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Only 3.5 lakh out of 40 lakh so far apply for inclusion in NRC: sources

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Guwahati | About 3.5 lakh people, out of the total 40 lakh, who were excluded in the draft National Register of Citizens (NRC), have claimed that they are Indian nationals, two months after the window opens for claims and objections in the Supreme Court-monitored exercise, sources said Sunday.

Besides, less than 100 applications have been received by the authorities challenging the inclusion of the names of suspected illegal immigrants in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents. So far, about 3.5 lakh people have submitted applications for inclusion of their names in the NRC and they have submitted relevant documents claiming that they are Indian citizens, a source privy to the development said.

The issue of low turnout in the claims and objections period was also discussed at Saturday’s high-level meeting in New Delhi attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Director of Intelligence Bureau Rajiv Jain, among others.

The Supreme Court has also finalised a set of standard operating procedure (SOP) for disposal of claims and objections in the updation of the NRC. The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people out of the total applications of 3.29 crore. There has been a huge controversy over exclusion of 40 lakh people from the draft NRC.

Following a directive of the Supreme Court, the process of filing claims and objections to the draft NRC began on September 25 and it will come to an end on December 15.

Initially, the apex court had allowed the claimants to rely on any of the 10 documents — land documents, permanent residential certificate issued from outside the state, passport, Life Insurance Corporation of India policy, any licence or certificate issued by any government authority.

Document showing service or employment under the government or public sector undertaking, bank or post office accounts, birth certificates issued by a competent authority, educational certificate issued by boards or universities and records or processes pertaining to court provided they are part of processing in a judicial or revenue court. However, on November 1, the court allowed five additional documents to reply upon for inclusion of names in the NRC. The additional papers are — 1951 NRC, electoral roll up to March 24, 1971, citizenship certificate, refugee registration certificate and ration card.

For the claims and objections process, forms are available in 2,500 ‘Seva Kendras’ in Assam, where people can file their appeal in their respective areas, another source said. People can file corrections to their names that are in the draft and also raise objections against suspected foreigners.

The update of the NRC, the massive exercise to identify genuine Indian nationals living in Assam, excluded over 40 lakh people from the draft list published on July 30, creating a huge political controversy. The exercise is aimed at identifying illegal immigrants in the state that borders Bangladesh was carried out only in Assam, which faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century. When the NRC was first prepared in Assam way back in 1951, the state had 80 lakh citizens then.

As per the 2011 census, Assam’s total population is over 3.11 crore. The process of identification of illegal immigrants in Assam has been widely debated and become a contentious issue in the state’s politics. A six-year agitation demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants was launched by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) in 1979.

It culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985, in the presence of then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi

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Rafale steals the show at Aero India

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Bengaluru | Political row hit Rafale jet was the cynosure of all eyes as the breathtaking display of manoeuvres by military aircraft and the aerobatic team cast a spell at Aero India, Asia’s premier air show here on Wednesday.

The city’s skies dazzled with somersaults and stunts by the metal birds, which also paid tributes to the Surya Kiran aircraft pilot killed in a mishap during rehearsal on Tuesday.

The might of the Rafale jet was in full flow as it roared into the skies at the Yelahanka air base, the venue for the event, giving a dazzling display with breathtaking manoeuvres.

The Rafale aircraft flew at low speed to pay tribute to Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi who died in a mid-air collision between two aircraft of IAF’s aerobatics team ‘Surya Kiran” during rehearsal on Tuesday.

Three Rafale jets have landed in Bengaluru for Aero India- two for flying and one on static display.

Rafale has been participating in the Aero India shows since 2011.

India has signed an Inter-Government Agreement with France to purchase 36 Rafales– to form two squadrons.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been carrying on a sustained campaign against the Modi government on Rafale, accusing it of favouring Anil Ambani’s firm as an offset partner and saying it was crony capitalism.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in Parliament recently revealed that the Rafale deal negotiated by the NDA government to procure 36 fighter jets was 2.86 per cent cheaper than the UPA’s 2007 offer.

The Jaguar, Tejas and Sukhoi 30 aircraft flew in the ‘missing man’ (aerial salute) formation in honour of Gandhi.

Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat, Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba were also present.

Thebiennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition – Aero India 2019 was inaugurated by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Enthralling stunts were performed by Sarang aerobatics teams with daredevil crosses and spins, that has been the mainstay of the Aero India for many editions.

The air display began with vintage Dakota aircraft, followed by formations of Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv and Light Utility Helicopter, DO-228, Hawk and HTT40 aircrafts.

Then came the flypast and thrilling manoeuvres by MIG 21, Sarang team, Saras PT1, Embraer along with Sukhoi, Boeing P8I, LCA Tejas, HTT40, Sukhoi Su-30MKI, LUH, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Airbus 330 and the mighty B-52 Stratofortress bomber, among others.

LCA also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who named it as Tejas, by performing certain sets of manoeuvres.

On static display among other things at the air show are HAL’s Light Utility Helicopter(PT-1), Light Combat Helicopter (TD-2), Advanced Light Helicopter (Rudra) and ALH MICU (Medical Intensive CareUnit).

The Aero India official website said a total of 61 aircraft would be on display and 403 exhibitors would be part of the show.

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Vande Bharat Express hits motorcycle, no damage: Railways

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New Delhi | The Vande Bharat Express hit a motorcycle near Allahabad on its third commercial run on Wednesday, the railways said, adding that no one was injured in the incident.

The incident occurred hours after stones were hurled at the train near Tundla in Uttar Pradesh in the morning.

The incident took place near Phaphamau, around 42 km from Allahabad.

“The train hit a motorcycle, which was abandoned by its owner on the tracks as he saw the train approaching while illegally trespassing on the tracks. While the vehicle has completely been damaged, the Vande Bharat Express suffered none. No one was injured and the train will run as per schedule,” Northern Railway Spokesperson Deepak Kumar said.

The train, made indigenously at a cost of around Rs 97 crore, has been plagued by issues since its trial runs commenced in November last year. It had suffered damage to its window panes when stones were hurled on it on two occasions previously.

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India, Saudi agree on need for increasing pressure on countries supporting terror: PM Modi

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New Delhi| India and Saudi Arabia agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressure on countries supporting terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday after holding talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Prime Minister Modi and the Saudi Crown Prince explored ways to further deepen strategic ties against the backdrop of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack.

The barbaric terror attack in Pulwama last week is a cruel symbol of the scourge spread over the world by this anti-humanitarian danger, Modi said in his press statement with Salman by his side.

“In order to deal effectively with this threat, we agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressure on the countries supporting terrorism in any manner,” Modi said, without naming Pakistan.

He asserted that destroying the terror infrastructure and punishing terrorists as well as their supporters was “very important”.

Prime Minister Modi also called for a strong action plan for combating extremism and so that the powers spreading violence and terror cannot mislead the youth.

The Saudi Crown Prince, in his press statement, said his country will cooperate with India in tackling terrorism, including by intelligence sharing.

The crown prince arrived here on a less than 30-hour visit Tuesday night, a day after concluding his high-profile tour of Pakistan where he said the dialogue was the only way to resolve “outstanding issues” between India and Pakistan.

In a special gesture, Modi received Salman at the airport here, signifying the importance India attaches to the visit by the leader of the Gulf nation.

In a joint statement, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday called for avoiding “politicisation” of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up efforts to brand the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group’s chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.

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