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Maharashtra: Police arrest occult practitioner ‘Baba Karim Khan Bengali’ for cheating young woman, media reports call him ‘Tantrik’

In yet another attempt by mainstream media to ‘secularise’ the incidents of heinous crimes, News18 on Thursday not only attempted to hide the religious identity of an accused but also give a Hindu spin to the crime by referring to the accused as a ‘Tantrik’.

On Monday, a self-proclaimed 33-year-old occult practitioner named Baba Karim Khan Bengali was arrested by Navi Mumbai police in Maharashtra for duping a 26-year-old woman of Rs 4.57 lakh after promising her of performing “black magic” to bewitch her estranged lover into marrying her.

According to the Navi Mumbai Police, the victim, a resident of Kharghar, had contacted the accused Baba Karim Khan Bengali, whose real name is Wasim Khan, after seeing his posters in the coaches of suburban trains in February this year.

The police said that woman was depressed after her break-up with her lover, who refused to marry her. The accused, who hails from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, said to the woman over the phone that he can perform some black magic to bring her lover back to her again and marry her.

The accused Baba Karim Khan Bengali also promised that he could also spoil the new marriage proposals of her lover and demanded Rs 4.57 lakh from her to perform occult rituals at the Meerut dargah, the police officer said. The woman claimed she had paid the amount demanded by the Tantrik in instalments but did not get any desired result.

As she demanded her money back and threatened to approach the police, the accused warned her, saying that he would use black magic that will kill her in a road accident, the police officer said.

A case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. The accused was arrested from the Govind Nagar area at Mira Road in Thane district.

News18 refers to Muslim occult practitioner as ‘Tantrik’

Even as the names of the perpetrator of the crime is clearly visible in their own report, News18 referred to the occult practitioner as ‘Tantrik’ in an attempt to give a Hindu spin to the crime.

Image Source: News 18

In its report, News18 clearly mentions that the rape accused is an occult practitioner named Baba Karim Khan Bengal, aka Wasim Khan. However, in an attempt to ‘secularise’ the crime, News18, in its report, misleadingly refers to the accused as a ‘Tantrik’.

Not just News18, even Free Press Journal, resorted to a similar tactic of peddling the same propaganda by claiming that the arrested individual in the cheating case was a ‘Tantrik’. Many other media portals have done the same.

FPJ Report/ Image Source: FPJ
News report in Navbharat Times

In general parlance, the ‘Tantrik’ is a practitioner of the “tantra vidya“, is mainly associated with Hinduism, leading to a perception that a Hindu individual committed the crime.

Desperation of ‘secular’ media to ‘Hinduise’ the crimes perpetrated by criminals of other faiths

Media organisations often resort to chicanery by deliberately ignoring complete details and leaving out the identities of the criminals altogether if they belong to the minority community. However, of late, there have been concerted attempts made by many media outfits to not only conceal the names of perpetrators but also give them a Hindu spin to depict that the crime was committed by Hindus.

The Times of India has been caught several times in the past by passing off such criminals as ‘Tantrik’ in an attempt to secularise the crime.

Though many of these reports are agency feed, it has been a general practice in mainstream media to give a Hindu spin to crimes committed by the minority community.

In 2018, Time of India reported that in Maharashtra, a ‘godman’ forced his male devotees into ‘unnatural sex’. As per the report, one Asif Noori was the culprit, but TOI had tweeted the same report, using the image of a Hindu sadhu to mislead its readers.

Just a few days back, the TOI had yet again resorted to a similar case after it had referred to occult practitioners – Afzal Malik and his three friends Tariq, Aslam and Zulfiqar, who had allegedly gang-raped the minor girl after luring her to his place, as ‘Tantrik’.

Other media outlets not far behind

Well, other media outlets are not far behind. Last year, several media organisations attributed the death of a 10-year-old boy because of the rituals performed by a Muslim healer to a ‘Tantrik’. While the death of the child occurred due to a Muslim healer, the PTI report gave it an obvious Hindu slant in the headline by referring to him as a ‘Tantrik’.

In fact, India Today went a step further and even used a rather ‘Hindu looking’ featured image for their story that appeared as if the ritual itself was Hindu.

