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Supreme Court ruling on J&K internet generates hope

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Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: In Jammu & Kashmir there is optimism after the Supreme Court gave a ruling on Friday asking the government to review the internet ban in Kashmir calling it a part of freedom of speech.

Business circles in Kashmir say the Supreme Court ruling would eventually pave the way for the restoration of internet in the valley and kickstarting the stalled businesses.

“We welcome the Supreme Court ruling,” Sheikh Ashiq, President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry told IANS. “We are hopeful that the government will restore the internet without any delay now.”

The KCCI has published a report which said around five lakh jobs were lost in Kashmir due to the internet gag and lockdown following the repealing of Article 370 on August 5.

Internet was suspended all across Jammu & Kashmir ahead of the revocation of Article 370. While the ban on internet hasn’t been lifted in the Kashmir valley, internet has been completely restored in Ladkah. In Jammu the broadband was restored while the mobile internet continues to remain suspended.

Syed Ashfaq, a Kashmir-based financial analyst, who was forced to retrench most of his staff and curtail his business due to the internet ban said government should make a distinction between internet and social media.

“We welcome the Supreme Court ruling, if there are any security concerns let the government suspend social media, why is internet on the whole being curtailed,” Ashfaq said.

“On one hand the government says that it wants to bring in investors to the Kashmir valley but on the other hand local businessmen are made to suffer due to the internet gag, the two things just don’t add up.”

He said that lakhs of people in Kashmir have lost jobs due to the internet shutdown and businesses would find it tough to revive even after internet is restored.

“It will take me at least two years to restart my business after the internet is restored.” Ashfaq said.

Rakesh Gupta, President, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the ruling doesn’t give any immediate relief to the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

He said the government has already been reviewing the security situation from time to time even before the court ruling.

“This is a vague order, there should be more clarity about the restoration of internet,” Gupta told IANS. “Internet is not a luxury but a necessity in today’s times.”

Faiz Ahmad Bakshi, Convenor, Environmental Policy Group, a non-profit organisation for conservation of environment, said the real test is in the implementation of the Supreme Court ruling.

“It is a welcome step but it is for the government to implement the court ruling,” Bakshi told IANS.

But dismissing the ruling Iltija Mufti, daughter of former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, said it has taken five months for the court to say that “internet is a fundamental right”.

“I am disappointed, I had expected the court to pull up the government,” Iltija Mufti told IANS. “All Kashmiris are not jihadists.”

India

India-UAE special repatriation flights to begin July 12

Chartered flights operated by UAE carriers will bring stranded Indian citizens back to their homeland. The same flights will be allowed to carry ICA approved UAE residents back to their country (return from India to UAE).

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Coronavirus iraq covid 19

New Delhi, July 9 : The civil aviation authorities of India and the UAE have agreed to operate special repatriation flights between the two countries during July 12-26.

As per the arrangement, chartered flights operated by UAE carriers to bring flying out Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry ICA (Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship) approved UAE residents to their native country on their return leg.

Further, Indian carriers operating repatriation flights to bring back Indians from the UAE will be allowed to carry the ICA approved UAE residents on their onward journey from India to the Gulf country.

“As part of the close strategic partnership between the Govts of India & UAE, and with a view to assisting UAE residents who are presently in India to return to UAE, the Civil Aviation Authorities of both countries have agreed to operationalise a special arrangement,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.

Earlier in the day, he had tweeted that special flights will be arranged for the nearly 500 residents of Uttarakhand stranded in Dubai.

“Fellow RS Parliamentarian @anil_baluni discussed the issue of nearly 500 Uttarakhand residents who are stranded & distressed in Dubai. I have assured him that special flights will be arranged for them. My office is coordinating with @MEAIndia to ensure their early return,” he said in another tweet.

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Closed Markaz, no foreigners dims hopes for Nizamuddin shopkeepers

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

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Nizamuddin Markaz

New Delhi, July 10 : A group of five men in white kurta pyjamas wait outside the Nizamuddin Markaz for the local policeman to arrive. After some anxious moments, the policeman arrives on a motorcycle with the building”s key. It is time for afternoon prayers and only five people are permitted to offer prayers inside the Markaz five times a day. As he unlocks the gate, the five men walk in to offer Zohar Namaz.

