Afghanistan descending into civil war?

News Network
July 8, 2021

London, July 8: The head of Britain's armed forces warned there is the possibility that Afghanistan could be on a path to civil war as American and other foreign troops leave.

Nick Carter, Britain's Chief of the Defence Staff, speaking after it was announced most British soldiers have left Afghanistan, said it was "plausible" that the country's state would collapse without international forces there.

Afghanistan could see a situation like the country's 1990s civil war "where you would see a culture of warlordism and you might see some of the important institutions like security forces fracturing along ethnic, or for that matter, tribal lines," Carter said.

"If that were to happen, I guess the Taliban would control part of the country. But, of course, they would not control all of the country." 

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News Network
September 20,2021

Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday took oath as 16th chief minister of Punjab and he will be the first Dalit leader to head the state. The swearing-in ceremony was held at Governor's house in Chandigarh, Navjot Singh Sidhu and other leaders in attendance.

Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who was earlier tipped to be the Chief Minister, was also sworn in Channi's cabinet. Randhawa will be the Deputy CM. OP Soni, will be the second Deputy CM.

Channi, earlier today, offered prayers at a Gurudwara in Rupnagar before his oath-taking ceremony. Just hours before the event, Congress leader Sunil Jakhar questioned Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat's statement that the party will fight elections under Sidhu.

"On the swearing-in day of Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats’s statement that “elections will be fought under Sidhu", is baffling. It’s likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position," Jakhar tweeted.

On Sunday, Channi was elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) of Punjab.

"It gives me immense pleasure to announce that Charanjit Singh Channi has been unanimously elected as the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party of Punjab," tweeted Congress in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat. Soon after the announcement, Channi met the Punjab Governor and staked claim to form government. Amarinder Singh congratulated Channi on his appointment.

With barely months to go for Assembly polls, Congress' pick assumes significance as Dalits constitute around 30 per cent of the state’s population.

Channi, the three-time legislator from Chamkaur Sahib assembly constituency in Rupnagar district, had joined the Congress in 2012. He held several portfolios in the outgoing Amarinder Singh-led cabinet including technical education.

Bitter infighting rocked the Congress party heading into the polls. At the heart of the crisis were cricketer-turned-politician and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and former CM Captain Amarinder Singh, publicly trading barbs at each other.

The conflict in the Congress' Punjab unit came to a point where it became intenable for Amarinder singh to continue. He stepped down finally on Saturday.

In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Amarinder Singh mentioned his personal anguish over political developments in the past five months and apprehended that the high command's move might cause instability in the state. Singh said he was resigning as he felt humiliated.

Once touted to be in driver's seat to retain power in the upcoming polls, recent developments have split analysts and they are mixed on the Congress' chances going forward. Some say the Congress' Dalit pick is aimed at keeping Sidhu in check and to nullify the impact of Amarinder Singh stepping down. Others see it as a massive jolt to the party and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) gaining at their expense.

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News Network
September 15,2021

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Days after his Taliban-RSS remark sparked a row, screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar said that ‘Hindus are the most tolerant majority in the world’ in Shiv-Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamna’.

In his earlier statement, Akhtar had said that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) were similar to the Taliban in their form of extremism.

Clarifying his remarks, Akhtor wrote, “Actually, in the recent interview, I have said ‘Hindus are the most decent and tolerant majority’ in the world. I have repeated this time and again and also emphasised that India can never become like Afghanistan because Indians by nature are not extremists. It is in their DNA to be moderate, to keep to the middle of the road.”

Further, Akhtar went on to explain what according to him was similar between the Taliban and Hindu right-wing. 

“As a matter of fact, there are a lot of similarities. While the Taliban is forming an Islamic government based on religion, the Hindu right-wing wants a Hindu Rashtra. The Taliban wants to curb women’s rights and put them on the margin, the Hindutva right-wing has also made it clear that they don’t like the freedom of women and girls,” he said.

Akhtar was earlier criticised by the Shiv-Sena for his controversial comment. An editorial in Saamna said that even though Akhtar was secular and spoke against fundamentalism in general, he was completely wrong in comparing the RSS with the Taliban.

In his piece, Akhtar praised Uddhav Thackeray and said that even Thackeray's worst critics could not accuse the chief minister of discrimination and injustice -- so it was beyond his understanding why the Thackeray government might be referred to as ‘Talibani’.

“My detractors have said that while I am criticizing the Hindu right-wing I have never stood against fanatics among the Muslim fold. They have accused me of not saying anything about triple talaq, of not speaking on purdah or any other regressive practice within the Muslim community. I am not surprised at the fact that they are totally unaware of my activities over the years,” he also said.

“Over the past two decades, I have been given police protection twice because of the threats to my life from fanatical Muslims: first, because not only had I vociferously opposed triple talaq when the issue was not on the national radar, but I had, along with an organisation named Muslims for Secular Democracy (MSD), toured several cities across India like Hyderabad, Allahabad, Kanpur and Aligarh and from a variety of public platforms spoken out against this retrograde practice,” he said.

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News Network
September 12,2021

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Ahmadabad, Sept 12: Bhupendra Patel was elected as the new Chief Minister of Gujarat on Sunday. Patel is MLA from Ghatlodia seat. Patel (55) was unanimously elected BJP legislature party leader. His name was proposed by CM Vijay Rupani, whose resignation from the post on Saturday surprised many.

Patel won the 2017 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections from Ghatlodia constituency, defeating Congress candidate Shashikant Patel.

Vijay Rupani (65) resigned on Saturday from the chief minister's post. It is not clear what prompted the development in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, where elections to the 182-member Assembly are due in December next year.

Rupani (65), the fourth chief minister to demit office in BJP-ruled states during the coronavirus pandemic, was sworn in as chief minister – his second stint as CM - in December 2017.

"I have resigned as chief minister of Gujarat,” Rupani told reporters after meeting Governor Acharya Devvrat and submitting his resignation letter.

"I was allowed to serve the state for five years. I have contributed to the development of the state. I will further do whatever is asked by my party,” said Rupani, who completed five years in office on August 7 this year.

He first became the chief minister on August 7, 2016, following the resignation of incumbent Anandiben Patel, and continued in the office after the BJP's victory in the 2017 Assembly elections.

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