In fact, Vernacular media also follows the same anti-Hindu propaganda. Hindi-daily Dainik Jagran, too had decided to call an accused in a harassment case as ‘Tantrik’ Sufi baba in the headline. However, the perpetrator was identified as Aftab. In their article, Hindi News18 had carried the headline, ‘Tantrik arrested for committing misdemeanour with a minor, under the pretext of chasing away ghosts”. The ‘Tantrik’ was later identified as Hafiz Sajid.

Taliban takes control of border crossing with Pakistan near Kandahar, the group already seized Afghan crossings with Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

Taliban terrorists on Wednesday claimed that they have successfully gained control over an important trade route linking Pakistan with southern Afghanistan. The Afghan forces had allegedly surrendered the critical transit point in Kandahar province situated next to the Durand Line border with Pakistan, the Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing.

While no Afghan official has commented over the development, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson in a statement said, “The Mujahideen have captured an important border town called Wesh in Kandahar.”

“With this, the important road between (Spin) Boldak and Chaman and Kandahar customs have come under Mujahideen control,” he added. Pakistani security forces have confirmed the Taliban had taken control of the crossing. They said that the Taliban has taken control of the Afghan side of the Chaman-Spin Boldak border crossing. The Taliban fighters raised their own flag and removed the Afghan flag at the border crossing.

The Chaman border crossing is one of the major international border crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and it is the second most important crossing between the two nations. The crossing links Kandahar with Pakistani ports, and around 900 trucks cross the border through the crossing every day.

After Talibani forces took over the border crossing, Pakistan closed it for the time. Pakistani authorities have also deployed a large number of border forces on its side of the crossing. The authorities in Pakistan said that they are in contact with the local leadership of the Taliban on resuming trade and movement of people through the crossings under the control of the group.

The Taliban has been strategically securing all the border check posts to fill their coffers with customs revenue barring its transfer to the Afghan government exchequer.

Shafiqullah Attai, the chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment in the capital city of Kabul, informed that the Taliban in recent weeks has taken control of Islam Qala and Turghundi in Herat province, ShirKhan Bandar in Kunduz and Abu Naser Farahi border port in Farah province.

Taliban seizes crossing point with Iran

As per a Firstpost report, the Taliban last week had seized yet another key Afghan border crossing with Iran. Taliban took control of the Islam Qala crossing point in western Herat province. As per Iranian media reports, the Afghan soldiers in the border area of Islam Qala- a major transit route between Afghanistan and Iran, fled from their positions, crossing into Iran for refuge.

It was the third border crossing the insurgents have taken in the past week, after previously seizing crossings with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and several hundred from Afghan forces fleeing across the border into Tajikistan.

Reportedly, the consulates of Turkey and Russia have reportedly closed the capital of northern Balkh province Mazar-e-Sharif.

The Taliban now has gained control of roughly a third of all 421 districts and district centers in Afghanistan. 

Afghan VP accuses Pakistan of guiding Taliban terrorists

Afghanistan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has accused the special unit of the Pakistani army of guiding the Taliban terrorists. As per reports, in a Facebook post, Saleh said that the Taliban is divided into three sections, one of which is guided by Pakistan’s special anti-terrorist cells.

He further accused Pakistan of openly supporting the Taliban. Salah, on Tuesday, took to Twitter to share a video clip by Pakistani lawmaker Mohsin Dawar where he was calling out his own country’s support to the Taliban.

Dawar was speaking in Pakistan’s National Assembly on Monday when he said that the Taliban are exported to Afghanistan from Pakistan. “Dead bodies of Taliban fighters are brought back to Pakistan for burial. Taliban continue being supported openly,” he said.

China using US’s exit to expand 

We reported earlier this month the plausibility of China using the void created by US troops to further its expansion and initiatives. 

The Chinese authorities are reportedly in talks with officials in Kabul to persuade them to officially join the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to the Daily Beast, the Communist regime in China is planning to build a motorway connecting Kabul and Peshawar. If the project is to materialize, it will mark Afghanistan’s official joining of $62 billion CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).

China has been trying to include Afghanistan in BRI for the past 5 years but has failed due to US interference. Given that the US forces are heading back home, it has provided a fertile ground for the Chinese government to take the deal to fruition.

