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After Congress mouthpiece says Sonia’s father had fascist link, party calls magazine ‘defunct’

The AICC spokesperson distanced the party from Nirupam’s act of sacking the magazine editor. “What does he do in his personal capacity is his responsibility. In his personal capacity, he can be editor of any magazine and decide to keep or sack any employee. The party has nothing to do with it,” he said. In Delhi, Congress leaders Salman Khurshid and Raj Babbar said that the issue should be seriously looked into.

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NDA government’s nickname is flipflop: Salman Khurshid

Former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Saturday took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his surprise stop over in Pakistan, saying “flipflop” could be the nickname of his government and wondered what had happened of late that he took such a leap of faith.Another Congress leader Manish Tewari taunted the government, saying if Pakistan had agreed to return those parts of Kashmir which are illegally occupied by it.He alleged that some private business interest played a role in the visit as he claimed that a steel magnate was involved as a “go-between” for the two prime ministers.”Has something changed dramatically over the last four weeks that gave him (Modi) this window? Or has he taken a leap of faith that despite everything being negative he felt he wants to give it a chance. Flipflop could be a nickname for the NDA government. They do flipflop everyday,” Khurshid said.Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar also criticised the government and sought to know what had happened since the Modi government had put some conditions for talks that the prime minister changed his mind. He suggested that Modi was “pressurised” by world leaders like Barack Obama, David Cameron and Francois Hollande whom he had met recently. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Had Pranab become PM in 2004, Congress might have averted 2014 drubbing: Salman Khurshid in his new book

The former External Affairs Minister says that after some initial reluctance, not only was Sonia Gandhi’s decision to choose him to lead the UPA-I widely welcomed but was “also proved correct by the electoral verdict five years later, when we were returned to power with a greater majority”.

Salman Khurshid
File Photo

Manmohan Singh’s selection over Pranab Mukherjee in 2004 to head the UPA government came as a surprise not only to the Congress but also to outsiders and many argue the party might have averted the 2014 Lok Sabha drubbing if the choice had been otherwise, says former Union minister Salman Khurshid.”It’s always easy to be wise after the worst has happened. We must not forget the whole nation had applauded Dr Manmohan Singh as the game-changer finance minister during the Narasimha Rao regime (June 1991 to May 1996). But when Dr Singh contested the 1999 Lok Sabha polls from what was thought to be the safest seat in the country for him, South Delhi, he was defeated by a candidate whose name many would scarce recall (It was Professor Vijay Kumar Malhotra of the BJP),” writes Khurshid in his new book “The Other Side of the Mountain” and describes it as a concise biography not of one person but of the many who were part of the UPA.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the former External Affairs Minister says that after some initial reluctance, not only was Sonia Gandhi’s decision to choose him to lead the UPA-I widely welcomed but was “also proved correct by the electoral verdict five years later, when we were returned to power with a greater majority”.Khurshid, who had served as external affairs minister in UPA-II, says he was lucky to have the confidence of the incumbent prime minister though Singh once “gently chastised” him for a comment made before the media indicating India could not provide lethal weapons to Afghanistan. “As external affairs minister, I had a pretty free run on most matters, with the prime minister taking special interest in the neighbourhood, our rediscovery of America, the millennium conversation with China and the excitement of keeping pace with Japan.”I recall just once when Dr Singh gently chastised me for a press comment indicating we could not provide lethal weapons to Afghanistan. It came in the wake of repeated prodding by (Afghan) President Hamid Karzai, although he never did make an issue of it,” Khurshid says. Khurshid felt there was “no harm in being candid about ourprincipled position from which there was no likelihood of departure. This was despite the fact that military personnel had told me we had innumerable tanks in reserve that were unlikely to be used by the army again, which could be refurbished without great expense”.”The soft-spoken prime minister advised me: ‘President Karzai is a suspicious man. You have to be careful as the foreign minister’. I mumbled and left the matter there, quite certain some busybody had carried the tale to the prime minister and he felt obliged to flag it,” writes Khurshid.The book began to take shape soon after the results of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections were announced on 16 May and “we – the ministers in the UPA – returned to New Delhi from the electoral battlefields spread across the country as though we were phantoms in a twilight zone”.He says the then ministers were in substance, vanquished and repudiated warriors.”We were the past and it only remained to become ‘shadows of the past’. Such was the sombre mood in the Congress then,” he says.He also feels Congress is in the midst of a very serious existential crisis.”Some people label it as ‘leadership in crisis’; others believe it is about political content that the country has outgrown; and yet others have the stock explanation of being out of touch with the grassroots.”According to Khurshid, both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are, however, popularly endorsed and elected leaders of the Congress and there is no one even remotely equipped to provide alternative leadership.He says through his book, he would like to set the record straight because the truth must prevail over the widespread falsehood spread over the past few years.Allegations of scams like the 2G spectrum, the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Coalgate considerably tainted the UPA’s image.”But in all the charges that were made and investigated by various law-enforcement agencies, there was not a whisper of money exchanging hands or any disproportionate assets found in the possession of the accused politician or the civil servant accused of misdemeanour or a similar offence.”Simply because a decision was wrong or would have been taken differently by another person was enough to trigger a presumption of illegality and corruption,” he says.

Present govt not doing enough to improve India-Pakistan ties, says former External Affairs Salman Khurshid

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “casual meeting” with Sharif on the sidelines of climate summit in Paris, Khurshid said such an engagement will have meaning only if the two countries are going to be “honest” and serious intention to make progress.
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PTI
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had “risked elections” to improve ties with India, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said expressing disappointment over the current government “not doing enough” in this regard.On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “casual meeting” with Sharif on the sidelines of climate summit in Paris, Khurshid said such an engagement will have meaning only if the two countries are going to be “honest” and serious intention to make progress. He dismissed criticism over his recent speech in Pakistan saying that he had instead urged the western neighbour to give up Kashmir. That was the major point of my speech and not criticising the Indian government, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have some personal knowledge through meetings and close observations that Nawaz Sharif risked his election when he said he wants better relations with India and will go the extra mile,” Khurshid said at the Times Litfest in New Delhi.The senior Congress leader said that when Sharif embraced Modi during his visit to India, “his intention was to find a solution. I was disappointed that the present government of India has not done enough.””I think that we need to know if there was a substantive conversation and if there is any indication of intent of seriously moving forward. Otherwise meeting is meaningless,” he said on the sidelines of the event.Khurshid also sought to distance himself from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement that the banning of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ by the Rajiv Gandhi government was wrong.”I don’t think it’s relevant to talk about what happened in the past. What is relevant is what we are doing today. If anything that happened 27 years ago is being repeated today then examine it in merits. What’s the point in going back in history?” Khurshid asked.He said there was some distance between the experience of Indian Muslims and what their counterparts are going through in conflict-ridden regions such as Syria and Iraq. The issue is “thankfully” not getting transmitted to them in India, he said.”Should they go out of their way and speak more vigorously and should they just ignore it as this is not a part of their lives? Although you have sprinkling of people who have joined the ISIS, I don’t think this a major concern for the psyche of the Indian Muslim which is a good thing,” he said.During a Q&A session, he also identified the first-past-the-post system as a major vice and insisted on the adoption of proportional representation. He also said that reservations, in their present form, had contributed to group identity.

Modi should visit Pakistan to improve bilateral ties: Sudheendra Kulkarni

Kulkarni, who was attacked by the Shiv Sena activists last month over the launch of a book by former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, also said Pakistan should “stop with a heavy hand” the cross-broder terrorism.

Sudheendra Kulkarni

Former BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should make a bilateral visit to Pakistan as he pitched for “uninterrupted and “uninterruptible” dialogue between the two countries.Kulkarni, who was attacked by the Shiv Sena activists last month over the launch of a book by former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, also said Pakistan should “stop with a heavy hand” the cross-border terrorism. Addressing an event the Pakistan High Commission, he made it clear that no military solution is possible to the Kashmir issue which, he said, was a pre-condition for any genuine reconciliation and abiding peace between the two countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said both India and Pakistan can co-administer a combined state of Jammu and Kashmir. Praising Modi, Kulkarni welcomed Prime Minister’s trip to countries around the world. “It shows that he is raising India’s profile abroad and it also shows that the rest of the world is now more and more appreciative of what India has achieved,” he said. Noting that Modi has visited all neighbouring countries except Pakistan, Kulkarni said he would strongly urge him to go to Pakistan unlike former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who did not, despite having been born there.He said the besides attending the upcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad, Modi should also undertake a bilateral visit. Recalling Modi’s words at the SAARC Summit in Nepal, where he said the countries in the bloc were closer but not together, Kulkarni said Pakistan’s visit would help his dream of getting everyone together. “The soil is really ready for a breakthrough. Prime Minister Modi with a huge mandate can make a difference.” Talking about the contentious Kashmir issue, Kulkarni said an early and amicable solution to the dispute is a pre-condition for any genuine reconciliation and abiding peace between the two countries.”The two governments must share, must accept the reality that neither India can ever recapture the Pakistan held part of Kashmir nor can Pakistan hope to get that part of Kashmir which is India,” he said, adding that there is no possibility of Jammu and Kashmir or Kashmir becoming independent.”No military solution can secure this goal in favour of either India or Pakistan. The only viable and working solution to the Kashmir dispute is India and Pakistan bringing the two sides of Kashmir together”.He said both can co-administer its affairs with a large degree of autonomy to the people of two sides of Kashmir with the consensus of the people who have the biggest stake. Kulkarni said the possibility of co-administering Kashmir was what the interlocutors, appointed by then Prime Minister Singh and President Pervez Musharraf, were working on. He also spoke about the partition of India and blamed both the Congress and the Muslim League, headed by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Talking about terror, Kulkarni said he often feels there is insufficient recognition in Pakistan about the pain, anguish and anger that cross-border terrorism has caused in India.”I come from Mumbai, a city that has been the biggest victim of terrorism originating from Pakistan. This reality is one of the reasons why some people in Mumbai, react strongly indeed, irrationally and fanatically against any attempts to initiate cultural, sports and intellectual interactions with Pakistan,” he said. He said though he does not in the least rationalise it or support it, one cannot ignore this reality.Kulkarni was sprayed with black paint by Shiv Sainiks for organising former Pakistan foreign minister Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai on October 12. Kulkarni said that there is an urgent need to change the content and complexion of India-Pakistan relations.”We cannot we simply cannot live in a relationship of perpetual hostility, tension, non-cooperation and conflict… We cannot remain prisoners of the past. We must break out of this deadlock, and must leave behind a better future for our children, grandchildren and the coming generations,” he said. He added that India and Pakistan present one of the worst examples of bad-neighbourly relations anywhere in the world.He said those who are opposed to normalisation of our bilateral relations are indeed a minority. “But let’s make no mistake they are a powerful, influential and vocal minority,” he said, adding their voice remains vocal and powerful because those in the ruling establishments in both India and Pakistan have not been able to firmly decide that normalisation is the only option they should pursue.

