Newsletter 16th June, 2018







In strongly objecting to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) report on human rights violations in J&K, India has cited departures from internationally-accepted terminology in the report. While United Nations-proscribed terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) have been described as “armed group” 38 times, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) has been described as “Azad Jammu and Kashmir” 26 times in the OHCHR report. The report has also referred to terrorists as “leaders” of these groups.

This violation of UN terminology by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the author of the OHCHR report has been strongly objected to by New Delhi, in a communication sent to his office on June 12. However, the 49-page report Zeid issued Thursday did not make the corrections. Sources said Zeid had shared the advance copy with India on June 4 to point out “factual errors”. Zeid, who appears to have made up his mind and did not take into account India’s response on June 12, has not named “cross-border” terrorism even once and has only referred to “cross-border shelling” twice

The UN has proscribed and internationally designated the LeT and JeM as terrorist outfits, as per UN Security Council resolutions 1267, and it calls them terrorist entities. And, to describe Kashmir, UN uses the internationally-accepted terminology: Pakistan-administered and Indian-administered Kashmir.

New Delhi has pointed out that UN resolution 48/141 states that the High Commissioner for Human Rights should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member countries. But, by using terms like Azad J&K and Gilgit Baltistan, sources said that Zeid has violated the resolution, as New Delhi considers them to be an integral part of India.

Reports said Zeid, who belongs to the Jordanian royal family, is due to demit office on August 31, and the report represents his own views and does not reflect the views of the UN Human Rights Council, as an institution.

India has also pointed out to Zeid’s office that the people of J&K have borne the brunt of state-sponsored cross-border terrorism from Pakistan for the last four decades.





Would Prime Minister Narendra Modi be able to run his government if officers were absent for meetings, asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday as he once again sought the PM’s intervention to end the “strike” by IAS officers. Kejriwal, who has been on a sit-in protest at the L-G’s office with three of his ministers since Monday, also announced a door-to-door campaign to press for their demand for statehood. On spotting four ambulances and doctors at Raj Niwas during the day, the AAP leaders threatened to stop drinking water if they are “forcibly evicted”. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and Health Minister Satyendar Jain have been on an indefinite fast for the past three and four days, respectively.

Meanwhile, AAP MP Sanjay Singh met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and claimed the Centre has agreed to take up the issue with the L-G. “I narrated to him the entire situation in Delhi and how IAS officers have been avoiding important government meetings during the past four months,” claimed Sanjay Singh.

In his second letter to the PM — which was in response to an invite for a NITI Aayog meeting on June 17 — Kejriwal reiterated that AAP’s demands for full statehood and approval of the doorstep delivery scheme be met. Else, he said, workers would march to the PM’s residence on Sunday and demand that the “strike” by IAS officers be stopped. The CM added that he wanted to participate in the NITI Aayog meeting, where issues such as health insurance would be discussed, and asked for the PM to intervene by then and end the protest. He also sent a video message via social media, asking Modi if he would be able to run his government “if, in his meetings, officers didn’t show up”.

IAS AGMUT officers countered Kejriwal’s claims: “Reports are totally baseless and wrong. All officers of Delhi government, including IAS officers, are working with utmost sincerity.”





Nearly three weeks after the public show of unity during the swearing-in of the JD(S)-Congress government in Bengaluru, the fault lines in the Opposition camp has come to the fore once again — this time over the protest by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his ministers at Lt Governor Anil Baijal’s office. While the Congress accused Kejriwal of indulging in theatrics to divert attention from its “failures”, other Opposition parties came out in support of the AAP’s battle against the BJP-led Centre.

On Friday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu came out in support of Kejriwal, a day after West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had backed the Delhi CM. But then, Naidu’s endorsement came on a day when the Congress fielded Kejriwal’s predecessor Sheila Dikshit to attack him. Dikshit argued she had worked with a central government led by the BJP in her first term as chief minister between 1998 and 2003 without any rancour or conflict.





Weeks after it put out a working paper and an “appeal” on the question of simultaneous elections to Parliament and state Assemblies, the Law Commission of India has written to heads of all recognised political parties and sought their views as “stakeholders” on the proposal to hold polls in one go. The letter to all recognised political parties is to convey a sense of urgency on the matter, and emphasise that it remains a priority for the ruling BJP, with less than a year left for the next Lok Sabha election.  The Commission proposes meeting the parties on July 7 and 8 and has asked parties to suggest the time when they can drop in at the Law Commission offices. Parties, if they so wish, can send proposals and ideas to the Commission in writing “by June 30”.

In its recommendations, the Commission suggested that for 2019, one half of state Assemblies could go to polls with the General Election, and the rest with the polls in 2024. Among the more controversial draft recommendations of the Law Commission then was the relaxation to the Tenth Schedule, or the anti-defection law, to ensure that governments once elected would remain stable. The panel also proposed that in case of mid-term polls, the new government could be elected to last for the rest of its term, and not five years.









