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Pak never arrested Saeed for 26/11 attacks: Shinde

NEW DELHI: Calling Pakistan’s bluff, India on Monday said JuD chief Hafiz Saeed had never been arrested in connection with Mumbai terror attacks even though its Interior Minister Rehman Malik claimed so. 

Making a statement in both Houses of Parliament, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said Malik, who just concluded his visit here, was “misinformed” about the actual reasons for the arrest of Saeed whom India blames as the main conspirator in the 26/11 attacks. 

“From the papers given to us, it is clear that the detentions of Hafiz Saeed in the aforesaid cases were for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. 

“Therefore, I can only say that Rehman Malik appears to have been misinformed in the matter,”  Shinde said in Rajya Sabha, where BJP sought to corner the government, alleging that it had not responded strongly to controversial comments made by the Pakistan minister. 

Shinde noted that Malik “has been telling us repeatedly that he had arrested Saeed thrice and that, on each occasion, he was let off by the courts for lack of evidence. 

“We had been given to understand by the Interior Minister of Pakistan that Hafiz Saeed had been arrested on charges of being a part of the conspiracy for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks,” he said. 

He said when India pursued the matter, Pakistan had given the papers pertaining to the detention of Saeed in 2002 and 2009. 

During his talks with Malik, Shinde said Pakistan has been told that it was of “paramount importance” to bring those guilty of the terror strikes to justice to ensure that the Indo-Pak peace process proceeds in an atmosphere free of terrorism and violence. 

“On a larger plane, it was stated that terrorism is affecting all aspects of the relationship and that we must deal with this menace effectively,” he said. 

In the Lok Sabha, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha demanded that no talks should be held with Pakistan till the culprits of Mumbai terror attacks and the prime conspirator Saeed were handed over to India by Islamabad. 

Maintaining that Malik’s statements during the visit had “hurt the prestige of the country”, he attacked  Shinde for not countering his Pakistani counterpart and remaining “silent” during the entire period. 

In the Rajya Sabha, BJP Deputy Leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said it was “a deliberate design” by Pakistan not to take action against Saeed as he enjoyed “the protection of the Pakistan government”, adding that this was “very disturbing”. 

He charged Shinde with being “conspicuously silent” on many contentious issues raised by Malik during his visit, including that of the Babri Masjid demolition which he termed as “interference in the internal affairs of India.” 

“If this was to be done, then why was he called,” Prasad posed. Later, members in the Upper House sought a discussion on the issue and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien agreed to the demand on the “serious” issue. 

In his statement, Shinde said he especially mentioned to Pakistan the fact that “our investigations have shown that Hafiz Saeed was one of the masterminds of the 26/11 attack conspiracy and Pakistan has yet to take effective action to charge him.” 

“I reiterated the value of the voice samples for establishing the identity of those who were audacious to be caught on tape while directing the attackers,” he said, adding he also emphasised the need to respond to the Letters Rogatory sent to Islamabad following the investigation by the National Investigation Agency. 

Referring to the cases of non-compliance of Red Corner Notices against the absconders of 1993 Mumbai blasts case in which 400 people were killed, the Home Minister said this was “a blot on our bilateral cooperation in bringing fugitives from law to justice.” 

“The D-company operatives, led by Dawood Ibrahim, still evade arrest,” Shinde said, adding that the US had recently designated Ibrahim has a “specially designated global terrorist” and another person of his group as “a drug kingpin.” 

Shinde said that during Malik’s visit, he commended to Pakistan the mercy petition by the family of Sarabjeet Singh, who has been imprisoned there for more than 20 years. 

The Pakistan side raised the issue of progress in investigation in the Samjhauta Express blast, he said, adding that it was clearly told to Islamabad that the progress of the probe could not be equated with the Mumbai terror attacks. 

Shinde said New Delhi has already conveyed its approval to Pakistan Judicial Commission’s visit to India to complete the“cross examination” of four witnesses. 

India also emphasised to the Pakistan side the need to ensure that the revised terms of Reference/Agreement needed to be worked out carefully in consultation with the senior law officers of both sides so that this time there are no legal lacunae. 

“Accordingly, it was agreed that a team from India will visit Pakistan this week to settle this document so that the Judicial Commission may come at the earliest” when the courts open here in January, he said. 

The Home Minister said that the visiting Minister was also told that this year India has seen concerted attempts by terrorists to infiltrate across the Line of Control in J&K and these have occurred across several sectors of the LoC. 

Noting that there have been a large number of cases of unprovoked violation of the ceasefire, he said, “Our inputs indicate that the number of terrorist camps and launching pads in PoK remain intact. Thus, we are yet to see effective action on ground.” — PTI





Delhi student critical after gangrape
in moving bus; four detained

NEW DELHI: Four suspects have been detained by Delhi Police for the gang-rape of a girl in a moving bus, police said Monday. The condition of the girl is critical. As a girl in her 20s, a para-medical student, battles for life at Safdarjung Hospital in the city following gang-rape in a moving bus on Sunday night, Delhi Police said four suspected attackers have been held.

