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Policy & Politics

Need for aggressive stand against extremism in Northeast

China is resorting to its old tricks to destabilise India, arming extremists with lethal weapons.

Vijay Darda

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The jawans of Assam Rifles in Manipur have been ambushed and three of them martyred in the same Chandel district in which the militants had launched a deadly attack on an Indian Army convoy in June 2015 killing 18 of our soldiers. It is clear from the latest attack that the militants have started raising their ugly head and are reasserting their defiance to such an extent that they can now dare to attack the Indian security forces.

The threat of further attacks by militants in the Northeastern states and the unrest there had started to loom large the moment Chinese incursions started in the Ladakh region. China is the biggest supporter of militants in the Northeastern states and the sole purpose of creating unrest there is to not let India shift the Army stationed there anywhere else! This move of China was further confirmed in the last week of June 2020 when a huge cache of arms was caught at the Thailand-Myanmar border. All the weapons were made in China. Prima facie, it seemed that the weapons were meant for the Myanmar terrorist outfit called Arakan Army, which China keeps aiding and abetting but the experts later confirmed that the Arakan Army does not use such weapons. Through the Arakan Army, this cache of arms was being sent to the militants of the Northeastern states in India. Militant groups in Myanmar and India work in tandem. However, India has also sought information from the Thailand government regarding the stockpile of arms and requested it to provide a detailed investigation report. Our intelligence agencies are at work too.

Though this stockpile has been seized, would China not have already delivered such arms cache before, is the moot question. There is nothing to suspect otherwise. In fact, one route to deliver a consignment of Chinese weapons in Northeast India is from Myanmar, wh e r e m a ny m i l it a nt groups have links with terrorist groups in Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura. The other route is from Bangladesh. The Netherlandsbased think tank European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) has categorically stated in its report that China is continuously engaged in fomenting tension in India. It is arming the rebels of Myanmar to stand against India. Many militant outfits in the Northeast have taken refuge in Myanmar. They cross the border, carry out attacks here and go back to Myanmar with impunity. India shares good relations with the government there, but the problem is that the terrain is inaccessible and the militants hide in the forests and mountains. Many a time, the armies of India and Myanmar carry out joint operations but the network of militants is very strong, and China too may be informing them about all the activities. So they escape.

So naturally, the question is what kind of strategy which could prove effective against extremism in the Northeastern states should be adopted. The administrative machinery has been strengthened and development brought about in the region, thanks to the efforts made by the previous Congress government and now the BJP regime. The common man too wants that peace should be restored, but the militants are so dominant that people remain silent. Here, the common man is sandwiched between the militants and the security forces. Many a time, the locals suffer too during the counter-measures by security forces against the extremists. This has bred resentment among the people on many occasions. Therefore, special attention is needed. But the major problem before the government is whom it should talk to in order to establish peace. There are many militant outfits and each one of them has its own agenda. Most of the rebel leaders dance to China’s tune.

Under the circumstances, it is imperative to adopt an aggressive stand against extremism while taking care of human rights. In 2015, when the Indian Army had entered the dense forests and destroyed the militants’ hideouts to avenge the martyrdom of their fellow soldiers, it had created a sense of fear in their minds. Almost all the militant organisations had gone silent. Though there have been a few isolated incidents, the militants could not carry out any major attack after that. The need of the hour is to put in place a firm, strict and aggressive strategy for the elimination of these militants. They should be cornered and cordoned off in such a way that no external element, including China, could deliver weapons to them under any circumstances. If we are successful in doing this, the screws on extremists could definitely be tightened to a great extent. But we will have to eliminate all those leaders and elements, too, who sneak into our system, nurture extremism and help it to spread on our soil.

Vijay Darda as served as Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha for three consecutive terms and is Chairman of the Editorial Board, Lokmat Media.

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Lalu Yadav criticises Amit Shah for attacking Bihar govt

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A day before he meets Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD President Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday criticised Home Minister Amit Shah for his attack on the Bihar government coalition and emphasised the need for Opposition unity.

