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India

Two Pakistani High Commission officials caught spying, used to meet defence personnel

The Ministry of External Affairs, in its statement, described the activities of the officials “inimical to India” and “incompatible with their diplomatic status”.

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New Delhi, May 31 : The two Pakistani High Commission officials, who were caught spying on Sunday, used to meet Indian defence personnel as “businessmen” to get information for “news reporters”.

Both have been declared persona non grata and expelled from India. An official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs said that two officials of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi were apprehended on Sunday for indulging in espionage activities.

The Government has declared both the officials persona non grata “for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within twenty four hours”.

Official sources said the espionage module was busted in a joint operation by the Military Intelligence with the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police’s Special Cell.

The two Pakistan High Commission officials, sources said, pretended to be businessmen and used to meet Indian defence personnel.

An assistant in the Department of Trade in Pakistan High Commission, Abid Hussain Abid (42), sources said, was an operative of Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI and is from Punjab province of Pakistan. While indulging in espionage activities, he told Indian defence personnel that he was from Amritsar.

His colleague, an upper division clerk in the High Commission, Mohammad Tahir (44) who is from Islamabad, would accompany him on the espionage missions to gather information for “news reporters”. Sources said the news reporters were decoy reporters who were paid Rs 25,000 per piece and expensive gifts. They were paid via phone wallet application such as Paytm.

Both were in the High Commission for the last two years, sources said adding that the duo were driven around by Javed Akhtar (36), a resident of Mianwali, in Pakistan’s Punjab, who has also been arrested.

The two officials had been on the radar of the Indian agencies for their suspicious activities including attempts to contact and lure service personnel for espionage, sources said.

The law enforcement agencies who apprehended the two officials, recovered some incriminating documents, Rs 15,000 rupees and two iPhones from them. Of the two iPhones, they were to give one to their informants.

Sources said after they were caught, both Abid and Tahir admitted to be in communication with many other persons for gathering information.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in its statement, described the activities of the officials “inimical to India” and “incompatible with their diplomatic status”.

Pakistan’s Charge de Affaires was issued a demarche, in which a strong protest was lodged with regard to the activities of the officials of the High Commission of Pakistan against India’s national security, the government said.

India

Congress blames ‘toxic’ TV debate for Rajiv Tyagi’s untimely demise

“Till when will toxic debates and venomous spokespersons continue to kill sober and simple people? Till when TV channels will continue to run the TRP business through such debates? Surjewala tweeted

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Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, Aug 13 : The Congress has blamed ‘toxic’ TV debate for the untimely demise of its spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi, who passed away on Wednesday after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Congress leader had attended a television debate at 5 p.m. and complained of chest pain soon after the programme ended. He then fell unconscious and was rushed to the Yashoda Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala tweeted, “Till when will toxic debates and venomous spokespersons continue to kill sober and simple people? Till when TV channels will continue to run the TRP business through such debates? Till when will divisive communal agenda continue to poison the soul of the country? Till when? #rajiv_tyagi.”

Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and senior leader Priyanka Gandhi spoke to Tyagi’s wife and extended their condolences.

Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet, “Congress has lost a lion. We will always remember his love for the party. My condolences are with the family.”

“Shocked to hear about the tragic demise of Shri Rajiv Tyagi. He was too young and had a long life ahead of him. It is a big loss for the party. My heart goes out to his family & wellwishers. May God give them the strength in this hour of grief,” tweeted senior leader Ahmed Patel.

A resident of Ghaziabad, Tyagi was a member of the Uttar Pradesh Congress before becoming the party’s national spokesperson.

The Congress in a statement said, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Rajiv Tyagi, a staunch Congressman and a true patriot. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of grief.”

Congress leader Jitin Prasada said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by his untimely demise.”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, “I can’t believe that my friend Rajiv Tyagi is not with us any more. He was in a debate with me at 5 p.m. Life is uncertain.”

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India

Refrain from inappropriate social media posts: Telangana Police

With a provocative social media post triggering violence in Bengaluru, Telangana Director General of Police M. Mahender Reddy and Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar on Wednesday cautioned people against posting inappropriate content online.

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Begaluru Violence

Gajwel: The police chief, in a statement, requested people to be cautious while posting any content on social media.

“A malicious social media post has led to mindless violence in Bangalore (Bengaluru) city resulting in loss of life and properties. Public are requested not to post/circulate any inappropriate content in social media which is likely to adversely affect public order and peace in the society,” the DGP said.

He said Telangana Police were closely watching round the clock for anti-social elements circulating such malicious content in social media.

“All the SHOs and other senior Officers have been instructed to register specific cases in every such instance and initiate strong and strict action against such offenders without fail. I request the public to partner with police to maintain the highest standards of safety and security in Telangana,” he added.

Anjani Kumar has also urged people to be very cautious before posting anything on social media. “Last night there was violence in Bangalore because of such a social media post. We will take very firm legal action for any irresponsible post. We cannot allow under any circumstances our city to get a bad name,” he tweeted.

A Facebook message posted allegedly by a relative of a Congress MLA triggered violent protest in Bengaluru on Tuesday night.

Three people were killed in the police firing and 60 police personnel were injured in the violent incident of stone pelting and attacks by rioters.

Earlier, Telangana Industries Minister K. T. Rama Rao said that social media cannot turn into an instrument for anti-social behaviour.

The minister took to Twitter to share his thoughts after violence in Bengaluru.

“Goes to show you how dangerous spreading fake news in social media can be…,” tweeted Rama Rao, who is son of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

Rama Rao, who is also the President of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), requested all social media users to be responsible. He urged them not to indulge in propaganda and stop spreading fake news.

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Cities

Bengal govt withdraws state-wide lockdown on Aug 28

Hence, the statewide lockdown will only be observed on August 20, 21, 27 and 31.

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Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Aug 12 : The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government on Wednesday withdrew the complete lockdown on August 28 and imposed a curfew on August 20 instead.

The state government passed an order to this effect, saying the step was taken in response to various requests it had received.

As a result, the lockdown dates were once again revised to six days this month. This is the fourth time that the state government has revised the coronavirus lockdown dates for the month of August.

Hence, the statewide lockdown will only be observed on August 20, 21, 27 and 31.

According to the statement, the revision comes in view of difficulties cited by businesses and banking operators due to the consecutive two-day lockdown in the last week of August.

“Several communications have been received citing difficulty to conduct of businesses and banking operations because of the two-day lockdown on Thursday and Friday in the last week of August, followed by one-day lockdown on the following Monday. The state government has considered the requests for relaxation of lockdown,” the notification read.

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