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INDIA DESERVES A POSITION IN SECURITY COUNCIL: UNGA PRESIDENT-ELECT

UN General Assembly President-elect Abdulla Shahid, in an exclusive interview with iTV Network, talks about Covid-19, terrorism, UNSC reforms, among others.

Ashish Singh

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When Abdulla Shahid became the President-elect of the 76th UN General Assembly in June this year, he called his tenure the “Presidency of Hope”. In an exclusive conversation with iTV Network, Shahid talked about his priorities and more. Excerpts:

Q: Sir, let us begin with the tagline. What is the meaning and intention behind the “Presidency of Hope”? Anything specific that you want to convey?

A: I came promising a presidency of hope taking into account the challenging times that we have gone through—the pain, the loss, and the devastation due to the pandemic. I felt that it was time that we give hope to the world. In record time, the world came up with a vaccine and it is fair to term it a miraculous vaccine because it is impossible to come out with a Covid vaccine in such record time. The entire 193 countries should come together and celebrate this. We need to make sure that we do not go into a depressive mode. Therefore, I have promised a Presidency of Hope.

Q: You have said that vaccines are the biggest hope. At the same time, we are witnessing vaccine nationalism. How do you see this being addressed?

A: Addressing the Covid-19 pandemic is a serious issue. Now that the vaccine is there, we need to ensure that it is accessible. We need to make sure that vaccine nationalism has no place in this world. My five rays of hope that the presidency is going to be built on will cover the major issues that confront the world today. One, vaccines around, we need to ensure that the world recovers fast from Covid-19. Two, the world is rebuilt sustainably; three, we need to respond to the needs of the planet; four, we need to respect the rights of all; and finally, we need to rebuild the United Nations. These are the five rays of hope on which I will be building my presidency on.

Q: India supported your candidature from Day 1. How do you see India’s role as far as your election as the 76th UNGA President is concerned?

A: You’d recall my contender was from Afghanistan. We are both from the same region, the SAARC region. So, it was a difficult decision for India. However, India came as you rightly said, very early on and backed the Maldives’ candidacy. That sent a very clear signal from the SAARC region that the preferred candidate is from Maldives, which made it easier for many other countries to make the decision. I was able to get a large majority from not only SAARC countries but also from ASEAN and also from different regions. Almost three-quarters of the voting members voted for me during the elections. That is a very large mandate I was able to get. I think the decision early on assisted many countries to make the choice.

Q: Sir, there has been a consistent pitch from India’s side on the UNSC reform. How do you see it?

A: The Maldives’ position on the Security Council reform is very clear. The Maldives was among the first 10 countries way back in the 1970s that proposed the Security Council reform and we have made it very clear that India should be given a position in the UN Security Council.

Q: Since you are in India, there are three topics of interest in the international affairs domain that have been making the headlines. I will come to these one by one. Let’s first start with the South China Sea issue. Do you see the UNGA playing a role as far as these international issues are concerned?

A: According to the UN Charter, the maintenance of peace and security is a direct mandate of the UN Security Council. So, the General Assembly does not have a direct role in it. But the promotion of direct dialogue, promotion of peace, promotion of mutual resolution of issues is something that we all should encourage.

Q: The other topic is Afghanistan. How do you see the Afghanistan issue being taken forward at the international level? Do you see any role being played by the UNGA?

A: The maintenance of international peace and security is the mandate of the Security Council. However, I wish Afghanistan all the best. I am confident that the government and the people desire democracy, peace and progress and I have confidence in the capacity of the government to work with the international community in order to maintain the progress that they have achieved.

Q: Another issue that has made a lot of noise is the Pegasus ‘snooping’ saga.

A: Since I have arrived here, I have been told about it but I am not very much aware of it. The security and privacy of individuals is something that has been continuously compromised. The Internet and digital connectivity that we have is being abused by so many and this is something that needs to be addressed. This is a very serious issue.

Q: I am sure you would agree that one of the big challenges for you would be terrorism. If we look at the region, Pakistan has been on the Grey List for the past three years. How do you see this being tackled under your presidency?