“Amit Shah has utterly lost his mind.  His administration has been overthrown in Bihar. The BJP will also lost in 2024. That is why he is sprinting there (Bihar) and speaking of jungle raaj. What did he do when he was in Gujarat,” Yadav said.

The former chief minister of Bihar said that “Jungle raaj” was present in Gujarat when he was there.

On Sunday evening, Kumar and Yadav will probably meet Sonia Gandhi, the president of the Congress.

We are making every effort for Opposition unity,” Yadav, who has been battling poor health, said, adding this will the agenda of their meeting.

The Bihar chief minister was slammed by Shah on Friday for allegedly betraying the BJP and attempting to advance his prime ministerial ambitions while “sitting in the laps of Congress and RJD.”

At a rally in Purnea, Shah predicted that the Kumar-Lalu Prasad jodi would be destroyed (soopda saaf) in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and that the BJP will win a majority by itself in the state assembly elections the following year.

In response, Yadav said, “Amit Shah bilkul paglaye hue hain” ( Amit Shah is absolutely insane).

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Hollywood star John Cusack supports ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’, says solidarity to all anti-fascists

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Hollywood star John Cusack on Saturday showed his support to the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, a campaign to reach out to the general public. Cusack tweeted: “Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi is walking to Kashmir from Kerala.” This was written weeks after the march, which intends to go over 3,500 kilometres across the nation, began.

Expressing his support for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on Saturday, Hollywood actor Cusack stated that he stands in solidarity with “anti-fascists everywhere.”

Cusack, the leading man in blockbusters like “Serendipity,” “High Fidelity,” “Con Air,” and “2012,” has been outspoken on social media regarding a number of international issues.

Jairam Ramesh, a Congress’s spokesman, shared the post of the Cusack’s tweet.

The actor posted on Twitter that Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi is walking from Kerala by foot to Kashmir. Cusack responded to a user who complimented him for backing Gandhi’s cause by saying, “Yes – solidarity – to all anti fascists everywhere!” The actor has previously offered support to the farmers’ and students’ demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and three agriculture legislation, respectively.

Rahul Gandhi began his march from Kanyakumari, the southernmost point of the nation’s mainland, and he is currently travelling through the southern states. A verbal battle between the BJP and the Congress has been ongoing since the yatra got underway.

Gandhi has often emphasised that the Yatra is a fight against the BJP’s poor leadership. He has brought up concerns including unemployment, inflation, and women’s safety. However, following numerous polling failures over the past few years, the party is also focusing on the 2024 national elections during the mass contact programme.

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Assam CM’s three-day Chintan Shivir to start today

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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

The three-day Chintan Shivir, which is due to start today, will be attended by the Cheif Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as well as all other ministers and senior secretaries of various state government agencies.

The state administration will talk about the departments’ ongoing activities during the brainstorming session. In the shivir, it is probable that the departments’ five-year plans and road map will be prepared.

In August of this year, a cabinet meeting presided over by the CM decided to organise the three-day shivir.

Around 2 pm, the Chief Minister of Assam will attend the Chintan Shivir’s opening session.

All of the BJP’s ministers and legislators from its ally party are likely to attend the Chintan Shivir.

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News

Resort of BJP leader’s son arrested for 19-year-old’s murder demolished at midnight

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Chief Minister Pushkar Dhami ordered the demolition of a resort owned by the accused amid outcry over the reported murder of a 19-year-old woman in Uttarakhand by a BJP leader’s son.

Abhinav Kumar, special principal secretary to the CM, said that demolition was underway at the Vanatara Resort in Rishikesh owned by Pulkit Arya on late Friday night on the orders of Dhami.

The son of Vinod Arya, a prominent BJP figure from Haridwar and a former leader of the Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board, is Pulkit Arya.

Three individuals, including Arya, were arrested on Friday for the alleged murder of a woman who worked as a receptionist at his resort on Chilla Road in the Yamkeshwar region. In Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand, the woman went missing earlier this week, according to authorities.

Arya was arrested along with Saurabh Bhaskar (35) and Ankit Gupta (19) and all of them have confessed to the crime, police added.