Delhi’s Kejriwal govt gives different figures in two RTIs about ad expenditure, raises question over authenticity

RTI activist Vivek Pandey shared information about two Right To Information (RTI) applications that he had submitted to get information about the money the Kejriwal government has spent on advertising in all formats. Interestingly, the figures shared by the Accounts Branch in reply to the first RTI that was filed in November 2020 and in reply to the second RTI do not match. Also, in the second RTI, the Delhi government did not share the complete information that was asked for.

What was asked in the RTI?

Vivek Pandey asked three questions to the Delhi government. In the first question, Pandey requested the government to provide information on the money spent by the Delhi government for advertisement in print media between January 2020 to June 2021. In the second question, he asked the government to provide information for the money spent on electronic media for the same period. In the third question, he asked to provide the information on the money spent on outdoor advertisement for the same period.

In its reply, the accounts department of the Delhi government did not provide the breakdown of the amount spent on advertisement based on the ad format. It said, “The Accounts Branch does not maintain the records through various medium (Television, newspapers, hoarding, radio, campaign and department-wise & others) separately.” The department only provided the accumulated data month-wise.

Accounts department claimed they do not keep breakdown information of the modes of advertisement. Source: Vivek Pandey

Delhi govt spent over 17 crores in June 2021 on advertisements

RTI reply has revealed that the Delhi government has spent Rs.24.84 crore so far in the financial year 2021-22 on advertisements. Notably, the accounts department did not share a breakdown of the expenditures in print, electronic and other formats claiming that they do not keep such records. However, they did share a monthly breakdown according to which the govt. had spent Rs. 3.42 crores in April 2021, 4.32 crores in May 2021 and 17.1 crores in June 2021.

It has to be noted that Aam Aadmi Party has started campaigning for Assembly elections in different states across the country, including Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Punjab. Recently, it was reported that the Delhi government has been spending public money to boost its image in other states. Reportedly, on July 9, the Delhi government ran a full-page advertisement not just in several national dailies but also in regional newspapers in Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, etc., informing about the launch of a new scheme, “Mukhyamantri Covid-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojana”. The sudden increase in ad expenditure may be related to these ads in other states.

The difference in the amount in two RTIs

Pandey has submitted two applications to get information on the ad expenditure by the Delhi government in recent times. The first application was submitted in November 2020, and the second was submitted in June 2021. Notably, when the Delhi government replied to the first application, it said that they spent Rs.15.32 crores on advertisements in January 2020. However, in reply to the second application in June 2021, the amount was changed to Rs.72.60 crores. While talking to OpIndia, Pandey said that such differences in figures create doubts over the government’s intentions. “How can I be sure if the rest of the replies that I got from the government are correct? One can only hope this was a human error.”

Delhi government provided two different figures for January 2020 in two RTIs. Source: Vivek Pandey

It is unclear if the government gave wrong figures in the first reply or the second. It also raises the question if the Delhi government has provided the correct information about the other months. It will be interesting to see if someone else has requested for the same information and the data provided by the Delhi government match or not.

Notably, there is a provision of penalty clause under section 20(1) of RTI Act 2005 which provides imposition of penalty of Rs.250 for each day till the information is furnished subject to a maximum of Rs.25000 if the information given is incorrect, incomplete or misleading.

The missing information from the RTIs

The Delhi government, in reply to the second RTI, did not provide month-wise breakdown information on the money spent by them from April 2020 to March 2021. However, as Pandey had submitted two applications, there was partial information available from the first RTI. After some calculations, it is visible that the government had spent 99.69 crores between April 2020 to October 2020. Another RTI that had the information about the first three months of 2021 revealed that the Delhi government had spent 150.33 crores on advertisements in the first three months of 2021. That makes a total of 250.02 crores. As of now, there is no information available on how much money the Delhi government spent on ads in November 2020 and December 2020.

Since the Aam Aadmi Party government has taken over Delhi, they have spent an enormous amount on advertisements. They used the public money on ads not only in Delhi but in other states as well.

Baji Prabhu Deshpande: The Maratha warrior who sacrificed his life for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Today, 14 July 2021, marks the 361st punyathiti(death anniversary) of Baji Prabhu Deshpande, one of the most gallant and courageous Maratha warriors of all times, who laid down his life in the service of his king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. 

