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Ending terror must for regional peace, Modi tells Imran Khan

Pakistan premier had called to offer congratulations on election victory

Elimination of terrorism is necessary for regional peace and development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan during the latter’s congratulatory phone call on Sunday.

The conversation was the first telephone contact between the two Prime Ministers since the February Pulwama terror attack and the subsequent Balakot air strikes by India.

Mr. Modi had called up Mr. Khan when he took charge in July last.

Need for trust

“Mr. Modi stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said after Mr. Khan’s phone call.

Mr. Modi also recollected initiatives like ‘Neighbourhood First’ that were started during his first tenure from 2014-19.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Mr. Khan reiterated his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia during the phone call.

“The Prime Minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” Dr. Mohammad Faisal, spokesperson of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on social media.

Jagan meets PM, seeks special status for Andhra Pradesh

Can only make request, says A.P. Chief Minister-designate

Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy greeting PM Modi at his residence in New Delhi on Sunday. PTIPTI

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Sunday to raise the unfulfilled demand of the Special Category Status (SCS).

After getting a somewhat lukewarm response from Mr. Modi, Mr. Jagan conceded that his party could only request and not “demand or command” the status, a lifeline for the ₹2.58-lakh crore debt-ridden State.

A different situation

“The situation would have been different had they [the BJP] won just 250 seats. They would have required our support to form the government and we would have extended our hand only after they signed the SCS document,” he said at a press conference later.

He said it was his first meeting with Mr. Modi but not the last and he would routinely be reminding the Centre about the demand.

The YSR Congress Party chief also met BJP president Amit Shah and sought his support on the issue. “Today, we might not get it. We have to be at somebody’s mercy but I will remind him [Mr. Modi] again and again, and someday things will change,” he said.

‘A lifeline’

He reportedly told the Prime Minister that the SCS was a “lifeline” as Andhra Pradesh required funds. Mr. Modi’s support was needed to run the State efficiently.

“Today, the State’s debt burden is very high. It was at ₹97,000 crore at the time of bifurcation. In the last five years, it has swelled to ₹2.58 lakh crore. Our interest repayment alone is ₹20,000 crore per annum,” he said.

The principal and the interest amounted to ₹40,000 crore per annum.

Celebrating Shadia’s compassion

Documentary looks at emotional impact of 2018 Kerala floods

The story of a 10-year-old girl in Kerala, who rushed to a newspaper office last year to contribute her savings to the relief effort after the devastating floods in August though she was herself in considerable distress from an illness, made headlines across the world.

The story of Shadia is now the subject of a 40-minute documentary, The Great Silence, scripted and directed by K.B. Selvamony.

Emotional connect

Through the story of the gritty youngster from Pookatupadi near Aluva, and her fight to live, the documentary draws attention to the emotional impact of the 2018 floods on the people and the astonishing depth of the compassion displayed by individuals, notably children, at the hour of crisis.

“We tend to think of gravely ill patients or people who are suffering as ‘shrunk,’ that they have somehow lost the capacity to love. But here was a girl, who had undergone multiple chemos, rushing to a newspaper office with her piggy bank,” said Mr. Selvamony, an assistant professor in Malayalam literature at the University College in Thiruvananthapuram.

“It was precisely that element of empathy that I wanted to capture in this work,” he said.

Narrated by Shadia in the form of a letter to a friend, the documentary features footage of the floods and the determined rescue effort that followed.

Also included are interviews with flood victims, police officers and press photographers who witnessed the devastation and misery.

The documentary touches upon the significant role played by children from Kerala in the aftermath of the floods. Apart from contributing to the relief effort, many children collected textbooks and study material for those in the flood-affected districts.

Produced by Lesli under the banner of Les Movies, The Great Silence is the third documentary by Mr. Selvamony.

Young man abused, beaten up in Gurugram

Told to remove cap, chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’

Mohammad Barkat Alam, who was beaten up. Ashok Kumar Ashok Kumar

A young man was allegedly beaten up, his skull cap thrown to the ground and he was told to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ when he was returning from a mosque after offering namaz at Jacubpura here on Saturday.

Mohammad Barkat Alam, 25, a tailor, was returning to his shop around 10 p.m. after offering prayers at Jama Masjid when half-a-dozen men allegedly accosted him outside a sweet shop.

Abuses and warning

“One of them addressed me with an offensive word and told me that the skull cap was not allowed in this area. When I told him that I was returning from a mosque, he slapped me. He also asked me to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’. When I refused, he threatened to feed me with pork,” Mr. Alam recalled.

Mr. Alam arrived in Gurugram earlier this month from Bihar to learn tailoring at his cousin Murtaja’s shop.

Mr. Alam claimed that the man allegedly picked up a stick, hit him and abused him. He said the man did not let him go and though there were many people around, no one intervened. When he sought help, the others just laughed at him. When Alam tried to push the man and run away, the youth allegedly tore his shirt.

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