Bhaskar was a manager at the resort, and Gupta was his assistant, according to senior superintendent of police (SSP) Yashwant Singh of Pauri Garhwal.

The senior police officer said Arya on September 20 had approached police with a missing complaint to mislead the investigation.

But once the victim’s father was approached by the woman’s friend with a WhatsApp message implying the trio’s involvement, he began to wonder about Arya and the staff’s involvement.

“During the course of investigation, police learnt the accused and the woman had gone to Rishikesh on Sunday. While on their way back, Pulkit and the woman entered into an argument following which the accused threw her into a canal in Chilla,” the SSP said.

The victim’s body was found in the Chilla Canal, and her relatives were contacted to identify it, according to a representative for the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).

The BJP leader’s son had pressurized Ankita to enter into prostitution, a police officer said who did not want to be named.

The accused have been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

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Policy & Politics

20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States organized at Astana, Kazakhstan

Tarun Nangia

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20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States organized at Astana, Kazakhstan

The 20th Meeting of Prosecutors General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States was held on 23rd September, 2022 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The Indian delegation attended the meeting in Astana, Kazakhstan under the leadership of:-
Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India, Department of Legal Affairs
Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs
As precursor to the event on 23rd September, 2022 Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice attended the Meeting of the Experts Group for the 20th Meeting of the Prosecutors General of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Member States on 8th and 13th September, 2022. The Meeting of the Experts Group reaffirmed strengthening of cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels between SCO Member States. The Experts group discussed issues pertaining to the growth of transnational economic crime in the world and thier experience of recovery of proceeds of crime from the states. The discussion between the Member States was held in a constructive and friendly atmosphere fostering the spirit of mutual trust and understanding.
The 20th Meeting of Prosecutors General was attended by the Solicitor General of the Republic of India Shri Tushar Mehta, Prosecutor General of the Republic of Kazakhstan Asylov B.N., Prosecutor of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Jun, Prosecutor General of the Kyrgyz Republic Zulushev K.T., Additional Attorney-General of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Rashdeen Nawaz Kasuri, Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Krasnov I.V., Prosecutor General of the Republic of Tajikistan Rakhmon Yu.A., Prosecutor General of the Republic of Uzbekistan Yuldashev N.T. and the SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming.
A Protocol incorporating the deliberations of the 20th meeting of Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States was signed and adopted by the SCO Member States. The salient features of the Protocol are as under:
To strengthen cooperation between the Prosecutor General’s Offices of the SCO Member States with respect to the recovery of the proceeds of crime particularly in money laundering.
To develop cooperation between the prosecutor’s offices of the SCO member states at international institutions and forums on issues related to combating economic crimes like money laundering, search, seizure and recovery of the proceeds of crime from states.
To use the forums of bilateral and multilateral gatherings to discuss about ways to strengthen the systems in place to combat economic crimes particularly money laundering.
To continue the exchanging of information on domestic laws governing seach seizure and recovery of proceeds of crime. State’s experiences in their prevention as well as references, methodological, information-analytical, scientific and other materials in the field of combating economic crimes.
To develop cooperation between the Prosecutors General offices of the SCO member states in the field of training and advanced training of prosecutors and employees of other law enforcement agencies whose competence includes issues of combating economic crimes.
To conduct and participate in bilateral and multilateral events on combating economic crimes, search, seizure and recovery of proceeds of crime from states.
Addressing the eminent gathering of Prosecutors General from SCO Member States, Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India highlighted the initiatives taken by the Government of India to address Transnational Economic Crimes internationally by the ratification of two UN Conventions; the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNCTOC) and its three protocols and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). At the national level in order to stop the threat of Transnational Economic Crimes, India has implemented a number of legislative measures over the years to prevent, detect, and penalise money laundering by specialised legislation namely Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA), Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA), The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA) and the Companies Act, 2013.
Tushar Mehta also underlined the vital role of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements for the cases where it is necessary to gather information and conduct formal investigations abroad with the help of foreign government, when the accused person(s) has fled the country after committing a crime, or when a part or the entire crime was committed outside the country.
In order to seek aid in pursuing such crimes India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to request assistance in investigating such crimes. India has signed Extradition Treaties/Agreements with 47 and 11 countries respectively and Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties/Agreements with 42 nations to seek assistance in the investigation of such instances.
In his concluding remarks, Shri Tushar Mehta, Learned Solicitor General of India, expressed his gratitude to all participating member states and urged them to work together to broaden the scope of the activities of the forum and eliminate the threat of transnational economic crimes by enhancing mutual trust, understanding, cooperation and communication between the member states.
The next (21st) meeting of the Prosecutors General of the SCO Member States will be held in the People’s Republic of China in 2023.

