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“Technical flaws” may have caused exclusion of Bengali Hindu refugees: Minister

The Assam government and the ruling BJP in the State have termed the finalisation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as a “mixed bag” with concerns being raised over several “technical flaws” in the process that may have caused the exclusion of Bengali Hindu refugees who had crossed over to Assam before 1971.

Speaking to The Hindu, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the State government would approach the Supreme Court again for a reverification process, on a pilot basis, in a couple of districts to try and address the anomalies.

“The NRC authority has registered many cases where documents were questionable after which we asked for a reverification of 20% of the cases in border districts and 10% in other districts as we found that in border areas, where populations were high, deletions were low, whereas in tribal areas deletions were higher in proportion. The Supreme Court denied that request. We will go back again to the Supreme Court and ask that at least in two districts, on a pilot basis, reverification should happen,” he said.

According to him, the outcome saw two kinds of people among a total of over 19 lakh exclusions: “Bengali Hindu refugees who had come over before 1971 and the others who had issues with their documentation.”

Refugee certification

He said there were “technical flaws in the exercise as many NRC officials did not recognise refugee certification issued before 1971, as a result of which many Bengali Hindus remained outside the list.”

He said he was also concerned with the over 3 lakh people who did not appeal against their exclusion when the draft NRC had come out earlier. “There are lakhs who did not reapply. Unless you update the NRC nationally, we will not know the net result of illegal immigrants across the country,” he said.

Detection to continue

He insisted that going forward, the process of detecting foreigners would not be restricted to just the NRC exercise. “The NRC is one place, but our border police have the right to pursue enquiries against those with questionable documents and citizenship for the detection of illegal foreigners, and that will continue,” he added.

Arif Mohammed Khan sent to Kerala

The Centre on Sunday appointed new Governors for five States. A communiqué from the Rashtrapati Bhavan said President Ram Nath Kovind appointed new Governors for Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Telangana.

Former Union Minister Arif Mohammed Khan, who walked out of the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1986 after it decided to overturn the Supreme Court’s Shah Bano judgment, was appointed Governor of Kerala.

Former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshyari has been named the Governor of Maharashtra, while Tamil Nadu BJP president Tamilisai Soundararajan will be the new Governor of Telangana.

Former Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya will be the Governor of Himachal Pradesh in place of Kalraj Mishra, who has been given the charge of Rajasthan, replacing Kalyan Singh.

Critic of triple talaq

Mr. Khan, an ardent critic of instant triple talaq and advocate of reforming the Muslim personal law, will be replacing Justice P. Sathasivam (retired).

Another prominent appointment is that of Ms. Soundararajan, who will be replacing Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau.

Pakistan will provide consular access to alleged Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav on Monday, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday.

Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted: “Consular access for Indian spy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian naval officer and RAW operative, is being provided on Monday 2 September 2019, in line with Vienna Convention on Consular relations, ICJ judgement & the laws of Pakistan.”

Dr. Faisal added that Mr. Jadhav remains in Pakistan’s custody “for espionage, terrorism and sabotage.” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had confirmed the news earlier in the day.

After the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan agreed to provide consular access to Mr. Jadhav, 49, who was arrested in Balochistan province in March 2016. He was sentenced to death in April 2017.

PM Modi and President Xi are likely to visit the monuments in the town.

The historic town of Mamallapuram on the scenic East Coast Road in Tamil Nadu is expected to be the venue for the second India-China informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping, scheduled for October this year.

Mr. Modi will host Mr. Xi for two days — October 11 and 13 — in Mamallapuram, informed sources in the government said. Arrangements are being supervised at the highest levels of the Central and State governments.

During the summit, besides holding talks, the leaders are likely to make a visit to the ancient monuments in the coastal town. The monuments there have been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the first informal summit in Wuhan, the leaders had made a visit to the Hubei provincial museum.

A Chinese delegation is also to be apprised of the arrangements prior to Mr. Jinping’s visit.

Former PM blames it on note ban, GST

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the 5% growth in India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) signalled a prolonged slowdown and asked the government to engage with “thinking minds by shunning vendetta politics to take the economy out of a man-made crisis”.

In a video statement, he said the state of the economy was “deeply worrying” and the near zero% growth of the manufacturing sector proved that it had not fully recovered from the “blunders of demonetisation and a hastily implemented GST”.

“The last quarter’s GDP growth rate of 5% signals that we are in the midst of a prolonged slowdown. India has the potential to grow at a much faster rate but all-round mismanagement by the Modi government has resulted in this slowdown,” he said.

“It is particularly distressing that the manufacturing sector’s growth is tottering at 0.6%.”

Projecting a gloomy picture of the economy — depressed demand and consumption, lower tax revenues, job losses in formal and informal sector, negative investor sentiment and tax terrorism — Dr. Singh also attacked the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government for eroding the autonomy of the independent institutions and credibility of government data. “India cannot afford to continue down this path”, he said.

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