India has asked Pakistan to immediately vacate from the Indian territory of Gilgit-Baltistan which the Imran Khan government on Sunday declared as its provisional fifth province.
Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that his government has decided to grant the “provisional-provincial status” to Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1947.
In a statement issued in New Delhi by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said: “The Government of India firmly rejects the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory, under its illegal and forcible occupation.” The Indian government reiterated that the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the area of so-called Gilgit-Baltistan, are an integral part of India by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947.
Srivastava said that Pakistan has “no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied” by it, adding that the move is meant to “camouflage its illegal occupation” of the area but it cannot “hide the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom” of the people for over seven decades. “We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” he added.
Earlier, The Pakistan PM during his visit to Gilgit-Baltistan said that he had decided to give the provisional province status to the region “keeping in mind the UN Security Council’s resolutions”.
Backed by the Pakistani Army, Imran Khan on the occasion did not miss the opportunity to praise the military, which is facing stiff challenge from the political opposition headed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “Pakistan is secure today because of its armed forces. Our army is the main reason why we have not suffered thesame fate as many other Muslim countries,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed the government to conduct elections in the region. The election will be held on 15 November, Imran Khan declared, despite India’s opposition and huge anger in the region.
Pakistan’s move also comes amid huge opposition from its domestic groups, which accuse it of systematically exploiting the region. Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan will overwhelmingly vote against the candidates of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.
Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan move comes more than a year after India ended the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.
Recently, Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Pakistan, had removed Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Pakistan map on its new banknote after India asked it to take “urgent corrective steps” about the “gross misrepresentation”.
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SC seeks Bihar govt’s response in Mohd Shahabuddin’s arms act case
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday sought a detailed response from the Bihar government after hearing a petition filed by jailed former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Mohammad Shahabuddin, challenging his conviction in an arms act case.
“We seek the Bihar government’s reply in the petition filed by the convict,” the single-judge bench of Justice Bhushan said.
The apex court said it would most likely take up the matter for hearing in April second week.
A court in Bihar had convicted Shahabuddin to 10 years of imprisonment for his involvement in an arms act case. Challenging the Bihar court’s order, Shahabuddin then filed an appeal before the Supreme Court and sought appropriate orders.
Shahabuddin’s senior lawyer submitted to the apex court that his client has been in jail for the last 14 years in a murder case. (ANI)
J-K: Terrorists lob grenade towards police vehicle in Kupwara
Kupwara (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], March 5 (ANI): Terrorists on Friday morning hurled a grenade towards the Jammu and Kashmir Police vehicle near the Kupwara bus stand.
However, the grenade did not explode and nobody was injured.
The terrorists targetted the road opening party of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Jammu and Kashmir Police when they were checking the local vehicles.
The joint forces have cordoned off the whole area to nab the terrorists.
Further investigation is underway. (ANI)
SSR case: NCB submits 12,000-page chargesheet, 33 named, 200 statements recorded
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday filed a 12,000-page chargesheet at the Mumbai Sessions Court in connection with actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death and drug case, naming 33 people and containing statements of 200, sources said.
The chargesheet states that tests confirmed that seized substances are narcotic substances, NCB sources added.
The agency further claimed that incriminating evidence comprising of digital evidence, call record details, Whatsapp chats, location tags, video and voice recordings, and several other documents had been submitted.
The NCB, which has been probing the drugs angle in Sushant’s death case, started the investigation after it received official communication from the Enforcement Directorate (ED), in which there were various chats related to drug consumption, procurement, usage, and transportation.
The ED had on July 31 registered an Enforcement Case Information Report in the late actor’s death case after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed by Rajput’s father KK Singh against Rhea Chakraborty in Bihar on July 28.
Rajput was found dead at his Mumbai residence on June 14. (ANI)
Have not announced Sreedharan as BJP CM face for Kerala, clarifies K Surendran
Pathanamthitta (Kerala) [India], March 5 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president K Surendran on Friday clarified that the party’s Central leadership will announce their chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Kerala Assembly Polls.
This comes a day after the state party chief had said Sreedharan will be BJP’s Chief Minister candidate in the upcoming Assembly elections.
