Archive for ‘PM Modi’

09/06/2019

India’s Modi calls for global conference on terrorism

MALE, Maldives (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a global conference to tackle the threat of terrorism in the region and around the world.

During a speech on his first foreign visit since winning re-election, he told the Maldivian parliament in Male that “terrorism is not just a threat for a country, but to the entire civilisation”.

“The international community has actively arranged for global convention and many conferences on the threat of climate change. Why not on the issue of terrorism?” Modi said.

He called for a global conference “so that there can be meaningful and result-oriented discussions for plugging the loopholes that terrorists and their supporters exploit”.

India is pursuing what it calls a “neighbourhood first” foreign policy centred on its allies in South Asia, although there is little sign of a warming in relations with arch rival Pakistan.

His trip to the Maldives is being viewed as a statement of intent to counter the rise of China, which has been making strategic inroads in the Indian Ocean in recent years and seeking closer military ties, to the alarm of New Delhi.

“In the neighbourhood, Maldives is priority,” Modi said in his speech.

During the visit, Modi has signed a slew of agreements with the island nation encompassing ferry services, port terminals and a new national cricket stadium.

His next stop is Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, where security is likely to be high on the agenda.

A wave of bombings on Easter Sunday killed more than 250 people across Sri Lanka despite repeated warnings from Indian intelligence services about a militant plot.

Source: Reuters

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16/05/2019

Gandhi killer ‘patriot’ comment by BJP candidate draws outrage

Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,1869 - 1948), Indian nationalist and spiritual leader, leading the Salt March in protest against the government monopoly on salt production.Image copyright GETTY IMAGES

India is in full election mode: voting began on 11 April, and the final ballot will be cast on 19 May with results out on 23 May. Every day, the BBC will be bringing you all the latest updates on the twists and turns of the world’s largest democracy.

Ruling party candidate calls Gandhi’s killer a patriot

What is happening?

Controversial Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician Pragya Thakur has made headlines again. This time it was for calling Nathuram Godse – the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi – a “patriot”.

Her comment was made in response to a statement by southern actor-turned politician Kamal Haasan who had said India’s first “extremist” was a Hindu”, referring to Godse.

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His statement, made on Monday, was heavily criticised by the BJP, which accused him of indulging in “divisive politics” and filed a complaint against him with the Election Commission of India.

Why does this matter?

The BJP has responded by criticising Ms Thakur and asking her to publicly apologise.

“BJP does not agree with this statement, we condemn it. Party will ask her for clarification, she should apologise publicly for this statement,” party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao told reporters.

However, Ms Thakur’s comments do reflect the views of some right-wing Hindus who support the BJP and have long seen Gandhi as too moderate.

Godse, who shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point-blank range on 30 January 1948, was also an activist with nationalist right-wing groups, including those closely associated with the BJP.

Hindu hardliners in India accuse Gandhi of having betrayed Hindus by being too pro-Muslim, and even for the division of India and the bloodshed that marked Partition, which saw India and Pakistan created after independence from Britain in 1947.

Ms Thakur has seen her fair share of controversy. Her candidature caused outrage as she is an accused of involvement in a blast that killed seven people and injured 100 others. On 18 April, she said that police officer Hemant Karkare had died in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks because she had “cursed” him. She was then banned from campaigning for 72 hours as a result.

A team led by Mr Karkare had arrested her for questioning in connection with the Malegaon blast.

During her campaign, she also said she was “proud” of her part in the demolition of the 16th Century Babri mosque. In 1992, right-wing Hindu mobs razed the mosque to the ground, claiming it was built on the site of a temple destroyed by Muslim rulers. The site, which is in the city of Ayodhya, has been a religious flashpoint for Hindus and Muslims for decades.

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Campaigning ends in West Bengal a day before deadline

What happened?

The Election Commission (EC) has told political parties to end their campaigning in West Bengal state, a day before the deadline in the wake of poll-related violence.

The campaign will end on Thursday at 10pm local time, and voting will be held on Sunday.

The decision comes after clashes broke out between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and protesters believed to be from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on Tuesday.

