‘Hang Me, But My Stand On Article 370 Will Not Change’

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday asserted that his fight is for the restoration of Article 370 and 35A, adding that it will never change even if he has to be hanged.

Speaking to media, Abdullah said, “We have a long way to go, a long political battle that will continue whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or dead, on the stage or not on the stage. Our fight is for restoration of Article 370 and 35 A and our resolve will never change even if I have to be hanged.”

It is a struggle of all people of Jammu and Kashmir and not of Farooq Abdullah alone, he added.

Last year on August 5, the Government of India revoked the special status granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir through an amendment in Parliament and also scrapped Article 35 A, and the state was bifurcated into two union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

When asked about the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday questioning him in connection with his alleged involvement in the J-K Cricket Association scam, Abdullah said, “This questioning has been going on for many years, it is nothing new. I am not going to say anything. The Court will decide what is to be done. I am not worried.”

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday questioned National Conference (NC) president in Srinagar in connection with his alleged involvement in the J-K Cricket Association scam.

The questioning is in connection with the alleged misappropriation of Rs 43 crores when Farooq Abdullah was the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.

Omar Abdullah, son of Farooq Abdullah said that the NC will be responding to ED summons.

“The party will be responding to this ED summons shortly. This is nothing less than political vendetta coming days after the formation of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. To set the record straight no raids are being conducted at Dr Sahib’s residence,” tweeted Omar Abdullah.

On October 15, Farooq Abdullah convened an all-party meeting at his home to chalk out the future course of action on “Gupkar Declaration” with regard to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked by the Centre last year.

Abdullah announced the formation of an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti of People’s Democratic Party, Sajjad Lone and other regional groups and said that the battle is a constitutional and demanded the government of India to return all rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh held before last year.

He also demanded the immediate release of the rest of the people who are still under house detention. (ANI)

France To Probe Hate Groups, Radical Islamic Bodies

The French security forces are set to carry out “numerous probes” into online hate and radical Islam groups in wake of the beheading of a teacher by a teenager, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Monday.

“Not a minute’s respite for the enemies of the Republic. More than 80 online hate investigations following the Friday attack. 51 associative structures will see visits from state services all week long and several of them will be dissolved,” Darmanin wrote on Twitter, as quoted by Sputnik.

Darmanin proposed the dissolution of CCIF (Collective Against Islamophobia in France) and BarakaCity groups, the minister specified in a separate tweet, describing them as “enemies of the Republic.”

The French Senate earlier on Monday “deliberated” a draft law that seeks to prohibit justification of crimes with ethnic or religious motives on constitutional grounds, according to Sputnik.

“Believing that community aspirations are making themselves heard more and more, Philippe BAS, Bruno RETAILLEAU, Herve MARSEILLE and several of their colleagues wish, through this proposed constitutional law, to reaffirm that the laws of the Republic prevail over standards arising from religious convictions or rules based on ethnicity,” the Senate said in a statement.

Sputnik reported that that the bill envisions amending Article 1 of the French Constitution, allowing the equality of all before the law regardless of origin, race or religion, by affirming the principle, under which “no individual or group may rely on their origin or religion to exempt themselves from respect for the common rule.”

The statement further read that the bill also seeks to complete Article 4 of the Constitution with a “provision protecting freedom” to form and manage activities of political parties with respect for secularism “in order to prevent communitarian parties.”

On Friday, French history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in the outskirts of Paris. The main suspect of the attack, a Moscow-born Chechen-teenager who identified as Abdullakh Anzorov, was shot dead by security forces.

The attack came after 47-year-old Paty showed cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad to his students at the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of Paris.

The investigation into the matter continues, following the Defense Council meeting on Sunday, chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron, who ordered the strengthening of security in schools across France after the fall break.

According to the media reports, 11 people, including members of the killer’s family, have been taken into custody over the deadly attack.

On Sunday tens of thousands of people participated in rallies across France to honour slain teacher Samuel Paty and to defend freedom of expression. (ANI)

India, US Likely To Sign Geospatial Deal This Month

Seeking to build close ties amid an ongoing conflict with China, India and the United States of America are expected to sign the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial cooperation during the 2+2 dialogue between the Defence and Foreign Ministers of the two countries to be held on October 26-27 this month in New Delhi.

