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Congress, Trinamool Get At Each Other

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Kolkata: Slamming West Bengal minister and Congress leader Manas Bhuniya for hitting out at chief minister Mamata Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress on Thursday said the Congress is “jealous” and “terrified” of Banerjee’s development work and is trying to defame her.

 

“The Congress along with CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) is doing these useless protests on issue of farmers. We are doing whatever we can do for the farmers,” said state industries minister and Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee.

 

“If they (Congress) want to protest they should go to Delhi and protest in front of the central government. What kind of principles of alliance politics are they maintaining by doing protests and maligning the government?”

 

The tense relationship between West Bengal’s two ruling parties nose-dived Wednesday after the Congress said the Trinamool Congress was the same as the Bharatiya Janata Party and a ‘B-team’ of the Left. A furious Trinamool asked the Congress to quit the state government.

 

“As a party worker I had to respond to the way the Congress and the CPI-M was creating an ill feeling about our party and our leader. We had to respond as they were trying to destroy the perception about our leader and our party but we are confident that people will identify the real enemies of Bengal who don’t want Bengal to go ahead,” said Chatterjee.

 

The state Congress unit had launched a state-wide agitation against the government, blaming it for mismanagement of agriculture – the reason behind the plight of farmers and thus leading them to commit suicide.

 

“The state government has fixed a target of buying 20 lakh (2 million) metric tons of food grains but till now only 201,000 metric tons have been procured,” Bhuniya, the irrigation minister, had said Wednesday.

 

He said that out of the 1,018 rice mills in the state, 350 are closed and the public distribution system through 28,873 ration shops was not functioning properly.

 

Asked about Bhuniya’s criticism of the state government, Chatterjee said: “It is not a good thing to criticize the same government and stay in the ministry. It is not a dignified way.”

 

The Trinamool leadership had on Wednesday challenged the state Congress by asking its ministries to resign, saying they won only because of Banerjee’s appeal.

 

“If they (Congress) think that we are so bad, then why don’t they leave the ministry and the post of MLAs which they won using the name of Trinamool and Mamatadi? They will not leave the ministry because they are greedy and they can’t win again without Mamatadi,” said sports minister Madan Mitra of the Trinamool.

 

“If they have the guts, they should leave the ministry. If they want they can go to CPI-M. Why they are staying with us? If they leave us, the Bengal government will not fall. But if we leave the UPA (United Progressive Alliance), the central government will fall. So they should not talk much,” he said

 

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Nawaz sharif

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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SOUTH ASIA

Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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Temple

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