CMYK THURSDAY www.thestatesman.com 27 DECEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 20 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR QURESHI, LAVROV TALK AFGHAN PEACE THERE’S STILL TIME FOR BJP IF IT ACTS FAST P7 SENSEX 35,649.94 +179.79 WEATHER Mainly clear sky with maximum and minimum temperatures likely to be around 24 and 12 degree celsius, resp. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY P9 NIFTY 10,729.85 +66.35 Min. 29% Max: 24.1°C (-2) SUN RISES 06:15 hrs MOON RISES 22.02 hrs Min: 12.0°C (-2) SUN SETS 17:01 hrs MOON SETS 10:12 hrs Next moon quarter on 29 December THUMBNAILS Golfer Randhawa arrested, sent to judicial custody in poaching case: Golfer Jyoti Randhawa was arrested on Wednesday on charges of poaching in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve's protected area in UP and remanded in 14-day judicial custody by a court, an officer said. Randhawa (46) was hunting in the forest area near the P3 Motipur range when he was arrested. e-commerce norms tightened: Tightening c norms for e-commerce firms having foreign investment, the government on Wednesday barred online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon from selling products of companies where they hold stakes and banned exclusive marketing arrangements that could influence P8 product price. ` vs $ 70.06 +8 PAISE WASHINGTON/HYDERABAD, 26 DECEMBER Three Indian teenage siblings were among four people killed in a fire during Christmas celebrations at a house in the US state of Tennessee, according to media reports. The fire killed a woman and three Indian teens from Telangana who were staying with her family through the holidays in a suburb of Memphis, Tennessee, the USA Today reported. “Kari Coudriet - of Collierville, Tennessee - as well as Sharron, 17, Joy, 15, and Aaron, 14 - teen siblings of the Naik family from India - all died in the fire,” the paper reported, citing a statement issued by the Coudriet's church, Collierville Bible Church. However, their relatives in Telangana identified them GOLD 30,355.00 +80.00 P12 SILVER 37,250.00 +200.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 50.92 +0.45 NIA busts ISIS module, Javadekar & Gehlot in BJP poll campaign team arrests 10 after raids STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 26 DECEMBER n a major breakthrough, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) this morning conducted raids at 17 places in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and arrested 10 persons linked to ISIS handlers abroad, who were planning terror attacks at vital installations and crowded places in the country. NIA Chief Inspector General Alok Mittal told newspersons that the 10 arrested were among the 16 detained after raids at Zaffarabad, Seelampur in Delhi and at Hapur, Meerut, Amroha and Lucknow in UP . The suspects were planning attacks on political and other personalities too, he said. They were members of a module called 'Harkat ul Harb-e-Islam' and their leader was identified as Mufti Sohail, a Maulvi at an Amroha mosque. Twentyfive kg of explosives were recovered from them. Mittal said investigations were on and questioning of the arrested persons was expected to lead to more arrests. He said the identity of the foreign handler was yet to be confirmed. One of the arrested was a civil engineering student, another an autodriver. According to the NIA ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ NIA chief inspector general said the 10 arrested were among 16 detained after raids in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. I The suspects were planning attacks on political and other personalities too. They are members of a module called Harkat- ul Harb-e-Islam and their leader is a maulvi. Twenty five kg of explosives were seized from the arrested persons linked to ISIS handlers. chief, the module was in advanced stages of conducting the strikes and a huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from them. The recoveries included a countrymade rocket launcher, five pistols, 100 live bullets, 100 mobile phones, 135 sim cards, besides about 120 alarm clocks and Rs 7.50 lakh in cash. They had procured everything required to make bombs. The module was preparing suicide vests, indicating its members were planning to conduct fidayeentype attacks. The suspects had laptops and memory cards. While five arrested belonged to Delhi, the other five were from UP. One suspect belongs to Teenage siblings from Telangana die in US fire during X-mas fest AGENCIES DEBUTANT MAKES A SPLASH IN BOXING DAY TEST P2 PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Searches at 17 places in Delhi and UP; accused planned terror attacks Max.96% TEMPERATURE ADITYANATH ORDERS PROPER CARE FOR STRAY COWS The fire killed a woman and 3 Indian teens from Telangana who were staying with her family through the holidays in a Tennessee suburb as Sathwika Naik, Suhan Naik and Jaya Suchith. Mahesh Naik, a relative of the teens, said in Telangana that the siblings' father Srinivas Naik, a resident of Gurrapu Thanda in the Nalgonda district, has rushed to the US. “The three children were studying in the USA. My uncle (Srinivas Naik) is a church pastor and runs a school here. We got the news about the disaster on Monday that there was a fire accident in the house in which they attended