It happened during a roadshow of BJP chief Amit Shah. Several people were injured and vehicles were set on fire. A statue of renowned Bengali reformer Iswarchandra Vidyasagar was also vandalised in the clashes.

Both parties have accused each other of starting the violence.

Why does this matter?

Violence took place during BJP chief Amit Shah's rally in Kolkata on TuesdayImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Violence took place during BJP chief Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata on Tuesday

The BJP welcomed the decision, saying it validated their argument that the state had “descended into anarchy” under the leadership of chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Ms Banerjee said that the move was “undemocratic” and “it had insulted the people of Bengal”.

“Tomorrow, [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi has two meetings in Bengal. When he finishes, the campaigning also ends… Instead of punishing Amit Shah, the Election Commission has given a gift to the BJP,” she said.

This photo taken on May 14, 2019 shows supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) facing off with Indian police next to torn down barricades during clashes between rival groups during a campaign rally event held by BJP president Amit Shah in KolkataImage copyright AFP
Image caption Several people were injured and vehicles were set on fire during the violence

Both parties are locked into a fierce election battle to win most out West Bengal’s 42 seats. Ms Banerjee has ambitions of becoming the prime minister in case a nationwide coalition of regional parties wins enough seats.

The state has also become crucial for the BJP as it’s trying to expand its reach in the eastern state. It won only two seats in the 2014 election.

The BJP performed well in northern states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan in 2014, but this time it’s expected to suffer loses against a coalition of regional parties and the main opposition Congress.

So the party is trying to make up for the losses in West Bengal.

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TMC, BJP accused each other of poll violence

West Bengal chief minister Mamata BanerjeeImage copyright GETTY IMAGES

What happened?

The war of words between West Bengal state chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) intensified ahead of voting on Sunday.

The latest verbal duel comes after violence was reported during BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on Tuesday.

Clashes broke out between BJP supporters and protesters who were holding “Amit Shah go back” posters.

Some people suffered minor injuries and a few vehicles were set on fire.

The BJP said the protest was “orchestrated” and called it an “attempt to strangulate democracy”.

Why does this matter?

The eastern state has become politically crucial for the BJP as it has intensified campaigning in the past few days.

And that has sparked a feverish electoral battle between the BJP and Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC).

“What does Amit Shah think of himself? Is he above everything? Is he god that no one can protest against him?” Ms Banerjee said.

In reply, Mr Shah accused the TMC of not following democratic norms during elections.

“Have faith in the people of Bengal that they’d face the TMC goons,” he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold more rallies in the coming days, so one can expect more verbal fireworks from the two leaders.

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On Tuesday, the saga of the morphed Mamata meme continued

What happened?

India’s top court stepped in to release an activist belonging to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who was sent to prison for sharing a doctored image of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Priyanka Sharma was sentenced to two weeks in prison on 10 May after she shared a picture of Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra and her husband Nick Jonas at the Met Gala – but with Ms Banerjee’s head superimposed on to Chopra’s body.

Earlier the court had said Ms Sharma could be released only if she apologised to Ms Banerjee, but later waived this condition.

Why does this matter?

The battle for West Bengal in this general election has been absolutely bruising.

The BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, has been campaigning hard for votes in the state. This has brought them toe-to-toe with the state’s feisty chief minister. The fact that voting for West Bengal’s 42 seats has been split across all nine phases of voting has meant that the battle has been long and drawn-out.

And with just one phase to go before voting finally ends, the gloves are well and truly off. The two parties have traded insults on the campaign stage, their workers have attacked each other, and the violence on the ground has intensified. And now the battle has spread to cyberspace as well.

The country’s finance minister Arun Jaitley jumped at news of Ms Sharma’s release to call Ms Banerjee a dictator.

Analysts say that this political row is so bitter because the BJP has clearly identified West Bengal as one of the states where they may be able to make gains this election. This becomes more important for the party in the context of their fight in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends the most number of MPs (80) to parliament.

They are up against a powerful coalition of regional parties there, and many expect them to lose seats as a result.

