Police arrest seven persons for links with Hizb-ul Mujahideen in Assam

A total of seven persons have been apprehended in Assam over the past four days on the suspicion of having links with the terrorist organisation, Hizb-ul Mujahideen.

The arrests of the seven persons were made after a massive manhunt was launched by Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad, along with the Assam Police, and Crime Branch last week in Assam as well as Uttar Pradesh after the arrest of suspected Hizb-ul Mujahideen terrorist Qamar-us-Zaman in Kanpur.

Pallav Bhattacharyya, Special Director General of Police (Assam) while confirming the developments reportedly said, “So far seven members of Hizb-ul Mujahideen have been apprehended. If you look at the history of Assam, several foreign-based extremist organisations tried to gain foot-hold here but none succeeded. We are confident of being able to neutralise them with help of people of Assam.”

On September 15, two men, identified as Saidul Alam and Omar Farooq, were arrested for alleged links with Zaman.

On September 17 police arrested Saifudin brother of Qamar-uz-Zaman. He was produced in the court and was sent to 10 day police remand.

 Bhattacharyya said, “Police is interrogating Saifudin.”

Three other linkmen were arrested named Riazudin Bhuyan, Jainal Ahmad and Bharul Islam.

“We are analyzing various inputs as to for what this outfit was here,” Bhattacharyya added. 

Maoists kill SSB personnel in Bihar

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A group of dreaded Maoists shot dead a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel at Pandethika in Jamui district of Bihar, the police said on Tuesday.

As per the reports, Sikandar Yadav who came to his native village on vacation was forcefully dragged out of his house by the rebels before killing him.

Sources say, around 20-25 Maoists came to the village to kill Yadav and fled into a nearby jungle after executing their plan.

Deputy Superintendent of Police along with additional forces reached the village after getting the information.

Sikandar Yadav (30), was posted at Jainagar in Madhubani district and had come to his native village to celebrate his daughter’s birthday, sources said.

Indian Army rescue 350 people stranded in torrential rains, landslides in Sikkim

The Indian Army rescued nearly 350 people, including 115 civilians, 216 Army personnel and 12 personnel of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Sikkim over the past two days after torrential rains and massive landslides hit the north and east region.

Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh in a press statement said, “Lines of communication have come to a standstill and daily activity has come to a halt in most parts of the state. The road connectivity has been disrupted due to landslides in the region of north and east Sikkim.”

Five helicopters of the Army evacuated stranded tourists, security personnel and locals posted at the border and also sent two Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters carrying 22 tons of life-saving relief material to the far-flung regions to provide respite to the stranded people.

Government officials say that the relief and restoration work in Sikkim is being carried out on a war footing since the rain stopped late September 16. The state power department has restored electricity connections and water supply has also been restored.

Statement reads “On Sunday they brought down 168 people, including several ladies and children to safety. Today (Monday) they have pulled out 184 people from Chugthang Mangan Chhaten to the safety of Gangtok and Bagdogra. They also lifted 15.5 tons of fresh rations and delivered nine tons of relief material to the stranded population. On Monday they rescued ITBP personnel apart from Civil tourist population and Army personnel.”

Along the North Sikkim highway, the forest department officials and the quick response team have cleared all the blocked roads in Mangan town and other areas. 

Supreme Court adjourns hearing on Rafale fighter jet deal till October 10

The Supreme Court on September 18 adjourned hearing on a PIL filed by petitioner advocate ML Sharma seeking a stay on the Rafale fighter jet deal between India and France. A SC bench adjourned the matter till October 10.

Petitioner M L Sharma told the apex court bench that he wants to file some additional documents in the case and therefore the matter should be adjourned.

The SC bench comprising of justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K M Joseph said, “You yourself circulated a letter seeking adjournment on the ground of ill health. Now you are saying that you want to file additional documents. We are simply adjourning the matter to October 10.”

In his petition, Sharma has alleged discrepancies in the Rafale fighter jet deal with France and sought a stay on it.

In his petition advocate Sharma has said that the inter-government deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an “outcome of corruption” and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 (Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution.

Police registers FIR against Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari

An FIR has been registered on Tuesday, against Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Manoj Tiwari by police for illegally breaking the sealed lock of a house in an unauthorised colony in Delhi’s Gokalpur area on Sunday as a mark of protest against municipal officials “pick and choose” system.

According to reports, FIR has been registered under Section 188 of IPC and 461 and 465 DMC Act.

A video showing Tiwari breaking the lock of the house in an unauthorised colony in Gokulpur area on Sunday went viral on social media.

Tiwari asserted that he will not even spare the BJP-ruled municipal corporations in such matters.

“If sealing is done in an illicit way, we will oppose and protest against it. I challenge Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to visit the colonies and answer the public in Delhi,” Manoj Tiwari said.

Tiwari also attacked the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), accusing them of misleading people in the name of converting unauthorised into authorised.

PM Modi launches projects worth over 550 crore rupees

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday inaugurated and laid the foundation of various development projects worth Rs 550 crore rupees in Varanasi.

The Prime Minister inaugurated the Integrated Power Development Scheme for Puraani Kashi and an Atal Incubation Centre at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). 

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that the city got rid of hanging power cables under IPDS project. 

Among the projects for which the foundation stone was laid include the Regional Ophthalmology Centre at the BHU. 

Modi on Monday arrived in Varanasi, on a two-day visit to his Parliamentary constituency. Prime Minister first interacted with students of a primary school aided by a non-profit organisation. Later he paid obeisance to Lord Shiva at the Kashi Vishwanath temple and also watch a film “Chalo Jeete Hain” inspired by his life along with a few school children.