The legend of Baji Prabhu Deshpande is associated with a crucial rearguard battle, known as the ‘Battle of Pavankhind’ that enabled Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s escape from the Panhala fort. However, in helping his king escape, Deshpande made the supreme sacrifice and attained martyrdom. 

The battle of Pawankhind

Battle of Pavankhind was a rearguard pitched battle that took place on 13 July 1660 at a mountain pass in close proximity to the fort of Vishalgadh, near the modern day Kolhapur. It was fought between Marathas and Adilshahi Sultanate. The Marathas were led by fearsome Baji Prabhu Deshpande while the forces of Adilshahi Sultanate were spearheaded by Masood. 

Upbeat by the defeat of Afzal Khan and the subsequent rout of the Bijapuri army at Pratapgad, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj continued marching deep into the Bijapuri territory with his troops. A few days later, they captured the strategically located Panhala fort, near the city of Kolhapur. In the mean time, another platoon of Maratha forces, under the leadership of Netaji Palkar, proceeded towards Bijapur. 

However, Bijapur fiercely pushed back the advancing Maratha forces, throwing spanners in the work for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and causing grave damages in the Maratha ranks. Having lost some of his commanders and men to the attack, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his remaining forces were forced to retreat to the Panhala fort. 

The Bijapuri forces were led by Siddhi Johar, an Abyssinian general. When he discovered the location where Shivaji and his men had taken retreat, he laid siege to the Panhala fort. Netaji Palkar made repeated attempts to break the siege from outside but his efforts went in vain.

The audacious plan to help Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj break the siege

Realising that they will have to fend for themselves and an external help is unlikely for the foreseeable future, a very audacious and high-risk plan was hatched and set into motion. According to the plan, Shivaji, Baji Prabhu Deshpande, along with a select band of troops would make an attempt to escape the siege in the dead of the night and make for Vishalgad. 

The critical part of the plan entailed deceiving the Bijapuri forces so that they don’t give a chase to Shivaji after he had broken the siege. For this, Shiva Nhavi, one of the Maratha troopers, who had uncanny resemblance to Shivaji volunteered to dress himself like the king and let himself be captured. 

On the night of Guru Pournima, a contingent of 600 select men, led by Maratha commander Baji Prabhu and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, broke through the siege. As expected, they were hotly pursued by the Bijapuri forces. As per plan, Shiva Nhavi allowed himself to be captured and taken back to the Bijapuri camp. This charade allowed the fleeing Maratha forces some time to escape.

However, as soon as the Bijapuri forces realised they have gotten a lookalike of Shivaji and not the real Chhatrapati, they again went on chasing the Maratha forces, led by Siddhi Masood, the son-in-law of Siddhi Johar. The Marathas made their final stand at Ghodkind(Horse’s Pass). Shivaji and half of the 600 Maratha forces proceeded towards Vishalgadh, while Baji Prabhu, his brother Phulaji and the remaining band of men stood their ground to block the advancing Bijapuri army. 

Baji Prabhu Deshpande makes supreme sacrifice so that his king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj lives on

The legends and folklores describe the breathtaking valour and courage displayed by Maratha forces during the rearguard battle. Baji Prabhu and his men fought valiantly against the numerically superior Bijapuri army and blocked them for over 18 hours at Ghodkind.

The odds were stacked against the Maratha forces. Baji and his men were vastly outnumbered, almost 1:100 ratio by the hysterical Bijapuri army baying for their blood. With the single-minded zeal of capturing Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Bijapur army was relentless in their attack against Baji’s men. But Baji Prabhu stood as a shield, fending off the murderous assault of the enemy troops. Baji wielded very heavy swords in each hand and slashed them with abandon at the Bijapur soldiers, using his body as a wall to prevent the enemy soldiers from breaching the blockade.

And he paid a heavy price for this otherworldly daredevilry. According to various accounts, Baji Prabhu was grievously injured, but he summoned his iron will and showed indomitable fighting spirit, continuously combating with the enemy soldiers until Shivaji’s safe journey to Vishalgadh was signalled by firing of three canon volleys. However, Prabhu lost his life in the famous battle. 

