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India has not blocked supplies to Nepal: Union government

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New Delhi: India has not blocked transport of essential supplies to Nepal where the movement of goods from India has been stopped ever since protests broke out after a new constitution was adopted by Nepal government, Indian government recapitulated on Thursday.

“There has been no blockade by India whatsoever,” Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, said in his weekly media briefing.

 

In fact, I think this question should really be put to the government of Nepal and not to the government of India,

 

Swarup’s response came after being pointed out that Nepal’s prime minister has again said that India should not block movement of cargo to the Himalayan nation.

He said the issues facing Nepal were political in nature and internal to Nepal.

“The Nepalese leadership has to resolve them through dialogue with the agitating parties,” the spokesperson said.

 

All we can add is if the political challenges facing Nepal are addressed, we can hope it would assuage the concerns the protesters have leading to a return to peace and normalcy in the affected areas of the Terai, including the border crossings being currently occupied by the Nepalese protesters and thereby improve the supply situation in the country.

 

He said the major crossing of Raxaul-Birgunj which handles two-thirds of the trade between India and Nepal continued to remain closed on the Nepal side of the border.

Out of the 10 border crossings capable of handling commercial cargo, seven, including the major ones of Sonauli and Panitanki, have been operational,

According to him, between 400 and 800 cargo trucks have been passing daily over the last four days through the India-Nepal border.

 

Petrol, oil, lubricants – POL supplies – continue to move to the extent possible,

 

As of Wednesday evening, nearly 6,000 trucks were waiting to cross into Nepal at various border crossings, including 4,700 in Raxaul alone, he added.

Referring to reports of a shortage of medicines in the Himalayan nation, Swarup said that India has already conveyed to the Nepal government that, like the re-routing of the POL trucks, the Indian  government is also for re-routing of vehicles carrying medicines.

 

we are ready to facilitate re-routing of vehicles carrying medicines.

 

“We are also ready to facilitate airlift. Nepalese importers of medicines are also advised to use those border crossings where there are no protests and disruptions in supplies,” he said.

 

(Inputs from IANS)

 

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India will soon ask Malaysia to extradite Preacher Zakir Naik

India will soon approach Malaysia with a request to extradite hardline Islamic preacher Zakir Naik.

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India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik
India will Request Malayasia to extradite Zakir Naik. wikimedia commons
  • India will seek the Malaysian government’s help in extraditing televangelist Zakir Naik who faces charges of money laundering and inciting hatred through his sermons broadcast on Peace TV, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Zakir Naik obtained permanent residency in Malaysia 

Officials will approach their Malaysian counterparts with the extradition request sometime within the next two weeks, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar told a weekly news briefing in New Delhi.

“Any formal request seeking the assistance of a foreign government in cases of extradition requires a completion of the internal legal process involving consultation with other ministries involved in the case,” Kumar said.

“At this stage, we are nearing the completion of this process and as soon as this process is complete we will be making an official request to the Malaysian government in this matter,” Kumar said. “It could be a couple of days or a couple of weeks. But it would be soon and the nature of our request would also be clear.”

Naik fled India a month before terrorist carried out a massacre at a café in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in July 2016. This week, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister said the Islamic preacher legally obtained permanent residency in the country, and that Malaysian authorities would arrest him only if he broke local laws or was found to be involved in terrorist activities.

Naik’s speeches allegedly inspired some of the militants who carried out the siege at the Holey Artisan Bakery café in Dhaka, where 29 people, including 20 hostages and five gunmen, were killed.

In November 2016, the Indian government banned Naik’s Mumbai-based NGO Islamic Research Foundation, which partly funded the Peace TV channel that is banned in India, Bangladesh and several other countries.

Kumar said because the Indian government had knowledge of Naik’s whereabouts, the legal procedures would be tailored to requirements between the two countries in their extradition treaty.

Advocate challenges charges

“Naik is being hounded because he hails from a minority community. The charges that the investigating agencies are trying to frame are all stale and are hardly incriminating,” advocate S. Hariharan told BenarNews in a phone interview from Delhi.

“The charges lack veracity and would not stand scrutiny in the court of law. We will be challenging the extradition and deportation.”

Last week, the Indian government filed a 61-page charge sheet against Naik alleging he was involved in a criminal conspiracy by lauding terrorist organizations. In April, a non-bailable warrant was issued against him in an alleged case of money laundering through his NGO and a shell company.

In Malaysia meanwhile, the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) has urged the government to ignore any request from India to extradite Zakir Naik, Reuters reported.

“For Muslim individuals, even when they won by using arguments and not weapons, like Dr. Zakir Naik, they are considered terrorists because their arguments cannot be countered,” PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang wrote last week in an opinion piece published in Harakah Daily.(BenarNews)