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Saudi Arabia’s nod to Haj pilgrimage via sea route from India

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Haj by Sea

The Indian government’s proposal to send Haj pilgrims through the sea route has got the green signal from the Saudi Arabian government, Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Monday.

The discussion on reviving the sea route came up during the signing of the annual bilateral Haj agreement for 2018 between India and Saudi Arabia in the presence of Naqvi and Saudi Minister for Haj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh bin Taher in Mecca on Sunday.

Naqvi said officials from both the countries will discuss all the necessary formalities and technicalities so that Haj pilgrimage through the sea route can commence in the coming years.

“Sending pilgrims through ships will help cut down travel expenses significantly. It will be a revolutionary, pro-poor, pilgrim-friendly decision,” Naqvi said.

The ferrying of Haj pilgrims between Mumbai and Jeddah by waterway was stopped in 1995.

The Minister said that another advantage with ships available these days is they are modern and well-equipped to ferry 4,000 to 5,000 persons at a time. They can cover the 2,300-odd nautical miles one-side distance between Mumbai and Jeddah in just three to four days.

The old ships used to take 12 to 15 days to cover this distance.

Naqvi said that last year he had discussed the option to revive sea route for Haj pilgrimage with Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari.

He said that Haj 2018 has been made fully digital.

On the issue of Indian Muslim women going to Haj for the first time without mehram (male guardian), the Minister said that separate accommodation and transport has been arranged for these women.

Also, female Haj Assistants will be deployed for their help.

More than 1,300 women have applied to go for Haj without mehram and all of these women will be exempted from the lucky draw. These women would be travelling in groups of four or more women, according to the new Haj policy of India.

So far, around 3.59 lakh applications have been received for Haj 2018, against the quota of around 1.70 lakh pilgrims.

“For the first time, we have given option to Haj pilgrims to opt for another embarkation point. This will ensure that there is no financial burden on Haj pilgrims even after removal of Haj subsidy. This decision has received overwhelming response,” Naqvi said.

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Delhi’s IAS association claim they are being victimised

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New Delhi, June 17 : Delhi’s IAS association on Sunday held an unprecedented press conference to counter AAP’s claim that its officers are on strike and said that they are being “targeted”and “victimised”.

“We are completely apolitical. We work with dedication with every government… The presser is very unusual, we never thought we have to do this. We are answerable to the law,” the IAS Association said.

“I would like to inform that we are not on strike. The information that IAS officers in Delhi are on strike is completely false and baseless. We are attending meetings, all departments are doing their work. We are sometimes also working on holidays,” said Manisha Saxena, IAS Association Delhi.

The officers addressed the media after Delhi government alleged that bureaucrats in the national capital have been “hindering” the work of the AAP-led government and have alleged that they have been staging a strike for the last four months.
“Let us do our work. We are feeling frightened and victimised. We are being used for completely political reasons,” said bureaucrat Varsha Joshi.

The chief minister has accused the centre and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal of backing a four month-strike by IAS officers, who are protesting against the Kejriwal government. Kerjiwal and his ministers have sought and end to the strike as well as approval for a new doorstep delivery of services scheme.

The sit-in began on June 11 when Chief Minister went to the Raj Niwas in the evening, along with his Deputy Manish Sisodia, and two other ministers, Gopal Rai and Satyendra Jain. Mr Jain began an indefinite fast.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Sunday accused the Modi government of using the Governors office to destabilise the non-BJP state governments as well as to install BJP governments despite the saffron party not winning the mandate.

Yechury’s statement came ahead of his joining a protest march to the Prime Minister’s residence organised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday against the alleged high-handedness of the central government and direct interference in Delhi administration.

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Kejriwal versus Modi: AAP March to PM ‘s Residence

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New Delhi, June 17 : Thousands of Aam Aadmi Party supporters were joined by flag waving CPM cadres in Delhi as protesters gathered to march to the Prime Minister’s Office against the alleged high-handedness of the central government and direct interference in Delhi administration.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury is lending support to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury accused the Modi government of using the Governors office to destabilise the non-BJP state governments as well as to install BJP governments despite the saffron party not winning the mandate.
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“Joining the protest rally to the Prime Minister’s residence today to express serious condemnation over the manner in which federalism, a fundamental feature of our Constitution, is being undermined by this BJP central government,” Yechury said in a statement.

“Utilising the office of the Governors and Lt. Governors, the BJP central government is seeking to destabilise non-BJP democratically elected state governments. This is happening with the democratically elected governments in Delhi and in Puducherry,” he said.

The chief minister has accused the centre and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal of backing a four month-strike by IAS officers, who are protesting against the Kejriwal government. Kerjiwal and his ministers have sought an end to the strike as well as approval for a new doorstep delivery of services scheme.

The sit-in began on June 11 when Chief Minister went to the Raj Niwas in the evening, along with his Deputy Manish Sisodia, and two other ministers, Gopal Rai and Satyendra Jain. Mr Jain began an indefinite fast.

Kejriwal has repeatedly appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene.

Yechury said such efforts were “destroying the already fragile Centre-state relations”, which is the backbone of the federal content of the Indian Constitution. “This must not be permitted.”

He said the Communists in India were the “first victims of such central authoritarian misuse of constitutional provisions” when the elected government in Kerala was “undemocratically” dismissed in 1959.

Prohibitory Orders enforced For March To Prime Minister’s Office: Confrontation likely

But confrontation is set to happen with the Delhi Police claiming that the party has not sought permission for a march. 

“The New Delhi district has not received any permission of an AAP protest. Protest marches are banned in residential areas. Section 144 has already been imposed,” said senior police officer Madhur Verma.
The officer said they have mobilised “outside forces” and exits of several metro stations — Patel Chowk, Udgyog Bhavan, Central Secretariat, Janpath and Lok Kalyan Marg — have been shut.

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Terror operations to resume in Kashmir : Rajnath Singh

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Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, June 17 : Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the Centre has decided not to extend the suspension of  operations against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir thus ending the month long  Ramzan ceasefire after a senior journalist and an Indian Army soldier were killed in a spike of violence.

“The Government of India decides not to extend the suspension of operations in J&K announced in the beginning of Ramazan,” the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a statement on Twitter.

“The  operations against the terrorists to resume,” it said in another tweet.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said “While the Security Forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs [security forces], resulting in deaths and injuries.”

Home Minister said the government is committed to working for creating an environment free of terror and violence in Jammu and Kashmir .

 

 

 

The government had on May 17 announced security forces will halt counter-insurgency operations during holy month of Ramzan in the first ceasefire in the troubled state in more than 17 years.

Singh said , “The decisionn was taken in interests of the peace loving people of J&K, in order to provide them a conducive atmosphere to observe Ramzan,”, thus accepting a demand made by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti.

 

“We have to take the decision in the right spirit. Home Ministry has taken into cognizance all inputs. Immediate priority for us is we have to conduct Amarnath Yatra peacefully. The majority of youth in Kashmir has moved on, ” Jitendra Singh, MoS PMO said on Ramzan ceasefire not being extended.

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