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And PM Modi said Rahul Gandhi should be ashamed of 1984 riots

What happened?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that main opposition Congress party chief Rahul Gandhi should be “ashamed of himself” over his colleague’s remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Mr Modi was replying to a controversial statement made by Sam Pitroda, who is a strategist of the Congress party.

In his reply to a question about the Congress’ role in the riots, Mr Pitroda had said “so what?”.

“I don’t think so, this is also another lie, and what about 1984? You speak about what you [Mr Modi] have done in five years. It [the riots] happened in 1984, so what?” he said.

Mr Gandhi said he was “ashamed” of Mr Pitroda’s statement, and asked him to apologise.

Mr Pitroda later said his statement was “twisted” and he did not mean to hurt sentiments.

But Mr Modi said the Congress chief “must apologise”.

“I was watching that naamdar [the dynast] told his guru that he should be ashamed of what he said. I want to ask naamdar, you pretended to scold your mentor for what? Because he exposed what was always in the Congress’s heart, and in the discussions of the naamdar family? Because he made public a family secret? Naamdar, it is you who should be ashamed,” Mr Modi said.

Why does this matter?

The controversy matters because it comes days ahead of voting for the 13 seats in the northern state of Punjab.

The BJP, which has formed a coalition with regional Shiromani Akali Dal, is locked in a bitter electoral battle with the ruling Congress in the state.

Sikhs are a majority in the state and the 1984 riots is still an emotional issue for many of them.

More than 3,000 Sikhs were killed in 1984 after the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

They were angry at her decision to send the army into the Golden Temple – Sikhism’s holiest shrine – to flush out militants earlier in the year.

The killing of Mrs Gandhi, who belonged to the Congress, saw mobs attack and murder members of the Sikh community across the country.

And both parties appear to be trying to come across as pro-Sikh ahead of the vote on 19 May.

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On Sunday, Delhi voted but not enthusiastically

A voter in Delhi in the general electionImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Delhi’s voter turnout was lower than in 2014

What happened?

Sunday saw India’s capital Delhi vote along with several other states in the polls – the penultimate phase of the country’s mammoth general election.

Voters turned out to vote, but in fewer numbers than they did in 2014. The election commission said that around 60% of the capital’s registered voters had actually cast ballots, which was about a five percent drop from 2014.

Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh expressed disappointment, saying that the turnout did not match expectations.

Why does this matter?

The election commission is right to be disappointed – it had run a series of campaigns in the city, encouraging more people to vote.

But it was not as though polling in Delhi was an entirely smooth process. Some voters complained that their names were missing from electoral lists even though they had all the necessary documents. There were also reports that around 1,200 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had malfunctioned across the city, delaying the polling process.

The fact that Delhi became a three-cornered contest after the main opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which controls the Delhi state assembly, failed to stitch up an alliance may also have put voters off. Many analysts believe that this failure will only split voters who were against prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and effectively hand them victory.

So they may have decided to just stay home, and not bother queuing up in the blistering heat – it touched 40C on Sunday.

Source: The BBC

05/05/2019

India student leader ‘a symbol of protest’ against PM Modi

Kanhaiya Kumar CPI Candidate for Begusarai Lok Sabha seat meets with people in rural area on April 2, 2019 in Begusarai, India.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption Mr Kumar is a candidate for the Communist Party of India

A district in one of India’s poorest states has made national headlines in the ongoing general election after a firebrand student leader decided to run for a seat there. Kanhaiya Kumar, who was charged with “sedition” for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans and spent a few weeks in jail in 2016, is a candidate from Begusarai constituency where voting was held on Monday. Neha Thirani Bagri reports.

It is early morning in the Bihari village of Bihat, when Kanhaiya Kumar emerges from his home.

He is immediately swamped by young men rushing to shake his hand, asking to take selfies with him, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his image.

Mr Kumar, who grew up here, shot to fame in 2016 when he was arrested and charged with sedition.

Then a student union leader at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, he was accused of chanting anti-India slogans at a campus event to commemorate the anniversary of the hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri man convicted of plotting the 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament.

