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No Resolution Yet On Norway NRI Siblings Case

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                  No Resolution Yet On Norway NRI Siblings CaseNew Delhi: The government Thursday said it would continue to engage with Norwegian authorities on the issue of Indian siblings, Abhigyan and Aishwarya, who have been taken into foster care in the Scandinavian country on grounds of alleged negligence by their parents.
“The government will continue to engage with Norwegian authorities on this matter. We hope this is only a temporary delay,” Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur said in the Lok Sabha.
The minister was replying to a Calling Attention notice on the issue. She said an alleged family dispute had dealt a setback to its efforts in getting the two Indian children back with their parents Anurup Bhattacharya and Sagarika Chakraborty, an NRI couple residing in Stavanger in Norway.
India has “sought the early return of the children to India to enable them to be brought up in familiar surroundings under the loving care of their family which was in their best long-term interests”, Kaur said.
She said, ” A Norwegian court hearing would have considered this solution (but the hearing) was postponed after certain developments that led (the Norwegian Child Welfare Services) to conclude that the parents of the children and their families were not united. This has led to a setback to the entire process of the resolution of the case.”
The kids, aged three and one, were taken away from their parents by the child welfare services of the local municipality and placed under emergency foster care in May 2011.
After the Indian government’s intervention, the authorities had agreed to recommend to a court in Norway March 23 that the children be placed in the custody of their uncle Arunabhas Bhattacharya. However, that did not happen after reports of marital discord between the parents of the children.
The minister narrated the sequence of events leading to the separation of the two Indian children from their parents. She said that the court hearing was set to take place in June now and hoped that the children would be brought back. The minister said the “ostensible reason given by the CWS” included “fear of possible violence against the children and lack of adequate parental care”.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said India as a sovereign nation should stop all business relations (with Norway) as a counter-measure to get the children back.
“What Norway has done amounted to interference in our sovereign affairs. The separation of children from their parents is a violation of human rights and the rights of children,” Sushma Swaraj said, adding, “Time has come for us to take counter-measures not only on this issue, but also on issues like Italian security guards killing two of our fishermen. We cannot even get our children back.”
Adhir Chowdhury of the Congress and Communist Party of India-Marxist’s Ramchandra Dome, Saidul Haque and P. Karunakaran also demand immediate return of the children to their parents’ care.
-IANS

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SOUTH ASIA

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

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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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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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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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