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India lodges protest with Pakistan over harassment of officials, denial of access to pilgrims

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New Delhi | India on Friday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the alleged harassment of Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad and the denial of access to Indian Sikh pilgrims visiting that country.

The Ministry of External Affairs said consular officials of the Indian High Commission were “harassed and denied access” to meet Indian pilgrims at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib and Gurudwara Sacha Sauda on November 21 and 22. It said the access was denied despite the Pakistan Foreign Ministry granting them prior travel permission.

In a statement, the MEA said India has also expressed grave concern at the reports of attempts being made during the ongoing visit of the Indian pilgrims to Pakistan, “to incite communal disharmony and intolerance and promote secessionist tendencies with the objective of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. There were reports that pro-Khalistani banners were shown to the Indian pilgrims in Pakistan.

It said Pakistan has been called upon to take all measures to not allow its territory to be used for any “hostile propaganda” and support for “secessionist tendencies” against India.

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Shakitikanta Das to be the new RBI governor

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Shakitikanta Das

New Delhi | Former Economic Affairs Secretary Shakikanta Das is likely to be the next Reserve Bank of India Governor after the resignation of Urjit Patel on December 10.

Shaktikanta Das, a retired 1980 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of Tamil Nadu cadre was the member of the Fifteenth Finance Commission of India, and India’s Sherpa to G20. Das also worked as Union Economic Affairs Secretary, Union Revenue Secretary, Union Fertilizers Secretary, special secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Finance and as a joint secretary in the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance in the Indian government.

Earlier Urjit Patel on December 10 resigned from the post of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor. Patel’s three year team was to end in September 2019. Patel is also the first RBI governor to resign since 1990.

Submitting his resignation, Urjit Patel cited personal reasons and stepped down with immediate effect. He said, “On account of personal reasons, I have decided to step down from my current position effective immediately. It has been my privilege and honour to serve in the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities over the years,” Urjit Patel said in a statement. “The support and hard work of RBI staff, officers and management has been the proximate driver of the Bank’s considerable accomplishments in recent years. I take this opportunity to express gratitude to my colleagues and Directors of the RBI Central Board, and wish them all the best for the future,” he added.

 

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Four policemen killed by terrorists in J-K’s Shopian; weapons snatched

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Jaish-e-Mohammed

Srinagar | Four policemen were killed on Tuesday when Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists attacked a guard post outside a minority pocket in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, officials said.

The attack took place this afternoon when four policemen were sitting in a pre-fabricated room outside the pocket that houses six Kashmiri Pandit families.

A senior police official said that six Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were led by former Special Police Officer Adil Bashir, who deserted in October and decamped eight weapons from a PDP legislator.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the police officer said that militants fired indiscriminately, killing three policemen on the spot and critically injuring one.

The injured policeman was rushed to an Army hospital, where he also succumbed to injuries, the official said.

The deceased have been identified as Anees Ahmad, Hamidullah, Mehraj ud Din and Abdul Majeed.

At the time of the incident, only one family was present at the minority pocket.

Immediately after the shootout, the terrorists fled with three Self Loading Rifles (SLRs) of the policemen, the official said, adding a cordon and search operation has been launched to nab the criminals.

The official said that an intercept had been received in which it was clear that Jaish-e-Mohammed, a banned terrorist organisation, was behind the barbaric act.

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PM Modi may visit Tripura in Feb to inaugurate projects: Officials

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Narendra Modi

Agartala | Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Tripura in February to inaugurate several development projects, including an upgraded cancer centre, a government official said. The regional centre, which offers treatment to more than 2,000 cancer patients annually, is set to have a new building and modern equipment, he said.

According to government reports, 3,786 patients succumbed to cancer between 2013 and 2016 in the state.

Sanjoy Mishra, the media adviser to chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb, said a high-level meeting was convened Monday to review progress in the cancer hospital project. “The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit Tripura in February to inaugurate several developmental projects. The newly built building at the cancer centre is one of them. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Monday reviewed the progress of the construction work at the centre,” Mishra said.

Chief Secretary LK Gupta, Public Works Department (PWD) secretary Manoj Kumar, and Health and Family Welfare secretary Samarjit Bhowmik were among those who attended Monday’s meeting, he said. “The CM would be visiting New Delhi tomorrow (Wednesday) and meet the prime minister to discuss various issues, including the inauguration of the cancer hospital building,” Mishra told reporters.

According to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (2016-17), 40 percent of all cancer patients in the northeast suffer from head and neck malignancy, mainly caused by tobacco consumption.

Tripura tops in tobacco use in the region with 64.5 percent patients in the state admitting to nicotine consumption, the report added.

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