Protests erupt in Pakistan against Rajnath Singh’s Islamabad visit to attend SAARC meet

Protests erupt in Pakistan against Rajnath Singh’s Islamabad visit to attend SAARC meet

Protests erupt in Pakistan against Rajnath Singh's Islamabad visit to attend SAARC meet

Amid bilateral tensions over violence in Kashmir, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday arrived in Pakistan to attend the seventh meeting of SAARC Home/Interior Ministers’ Conference in Islamabad.

After arriving in Islamabad, Singh met Amir Ahmed, the additional secretary of Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Meanwhile, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin took to the streets of Islamabad to lodge protest against Singh’s visit. Holding Singh responsible for the killings of his area commander Burhan Wani and Kashmiri protesters, the chief of United Jihad Council slammed the Pakistan government for welcoming the Indian Home Minister.

A group of All Parties Hurriyat Conference workers also held a protest in Rawalpindi against Singh`s arrival. The protesters shouted anti-India slogans in Faizabad area of Rawalpindi, around 20 km from Islamabad where the two-day SAARC conference is being held.

Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed had also warned of a countrywide protest in Pakistan by his outfit when Rajnath Singh arrives in Islamabad.

Before commencing on his trip, Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to say that he is looking forward to underscore the imperative of meaningful cooperation within the region against terrorism and organised crime.

Issues related to most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim and cross-border terrorism are likely to be the focus of Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers’ meet tomorrow.

It was not immediately clear whether Singh will meet his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan separately due to sudden strain in India-Pakistan relations after Islamabad glorified the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

However, the Home Minister, in his speech at the SAARC meeting, is expected to raise the issue of Pakistan’s support to Ibrahim and to terror groups operating in India and ask Islamabad to check Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and other groups based in that country.

Singh is also likely to raise the issue of fake Indian currency notes being circulated at the behest of Pakistani agencies, sources said.

Apart from terrorism, other key issues to be discussed include liberalisation of visa, illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and small arms and how to make coordinated and concerted efforts to combat such menace.

Such meetings discuss regional cooperation on a number of security-related matters and take stock of progress in various regional mechanisms.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation leadership had agreed in 2005 during the 13th summit in Dhaka that Home/Interior Ministers of the SAARC nations may meet annually to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.

The first meeting of Home/Interior Minister was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006.

-August 3, 2016, New Delhi

Floods affect 19 lakh people in Assam, 20 killed

Floods affect 19 lakh people in Assam, 20 killed; Rajnath Singh conducts aerial survey

Floods affect 19 lakh people in Assam, 20 killed; Rajnath Singh conducts aerial survey

As the flood situation in Assam continued to remain grim, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday conducted an aerial survey of flood-hit areas.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonwal and Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh were also on the flight.

“Leaving New Delhi for Guwahati to take stock of the situation in flood-affected areas of Assam,” Rajnath Singh had tweeted earlier this morning.

The minister is also expected to visit the Bhagatgaon camp set up for the flood-affected residents in Morigaon district.

At least 20 persons have been killed so far in Assam due to the floods while an estimated 19 lakh people have been affected in the state’s 21 districts.

The floods in Assam have been triggered by heavy rainfall and swelling of rivers caused due to incessant rains in upper catchment areas of Arunachal Pradesh and Bhutan.

The worst affected districts are Lakhimpur, Golaghat, Bongaigaon, Jorhat, Dhemaji, Barpeta, Goalpara, Dhubri, Darrang, Morigaon and Sonitpur, Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said.

The other affected districts are Sivsagar, Kokrajhar, Dibrugarh, Goalpara, Tinsukia, Biswanath, Nalbari, Baksa, Udalgluri, Kamrup (M), Chirang, Kamrup and South Kamrup, the ASDMA said.

The mighty Brahmaputra river is flowing above the danger mark at Guwahati, Nematighat in Jorhat, Tezpur in Sonitpur, Goalpara and Dhubri towns.