Supreme Court asks Centre, Gujarat whether birds have a right to fly

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu sought response from the both the governments on a PIL by the Pet Lovers’ Association.

Do birds enjoy a fundamental right to fly and not be kept in cages? The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Centre and the Gujarat government on pet lovers’ plea against a high court order for releasing 494 birds. The high court (HC) had said that the birds have a right to fly in the open sky. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu sought response from the both the governments on a PIL by the Pet Lovers’ Association.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Appearing for the association, senior advocate Salman Khurshid submitted that there are already laws in place to protect birds which can be domesticated. He said that the HC order that they have the fundamental right to fly is a “flawed one” and required to be struck down. The HC, in 2011, had held that the birds cannot be caged as they have the right to fly. The HC ordered the release of 494 birds and said that their confinement was a violation of their right to live freely. The HC ordered the release of not only birds like parrots, doves, pigeons and love birds, but also animals like rabbits and dogs. Earlier, the SC court had refused to entertain an appeal against the HC order on grounds of delay and had suggested to Khurshid to file a PIL instead. The HC had passed the order while dealing with a bunch of petitions by bird sellers of Surat, demanding custody of their caged birds, which were confiscated by the police under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and under Section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The HC had ordered the release of these birds and animals seized from Abdul Kadar Sheikh and others, and placed them with an NGO, running shelter for birds and animals. Taking the bird sellers to task, the court said that, prima facie, an offence of atrocity on birds and animals was made out against the bird sellers. “The only order which can be passed in such circumstances would be to set the birds free, and, if such an order is passed, it would be respecting the rights of birds,” the HC said in its order.

Those who stay in 10 Janpath should not use words like ‘sycophants’ and ‘chamcha’: BJP to Rahul Gandhi

“Rahul Gandhi probably finds himself at an embarrassing position because his senior-most leaders whether it is Salman Khurshid, Mani Shankar Aiyar or Shakeel Ahmad are making the most unacceptable comments. To top it, the documents in the public domain are pointing fingers to Rahul Gandhi’s involvement in some foreign company,” he said.

AFP
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday lashed out at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over his ’56-inch chest’ and ‘lackeys’ remark and warned the latter not to use such words.”Calling others sycophants, those who stay in 10 Janpath should be wary of using the word ‘sycophants’ and ‘chamcha’. This is a serious advice to Rahul Gandhi. This 56-inch everyday? I think Rahul Gandhi must come out of tailoring business and should be a mature politician now,” BJP leader Sambit Patra told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patra further said this was not a BJP versus Congress debate, but a document versus document debate.”A question has been asked to Rahul Gandhi. If he has the pertaining documents which have legal repercussions, he should submit them. Rather than going into rhetoric and showing his anger, he should be calm, patient and should submit truthful document if he has any,” he added.Another BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli called it as a ‘diversionary tactic’ of Rahul Gandhi.”Rahul Gandhi probably finds himself at an embarrassing position because his senior-most leaders whether it is Salman Khurshid, Mani Shankar Aiyar or Shakeel Ahmad are making the most unacceptable comments. To top it, the documents in the public domain are pointing fingers to Rahul Gandhi’s involvement in some foreign company,” he said.Kohli added that instead of answering the questions on his documents, Rahul Gandhi is trying to rake up a controversy by attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Echoing similar sentiments, BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said Rahul Gandhi’s document will be challenged by document and that he should not exaggerate by saying he is not scared.”Rahul Gandhi should first answer whether anybody has asked him whose spirit has invaded your body. Then has anybody asked whether you are scared. The nation knows that you and your family are not scared and that is why there is Bofors incident, you killed the Sikhs in 1984 and stole 12 lakh crore rupees under Manmohan Singh,” he added.Earlier yesterday, Rahul Gandhi had dared Prime Minister Modi to order an investigation against him, over allegations of violation of Constitution and ethical code on citizenship which disqualify him as the Member of Parliament.”Modiji is the PM, he has all agencies at his disposal. They accuse me of so many things. Show your 56-inch chest. Launch an investigation against me and if you find anything in six months put me in jail, but stop using your lackeys to throw dirt at me or my family,” Rahul said.

Mani Shankar Aiyar’s remarks are seditious, Sonia Gandhi should apologise: BJP

The comments made by Aiyar and Khurshid are highly objectionable and anti-national, said Prakash Javadekar.

Mani Shankar Aiyar

Escalating its attack against Mani Shankar Aiyar over his controversial remarks in Pakistani media, BJP on Wednesday called it ‘treason’ and demanded an apology from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.Union ministers M Venkaiah Naidu and Prakash Javadekar, who also hit out at former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid for criticising the NDA government for adopting a tough stand towards Pakistan, said Congress should take strong action against the two leaders for their “seditious” and “anti-national” remarks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The comments made by Aiyar and Khurshid are highly objectionable and anti-national. Going to a foreign country and calling upon the people to overthrow a democratically elected PM is nothing but sedition.”Congress party should condemn these remarks and take strongest possible action against these two people. They are not ordinary people to be brushed aside. They were ex-ministers and spokesmen of the Congress party. This shows the level of the frustration of the party and its leaders,” Naidu told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.He said the remarks by Congress leaders are “disgusting” for any patriotic and nationalist Indian. “Aiyar’s attempt is clearly aimed at de-stabilizing the democratically elected government led by Shri Modi. To say so on a foreign soil is even worse and amounts to clear act of treason,” he said in a statement later.Javadekar wondered if the opposition party approved of their remarks and demanded Gandhi’s apology. “Does Congress approve of Aiyar’s remarks? If the two leaders are not forthcoming, then the Congress president should apologise. Being the chief of the party she should take responsibility and apologise,” he told reporters at party headquarters.”The way Khurshid and Aiyar are singing paeans of Pakistan and denigrating the Prime Minister’s office is unacceptable.”They are playing with the sentiments of the people who are seeing their action as a betrayal of the country. They are free to disagree with us in India but not on foreign soil,” he said.Aiyar sparked a controversy by reportedly saying, during a panel discussion on a Pakistani news channel, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi needs to be removed if talks between the two nations have to resume. His comments have evoked sharp reactions. Khurshid had criticised the NDA government for adopting a tough stand towards Pakistan.While Khurshid served in various capacities including as External Affairs Minister in UPA government, Aiyar was a Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and then Panchayati Raj Minister.Countering Congress’ criticism of its handling of Kashmir issue and Pakistan, Naidu asked, “If it is so simple for the Congress, they should explain to the people in the last 50 years why they have not resolved the Kashmir issue through peace dialogue.”Why they have not successfully stopped Pakistan from supporting these terrorist organisations. Congress must exhibit its sincerity by taking action against these two people.” Hitting out at Aiyar and Khurshid for their controversial comments, BJP had yesterday said that they were trying to gain lost ground “by visiting ISI headquarters” which is an “insult to India and its nationalist Muslims”. Javadekar also accused Congress of practising the “worst” kind of diplomacy, pointing out to the Sharm-el Sheikh joint statement of India-Pakistan during the UPA tenure in which a reference to Balochistan was made.He also termed as “highly communal” the comments of Congress leader Shakeel Ahmed in which he had allegedly linked action against Chhota Rajan and Anup Chetia to their religion. “Congress looks for religion in every possible action, even in crimes. This is their policy,” he said. Naidu said Khurshid went to the extent of praising Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as a visionary and peace loving person.”Congress party should come clean in this regard and take necessary action against Shri Aiyar and Shri Khurshid for talking in support of Pakistan and its leadership and denigrating the Indian Government and Prime Minister,” he said. He accused the Congress of creating the Kashmir tangle saying it was the contribution of the opposition party and its leadership.”It was during Congress rule that part of Kashmir was occupied by Pakistan. Congress was in power at Centre for so many years. It should now explain why the Kashmir issue was not resolved and peace was not restored between India and Pakistan all these years,” he said.The Union Minister added that it is now widely established that the Pakistan leadership is “a puppet of self-serving military establishment and non state terrorist organizations. Aiding, abetting, funding and training terrorists is their policy.”He said the Pakistani leadership has all these years demonstrated a flip-flop approach towards improving relations with India and resolving contentious issues.”Senior Congress leaders speaking in defence of such leadership in Pakistan is a clear evidence of their anti national philosophy for which they deserve to be strongly punished by their party. Congress leadership cannot keep mum on such disturbing tendencies within their party,” Naidu said.

Ex-Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid criticises Modi govt and praises Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan

He praised Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif for attending Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in India: “If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, farsighted decision. What we said and did made things uncomfortable for Pakistan after the visit.”

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Senior Congress leader and former foreign minister Salman Khurshid set the cat among the pigeons when he praised Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif while criticising the Modi government. He said in Islamabad at an event: “India has not responded to Pakistan’s overtures for peace in South Asia the way it should have.”He praised Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif for attending Modi’s swearing-in ceremony in India: “If you look back at the first face-to-face between our PMs, your PM took a brave, farsighted decision. What we said and did made things uncomfortable for Pakistan after the visit.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He claimed that the BJP-government had failed to adequately reciprocate Islamabad’s peace overtures. Meanwhile former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman, wondered whether New Delhi had a clear policy on Pakistan, and that all political parties in Pakistan wanted peace in India. She said: “Track-2 exchanges between India and Pakistan were critical because of the cognitive disconnect between the two sides. Simultaneously, a new generation of youngsters in both countries was busy constructing new identities and ideas of themselves and their neighbour.”Sambit Patra slams Congress Responding to the former foreign minister and key Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s slamming BJP for ignoring Pakistan’s peace overtures in Islamabad on Thursday, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday said that the Congress dispensation should explain if this is Khurshid’s statement or the party’s view.
‘Salman Khurshid should remind of the fact that government of India does not represent any party and domestic politics should not be carried to foreign nation because it demeans the people of India and ethos of India. The congress dispensation should explain if this is Salman Khurshid’s statement or this is what the congress means,’ said BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra to ANI. Patra added that Sonia Gandhi should explain and apologize. ‘He not only praises the Pakistani Prime Minister and Pakistani government that it is trying its best to fight terrorism, to spread peace in the south east Asia, but the Indian Government is not reacting to these offers by the Pakistani Government. And his statement that PM Modi is yet to become a statesman, by Salman Khurshid is absolutely appalling,’ he added. Patra further added that his statement only means to abuse the ethos of peace loving India. With inputs from ANI

Sitting with Musharraf, Sudheendra Kulkarni praises Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar in Pakistan

“I have been drawing inspiration from Aiyar, because he has been a fighter for the cause of India-Pakistan’s friendship for more than three decades. He has popularised India by saying that talks between India and Pakistan should be ‘uninterrupted’ and ‘interruptible’.”