His arrest became the rallying cry for critics of the Hindu nationalist politics of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with student protests organised across the country.

Mr Kumar is still fighting the charge of sedition, a colonial-era statute that has been used to clamp down on dissent in India, which he calls “completely false propaganda.”

“Kanhaiya Kumar has become a symbol of protest against the politics which is represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Sanjay Kumar, director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

Mr Kumar has since completed his PhD. On Monday, he had his first foray into politics, when he ran for election in the constituency of Begusarai in the fourth phase of polling in the Indian election. Votes will only be counted in late May.

The constituency was once a communist stronghold known as the “Leningrad of Bihar.”

“This was not a choice, to enter politics. It was a forced responsibility,” Mr Kumar said during a full day of campaigning before his constituency went to the polls.

Mr Kumar is from the Communist Party of India (CPI), the influence of which has been waning over the past few years.

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India votes 2019

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“Our constitution talks about a secular country. If they are attempting to invoke a particular religion and change the character of the state, then, of course, we will oppose this.”

While Mr Modi swept to a historic victory in India’s last election in 2014 on the promise of better days ahead, many rural Indians have been disappointed with rising unemployment and an agrarian crisis.

Mr Modi and other BJP leaders have been criticised for spouting communally-charged rhetoric and remaining silent in the face of increasing religious violence.

The main opposition Congress party has struggled to mount a strong challenge, though gained some momentum with victories in key state elections last year.

Bihar, India’s third most populous state, elects 40 members out of 545 to India’s lower house of parliament. In the 2014 general election, the BJP won 22 of the 40 seats.

On Monday, Mr Kumar went up against BJP’s Giriraj Singh, who once said that those who oppose Mr Modi should go to Pakistan. It was a three-way contest with the regional Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which has fielded a Muslim candidate.

Media captionKanhaiya Kumar talks about his politics

“Right now, people’s real issues have vanished from the conversation,” said Mr Kumar.

He has become known for often emphasising education, jobs, public healthcare, and minority rights in his speeches.

Mr Kumar has garnered the support of civil rights campaigners, activists, and celebrities from across India.

His outsized social media presence has also made him particularly popular with young people, many of whom are drawn towards Mr Kumar’s charismatic personality, fiery oratory, and local roots.

‘Connect with the young’

Videos of his speeches, often critical of the BJP and right-wing politics, have garnered millions of views on YouTube and Facebook.

“Kanhaiya’s thinking connects with us young people,” said Pankaj Kumar, 24, adding that he often shares the politician’s speeches with his friends on WhatsApp.

“If Kanhaiya wins at least we will have pride – it was because of him that Begusarai became famous in India and even the whole world.”

Kanhaiya Kumar CPI Candidate for Begusarai Lok Sabha seat addresses people of rural area on April 2, 2019 in Begusarai, India.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMr Kumar’s fiery speeches have drawn in voters

Mr Kumar’s speeches have also attracted a sizeable number of Muslim voters – many in the district were vocal supporters of him.

“People with power in this country are only thinking about how to create religious division,” said Mohammed Shoaib Alam.

“Kanhaiya will raise his voice for the issues of poor people,” he added.

While Mr Kumar’s popularity has drawn national attention to the contest for the parliamentary seat from this remote constituency, his victory is far from certain.

“All odds are against him,” said Neelanjan Sircar, a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, adding that Mr Kumar did not benefit from having the backing of a large political party or coalition or the consolidated vote from one community.

“If he pulls this off – and he is massively popular on the ground – it would just be a testament to his individual political skill.”

Source: The BBC

18/03/2019

PM Modi leaves for Goa to pay tribute to Manohar Parrikar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday morning left for Goa to attend the last rites of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who passed away on Sunday evening due to pancreatic cancer.

 

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday morning left for Goa to attend the last rites of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who passed away on Sunday evening due to pancreatic cancer.

The PM left for the coastal state after attending a Union Cabinet meeting in which the demise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) icon was condoled.

Meanwhile, thousands of people from across the state thronged the BJP office in Panaji where Parrikar’s mortal remains have been kept for tributes from party workers.

