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NEW DELHI: Stepping up their attack on the Uttar Pradesh government over the Hathras case, Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday accused it of being insensitive and unethical, and said authorities are indulging in victim-blaming instead of putting criminals in jail.

A 19-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras district was allegedly raped and attacked by four men, and she later succumbed to injuries at a Delhi hospital.

The Congress leaders also launched a social media campaign, urging people, especially women, to speak up for the Hathras victim.

“The government’s attitude in the Hathras incident is inhuman and unethical. They are engaged in protecting the criminals rather than helping the victim’s family,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“Let us take one step towards change, let us raise our voice against the injustice being done to women all over the country,” he said in a tweet in Hindi, using the hashtag “SpeakUpForWomenSafety”.

हाथरस घटना में सरकार का रवैया अमानवीय और अनैतिक है। वे पीड़ित परिवार की मदद करने की बजाए अपराधियों की रक्षा करने…

— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) 1602490106000

The former Congress president said a few days ago, before he could reach Hathras, he was stopped by authorities. “I fail to understand, why was I stopped and not allowed to meet with the Hathras victim’s family,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi alleged that the moment he reached the victim’s house and talked to her family, the government started attacking the family.

“It is not the government’s job to help and protect the perpetrators of the crime but send them to jail and help the victim get justice. The Uttar Pradesh government is not doing its job and that is why I am being stopped,” he said in a nearly two-minute video attached with his tweet.

The video clip also shows footage of his visit to Hathras and how he was stopped.

“I want to tell the government to start doing its job of sending the criminals to jail and protect the victims. This is not the story of just one woman, this is the story of lakhs of women in India. Lakhs of women are looking up to the government, which is not doing its work,” Rahul Gandhi said.

“We all need to exert pressure on the government and help change the society, because what is being done to the mothers and daughters in the country is grossly unjust,” he also said.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi said crimes against women are rising and instead of listening to the truth and the voice of the victim women, allegations are levelled against them and they are defamed. “This is the most shameful and cowardly act,” she said.

“But the country’s women will no longer remain silent. If one sister is victimised, then lakhs of others will raise their voice and stand with them. We will now take responsibility for our own safety. Now only women will have to take the responsibility of women safety,” she also said in a tweet in Hindi.

.. एक बहन को दोषी ठहराया तो लाखों बहनें अपनी आवाज बुलंद करेंगी और उनके साथ खड़ी होंगी। हम अपना ज़िम्मा खुद ले रहे…

— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) 1602481925000

महिलाओं पर अपराध बढ़ रहे हैं। इस बीच, पीड़ित महिलाओं की सच्चाई और उनकी आवाज को सुनने की बजाए उन्हीं को बदनाम कराना,…

— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) 1602481924000

The Congress has been on the offensive over the Hathras incident.

The Yogi Adityanath government is fighting severe criticism for its handling of the case, particularly after the local police burnt the woman’s body at night without the family’s approval. However, officials said the cremation was done “as per the wishes of the family”.

The state government has said that some people were trying to foment caste tensions in the aftermath of the incident. Quoting an FSL (forensic science laboratory) report, it has denied the rape charge.

The probe into the case has been taken over by the CBI.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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India calls for complete ceasing of support to terrorist forces in Middle East




UNITED NATIONS: India has called on all concerned parties to completely stop supporting terrorist forces, like the ISIS, while urging all stakeholders in the Middle East to work constructively for peace, stability and development.

India underscored that it has invested considerably in the peace and stability of the region by deploying its personnel as part of UN peacekeeping forces, through humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, capacity building, and will continue contributing towards peace-building in the Middle East.

“India calls on concerned parties to completely stop support to terrorist forces, like ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and others. India also urges all parties in the region to work constructively and in good faith to promote peace, stability and development for the benefit of all people in the Middle East,” India said in a written statement on Monday on the Security Council’s open debate on ‘The Situation in the Middle East’.

India said the truce between Israel and the Hamas has eased the humanitarian situation in Gaza and expressed hope that the temporary truce is converted into a permanent ceasefire, which can save precious human lives on both sides and create a conducive environment for talks.