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Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sudheendra Kulkarni said here on Tuesday that Kashmir is a ‘core’ issue between India and Pakistan. ‘Kashmir is indeed a core issue between India and Pakistan. Especially, we in India should not beat around the bush, and it must be resolved to satisfy long suffering people of Kashmir,’ said Kulkarni.Lavishing praise over Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar for relentlessly advocating in favour of India-Pakistan friendship, Kulkarni said, ‘I have been drawing inspiration from Aiyar, because he has been a fighter for the cause of India-Pakistan’s friendship for more than three decades. He has popularised India by saying that talks between India and Pakistan should be ‘uninterrupted’ and ‘interruptible’.'<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kulkarni is here to attend the book launch of Pakistan former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri ‘ ‘Neither A Hawk Nor A Dove’. Pakistan Former President General Pervez Musharraf was also attending the function. Kulkarni was earlier doused with black ink by some members of the Shiv Sena just before the launch of the same book in Mumbai for not bowing down to their diktat seeking cancellation of the event.(Read: PM Narendra Modi should follow Sant Kabir’s advice writes Sudheendra Kulkarani)Earlier this month, Sena workers had blackened the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation, in an ink attack ahead of the launch of ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Relations’ authored by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. (Read: 9 things to know about ex-BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni)

Naqvi attacks Sonia Gandhi again, says her agenda is to ‘dishonour’ India

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday fired another salvo at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying her sole agenda was to disgrace the nation’s image for the sake of mere political vendetta.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday fired another salvo at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying her sole agenda was to disgrace the nation’s image for the sake of mere political vendetta.Naqvi said that his earlier remark on Sonia was simply a reiteration of what a senior Congress leader had said about her post in the 2008 Batla House encounter.”A Congress leader had said earlier that Sonia had cried all night when terrorist were killed in the Batla House encounter. I just reiterated it. You should know that when this controversial statement was made, we chose to stay away from it at the time. But now a situation has risen where the Congress and their other allies are making desperate attempts to twist the words in their favour,” Naqvi told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Go head to head with the BJP and Modi ji, but why are you tarnishing the image of the nation. You are telling the world that intolerance is on the rise and the nation is in a state of complete chaos. Where is the chaos” Clearly this is their well-planned conspiracy drawn for their own advantage,” he added.Naqvi justified his ‘Sonia Gandhi cries when a terrorist like Osama is killed’ remark citing senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid’s statement in 2012 over the Batla House encounter.The Congress has condemned Naqvi’s remark and demanded an apology from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in this regard.

Finally, Shiv Sena slips on ink, expels 8 workers for Latur incident

Sainiks had brutally beaten up and blackened the face of an RTI activist on Friday

The Shiv Sena has expelled five activists for allegedly beating up and blackening the face of Mallikarjun Bhaikatti, a Right to Information (RTI) activist, in Latur on Friday.”Heard of the unfortunate incident in Latur. The party strongly condemns the disgraceful act. Those involved have been removed from the party,” Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray tweeted on Saturday.He, however, did not tweet anything on the Sudheendra Kulkarni incident on October 12. Shiv Sainiks had blackened the face of Kulkarni, a senior journalist and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) chairman, for organising a book release function of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the different treatment to the two incidents, Sena spokesperson Arvind Bhosale had a reply. “It is wrong to compare Sudheendra Kulkarni with this blackmailer (Bhaikatti)… Kulkarni committed an act against the country and supported traitors,” was his logic.Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray had felicitated the Sainiks who had blackened Kulkarni’s face.Bhosale had a further justification as to why the two incidents are different. “Local leaders in Latur were not taken into confidence by these attackers,” he said.So, does this mean the Sena will act against its activists who take law into their hands? “Tomorrow, if a rapist is nabbed, this (assault) will be a normal reaction,” was Bhosale’s reply. Those expelled for the Latur incident are Abhay Salunkhe, Hari Bhagat, Balaji Jadhav, Dhanu Sathe and Sumit Saudagar. Salunkhe is a former MNS district chief, who had contested the assembly elections from the Nilanga constituency and later joined the Sena.”This was not a Shiv Sena programme. The Sena does not support such things. So we have removed these Sainiks from the party,” Sena sampark pramukh for Latur, Sanjay Sawant, told dna.On Thursday, Shiv Sena Lok Sabha MP from Aurangabad, Chandrakant Khaire, was filmed abusing a tehsildar who was acting against religious encroachments in the city. However, there was no official statement from the party on Khaire’s act.Bhaikatti had filed an RTI query against the Shiv Chhatrapati Shikshan Sanstha’s Rajarshi Shahu College in Latur, which started the Latur pattern of education that ensured that students from the district top SSC and HSC examinations.Bhaikatti, who had held a press conference to expose the alleged irregularities in some construction in the college premises, was dragged and beaten in front of students and his face was blackened with ink.The institution has former BJP Rajya Sabha MP Gopalrao Patil as president. Salunkhe is an ex-student of the college and former student union secretary.The Sainiks claimed they were incensed that Bhaikatti was defaming Latur. Bhaikatti was admitted to a hospital and the police have detained 26 persons in connection with the incident, which has rocked the town, the home pitch of late chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.Asked whether Latur would be the party’s last ink attack, Sena leaders were non-committal.October 12: Shiv Sainiks blacken the face of senior journalist and ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was the organiser of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book release in Mumbai. Kulkarni is not unknown to the safforn brigade. He was an aide to former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee. Sainiks justified the action calling Kulkarni a traitor. October 30: Shiv Sainiks beat up and blacken the face of RTI activist Mallikarjun Bhaikatti. Bhaikatti had filed RTI applications against an education institution in Latur to expose its alleged irregularities. Sainiks describe him as a blackmailer. The party’s justification for expelling those who attacked him is that the local Sena leaders were not taken into confidence.

Reservation only on criterion of backwardness : Salman Khurshid

Salman Khurshid

Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Salman Khurshid categorically stated that reservation cannot be extended on the basis of religion or caste but only on the criterion of backwardness.Khurshid, who was speaking to reporters here, hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accusing Bihar s grand secular alliance of plotting to take away five per cent share reservation for SC/ST/OBCs and giving it to ‘a particular community’.”I can understand such utterances (on conspiracy to provide sub-quota to minorities) from a person who does not know either government functioning or Constitution, but I cannot expect such things from the prime minister,” he said. “There is no provision in the law for providing reservation on the basis of caste or religion. He(PM) should not have talked such wrong things in public meetings,” Khurshid said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked whether he advocated sub-quota for Muslims, Khurshid said “Give it, if it is possible you can. It cannot be given on the basis of religion or caste. Supreme Court has clearly defined that backwardness would be the sole criterion for getting quota benefit. If anyone is a backward, he/she would get the benefit of quota.” In a reply to a query regarding BJP President Amit Shah’s statement of firecrackers would be burst in Pakistan if NDA loses polls in Bihar, he wondered why would celebrations be held anywhere else. “If there has to be celebrations it would be here only in India.””Those who are talking about Pakistan should go there to fight elections,” he said. The prime minister, Khurshid said, is behaving more like a “small time leader”. “Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of the country. He is our PM but he behaves like a PM of a particular party.”Modi has undertaken whirlwind tours of Bihar which no PM has ever done before in any state holding polls, he said and took a swipe “The PM must be doing hard work to protect his job.” Claiming that there is “clear cut environment” in favour of the grand secular alliance, he said the state assembly election is being fought to protect the pride and future of Bihar and of the country.

Shiv Sena takes dig at BJP President Amit Shah for ‘invoking’ Pakistan in Bihar polls

Shiv Sena’s latest jibe at BJP comes a day after Shah told an election meeting at Raxaul that Pakistan will celebrate by bursting firecrackers in the event of the NDA’s defeat in Bihar.
File Photo
PTI
Shiv Sena on Friday took a swipe at BJP president Amit Shah for “invoking Pakistan to win electoral benefits” in the ongoing Bihar polls while his party’s government “rolled out red carpet” for Pakistanis in Mumbai.”The BJP president invokes Pakistan during elections in Bihar apparently to polarize the voters yet his party’s government in Maharashtra rolls out red carpet in Mumbai for Pakistani dignitaries,” Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena’s latest jibe at BJP comes a day after Shah told an election meeting at Raxaul that Pakistan will celebrate by bursting firecrackers in the event of the NDA’s defeat in Bihar. Raut claimed that it was Shiv Sena which has consistently crusaded against Pakistan for its “anti-India activities”.The Shiv Sena had opposed legendary Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s programme in Mumbai leading to cancellation of the event. Some Sena workers had blackened the face of BJP leader Sudheendra Kulkarni to protest against his decision to go ahead with launch of former Pakistan Foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book; Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove : An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Relations’ in the western metropolis earlier this month.

After Sudheendra Kulkarni, Shiv Sena blackens the face of an RTI activist

The RTI activist has been shifted to a private hospital in Latur. ‘I have been asking for police protection for over four months, but nothing has been done,’ RTI said Bhaikatti.

File Photo

Shiv Sena activists on Friday allegedly assaulted and blackened the face of a Right to information (RTI) activist from Solapur after he exposed an ‘illegal’ construction case. The victim, Mallikarjun Bhaikatti, had filed an RTI against Latur’s Rajshree Shahu College, and also held a press conference recently in this regard. This had reportedly irked Shiv Sena workers, who took Bhaikatti to the same college and beat him up in front of college students and also smeared his face with ink.The RTI activist has been shifted to a private hospital in Latur. ‘I have been asking for police protection for over four months, but nothing has been done,’ RTI said Bhaikatti. Local Shiv Sena leader Abhay Salunke said, ‘Bhaikatti was blackmailing the college in the name of RTI and has also levelled false allegations against it. Latur is famous in the country for Shahu College. He has given a bad name to Latur, and hence, we blackened his face.'<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> However, police has not arrested anyone in this case. It has put Fadnavis govt in problem and surrounded by questions again. On October 12, ahead of the launch of a book written by former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, Shiv Sena activists attacked Sudheendra Kulkarni, former BJP leader and aide to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On October 19, Jammu and Kashmir Independent lawmaker of Engineer Rashid was attacked with ink at the Delhi Press Club after his critical comments regarding the lynching of a Kashmiri truck driver for alleged cow killing,

After Shiv Sena ink attack, Sudheendra Kulkarni to visit Pak for Kasuri’s book launch

Kulkarni said he has accepted Kasuri’s invitation to join the launch of his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ in Karachi on November 2, along with a number of prominent Pakistanis and Indians.