A: Terrorism is a scourge that has no religion, no borders. It is pure evil and the number of innocent lives that it has taken is a clear testimony of it. Not only in this region but in every part of the world, terrorism has been so heartless in killing innocent people. The United Nations has been tasked with coming up with a definition of terrorism in order to get the commission on terrorism finalised. I believe that work has to proceed at a great pace so that a clear message is put through that the international committee is against terrorism. The political will needs to come out so that terrorists and people who fund them will not have any place in the community of nations.

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Telangana CM KCR slams BJP; advises people not to fall prey to BJP’s policies

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KCR

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Tuesday slammed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and advises people not to fall prey to BJP’s policies.

Earlier on Tuesday KCR inaugurated the District Collectorate office in Vikarabad.

“There is a need to protect Telangana so that the foxes do not come and eat it again. We need to see if it does not go back to the old system. We cannot let the conditions deteriorate again, and do not fall prey to their political interests. I fought for 14 years during the agitation. I went to the brink of death and achieved this state. We are implementing many welfare schemes. All these schemes should continue. Industries, IT, and agriculture should be advanced,” KCR said.

Speaking on the occasion KCR said, “Those at the Centre say that what we give are freebies. Some people with flags blocked my bus. What did they get done? Has BJP done any good for 8 years? People should discuss it. If we do not have a politically conscious society, we will be robbed. We were crushed in the hands of the united rulers. Farmers ate curd rice and died after consuming pesticides back then. We have to be vigilant and see those days do not come again.”

Meanwhile, attacking BJP KCR said no one has benefited from the central government.

“If you are fooled by the BJP flag, they will put meters for electricity in the fields and fill the bellies of big people. Should not the electricity in fields be given for free? Gas and petrol prices have increased. Banks are being robbed. Lakhs of crores of rupees have been looted,” KCR alleged.

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Rohingyas to get flats in Delhi: Hardeep Singh Puri promises basic amenities

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Hardeep Singh Puri

In Delhi’s Bakkarwala neighbourhood, apartments and police protection would be made available to Rohingya refugees. The minister of home affairs held a high-level meeting where the decision was made. Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri praised the choice and predicted that those who made a profession of  “spreading canards on India’s refugee policy deliberately linking it to CAA will be disappointed.”

The minister stated, “India has always welcomed those who have sought refuge in the country. In a landmark decision all Rohingya Refugees will be shifted to EWS flats in Bakkarwala area of Delhi. They will be provided basic amenities, UNHCR IDs & round-the-clock Delhi Police protection.”

Taking to Twitter he said, “India respects & follows @UN Refugee Convention 1951 & provides refuge to all, regardless of their race, religion or creed.”

All 1,100 Rohingyas would reportedly be housed in a total of 250 units that are part of the EWS (Economically Weaker Section). They are currently living in the Madanpur Khadar camp.

The social welfare department of the Delhi government has been ordered to ensure that basic amenities like a fan, three times meals, a landline phone, television, and recreational facilities, among others, are provided while the Delhi Police has been asked to provide security, according to the report. According to the report, the Delhi government previously used these apartments for the Covid camp.

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Supreme Court hearing for Monday on freebies promises by political parties during elections

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court adjourned for Monday on the hearing of a plea against distributing freebies from public funds.

The apex court asked the parties to file their suggestions by Saturday on spending the public money in the right way.

Earlier on 10 August, the top court distributing and promising freebies by political parties is a “serious issue”. The amount should be spent on infrastructure etc.

A bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Krishna Murari had told the parties, “Economy losing money and welfare of people, both have to be balanced. That is why this debate and there must be someone who can put their vision and thoughts. Please submit something.”

Meanwhile, Supreme Court is strict on the tendency of political parties to announce free schemes in elections. In the last hearing, the central government had presented its stand to the Supreme Court.

Moreover, The Supreme Court is contemplating setting up an expert committee to probe the matter. The Supreme Court had said that the expert committee should also have representatives from other parties including Finance Commission, NITI Aayog, Reserve Bank, Law Commission, and political parties.

