MONDAY www.thestatesman.com 07 MAY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |`3|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR ‘AFSPA MAY BE WITHDRAWN FROM J&K, ASSAM’ BILLIONS AT STAKE AS TRUMP MULLS IRAN N-DEAL PULLOUT P6 MUSLIMS SHOULD OFFER NAMAZ INSIDE MOSQUES: KHATTAR P12 P5 WEATHER Rain or thundershowers with strong gusty winds. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 36 and 27 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max: 36.2°C (-3) SUN RISES 05:36 hrs MOON RISES 01.05 hrs Min: 26.5°C (+2) SUN SETS 19:00 hrs MOON SETS 11:18 hrs THUMBNAILS Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola lifts the Premier League trophy on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Sunday. This is City’s third tile AFP in seven seasons. PRESS TRUST OF INDIA STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE Min. 29% Seven Indian engineers of an RPG group company working in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province were abducted on Sunday by Taliban gunmen who apparently mistook them for government employees, media reports said. The External Affairs Ministry said in New Delhi it is in touch with authorities in Afghanistan and is ascertaining the details of the incident. The Taliban militants abducted the Indians, working for Maharashtra-based company KEC, and their Afghan driver early on Sundaymorning in Bagh-e-Shamal area of the provincial capital, Pule-Khomre, news channel TOLOnews reported, citing officials. According to the Associated Press, the seven Indian nationals were electrical engineers. The company employees were abducted while they were travelling to the area where KEC has a contract to operate an electricity sub-station, the Afghan news channel reported. JAMMU, 6 MAY A sociology teacher of Kashmir University, Rafi Bhat, and the top commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), Saddam Paddar, were among five terrorists shot dead on Sunday by security forces in an encounter at Badigam in Shopian district of south Kashmir. In addition, five civilians died in clashes between security forces and protesters, police said. One of the civilians, Asif Ahmad Mir of Rohomoo, Pulwama, died in SMHS hospital in Srinagar after he was shifted there with a bullet injury in the head. Four other civilians were killed as forces fired at protesters in Chitragam and Behibagh areas of Shopian and Kulgam districts, respectively. The slain civilians were identified as Zubair Ahmad Negroo of Ayangund Rajpora,Yasir of Shopian, Adil Ahmad, a resident of Ashmuji in Kulgam district and Sajad Ahmad of Verinag Dooru. Four more civilians were injured as security forces fired at a A CRPF man stands guard as a woman walks past in Srinagar on Sunday amid a strike call by a separatist group. AFP mob that indulged in stonepelting. Paddar (26) was among the most wanted terrorists and had joined HM in 2015 after leaving the Lashkare-Taiyyaba (LeT). He belonged to Heff village of Shopian district and was an aide of slain HM commander Burhan Wani. The encounter began early in the morning and was over by noon. J&K DGP SP Vaid said that five bodies have been recovered at the encounter spot. Reports identified the slain terrorists as Padder, Bhat, Tawseef Sheikh, Bilal Moulvi and Adil Ahmad. KOCHI, 6 MAY Attack on Pak minister: Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was injured in an assassination attempt when an unidentified man opened fire at him in Punjab province after he addressed a political rally. Iqbal, 59, a senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, was hit by a bullet on his right shoulder in the attack, police said. The incident took place when the US-educated leader was leaving the rally in his native Narowal district, about 150 P13 kms from Lahore. An Army soldier and a policeman were injured during the encounter. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, SP Pani said that efforts were made to persuade the terrorists to surrender but they refused. Announcements were made on loudspeakers, he said. “We even tried to take their families to the encounter site to persuade the militants but to no avail,” said Pani. What was disturbing was the case of Kashmir University professor Rafi Bhat taking up the gun and getting killed within two days of joining terrorism. Bhat, a contract employ- ‘No precedent of govt returning collegium’s recommendation’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Cong will be number one party in Karnataka, says Sena MP Raut: The Congress would emerge as the “number one party” in the Karnataka Assembly elections, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said on Sunday, taking a swipe at the BJP for mobilising the “entire central machinery” for state campaigns. He also said the understanding between the BJP and his party for the upcoming Legislative Council polls in Maharashtra didn't mean the Sena would forge an alliance with it in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in P10 2019. The government's decision to send back the Supreme Court collegium's recommendation for elevation of Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as a judge of the top court was unprecedented and needed more detailed discussions, Justice Kurian Joseph, a member of the collegium, said on Sunday.“Things that should not have happened had happened ~ that is the general feeling,” the apex court judge told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.He was replying to a question on the Centre returning the recommendation of the collegium and asking it to reconsider Justice K M Joseph's elevation to the apex court. “There is no precedent of the names recommended by the collegium being returned (by the Centre). So, more detailed discussions should take place (on the matter),” the Supreme Court judge said, with- out elaborating further. The collegium had, on May 2, deferred a decision on the issue of reconsidering its recommendation to elevate Justice K M Joseph, after it was sent back by the government last month. The five-member collegium, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, met after the apex court's working hours, but no decision was taken as certain differences between the members could not be resolved. The Centre, while returning the file of Justice