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Policy & Politics

India’s Rice availability position is comfortable

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India’s Rice availability position is comfortable

With the amendment in export policy of Broken Rice from “free” to Prohibited”, Government of India has successfully ensured domestic food security, availability of domestic feed for poultry and cattle feed, while keeping a check over inflation as well as domestic price of rice.
Export policy of broken rice has been amended in order to ensure adequate availability of broken rice for consumption by domestic poultry industry and for other animal feedstock; and to produce ethanol for successful implementation of EBP (Ethanol Blending Programme) program.
Due to various reasons, there was need for amending the Policy.
Domestic price of broken rice, which was Rs. 16/Kg in the open market has increased to about Rs. 22/Kg in States because of exports due to higher international prices. Poultry sector and animal husbandry farmers were impacted the most due to price hike of feed ingredients as about 60-65% inputs cost for poultry feed comes from broken Rice and any increase in prices will be reflected in poultry products like Milk, Egg, Meat etc. which resulted in food inflation.
There has been a rise in global demand for broken rice due to geo-political scenario which has impacted price movement of commodities including those related to animal feed. The export of broken rice has increased by more than 43 times in past 4 years (21.31 LMT exported from April-August, 2022 compared to 0.41 LMT in the same period in 2018-19).
The export share of Broken Rice significantly increased to 22.78% as compared to the 1.34% corresponding period of 2019. From the year 2018-19 (FY) to 2021-22 (FY) export of Total Broken Rice increased by 319%.
Some countries (who never imported broken rice from India) have tapped into Indian market to exploit the situation at the cost of Indian consumers.
The government has not made any changes in the policy relating to par-boiled rice (HS CODE = 1006 30 10) and Basmati rice (HS CODE = 1006 30 20).
Parboiled Rice and Basmati Rice constitute around 55% of total rice export from India. So, the farmers will continue to get good remunerative prices and dependent/vulnerable countries will have adequate availability of par-boiled rice as India has significant share in the global rice export.
In domestic production, 60-70 LMT estimated production loss was earlier anticipated. Now, production loss of 40-50 LMT is expected and production output is not expected to be higher this year but only at par with previous year.
Notably, 217.31 LMT rice is in Government buffer stock which is higher than the buffer stock norm. In the upcoming Kharif Season, 510 LMT and in Rabi Season, 100 LMT of rice will be procured. The buffer stock maintained by the country is more than enough to meet the demand for the public distribution system. The Government intervention by prohibiting export of broken rice and imposing 20% duty on the export of basmati and non-par boiled rice will further help in containing the situation.
India commands 40% share in the global rice trade, exported 21.23 MMT of rice in 2021-22 fiscal as against 17.78 MMT in the previous year. Due to the current geo-political situation, the international price of rice was lucrative leading to high export of rice as compared to previous year.
Due to surplus stock of rice, the domestic price of rice will be under control as compared to international market and neighbouring countries where the price is comparatively high. The percentage increase in the MSP of paddy in last year was 5.15% (Rs.2040/qtl. in 2022-23 and Rs. 1940/qtl. in 2021-22). The actual increase in price of rice is around 3%, due to increase in MSP and other input costs. The domestic price of rice is in comfortable position and the prices will remain well under control.
All India Domestic Wholesale prices of Rice and Wheat decreased by 0.08% and 0.43% respectively over the week. Retail price of Sugar is showing a decrease of 0.19% over the week.

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