This is the third foundational agreement to be signed between India and the US after the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

“The BECA is expected to be signed during the meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper on October 26-27 with their Indian counterparts including External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The agreement will ensure that the armed forces of the two countries start talking to each other on enhancing geospatial cooperation,” government sources said here.

Sources said the negotiations between both the sides on this agreement had been completed some time ago and after the clearance by the government, it is ready to be signed during the dialogue.

It is believed that the signing of BECA and the follow-up arrangements between the sides will allow India to use American inputs on geospatial intelligence and to enhance military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.

India and the US have been working very closely in the field of defence and security as India has acquired equipment worth around USD 20 billion from there in the last 15 years including the C-17 Globemasters and the C-130J Super Hercules Special Operations transport aircraft which have become the mainstays of the Indian Air Force’s heavy-lift fleet.

In the field of choppers also, the American Chinook heavylift and Apache attack helicopters have come as force multipliers for the armed forces. The Army is also using the Ultra Light Howitzers from the US while the Navy has also recently opted for the American MH-60 Romeo anti-submarine warfare multirole choppers for its requirements.

The two sides are also going to hold regular military exercises with the Army set to hold the ‘Yudh Abhyas’ and ‘Vajra Prahar’ with American troops early next year while the Navy is going to take part in the Malabar series exercise in November in the Indian Ocean with the Australian and Japanese Navies also set to participate. (ANI)

ED Questions Farooq In Cricket Scam, NC Says Vendetta

Soon after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioned National Conference (NC) president and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah, the party on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after failing to politically fight Abdullah, has resorted to employing its agencies for the task.

The ED questioned Abdullah in Srinagar in connection with his alleged involvement in the J-K Cricket Association scam where an alleged misappropriation of Rs 43 crores took place when Farooq Abdullah was the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association.

“The ED summon to Farooq Abdullah is clearly the result of the unity that Sahib has been able to forge among mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the price one faces when opposed to BJP’s ideology and divisive politics. Recent history is a witness to how BJP has been employing coercive and intimidative measures through various departments to target opposition leaders across the country. The recent ED summon to Farooq Abdullah is a case in point,” the NC said in a statement

“The timing of the recent summon is very clear. His previous summons were just before August 5 last year and today’s summon comes within days of forming the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration of which Farooq Abdullah has taken a lead,” the statement further said.

Farooq Abdullah continues to maintain his innocence and will cooperate with the authorities in what is nothing but a witch hunt, the statement added.

On October 15, Farooq Abdullah convened an all-party meeting at his home to chalk out the future course of action on “Gupkar Declaration” with regard to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked by the Centre last year.

Abdullah announced the formation of an alliance with Mehbooba Mufti of People’s Democratic Party, Sajjad Lone and other regional groups and said that the battle is constitutional and demanded the government of India to return all rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh held before last year.

He also demanded the immediate release of the rest of the people who are still under house detention. (ANI)

Nitish Has Been Unfair To Paswan, Says Tejashwi Yadav

By Sahil Pandey

Mahagathbandhan’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav on Monday expressed sympathy towards Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) president Chirag Paswan and said that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s behaviour has been unfair towards Paswan when he needed his father the most.

“What Nitish Kumar Ji did with Chirag Paswan is not good. Chirag Paswan needs his father today more than ever before but Ram Vilas Paswan Ji is not among us and we are sad about it. Nitish Kumar did injustice with Chirag Paswan, his behaviour is unfair,” Tejashwi said.

Yadav scion also threw a challenge to Nitish Kumar for a debate on any achievement by the JD(U) government in the past 15 years.

“I would request Nitish Kumar to debate on any of his achievements in past 15 years. We can debate on his achievement and we should start a new debating trend. There should be a Chief Minister candidates’ debate. Nitish Ji should accept my challenge,” he added.

Tejashwi spoke about the feedback he received from his election rallies and said, “People are angry with incumbent government and we will be voted to power comfortably. Many people are coming to my rally.”