Sudheendra Kulkarni and Khurshid Kasuri at the book launch in Mumbai

Observer Research Foundation Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was sprayed with black paint by Shiv Sainiks for organising former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai, will travel to Karachi next week to attend the launch of the same book.Kulkarni said he has accepted Kasuri’s invitation to join the launch of his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove’ in Karachi on November 2, along with a number of prominent Pakistanis and Indians.Related Read: Uddhav Thackeray felicitates six Shiv Sena workers who smeared Sudheendra Kulkarni’s face<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena’s protests show face of cultural terrorism in India: Sudheendra KulkarniThe ORF chairman stated this at a panel discussion during the Tata Literature Live festival in Mumbai last night. Both Kasuri, who was in Delhi earlier this month in connection with his book launch, and Kulkarni, who had invited him to launch his book in Mumbai, were repeatedly warned by Shiv Sena to cancel the event.However, they refused to bow down to this pressure. Later, Kulkarni became the victim of a paint attack by Shiv Sena members ahead of the launch of Kasuri’s book in Mumbai on October 12.The Shiv Sena had vehemently opposed the event and threatened to disrupt it. Prior to it, the Sena had also forced the cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai.

As Fadnavis government completes one year, Sena-BJP ties hit rock bottom

Increasing its stridency, the Sena recently forced cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s event in the city and later opposed the book launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.

Even as the Devendra Fadnavis government completes a year in office this week, the partnership between BJP and its oldest ideological ally Shiv Sena is at an all-time low, raising a question mark over the political stability of the regime.The unfolding scenario has thrown up doubts in the minds of people whether the government will be able to complete its tenure, say political observers.The Sena, after severing ties with BJP on the eve of assembly polls, joined the government in December last year and since then has relentlessly been attacking the policies and approaches of the ministry through its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ on various issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Increasing its stridency, the Sena recently forced cancellation of Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s event in the city and later opposed the book launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.Sena activists blackened the face of the event organiser, Sudheendra Kulkarni, causing much embarrassment to BJP and triggering widespread protests across the country.Though the BJP has refrained from openly reacting to the ally’s aggressive posturing, state party functionaries, requesting anonymity,said the Government would continue even if the Sena pulls out of it.Political observers, however, say BJP has failed to control Sena’s capacity to create “nuisance repeatedly”.The disconnect between the allies, both wedded to Hindutva ideology, further widened when Sena ‘boycotted’ all functions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mumbai on October 11.”Shiv Sena is its natural ally and BJP needs to carry along so that the government completes its tenure. If Shiv Sena withdraws support, BJP can take NCP support, but will lose its credibility,” they said.Congress leader Anant Gadgil described the BJP-Sena ties as a “live-in relationship after divorce”.Tackling Shiv Sena, maintaining social harmony and strengthening social fabric in the state is a challenge for BJP for the rest of its tenure, observers said but discounted the chances of it quitting the government any time soon.”If the Sena emerges as the single largest party in the upcoming Kalyan-Dombivali municipal polls, it will get an upper hand to pressurise the BJP. If BJP gives in to the Sena during the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation election (to be held in 2017) to ensure stability of the government, it would be Sena’s victory,” they say.”Its real strength lies in the BMC which has Rs 13,000 crore budget and grassroot cadre in the city,” they say.Gadgil, a member of the State Legislative Council, told PTI that the government’s claim of running a transparent regime is not true.”It has done nothing on allegations against education minister Vinod Tawde whose educational qualifications came under cloud and the purchases made by his department without inviting tenders, and the ‘chikki scam’ involving women and child development minister Pankaja Munde,” he said.Taking on the junior partner, a BJP leader said this was not an alliance government in true sense since the Sena had joined it after the elections.”BJP formed the government and the Sena joined it later. Even if it quits, there is no threat to the government. BJP does not consider the Sena as a challenge, but a hurdle,” a BJP leader said requesting anonymity.Gadgil, however, said “BJP keeps humiliating the Sena and the latter’s mouthpiece Saamana and its leaders take on the government and BJP at any given moment.”Congress spokesman Ratnakar Mahajan said the 45-year-old Chief Minister’s goodwill is withering and termed the government’s claims of achievements as “inflated”.”The non-controversial image of Fadnavis had generated a positive and favourable feeling about the new government among people. However, Fadnavis’ own partymen, including senior leader Eknath Khadse, were instrumental in making the caste divide in BJP public by saying that Chief Minister from Bahujan Samaj would have been good,” he said.Mahajan said the government failed to deal with the drought crisis in the first year of its rule.”The previous government faced drought conditions for three consecutive years. The Congress government in 1972 had laid down the rules to be followed in case of drought, like making available drinking water for people, fodder and water for cattle, concessions in power bills for agriculture pumps and phasing out of arrears, rescheduling of crop loan.”These steps were taken immediately when there were indications that the state will face drought conditions.However, this government delayed its response to the natural calamity. The suicide of a 16-year-old girl in Latur because of her inability to pay for the bus pass to travel to college is a stark example of the government’s failure,” he said.He alleged that the government has only served the interests of big traders and contractors.BJP spokesman Madhav Bhandari said the fiscal situation and the looming threat of drinking water scarcity are the major challenges before the government.”Farmers in drought-hit areas have been covered under the food security scheme for last couple of months,” he said.He said the performance of the first BJP government in the state was “promising” and the public perception was that it is making sincere efforts.”The state witnessed drought, hailstorm and unseasonal rains last year and this year, too, there have been drought conditions in majority districts. The state’s debt has crossed Rs 3.8 lakh crore and there is no borrowing capacity left.”The main issue is how to raise funds for drought relief.Due to deficient rainfall, 3/4th of the state will face drinking water scarcity. Money can be raised, but where does one get water from?” he asked.

Shiv Sena’s protests show face of cultural terrorism in India: Sudheendra Kulkarni

“The incident on Saturday when some so called Shiv Sainiks stormed the venue of a play of Pakistani performers and disrupted it is condemnable. These incidents show the face of cultural terrorism. It has no place whatsoever in any civilised society,” Kulkarni said.

Image courtesy: ANI
Observer Research Foundation’s Mumbai unit chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni on Sunday criticised the Shiv Sena for disrupting the music concert of Pakistani singers in Haryana’s Gurgaon city, saying such incidents show the face of cultural terrorism in the country.”The incident on Saturday when some so called Shiv Sainiks stormed the venue of a play of Pakistani performers and disrupted it is condemnable. These incidents show the face of cultural terrorism. It has no place whatsoever in any civilised society,” Kulkarni told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There can be no compromise whatsoever in the fight against terrorism, most of which is coming from Pakistani soil. But by this show of misplaced patriotism, they are raising a new ironed curtain between India and Pakistan and they don?t want any kind of interaction to take place between the two countries. This is completely unnatural and it goes against India?s culture and tradition and, therefore, it must be opposed jointly by the governments at the Centre and the state and by the people across India,” he added.Kulkarni’s reaction comes just days after the Shiv Sainiks had blackened his face for organising the launch of a book by former Pakistan minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri in Mumbai.It may be recalled here that the Shiv Sena’s protest earlier this month had forced the organisers to cancel famous Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s events in Mumbai and Pune.

Shiv Sena wants Malala Yousafzai to become Indo-Pak peace ambassador

The saffron outfit, which in the past few weeks has carried out anti-Pakistan protests, today said India should invite Yousafzai to become a peace envoy between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Malala Yousafzai

Getty Images
Despite its avowed opposition to Pakistani personalities, Shiv Sena wants Nobel Laureate and child education activist Malala Yousafzai to become a peace ambassador between the two countries, hailing her fight against terrorism.The saffron outfit, which in the past few weeks has carried out anti-Pakistan protests, today said India should invite Yousafzai to become a peace envoy between New Delhi and Islamabad.Related Read: Won’t allow Pakistani actors to step on Maharashtra soil: Shiv Sena<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Shiv Sena would like the Centre to invite Malala Yousafzai to come to India and become a peace ambassador between India and Pakistan. “She is a true messenger of peace because she has shed her blood for promoting peace. Drama of other politicians will continue but if there are only a hundred Malalas in Pakistan, terrorism will forever be eliminated from her country,” senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut told PTI. The 18-year-oldPakistani activist who survived an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen in 2012, had dared to fight against terrorism in her own country. “We will whole-heartedly support an invitation to Malala. There is a big difference between Malala and politicians like Khurshid Kasuri. Kasuri has always supported terrorism.Related Read: People opposing Shiv Sena’s stance can go to Pakistan: Ramdas KadamPoliticians like him are in the habit of colluding with extremist elements to wage a proxy war against India. “But Malala is someone who fought terrorism from Pakistan’s soil. She has even taken bullets while fighting for her cause and almost lost her life in the process. The whole world needs to take lessons from her,” Raut added.The Sena leader said if Yousafzai comes to India, Muslims who “discreetly” support Pakistan’s terrorist activities will learn a lesson or two from her. The Uddhav Thackeray-led party has escalated its protests against Pakistan over the issue of sponsoring terrorism in India.Early this month, the Sena forced the cancellation of Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts here. It also staged protest against former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai, where its workers smeared oil paint on the face of ORF Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni who hosted him.On Sunday, Sena activists stormed the Cricket Board headquarters here and forced the cancellation of talks between BCCI President Shashank Manohar and his Pakistan counterpart Shahryar Khan on resumption of cricket ties.

Won’t allow Pakistani actors to step on Maharashtra soil: Shiv Sena

After Shiv Sena’s protest at BCCI office, Kasuri book release function and Ghulam Ali concerts, films starring Pakistan artistes have become latest target of the political outfit.

After Shiv Sena’s protest at BCCI office, Kasuri book release function and Ghulam Ali concerts, films starring Pakistan artistes have become latest target of the political outfit.”We have taken a stand that we won’t allow any Pakistani actor, cricketer or performer to step on Maharashtra’s soil,” said Akshay Bardapurkar, general secretary of the Shiv Sena Chitrapat Sena, the film wing of the party.Also read: People opposing Shiv Sena’s stance can go to Pakistan: Ramdas Kadam<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Shiv Sena won’t let the Pakistani actors in the films — Mahira Khan (“Raees”) and Fawad Khan (“Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”) – promote the films in Maharashtra,” Bardapurkar said.In the last few weeks, Sena has hit national headlines with its protest against Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concerts in Pune and Mumbai (which were consequently cancelled), ink attack on former BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni and opposition to release of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri’s book, as well as protest at BCCI office over the planned visit by Pakistan Cricket Board chief.

Shiv Sena violence: Engage in debate, not vandalism, says Arun Jaitley

Jaitley also confirmed that party chief Amit Shah had indeed met with several party MPs asking them not to make any controversial statements.

