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Modi says extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders won’t help

In a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump sought reduction of tensions between India and Pakistan, the White House said in a statement.

During the 30-minute conversation, the two leaders also discussed regional developments and the ways to “strengthen U.S.-India economic ties through increased trade,” the statement said.

“The President conveyed the importance of reducing tensions between India and Pakistan and maintaining peace in the region,” the White House said.

The call comes close on the heels of a telephonic conversation on Friday between Mr. Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Mr. Khan had spoken to Mr. Trump on the same morning as a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting was being held to discuss Kashmir and India’s dilution of Article 370 (special status for Kashmir) .

On his part, Mr. Modi told Mr. Trump on Monday that encouraging anti-India violence would not ensure regional peace. The Trump-Modi telephonic conversation is the first direct communication between the two leaders since India ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.

‘Not conducive to peace’

“In the context of the regional situation, the Prime Minister stated that extreme rhetoric and incitement to anti-India violence by certain leaders in the region were not conducive to peace,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on the conversation, without referring to Pakistan.

“The two leaders recounted the June meeting in Japan’s Osaka where they participated in the G20 summit.

“He [the Prime Minister] highlighted the importance of creating an environment free from terror and violence and eschewing cross-border terrorism without exception,” the Ministry of External Affairs said, summing up Mr. Modi’s message during the conversation.

In Monday’s conversation, both leaders also discussed the Afghan scenario.

Top leaders remain under detention

Back to school: Students at a school that re-opened in Rajouri district on Monday. ANI ANI

A very thin attendance of students marked the first day of the reopening of primary schools in Kashmir on Monday, the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, which was followed by a large-scale security clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The attendance of students was thin but the staff presence was 30 to 40% in the capital Srinagar. The situation by and large remains normal and people continue to offer their cooperation. There was no untoward incident in Jammu,” Information Director Syed Sehrish Asghar said.

Director of Education Younis Malik admitted that there was “nil to thin attendance” in a majority of schools in Kashmir. “Of the 196 primary schools opened, 72 schools registered a thin attendance of students,” he said.

All top schools such as Delhi Public School, Presentation Convent and Burnhall School reopened but no students attended the classes.

Mr. Malik said Budgam district saw only 35 schools opening, with students’ attendance between 4 and 12%; Baramulla saw opening of 322 schools out of 671 with 40% staff presence and only 20% students’ presence; Kupwara’s 137 schools saw attendance of about 1,000 students; and Bandipora’s 207 schools saw 10 to 12% attendance.

Assam Chief Minister says any decision can be taken after the list is published on August 31

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal indicated on Monday that any decision to challenge the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) through the legislative route could be discussed in future.

“In a democracy, everyone has the right to ask questions. After the publication of the NRC on August 31, if necessary, we will take whatever steps will be required,” he said, asked whether the government was exploring any legislative options to delay the publication.

Both the Centre and the State have moved the Supreme Court for re-verification of the documents of 20% of the 3.29 crore applicants in areas bordering Bangladesh as they suspect wrongful inclusions and exclusions.

Mr. Sonowal, who had an hour-long meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah, said that as per the directions of the court, the NRC would be published by August 31 and both the State and Central governments would ensure that it was conducted peacefully.

Millions are set to lose citizenship after the publication of the final list. The register, first published in Assam in 1951, is being updated as per the court directions.

It is a list to segregate Indian citizens living in Assam from those who had illegally entered the State from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971.

The Supreme Court has, in the past fortnight, twice rejected the State’s and the Home Ministry’s plea for re-verification.

Around 41 lakh people have been excluded from the draft lists published in July 2018 and June this year. Around 36 lakh have filed claims against their exclusion and objections have been filed against two lakh inclusions. The hearing of these claims and objections are under way at various NRC centres.

It is an unnecessary row, says RSS; no need to have a debate, says Athawale

Mayawati says the remarks have created suspicion.

Opposition leaders on Monday accused the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of being an organisation with an “anti-Dalit mindset” after RSS Sarsanghchalak (chief) Mohan Bhagwat sought a “harmonious conversation” on the issue of reservation.

BSP chief Mayawati asked the RSS to shed its “anti-reservation mindset,” while the Congress said the statement had exposed the “anti-Dalit-backward face” of the BJP and the RSS.

It’s an unnecessary row, the RSS said, as it “supported reservation.”

BJP ally Ramdas Athawale, who is also the junior minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, asserted that there was no need to have a debate on reservation. Ms. Mayawati, however, said Mr. Bhagwat’s remarks created “suspicion and doubt”.

“The RSS saying that there should be open-hearted debate pertaining to reservation given to SC/ST/OBC, generates dangerous situation of doubt, which is not at all needed. Reservation is a humanitarian and constitutional provision, and disturbing it is injustice and improper. It would be better if the Sangh sheds its anti-reservation mindset,” Ms. Mayawati tweeted.

On Sunday, Mr. Bhagwat said there should be a conversation in a harmonious atmosphere between those favouring reservation and those opposing it.

The Supreme Court on Monday gave the CBI two more weeks to complete investigation into a road accident that left the Unnao rape survivor and her lawyer critical and instantly killed two women relatives travelling with them. The court was informed by the CBI that the girl and the lawyer continue to be in a critical stage at AIIMS here and their statements were yet to be recorded.

A 24-year-old Kashmiri doctor was allegedly denied a room by an online hotel aggregator in Jasola Vihar on Saturday night after the manager checked his Aadhaar details.

OYO Rooms said they have taken disciplinary action against the hotel manager.

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