Meanwhile, Tejashwi, who has been chosen by the anti-NDA group as its chief ministerial candidate, has challenged four-time Chief Minister Nitish Kumar from his home turf Nalanda in the upcoming Bihar polls. (ANI)

US Loans For Developing Nations If They Shun Huawei, ZTE

The US government is making efforts to persuade developing countries to stop using Chinese telecommunication equipment, offering financial assistance to use alternatives that Washington deems safer.

The United States is ready to offer loans and other financings, potentially worth billions of dollars in total, to countries to buy hardware from suppliers in democratic countries rather than from China, Wall Street Journal reported citing Bonnie Glick, the deputy administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is spearheading the effort.

According to the report, the USAID, which is known for providing food assistance than technology, will dispatch staff to meet politicians in the developing countries with an aim to persuade them that using telecom equipment from two Chinese giants, Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp is a bad idea.

The offer of financial assistance represents a new tool Washington is deploying as it broadens the tech Cold War with China.

The Trump administration has been trying to curb Chinese technological advances over what it says are concerns about spying and trade practices.

From the last two years, the US has lobbied allies to join the US in banning Chinese-made equipment for networks using 5G wireless technology, which promises superfast speeds to enable driverless vehicles, more efficient factories and other innovations.

The American officials say Huawei and ZTE pose threat to national security and the Chinese government can order the two companies spy or conduct cyberattacks, a scenario that the companies and Beijing say would never happen.

The US campaign initially focused on 5G deployments in Europe, where it has had some success, including in Britain and Poland. Other countries, most notably Germany, are still debating whether to restrict or ban Chinese-made equipment.

The USAID this month has signed an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to jointly counter 5G deployments using Chinese equipment in developing countries, combining the FCC’s technical and policy expertise and the aid agency’s network of some 10,000 employees in about 100 countries.

Glick said the messages to developing countries will hit two themes: Chinese equipment is vulnerable to espionage, and the loans that Chinese finance agencies such as the state-controlled China Development Bank offer that finance the equipment can trap them.

“There’s a lot of fine print,” Glick said. “Countries are left in a tremendous amount of debt, and China takes over control of national assets,” Glick said. (ANI)

SRK-Kajol Statue To Be At London’s ‘Scenes In Square’

The statue of the iconic duo Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol from the film Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ) will be featured in the Leicester Square’s ‘Scenes in the Square’, Heart of London Business Alliance announced on Monday.

The statue is set to be unveiled in Spring 2021 when organisers hope that Khan and Kajol, who played Raj and Simran in the movie, will be able to travel to unveil the statue in a special celebratory event.

“It’s fantastic to be adding such titans of international cinema to our trail as Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is one of the most successful and important Bollywood films of all time, and it’s exciting to be able to bring to the trail the first film that actually features Leicester Square as a location. This statue is a fitting tribute to the global popularity of Bollywood and the cultural bridges that cinema can help build, and we’re in no doubt it will attract fans from all around the world,” said Mark Williams, Director of Destination Marketing at Heart of London Business Alliance.

This will be the first ever long-term Bollywood statue erected in the United Kingdom. The announcement, thus, marks the 25th anniversary of Indian cinema’s most loved film, DDLJ, and also coincides with the big 50th year celebrations of Yash Raj Films.

Avtar Panesar, Vice President of Special Projects at Yash Raj Films, said: “When Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released 25 years ago, it changed the face of the industry and captured the hearts of everyone who saw it. We’re thrilled to be able to announce this statue, and to be the first film of Indian origin to be represented in ‘Scenes in the Square’. We are honoured that these Bollywood superstars have been recognized alongside the Hollywood elite, from Gene Kelly to Laurel & Hardy, and this is a great way to express the international appeal of cinema.”

The statue will join nine other film icons from the past 100 years, eight of which were unveiled in late February and recently granted longer term residency by Westminster Council to remain in Leicester Square until at least July 2023.

The love story of Raj and Simran began on a train from King’s Cross Station and traveled across Europe and India. The location could not be more fitting, as Leicester Square featured in DDLJ in a scene when Raj and Simran first cross paths, albeit unbeknown to one another.

Helmed by debutant Aditya Chopra, DDLJ shattered all box office records and is one of the biggest all-time blockbusters in the history of Indian cinema. It also went on to become the longest-running Hindi film of all time. DDLJ is also the winner of a record-breaking 10 Filmfare Awards. (ANI)

BJP To Telecast Modi’s Poll Rallies In Bihar Digitally

In an effort to reach out to the maximum possible people amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will telecast Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rallies digitally in Bihar.