Hitting back at the United States, the Chinese government Friday announced that it will immediately impose penalties of “equal strength” on US products after Donald Trump decided to impose 25 per cent tariff on USD 50 billion of Chinese goods.

Besides, China was also scrapping deals to buy more American farm goods and other exports as part of efforts to defuse a sprawling dispute over its trade surplus and technology policy, said the Commerce Ministry.

While a ministry statement divulged no details, a $50 billion list of possible targets announced in April included soybeans, light aircraft, orange juice, whiskey and beef. Much of the impact would fall on Trump’s rural supporters.

“The Chinese side doesn’t want to fight a trade war, but facing the shortsightedness of the U.S. side, China has to fight back strongly,” the statement said. “We will immediately introduce tax measures of equal scale and equal strength, and all economic and trade achievements reached by the two sides will be invalidated.”

The Trump administration’s decision came in the wake of complaints that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. According to American officials, they target products that might benefit from Chinese industrial policies they say violate Beijing’s free-trade commitments.

After a round of talks in May in Washington, Chinese officials had promised to buy more American farm goods, natural gas and other products to narrow China’s multibillion-dollar trade surplus with the United States. But after a June 3 meeting in Beijing, the Chinese government warned it would discard those deals if Trump’s tariff hike went ahead.





Maulana Fazlullah, the dreaded chief of Pakistani Taliban, has been killed in a US drone strike in Afghanistan’s restive Kunar province, an Afghan defence ministry official said yesterday.

Fazlullah was the man in charge of the Pakistan Taliban’s (TTP) operations in Pakistan’s Swat Valley when student activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in 2012.

He was designated as a global terrorist by the US and carried a bounty of $5 million. He had been on the run since his loyalists were routed in a major military operation in Pakistan’s Swat district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province in 2009.

US forces had conducted the strike close to the border of Pakistan, targeting the “Emir” of the group, according US Forces-Afghanistan spokesman Lt Col Martin O’Donnell.

Fazlullah had been a major figure in the TTP even before he became emir in late 2013, and led a Pakistan Taliban militia in the country’s Swat Valley prior to his elevation to leadership of the group.

In Kabul, Afghan Ministry of Defence spokesman Mohammad Radmanish confirmed to CNN that Fazlullah, who is believed to be in his forties, was killed in the strike on Wednesday.

Fazlullah is also known as ‘Mullah Radio’ because of his long and fiery sermons, starting 2006, on a pirate radio station in Pakistan’s picturesque Swat Valley.









As hundreds turned out for the funeral of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari who was laid to rest Friday in his ancestral home Kreeri in Baramulla, J&K police formed a special investigation team to probe the killing of the journalist a day earlier in Srinagar. IG Kashmir S P Pani told reporters that Bukhari’s killing was a “terror attack” and the identity of three suspects astride a motorcycle, captured in surveillance cameras, was being ascertained.

A fourth person, Zubair Qayoom, had been arrested and a pistol of one of the two PSOs killed with Bukhari had been recovered.

According to police, three-four gunmen were involved and fired at Bukhari’s car from two sides. Police released three photographs of the suspected assailants. These were acquired from CCTV cameras installed at several places in the city.

The large crowd at Bukhari’s funeral included most ministers of the J&K government, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, Congress leaders Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Saifuddin Soz and BJP leaders Abdul Ghani Kohli and Sukhnandan Kumar. Separatist leaders Yasin Malik and Zafar Akbar Bhat were also there.





Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar (62) on Friday resumed work at his office in the state secretariat, a day after returning from the US, where he underwent treatment for a pancreatic ailment for three months.

In a half-a-minute-long video, Parrikar assured the people of Goa that he would “always be there for the welfare and development” of the state and would continue to serve them.

He thanked the people for their prayers for his speedy recovery. “With your blessings and prayers, I am back in Goa and resumed the work. I hope that your blessings will always continue with me,” the CM said.





Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the “Digital India” initiative was a war against touts and middlemen, curbing black money and black marketing while creating job opportunities in small towns and rural areas.

Interacting with beneficiaries of various “Digital India” initiatives, the PM associated use of home-grown card network RuPay with nationalism and appealed to everyone to adopt it for digital payments. “We have to take Digital India forward. Touts are upset with Digital India. We can easily fight for our rights through Digital India,” Modi said.

The PM said people made fun of him when he first spoke of digital payments in the country where people were used to stashing money underneath pillow and ration cards could not be obtained without middlemen.

But experiences narrated by beneficiaries of how services were now reaching them directly were a befitting reply to such naysayers, he said.

