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Panchayat Polls: 7959 candidates in fray for Phase-VIII, IX

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JAMMU, DEC 05: For the final two phases of the extended 9-Phase Panchayat Polls,7959 candidates are in the fray. Voting and counting for the last two phases will be held on 8th and 11th December.
According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, for penultimate Phase-VIII, 1333 candidates are in the fray for 483 Sarpanch Halqas and 5695 candidates for 3860 Panch wards across the State. Voting and counting for Phase-VIII is scheduled be held on 8th December 2018.
Giving district-wise details, Kabra said Phase-VIII, 105 candidates are in the fray for 39 Sarpanch Halqas and 461 candidates for 321 Panch wards in district Kupwara; 10 candidates for 22 Sarpanch Halqas and 64 for 196 PanchHalqas in district Bandipora; 71 candidates for 42 Sarpanch Halqas and 285 for 366 PanchHalqas in district Baramulla; 3 candidates for 7 Sarpanch Halqas and 4 for 59 Panch wards in district Srinagar; 13 candidates for 40 Sarpanch Halqas and 37 for 315 Panch wards in district Budgam; 9 candidates for 29 Sarpanch Halqas and 25 for 231 Panch wards in district Pulwama; 4 candidates for 11 Sarpanch Halqas and 11 for 95 Panch wards in district Shopian; 4 candidates for 23 Sarpanch Halqas and 5 for 177 Panch wards in district Kulgam; 205 candidates for 55 Sarpanch Halqas and 894 for 431 Panch wards in district Reasi; 223 candidates for 52 Sarpanch Halqas and 896 for 384 Panch wards in district Kathua; 157 candidates for 35 Sarpanch Halqas and 709 for 285 Panch wards in district Samba; 404 candidates for 96 Sarpanch Halqas and 1771 for 758 Panch wards in district Jammu and 125 candidates for 32 Sarpanch Halqas and 533 for 242 Panch wards in district Rajouri.
For the Phase-IX, which is the final phase of the Panchayat Polls, Kabra said, 210 candidates are in the fray for 236 Sarpanch Halqas and 721 candidates for 1904 Panch wards across the State. Voting and counting for Phase-IX is scheduled be held on 11th December 2018.
Giving district-wise details, Kabra said, for Phase-IX, 78 candidates are in the fray for 33 Sarpanch Halqas and 311 candidates for 291 Panch wards in district Kupwara; 21 candidates for 14 Sarpanch Halqas and 88 for 100 PanchHalqas in district Bandipora; 30 candidates for 45 Sarpanch Halqas and 73 for 383 PanchHalqas in district Baramulla; 17 candidates for 13 Sarpanch Halqas and 34 for 109 Panch wards in district Ganderbal; 16 candidates for 39 Sarpanch Halqas and 68 for 319 Panch wards in district Budgam; 7 candidates for 39 Sarpanch Halqas and 9 for 309 Panch wards in district Pulwama; 4 candidates for 11 Sarpanch Halqas and 16 for 89 Panch wards in district Shopian; 5 candidates for 23 Sarpanch Halqas and 11 for 167 Panch wards in district Kulgam and 32 candidates for 19 Sarpanch Halqas and 111 for 137 Panch wards in district Anantnag.
He said first 7 Phases of the Panchayat Polls have passed off smoothly and peacefully with good participation.
In Phase-VII held on December 4, overall poll percentage of 75.3% was witnessed across the State with 84.8% polling in Jammu division and 30.3% in Kashmir division.In Phase-VI overall poll percentage of 76.9% was recorded including 17.3% in Kashmir division and 84.6% in Jammu division.In Phase-V poll percentage of 71.1% was witnessed across the State with 85.2% polling in Jammu division and 33.7% in Kashmir division.In Phase-IV JK witnessed 71.3% voting with 82.4% electors exercising their franchise in Jammu division and 32.3% in Kashmir division.In Phase-III, the State witnessed a poll percentage of 75.2% including 55.7% in Kashmir division and 83.0% in Jammu division.In Phase-II overall 71.1% polling was witnessed across the State with 80.4% polling in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division and in Phase-I 74.1% polling was recorded including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu division.