Devendra Fadnavis, former Maharashtra Chief Minister and Bihar Assembly election in-charge leading a strategy meet in Bodh Gaya on Sunday, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally will be telecast through a digital medium in the view of COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will hold meetings in every five villages of a constituency through LEDs parallelly. This way we will hold 100 meetings at a time. This will be our effort towards ensuring social distancing in view of COVID-19,” Fadnavis said.

“PM Modi will hold 12 election rallies in Bihar for NDA (National Democratic Alliance) candidates. On October 23, he will hold rallies in Sasaram, Gaya and Bhagalpur. On October 28, Prime Minister will hold rallies in Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Patna. On November 3, he will hold rallies in Chhapra, East Champaran and Samastipur. On November 3, rallies in West Champaran, Saharsa and Araria will be held,” Fadnavis had said during a press conference earlier.

The BJP and the JDU have agreed to contest on 121-122 seats respectively in the 243-member assembly in Bihar which will be held in three phases–October 28, November 3, and 7 and the counting of votes will take place on November 10. (ANI)

A Hindu Reporter Beaten Up At PDM Rally By Volunteers

A Hindu reporter was beaten in Karachi during People Democratic Movement’s (PDM) anti-government ‘jalsa’ for revealing that ‘volunteers’ were stopping people from leaving the Bagh-e-Jinnah garden.

According to SAMAA TV, its reporter Sanjay Sadhwani was asked to stop reporting when he filmed people trying to leave the venue. A man claiming to be a volunteer told Sadhwani to leave even after he saw his press card. The volunteer grabbed Sadhwani’s hand and refused to let go.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah told SAMAA TV that people who thrashed reporter Sadhwani will be identified and punished.

Sadhwani was covering the second power show of the 11-party opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The first was held in Gujranwala in Lahore.

Among the list of leaders who showed up at the ‘jalsa’ includes JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Maulana Shah Owais Noorani, Allama Sajid Mir, Dr Abdul Malik, Iftikhar Hussain, Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini.

According to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir activist, Amjad Ayub Mirza, all channels had stopped live coverage of jalsa.

During her address at jalsa, Maryam lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan and the PTI government for what she claimed as tarnishing the army’s image by using it to hide [their] own failures. (ANI)

Taiwan, India Get Closer Amid Chinese Aggression: Report

Taiwan and India do not have formal diplomatic ties but their citizens have bonded over a shared feeling of being targets of Chinese aggression and censorship, reported The Diplomat.

As China and India are engaged in border stand-off, netizens support their counterparts in Taiwan and Hong Kong, bringing along masala chai to become an adjacent member of the online pro-democracy “Milk Tea Alliance.”

Ahead of Taiwan National Day, the Chinese Embassy in India sent guidelines to Indian media on how to refer to Taiwan. The move backfired and led to outrage in both India and Taiwan.

China in recent years has also increased military drills around Taiwan, with almost 40 Chinese warplanes crossing the median line between the mainland and Taiwan on September 18-19 — one of several sorties the island’s President Tsai Ing-wen called a “threat of force.”

“It looks like communist China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship,” Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted on October 7. “Taiwan’s Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST!”

The Chinese demand did, in fact, spur a flurry of op-eds and news coverage of Taiwan’s National Day and the state of Taiwan-India ties, in both countries.

In India, #TaiwanNationalDay trended on Twitter throughout the day on October 10 as internet users, along with journalists and politicians, sent well wishes to Taiwan.

Y. Satya Kumar, national secretary of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), tweeted: “Greetings to my Taiwanese brothers and sisters on #TaiwanNationalDay. India stands in solidarity with the courage, strength and resolve that you people have displayed in your struggle against colonialism and oppression by the imperial power!”

Indian Twitter users followed Taiwanese accounts, including that of President Tsai Ing-wen, en masse. Tsai thanked her new followers on Tuesday by tweeting several photos from her trip to India in 2012, writing: “Your architectural marvels, vibrant culture & kind people are truly unforgettable.” (ANI)