NDRF, SDRF and the Army are helping the administration in evacuating the affected population to safe places.

The State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams with deep divers have also been attached to the 27 Fire Stations of the State.

“Overflowing rivers are flooding new areas, making things worse,” said Keshab Mahanta, Assam`s water resource minister.

Authorities in Assam have opened more than 800 temporary shelters and food and medicines distribution centres across the state, a senior SDRF official said.

Flooding is an annual problem in Assam state.

-July 30, 2016, Guwahati


MEA rules out India Pakistan bilateral talk during SAARC

MEA rules out India Pakistan bilateral talks during SAARC meet in Islamabad

MEA rules out India-Pakistan bilateral talks during SAARC meet in Islamabad

The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday ruled out any possibility of a bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan during the SAARC event. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will represent India at the upcoming meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

In a tweet message, MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup said: “Let me categorically state that the home minster of India is going for the SAARC event. There will be no bilateral meetings with Pakistan.”

The eight-member block is holding a meeting of the home ministers of SAARC nations in Islamabad from August 3 to 4.

According to sources, the home minister is likely to raise the issue of cross-border terrorism at the meeting.

At the 13th SAARC Summit held in Dhaka in November 2005, the heads of state decided that the SAARC interior/home ministers would meet annually preceded by a meeting of the interior/home secretaries to strengthen cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism.

The first meeting of SAARC home ministers was held in Dhaka on May 11, 2006, followed by a meeting in New Delhi in 2007.

-July 29, 2016, New Delhi

Rajnath Singh holds meeting with civil society members in Kashmir

Rajnath Singh arrives in violence-hit Kashmir, holds meeting with civil society members

Rajnath Singh arrives in violence-hit Kashmir, holds meeting with civil society members


As Kashmir Valley continued to remain under curfew for the 15th day running, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in the state on Saturday to take stock of the situation.

Immediately upon reaching Srinagar, the minister held a meeting with a civil society delegation.

Rajnath Singh will be in the Kashmir Valley for two days – this is his second visit this month to the state.

He had travelled to Kashmir at the start of this month after eight CRPF men were killed by militants in Pampore area of Pulwama district.

He had then also undertaken the Amarnath Yatra.

During his visit, the minister will meet official and public delegations in an effort to end the impasse brought about in the Valley since July 9, a day after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed along with two of his associates in a gunfight in south Kashmir`s Anantnag district.

The minister will also visit some areas in south Kashmir where violence has been witnessed recently.

The death toll in the current unrest stands at 48 — 46 civilians and two policemen.

Officials said strict curfew will continue in south Kashmir`s Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts while restrictions will remain in force in the rest of the Valley.

-July 23, 2016, Srinagar

National Executive meeting; PM gives BJP power of 7 Ss

National Executive meeting; PM gives BJP power of 7 Ss

Making a fervent appeal to the people to bring “change” in Uttar Pradesh by voting the BJP to power and reject parivarvad (nepotism), “arrogance”, “casteism” and “goondaism,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said if given the mandate to rule the State, his party would accomplish 50 years of  pending work in five years.

Addressing a huge rally here at the Parade Ground at the end of the two-day National Executive meeting of the party, Modi said recent polls verdicts, particularly a clear win in Assam, have indicated a change in UP and it was time to end the “contract of loot between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party.”

He asked all attending the meeting to switch on the lights of their mobile phones to felicitate people of Assam for giving their mandate to the BJP to rule the State.

BJP president Amit Shah and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also addressed the rally ahead of Modi’s speech. BJP veterans LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi along with Central Ministers and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled States also attended the meeting.

Earlier, addressing the concluding session of the National Executive meeting, Modi asked his party and the cadre to work for bringing development and change. He said people were no longer satisfied with “mere sloganeering” but observe if the country was growing strong or not.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who briefed the media on the PM’s concluding remarks in the meeting, said, Modi gave seven points which are relevant for the party and workers to follow. The seven points are: seva bhav (sense of service), santulan (balance),  sanyam (patience), samanvay,  (coordination) sakaratmak (positivity) samvedna (sensitivity) and samvad (dialogue).

