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Home Ministry acts a month after UAPA was amended by Parliament

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, his deputy Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, who planned and executed the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, are the first four persons designated as “terrorists” under the anti-terror law passed by Parliament on August 2.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a gazette notification declaring them terrorists under Clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 35 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah said on August 2, “It is important to identify terrorists and not just organisations.”

The UAPA was first amended in 2004, then in 2008 and again in 2013. The 2004 amendment was to ban organisations for terror activities, under which 34 outfits, including the LeT and the JeM, were banned.

To designate Azhar, the MHA mentioned five cases, including the February 14 Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

“Maulana Masood Azhar is accused in various cases registered and being investigated by the National Investigation Agency and chargesheet had been filed against him in Pathankot air base attack case; ...Red Corner Notices No. A-1086/7-2004 and A-4367/5-2016 have been issued against Azhar... the Central government believes that Maulana Masood Azhar is involved in terrorism and Maulana Masood Azhar is to be notified as a terrorist under the said Act,” the notification said.

Lakhvi has been listed for his involvement in four cases, including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Modi is first Indian PM to visit Russian Far East Region

Broad-basing ties: PM Modi and President Vladimir Putin at Zvezda shipyard, near Vladivostok, on Wednesday. AFPAFP

India and Russia are against “outside influence” in the internal matters of any nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday after comprehensive talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin aimed at finding new horizons of bilateral cooperation in areas like trade, defence, space, oil and gas, nuclear energy and maritime connectivity.

Mr. Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit, is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the Russian Far East Region.

Meeting on a ship

His remarks were made at a press conference with Mr. Putin after their delegation-level talks at the 20th Annual Summit following a two-hour tête-à-tête on a ship. His remarks came against the backdrop of tension between India and Pakistan after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

India has categorically told the international community that the dilution of Article 370 was an internal matter and advised Pakistan to accept the reality. Pakistan is trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India’s decision on August 5.

Russia has backed India’s move, saying that the changes in the status are within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

Pak. won’t allow consular officials to accompany pilgrims

Home Ministry official S.C.L. Das, left, addressing journalists at Attari.

The agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor project, which will open the famed pilgrimage centre to Indians, could not be signed on Wednesday after Pakistan declared that it would charge fees from the visitors.

Government sources said the two sides, which met in Attari, were in agreement on most points, but the final pact was stalled over key differences.

Won’t help in easy access

“Owing to certain differences over a few issues, the agreement could not be finalised. Pakistan insisted on charging a service fee for allowing pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, which is not agreeable in the spirit of smooth and easy access through the corridor,” sources said.

It was also pointed out that Pakistan declined India’s request to let consular officials accompany the pilgrims. The presence of Indian consular officials at Kartarpur has acquired importance in view of the reported activities of Khalistan proponents in Pakistan.

India had objected to the inclusion of pro-Khalistan Gopal Singh Chawla in the reconstituted Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committtee (PSGPC) and other such figures in the organisation that looks after Sikh holy shrines in Pakistan.

These names were removed from the PSGPC before the July 14 technical-level meeting.

She wanted her transfer reconsidered

V.K. Tahilramani

The Supreme Court Collegium has refused to accede to Madras High Court Chief Justice V.K. Tahilramani’s request to reconsider its recommendation to transfer her as Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court.

It also refused similar requests made by two other High Court judges, Justices Vivek Agarwal and Amit Rawal. The Collegium explained plainly, in separate orders on September 3, that the three transfers were recommended in the interests of “better administration of justice”.

The Collegium had recommended Justice Tahilramani’s transfer to Meghalaya on August 28.

Multi-Ministry effort, beginning on Oct. 2, includes voluntary work & awareness

Shared responsibility: Urban local bodies will segregate waste into recyclable and non-recyclable categories.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message on Independence Day, the Union government is working on a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single use plastics across the country, likely to kick off on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.

A presentation for the same has been prepared and circulated across the Ministries.

The nodal Ministry for the scheme would be the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, which has been asked not just to ensure and enforce the ban on single use plastics but also finalise the pending policy for Extended Producer Responsibility, especially on milk packets.

The Department of Industrial Promotion is to ensure that all cement factories use plastic as fuel, while the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has been asked to ensure that not only is plastic waste collected and transported responsibly along National Highways but also all collected plastic waste is used for road construction.

According to studies quoted by officials, roads constructed using water plastic are durable against extreme weather conditions and are also cost-effective.

The Railways Ministry will organise massive shramdaans (voluntary work) on October 2 for collection of plastic waste at railway stations and along rail tracks and will run advertising radio spots on all trains.

Role for local bodies

Since 70% of the total plastic waste in India is from urban areas, all 4,378 urban local bodies have been tasked with massive shramdaan for plastic collection and segregation of waste into recyclable and non-recyclable categories.

Gram panchayats have been asked to mobilise shramdaan on October 2 to ensure that all roads under the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana, or rural roads programme, are built using plastic waste and segregate waste in rural areas.

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