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Ranvir Sena Chief Shot Dead, Bihar On Alert

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            Ranvir Sena Chief Shot Dead, Bihar On Alert    Patna: An indefinite curfew was imposed in Ara town and red alert was sounded across Bihar Friday, after unidentified gunmen shot dead Brahmeshwar Singh ‘Mukhiya’, chief of the outlawed Ranvir Sena, police said. The state police chief has ordered a high-level probe into the killing.
Singh, in his early 70s, was killed early Friday in Ara, the district headquarters of Bhojpur, triggering violent protests by his supporters and sympathisers who constituted the upper-caste militia, according to police.
Some angry supporters manhandled Director General of Police (DGP) Abhyanand when he was coming out of Singh’s house after meeting the family, but he was escorted out by security personnel.
Abhyanand ordered a high-level probe into Singh’s killing soon after he visited Ara. “I have asked to constitute three different teams of police officials to deal with the situation. The first team will look after investigations into the case, another team will look after law and order, and the third team will go into the cause of the killing,” he told media persons.
A police official in Ara, about 60 km from here said, “An indefinite curfew has been imposed in view of a large-scale arson in the town.”
According to officials at police headquarters in Patna, a red alert has been sounded across the state and top officials were asked to keep close vigil in Jehanabad, Arwal, Aurangabad and Gaya districts.
These four districts were the strongholds of Ranvir Sena and its rivals – outlawed Maoist groups and the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) – till early 2000.
“Singh was shot dead by unidentified gunmen when he was on a morning walk near his residence,” a police official said.
Soon after the news of Singh’s killing spread, his angry supporters attacked police vehicles, dairy vehicles and government offices in Ara. The circuit house in the town was set on fire and nearly a dozen vehicles, including a bus, were torched by protestors, the official said.
Top district officials, including the superintendent of police, who reached the spot to assess and check the situation, were chased away by the protestors, the official added.
After much persuasion by top police officials, including Abhyanand and some ruling party leaders through back door, the supporters allowed police to take Singh’s body for an autopsy and blocked roads, demanding arrest of the culprits behind his killing, the official said.
Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad and his alliance partner Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan have demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the killing.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) state president C.P. Thakur also demanded that the state government should order a CBI probe into the incident.
However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is currently visiting Bhagalpur district as part of his ‘sewa yatra’, appealed to the people to maintain peace. The district administration has deployed security forces, including the Central Reserve Police Force units, in Ara town.
Shops and markets in neighbouring districts, known as a stronghold of the Ranvir Sena, remained shut to protest the Sena chief’s killing.

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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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