PTI
With President Pranab Mukherjee expressing his concern on rising incidents of intolerance in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday hit out at NDA ally Shiv Sena and said that there was an extremely disturbing trend where ‘some people have resorted to vandalism as an instrument to convey their views.’Condemning the incidents of intolerance, Jaitley said that it is against the traditions of our culture.Indirectly referring to Shiv Sena’s attack on BCCI office and the ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, Jaitley said, “Past few days have seen extremely disturbing trends where some people resorted to vandalism as an instrument to convey their views. Hope we can conduct debates in public space in a more graceful manner.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further added, “Incidents of intolerance are condemnable. In democracy there could be differences, but restraint should be exercised and vandalism should be criticised. No place for violence in democracy.””In large country like India there may be divergent views, but we have had a tradition of civility in conveying those different opinions. Some of these issues are extremely serious, some can reflect on inter-community relations, others can reflect on sensitive areas such as J&K. Therefore, there has to be a proper civilised mode of discussing and debating these issues,” he said.Jaitley also confirmed that party chief Amit Shah had indeed met with several party MPs asking them not to make any controversial statements.”I don’t think anybody in the BJP has resorted to these methods(vandalism). Few made statements on sensitive issues. But party president (Amit Shah) has very strongly taken it up with them,” he said.A day ago, Shiv Sena attacked BCCI office, while last week smeared ink on BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni, for hosting the book launch of ex-Pakistan Foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.President Pranab Mukherjee had on Monday expressed apprehension whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane and said that humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstances.

Govt should not wash its hands off Dadri lynching: Congress leader Sachin Pilot

New Delhi: Congress leader Sachin Pilot on Wednesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s remarks that his government had nothing to do with the Dadri lynching and cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s Mumbai concert, saying it is not appropriate for the centre to wash its hands of by saying that it had no role to play.

“I believe it is not appropriate to wash your hands by saying the new government has no role to play,” Pilot said.

File photo. Image courtesy: AFPFile photo. Image courtesy: AFP

File photo. Image courtesy: AFP

Accusing the opposition of indulging in pseudo secularism and politics of polarisation, Modi has described the Dadri lynching incident and the cancellation of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai as “unfortunate”, but said his government has nothing to do with them.

“I think they are trying to trivialise the issue. I think the unfortunate lynching and the death of the gentleman in Dadri is symbolic of the systematic decay in our social fabric that is being accentuated by the new government,” he said.

Referring to the situation in Mumbai, where Ali’s concert was cancelled and ink smeared on ORF chief Sudheendra Kulkarni over the book launch event of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Pilot said it appears that BJP-led government is facing all sorts of issues from its own allies, apparently referring to the Shiv Sena.

“But the fact that we are becoming slowly an intolerant society, as the world is viewing it, is very unfortunate,” he said.

A former union minister, Pilot said that the government of the day is responsible to keep that consciousness alive. “You can’t have divisive forces becoming so strong that they overcome all ethos of our cultural heritage, of our history, of our
societal integrity,” he said.

“It’s not just about politics, it’s about the country. What are the kind of ideologies that we are propagating? What are the kind of people who are in position of power, whose words count for and they are somehow trying to divide the secular thinking of our nation and that I think is unacceptable to India,” he said.

PTI

Maharashtra: BJP leaders to meet tomorrow to discuss ‘probability of snapping ties’ with Shiv Sena

According to the party functionary, BJP wants the Shiv Sena to “quit” from power. On the contrary another senior BJP leader has said that Sena would not “dare” to take the extreme decision.

Amidst signs of growing fissures between the two allies in Maharashtra, the BJP-led state government will discuss the “probability of snapping ties” with the Shiv Sena after it asked BJP to opt out of coalition government if they have any problems with their ally.The “probability of snapping ties” with the Shiv Sena would be discussed in a joint meeting of BJP ministers and party functionaries on Thursday, a top BJP leader has said.According to the party functionary, BJP wants the Shiv Sena to “quit” from power. On the contrary another senior BJP leader has said that Sena would not “dare” to take the extreme decision.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, a Shiv Sena leader here termed the idea of quitting as “rumours” and said it will continue to be in power.The official agenda of the October 15 meet is the Devendra Fadnavis government’s one year in power, its achievements and ways of celebrating it.”Five major achievements from each portfolio will also be finalised in the meeting. There are other issues to be discussed as well,” BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said, even as he denied any discussion on the Uddhav Thackeray-led party in Thursday’s meeting.Another party leader who will be part of the October 15 meeting, claimed that the BJP feels “suffocated” with the Sena’s behaviour towards it.”Though Sena is a part of the BJP government, both at Centre and in the state, it has not wasted even a single opportunity to criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party president Amit Shah and the BJP,” the leader said, requesting anonymity.He further claimed that in the last few days, Sena has tried to “blackmail” the state government over Pakistan singer Ghulam Ali and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Khurshid Kasuri (over their engagements in the city).

Shiv Sena says ‘lover of Pakistan’ Kulkarni is equal to ‘a hundred Kasabs’

A day after former BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni was attacked and his face blackened, the Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ referred to him as a ‘lover of Pakistan’ and even went to the extent of comparing him with 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

“What is the need for Pakistan to send people like Kasab to carry out destructive activities in India, when persons like Kulkarni are present in the country?,” the editorial said, saying that people like Kulkarni have done what ‘a hundred Kasabs’ would not be able to do.

“The real threat to the country comes not from fanatic and extremist Muslims, but from people like Sudheendra Kulkarni,” it said.

Image courtesy: CNN-IBN/TwitterImage courtesy: CNN-IBN/Twitter

Image courtesy: CNN-IBN/Twitter

However, the editorial said that act of blackening Kulkarni’s face was done by ‘patriotic people’, while remaining silent on whether the persons involved were members of the Shiv Sena.

The Saamana editorial said that the persons who invited ex-Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri may get Pakistan’s highest national honour, but they would face attacks from people in India.

Questioning Kulkarni for posting pictures with a blackened face on Twitter, the Sena mouthpiece said, “Maharashtra is known for patriotism and its defence of the country, and the Shiv Sena is doing this work with alacrity.”

The Shiv Sena also took a dig at writers returning Sahitya Akademi awards, asking, “What do these people (intellectuals) do but give unnecessary pieces of advice? Why do intellectuals in Pakistan not speak up against their government and say the truth about infiltration in Kashmir and Indian soldiers dying?”

“There is much outrage over the incident, as though Khurshid Kasuri is an ambassador of peace or a Mahatma. However, (no matter how much the opposition it faces), the Shiv Sena will not change its position on Pakistan,” the Saamana editorial said.

Following the attack on Monday, the Mumbai police arrested six Shiv Sena ‘workers’ in connection with the incident.

The launch of Kasuri’s book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove, meanwhile took place as scheduled, with Kulkarni attending the event. The chief of the Mumbai chapter of think-tank Observer Research Foundation said at at a press conference that Mumbai ‘cherishes the right to dissent’ and that while it belongs to Maharashtra, it is a national and international city.

Shiv Sena calls Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis pro-Pakistan

“If fighting against Pakistan is a crime, then Shivsena has committed that crime”, said Sanjay Raut.

Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut has hit back at Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis calling him pro-Pakistan after he blamed the latter for bringing the state a bad name due to the protests against former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai.Reacting to his comments, Raut said,”The CM says that Shiv Sena’s protest brought disrepute to Maharashtra. It looks like the CM does not know Maharashtra. In fact, CM’s pro-Pakistan stand has brought disrepute for the state.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Shiv Sena set to pull out of saffron alliance in Maharashtra?He also said that Shivsena is intensely nationalist and opposed the programme due to this attitude. Raut said, “Cops like Tukaram Ombale who laid down their lives fighting against Pakistan in Mumbai. Such police force was used by chief minister to protect Pakistan, insulting the martyrs.””If fighting against Pakistan is a crime, then Shivsena has committed that crime.”Accusing Sudheendra Kulkarni of being a “Pakistani agent”, Sena leader Raut had said that blackening of Kulkarni s face was a mild protest.”Fadnavis had disapproved Shiv Sena’s protests saying the issue has brought disrepute to the state. He said, “We may not agree with views of somebody, but when a foreign dignitary or a diplomat arrives on a valid visa and holds a programme, which is not illegal, it’s the duty of a state to provide protection.”Shiv Sena has also decided to go it alone in the forthcoming Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation election and not have any tie-up with the BJP. The decision was taken last night at a meeting of senior Sena leaders here, a Sena leader said.

Shiv Sena set to pull out of saffron alliance in Maharashtra?

On Monday, CM Devendra Fadnavis disapproved Shiv Sena’s protests saying the issue has brought disrepute to the state.

The differences between BJP and Shiv Sena seems to have widened after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis chided the latter for bringing the state a bad name due to the protests against former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai.According to reports, the Sena may consider quitting the state government as the party chief is reportedly peeved with Fadnavis on several issues. A leading daily, quoted Sena leader, who wished not to be named, saying, “Yes, it is very, very likely that we may sever ties with the BJP.” In fact it may even consider completely pulling out of the alliance which may potentially jeopardise the fate of Fadnavis government. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report added that Sena is of the view that it may have to pay heavy price in the future, as it believes BJP is rapidly losing popularity in Maharashtra. On Monday, Fadnavis disapproved Shiv Sena’s protests saying the issue has brought disrepute to the state. He said, “We may not agree with views of somebody, but when a foreign dignitary or a diplomat arrives on a valid visa and holds a programme, which is not illegal, it’s the duty of a state to provide protection.”Accusing Sudheendra Kulkarni of being a “Pakistani agent”, Sena leader Raut had said that blackening of Kulkarni s face was a mild protest.” Though the Sena and BJP patched up after their alliance fell apart before the polls, both the parties have been opposing each other on several issues.Meanwhile, Shiv Sena has decided to go it alone in the forthcoming Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation election and not have any tie-up with the BJP. The decision was taken last night at a meeting of senior Sena leaders here, a Sena leader said.

Jammu and Kashmir CM strongly condemns ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni

Terming the assault on Kulkarni as unfortunate, Sayeed said, “The politics of hate has no place in our country

Sudheendra Kulkarni

Condemning the ink assault on Sudheendra Kulkarni by the Shiv Sena, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday said aggressive fringe elements must not be allowed to shrink the space of freedom of expression.Terming the assault on Kulkarni as unfortunate, Sayeed said, “The politics of hate has no place in our country.” “Those who think they can resort to political hooliganism and get away with it are living in a fool’s paradise,” he told ANI here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kulkarni was assaulted by Shiv Sena activists for refusing to back down from organising ex-Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai. The six Shiv Sena workers, who were detained yesterday for smearing ink on Kulkarni, were released on bail today.

Kulkarni ink attack: Six accused Shiv Sainiks released on bail

Among those arrested were Gajanand Patil, Dinesh Prasad, Ashok Waghmare, Prakash Husbe, Samadhan Jadhav and Venkatesh Nair.

