.

The influence of China on Maldives, an island nation in the Indian ocean, considered a backyard of India, has been growing and it is seen as a concern in New Delhi.

Maldives neither participated in the multi-national ‘MILAN’ naval conclave, a congregation of littoral navies conducted biennially by the Indian Navy at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which was held in mid-March this year nor did its defence minister lead his country’s delegation to take part in the DefExpo2018.

“We (India) have an EEZ patrolling (exercise) that we regularly do with Maldives. The one (exercise) previously held had been called off by the Maldivian government, but that has been recommenced. We continue to train their personnel. We just finished a special forces training camp. We will continue to work with the Maldivian government,” Lanba said.

Responding to another question on the Quad, the Navy chief said it was a discussion forum for international good order and peace and following the norms of the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“We are not going down that route. I don’t think there is a necessity to get a military dimension to the Quad,” he said.

The Quad is also seen as a move to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region where Beijing has been trying to spread its influence.

The meeting was held in Manila in November last year, which was attended by leaders of the four countries.

India

AP minister Vellampalli Srinivas Rao Covid positive

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covid-19 test

Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas Rao has tested positive for coronavirus, however, he is currently fine.

“Rao tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday evening. He is admitted in a hospital and everything is normal,” an official confirmed to IANS.

Doctors performed 10 to 15 tests on the minister to check his health condition, all of which returned normal.

“He is doing absolutely fine,” said the official.

Rao was busy monitoring the situation after the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple chariot blaze in Antarvedi in East Godavari district.

Later, he was busy with the Brahmostavams at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) in Tirupati.

Source: IANS

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Mukhtar Ansari to be brought from Punjab jail to UP

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BSP MLA Mukhtar Ansari

Mau (Uttar Pradesh), Sep 28 (IANS) Jailed mafia don and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA Mukhtar Ansari will now be brought to Mau from Punjab’s Mohali jail on October 21 for interrogation in a case of fraud and Arms Act lodged against him in January.

Mau Superintendent of Police (SP) Ghule Sushil Chandrabhan, said, “Warrant B has been procured by the district police from the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in a case of sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467, 468 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and 30 Arms Act, registered on January 5 with Dakshintola police station.”

He said that the CJM Court accepted the plea of the police to bring Mukhtar Ansari here from the Mohali jail on Warrant B on October 21.

The Yogi Adityanath government has been cracking the whip on the economic empire and armory of the jailed don.

In Varanasi, SP City Vikas Chandra Tripathi said that the process of confiscating the property of Mukhtar’s close aide Meraj Ansari was started on Friday by making a public announcement near his residence in the Ashok Vihar area.

Meraj Ansari is absconding after a case under section 419, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC was lodged against him for committing fraud to procure arms licences. He has been absconding since the case was lodged, added Tripathi.

Meanwhile, large-scale action has been taken against Mukhtar’s family members and henchmen in different districts of the state, including Lucknow.

Illegally acquired property by the don has been demolished and arms licenses procured by his men have been cancelled.

As per the records of Mau police, in 2001 four persons — Israel, Anwar, Salim and Mohd Shah Alam — had managed to get arms licences on the recommendation of Mukhtar’s letter by mentioning fake addresses on their application forms.

Alam was eliminated in an encounter with police in Ghazipur after a few years while others are absconding.

Apart from them, former station officer Dakshintola police station J.K. Singh and a revenue official were also accused in this case by the police.

These facts had come to light during the Ghosi Assembly bypoll process in October 2019, when arms licence verification was initiated across Mau district.

During the investigation, it came to light that apart from Israel, Anwar and Salim, Mohd Shah Alam had also applied for an arms license in 2001. To ensure that they all get licenses for double-barrel guns, Mukhtar wrote letters to the then District Magistrate on his letter pad in the capacity of Mau MLA in December 2001 requesting to issue arms licenses in their names.

The Mau Police have also registered a case against the owner of the Prakash Construction Company, Kiran Rai, at the Kotwali police station for utilizing fake documents to grab major contracts in order to provide financial benefits to the Mukhtar gang, said SP Mau.

Mukhtar Ansari was shifted to the Ropar jail in Punjab in January 2019 and then to Mohali jail.

–IANS

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Congress MP files PIL in SC seeking directions to quash farm Bills

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Supreme Court

Congress MP from Kerala T.N. Prathapan has moved a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the farm Bills recently passed by Parliament.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave his assent to the contentious farm Bills, which has seen the Opposition and farmers hit the streets in protest.

Prathapan urged the top court to quash The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 as violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution.

The plea argue that without the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) acting as a protective shield around the farmers, the market would ultimately fall to the corporate greed of multinational companies who are more profit-oriented and have no care for the conditions of poverty-stricken farmers dependent on farming for their livelihood.

The plea, filed through advocate James P Thomas, contended that the APMC deterred the exploitation of the farmers by providing a minimum support price which would guarantee that the farmer who comes to the APMC would not leave empty-handed.

In the plea Prathapan said: “The promotion of agreements for farming produce will weaken the process of monetisation as per current structure of The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020. Through the provisions mentioned in the above noted act, de-risking of agriculture as claimed by the Government at various stages is wrong on the analysis of the provisions enacted.”

The petitioner urged the apex court to issue direction declaring Section(s) 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 13, 14, 18 and 19 of The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 as being unconstitutional, illegal and void.

He contended that The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 has been hastily passed without adequate discussion and that a bare reading of its provisions will reveal that it is not a progressive piece of legislation.

“The matter is of substantial public interest and is emergent as there is a need for striking down laws which violate the rights of the 14.5 crore citizens who are engaged in farming before serious financial damage is caused to them and the families of such persons”, said the plea.

Source: IANS

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