The truck carrying the 63-year-old Chief Minister’s body, wrapped in tricolour, travelled 5 km from his private residence in Dona Paula to Panaji during which hundreds of people tried to catch a last glimpse of the beloved leader who knew even the commonest man in Panaji by name.

The scene at the BJP office was of grief. People emotionally recollected the simplicity of the man who was the first IIT-ian in India’s history to become both an elected MLA and, eventually, a Chief Minister.

His body will be taken to Kala Academy for public tributes that will continue till 4 pm.

From Kala Academy, the funeral procession will proceed to Miramar, where Parrikar’s mortal remains will be consigned to flames at 5 pm. He will be accorded a state funeral with full military honours.

The cremation will be held next to the memorial of Goa’s first chief minister Dayanand Bandodkar, who was also cremated at Miramar beach.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, who reached Panaji on Sunday evening, offered his last respects to the mortal remains of Parrikar at the state’s BJP headquarters on Monday.

According to reports, Gadkari arrived in the coastal state to negotiate with regional parties and independent MLAs for the formation of a new coalition government following Parrikar’s death. But there was no breakthrough despite the meeting continuing until 4.30 am.

Parrikar passed away following a long battle against pancreatic cancer that left a visible impact on his health.

The four-time Goa Chief Minister also served as India’s Defence Minister from 2014 to 2017. He is credited with turning the military into a lean fighting machine with key defence purchases and policy decisions within a short time.

The central government has announced national mourning on Monday. The state government announced a seven-day mourning.

Source: The Statesman
12/03/2019

PM Modi speaks to leaders of key Islamic nations; calls for ‘irreversible action’ against terror

t was agreed that Saudi Arabia and India should work together for irreversible, verifiable and credible steps against all terrorists without any discrimination.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held discussions with leaders of three key Islamic nations ~ Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey ~ and, without directly naming Pakistan, impressed on them the importance of immediate, demonstrable and irreversible action against terrorism by all countries.
Visiting Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir had a meeting with Modi in New Delhi on Monday evening while the Indian leader had telephonic conversations with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Saudi Arabia, UAE and Turkey are key allies of Pakistan and are said to have played a significant role in reducing tension between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack.
During his meeting with the Saudi minister, PM Modi thanked the leadership of Saudi Arabia for expressing full solidarity with India in the fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
It was agreed that Saudi Arabia and India should work together for irreversible, verifiable and credible steps against all terrorists without any discrimination, the External Affairs Ministry said.
During his four-hour visit to the Indian capital, the Saudi minister also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. The Indian minister reiterated that an immediate, irreversible and verifiable action to dismantle terror infrastructure was essential to fight the menace of terror.
The Turkish President conveyed to PM Modi his condolences for the victims of the recent terror attacks in India and wished a speedy recovery to those injured in these attacks.

PM Modi told him that terrorism remained one of the gravest threats to global peace and security. He underscored the importance of demonstrable and irreversible action against all terror groups.

Source: The Statesman

11/03/2019

Modi’s former ally in Kashmir urges India to talk to Pakistan

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – India should talk to Pakistan and separatists in Kashmir to defuse tension raised by a suicide attack on an Indian paramilitary convoy that was claimed by Pakistan-based militants, a former chief minister of the state said.

Mehbooba Mufti, who was the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir from early 2014 to June last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party withdrew support for her regional party, said an ongoing crackdown on militants and those supporting secession could further alienate the people.

India has vowed to kill all the militants in the country’s only Muslim-majority state if they don’t give up arms, after a 20-year-old local man killed 40 paramilitary troopers in a suicide attack last month.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has sought to speak with Modi amid the hostility, said no militant group would be allowed to operate from his country to carry out attacks abroad, days after his government announced a sweeping crackdown against Islamist militant organisations.
“This confrontational attitude – no talks, no discussion -has an impact,” Mufti said. “Whatever relationship we have with Pakistan, it has a direct impact on Jammu and Kashmir and we are the worst sufferers of this animosity.”
Indian authorities have arrested many separatist leaders in Kashmir in the past few weeks, and the chief of Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said recently that the government had made it clear to them that “if they want to live in India, they will have to speak the language of India, not Pakistan’s”.
Mufti, whose father was also a chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the tough stance by Indian authorities would only lead to “some calm on the surface” that won’t last. India killed 248 militants in Kashmir in 2018 – the highest in a decade.
“Once you start choking the space for dissent in a democracy, people feel pushed to the wall and then it leads to further dissent and alienation,” she said.
Mufti said India’s general election – starting April 11 and whose results will be declared on May 23 – could delay the process of any inter-party talks on Kashmir.
Source: Reuters
10/03/2019