The six Shiv Sena workers who were detained on Monday for smearing ink on Sudheendra Kulkarni, were released on bail on Tuesday.Kulkarni was attacked for refusing to back down from organising ex-Pakistani minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch.Among those arrested were Gajanand Patil, Dinesh Prasad, Ashok Waghmare, Prakash Husbe, Samadhan Jadhav and Venkatesh Nair.Shiv Sena had been vehemently protesting against Kasuri’s book launch saying it would retaliate if the event was not cancelled, and true to their work, the organiser was attacked on the morning of the launch.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The event, however, went without a glitch yesterday as the Shiv Sena showed no sign of interrupting the book launch.

Indian activist hit by ink attack

Far-right Hindus in Mumbai douse the leader of an Indian think-tank with ink in protest at the launch of a book by a former Pakistani foreign minister.

Police lodge FIR against unidentified persons for blackening face of Sudheendra Kulkarni

Mumbai: Police on Monday registered an FIR against unidentified persons for blackening the face of ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni ahead of the launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch.

Sudheendra Kulkarni's face was blackened as a protest against Khurshid Kasuri's book launch. CNN-IBN

Sudheendra Kulkarni’s face was blackened as a protest against Khurshid Kasuri’s book launch. CNN-IBN

“An FIR has been filed under relevant sections of IPC by the Antop Hill police in this connection,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni said.

A complaint was registered by Kulkarni himself this afternoon, police said.

The case has been registered under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 147 (rioting), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and other relevant sections, they added.

Police said around six to seven unidentified persons also shouted slogans against ORF, a foreign policy think-tank, which has organised a book-launch event involving Kasuri.

“We are searching the accused who are purportedly connected with Shiv Sena”, they said.

Earlier in the day, a black paint was sprayed on Sudheendra for not bowing down to Sena’s diktat seeking cancellation of events having Pakistani connection.

PTI

Kasuri book launch: FIR against unidentified men for paint attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni

A complaint was registered by Kulkarni himself this afternoon, police said.

Police said around six to seven unidentified persons also shouted slogans against ORF

Police on Monday registered an FIR against unidentified persons for blackening the face of ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni ahead of the launch of former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch. “An FIR has been filed under relevant sections of IPC by the Antop Hill police in this connection,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Dhananjay Kulkarni said. A complaint was registered by Kulkarni himself this afternoon, police said. The case has been registered under sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 147 (rioting), 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) and other relevant sections, they added. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police said around six to seven unidentified persons also shouted slogans against ORF, a foreign policy think-tank, which has organised a book-launch event involving Kasuri. “We are searching the accused who are purportedly connected with Shiv Sena”, they said.Earlier in the day, a black paint was sprayed on Sudheendra for not bowing down to Sena’s diktat seeking cancellation of events having Pakistani connection.

Attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni reinforces Sena as the khap panchayat that Mumbai never had for long

What’s so surprising about Shiv Sena workers blackening the face of Sudheendra Kulkarni? Nothing really.

“You better accept what we demand or we will respond in our style.” This has been the standard threat from Sena leaders from time to time to target persons and groups. It was this style that was on display when sainiks applied black ink on Kulkarni’s face. His fault? He had the gumption to host a book-launch event involving former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai.

A cartoon made by Neelabh for Firstpost.A cartoon made by Neelabh for Firstpost.

A cartoon made by Neelabh for Firstpost.

The Sena is known for such antics. It’s generally irreverent to better ways of expressing dissent and impatient with resistance. For good or bad, it has been acting as the khap panchayat that Mumbai never had for long. The ‘style’ that its leaders talk of has been put to effective use for several decades now. And it certainly has not gone out of circulation in spite of the party losing its political heft in the state. Only a couple of days ago, it managed to get a concert by Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali in the city cancelled.

Does the expression of nationalist sentiment have to be this crude? Aren’t there ways besides coercion and intimidation to get one’s point across? These questions have been put to the party often. Of course, response has been one of disdain. When action speaks, there’s no point wasting words.

What would be of some satisfaction to the party these days is that the ‘style’ has gone national. Political parties are still a bit wary of following it, but fringe groups of all shades have taken to it with gusto. Right from the killing of rationalists to mob justice over beef to vicious troll attacks on the social media to call for book bans to random attacks on issues downright frivolous, it is evident like never before in the history of the democracy.

A khap panchayat of the national kind with no definite structure or shape has gradually entrenched itself in the national narrative. Restricted to the margins not long ago, it used to assert itself intermittently through activities that generally involved violence; it’s a mainstream player now. Watch members of several groups that subscribe to the khap mentality come on prime time television and pour scorn with no inhibition. Watch the absence of sense of guilt in attacking someone or the total lack of remorse in someone getting murdered.

Read social media to gauge the extent of hatred and murderous rage going around. Surely, the mainstreaming of low culture is near complete.

What does it tell us about the times we live in? Well, the state is vacating space to elements that are potentially dangerous. It is confused where it stands on the matter of higher values. It is ready to give up at the slightest hint of a fight. We don’t know whether that’s how historical forces assert themselves – by making the state, the symbol of the old order, redundant. But things certainly don’t look pleasant now. There are signs of collapse. Perhaps, it is the ‘style’ and the exercise of it by various elements that are responsible for it.

The attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni is symptomatic of something deeply troubling. If he is a worried man today, he should devise his own style to strike back. Appearing calm, reasonable yet very firm in his resolve to go ahead with the scheduled programme is one way. And wearing the black paint in public is defiance of the highest order. Kudos Kulkarni.

Sudheendra Kulkarni attacked: Shiv Sena refutes report that protest against Kasuri has been withdrawn

The Sena leader earlier termed a’mild’ one and warned that until the ‘message is received’ such attacks will keep on happening.

After smearing ink on BJP ideologue ​Sudheendra Kulkarni​, Shiv Sena has decided to call off the protest against the book launch of former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.The decision comes after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.Speaking to the news agency, Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Shinde​ said, “Uddhav Thackeray spoke to the cheif minister and have decided that protest against Sudheendra Kulkarni will be called off.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, Sena activists allegedly smeared black ink on the face Kulkarni. Also read- It will be ‘sheer madness’ if India, Pakistan think of going to war: Khurshid Mahmud KasuriThe Sena leader also termed the attack as a ‘mild’ one and warned that until the ‘message is received’ such attacks will keep on happening.”This is not ink, but the blood of our martyrs on his face. He should feel ashamed for siding with Pakistan’s ‘chamchas’. You cannot stop people as they have paint up hatred against Pakistan in their minds,” said Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said.However, speaking to the news agency, Fadnavis had said, “For all foreigners, diplomats or foreign dignitaries who are allowed on proper Visa in our country it is responsibility of our government to provide them security. Hence Mr.Kasuri and the program will be provided total security.”Also read: Ex Pak Foreign Minister Kasuri reacts to ink thrown on Sudheendra KulkarniHowever, stating that this doesn’t mean that they endorse all views expressed in the program, Fadnavis added, “No anti India propaganda will be tolerated through any such program and if found so the organisers would be held responsible.”Kasuri is scheduled to attend the launch of his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’ at 5.30 PM in Worli area of Mumbai.

Smearing Kulkarni with paint is not right: Union Minister Kiren Rijiju

The Minister of State for Home said acts like smearing black paint on someone’s face should not have happened as there are ways to protest in a civilised society.

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday disapproved of Shiv Sena activists smearing black paint on Sudheendra Kulkarni saying everyone has the freedom to protest but not physically harm anyone.”This is about mentality…In this country, everyone has a fundamental right to protest but there has to be a way to protest, not physically harm anyone. This is not right,” he told reporters here when asked to comment on the attack on Kulkarni by Shiv Sena activists in Mumbai.The Minister of State for Home said acts like smearing black paint on someone’s face should not have happened as there are ways to protest in a civilised society.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Sabhya samaj main virodh karne ka tarika hote hain (There are ways to protest in a civilised society). Our Constitution allows us to hold protest in a proper manner.”The Constitution has given right to everyone to protest in a democratic way. One should only lodge protest under the law and this will act to strengthen our democracy,” he said on the sidelines of a BSF event here.Rijiju said law and order is a state subject and in a case where a foreigner has come to India for unveiling of a book but has not acted against the country, such an act should not have happened.Observer and Research Foundation (ORF) chairman Kulkarni’s face was smeared with black paint by Shiv Sena activists for refusing to cancel former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch in Mumbai.The incident occurred in front of Kulkarni’s house near Kings circle in suburban Matunga at around 9.30 AM. About 5-7 unknown persons shouted some slogans and threw colour or ink on him, police said.

Ex Pak Foreign Minister Kasuri reacts to ink thrown on Sudheendra Kulkarni

Reacting to the incident, former Pak Minister said that he is extremely sad and upset at what’s been done to Sudheendra Kulkarni.

Observer and Research Foundation (ORF)​ Chairman and former BJP idealogue Sudheendra Kulkarni on Monday alleged that the Shiv Sena workers threw black ink at him for organising a book launch for the former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri.Reacting to the incident, former Pak Minister said that he is extremely sad and upset at what’s been done to Sudheendra Kulkarni. Kasuri said that he has been a political worker himself, hence he understands the importance of protest but they should be done in a peaceful manner. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kasuri said that overwhelming majority in both India and Pakistan are in favour of good relationship but there are some who are against it. Kasuri also told the press that he was neither a minister during Kargil nor during the 26/11 Mumbai attack.Earlier Shiv Sena had opposed Kasuri’s book launch and said that they will only allow it if the ex minister pays tribute to Indian soldiers who died in Pak firing. Due to threat from Sena, acclaimed artist Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai also got cancelled last week. Foreign policy think tank ORF has organised a launch event for the former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book and had said that it will continue as scheduled even after its chairman Kulkarni was attacked. Kasuri is scheduled to attend the launch of his book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy at 5.30 pm in Worli on Monday.

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis assures protection for Kasuri, but says ‘anti India propaganda’ will not be tolerated

Kasuri is scheduled to attend the launch of his book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy at 5.30 pm in Worli on Monday.

