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Shiv Sena says no to Pakistani artistes till peace on border

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Mumbai, Oct 8 : The youth wing of the Shiv Sena on Thursday said it won’t be proper to host shows by Pakistani artistes in India as long as tensions continued on the India-Pakistan borders.

“We are admirers of Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali and listen to his music… But we cannot permit his concert here in view of the killings perpetrated by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists on our borders,” Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray told the media.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural of Jain International Trade Organisations Games.

Justifying the Shiv Sena’s opposition to Ghulam Ali concerts scheduled later this week in Maharashtra, Thackeray claimed the move was in support of Indian armed forces that were “grappling terror on the borders”.

“Instead of providing security to Ghulam Ali, it is more important to enhance security for our countrymen and on our borders,” he said, referring to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ assurance on providing full security to the Pakistani maestro in the state.

Thackeray’s reactions came a day after the Shiv Sena’s film wing, Chitrapat Sena, issued threats against the Ghulam Ali concert in Mumbai on Friday and in Pune on Saturday.

The events were planned as part of a tribute to the Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary.

Even as Fadnavis promised adequate security to Ghulam Ali, the event organisers met Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and decided to cancel Ghulam Ali’s participation in the commemorative programmes.

“The programmes will be held as per the schedule but Ghulam Ali will not participate. This decision was taken at a meeting between event organisers and Uddhav Thackeray,” Chitrapat Sena general secretary Akshay Bardapurkar told IANS after the meeting late Wednesday.

“We respect the art and artistes of Pakistan. However, we are strongly against any form of cultural association with that country since it regularly kills our soldiers and civilians in attacks from across the borders,” said Chitrapat Sena president and Marathi actor Aadesh Bandekar.

He had warned of protests not only in Mumbai and Pune but wherever Ghulam Ali, 75, performed in the country.

In the past, the Shiv Sena had protested against Pakistani singer Atif Aslam’s concert and against Pakistan cricket team playing in India.

On Tuesday, the Shiv Sena, through its mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, urged the central government to attack Pakistan in retaliation to the cross-border attacks on Indian solders and civilians.

(IANS)

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US Restricts Visas for Cambodians ‘Undermining Democracy’

As a response to anti-democratic actions, Trump administration restrict VISA for Cambodians

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Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attends a ceremony at the Angkor Wat temple to pray for peace and stability in Cambodia, Dec. 3, 2017.

The Trump administration announced Wednesday it will restrict visas for Cambodians “undermining democracy” in the Southeast Asian nation following the dissolution of the main opposition party and a crackdown on independent media.

The State Department said it was a direct response to “anti-democratic actions” by the Cambodian government but did not disclose which individuals would be affected. It said visa records are confidential under U.S. law.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert called on the Cambodian government to reinstate the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party, which was dissolved by Supreme Court order last month, and free its leader Kem Sokha, imprisoned since September. She also urged Cambodia to allow civil society and media to operate freely.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who has held power for more than three decades, has sought to neutralize political opponents and silence critics ahead of national elections next year. Kem Sokha has been charged with trying to topple the government with U.S. support, which Washington has said is a baseless accusation.

Supporters of Kem Sokha, leader of the Cambodia National Rescue Party, stand outside the Appeal Court during a bail hearing for the jailed opposition leader in Phnom Penh, Cambodia Sept. 26, 2017.

Nauert said Cambodia’s actions run counter to the Paris Peace Agreements of 1991. The United States and 18 other governments signed the accords, which ushered in democracy after the genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970s, then occupation by Vietnam and civil war.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will restrict entry into the United States of “those individuals involved in undermining democracy in Cambodia,” Nauert said in a statement, adding that in certain circumstances, family members of those individuals will also be subject to visa restrictions. The department cited a provision of U.S. immigration law under which individuals can be denied entry if the secretary determines it would have “adverse foreign policy consequences.”

The White House has already terminated U.S. support of Cambodia’s national election committee, saying last month that the July 2018 vote “will not be legitimate, free or fair.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and take additional steps as necessary, while maintaining our close and enduring ties with the people of Cambodia,” Nauert said.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivers remarks during a press availability at NATO in Brussels, Belgium, Dec. 6, 2017.

​Monovithya Kem, an opposition spokeswoman currently in the U.S., welcomed the visa restrictions and called for targeted financial sanctions on senior officials in Hun Sen’s government. Kem, who is the daughter of Kem Sokha, urged the U.S., Japan, Australia and the European Union to coordinate responses to the “crisis” in Cambodia and help win her father’s freedom.

Like many prominent opposition figures, Kem has fled Cambodia as she fears arrest.

Hun Sen has been in office since 1985 and has held a tight grip on power since ousting a co-prime minister in a bloody 1997 coup.

In recent months, the government has intensified restrictions on civil society groups and independent media outlets. In September, it shut down the English-language Cambodia Daily. Authorities have shuttered radio stations that aired programming from U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, whose reports they allege are biased.

The government also expelled the U.S. National Democratic Institute, which helped train political parties and election monitors, accusing it of colluding with its opponents.

Hun Sen has moved Cambodia closer to China in recent years and become increasingly critical of Washington. However, he’s been complimentary of President Donald Trump.

Speaking at Asian leaders’ summit attended by Trump last month, Hun Sen praised the U.S. leader for non-interference in affairs of other nations, but complained the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia was not adhering to the policy. (VOA)

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