We cannot keep suffering till eternity: PM Modi at 50th Raising Day CISF

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for playing a major role in ensuring the security of the country’s national assets.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday praised the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) for playing a major role in ensuring the security of the country’s national assets.

At the 50th Raising Day ceremony of the central armed police force, the PM pointed at the threat from Pakistan.

“Enough is enough,” he said, while referring to the terror attacks in Pulwama and Uri, adding, “We cannot keep suffering till eternity.”

The PM said that protecting nation is a challenging thing because of the hostile neighbour.

“Your achievement is important because when neighbour is hostile, incapable to fight war, conspiracies to hit the nation internally find a safe haven there, and terrorism shows its face in different forms then protecting the nation becomes challenging,” said the PM.

He acknowledged that providing security to establishments where lakhs of people come daily is a task that is incomparable to any.

“The task of providing security to an establishment where over 30 lakh people come daily and every face is different is far more than security to a VIP,” he said at the golden jubilee ceremony in Indirapuram in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad.

The PM added that there was a need to spread awareness among the public regarding the security aspect.

“There is a need to educate the citizens because if they do not cooperate then the task of CISF becomes even more difficult,” he said.

Recalling the services of the CISF in the rescue efforts following the Kerala floods, the PM said that the force has given an invaluable contribution in tackling natural calamities and humanitarian crises in India and abroad.

“Your contribution in natural calamities is praiseworthy. You saved the lives of thousands in the recent Kerala floods,” he said, adding, “CISF has also played its role whenever humanity has come under threat in the world.”

Before addressing the CISF personnel, the PM laid a wreath at the Martyr’s Memorial.

He also reviewed the parade of the CISF and presented the Police and Fire Service Medals for distinguished and meritorious services.

The event was attended by Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh, Ministers of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Hansraj Gangaram Ahir.

Raised in 1969, the CISF has currently over 1.5 lakh personnel who provide security to vital installations of the country, including 61 airports, seaports, Delhi Metro and various state-owned industries.

Source: The Statesman
09/03/2019

Man arrested over Kashmir grenade attack

Police at the site of the blast in Jammu city on 7 March 2019.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe blast occurred at a busy bus station in Jammu city

Indian police have arrested an alleged member of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group after a grenade attack killed at least two people and injured more than 30 others.

The attack took place on Thursday in a bus station in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Last month a suicide attack against security forces triggered cross-border air strikes between India and Pakistan.

Hizbul Mujahideen has said it was not behind Thursday’s attack.

But police told BBC Urdu that the accused, Yasir Javed Bhat, had confessed. He is a Kashmiri and reported to be in his 20s.

“He revealed that he was tasked with throwing the grenade by Farooq Ahmed Bhat, a district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in Kulgam district,” inspector general Manish Kumar Sinha said.

Mr Sinha added that they were gathering more intelligence on Yasir.

Hizbul Mujahideen was formed in 1989 when an armed insurgency against Indian rule first broke out in the valley. It was the largest Kashmiri militant group through the 1990s and is considered to be pro-Pakistani.

India has blamed Pakistan for supporting militancy in the region – a charge Islamabad denies.

Cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan, chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), speaks after voting in the general election in Islamabad, July 25, 2018Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionPakistan PM Imran Khan said Pakistan was not behind the suicide attack in February

This has long been a source of tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours as groups based in Pakistan have carried out deadly attacks on Indian soil. The suicide attack last month killed more than 40 central reserve policemen in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Tensions between the two sides escalated quickly. India carried out air strikes against what it said was a militant camp based in Pakistan and the latter retaliated with air raids of its own.

