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- KM Shaji suggested the Islamic fundamentalists command “money power”, which they have been using to publish and circulate a huge amount of objectionable literature in Kerala
- The IUML has long been a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which lost power in the state to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) earlier this year
- He said he organised a similar exercise about a decade ago when he was the president of the Muslim Youth League, a wing of the IUML
Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) legislator KM Shaji said he has reported 10 cases of threats that were made to him for the strongly progressive stand he has been taking against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in Kerala.
“There are 10 cases that I myself have given on the threats that I have received. I have even given the telephone numbers from which the calls have come, but surprisingly no action has been forthcoming. Does this not show that they do have influence?” Shaji told IANS.
He suggested the Islamic fundamentalists command “money power”, which they have been using to publish and circulate a huge amount of objectionable literature in Kerala.
“You would not believe the amount of literature that is being circulated in the state, and the police should conduct a raid,” said Shaji, who is one of the 18 IUML legislators in the Kerala assembly.
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The IUML has long been a constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which lost power in the state to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) earlier this year.
Shaji said “a strong intervention” of the state government and the Centre is required if there is any truth in media reports that 21 people from Kerala have joined the Islamic State (IS), a UN-designated terrorist group headquartered in Syria.
“The first move to tackle this has to come from the Kerala government, but it remains to be seen if they will do it in the way it should be done, as to some extent there is a vote bank politics in it and they are taking on a section that has the money power with them,” he said.
Shaji’s colleague in the IUML and the assembly, C Mammootty, told IANS that it is for the people who have reportedly joined the IS to explain what they are up to.
“The creed of Islam is spread through the mind and not through the tongue. We can discuss on why they left, but the answer has to be given by them,” said Mammootty, who identifies himself as a devout Muslim.
He said a “true Muslim” will never indulge in terrorist or extremist activities and will never join the IS.
“What is probably happening is vested interests are behind this and religion is being used as a tool,” said Mammootty, adding that the message of Prophet Mohammed has to be spread and never forced upon.
“What the IS is doing is anti-Islam and forced conversion will never help,” said Mammootty.
Shaji also said the IUML is bringing together a number of organisations to discuss the issue of radicalisation of Muslim youths in Kerala and the appeal that the IS holds for them.
“This is being done to first form a common platform to find out views of all and then to discuss on why these things are happening here,” he said.
He said he organised a similar exercise about a decade ago when he was the president of the Muslim Youth League, a wing of the IUML.
A number of organisations dominated by Muslims have been invited by the IUML for the proposed meeting, which is expected to take place as soon as the ongoing Kerala assembly session ends.
They include the Indian National League, People’s Democratic Party (led by Abdul Nasser Madani), Welfare Party of India, National Secular Conference, Social Democratic Party of India (led by A Saeed), and the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the assembly on July 11 that 21 Muslim youths from the state had gone missing “over the last one month” and that “the state government is committed to take stern action against any kind of terror activities”.
Muslims account for 26.56% of Kerala’s population and are perceived to be well-placed both economically and politically. (IANS)
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.