Kartarpur Corridor To Be Completed On Time: Govt

The work on the Kartarpur corridor will be completed on time, i.e. October 31 said the Ministry of Home Affairs Additional Secretary Govind Mohan who visited the site in Gurdaspur on Wednesday.

“The work has been completed for about 75 per cent so far. The work is underway and is in good speed. The whole building will be completed and handed over to the government by 31st October. We also have communication on both sides and the work is in progress,” Mohan told ANI.

He further said that currently there is a parking facility for around 200 cars but it is being expanded for at least 1000 cars.

The authorities are also getting golf carts to facilitate senior citizens and physically handicapped people.

“I am very happy that the corridor is going to be completed soon. I have been wanting to visit the gurudwara for a long time,” said Kulwant Kaur, a resident of the area.

Joginder Singh, another local said: “All the Sikhs are happy as we will be able to visit the Gurudwara.”

“We have been longing to visit the gurudwara for a very long time and the opening of this corridor will give us immense pleasure,” Balwinder Singh told ANI.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the much-awaited Kartarpur corridor, connecting the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab’s Gurdaspur with Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan, on November 8.

The registration for the devotees will start from October 20 which will facilitate the visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev.


Three Laskar-e-Taiba Terrorists Killed In Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir police on Wednesday identified the three terrorists killed in an encounter in Bijbehara area in Anantnag as Nasir Chadru, Aqib Hajam and Zahid Hussain, and said that they were affiliated with the proscribed terror outfit LeT.

“#Bijbehara #encounter update: 3 killed terrorists identified as Nasir Chadru, Aqib Hajam and Zahid Hussain. Affiliated with proscribed terror outfit LeT. Involved in terror crimes as per police records. Arms and ammunition recovered. Case registered,” a tweet by the official handle of the Kashmir Zone police read.

This is the sixth operation by Jammu and Kashmir police since September 28.

On Monday police arrested two Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorists from Ganderbal in Kashmir.

In the first operation that started on September 28, three hardcore militants of HM were eliminated at Batote, Ramban district.

The next day, in another operation at Kangan, Ganderbal which continued up to October 3, the forces killed two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) members who had infiltrated recently.

While police arrested a JeM terrorist identified as Mohsin Manzoor Salhea, who was allegedly planning to kill a cop, on October 6, one terrorist affiliated to Lashkar-e-Toiba, Ozaif, was eliminated on October 7.


Janaki Mata Temple in Ayodhya

SC To Wrap Up Hearing In Ayodhya Case On Oct 16

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday said that Wednesday is 40th and last day of hearing in the case of Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land title dispute.

During the hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Gogoi said: “Today is 39th day. Tomorrow is 40th day and last day of hearing in the case.”

Senior counsel Parasaran submitted in the Supreme Court that Muslims can offer ‘namaz’ (prayer) in any mosque in Ayodhya but Hindus cannot change the birthplace of Lord Rama.

The advocated told the apex court’s five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi: “There are many mosques in Ayodhya, which the Muslims can use for offering namaz.”

Stating that there are around 50-60 mosques in Ayodhya alone, the counsel said: “For Hindus, it is the birthplace of Lord Rama. They have been fighting for centuries for the place, which is believed and recognised to be the birthplace of Lord Rama.”

He said that all mosques are equal for Muslims but Hindus cannot change the birthplace for Lord Rama.

Later, senior advocate appearing for Muslims Dr Rajeev Dhavan objected to the submission of Parasaran and asked him to tell how many temples are there in Ayodhya.

On this, Parasaran replied that he submitted the argument to explain the significance of the birthplace of Lord Rama.

Earlier in the day, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that Wednesday is the 40th and last day of hearing in the case of Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid land title dispute.The five-judge bench headed by Justice Gogoi was hearing appeals challenging the 2010 Allahabad High Court verdict, which ordered equal division of the 2.77-acre of disputed land in Ayodhya among the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and the Ram Lalla.

The 16th-century Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6, 1992.

The top court had recently said that it would wrap up hearing in the case on October 17, a day earlier than it was scheduled to. The judgment is likely to be passed on November 4-5.


ED Summons Praful Patel Over Links With Underworld

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday summoned senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel, whose name has reportedly appeared in a land deal case linked to Dawood Ibrahim’s close aide, Muhammed Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi.

The economic offences watchdog summoned the leader to appear before it on October 18.

Iqbal Mirchi was a close aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

Patel had, on Monday, said that he will answer whatever he has to when the “time comes”.

Meanwhile, former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan had said that the NDA government should investigate if there was any deal between Patel.

“If any deal or agreement was done, then this government should investigate and tell us what’s happened,” he had said on Monday.

