SMS Services To Be Restored In Kashmir From New Year

The SMS services will be restored in the Kashmir valley from the midnight on Tuesday (December 31), Jammu and Kashmir Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said.

All network and landline connections were suspended across Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, in view of security concerns in the region following Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 that granted special powers to the region.

Back on October 14, postpaid mobile services were restored in the remaining parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The central government had abrogated Article 370 and also bifurcated the former state into Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The new UTs came into being on October 31.


Bangladesh Shuts Mobile Networks At Indian Border

The Bangladesh government, citing “security reasons,” has ordered mobile telecommunication operators to shut down their networks along the border with India, authorities said.

On receiving a letter from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued on Sunday, mobile phone operators disabled their networks within 1 km of the border on Monday, reported Dhaka Tribune.

“We have ordered the (mobile network) shutdown in light of a government directive,” BTRC Senior Assistant Director Md Zakir Hossain Khan said.

The directive, sent to Grameenphone, Teletalk, Robi and Banglalink, said network coverage along the border with India would have to remain suspended until further notice “for the sake of the country’s security in the current circumstances.”

Brig Gen (retd) S M Farhad, secretary-general at the Association of Mobile Telecom Operators of Bangladesh, was quoted as saying, “Mobile network operators in Bangladesh are compliant with government regulations; accordingly, the directive on border network coverage has already been implemented.

“This decision will certainly have an impact since a large segment of citizens in the border areas will be out of the range of the internet, voice and other services,” he added.

The decision will affect about 10 million mobile phone subscribers in 32 districts that share the border with India and Myanmar, as about 2,000 towers are located in those areas, a BTRC official said on conditions of anonymity.

According to media reports, the official further said that the decision was taken out of concern that Indian Muslims might seek to enter Bangladesh after India introduced a new citizenship law which has triggered violent protests across India.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Kamal rebuffed any such reports saying, “I do not have any such information. Let me know about it first and then I will comment.”


Gen Bipin Rawat Appointed As Chief Of Defence Staff

In a historic decision, the Centre on Monday appointed Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

This is the first time that this position has been created by the central government and appointed General Rawat as the topmost defence officer of the country to be the main point of contact for the government for dealing with defence forces’ issues.

General Rawat is completing his full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff on December 31. He will now continue to serve till March 2022 as the CDS where his main role would be to create synergy in operations and finances of the three services.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in his Independence Day speech on August 15.

He will be donning the parent service uniform, though with different Peak Cap and Shoulder Rank Badges in his new role.

The Indian Army in a series of tweets gave a peek into Rank badges and accoutrements of the CDS which it said reflect jointness.

“Chief of the Defence Staff #CDS on assumption of appointment will have his office in South Block. #CDS shall have parent Service uniform. Rank badges & accoutrements of #CDS reflect #Jointness,” the Indian Army said in a tweet.

General Rawat demitted the office of Army Chief today and will take over as CDS on January 1. The office of CDS will be in the South Block.

Lt General MM Naravane, who was previously the Vice Chief of Army Staff, succeeded General Rawat as the Chief of Army Staff.

The recommendation for CDS had first been made after the Kargil War. It was argued that this post will create better coordination between the three services — the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval played a crucial role along with Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar to finalise the roles and responsibilities of the new office of the Chief of Defence Staff.

Rawat is credited for bringing the major transformation in the Army structure and turning it into a mean and mean fighting machine of the future.

Rohingya Muslim

‘Why Can’t India Show Some Heart To Rohingyas Too?’

Mohammad Haroon, 50, a Rohingya from Myanmar, says he is grateful to have found shelter and safety in Okhla, New Delhi some five years back. However, he is worried about “new laws” that seek to leave them homeless once again.

Nobody wants to leave his or her ancestral land unless there are severe compulsions. Rohingya Muslims are no exception. We fled our motherland about five years back. The military-led government of Myanmar was trying to kill us all, charging the entire Rohingya community with involvement in terrorist activities. Village after villages were burnt down, our people were chased away or taken to custody and tortured.

Many of our people were killed in cold blood and labeled as terrorist without any trial. The country’s regime did not want us. There was state-sponsored ethnic cleansing happening in Rohingya-dominated Rakhine. We were left with no other choice than to pack our belongings on a dreaded night and leave before the military could knock on our doors.