It is worth mentioning that Shivaji’s journey to Vishalgad with 300 men was no cakewalk. The fort was already under siege by Bijapur sardars named Suryarao Surve and Jaswantrao Dalvi. Shivaji Maharaj, with his 300 men had to defeat them to reach the fort.

Baji Prabhu Deshpande has a special place in Maratha history. He sacrificed his life so that his king reaches safety and continues his campaign against the marauding Islamic forces that had captured much of central India. Deshpande, with his pure grit and determination, held on against the Bijapuri forces, to provide enough time to reach the fort after escaping from enemy siege at Panhala fort. 

Rape charges against Waseem Rizvi, who wanted ‘hateful verses’ from Quran removed, says it’s attempt to defame him

The Lucknow District Court has released an order to probe the rape charges against Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board member and former chairman, Waseem Rizvi.

The court accepting the complaint letter filed on June 30, has ordered Saadatganj police to register a case and submit a report within 3 days.

Confirming the same, Saadatganj police station in-charge Brijesh Kumar Yadav said that while they have received the information, they are awaiting the order copy. He assured that necessary action will be taken once they receive the copy. 

The charges against Rizvi have been levied by his former driver’s wife. The complainant claimed that Rizvi used to send him for work and abuse his wife sexually in his absence. 

The woman in June had visited the Saadatganj police station along with a bunch of lawyers to register a case against Rizvi. 

Woman claims Rizvi threatened her with obscene photos

Narrating her ordeal, the woman alleged that Rizvi used to sexually exploit her by sending her husband out for work. On protesting, Rizvi used to threaten to make her obscene photos and videos viral.

Unable to bear this further, the woman said she informed her husband about Rizvi’s misdeeds. However, she further accused Rizvi of beating her husband when he tried to talk to him.

Rizvi says conspiracy to defame him

Meanwhile, Rizvi has said that his driver Salman Haidar who began spying on him had connived with his rivals and was passing on his information to them. 

Speaking to OpIndia, Rizvi said that he fired his driver after he found him leaking details about the various place he would visit. “After I fired him, he started working elsewhere. Ten days later, his wife went to police station and filed this complaint. Police carried out initial investigation and and found nothing and hence did not file an FIR. Later, they approached court,” he said. He added that ever since he has filed the case to remove the hateful verses from Quran, he has been subjected to character assassination and vilification and this is just one more step.

Rizvi’s plea to delete 26 verses from Quran

Rizvi has been landing in trouble ever since he filed a plea to delete 26 verses from Quran which seemed to be problematic. 

Amir-ul-Hassan Jafari, a Shia lawyer and ‘activist’, had announced Rs 11 lakh bounty for whoever beheads ex-UP Shia Board Chief Waseem Rizvi for his petition. 

On the day he filed the petition Hasnain Jaffrey Dumpy, the national president of the Islamic organisation – Shiane-Haider-e-Karrar Welfare Association, announced that he would give Rs 20,000 to anyone who brings Rizvi’s head.

An undated video emerged from Kashmir, where a group of people were demanding a death sentence for Rizvi.

In Lucknow during Tahaffuz-e-Quran (a rally called to save Quran), Kalbe Sibtain Noori, son of senior cleric Maulana Kable Sadiq said that Rizvi’s own family called him a kafir, and he should not be buried in a Muslim cemetery.

As per some reports, some youth in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, demolished the grave Rizvi had reserved for himself in Talkatora Imambara. In Banihal, Jammu and Kashmir, a group of Sunni Muslims burnt an effigy of Wasim Rizvi and demanded a death sentence for him.

Rizvi in his petition had claimed that the 26 verses cited by him for deletion promoted violence, thereby hurting religious sentiments.

Pakistan fans angry on their cricket team over England series loss, ask them to play with Zimbabwe, Uganda or Hong Kong

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Cricket team, which has gone on a luxury trip to England, faced a massive humiliation after a third-tier team of England swept them off cleanly in a three-match ODIs.

For the Pakistan team, this defeat was in fact, more painful than usual as England had not even fielded its regular squad to this series owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. A few days before their ODI series against Pakistan began, the England squad was affected by a covid outbreak.