“It is an unfortunate reality that the interlinked and mutually reinforcing challenges faced by the people of the Middle East have not yet been resolved. Political instability, long-festering conflicts, sectarian divides, issue of refugees and terrorism continue to plague the region. The COVID-pandemic has only exacerbated the threats posed by these challenges,” India said.

The statement made India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador T S Tirumurti, will go as part of the official record of the Council.

India said it appreciates the agreement between Fatah and Hamas for holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections and also elections for the Palestinian National Council, which will help fulfill the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.

India also welcomed the agreements for normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. “India has always supported peace and stability in West Asia, which is our extended neighbourhood,” India said.

Further, India said the commencement of discussions on the disputed border between Israel and Lebanon is a significant development, expressing hope that this will provide an opportunity to resolve the longstanding issue between the two countries.

India highlighted that Palestinian aspirations for a sovereign and independent state are yet to be fulfilled and stressed that New Delhi has been unwavering in its commitment to the Palestinian cause and continues to remain supportive of a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Palestinian issue.

“India has supported the two-state solution as a just and acceptable solution to the conflict. Establishment of a Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel, within mutually agreed borders should be achieved through negotiations directly by the two parties,” India said adding that any stalemate could strengthen the hands of extremists and shut the door to cooperation thereby jeopardising the security, stability and prosperity of the people on both sides and the region.

Accordingly, India urged Israel and Palestine to resume direct negotiations at the earliest and called upon the international community to take concrete steps towards resuming and facilitating these negotiations quickly.

India noted that the decade-long armed conflict in Syria has claimed over 400,000 lives, displaced 6.2 million people internally and compelled another 6.3 million people to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

“While we are heartened to see return of normalcy to major parts of the country, we are also reminded of the enormous resources that would be required to provide urgent humanitarian aid, rebuild infrastructure, enable return of the refugees and restore a normal and dignified life of all Syrians,” the statement said.

India said in the statement that it is not only contributing to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria, but has also consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria.

India voiced concern over the security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and said the recent exchange of prisoners by the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, who had been detained in connection with the conflict, is a welcome development.

“India hopes that the parties will take more confidence building measures to provide the necessary impetus for the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement,” the statement read.

India also hopes for peace and stability in Iraq with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India noted that in the aftermath of the August blast that brought destruction to vast swathes of Beirut and inflicted heavy loss of lives, India stood in solidarity with Lebanon.

New Delhi sent emergency humanitarian aid of over 58 metric tons to Beirut. “We look forward to the swift formation of a new government that can offer political stability and also tackle the grave socio-economic challenges being faced by the people of Lebanon,” the statement said.

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US, India must focus on threat posed by China: Secretary of state Mike Pompeo




NEW DELHI: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Tuesday stressed on the need for Washington and New Delhi to work together to counter the threat posed by Beijing to “security and freedom”

Pompeo’s comment came during the crucial 2+2 dialogue between India and the US, which saw the signing of a crucial defence agreement between the two countries.

“There is much more work to do for sure. We have a lot to discuss today: Our cooperation on the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom to promoting peace and stability throughout the region,” Pompeo said during talks with defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Pompeo was joined by defence secretary Mark Esper.

Esper too focussed on the apparent threat posed by China, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our focus now must be on institutionalising and regularising our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” Esper said.

The comments assume significance as India is locked in a border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.

In June this year, 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of PLA soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, hardening the mood in India against China and driving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to seek closer military ties with the United States.

In the US, President Donald Trump has made being tough on China a key part of his campaign to secure a second term in next week’s presidential election and Pompeo has been trying to bolster allies to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

This month, India invited Australia to join naval drills it holds each year with the United States and Japan, brushing off Chinese concerns that the exercises destabilise the region.

(With inputs from agencies)

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper meet NSA Doval




NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper on Tuesday held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, covering key aspects of growing strategic ties between the two countries.

Issues of strategic importance were discussed at the meeting, sources said.

The meeting took place ahead of the third edition of 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Esper and Pompeo arrived here on Monday for the crucial talks aimed at further boosting the defence and security ties between the two countries.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate talks with their US counterparts on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, both the top US administration officials visited the National War Memorial and paid tributes to India’s fallen heroes.

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