After the National Executive meeting, Modi along with top party leaders, reached the Parade Ground to address the public, from where he sounded the poll bugle.

Amidst loud clapping from the audience, Modi accused political rivals the SP and the BSP of having “a tacit understanding” of not probing each others’ corruption cases when in power.

In a speech full of interactive phases, Prime Minister asked questions and sought answers from the public. The PM asked the people “how many corruption cases” were lodged by the SP against the BSP even though when in Opposition the former had made several allegations against the latter. “Now, Mayawati accuses the SP. Unko bhi kuch nahin hoga, dono main jugal bandi hain. UP maain contract chalta hain,” he quipped.

Stepping up the attack against both the parties Modi said, “Development is not possible in UP if this contract of loot is not ended” in the State. Modi again asked the audience whether they got the benefit of Rs 1 lakh crore allocated by the Centre to the Sate and quipped, “pata nahin, pahuchta hain ya nahin.”

He said if every penny is utilized properly UP could become the number one State.

He said progress and development has been achieved in all the BJP-ruled States and appealed to the people to give BJP a chance in UP adding they could kick out the BJP Government if power was used for self-perpetuation. “Lath mar ke nikal dena”, Prime Minister said in Hindi amidst loud cheers.

 In an effort to connect with the people of Allahabad, Modi used symbolism of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati and called the city the land of “Nishad Raj” as he reminded them that once University of Allahabad was known as “the Oxford of the East”.

Modi said to bring UP on the high road of development people will have to put an end to “bhai-bhatija vad”, “Parivarvad” , “goondaism” and casteism and appealed to the people to bring out change by voting out SP rule and put the BJP in the saddle.

– 14 June 2016 | Deepak K Upreti | Allahabad (Parade ground)

UPA “conspired” to defame ex-Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in Ishrat case: Home Minister

UPA “conspired” to defame ex-Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in Ishrat case: Home Minister

Accusing erstwhile UPA government of hatching a “deep conspiracy” to frame Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat Chief Minister, Home Minister Rajnath Singh today alleged that the previous regime had done a ‘flip-flop’ on the links of Ishrat Jahan with terror outfit LeT.
Without naming P Chidambaram, he charged the then Home Minister with giving “colour” to terrorism by coining the term ‘saffron terror’.
 rajnath microstat
Responding to a calling attention motion on “alleged alteration of affidavit relating to Ishrat Jahan case” in the Lok Sabha, the Home Minister said “unfortunately, I have to say this that there was a flip-flop by UPA government in the Ishrat Jahan case.”
Amid protests and slogan shouting by Congress members who had trooped into the Well of the House, Singh charged Chidambaram of coining the term “saffron terror” and “Hindu terror”.
“Colour, creed and religion should not be associated with terrorism. Terror has no colour… The seculars gave colour to terrorism. Selective secularism cannot be accepted by the country,” Singh said.
He said the recent statement made by Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley before a Mumbai court only reaffirmed the first affidavit filed by the UPA government on August 6, 2009 before the Gujarat High Court that Ishrat had links with LeT.
“It (Headley’s statement) was the second clear indication that she was a terrorist,” he said.
The minister said the second affidavit filed by the government before the High Court on September 29, 2009 “weakened” the fact that she was an LeT operative.
He said the effort seemed to be to “defame the then Gujarat Chief Minister (Narendra Modi), state government, some leaders and those associated with the case. There was a deep conspiracy to frame them,” he said.
The Home Minister said a few key documents including two letters written by the then Home Secretary (G K Pillai) to then Attorney General late G E Vahanvati and the copy of the draft affidavit have so far been untracable.
He said the missing documents include the copy of the affidavit vetted by the AG and the draft of the second affidavit vetted by the AG on which changes were made.
“We have ordered an internal enquiry in the Home Ministry in this regard and necessary action will be taken accordingly,” he said.
-10 March 2016 | PTI | New Delhi

Rajnath Singh says JNU’s Afzal Guru event had LeT ‘support’

Rajnath Singh says JNU’s Afzal Guru event had LeT ‘support’

Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that the JNU stir received “support” from Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed, a statement that evoked strong reactions from his political opponents.

