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At Heart of Asia (HoA) Conference in Amritsar, India likely to step up efforts to corner Pakistan due to its State-sponsored Terrorism

Pakistan's tribal region along the border of Afghanistan has been accused of being a "haven for terrorists"

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An Indian cricket fan is joined by others as he waves the Indian flag outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium, the venue of first Twenty20 cricket match between India and Pakistan, in Bangalore, India, December 25, 2012. VOA
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Amritsar, Dec 3, 2016: With the rise in tension with Pakistan followed by another attack on an army base, India most likely will come up with strategies to make efforts to diplomatically handle the situation and deploy support for action against state-sponsored terrorism at the Heart of Asia conference scheduled in Amritsar from tomorrow.

After experiencing an increase in the attacks from terror groups based in Pakistan, Afghanistan is ready to urge for a counter-terrorism framework via a binding commitment at the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process. The HoA Istanbul Process is a platform provided since 2011 to assist the war-stricken country of Afghanistan during its transition, mentioned PTI.

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Important challenges including terror groups and ways to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan will be scrutinized by top officials of the 14 member countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will inaugurate the main conference on Sunday together where these two countries are likely to corner Pakistan on terror.

According to PTI, Pakistan will be represented by Pakistan Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz and all will be hoping to witness an Indo-Pak bilateral meeting. Preceding Aziz’s arrival India said that the cross-border terrorism will not be accepted in the bilateral ties with Pakistan and Aziz pointed out that talk cannot be conducted when surrounded by terror.

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India attempted to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the attack in Uri on an army establishment and is likely to push it further at the Heart of Asia conference. According to PTI, India called Pakistan the “mother ship” of global terrorism at the BRICS summit, Goa in October.

Amritsar, not being very far from the Indo-Pak border is stocked up and multiple layers of security has been placed. The Indo-Pak border in Punjab is under heavy surveillance.

The major focus will obviously be dealing with terrorism because both India and Afghanistan rendered the terror emerging from Pakistan the greatest threat to peace and stability.

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The representatives from over 40 countries including USA, China, Russia and Iran attending the conference will discuss the framework for effective counter-terrorism proposed by Afghanistan.

In the absence of the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is ill, the Indian delegation will be led by the Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley.

-prepared by Shivam Thaker of NewsGram with PTI inputs. Twitter: @Shivam_Thaker

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)