Monday October 22, 2018
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Disappointed US wants India, Pakistan to resume talks soon

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Washington: Expressing disappointment over the cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan, the US has said it would just encourage the two countries to resume a formal dialogue soon.

pakistan-india-flag-l“We were encouraged by the early constructive interaction between the leaders of India and Pakistan earlier this year,” in Russia, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday. “We’re disappointed that the talks didn’t happen,” he said. “We just encourage India and Pakistan to resume a formal dialogue soon.”

Scheduled talks between National Security Advisers Sartaj Aziz of Pakistan and Ajit Doval of India were called off over Islamabad’s insistence on raising Kashmir and meeting Pakistani separatist leaders instead of focusing on terrorism as India wanted.

“As we’ve said, the issues are important; we recognize that. The tensions in the region are significant; we recognize that,” Kirby said.

“And we believe it’s important for leaders of both countries to resume this dialogue and discussion and to try to come to some resolution,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of talks between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Indian and Pakistani counterparts during the UN General Assembly session next month, Kirby declined to give a definitive answer.

“I think you can expect that his dance card will be pretty full,” he said. “He’ll have a very ambitious agenda of meetings and discussions.”

“And as to whether or not the leaders of India and Pakistan will use the opportunity to further discuss, I’d point you to them,” Kirby said.

“What we’ve said and I want to repeat is that these are issues for the two to resolve together,” he added. The US wants “both nations to sit down and hammer out the issues between them.”

“Some of them have to do with violent extremism and some of them don’t; we understand that,” Kirby said. “But these are issues that the two parties have got to work out.”

The US “position about terrorism and the threat that it continues to pose around the world remains the same,” Kirby said.

“And the United States will stay committed to countering violent extremism using all the elements of national power and international cooperation that we can.”

Asked if the US saw a role for itself in resolving issues between India and Pakistan, Kirby said the US position on tension in Kashmir “has not changed, that this is an issue that India and Pakistan need to resolve.”

“When it comes to countering terrorism around the world, obviously the United States plays a role and we want everybody to play a role in that.”

“But when you’re asking me about these particular tensions, we’re disappointed that the talks didn’t occur and we would like to see them resume.

Asked if the US would make any effort to restart the stalled talks, Kirby repeated: “This is an issue for India and Pakistan to come together and to resolve, and we’ve been very clear about that.”

(IANS)

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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)