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Talks with Putin will strengthen India’s ‘special and privileged’ strategic partnership with Russia: PM

Official sources have said the two leaders will meet for four to six hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.

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New Delhi, May 20 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed hope that his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin would further strengthen the “special and privileged” strategic partnership between India and Russia.

In a series of tweets first in Russian and then in English on the eve of his visit to Russia, he said, “Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.”

“Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin. It is always a pleasure to meet him,” Modi said in another tweet.

The two leaders will primarily focus on pressing global and regional issues, including impact of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, during their informal summit in Russian city of Sochi on Monday.

Official sources have said the two leaders will meet for four to six hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.

They said the issues on the table may include economic impact on India and Russia in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, situation in Afghanistan and Syria, threat of terrorism, and matters relating to the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS summits.

The sources said the possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Indo-Russia defence cooperation might also figure during the talks between Modi and Putin.

India is not going to allow its defence engagement with Russia to be dictated by any other country, the sources have said, adding New Delhi has been lobbying with the Trump administration on the issue.

The aim of the informal summit is to use the friendship and trust between the two countries to create convergence on key global and regional issues, the sources said.

The two leaders may also deliberate on extending Indo-Russia civil nuclear cooperation to third countries, possible areas for cooperation for the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project, India’s engagement with five-nation Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the situation in the Korean peninsula.

The sources said the large part of the informal meeting between Modi and Putin would be one-to-one and there might be limited segment for restricted delegation-level discussions.

India

Delhi riots: Opposition leaders meet President, demands independent probe into police role

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Delhi Roits Judicial Enquiry

Opposition leaders met President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday and demanded an independent probe by a commission headed by a retired or sitting judge into the role of the Delhi police in the February riots and the ongoing probe into the incident.

Congress Treasurer and MP Ahmed Patel, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D. Raja, DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi and RJD leader and MP Manoj K Jha were part of the delegation.

The Delhi police have set up special investigation teams, and its Special Cell has been probing the aspect of conspiracy behind the riots, in which 53 people lost their lives.

In a memorandum, the leaders voiced concern over the probe being conducted by the police. “The entire investigation appears to be aimed at arriving at a pre-meditated theory about a conspiracy propounded by the Home Minister in the Lok Sabha in March 2020, before any investigation had even begun into the riots,” it said. The memorandum said the investigation by the police did not inspire confidence as there were serious questions about its “impartiality”.

“A credible and unbiased probe is crucial to restore public trust in the law and order machinery of the State. The investigation cannot be allowed to become a fishing and roving expedition aimed at causing a chilling effect on dissent and protest in the country. We, therefore, urge you to call upon the Government of India to institute an inquiry into this investigation under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, headed by sitting/retired judge(s),” the memorandum said.

It criticised the police for the reference made to Mr. Yechury in a supplementary charge sheet, citing disclosure statements made by the accused. “This is a disturbing trend that raises serious questions over the manner of such investigations,” it said.

The leaders said there were several publicly documented accounts and videos of the police being “complicit in the violence, directing mobs pelting stones or looking the other way when mobs were indulging in violence”. “During the violence, a disturbing video emerged showing uniformed policemen assaulting young men lying injured on the road and forcing them to sing the national anthem while repeatedly beating them with lathis. One of the men, Faizan, succumbed to his injuries a few days later,” the memorandum said. It also highlighted other such instances, including the one in which the “DCP stood quietly next to a BJP leader who was instigating violence against the protestors, warning that if they did not vacate the road, he would do it himself”. The memorandum said that despite several complaints about the involvement of police officials, no action had been taken.

The leaders also criticised the police for being a mute spectator to the alleged hate speech of BJP leaders and turning a blind eye to the role of its own personnel in the violence. The probe appeared to be pursuing a line of inquiry “criminalising the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and portraying them as a conspiracy which resulted in the riots in Delhi,” they said.

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Congress Leader Ahmad Patel Raises Digital Divide Issue in Rajya Sabha

Digital India should not increase the barrier between students. The government should regulate it for the poor and help the poor : Ahmed Patel on students facing difficulties in online classes

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Ahmed Patel Rajya Sabha Online Education

Congress leader Ahmed Patel raised the issue of digital divide amid online schools during the pandemic while BSP’s Rajaram raised the issue of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Other Backward Classes in the Jammu region in the Upper House.

It is causing financial and mental trouble to some weaker sections of the society. Digital India should not increase the barrier between students. The government should regulate it for the poor and help the poor.

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3 LeT men arrested in J&K, weapons sent by Pak drones recovered

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Three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists have been arrested by the security forces from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir with a large cache of arms and ammunition they had received through drones, officials said on Saturday.

All three belong to South Kashmir’s Pulwama district and have been identified as Rahil Bashir, Amir Jan and Hafiz Younis Wani. Police said they had gone to Rajouri to receive the weapons sent by drones from Pakistan.

IG Police Jammu Mukesh Singh told IANS that the three belonged to the proscribed terror outfit LeT. The weapons recovered include two AK-56 rifles, 6 AK-Magazines with 180 rounds, two Chinese pistols, three pistol magazines with 30 rounds, four grenades and Rs 1 lakh in cash.

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