Nine out of the 18-man squad were found to have been infected with the deadly coronavirus. As a result, the England and Wales Cricket Board was forced to name an entirely different squad comprising of mostly uncapped junior players for the three-match series with Ben Stokes as captain. With Pakistan fielding their full-strength side, initially, it was thought that Pakistan would sail over the third-tier English team.

However, to everyone surprise, England’s C team registered a crushing victory over the Pakistani team by defeating them in all the three ODIs played. Pakistan lost the first match of the series by nine wickets after being bundled for 141. In the second match, while chasing 248, the Pakistani Cricket Team collapsed for 195, with England’s C team taking an unassailable lead in the series. Finally, on Tuesday, Pakistan lost to England’s C team even after scoring 331 runs on a flat wicket at Edgbaston.

As Pakistanis lost another overseas series against a mediocre English side, several Pakistanis stormed the social media platforms demanding Pakistan Cricket Board to invite the Zimbabwe team, Pakistan’s usual rivals, for a cricket series.

Pakistan fans were seen saying that they would not have felt so bad had their team lost to England’s regular team. They said that it was as if the Pakistani squad was sleeping and went to to matches completely unprepared.

Several Pakistani cricket fans criticised PCB for sending an incompetent team to play against England and advised them that they should limit organising cricket series against ‘similar standard’ teams such as Zimbabwe, Nepal and Papua New Guinea, against whom Pakistani cricketers have often played decent cricket.

Another Pakistani cricket fan took a step ahead to say that looking at the quality of cricket that is being played by Pakistanis currently, even Zimbabwe would be ashamed to play against them. Hence, PCB should rather organise cricket tournaments against similar standard teams such as Bermuda, Namibia, Uganda, UAE, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong, Netherlands and Scotland.

Well, as mentioned by a social media user, if Pakistan continues to play such pathetic standards of cricket, no self-respecting team would have any incentive to play against them, which leaves Pakistan to play the sport with none other than its eternal friend and ally – China.

Pakistan: Provincial govt withdraws cases against 350 accused in the Krishna temple demolition case claiming Hindus have ‘pardoned’ them

Nearly seven months after Islamists in Pakistan had razed down the Krishna Dwara temple in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Karak district, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to withdraw cases against 350 people accused of burning down the Hindu temple.

According to PTI reports, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has claimed that the cases were withdrawn after the Hindu community had ‘pardoned’ the mob that had demolished the century-old temple last year.

The Krishna Dwara temple, situated in Karak’s Teri union council, had come under attack by hundreds of residents who set fire to the building and then razed it down with hammers and crude weapons on December 30 last year. Nearly 109 people involved in the attack were arrested while 92 police officials, including the superintendent of police and deputy superintendent of police who were on duty at the time, were suspended.

In March this year, there were reports that the minority Hindu minority community in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in Pakistan had reportedly decided to forgive the hundreds of radical Islamists who had razed down the Krishna temple. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had claimed that the issue was resolved after the members of the Hindu community held a meeting with some Muslim clerics and local leaders, whether they had reached an out-of-court settlement to ‘pardon’ the mob accused of vandalising the temple revered by the Hindus in Pakistan.

In return, the Muslim clerics reportedly promised to protect the constitutional rights of the Hindu community and provide full protection from any such untoward incident in the future. Reportedly, the accused had also tendered an ‘apology’ to the Hindus over the attack on the temple.

Following the reconciliation meeting on March 13, both sides had agreed to send a letter to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, requesting it to release all the accused arrested so far in the case. However, in continuing the same, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has now decided to withdraw cases against more than 350 accused in the case.

Sources at Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said to PTI that after the Hindu community in the ‘jirga’ (traditional assembly of elders) resolved all the issues that created unrest between the local Muslim and Hindu communities and decided to pardon the accused, the interior department took into notice and sent a letter to the Anti-Terrorist Court. Based on the letter, they have withdrawn the cases against the accused, it said.

Hindu groups says they were not taken into consideration

Meanwhile, Hindus in Pakistan are not so happy with the decision to withdraw cases as they said the construction of the temple is being delayed despite assurances by the government. Haroon Sarab Diyal, a religious scholar Hinduism-Minority and Human Rights Activist of the province, said they were not against peace and interfaith harmony, but the government withdrawing cases is against the jirga culture of the soil.