“We have detained four people and have impounded two buses,” said a police official.

The incident took place Sunday night, when the victim, a para-medical student and her friend, boarded the bus from Munirka to go to Dwarka, after watching a movie.

The whiteline bus in which the brutal incident happened had thick yellow curtains and 'Yadav' was written at the back of the bus.

Reports said that the condition of the girl has deteriorated, and that she was placed on ventilator with grave injuries in the stomach and intestine, and that she bore signs of having been beaten with a blunt object.

Police said that around five to seven bus crew started misbehaving with the girl a few minutes after she boarded the bus, which had no other passengers.

The victim's friend tried to prevent the men from molesting her, but the men beat him up and sexually assaulted the girl.

The accused then threw the girl and her friend out of the bus near Mahipalpur in south Delhi's Vasant Vihar area.

Police will soon release CCTV footage of the Mahipalpur toll plaza near where the couple were dumped.

Both victims were rushed to Safdarjung Hospital by a PCR van. While the girl battles for life, her friend was discharged and police have recorded his statement and registered a case.

The boy's uncle said, “Five to seven persons attacked the couple.”

“When my nephew tried to save the girl, he was beaten with iron rods... the girl was then gang-raped,” he said.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the National Commission for Women, Mamta Sharma, said she would talk to chief minister Sheila Dikshit on the issue.

“We will talk to the chief minister, take cognizance of the matter and inquire into it, as also keep tabs on the police investigations," Sharma said.

“Such incidents are on the rise in the capital and this is due to the ignorance of the government as well the police force. If an incident like this can take place in the thickly populated Munirka area, it just shows that the police is not alert," she said.

Sharma said the girl's "male friend may have been involved with the accused.”

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that “neither the home ministry nor Delhi Police are able to check such incidents” which have been on the rise.

“Delhi’s law and order is being handled very irresponsibly by the Delhi government,” he said. — IANS






England draw Nagpur Test, India lose series
on home ground after 8 years

NAGPUR: With this loss India has lost a Test series at home for the first time since 2004 and MS Dhoni has lost first Test series at home as India skipper. This is England's first Test series win India after 28 years. England lost the Ahmedabad Test before bouncing back to square
the series at Mumbai and then clinch an unassailable 2-1 lead at Kolkata.

When play started this morning, England stuck firmly to the task of batting India out of the game on the final day of the series and clinch the four-match rubber.

The visitors, in contrast to the run-crawl on Sunday, were a lot more positive in their approach with Ian Bell, in particular, playing some superb carpet drives and a glorious pull shot off Ishant Sharma on the wicket of low bounce.

He was the more aggressive partner this morning in his fourth-wicket century stand with the 31-year-old South Africa-born Trott that was raised when Bell off-drove R Ashwin fluently to the rope. — PTI






SP disrupts Parliament over quota for Muslims

NEW DELHI: Both Houses of Parliament were disrupted on Monday as Samajwadi Party (SP) members voiced their protest over the Bill on reservations in government job promotions for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and implementation of the Sachar Committee report on minorities.

On a day when the Rajya Sabha was to vote on a constitutional amendment Bill to provide reservation in promotions to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, Samajwadi Party members referring to the Sachar Committee report said Muslims were worse off than Dalits and should be given reservation in jobs.

"The study of Sachar Committee and the report says the situation of Muslims is worse than Dalits. When you are making an amendment to the constitution to provide reservation in promotion, why can't the constitution be amended to provide religion-based reservation?" party's chief in the Rajya Sabha Ram Gopal Yadav said raising the issue during zero hour.

His demand came shortly after the SP forced partial adjournment of question hour over the issue.

"Bring a constitutional amendment Bill and give Muslims reservation in jobs. The minister should tell when the government will bring such Bill," he said.

Earlier, as soon as the upper house met for the day, Ram Gopal Yadav called for implementation of the Sachar Committee report on the condition of Indian Muslims.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari asked him to raise the issue during zero hour and let the question hour run smoothly.

But SP's Naresh Aggarwal asked party members to gather near the chairman's podium, following which the chair adjourned the house for half an hour.

The Sachar panel report, about the conditions of Muslims in the country, paints a dismal picture of Muslims' participation in education and jobs. Among its recommendations, it called for a mechanism to ensure equity and equality of opportunity and eliminate discrimination.

Similar scenes were visible in the Lok Sabha, where SP led by its chief Mulayam Singh Yadav raised the issue of reservation in government job promotions.

SP members rushed towards the speaker's podium, raising slogans against the bill and disrupting question hour.

Speaker Meira Kumar appealed for peace and told the SP it would be given time to raise the matter during zero hour.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath also tried to pacify SP members but the protests continued. Finally, the speaker adjourned the house till noon.

While the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has been pressing the government to pass the Bill, the SP has issued veiled threats saying it could reconsider its outside support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if the Bill is passed.

Parliament has been disrupted frequently over the issue since the winter session started November 22. — IANS




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