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Syed Akbaruddin hits out at ‘subterranean’ cover for terrorists at UN

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India has hit out at the “subterranean” cover given to terrorists at the UN by China which has vetoed action against Pakistan-based masterminds of attacks on India, and demanded reforming the process of imposing sanctions on terrorists and their protectors.

Deriding the Security Council committees that deal with sanctions as a “subterranean universe” because of their secrecy, India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin on Tuesday called for opening up their voting so that those vetoing action against terrorists are made to publicly acknowledge their role.

Speaking at a Security Council debate on it working methods, he diplomatically avoided naming China but it was clear his criticism was directed at Beijing that has used the secrecy of the sanctions committee, which is one of the so-called subsidiary bodies of the Council to veto action against Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and against Islamabad for freeing Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.

“When a Council resolution is voted upon all of us know who votes for what and member states explain their positions,” Akbaruddin said, adding “However, in the subterranean world of subsidiary bodies there is no explanation given. No one says what is the rationale.”

“Furthermore, a rejection does not even surface in the public space,” he added. “No one indicates who specifically is not supporting a request. Indeed, proposals that can’t make it are buried without public acknowledgment that they were ever considered.”

While vetoes in the sanctions committee were ultimately leaked – as in the case of Beijing providing cover for Pakistan-based terrorists – the absence of a public record of the decision-making allows countries to avoid taking responsibility for their action.

Akbaruddin also criticised another aspect the decision-making system of the sanctions committee, where rulings have to be unanimous unlike in the Councila, where only the permanent members wield vetoes.

“While the trend now is to consider means to curtail the use of the veto in the Council’s own work,” he said, acein the subterranean universe all Council members have extended vetoes to themselves as members of Sanctions Committees.”

“The adoption of principles of anonymity and unanimity has absolved individual members of accountability,” he asserted.

When India asked the sanctions committee to add Azhar, the mastermind of the January attack on Pathankot air force base in its list of terrorists, China vetoed it even though all the other 14 members supported taking action. If the panel, popularly known as the 1267 committee after the Council’s resolution number setting it up, had acted Pakistan and other countries would have been required to freeze his assets and ban his travel.

Last June, China also blocked India’s demand for taking action under the Council’s anti-terrorism resolutions against Pakistan for freeing Lakhvi, the Lashkar-e-Taiba mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack in which 166 people were killed.

Turning to another crucial area of interest to India, which is historically the largest provider of troops to UN peacekeeping operations, Akbaruddin called for regular and inclusive consultations between the Council, the Secretariat and the troop contributors.

The lack of such dialogues has “generated frustration on all sides and underminedathe implementation of mandates”, he said citing the case of South Sudan where more than 2,000 Indian peacekeepers are deployed.

As conditions have worsened in the civil war-torn country, Akbaruddin said, “there has been talk and suggestions about increasing the number of troops; of possible expansion of mandate; deployment of a rapid action brigade; measures for protection of civilians; and calls for an arms embargo.”

But “at no stage have there been efforts at institutionalised consultations” with troop contributors, he said.

India

Explosion in Poonch Army camp caused by Pakistan shelling

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Srinagar, Oct 23 : Pakistani troops today violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir with one of the shells landing inside an Army camp that caused explosion in the brigade headquarters in the town but causing no casualties.

“Today (Tuesday), approximately at 10.30 a.m., in a ceasefire violation, Pakistan troops fired a rocket-propelled grenade and also resorted small arms firing. One round landed on a barrel-type store shelter in Poonch, causing fire,” Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said.

“Initial analysis indicates that calibre 105/106 mm remote-controlled launcher was used by Pakistan troops to target the shelter. No casualty was caused in this incident.

“In Krishna Ghati (KG) sector also, at 5.35 p.m., one round of 82mm shell landed at Jhalas area. One muffled blast occurred at 6 p.m. This was misconstrued as a blast in the KG garrison.”

No casualty occurred in this explosion, he said.

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Shivpal Yadav launches new party

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shivpal yadav

Lucknow, Oct 23 : The rebel Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and estranged uncle of former UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has floated a new political outfit  known as ‘Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party-Lohia’.

 Shivpal Yadav, the younger brother of SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was also the number two in the party has announced that the Election Commission had granted his party the new name and added that he will ensure that every marginalized person in the political and social system found a voice in his party.

Yadav said that time had come to take the socialist movement forward in the form of the Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party- Lohia (PSP-L).

He cautioned party workers to keep away from people who flatter and sugar-coat their words. This, he said, had led to the downfall of the SP and should be taken as a serious lesson.

He also informed that 40 small and regional parties had so far come under the umbrella of his party. Completely marginalized in the SP, a party he founded with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Azam Khan and Beni Prasad Verma some 25 years back, Shivpal has also announced his intention to field 80 candidates in the 2019 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Yadav, who was formerly irrigation and PWD minister in successive SP government, has broken ranks with the SP after Akhilesh Yadav saw him out as the state SP chief in January 2017 and completely banished him from the party.

Shivpal waited for more than a year before he decided to carve out his own outfit, initially named as Samajwadi Secular Front.

Mulayam Singh Yadav who initially threw his weight behind Shivpal has since distanced himself from his younger brother and is inching closer to his son.

SP leaders allege that Shivpal is being propped up by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to dent the prospects of the SP, especially in Yadav-dominated belts.

The recent allotment of a sprawling bungalow vacated by Mayawati to Shivpal is also being cited as a proof of the growing proximity between the Yadav chieftain and the saffron camp. Shivpal, however, has trashed such charges.

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Bengal Stampede: Mamata blames Railways of negligence, demands probe

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Kolkata, Oct 23 :West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said “negligence and callousness of some people” was responsible for the stampede at a railway foot-overbridge in Howrah that killed two and injured 12 others, urging the railways to take proper care of the passengers.

Referring to the horrific train accident in Punjab’s Amritsar four days ago in which at least 59 people died and scores injured, Banerjee said the department should initiate inquiries into the matters rather than shying away from taking responsibility.

“The accidents in railways should be reduced because so many modern equipment are available. But I think there must be some negligence or callousness… I do not know from which part,” she told reporters.

The Railways should “take more responsibility and take care of coordination among various sections” of it so that coordination-gap between its various internal departments can be reduced, she said.

According to her, money has not been a constraint for the railways to construct wider railway foot-overbridges.

Banerjee also alleged that the railways did not seek any help from the state government during the festive seasons, but they “should work in liaison with the state” particularly during the festive period.

“See what happened in Amritsar. Even during the Puja time, I noticed three-four incidents in my state also. I asked the chief secretary to talk to the railway authorities to find out if they are monitoring the situation,” said Banerjee, who herself is a former railway minister.

“I do not want to blame the railways just for the sake of it. Let them investigate. Why are they not investigating the matter?” she questioned.

“When BJP called a bandh, I saw there were only four people on the tracks and they withdraw their train. But in Amritsar where 59 people died had so many people on the track… and they said they cannot take responsibility… I do not understand this,” she added.

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