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the home minister has to come out and share the evidence he has with the country to back up his “serious allegation”. CPI leader D Raja also demanded that the evidence be made public.

“If there is evidence, then act accordingly that is what we have been saying, CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.

“Take necessary action but don’t use that as a pretext to attack progressive, cultural and secular values,” he said.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also said it is a “very serious charge” to level against the students and that the evidence must be shared with all.

In a series of tweets, Omar, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said the Home Minister must go public with the evidence collected that enabled him to level the charge against the JNU students.

“That #HafizSaeed supported the #JNU protests is a very serious charge to level against the students. The evidence must be shared with all,” he said. “Cracking down on students & using #HafizSaeed to justify the crack down is a new low, even for this NDA government.”

Earlier, speaking on the ongoing row at the JNU, Rajnath Singh said, “The incident at JNU has received support from Hafiz Saeed. This is a truth that the nation needs to understand.”

“Never should have something been done which puts a question mark over the country’s sovereignty and integrity. On such occasions, the entire country should be speaking in one voice. I would also appeal all political parties not to view such episodes through the prism of political gains and losses,” Singh told reporters in Allahabad.

Asked about the investigation regarding the JNU incident, he said, “Necessary instructions have been given (to the authorities concerned). I have made one thing clear that those who are found guilty should face action but the ones who are not, should not be harassed at any cost.”
Responding to questions on the arrest of JNU Student’s Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and allegations that he may have been falsely implicated, the home minister said, “We should allow the investigation to take place unhindered. The police must have acted on the basis of some evidence.”
His comments came two days after a series of tweets, purportedly by Saeed, had appeared under a hashtag asking Pakistanis to support the agitation in JNU.

Police are investigating as to whether the twitter handle actually belonged to the LeT founder.

Later, Delhi Police had issued an alert through the official twitter handle of the commissioner’s office saying, “This is to alert and sensitize the student community in JNU and across the country. Do not get carried away by such seditious anti-national rhetoric. Abetment of any kind of anti-national activity is a punishable offence.”

In the alert, Delhi Police had also pinned a tweet by the handle named HafeezSaeedJUD which says, “We request our Pakistani brothers to trend #SupportJNU for our pro-Pakistani JNUite brothers.
-PTI | Feb 14, 2016

Amit Shah likely to become BJP National President again

Amit Shah likely to become BJP National President again

The BJP’s convention is that just one consensus candidate files the nomination and is elected unopposedRSS leaders are believed to have agreed to Amit Shah as party chief..

With the BJP notified January 24 as the date for the filing and scrutiny of nominations for the post of party chief, Amit Shah seems all set to be elected for a full three-year term.

The BJP’s convention is that just one consensus candidate files the nomination and is elected unopposed. Mr. Shah became party chief midway through Mr. Rajnath Singh’s term as the latter joined the Modi Cabinet. RSS leaders have met the BJP brass and are believed to have agreed to Mr. Shah as party chief, with some riders.

NEW DELHI, January 21, 2016

Rajnath meets intelligence, police officials over ISIS

Rajnath meets intelligence, police officials over ISIS 

Top officials of central intelligence and investigative agencies and police of 13 states today held a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh and discussed steps to check the growing influence of ISIS among youngsters through social media and other sources.

Singh held the day-long meeting to review the situation arising out of some Indian youths getting attracted towards ISIS, also known as ISIL or DAESH, and how to deal with the emerging challenge.