Expressing disappointment over the withdrawal of the cases, Diyal said that the local Hindu community has not been taken into confidence except Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Member of the National Assembly and Chairman of the Pakistan Hindu Council Dr Ramesh K Vankwani.

Islamists razed down Hindu temple in Pakistan

In what transpired on December 30, 2020, several Islamists had attacked and burned down the Krishna Dwara temple, situated in Karak’s Teri union council. The fanatics, led by a local cleric and supporters of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party (Fazal ur Rehman group), set fire to the building, then razed it down with hammers and crude weapons.

The video, which went viral on social media, showed how the miscreants surrounded and vandalised the temple for hours. Notably, the temple was demolished allegedly in the presence of district administration officials.

Reportedly, the temple was built after Guru Shri Paramhans Dayal was laid to rest at the site in July 1919. However, the Muslim residents of the area had closed the temple after the Partition in 1947. In 2015, the Krishna Dwara temple was restored on the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, only to be razed down again by radical Islamists.

The unfortunate act against the Hindu minority community was widely condemned by human rights activists based in Pakistan and other parts of the world. India had also strongly protested the wanton and malicious destruction of the Hindu temple by several Islamic fanatics. Concerns were conveyed to Pakistan through diplomatic channels.

India had also called out the Pakistan government at the United Nations, saying the country’s enforcement agencies stood as “mute spectators” when a historic Hindu temple was attacked

Indian Army rubbishes Business Standard report claiming fresh clash between Indian and Chinese troops in Eastern Ladakh as baseless

The Indian Army on Wednesday released a statement rubbishing a report published in the Business Standard, which said that the Indian forces and China’s PLA troopers had once again engaged in skirmishes in Eastern Ladakh. 

Slamming the report titled “China India Clash Again with PLA back in Eastern Ladakh” as inaccurate and misleading, the Indian Army said there have been no clashes between the two sides in Galwan or any other area. It further said that the intention of the reporter is malafide and not based on any truth.

“The article is riddled with inaccuracies and misinformation. It is reiterated that the news report mentioning that agreements with China have collapsed, is false and baseless,” the statement said. 

There has been no attempt from either side to occupy the areas from where the dis-engagement had been undertaken in February this year, the Indian Army statement added. 

“Both sides have continued with negotiations to resolve the balance issues, and regular patrolling in respective areas continues. The situation on ground continues to remain tranquil. PLA activities, including turnover of troops continue to be monitored by the Indian Army,” the statement said. 

The Indian Army said the article published is based on uncorroborated facts and is strongly rebutted. 

Business Standard article says China-India clashed yet again in Eastern Ladakh

Earlier today, the Business Standard published an article authored by Ajai Shukla, in which he claimed the Chinese troops and the Indian forces have clashed yet again in Eastern Ladakh. 

Quoting a source in the sector, Shukla said there has been at least one clash between the two sides. The article went on to allege that the location of the altercation between the two forces was allegedly the same flashpoint in Galwan where the clashes took place last June. 

The article also cites military sources to claim China has deployed at least one, and probably two, regiments of S-400 air defence missiles, which would drastically erode India’s superiority in air power. 

Rahul Gandhi lends credence to the uncorroborated article about renewed clashes between India and China

The article, which was thoroughly rubbished by the Indian Army, was also shared by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. In a tweet, Gandhi shared the picture of the article published in Business Standard and said Government of India’s foreign and defence policy has weakened the country. 

Even after the Indian Army sternly refuted the claims made in the article, Gandhi nevertheless went on to support the unfounded assertions made in the article.

While this is not the first time that Rahul Gandhi has jumped the gun and placed his political interests before the country’s national security. Gandhi has been trotting out baseless allegations in the Rafale deal, in a bid to revive his flagging political fortunes, even though the Supreme Court ordered that there has been no wrongdoing in the agreement.

Pakistan: 10 including 4 Chinese nationals die in blast on a bus

At least 10 people have lost their lives and 39 injured after a bus carrying staff members working on Dasu Dam blew itself. Of the four dead, 4 are Chinese nationals.