Maharashtra chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday assured protection to the book launch event of former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, after Observer and Research Foundation (ORF)​ Chairman and former BJP idealogue was allegedly smeared with black ink on Monday morning.Kulkarni on Monday alleged that Shiv Sena workers threw black ink at him. Kulkarni told a leading channel, “At least eight to ten Shiv Sainiks attacked me outside my home. Right as I was leaving they smeared black ink on me. I was abused by them.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to the news agency, Fadnavis said, “For all foreigners, diplomats or foreign dignitaries who are allowed on proper Visa in our country it is responsibility of our government to provide them security. Hence Mr.Kasuri and the program will be provided total security.”Also read- It will be ‘sheer madness’ if India, Pakistan think of going to war: Khurshid Mahmud KasuriHowever, stating that this doesn’t mean that they endorse all views expressed in the program, Fadnavis added, “No anti India propaganda will be tolerated through any such program and if found so the organisers would be held responsible.”The foreign policy think tank has organised a launch event for Kasuri’s book and had said that it will continue as scheduled amid threats from Shiv Sena. Kasuri is scheduled to attend the launch of his book Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy at 5.30 pm in Worli on Monday.The attack on Kulkarni has taken place even as he met Sena president Uddhav Thackeray at his residence Matoshree. It was understood that the meeting would be futile and Kulkarni left Matoshree without getting any assurance from the Sena leader.

Shiv Sena not to disrupt ex Pak Foreign Minister Kasuri’s book launch if he pays tribute to Indian martyrs

Shiv Sena imposes a condition.

Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri

Wikimedia Commons
The Shiv Sena on Sunday dared former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri to pay tribute to the Indian soldiers, who died in the recent ceasefire violations, before his book launch in Mumbai.”Our issue is specifically with Pakistan and not with their artists. But be it Ghulam Ali or Kasuri, we are against having any relations with Pakistan until they stop attacking India and killing our people,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI here. However, he said that if Kasuri paid homage to the Indian soldiers, who had died at Pakistan’s hands in the ceasefire violations before launching his book, then the Shiv Sena would consider letting him go ahead with his event.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terrorism is deep rooted in Pakistan and Kasuri should condemn the way they are plotting to spread it in India. Does he have the guts to acknowledge the truth and honor our soldiers before the show starts. I don’t think he does,” Raut added. Reacting to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s invitation to separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for talks, the Shiv Sena leader said it was a clear act by the hostile neighbour to split India.”They are trying to divide our nation and we are empowering them by letting their artists into our country,”Raut said. The Shiv Sena has asked the organisers in Mumbai to call off Kasuri’s book launch function, warning that the function will be disrupted if not cancelled.On Saturday, Shiv Sena asked management of a city-based convention centre to call off Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s book launch function. Citing the neighbouring country’s support to terrorism as the reason behind the opposition, the party warned that the function will be disrupted if not cancelled.Sena vibhag pramukh Ashish Chemburkar submitted a letter to director of Nehru Planetarium here, demanding that the event be cancelled and organisers informed accordingly. “The people at Nehru Planetarium where the event is scheduled, told us they will try to cancel it,” Chemburkar told PTI. The Observer Research Foundation Mumbai, which is organising the event has approached Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, seeking “adequate security” to Kasuri after cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert in the city.Kasuri will launch the book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’ , in Mumbai on October 12 at the Hall of Culture, Nehru Centre, Worli. “Our purpose in organising this function is to make our own humble contribution to the much-needed normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan. Kasuri’s widely appreciated book shows his strong commitment to peaceful and cooperative ties between our two countries,” ORF Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni had said.”The launch of the book will be accompanied by a panel discussion, in which the speakers are: A G Noorani, eminent jurist, historian and author; Naseeruddin Shah, renowned film and theatre personality; and Dileep Padgaonkar, eminent journalist and columnist,” Kulkarni, who will moderate the talk, had said. During his stay in Mumbai between October 11 and 14, Kasuri, besides attending the book launch function, will also visit Mani Bhavan and Jinnah House “if possible”, he said.Kasuri will also meet veteran movie star Dilip Kumar at his residence.

India may have considered surgical air strikes post 26/11 attacks: Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Kasuri

“You give assurance that the Indian army will not react. And if they did, what would be Pakistan reaction? Everything could spiral out of control.”

Former Pakistani foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri at the India-Pakistan border crossing in Wagah on January 20, 2015. Kasuri was in India to attend the annual Jaipur Literature Festival, which runs from January 21-25 this year.

AFP
Former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri on Monday claimed that a US delegation led by former US presidential candidate John McCain had met him in the aftermath of 26/11 terror attacks expressing apprehensions that India may carry out surgical air strikes at the headquarters of terror outfits JuD and LeT near Lahore.Speaking to Karan Thapar on India Today TV’s ‘To The Point’ programme, Kasuri said the delegation which also included Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan had visited Lahore.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I was no longer Foreign Minister. I received a call from an American diplomat that so and so is coming. We would like you to talk to him first and then there would be a quite lunch,” Kasuri said ahead of the launch of his book ‘Neither A Hawk Nor A Dove’.Kasuri said they sought his opinion as a politician and someone who had headed the Foreign Office for five years on what would be the likely reaction of the Pakistan Army and the people at large if there was a limited Indian air raid on Muridke.He quoted McCain as saying, “We have come from India where there is a lot of anger. Supposing there is limited strike on Muridke, the headquarters of JuD’.” According to Kasuri, he told McCain that the Pakistani army will give a “measured” response in case of a strike inside its territory.”I said what do you mean? He (McCain) said supposing there is an air strike. I said are you trying to prevent a war? He said we think that may well prevent a war. I said here is my honest opinion. Pakistan army will give a measured response, within five minutes. It will be measured, it will not go haywire. It will be measured, commensurate with the severity of the attack on Muridke.”You give assurance that the Indian army will not react. And if they did, what would be Pakistan reaction? Everything could spiral out of control.”Kasuri claimed he told them to ask the Pentagon to talk to Pakistani Army headquarters directly.”They (the delegation) said we are asking you because you are a civilian and will know what will be the public response.I said public response will be so grave that Pakistan army will be delegitimising in the eyes of its own people if it does not respond,” he said.Asked if he got a feeling that the Americans were sounding Pakistan up, Kasuri said he was “absolutely certain” that they talked to “someone very high” in India.”And it was my advice to them that if they did that, there would be a reaction.

Meat ban: BJP leader to organise beef party in South Kashmir

The BJP leader said it was his personal decision and his party was not involved in it.
Representational Image

Even as BJP, a coalition partner in Jammu and Kashmir government, has welcomed the High Court ruling asking police to strictly implement beef ban in the state, a party leader from south Kashmir will organise a beef party to send across a message of religious tolerance.”I have decided to organise a party for both Hindus and Muslims. The Muslims will be served beef and the Hindus an exclusively vegetarian meal. They will share a table and it will send a message of brotherhood and religious tolerance,” Khurshid Ahmad Malik, who unsuccessfully contested the 2014 assembly elections from Kokernag in south Kashmir on BJP ticket last year, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Malik said the court order had given rise to religious insecurities among the majority community in the state.”The order has given rise to religious insecurities among the majority community. They feel a mismatch in their religious rights. We have to make them feel that we are with them and that is why I want to bring everyone on a single platform,” he said.The BJP leader said it was his personal decision and his party was not involved in it.”This is my personal view. It has nothing to do with my party. After all, the order is from a court and not from the government or my party,” he said.He said the party has not discussed the matter and any party leader supporting the High Court ruling is doing so in his personal capacity.”This is not a BJP line. The party has not discussed whether to support or to object the order. Any one saying so could be his personal view. The party will discuss it and I believe wisdom will prevail,” he said.Asked whether his decision was against the party, Malik said “I am not concerned about what someone says in Jammu or Delhi. I have to see if my house is in order”. He said BJP s priority was to have peace in the state along with equitable development.”For development, peace is a pre-requisite. Why should we touch those issues which can disturb peace in the state,” he said.The BJP leader said the courts and the government should take into consideration the collective conscience of the people and not ban something which is Halal (permitted) for the majority community. The High Court on Tuesday asked the police to strictly implement beef ban in the state. The BJP yesterday said the ban should be implemented in letter and spirit. The party sought strict action against those found violating the court order in the state.”The law enforcing authorities should not take a lenient view of such elements who violate the court directions and indulge in provoking and hurting sentiments by their acts, which have the potential of creating communal tension and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the state,” BJP state vice-president and MLC Ramesh Arora said.

Former Pak foreign minister’s book ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove’; lauds AB Vajpayee for peace initiative

It was widely believed then that only five people in Pakistan were privy to the peace process

Kasuri gives its credit to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his national security advisor Brajesh Mishra

File Photo
Revealing graphic details of a backchannel peace process that had almost culminated into a permanent settlement of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, an insider and former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri gives its credit to Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his national security advisor Brajesh Mishra, even though contours of settlement had taken a final shape in 2007. In his book ‘Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove’, yet to be released in India, Kasuri, however, feels surprise that in 2007, he was specifically told by the BJP leadership to go slow. “Kasuri Sahib-it was we (BJP) who were supposed to do that and we will, when we are in power next time–please go slow,” former Pakistan minister quotes Brajesh Mishra telling him, during his trip to India during 2007.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kasuri believes he has given the exact details, which were never revealed before. “I have given the background in which the peace process took place, and the context in which it happened,” he said. Kasuri also mentions and interesting anecdote. President Pervez Musharraf, to his embarrassment had to read a hard-hitting speech against India at the UN General Assembly in 2005, hardly knowing what he was reading. He had no time to approve the speech. It was drafted by our Permanent Representative Muneer Akram, a hardliner on India and handed over to Musharraf just when he stood to address. “The speech was at variance with the line Pakistan had taken in 2004. This had made Indians angry and there was a considerable tension at the bilateral meeting on the sidelines. But we could not confide to Indians, what had actually transpired,” he writes. It was widely believed then that only five people in Pakistan were privy to the peace process. Kasuri told dna that he has laid bare the details of that non-paper, generally known as ‘four-point formula.’ “I have gone beyond the four points. People will be able to understand what we did on the backchannel framework on Kashmir,” he added. Pakistan’s former foreign minister said his country had realised that peace process with India could not survive, let alone thrive, unless cross-LoC movement was not controlled. Pointing out that on its part, number of militants cross the LoC had come down substantially, Kasuri said it was expected that India will withdraw its troops initially from population centres. He said Pakistan was supposed to exert all the moral pressure it could on those who were engaged in militancy. “This was one of the most important items in the backchannel discussions on Kashmir,” he says. This had to be followed by an agreement within a year over reduction of troops and the process of demilitarisation. He says, that Pakistan had launched various programmes designed to wean away those engaged in violent activities to enable them to lead a normal and peaceful life upon reintegration in society.Also it was agreed that within one year of agreement, India and Pakistan will provide maximum self-governance in legislative, executive and judicial areas to parts of Jammu and Kashmir, under their control. Under the proposed agreement, it was also free and fair elections on both sides would be conducted and they would be open to international observers and the media to monitor. To address to the dilemma of Pakistan on the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan, its gateway to China, backchannel spent considerable time in defining the units of Jammu and Kashmir. It was finally concluded that India and Pakistan would be free to have more than one administrative regions in the units under their control. A joint mechanism as envisioned in non-papers would consisit of specified number of elected members from each of the two units, nominated by the governments of both the sides of Jammu and Kashmir. “It was agreed that this mechanism will meet periodically—atleast twice or thrice a year. It would be entrusted with the responsibility of increasing the number of crossing points and encourage travel, trade and tourism and streamline transport services,” Kasuri reveals. Under the ambit of joint mechanism, both sides would also evolve common policies for the development and water issues. The Foreign Ministers of India and Pakistan were proposed to meet once a year to monitor the progress of the agreement and would be subject to review at the expiration of 15 years. Finally the conclusion on the backchannel was to sign the Treaty of Peace, Security and Friendship after a resolution of the outstanding issues, including Jammu and Kashmir. According to Kasuri the only thing, two sides were sorting out at the beginning of 2007, when the relations went astray were the period after which the review would take place. “I have mentioned 15 years because largely a consensus had arrived at on this,” he said.Kasuri feels that unlike in the past, solution to Kashmir was in the gasp of both governments, exuding confidence that progress achieved through backchannel will not go to waste. “It is a solution, which they (governments) could sell to their respective constitutional authorities and their people on the vexed issue of Kashmir over which they had fought many wars and experienced sustained hostility since Partition,” he concludes. Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri describes contours of the agreement on Jammu and Kashmir: 1. Reducing violence: This meant controlling cross-LoC movement of militants; end to terror support structure, dismantling terror infrastructure directed towards India 2. Demilitarization: Both sides to reduce military footprints. In first place to withdraw troops from civilian areas 3. Self-Governance: Strengthening Article 370 and identical measures of self-governance on both sides of Jammu and Kashmir across LoC 4. Elections: Free and fair elections on both sides, open to the scrutiny of international observers and media 5. Defining Units of Kashmir: To address Pakistan’s obsession on Gilgit-Baltistan part of Kashmir, its gateway to China, it was decided to allow countries to hold administrative control of one or two regions. 6. Joint Mechanism; Elected representatives nominated by governments would form a joint body to monitor cross LoC trade, tour, travel etc 7. Common policies towards development and water resources: This body alongwith both governments would evolve common policies towards water and development issues. 8. Setting up of monitoring and review process: Foreign ministers of two countries to meet once a year to review progress. And the agreement or settlement would come under review after 15 years. 9. Treaty of Peace, security and friendship: Both countries to sign the treaty after outstanding issues are addressed to. It will give them stakes in each other economic development.