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Eshwarappa slams Congress, says “supports anti-nationals”

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Eshwarappa

On Wednesday, KS Eshwarappa, a former minister for the state of Karnataka and current member of the BJP, directly attacked the Congress, claiming that the party supports anti-nationals not just in certain regions but throughout the entire nation. In the midst of racial unrest in Shivamogga, the BJP leader declared, “I want to attack directly.” Both the PFI and the SDPI are being supported by the Congress.

Eshwarappa stated, “The man who removed Savarkar’s portrait is an SDPI employee whose wife is a Congress councillor.”

Eshwarappa warned Muslims in India on Tuesday, saying it was their responsibility to participate in Hindu holidays. According to the previous minister, Hindus would manage Muslims’ young if Muslims failed to do so.

“The government is making all attempts to maintain peace. I’m not saying all Hindus and Muslims are involved in such things. Hindu society is strong; it is not weak. If Hindu society really stands up, Muslim goondas will not survive, but Hindus don’t want to take the law into their own hands and want the government to take action,” Eshwarappa said on Tuesday.

On August 15, tension rose in Shivamogga when fights broke out near Amir Ahmad Circle between two groups over a picture of Savarkar. The opposing side desired to mount a picture of Tipu Sultan. Prem Singh, a young man, was stabbed during the tense situation. The atmosphere was still tense on Tuesday as Mohammed Zabiullah, a suspect in Prem Singh’s stabbing, was shot  by police after they claimed he had attacked them.

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‘Shameful that atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits continue today’, says Anupam Kher

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Anupam Kher

Veteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher on Tuesday condemned the killing of a Kashmiri Pandit by a terrorist in the Kashmir Valley.

“Shameful that atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits continue today. They’re killing even their own people. They are killing everyone who stands with India. This has been happening for the past 30 years. The more you condemn it, the less it’s. We’ll have to change the mindset,” Kher said.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Kashmiri Pandit was shot dead at an apple orchard in Jammu and Kashmir by terrorists. In the Chotipara area, the incident took place.

Meanwhile, the deceased have been identified as Sunil Kumar Bhar and his brother Pintu who sustained injuries.

The areas have been cordoned and the injured person has been shifted to the hospital.

Moreover in June 2022, a bank manager named Vijay Kumar has shot dead and on 31 May a female Hindu teacher, Rajni Bala was shot dead by terrorists in the Kulgam district.

However, Anupam Kher a Kashmiri Pandit starred in this year’s hit movie ‘The Kashmir Files’. The movie showed the life of Kashmiri Pandits during the 1990 Kashmir insurgency.

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Raju Srivastava on ventilator, manager informs about slow recovery

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Raju Srivastava

Comedian Raju Srivastava was hospitalised on August 10 after having a heart attack. Later, Raju had an angioplasty for the same, and he is currently on a ventilator. Raju’s management said in a new media exchange that the actor is gradually getting better.

Raju’s manager, Nayan Soni, stated, “Raju’s condition is slowly getting better. He is responding to the treatment. There is an improvement in his health and he can now move his body parts a bit. He continues to remain in the ICU and on a ventilator. Doctors have informed us that it will take about a week for him to regain consciousness.”

In a message posted on Raju Srivastava’s official Instagram profile last week, his family stated that his status was “stable” and urged people to “ignore any rumour or fake news being propagated.

The statement on social media read, “Dear all, Raju Srivastava Ji’s condition is stable. We are praying for his speedy recovery. The doctors are treating him and are doing their best. Thanks to all the well-wishers for their continued love and support. Please ignore any rumours or fake news being circulated. Please pray for him.”

According to reports, actor Amitabh Bachchan sent Raju an audio message wishing him a swift recovery ” It’s enough Raju. Rise up Raju, and keep teaching us all to laugh.”

The movies Maine Pyar Kiya, Baazigar, Bombay to Goa, and Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya are some of movies featuring Raju. He also made an appearance in Bigg Boss’ third season. He gained notoriety for his superb comic timing after his appearance as a stand-up comedian on the programme The Great Indian Laughter Challenge. He is the Uttar Pradesh Film Development Council’s chairman.

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