PM had assured me Article 35A won’t be touched: Mufti

Former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi  had assured her that the centre would not take any step to undermine Article 35A which grants special citizenship rights to people of J&K and forbids outsiders from settling in the state.  
“I met Prime Minister and told him that if there is any such move (to repeal Article 35A) we will walk out,”  Mufti said in an interview to a local daily. “Then there was an agreement that the case would be taken to a larger constitutional bench and ultimately put into cold storage”.
Mufti said she met the PM and the home minister Rajnath Singh soon after she learnt that the centre wanted to do away with the law by opposing it in the court for being discriminatory to the women. According to the law, if a woman from the state marries a person who is not a state subject, she loses the right to inherit any property from her parents. 
But the PM assured her that the centre had no such plans, which persuaded her to continue in the alliance with the BJP.
“I had got information that they (New Delhi) are going to introduce something in the court in the name of women’s rights to dilute the Article,” Mufti said adding that her meeting with the PM abated these fears. 
Mufti cautioned against the  attempts to fiddle with the law, warning of long term repercussions in the state which centre won’t be able to handle. 
“If they care for people of the state they shouldn’t do it. This Article has got every person even BJP MLAs on same page across J&K. I don’t think they should go against the will of people in united J&K,” Mufti said. “They (people in J&K) have already too much on their plate to take care of. They should not do it. It will have serious repercussion which they (centre) will not be able to handle”.
She also highlighted the detrimental fallout of any tinkering with the law on the mainstream politics in the state. 
“It is mainstream parties which are fighting on so many fronts here (J&K),” Mufti said. “If you just ignore their anxieties it is bad for the country”.

Ola announces its plans to begin operations in New Zealand

Ola, one of India’s largest ride sharing platform, on Tuesday, announced its plans to enter New Zealand.

Founded in 2011, Ola serves as many as a billion rides annually in India, Australia and the UK.

To build Ola’s presence locally, Brian Dewil has been appointed as Country Manager for New Zealand.

According to Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO at Ola, we see a real opportunity in New Zealand to provide a fair alternative in the rideshare space for both customers and drivers.

He further said that the company has invested in understanding the New Zealand customer and devised the right strategy to meet their transport needs

“We are the rideshare brand that cares and are looking forward to creating high quality transport experiences for both passengers and drivers in New Zealand,” Aggarwal added.

Ola’s launch into New Zealand follows its successful launch in Australia in February 2018 and the UK in August 2018.

“Kiwis have had too little choice when it comes to rideshare. Ola’s arrival will create a compelling experience that puts the quality of rides first. I’m excited to build the local team and business in New Zealand and provide a healthy contribution to the nation’s local mobility infrastructure,” said Brian Dewil, Country Manager NZ at Ola.

Pakistan responsible for terror offences in Afghanistan: Indian ambassador to UN

Syed Akbaruddin, India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations (UN), on September 17 making an veiled attack on Pakistan said that terror offences in Afghanistan are perpetrated by those harboured in safe havens in the country’s ‘neigbourhood’. He said this during a UN Security Council Open Debate on ‘The Situation in Afghanistan’.

Indian envoy said that the terror groups, like Taliban and the LeT are aided by Pakistan, continue to pursue military operations, perpetrating violence in several parts of Afghanistan.

 “Taliban, aided by their supporters, continue to pursue military ops, perpetrating violence over several parts of Afghanistan. These offences are planned and launched by those harboured in safe havens in neigbourhood of Afghanistan,” Indian envoy Akbaruddin said.

He further added, “These sanctuaries have, for years, provided safety for dark agendas of ideologically and operationally fused terror networks like Taliban, Haqqani network, Daesh, Al Qaeda and its prescribed affiliates Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.”

During the debate India also called for crippling the illicit drug trade which provides financial sustenance to these terror outfits. “By some estimates, 60% of the Taliban’s revenues are from the drug trade. Poppy cultivation is said to be the largest cash crop in Taliban-controlled areas,” he added.

While extending support to Afghanistan in its fight against terrorism, he said “India stands ready to support Afghanistan in every way we can. Our focus remains on the economic pillar of stability and reliable connectivity for the people of Afghanistan. We strongly believe that lack of connectivity directly impacts the economic, security and political situation in Afghanistan and we want to address this crucial issue for the benefit of the Afghan people.”

Odisha government launches ‘Star Rating’ system for industries to curb air pollution

The Odisha government on September 17 launched a ‘Star Rating’ system for industries to strengthen State Pollution Control Board’s (SPCB) regulatory efforts to reduce pollution.

The initiative is the first-of-its-kind in the state, to ensure transparency in compliance to pollution standards to reduce air pollution.

The programme is launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, and will rate the industries from 1 to 5 based on their efforts to meet the standards set by SPCB.

During the launch Chief Minister Patnaik said that the project is a joint effort of SPCB and Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago.

“The Star- Rating Program is an excellent example of the 3T framework Teamwork, Transparency and Technology. This programme will help the public to find out whether industries in their vicinity are fair in their environmental compliance and empower them to strengthen regulations through public participation,” CM added.

Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and Director of EPIC and the Tata Centre for Development at Chicago, said “The Odisha star rating programme is a pioneering initiative which will help citizens identify the sources of pollution in their neighborhood and empower them to help ensure that industries comply with existing Indian laws.”  

The chief minister while encouraging the industries to be part of the initiative said, “I convey my best wishes to all the industries of Odisha and invite them to be a part of this Star-Rating Programme to make Odisha a clean and green State and support healthy and sustainable growth.”