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‘Saudi Arabia recognises India’s position on Kashmir, concerns on terror’

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The joint statement issued during the visit of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a very clear recognition of India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir and shows a great deal of sensitivity to India’s concerns on terrorism, sources said here on Thursday.

They said the two-day visit of the Crown Prince that concluded on Wednesday has given tremendous structure to the strategic partnership, built on the solid foundation of the relationship and considerably broadened the relations.

The visit also saw a strong thrust to the Saudi investment and $100 billion has been earmarked for investment opportunities reflecting a strong confidence in India’s growth story, according to the sources.
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On the joint statement issued late Wednesday referring to the need for creating necessary conditions for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, they said Saudi Arabia acknowledged that conditions have to be created for resumption of dialogue with Pakistan and displayed understanding of India’s stand that terror and talks cannot go together.

They said there was recognition that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. There was also an acknowledgement of threats India is facing in terms of terror.

The joint statement issued also said that the Crown Prince appreciated consistent efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since May 2014, including his personal initiatives, to have friendly relations with Pakistan.

There was recognition that the Prime Minister had reached out to the western neighbour but acts of friendship were thwarted by acts of terror.

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The sources said that Strategic Partnership Council, to be chaired by Prime Minister and the Crown Prince, would have two to three ministerial groups looking at specific areas such as defence and security, and economy, trade and investment.

The proposed joint naval exercise could take place in 2019 and could be later extended to Army and Air Force.

On Saudi investments in India, they said it would cover a wide area including infrastructure, refining, petrochemicals, engineering, minerals, tourism and manufacturing.

In all, 11 MoUs were signed in the meeting of business council which was attended by nearly 50 Saudi entities.

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They said that security was identified as a major area of cooperation keeping in mind common threats faced by the two countries.

The statement said that the two sides agreed to constitute a “Comprehensive Security Dialogue” at the level of National Security Advisors and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism to enhance further cooperation in the counter-terrorism efforts and benefit mutually from real-time intelligence sharing.

It said that the two sides agreed to work together with other Indian Ocean Rim countries for enhancing maritime security.

The sources said that Saudi Arabia has also been sensitive to India’s request on prices of crude and has also agreed to requests for release of prisoners and increasing the quota of Haj pilgrims.

It has been sensitive to the predicament of Indians stranded due to closure of a foreign company, they added.

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National commission for women seeks report from UP DGP on Unnao rape case

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Lucknow: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo motu cognisance of the case. In a letter sent to UP DGP O.P. Singh, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma has sought a detailed report of the incident and the action taken.

She has also sought to know what action has been taken against officials who failed to provide protection to the victim.

The NCW has also wanted to know the number of heinous crime cases against women in UP and the number of cases in which the accused had been granted bail in the last three years.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, meanwhile, directed that the cost of the treatment of the victim would be borne by the state government. He directed top police officials to monitor the action being taken in the case and submit their report to him by the evening.

The Samajwadi Party has demanded the resignation of the Yogi government over moral responsibility for the Unnao incident.

Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav also asked the judiciary to take suo moto cognisance of the incident and initiate action. “The government has lost the moral authority to remain in power,” he said.

SP MLC Sunil Kumar Sajan alleged that the accused enjoyed the patronage of BJP leaders.

The victim had been gang raped by the accused in December last year but the FIR was registered in Rae Bareli only in March this year on the intervention of a local court.

On Thursday morning, when the victim was on her way to Rae Bareli district court for the hearing of her case, she was attacked by the accused and set ablaze.

In Lucknow, the victim gave a statement to Sub Divisional Magistrate Dayashankar Pathak saying that Hari Shankar Dwiwedi, Shubham Dwiwedi, Shivam Dwiwedi, Ram Kishore Trivedi and Umesh Bajpai had attacked her and set her afire.

After she was set on fire, she tried to run and some villagers saw her and came to her aid, the police said.

She further alleged that Shivam and Shubham Dwiwedi had abducted and raped her in December 2018. However, the FIR was registered in March this year.

S.K. Bhagat, Inspector General, Lucknow Zone, said: “In her FIR, the woman said one of the accused was in a relationship with her in 2018 but he physically exploited her after luring her with a marriage proposal. Later, he refused to get married and raped the woman with another friend.”

UP DGP O.P. Singh said: “Our first priority is to save the woman. The criminal justice system has three-four compartments but we do not work like that. I do not want to blame anyone. The fact is that we did arrest one of the accused. I will get more facts on the case but I am sure that the local police would have opposed the bail application of the rape accused.”

The DGP described the incident as unfortunate and said that every effort would be made to save the rape survivor.

The victim has suffered 90 per cent burns and doctors say that her survival would be a “miracle”. The two rape accused had been released on bail on November 30.

The incident took place in Hindu Nagar village under Bihar police station of Unnao where the minor had been gang raped in March.

The rape survivor was on her way for hearing in her court case when she was accosted by the accused. They took her to a secluded spot, doused her with kerosene and set her ablaze.

Seeing the girl in flames, panic stricken villagers informed the police which first took the rape survivor to the district hospital from where she was referred to the trauma centre of King Goerge Medical University in Lucknow.

Reacting to this fresh case of rape, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Chief Minister for lying regarding the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.

In a tweet, she said, “Seeing such incidents occur on a daily basis saddens one’s heart. BJP leaders should now come out of their false propaganda.”

It may be recalled that last year, another rape case of a minor in Unnao had hit national headlines.

A minor girl had been gang raped in 2017 reportedly by former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and his associates. The case was not registered. The rape survivor’s father was implicated in a false case and died of beating in police custody.

Following a public outcry, the Allahabad High Court had ordered a CBI probe and Sengar was arrested.

In July this year the rape survivor’s car was mysterious hit by a truck, killing two of her aunts and seriously injuring her and her lawyer. Both were airlifted to AIIMS on court orders.

Following this the Supreme Court transferred the case to Delhi and ordered for a safe home for the rape survivor and her family. Sengar is now lodged in Tihar jail.

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