Mirchi had bought three properties Sea View, Marium Lodge and Rabia Mansion totally measuring 1,537 square metres in Worli area of Mumbai on September 1986 for an amount of Rs 6.5 lakh through his company Rockside Enterprises.

Later, Mirchi absconded from India and consequently proclamation against him was issued and his various properties were attached under Smuggling and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Authority (SAFEMA), the probe agency said.

The investigative agency has identified the Benami properties of Mirchi, including 10 properties in Mumbai, one property in UAE and 25 properties in the UK.

The ED will start the process to attach the properties in India and letters rogatory will be sent to the UK and the UAE to attach the properties.


NGT Seeks Report From Punjab, Haryana On Stubble Burning

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday sought a report from the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab over the action taken to stop stubble burning in their respective states.

The NGT said that the report should be filed by November 15 which is also the next date of hearing.

A principal bench of the tribunal headed by Justice AK Goel also directed the three states to designate an officer at a village or cluster of village levels to monitor the situation and set accountability.

The bench observed that the burning of crops is still taking place and that the states have not been able to communicate with the farmers and educate them about the same.

Reprimanding the states, the NGT said that the state governments is accountable to people and they cannot get away after saying that it has done its part.

“If you have not succeeded then it is the failure of the state. Ultimately, the citizens are suffering,” the tribunal observed.

Farmers residing in Haryana and Punjab have begun burning their crop residue in order to clear the fields of the summer harvest.

Smoke from these two states travels to Delhi, leading to a spike in the air pollution levels.

Today, the air quality index (AQI) in the national capital was at 252, which falls in the ‘poor’ category, according to Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Last month, NASA satellite images recorded several incidents of farm fires across Haryana and Punjab, indicating that the stubble burning season had started in the two states.

To combat the menace of air pollution, the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi had announced the implementation of the odd-even road rationing scheme from November 4 to 15, stating that the smog from the nearby states due to the stubble burning is the major cause of pollution in the region.


Farooq Abdullah’s Daughter, Sister Detained Over Protest

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s daughter and sister were detained in Srinagar on Tuesday during a protest against abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.

Abdullah’s sister Suraiya and his daughter Safiya and were leading the protest against the withdrawal of special status from Jammu and Kashmir.

Farooq Abdullah and his son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah were detained after the repeal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. A delegation of National Conference leaders had met them earlier this month.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti was also detained after the Centre’s decision concerning Article 370. The Supreme Court last month allowed Mufti’s daughter Iltija to travel from Chennai to Srinagar to meet her mother.


US Slaps Sanctions on Turkey, Calls For Ceasefire

While imposing sanctions on Turkey over its military operation in northeast Syria, US President Donald Trump on Monday called for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle Eastern nation.

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday said that Trump had called on his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop operations in northern Syria, reported Sputnik.

“President Trump communicated to him very clearly that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion, implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence,” Pence said.

He added that Trump directed him and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien to lead a delegation to Turkey to begin negotiations immediately.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a statement, said: “The sanctions apply to individuals, entities or associates of the Turkish government involved in actions that endanger civilians or lead to the further deterioration of peace, security and stability in northeast Syria.”

In his sanctions announcement, Trump said that he was halting negotiations on a USD 100 billion trade deal with Turkey and raising steel tariffs back up to 50 per cent. Moreover, he imposed sanctions on three senior Turkish officials and Turkey’s defence and energy ministries.

Trump, while announcing the move, said: “I am fully prepared to swiftly destroy Turkey’s economy if Turkish leaders continue down this dangerous and destructive path.”

“Turkey’s military offensive is endangering civilians and threatening peace, security and stability in the region,” he added in a statement posted on his official Twitter handle.

“I have been perfectly clear with Erdogan that Turkey’s action is precipitating a humanitarian crisis and setting conditions for possible war crimes,” read his statement.

“Turkey must ensure the safety of civilians, including religious and ethnic minorities, and is now, or maybe in the future, responsible for the ongoing detention of ISIS terrorists in the region,” it added.

The US President had earlier ordered a withdrawal of 50 US troops from the border dividing Turkey and Syria amid the possibility that a Turkish incursion was imminent.

Trump has been criticised for his decision to pull back troops, with even Republican lawmakers harshly denouncing the decision as a betrayal of the Kurds and a strategic blunder that will weaken American credibility and reverse gains against the ISIS.


Indian American Abhijit Banerjee Wins Nobel In Economics

Indian-born economist Abhijit Banerjee, his French-American wife Esther Duflo and the US’ Michael Kremer on Monday were awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

“The research conducted by the 2019 Economic Sciences laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research,” a statement from the Nobel Prize Twitter handle said.

The three economists have introduced a new approach to obtaining reliable answers about the best ways to fight global poverty.