the Christmas party,” Naik said. “A fire started around 11 o'clock pm at the Coudriet home (on December 23). The Coudriet family was hosting, housing, and celebrating Christmas with three teenagers attending an Academy here in the States. The Naik family are missionaries in India that our church supports,” the Collierville Bible Church said. The Coudriets were hosting the Naik family for the holidays. Kari's husband Danny and their son Cole were able to make it out of the home. Both are expected to survive, the paper said. “At this time, we are asking for privacy and discretion regarding the Missionary children. The family is in route from India and many of the details of the events are still being communicated to the family, the church said. The Indian teens were studying at the French Camp Academy in Mississippi. The Academy mourned the deaths. Lucknow. The NIA IG said it appeared the suspects were planning remotecontrolled and fidayeen (suicide) attacks. “Their targets were political persons and other important personalities and vital and security installations,” Mittal told reporters. He said the suspects appeared highly radicalised and funded themselves, one of them having stolen gold from his house. The recoveries from them showed they had planned to make a number of bombs, he said. The arrests took place with the cooperation of UP Police Anti-Terrorism Squad and Delhi Police. The suspects were communicating on What’s App and telegrams. PTI adds: The National NEW DELHI, 26 DECEMBER Investigation Agency on Wednesday arrested a 25year-old man who was absconding in connection with a case of ISIS-inspired youths from Kerala joining the West Asia-based terror group, officials said. Habeeb Rahman, from Wayanad in Kerala, was arrested in the two-year old ISIS Kasaragod Module case, the agency said in a statement. “The case relates to the criminal conspiracy hatched by the accused persons from Kasaragod district of Kerala and their associates since Ramadan, 2015, with the intention of joining and furthering the objectives of ISIS Daish,” it said. The agency said that as part of the conspiracy, 14 accused from Kasaragod district had left India or their work places in Middle-East Asia between mid-May and early July, 2016, before travelling to Afghanistan or Syria, where they joined the ISIS (Daish). It said that accused Nashidul Hamzafar and Habeeb Rehman remained in touch, over encrypted social media platforms, with other absconding accused persons in this case like Abdul Rashid Abdulla and Ashfak Majeed. Rahman will be produced before the Special Court for NIA Cases at Ernakulam on Thursday. Putting in place his team for steering the BJP's campaign in the Lok Sabha polls, party president Amit Shah on Wednesday appointed in-charges for 17 states, drafting in Union minister Prakash Javadekar for Rajasthan and Thawarchand Gehlot, another minister, for Uttarakhand. Besides in-charges, the party has also named coincharges for several states, a BJP statement said. Govardhan Jhadapia, a Gujarat leader, Dushyant Gautam, a party vice president, and Narottam Mishra, who is from Madhya Pradesh, have been given the responsibility for Uttar Pradesh, a politically crucial state, where the BJP is likely to face a tough challenge from a prospective alliance of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party. BJP general secretaries Bhupender Yadav and Anil Jain were assigned Bihar and Chhattisgarh, respectively, for the 2019 polls, according to the statement. Rajya Sabha member V Muraleedharan and party secretary Deodhar Rao will steer the campaign in Andhra Pradesh. Mahendra Singh and O P Mathur will be incharge of Assam and Gujarat respectively, the statement said. The BJP has also appointed in-charges and co-incharges for several other states, including Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Punjab, Telangana and Sikkim among others, besides the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi will be a co-incharge in Rajasthan. Uttar Pradesh Minister Swatantra Dev Singh and former Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay will be incharge and co-incharge, respectively, for Madhya Pradesh. BJP general secretary Arun Singh, Haryana minister Abhimanyu, former Karnataka minister Arvind Limbavali and former Uttarakhand party chief Tirath Singh Rawat have been assigned the responsibility for Odisha, Punjab, Telangana and Himachal Pradesh, respectively. Abhimanyu will also be in-charge for Chandigarh for the Lok Sabha elections. BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli has been assigned the task for Nagaland as well as Manipur, the party said. Bihar minister Mangal Pandey will be incharge for Jharkhand. Party sources said in-charges for more states such as West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala and Tamil Nadu will be announced in the coming days. The BJP on Wednesday latched onto Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav's jibe at the Congress to claim that it shows the “increasing isolation” of the main opposition party and “non-acceptance” of its chief Rahul Gandhi's leadership. A miffed Yadav had “thanked” the Congress for not making his party's lone MLA in Madhya Pradesh a minister, saying it has made the road ahead clear for his party. He also said he will soon meet Telangana CM and praised his