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Seychelles President to hold talks with PM Modi; defence, security ties high on agenda

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Seychelles President

New Delhi | Seychelles President Danny Faure, who is on his first bilateral visit to India, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi today and review the wide-ranging cooperation between the two countries, including in the fields of defence and security.

Faure, who arrived in Delhi on Sunday after visiting Ahmedabad and Goa, was received by Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar.

“Connected by ‘SAGAR’ Security and Growth for All in the Region ! President of Seychelles Danny Antoine Rollen Faure warmly received by MoS @mjakbar at Delhi airport on his first bilateral visit to India,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Faure landed in Gujarat Friday as part of his six-day India tour. He visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Saturday, where Mahatma Gandhi lived between 1917 and 1930.

Faure also visited the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIMA), where he held a meeting with the institute’s director, Errol D’Souza. The visit comes just days after Faure said a joint project with New Delhi to develop a naval base at Assumption Island in his country would not move forward.

There has been growing political opposition in Seychelles to an agreement it signed with India in 2015 to develop a naval facility at the island which would have given New Delhi a strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean Region. During the visit, Faure will also visit Uttarakhand.

Faure’s state visit, part of regular high-level exchanges between India and Seychelles, will accord an opportunity to review wide-ranging bilateral cooperation including in the fields of defence and security and development partnership, the MEA had earlier said.

At a press conference on June 4, Faure had said Seychelles will develop military facilities at the island on its own and that the project with India “will not move forward”.

He had also said the issue would not be discussed with the Indian leadership during his visit to New Delhi.

India was keen on developing the Assumption Island as a naval base to expand its footprint in the strategically-key region where China has been trying to enhance its military presence.

The agreement on the Assumption Island between India and Seychelles was first signed in 2015 during Modi’s visit to that country. An updated version of the original deal was finalised by the two sides earlier this year.

However, opposition leaders in Seychelles came out openly against the agreement after the original document as well as the revised version of it surfaced online in March.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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