Khaleeq, who has his small shop, selling skull caps, beads and other religious items, exactly opposite the Markaz entrance, feels that with foreigners gone from the area, the market will have a hard time to pick up.

“With the uncertainty on when foreigners would be allowed in Markaz now, the business at Nizamuddin market is badly hit. Most of the shops here are based on the foreigners” needs and demands. With no foreign customers, we are facing heavy losses,” he said.

The worst affected are money exchange shops which were mostly dependent on foreigners” visit to Markaz.

Ahmed Uzair, a banker who resides in Nizamuddin, believes that the market might now pay the price of being too much dependent on foreign customers attending the jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz.

“Many shopkeepers are vacating their shops as they are unable to pay the rent. Many have packed up and went to their native places as they see a bleak future of what was once a flourishing market,” Uzair said.

After de-containment of Nizamuddin, the barricades present at the main road leading to Nizamuddin Markaz has been removed now but there are little or no customers in the market.

In comparison to the adjoining Bhogal market, Nizamuddin market is primarily focused on the needs of the visitors to the Markaz. Now since the markaz has been closed, the usual flow of customers is missing.

“Not just foreigners but visitors from other states in India formed the backbone for the survival of this market. It”s facing a tough time now and it seems it will continue for some time,” said Shamshad Ahmed, another shopkeeper in the area.

The Markaz was closed since the lockdown and on the night of March 29, police and health authorities started bringing people out from the Markaz and sent them to hospitals and quarantine facilities.

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Did Vikas Dubey reach Ujjain himself or was he brought there?

After Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced his arrest, the Congress is raising questions.

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Vikas Dubey.

Ujjain/Bhopal, July 9 : After gangster Vikas Dubey, who had been on the run for the last seven days, was arrested in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain on Thursday morning, a controversy erupted over how he managed to reach the temple town. Questions have been raised whether he came on his own or was brought here, and also as to how he manage to cross many districts of Uttar Pradesh without being recognised.

Dubey, accused of killing eight police men in Bikaru village of Kanpur, was constantly changing his location for the past seven days. Though the Uttar Pradesh Police continued to raid various possible locations, he still reached Ujjain, dodging the police of several districts of UP and Madhya Pradesh.

Dubey, whose in-laws are also from Madhya Pradesh, has been coming to Ujjain every year. His mother Sarala Devi had admitted that he used to go to Ujjain every year to offer prayers at Mahakaal temple. It is being said that he reached Ujjain by road and also offered prayers at the temple on Thursday morning.

After Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced his arrest, the Congress is raising questions.

Police sources said that Dubey came to Ujjain in a car from Uttar Pradesh and he also stopped at a residence of a person known to him in Nagjhiri area where he stayed for some time. He reached the temple for ”darshan” on Thursday morning. However, the security guards posted at the temple got suspicious and stopped him for questioning. He reportedly had a brief scuffle with the security guards who then informed the police post. Dubey was later arrested there.

But if Dubey did actually come to Ujjain by road, then he must have covered a distance of about 200 km in Madhya Pradesh seemingly without attracting police attention. Before entering Madhya Pradesh, he must have passed through several districts of Uttar Pradesh as well. Apprehension has been expressed that he reached Ujjain via Rajasthan”s Kota. The police is investigating this also.

Mishra said that Dubey came to Ujjain driving his own vehicle. “Two of his accomplices — Bittu and Suresh have also been arrested. The entire state police was on alert after the Kanpur incident. The surveillance was carried out and finally MP police succeeded in arresting him.”

However, questioning the government, Congress Rajya Sabha member and former Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh said: “It looks like a sponsored surrender to avoid an encounter by the Uttar Pradesh Police. My information is that this has been possible with the courtesy of a senior leader of Madhya Pradesh BJP.”

However, it was not immediately known whether Dubey reached Ujjain on Thursday morning itself or had come a day before.

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