efforts for formation of a federal front. Targeting Gandhi over Yadav's comments, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao said, “As elections draw closer, the increasing isolation of the Congress and nonacceptance of Rahul Gandhi's leadership becoming more pronounced.” Customers suffer as banks go on strike PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NEW DELHI, 26 DECEMBER Banking operations were impacted due to a day-long nationwide strike called by all unions to protest the proposed amalgamation of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda. However, banking operations would be restored from Thursday onwards. Some private sector banks including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were functioning on Wednesday, while others such as Federal Bank, South Indian Bank and Karur Vysya Bank were closed. This was the second bank strike in less than a week. On December 21, an officers' union of state-run banks observed a day-long strike to protest the merger and also demanded immediate settlement of wage negotiations. Banks worked on Monday (December 24). As a result, ATMs had gone dry at many parts of the coun- try and the cheque clearances were held up including that of private sector lenders. Wednesday's strike was called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) -- an umbrella organisation of all 9 unions including All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW). AIBOC general secretary Soumya Datta said instead of attempting misadventure like mergers/amalgamations, the government should focus on identifying the reasons for the present NPA menace in the banks. There is no evidence that bigger banks are stronger and more efficient, AIBEA general secretary C H Venkatachalam said. The world has witnessed the collapse of entities like Lehman Brothers, he said. Desperate for cash, this senior citizen is at a loss after being greeted by a poster in front of a bank, announcing the all-India bank strike, in Kolkata on Wednesday. The day’s bank strike, which was the second in less than a week, added to the woes of customers. BISWAJIT GHOSHAL Lok Sabha to debate fresh triple talaq Bill today STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 26 DECEMBER The fresh Bill penalising the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims would be taken up for consideration and passing by the Lok Sabha tomorrow when both Houses of Parliament will resume their sittings after a brief Christmas recess. The ruling BJP and the principal Opposition Congress have issued whips to their Lok Sabha members, asking them to be present in the House during the discussion on this Bill. The first two weeks of the winter session have proved to be a virtual washout as the Opposition continued to disrupt the proceedings of both Houses on various issues, including the Rafale jet deal "scam". The Narendra Modi government had intro- duced the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018 in the Lok Sabha on 17 December, seeking to criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq under the Indian Penal Code with provision of punishment of up to three years in jail. This revised Bill was brought to replace an Ordinance promulgated in September. Last week, the Lok Sabha reportedly decided to take up this Bill on 27 December after the Congress agreed to participate in the debate on the proposed legislation. As the Bill was being taken up then for consideration in the Lower House, the Congress party's leader Mallikarjun Kharge suggested that it should be taken up for discussion on CMYK 27 December. Parlimentary Affairs Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had then sought an assurance from the Opposition that it would later allow discussion on the Bill without disruption. With the Congress having indicated its willingness to take part in the debate on the Bill, the government is hopeful about getting it passed by its majority in the Lower House, although given the Opposition's various objections this is not going to be a smooth affair. The fresh triple talaq Bill will supercede an earlier Bill passed in the Lok Sabha but pending in the Rajya Sabha. In the face of objections raised by some Opposition parties in the Rajya Sabha regarding various provisions of the earlier Bill, the government incorporated some amendments, including the provision of bail, to make it more palatable to them. As the Bill continued to face resistance in the Upper House, the government promulgated an Ordinance in September to incorporate such amendments. Under the fresh proposed legislation too, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. Introducing the Bill in the Lok Sabha on 17 December, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that despite the Supreme Court quashing the practice of "talaq-e-biddat (instant triple talaq)" as unconstitutional, some Muslim men were divorcing their wives through such a practice on flimsy grounds and even via WhatsApp. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor had then opposed the introduction of the Bill, saying that divorce cannot be made a penal offence and that its provisions were against the Constitution. Dismissing his objections, Prasad had said the fresh Bill has been brought after deliberations.
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