He further explained that what he had said was that the party and the people wish to see Sreedharan as the Chief Minister.
“I have not announced E Sreedharan as BJP Chief Minister candidate and it is for party central leadership to announce. What I said yesterday was people and the party wish to see E Sreedharan as Chief Minister candidate. I did not make any announcement,” he said at a press conference here.
He reiterated that people are wishing for the leadership of Sreedharan. “V Muraleedharan tweeted that Sreedharan will be CM candidate based on media reports that I made the announcement,” he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Union Minister for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had tweeted, “BJP will fight Kerala polls with E Sreedharan Ji as its chief ministerial candidate. We will defeat both CPIM and Congress to provide a corruption-free, development-oriented Governance for the people of Kerala.”
Regarding himself contesting polls, Surendran said that it was for the party to decide.
“Candidates will be announced by the party after the parliamentary board meeting in the coming week,” he said.
Former Delhi Metro chief E Sreedharan formally joined BJP in Malappuram on February 25 in presence of Union Minister RK Singh. He joined the party during BJP’s ongoing Vijaya Yatra led by Kerala BJP Chief K Surendran.
On February 18, Sreedharan announced that he will join the BJP. “If BJP comes to power in Kerala, I am ready to become the chief minister. The party has not asked me till now as it is too premature. But if BJP asks me, I am willing to take up the post and show how a state can be run efficiently like we are running DMRC,” Sreedharan had said.
The election for 140-member Kerala Assembly will be held on April 6, the Election Commission of India (ECI) had announced. (ANI)
COVID-19: No deaths reported in 18 states, UTs in last 24 hours
New Delhi [India], March 5 (ANI): As many as 18 states and union territories did not report any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the health ministry informed on Friday morning.
The states and union territories that did not report any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours are — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand.
A total of 113 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours in the country, the ministry stated adding that six states account for 88.5 per cent of the new deaths.
According to the ministry, Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties — 60, followed by Punjab and Kerala which registered 15 and 14 deaths respectively. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu recorded four deaths each while Chhattisgarh reported three deaths.
A total of 20 states and union territories have less than 1,000 active cases.
Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,998. It is followed by Kerala with 2,616 while Punjab reported 1,071 new cases. India’s total active caseload currently stands at 1.76 lakh (1,76,319). The country’s present active caseload consists of 1.58 per cent of the total positive cases, it said.
“Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu are the top five states showing a decline in active cases in the last one month, while Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi are the top five states showing a rise in active cases,” it said.
The cumulative positivity rate of the country shows a continuous decline and it currently stands at 5.08 per cent today, the ministry said.
India has registered a cumulative figure of more than 1.8 crore (1,80,05,503) COVID-19 vaccination doses, as per the provisional report till 7 am on Friday.
These include 68,53,083 Health Care Workers or HCWs (first dose), 31,41,371 HCWs (second dose), 60,90,931 Frontline Workers or FLWs (first dose) and 67,297 FLWs (second Dose), 2,35,901 beneficiaries aged more than 45 years with specific co-morbidities (first Dose) and 16,16,920 beneficiaries aged more than 60 years.
Nearly 14 lakh (13,88,170) vaccine doses were given on Thursday, Day 48 of the vaccination drive, the ministry informed.
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1. (ANI)
Congress does not agree with Shiv Sena’s demand for Bharat Ratna to Savarkar, says Nana Patole
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 5 (ANI): Maharashtra Congress chief Nana Patole on Friday said that the party does not share the same stand with Shiv Sena, its alliance partner in Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, over the demand for India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna to Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
“Bharat Ratna should be conferred on Savitribai Phule and Shahuji Maharaj. Shiv Sena’s stand is not our stand,” Patole told media while responding to a question on Shiv Sena’s demand for Bharat Ratna to Savarkar.
“To confer Bharat Ratna is the responsibility of central government and not the issue of the state government,” he added.
This comes two days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in the state Assembly on Wednesday questioned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on why the ruling party at the Centre has not yet conferred the Bharat Ratna on Savarkar.
Earlier, in October last year, Sena leader Sanjay Raut had asked why the BJP government at the Centre had not given Bharat Ratna to Savarkar. He had also said that the party has never changed its stand on Savarkar. (ANI)
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