Spending Rs 6.31 crore for DD Kisan endorsement ‘not wise’: Congress

When the budget of the channel is Rs 47 Crore, spending such an amount on the promotion is “not a wise thing” to do, Salman Khurshid said.

Salman Khurshid
File Photo

Government’s roping in Amitabh Bachchan for endorsement of DD Kisan at a huge sum of Rs 6.31 crore came in for criticism from Congress on Friday. Party spokesman Salman Khurshid said that spending such a huge sum on the endorsement was not necessarily a good idea when the farmers plight is worsening due to the agrarian crisis. When the budget of the channel is Rs 47 Crore, spending such an amount on the promotion is “not a wise thing” to do, he said. As per reports, actor-couple Ajay Devgn and Kajol, Salman Khan were considered by the public broadcaster before it chose Bachchan, as the face that would popularise its channel meant for farmers and rural audiences. DD Kisan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 26 this year. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: Amitabh Bachchan offered Rs 6.3 crore to promote DD Kisan

No need for Congress to apologize for Emergency, says Salman Khurshid

Hyderabad: There is no need for the Congress to apologize for the imposition of the Emergency in 1975 as people realized the decision was right and voted Indira Gandhi back to power, senior party leader Salman Khurshid has said.

“Why should we apologize? Why should we discuss Emergency? Certain things happened. After that, people of India voted Smt. Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister. So, if we have to apologise, then people of India will also have to apologise…why did they elect her,” the former External Affairs Minister said.

Salman Khurshid. Image courtesy- PTISalman Khurshid. Image courtesy- PTI

Salman Khurshid. Image courtesy- PTI

Khurshid said there was no need of going back into history as the government of the time did what it felt was necessary.

“When people thought it was wrong, they voted us out of power. When they realized that the decision was right, they voted us  back to power,” Khurshid told PTI in an interview.

“I think that’s a statement of history..that’s a pronouncement of history. Nobody has to apologise for anything. And what  difference would that apology make?” he said, when asked if Congress should apologize for the Emergency.

“I think there are many issues that are only relevant to what happened at that time. I could even ask the Opposition to apologize because they created a situation in which it became necessary to bring about the Emergency,” Khurshid said.

The Congress leader said instead of “reviving history over and over again”, all should look at the problems the country faces today. BJP patriarch L K Advani had recently whipped up a controversy by his remarks on Emergency when he told a
national daily–“At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy notwithstanding the constitutional and
legal safeguards are stronger.”

“Today, I do not say that the political leadership is not mature. I don’t have faith because of its weaknesses. I don’t have the confidence that it (Emergency) cannot happen again,” Advani, now a member of the BJP’s Margadarshak Mandal, said.

Latching on to Advani’s comments, Congress and other opposition parties claimed those were directed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The saffron party veteran, however, later clarified he had not spoken about any individual and was apparently referring to the Congress.
“If I am worried about the future of Indian democracy it is because no senior leader of the Congress has come out and expressed remorse about what the party did in 1975,” he later said.

PTI

Supreme Court agrees to hear plea on framing guidelines on birds’ seizure

The PIL of the association, which deals in trade of exotic birds, said there is no standard of conduct or manner of keeping birds or animals for trade or as pet provided under the law.

Representative Image

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The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea for framing guidelines on the process to be adopted by police at the time of seizure of birds and animals and prohibiting imposition of “inhumane” conditions of tagging and stamping them.The petition came up for hearing before a vacation bench of justices A K Sikri and U U Lalit who said the matter will be heard after two months.The PIL was filed by Pet Lovers Association in which senior advocate Salman Khurshid appeared along with another petitioner who has questioned the order of the Gujarat High Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the bench asked him and another lawyer Imitiaz Ahmed to withdraw the appeal since they were not party to it before the high court which had observed that “even the birds have fundamental right”.It also said that in the appeal, issues of general nature were raised. It, however, said the other petition in which the issue of law has been raised will be heard after the vacation.The PIL of the association, which deals in trade of exotic birds, said there is no standard of conduct or manner of keeping birds or animals for trade or as pet provided under the law.It asked the court’s direction to the government to issue instructions to police officials of all the states, districts and police stations “not to illegally harass” its members who are carrying their trades in accordance with the law.The plea sought direction to the government and Ministry of Environment and Forests “to frame guidelines for proper treatment and care of seized birds and animals pending disposal of the cases before the courts”.The petition also sought action against some NGOs for allegedly “misappropriating and illegally retaining birds and animals lawfully belonging to pet lovers and pet shop owners”.It sought direction that imposition of inhumane conditions such as ringing, tagging and stamping of birds are prohibited.The plea said that entrusting of seized birds and animals pending disposal of the cases to organisation on animal care is “wholly illegal and without any authority under law”.”Moreover consequent to the entrusting of such seized birds and animals, such organisations raise bills running into several lakhs from the pet owners for keeping the birds and animals in their custody. This commercial nexus of raising bills by such organisations from the pet owners underlines a deeper malaise that has inter-state ramification,” it claimed.It said that no successful prosecutions are reported and police are used only for harassing innocent persons.”Since the seizure involves live animals, many being extremely vulnerable to inappropriate diet and conditions of accommodation, the danger to their well-being is even greater,” the petitioner said.The petitioner association said earlier the NGOs had seized birds of different pet shop owners and the animals were illegally entrusted to organisations which exploited the pet lovers and owners for commercial benefit.It said the association and other pet shop owners dealing in trade of exotic birds were repeatedly harassed by the NGO and police who are “consistently indulging in such illegal raids and activities whereby they take away birds and animals belonging to several individuals including the petitioners and thereafter fail to return the seized birds and animals”.

Six weeks on, India wonders where Rahul Gandhi might be

While Gandhi has been away, his mother, party president Sonia Gandhi, has taken full-time charge, leading a rally and visiting villages to protest against the land law.

Rahul Gandhi
File Photo

India’s opposition Congress party is finding it hard to defend a long holiday taken by its vice-president Rahul Gandhi, and some seniors in the party are questioning whether the scion of the country’s most famous family is interested in politics.Gandhi, a 44-year-old bachelor parliamentarian, took a leave of absence starting in late February, and is now said to be returning to work later this month. There is no word where he might be. His vanishing act has spawned a series of tongue-in-cheek comments about his choice of holiday spot and what he might be doing, and “missing” posters have been pasted on walls in his rural constituency.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jokes aside, Gandhi’s decision to go on a holiday at the start of a parliamentary session, at a time when Congress was attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi over land policy, has led to doubts about his commitment to politics. Senior Congress members, who normally pride themselves on displays of loyalty to the great grandson of India’s first prime minister, are beginning to openly express frustration.”He’s entitled to have a leave for a holiday, but the timing was wrong, because we had the budget session going on, and the issue of land acquisition was to be debated, he could have gone when there was a recess,” party leader Digvijaya Singh said. Singh, who this week said Gandhi would be back in time to lead a farmers’ rally on April 19, was referring to Modi’s attempt to make it easier for industry to acquire land, a policy that Congress has called anti-farmer.While Gandhi has been away, his mother, party president Sonia Gandhi, has taken full-time charge, leading a rally and visiting villages to protest against the land law. In February, Congress said Rahul Gandhi needed time off to reflect on electoral defeats and plot the future of the party.Many Congress party members want Gandhi to take over from his mother, despite having led the party to its worst ever election defeat last year when he was chief campaigner against Modi. Gandhi’s laid-back approach contrasts with the relentless work schedule of Modi, who claims never to take days off work.One political cartoon published on Thursday showed a Congress member at an airport holding a placard bearing Rahul Gandhi’s name, and saying he’d forgotten what he looked like. “It is very embarrassing for me as a Congress politician to justify Rahul’s leave,” said a senior leader who served as a minister in the Congress government voted out in May.”I did not join politics to defend his presence or absence.” His supporters say he will return fresh, and will modernise Congress when he takes over from his Italian-born mother. Critics say the mystery vacation reinforces the image of a political lightweight, who makes periodic public appearances and retreats into a elite lifestyle. Even when he is officially at work, Gandhi is more often spotted at an exclusive gym than in parliament. Singh said Gandhi needed to become a full time politician. “He has to be. Politics…is not half time,” Singh told Reuters. He said he did not know where Gandhi might be. Also Read: Rahul Gandhi is safe, he will return with special achievements: Salman Khurshid

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