Some of us managed to cross the border first to Bangladesh and from there to India. Doing odd jobs, my family made our journey to Delhi for better means of living. But of late, for several months, we hear the talks about throwing out infiltrators, illegal migrants from India. Do Indians not have the heart to show some sympathy for a persecuted community? I want to ask all Indians from your platform: Why can’t we live here?

Most of the Rohingyas living in India are working in garbage disposal sector. Most of us are in the business of collecting garbage and segregating them for bigger contractors. We are helping this country keep clean. There is no harm if we continue with our business.

Children of Haroon family outside their dwelling at Okhla in New Delhi

We earn just enough to feed ourselves. We are poor. Our kids don’t have proper clothing for winters. We have actually never faced such winters before we came to Delhi.

The winters in Myanmar are mild and, often, pleasant. Not as harsh as here in Delhi. Since we do not live in pucca houses, the wind at night makes it worse. But home is where safety is, where acceptance is.

Many media persons come here to interview us. We show them the condition of our houses. They are all made of bamboos and polythene. We live in conditions very similar to the Hindu refugees who came from Pakistan. But now, with passing of the new law, they will be accepted as citizens, while we will continue to be refugees.

We have been repeatedly requesting the Indian government to give us citizenship, considering us as refugees. We do not want to live in fear, that’s all. We just want to live our lives peacefully and don’t want our children to face what we have faced in Myanmar. 

We worry for our children. Thanks to the diverse culture of this country, we are not seen as outsiders mostly. Yes, we do face several hardships because we do not have any identification documents. But we are grateful to this nation as we are at least alive here. Even if our children become rag-pickers, they will at least be alive here in India.

Ajit Pawar, Aditya Thackeray Sworn Into M’rashtra Cabinet

A total of 36 leaders from Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, including Ajit Pawar and Aaditya Thackeray, on Monday took oath as ministers in the Maharashtra government.

Ajit Pawar will be the Deputy Chief Minister of the state.

Besides Ajit Pawar, Nawab Malik, Anil Deshmukh, Hasan Mushrif, Rajendra Shingne, Rajesh Tope, Jitendra Awhad, and Balasaheb Patil took oath as ministers from the NCP quota.

Ashok Chavan, Congress MLAs Dilip Walse-Patil, Dhananjay Munde, Sunil Chhatrapal Kedar and KC Padavi will become part of the Maharashtra Cabinet.

On November 28, Uddhav Thackeray took oath as Chief Minister bringing an end to weeks of political instability in the state’s politics after Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress stitched a post-poll coalition as Maha Vikas Aghadi. Six other ministers — two each from NCP, Congress, and Shiv Sena took the oath of office.


Five J&K Leaders Detained Since Aug 5 Released

Five former legislators of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, who were detained after the abrogation of Article 370, were released on Monday.

The leaders who have been released include Ishfaq Jabbar, Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Bashir Mir, Zahoor Mir, and Yasir Reshi, sources said.

Several leaders from the region were detained in August this year when the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Article 370 and bifurcated the region into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.


Hemant Soren Takes Oath As Jharkhand CM

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) working president Hemant Hemant Soren was sworn-in as the 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand here on Sunday.

Governor Droupadi Murmu administered the oath of office and secrecy to Soren. A galaxy of leaders from across the political spectrum graced the occasion at Mohrabadi Ground here.

In a show of opposition strength, Chief Ministers Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Mamata Banerjee, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav were among the senior leaders who attended the event.

Other opposition leaders who attended the event included RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, AAP MP Sanjay Singh, CPI’s Atul Kumar Anjan, and D Raja, CPI-M leader Sitaraman Yechury, and RPN Singh, who was Congress in-charge of Jharkhand Assembly polls.

Former Chief Minister and JMM president Shibu Soren was also present to witness son taking oath for the second time as Jharkhand CM. Former Chief Minister Raghubar Das, who lost in the polls, also graced the occasion.

The event was termed as ‘Sankalp Diwas’ by mark beginning of an era of new Jharkhand.

JMM fought the Assembly elections in alliance with the Congress party and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) and got a comfortable majority with forty-seven seats in the 81-member house.

JMM won 30 seats, while Congress and RJD secured 16 and one seat respectively in the recently concluded Assembly polls. (ANI)