Joseph to the collegium, had also mentioned that judges from various high courts had not found a place in the apex court. Justice K M Joseph's name was recommended, along with that of then senior advocate, Indu Malhotra, on January 10 for their elevation as apex court judges. The government had, on April 26, declined to accept the recommendation and asked it to reconsider Justice Joseph's name. Modi dubs Cong ‘deal party’ PRESS TRUST OF INDIA CHITRADURGA/RAICHUR/ HUBBALI , 6 MAY Firing a barrage of barbs at the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday labelled it as a “deal party” that was being uprooted from all over the country and said no one can save it now. Taking BJP's campaign in poll-bound Karnataka to full throttle, he also accused Congress of “distorting history” as part of a conspiracy to divide society, as he addressed four back-to-back rallies at Chitradurga, Raichur, Jamkhandi and Hubbali in north Karnataka. Hitting back at Congress for levelling “baseless” charges against BJP's chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa,Modi reminded it about the National Herald case in which “the mother and son (Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi) are facing allegations of a scam” and are on bail. “The party whose heads are on bail, are they questioning us?,” he said, adding that Yeddyurappa had faced courts. At Chitradurga, Modi flayed the Congress government for celebrating“jayantis of sultans” P15 Prof among 5 militants 7 Indians abducted in killed in J&K gun battle Afghanistan by Taliban Five civilians also killed as stone pelters clash with security forces Max.70% TEMPERATURE FANS AND RIVALS RALLY ROUND STRICKEN FERGIE (birth anniversaries of Muslim rulers) for the sake of“vote bank politics”. He was apparently referring to the state government's controversial decision of celebrating“Tipu Jayanti” every year on November 10, commemorating Tipu Sultan, the legendary 18th century ruler of Mysore. Modi accused the Congress of protecting the corrupt, adopting a divide-and-rule policy, making false promises and having no agenda other than “abusing Modi.” Listing out a string of electoral defeats of the Congress, including those in Maharashtra and Tripura, he said, “From every corner of the country, the Congress has gone”. “...And in Karnataka?” he asked the crowd, which said the Congress will be ousted from power in the southern state too. “Now they cannot survive. No one can save Congress now. For 70 years they have misled and befooled the people,” Modi said, as he continued his campaign blitz across Karnataka where the party is heavily banking on him. The state goes to the polls on May 12. The counting of votes will take place on May 15. At the Chitradurga rally, Modi, while referring to corruption charges against a minister without naming him, said “The Congress is a party that neither has dil (heart) nor is it pro-Dalit. It is a deal party.” At Raichur, he said Congress' “new mantra is spreading lies”.Congress has realised its “vote bank politics is shaken” and so started a campaign for “misleading and spreading lies” among Dalits, and asked them to be aware, he said. In Jamkhandi, Modi said it has been a year since Ram Nath Kovind, a poor mother's son brought up in a village, became President, but “Madam Sonia ji did not get time to pay a courtesy call on him.” The President might be a Dalit, but the office was an institution and the Congress, which ruled the country for 70 years, did not have the wisdom (to visit him). “Today they are speaking about Dalits,” he said. Accusing Congress of attempting to divide Karnataka in the name of religion, language and sects as part of its conspiracy, Modi said “we should not allow Karnataka to get divided. We will not allow it to happen.” He was apparently referring to the government's move for a religious minority tag for Veerashaivas and Veerashaiva Lingayats, seen as an attempt to break the BJP's traditional Lingayat vote base. ee, had gone missing on Friday. Students had organised protests and asked the authorities to trace the teacher who belonged to Chundian village of Ganderbal district. Bhat’s family had yesterday informed the university authorities about his disappearance. The vice-chancellor had also urged the DGP to trace the missing teacher. His family members, including his mother, wife and brother, were brought from Ganderbal to make an appeal over the loudspeaker to surrender. However, the rpeated appeals fell on deaf ears and he did not respond. Some Kashmiri students, including those pursuing engineering course and post-graduation, had in the recent past joined terrorist ranks, but it was for the first instance of a university teacher picking up the gun.Former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted; “Sadly this is also an answer to those who claim jobs & development are the solution to the violence & alienation in Kashmir.This is another tragic development in a steady stream of tragedies in Kashmir”. KABUL/NEW DELHI,6 MAY Baghlan governor Abdulhai Nemati said the Taliban group took the engineers hostage and moved them to the Dande-Shahabuddin area of Pul-e-Khumri city, according to the report. It quoted Nemati as saying that the Afghan authorities spoke with the Taliban via local people and the terror group said it had abducted them, believing they were government employees. No group has, however, claimed responsibility for the abduction. Nemati said they are trying to get the abductees released through tribe elders and mediation. In response to queries, an external affairs ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi: “We are aware of the abduction of Indian nationals from Baghlan province in Afghanistan. We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained.” Harsh Goenka, the chairman of the RPG Enterprises, the parent company of KEC, said he has requested external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to help rescue its employees. “Request @SushmaSwaraj and Ministry of External Affairs to help rescue 7 of our managers from the kidnapping in Afghanistan.#KEC,” Goenka tweeted. KEC, a global infrastructure engineering, procurement and construction major, is one of the largest Indian companies in Afghanistan.
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