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India rejects US report criticising it on religious freedom

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New Delhi, Jun 23: India Sunday rejected a US religious freedom report saying religious intolerance in India was growing under its right-wing government, setting off a new spat before a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

An annual report on international religious freedom released by Pompeo on Friday said Hindu groups had used “violence, intimidation, and harassment” against Muslims and low-caste Dalits in 2017 to force a religion-based national identity.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government insisted that no foreign country had the right to criticise its record.

 

Pompeo is set to arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday for a trip intended to strengthen ties, but already complicated by spats over trade tariffs, data protection rules, US visas for Indians and buying arms from Russia.

The US religious freedom report said groups claiming to protect cows – considered sacred by Hindus –have attacked Muslims and Dalits. Christians have also been targeted for proselytising since Modi came to power in 2014.

“Despite Indian government statistics indicating that communal violence has increased sharply over the past two years, the Modi administration has not addressed the problem,” the report said.

The report consists of chapters by country, grouped into tiers, in which India is categorised in tier 2. It highlights a 12 percent decline in communal violence compared with the previous year.

The controversial revision of the National Register of Citizenship in northeastern state Assam, which could land millions of minorities stateless, also got noticed in the report.

The foreign ministry however rejected the report, saying there was no right “for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights”.

Reacting to the report, the external affairs ministry said a foreign entity had “no locus standi” to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens.

MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar underlined that “India is a vibrant democracy where the fundamental rights of all its citizens, including minorities, are protected under the Constitution.”

“We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” he said.

“The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities,” the MEA spokesperson asserted.

“It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the Constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect the fundamental rights.”

The United States has sought to boost ties with India as a counterweight to China, and both US President Donald Trump and Modi have highlighted their good relationship.

However, India last week imposed higher import tariffs on 28 US items in retaliation to Washington’s recent withdrawal of trade privileges for New Delhi.

Pompeo wants to use his New Delhi trip to lay the ground for a Trump-Modi meeting at the G20 Summit in Osaka this month. It will be their first since Modi’s new landslide election win last month. Pompeo is also to give a speech on the future of the relationship between the two countries. 

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Civilian harassment on highway should stop: Farooq

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Srinagar, Jun 23: Member parliament from Srinagar parliamentary seat and National Conference’s (NC’s) president, Farooq Abdullah Sunday said that security forces are “harassing” people on the national highway.

“When I was coming, I saw security forces were stopping people at several places on the highway. It should not happen, nowhere in the country, people are stopped at so many places, they travel freely on it moreover with peace,” Farooq said at Pahalgam.

Asking for end to the practice, he urged the authorities to ensure hassle free movement of the people on the highway without any delay.

 

“They (forces) should let people travel in peace on the highway and stop harassing people without any reason,” he added.

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Local pandit beaten by forces in Qazigund

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Srinagar, Jun 23: A local resident of Levdoora area of Qazigund in south Kashmir, Krishan Raina, a Pandit, was beaten up by CRPF personnel on Sunday and was rescued by the local people in the vicinity.

According to the reports, Raina, who has been living in the locality since childhood was rounded up by a patrolling party of the CRPF in the Levdoora area without any provocation.

“Forces initially questioned me for living in Kashmir despite being a Hindu. After which they started erecting bamboo sticks on me,” Raina is heard saying in the video.

 

Raina, son of Gopi Nath Raina, sustained multiple injuries during the assault by CRPF men, the front window of his car has also been smashed as well speaking about the incident, he said that he was on way to Qazigund market to get medicines for his ill wife, when the CRPF men intercepted him and started beating him resulting in multiple injuries.

“Local Muslims gathered around the area to rescue me. A man with begging hands pleaded them not to thrash me, however, they assaulted him too,” said Raina. The incident sparked anger in the locality and dozens of other Muslims rushed to help the Pandit man.

“I am thankful to the Muslim community who saved me from the hands of CRPF men, otherwise who knows,” Raina said. He also said that the government forces are defaming the local Muslim population, who otherwise are helpful and rescued him from the wrath of forces. The locals later took Krishan to the nearby hospital where he is being treated

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