“The issues that were discussed included misuse of social media, sources of impetus that attract persons, specially youth, to DAESH, the growth of DAESH influence in India’s neighbourhood and the best possible law enforcement response,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said.

The need for appropriate welfare schemes for minorities, social media strategies to be followed and capacity building of state police organisations, especially in the area of information technology were also discussed threadbare.

In his remarks, the Home Minister said India’s traditions and family values will triumph over even this evil, and that while the traction that DAESH has got in India is extremely limited, and almost insignificant relative to other countries, yet there is a need to keep up vigil on all fronts, and not let down the guard in any manner.

Singh said a large number of people and most Muslim organisations in India had come out against both DAESH and other forms of terrorism.

The 13 states and Union Territory, which attended the interaction are Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra.

According to intelligence agencies, a total of 23 Indians have so far joined the ISIS of which six were reportedly killed in different incidents. Around 150 Indians are under surveillance for their alleged online links with ISIS, the officials had said.

-16 January 2016 | PTI | New Delhi

Amit Shah set for another term, BJP readies for a revamp

Amit Shah set for another term, BJP readies for a revamp

Near-consensus within party, RSS that Shah should be re-elected to the top post; formal announcement on 23 January

Amit Shah is all set to be re-elected as president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). To be sure, a formal announcement is expected only on 23 January, by which time the formal election process will be concluded.

If elected, he will have a three-year term at the helm, a period in which the BJP will be contesting key assembly elections, including Uttar Pradesh in 2017.Senior BJP leaders also linked to the RSS indicate that it was unfair to single out Shah for defeats in Bihar, Delhi. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

There is near-consensus within the party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that Shah should be re-elected to the top post, the BJP’s humiliating electoral defeats in Bihar and Delhi notwithstanding.

Senior BJP leaders also linked to the RSS indicate that it was unfair to single out Shah for these two electoral defeats, because under his leadership, the BJP had also managed an unprecedented expansion of its national footprint by forming governments in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana.

“There should be no knee-jerk reaction. Just because BJP lost in Delhi and Bihar, it cannot take away the fact that BJP won elections in several other states. It takes a lot of time and effort to build an organization and BJP’s defeat in Bihar and Delhi point towards lack of organizational strength of the party in these two states,” said a senior BJP leader closely associated with the RSS.

In the course of informal discussions between the leaders of BJP and RSS, the parent organization has backed Shah for the top post.

While the national leadership has to decide the fate of Shah, BJP’s nationwide organizational elections are going on and the process has been completed in nearly 20 states.

BJP leaders point out that Shah is likely to acquire a new team for his second term. “There are many changes in the organization expected because a new team will be elected with Shah’s re-election,” the BJP leader added. Shah, who took over as party president from home minister Rajnath Singh on 9 July last year, is completing the term of Singh as the BJP president. Singh was elected as party president on 23 January 2013 and had to relinquish the job after he joined the government. The tenure of a BJP president is of three years.

“Amit Shah has not been given a full term in office. He is only completing the term of Rajnath Singh who could not complete his three-year term because he joined the government. Shah should be given time to strengthen the organizational network of the BJP in states where the BJP has little presence,” the BJP leader added.

During Shah’s tenure, BJP claims to have increased its membership to 10.5 crore following the biggest membership drive lasting nearly five months. However, the party’s electoral debacle in Delhi and Bihar left him vulnerable to criticism; in fact, senior leaders like L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar have questioned Shah’s leadership of the party.

“The fact that BJP has chief ministers in Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Haryana shows the contribution of Amit Shah and for the first time, BJP has a deputy chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir. Never before has any BJP president tried to make the party pan-India and pan-community acceptable,” said Jai Mrug, a Mumbai-based political analyst.

Mrug also said that the re-election of Shah as BJP president will reassert the control of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah over the BJP.

-By Gyan Verma