An Indian fighter jet was shot down in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and the pilot was captured. Two days later, Pakistan handed over the pilot to Indian officials establishing a fragile truce.

Source: The BBC

08/03/2019

PM Modi condemns attack on Kashmiri vendors in Lucknow, says UP govt took prompt action

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condemned in strong words the attack on a group of Kashmiri merchants in Lucknow by a group of right-wing men, assuring that those behind the attack will be dealt with sternly by the Uttar Pradesh government.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday condemned in strong words the attack on a group of Kashmiri merchants in Lucknow by a group of right-wing men, assuring that those behind the attack will be dealt with sternly by the Uttar Pradesh government.

Addressing a rally in Kanpur, located 80 kilometres from Lucknow, the PM said, “Desh mein ekta ka vatavaran banaye rakhna bahut ahem hai. Lucknow mein kuch sirphire logo ne hamare Kashmiri bhaiyon ke sath jo harkatein ki thi uss par UP sarkar ne turanth karwayi ki (There is an environment of unity across the country. (But) Some crazy people in Lucknow attacked our Kashmiri brothers. The UP government has taken prompt action on them),” he said.

“I will also urge other state governments to take strict action whenever wherever they try to do such an act,” PM Modi added.

On 6 March, two Kashmiri street vendors were attacked by a group of men from a fringe right-wing group on a busy road in the Uttar Pradesh capital.

In a video shot by one of the accused, the men clad in saffron shirts were seen with sticks in their hands and thrashing the vendors. The men were heard saying that they were assaulting the vendors because they were from Kashmir. The vendors were rescued after several locals intervened.

As the video of the incident went viral on social media, the BJP and the state government came in for severe criticism from across the political spectrum.

The police arrested a man identified as Bajrang Sonkar. An FIR has been registered against unidentified men.

Read More: 2 Kashmiri vendors beaten up by fringe right-wing members in Lucknow; 1 arrested

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, too, condemned the incident and requested chief ministers of all the states to protect and love Kashmiri students.

“I want to convey a message to the entire country. I heard of a few incidents against Kashmiri children. Kashmiris are, were and will remain our people,” Rajnath Singh said.

Earlier on February 20, two Kashmiri shawl vendors claimed they were beaten up and called “stone pelters” by unidentified men on a train, forcing them to cut short their business trip to Rohtak.

The incidents come amid reports of some Kashmiri people claiming they were being targeted in many parts of the country in the aftermath of the February 14 terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that left over 44 personnel dead.

Source: The Statesman
06/03/2019

‘War’ and India PM Modi’s muscular strongman image

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he speaks during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) "Sankalp" rally in Patna in the Indian eastern state of Bihar on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Modi is accused of exploiting India-Pakistan hostilities for political gain

A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth, American political journalist Michael Kinsley said.

Last week, a prominent leader of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared to have done exactly that. BS Yeddyurappa said the armed aerial hostilities between India and Pakistan would help his party win some two dozen seats in the upcoming general election.

The remark by Mr Yeddyurappa, former chief minister of Karnataka, was remarkable in its candour. Not surprisingly, it was immediately seized upon by opposition parties. They said it was a brazen admission of the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party was mining the tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals ahead of general elections, which are barely a month away. Mr Modi’s party is looking at a second term in power.

Mr Yeddyurappa’s plain-spokenness appeared to have embarrassed even the BJP. Federal minister VK Singh issued a statement, saying the government’s decision to carry out air strikes in Pakistan last week was to “safeguard our nation and ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few seats”. No political party can afford to concede that it was exploiting a near war for electoral gains.

A billboard displaying an image of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi holding a rifle is seen on a roadside in Ahmedabad on March 3, 2019.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe BJP has put up election posters of Mr Modi posing with guns

Even as tensions between India and Pakistan ratcheted up last week, Mr Modi went on with business as usual. Hours after the Indian attack in Pakistan’s Balakot region, he told a packed election meeting that the country was in safe hands and would “no longer be