Middlemen were now spreading lies that money was not safe in digital transactions and it was a conspiracy to send money directly to bank accounts that would shut down their business, he said.





As the Air Odisha plane passed through the celebratory water cannon salute in Jagdalpur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi waved a green flag in Bhilai, 300 km away, in a symbolic gesture to mark the beginning of commercial flights linking Bastar under the UDAAN regional air connectivity scheme.

Inside the new Bastar terminal, constructed at a cost of Rs 39.58 crore, reporters and officials watched and waved as the flight took off on its 40-minute hop to Raipur – a journey that takes six-seven hours by road. “For many years in India, all the talk about Bastar was about bombs, guns, pistols and violence. Today, the talk about Bastar is linked to the airport in Jagdalpur,” said Modi.

Rajat Kumar, Special Secretary (Civil Aviation), Chhattisgarh, says that the airport was important for Bastar to shed the image that it is “an island”. “The socio economic benefits are there, of course. Tourism, with all the avenues Bastar has, will get an impetus. But this also helps people’s day-to-day lives in terms of businessmen and service providers travelling to and fro, and common people using the air services. Officers monitoring projects in Bastar can now do that more efficiently. It opens up the world,” he said.





The board of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) on Friday approved a Rs 16,000-crore share buyback programme. The plan involves the purchase of up to 7.61 crore shares at Rs 2,100 apiece.

While the price represents a premium of over 17 per cent to the closing price of the TCS scrip on Thursday, the country’s largest software services firm said it would use the tender offer route.

The 7.61 crore shares represent 1.99 per cent of the total paid-up capital of the company.

As on June 8, thae promoters held close to 71.92 per cent in the company. The rest is split among domestic financial institutions at 6.77 per cent, FII/NRIs and others at 17.13 per cent, retail shareholders at 3.52 per cent and others who hold less than 1 per cent.





Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals as Portugal and Spain shared a point each in a six-goal thriller on Friday in the 2018 World Cup. This was the first, truly high profile match of Russia 2018 and it lived up to that billing.

Spain’s new manager Fernando Hierro watched in horror as Nacho Fernandez fouled Ronaldo inside the box and Spain conceded an early penalty. Ronaldo stepped up and managed to bury the ball in the bottom right-hand corner.

Spain’s Diego Costa managed to find a way past two defenders while being alone in the box and scored to put his side back to level terms. Spain then came close to scoring another almost immediately after that as Isco volleyed a loose ball first time but it hit the crossbar and bounced outside. Then, just a few minutes before the end of the first half, Ronaldo took a shot from D straight at De Gea. But the Manchester United goalkeeper, widely regarded as the best in the world, ended up scoffing that routine pick up and the ball bounced off his hands before rolling into goal.

Spain came out all guns blazing in the second half and their second equaliser of the night came in the 55th minute. Just three minutes later, Nacho, who conceded the early penalty, latched on to a loose ball and lasered it past Rui Patricio into goal.

Spain looked to have successfully overcome its dramatic coaching change one the eve of the tournament but Cristiano Ronaldo had other ideas. Portugal won a free kick 25 yards away from goal in the dying minutes of the match. Cristiano Ronaldo, known for his powerful piledrivers from dead-ball situations, curled it around the wall and into the top right-hand corner. De Gea was left rooted to the spot.

In the two other matches yesterday, Uruguay beat Egypt 1-0 while Iran beat Morocco 1-0.





The day 2 of their first ever Test match ended in despair when Afghanistan were handed a rare two-day defeat by India. Afghanistan were bowled twice on Friday, lasting a total of 66.3 overs in their two innings of 109 and 103 runs, to lose by an innings and 262 runs.

The exploits of Afghanistan’s cricketers in T20 cricket have made some of them international heroes. But Test cricket is an altogether different beast. Afghanistan’s technique and temperament were brutally exposed. Only two of their batsmen lasted over 50 deliveries across their two innings. They failed to handle both path and spin, and the longest partnership of two innings was 37 runs between captain Asghar Stanikzai and Hashmatullah Shahidi, lasting 17.1 overs; the stand ended when Stanikzai, losing patience after 13 non-scoring shots, tried to go for glory by hitting Ravindra Jadeja for a six.

Afghanistan will make progress in Test cricket, but that will happen only if they focus on first-class cricket. This is what India captain Ajinkya Rahane and Afghanistan coach Phil Simmons emphasised. “It was just a beginning, you cannot blame them,” Rahane said. “They tried their best. After the first innings, they were trying to stay on wicket, but it still is a beginning. It’s just about playing those (four-day) matches, five-day cricket regularly. Test cricket is a lot about attitude and patience.”





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It is OK to fail, it is not OK to quit. – Christopher Gardner





Wife : I hate that beggar.

Husband : Why ?

Wife : Yesterday I gave him some food today he gave me a book on How to Cook !!!


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