“It divides the issue into smaller, more manageable questions – for example, the most effective interventions for improving child health,” the statement added.

“Over 700 million people still subsist on extremely low incomes. Every year, five million children still die before their fifth birthday, often from diseases that could be prevented or cured with relatively cheap and simple treatments,” the statement outlined.

In the mid-1990s, Kremer, an American economist, and his colleagues demonstrated how powerful an experiment-based approach can be, by using field experiments to test a range of interventions that could improve school results in western Kenya.

Banerjee and Duflo, along with Kremer soon performed similar studies of other issues and in other countries, including India. Their experimental research methods now entirely dominate development economics.

“The 2019 Economic Sciences Laureates’ research findings have dramatically improved our ability to fight poverty in practice. As a result of one of their studies, more than 5 million Indian children have benefitted from programmes of remedial tutoring in schools,” the statement said.

Banerjee completed his MA in Economics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in 1983. Later, he went on to obtain a PhD in Economics at Harvard University in 1988.

The 58-year-old Kolkata-born economist is currently the Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Relief In Valley As Mobile Services Restored In J&K

People across Jammu and Kashmir heaved a deep sigh of relief after postpaid mobile services were fully restored in the region on Monday.

As Jammu and Kashmir is limping back to normalcy, mobile services were restored at 12 noon today after a span of over two months since the central government’s move to abrogate Article 370 that granted special powers to the region.

Locals said they were not able to contact with their near and dear ones and had felt a sense of loneliness without mobile phones.

“I am happy that phone services are operational. Now, I can talk to my family members. There was a lot of problems for us in the last 70 days. My brothers were outside Kashmir and we were not able to maintain contact with them. Without mobile phones, our lives came to a standstill,” a local, Farooq Ahmed, told ANI.

Echoing similar sentiments, another resident hoped that postpaid mobile services would continue to be operational in the region.

“I am very happy that mobile connectivity has been restored fully. Earlier, we were facing the inconvenience of talking to people. When the network was down, we were feeling a sense of loneliness. But, now we can talk to our near and dear ones. I hope that the services continue to be operational,” another local named Gopal said.

All network and landline connections were suspended across Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, in view of security concerns in the region post-abrogation of Article 370.

Last week, Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal had said that the postpaid mobile services would be restored after reviewing the security situation in the region.

“Having reviewed the situation, a decision has now been taken to restore mobile phone services in the remaining areas of Jammu and Kashmir. All postpaid mobile services, irrespective of the telecom operator will stand restored and be functional from 12 noon on Monday, October 14. This will cover all 10 districts of Kashmir province,” Kansal had said on October 12.

Although the landline network was restored in phases, restrictions remained on the usage of mobile devices in various parts of the Valley. Apart from restoring telecommunication services, restrictions on movement have been removed in 99 per cent of the areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision to restore mobile phone services comes days after Governor Satya Pal Malik announced the withdrawal of security advisory for tourists from October 10.

The administration had also said that tourists desirous of visiting the region will be provided with the necessary assistance and logistic support.

As normalcy started returning, postpaid mobile phone services were resumed in five districts – Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch – of the Jammu region on August 29.

The central government had abrogated Article 370 and also bifurcated the former state into Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The new UTs will come into being on October 31.


Infighting Surfaces In Maharashtra Cong Ahead Of Polls

Disgruntled Congress leader Sanjay Niupam called party leader Milind Deora ‘Nikamma’ (useless) and downplayed speculation over his absence at Rahul Gandhi’s rally in poll-bound Maharashtra.

Former Union minister Deora had replaced Nirupam as the Mumbai Congress chief.

Taking to Twitter, Nirupam said he had skipped the event due to a prior commitment, adding that Gandhi was aware of the change in his schedule.

“Speculations and suspicions about my absence in Rahul Gandhi’s Mumbai rallies are meaningless. Due to an important family function, I was very busy whole day, rather till late night. Had informed him in advance,” he tweeted.

“Had informed him in advance… But why was Nikamma absent?” Nirupam asked. This came after the party rejected one name he had suggested for the Maharashtra polls.

Notably, Nirupam had earlier said that he won’t be campaigning for the Congress party for the Maharashtra assembly elections.

Nirupam, further mentioned in his tweet, that Rahul is his leader.

Rahul had held two rallies in Mumbai — one for Chandiwali candidate Naseem Khan and the other rally was for Dharavi Candidate Varsha Gaikwad, daughter of Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) acting president Ekanath Gaikwad.

Naseem Khan is believed to be a rival of Nirupam as he had led a campaign within the Congress Party for removal of Nirupam from Mumbai Congress President post last year.

Single-phase polls in Maharashtra will be held on October 21 and results are scheduled to announce on October 24.