As per Pakistani media, the blast occurred at around 7:30 AM on a bus carrying staffers from Barseen camp to the plant site. Foreign engineers, Frontier Corps personnel and local labourers were aboard the bus when the blast occurred. As of now, the cause of the blast cannot be ascertained.

The injured were being shifted to Upper Kohistan District Headquarter Hospital.

Dasu Dam is hydroelectric gravity dam under construction at Kohistan District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan. China’s Gezhouba Group Company Limited has undertaken main civil works.

Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut calls Congress leader Nana Patole ‘Sanjeevani’ after Sharad Pawar called him a ‘small leader’

Shiv Sena leader and MP Sanjay Raut has been working round the clock acting as a plaster to fill the widening gap in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. Raut in the editorial published in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana, heaped praises for Maharashtra Congress Chief Nana Patole after NCP supremo Sharad Pawar called him a “small leader.”

Nana Patole’s controversial statement

It all started with Nana Patole’s controversial statement where he claimed that he was put under surveillance by the chief minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray and deputy CM Ajit Pawar, and that his movements and chats were being closely watched.

Patole had made the statement at a party meeting on Saturday. The clip was made viral on social media, thereby attracting strong reactions from Congress’ allies NCP and Shiv Sena and even from within the party.

Not just this, but as per reports Patole also said that Pune was being neglected as all funds are being diverted to Ajit Pawar’s constituency Baramati. He further said that both NCP and Sena backstab Congress when it comes to allocating development funds for the bodies controlled by it.

This naturally raked up a controversy in the MVA with Patole now claiming that he in his speech had attacked the BJP. Patole said that his statement has been misconstrued and that he will issue a clarification once he is back in Mumbai.

Pawar calls Patole a “small leader”

Irked by Patole’s allegations, NCP leader Sharad Pawar called Patole “a small leader whose comments do not warrant a response,” when asked to comment on the controversy.

This is not the first time that Patole misfired statements creating a rift in the coalition.

Sanjay Raut does damage control

Coming out in Patole’s defence, Raut in his editorial piece in Saamana started off by saying that at times politicians do make comments that are used for creating farce controversy. Raut blamed the Bhartiya Janta Party which is in the opposition in Maharashtra for creating the ‘cracks in MVA’ narrative.

Praising Patole for reviving Congress in Maharashtra, Raut called him a ‘Sanjeevani.’ 

“He took up the responsibility of giving a boost to the Maharashtra Congress and ensure that Congress comes to power on its own. That’s why I must commend his courage. Nana Patole is going to revitalize Congress and take it forward because he has a magic herb or knowledge. Has he given information about this magic herb to either Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi?” penned Raut in his editorial taking a jibe at the Congress leadership. 

He also said that Pawar’s sarcastic take on Patole shows nothing but how even a small leader can be efficient in reviving a national political party like Congress. He also credited Patole for resurrecting Congress in Maharashtra and once again expressed concerns over Congress’s back-to-back failures in state assembly elections. 

After positioning Patole as a ‘tall leader’, Raut slyly also sided Pawar. “Sharad Pawar’s statement that we run the government together and not the parties is correct. The fate of the Maharashtra government does not depend on what Nana says. This government is running on the desire of Uddhav Thackeray, Sharad Pawar and Sonia Gandhi.” he added. 

Congress leaders rush to meet Sharad Pawar

Congress leaders like HK Patil, Ashok Chavan and Balasaheb Thorat rushed to meet Pawar at his residence. As per reports, Patole was deliberately kept away from the meeting. While Congress claimed it to be a courtesy meeting, reports allege that it was to address the fresh controversy.

Patole and other Congress leaders claim ‘the attack was on BJP’

Patole alleged that he was misquoted, and only a selective portion of his video was made viral in a conspiracy to defame the party. 

Maharashtra in-charge HK Patil in an attempt to water down the situation also claimed, “A wrong statement leads to disturbance within the ruling alliance, but Patole’s statement was mispresented in the media. He was speaking about the Central government and he himself has clarified it.”

Meanwhile, the Congress leadership has taken cognizance of Patole’s repeated controversial statements, thereby causing irreparable damage to the reputation of the MVA.

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