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‘Persecution of Setalvad accompanied by deliberate weakening of prosecution cases’

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New Delhi: The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat) on Wednesday expressed solidarity with social activist Teesta Setalvad and said the CBI raid on her house and office was a “shocking instance of misuse of government machinery”.

In a statement, the Sahmat said the “obvious” reason for this was that Setalvad has been at the forefront of the struggle to bring to justice those guilty of the “Gujarat genocide of 2002”.

“It cannot escape notice that persecution of Setalvad is accompanied by a deliberate weakening of the prosecution cases or overnight withdrawals of cases against those who have been accused of heinous crimes,” it said.

The timing of the raid was all the more “suspect as the Zakia Jafri case begins its final hearings on July 27, and the Naroda Patiya appeals are being heard in the Gujarat High Court starting today”.

Sahmat said it was time for all supporters of civil liberty and the rule of law to stand up for Setalvad and her colleagues, and “condemn without reservation the conduct of the Narendra Modi government”.

The CBI on Tuesday searched four premises of Setalvad and her publishing firm in Mumbai in connection with a case of alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) norms and receiving foreign funds without government sanction.

It searched the premises belonging to Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand, Gulam Mohammed Peshimam and the offices of her firm Sabrang Communications and Publishing Pvt. Ltd. (SCPPL) in Mumbai.

On July 8, the CBI registered a case against them in New Delhi, invoking various sections of the Indian Penal Code and FCRA.

(IANS)

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Oli Assures Modi, Nepal’s Territory Won’t Be Used Against India’s Interests

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

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Gokhale said that Modi's two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations
KP Sharma Oli, PM of Nepal, wikimedia commons

Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has told his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Nepal’s territory will not be used against New Delhi’s interests, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said here on Saturday.

“Oli reiterated that they will be sensitive to our concerns and their territory will not be allowed to be used by anybody against India. Prime Minister Modi reciprocated the sentiments,” Gokhale told the media.

Gokhale called Oli’s view “very significant”.

There was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint as Prime Minister between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning towards China than India.

Gokhale said that Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal was aimed to strengthen bilateral relations “whether it be cross-border electricity or cross-border connectivity”.

“We are looking into cross-border electricity and cross-border connectivity not only with Nepal but other neighbouring countries as well,” he said.

After assuming office in February, Oli made his first foreign visit to India in April.

Stating that India welcomed the restoration of democracy in Nepal, Gokhale said that both the government and the opposition in the Himalayan nation were parties to it.

He said both sides agreed to be committed towards the stated projects. “We will address this within a set timeline.”

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of service to others in his last Mann Ki Baat edition for 2017.
Modi is on Nepal visit for two days, wikimedia commons

According to Gokhale, Oli confirmed to Modi that Nepal will host the the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) summit this year.

Bimstec comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Gokhale also said that Modi’s visits to cultural sites in Nepal “suggested that there should be strong people-to-people ties”.

Apart from offering prayers at temples in Nepal, the Indian leader inaugurated the Janakpur-Ayodhya bus service, a 900 MW hydropower project and announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city.

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He also held extensive discussions with Oli, President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and other government officials to better bilateral ties after which he said: “All misunderstandings with Nepal are over.”

Modi also met leaders of opposition parties, starting with former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and other members of the Nepali Congress.

He exchanged views on strengthening bilateral ties with former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”. (IANS)