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Madrid election: Isabel Díaz Ayuso re-elected in bitter Spanish vote

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Madrid election: Isabel Díaz Ayuso re-elected in bitter Spanish vote


While Ms Ayuso has described the vote as a choice between “socialism or freedom”, her opponent Pablo Iglesias, from the left-wing Unidos Podemos (United We Can), has spoken of a choice between “democracy or fascism”, highlighting the potential involvement of the far-right Vox party in a future Madrid government.



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Sonia Gandhi Took Note Of Our View On Congress’s Election Defeat: Shiv Sena

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Sonia Gandhi Took Note Of Our View On Congress’s Election Defeat: Shiv Sena


Sonia Gandhi Took Note Of Our View On Congress’s Election Defeat: Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena also said the Congress will have to function as a “strong opposition party in future”

Mumbai:

The Shiv Sena on Wednesday said Maharashtra Congress leaders may say that they do not read Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’, but Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had taken note of its article which asked why her party could not defeat the incumbent governments in Assam and Kerala.

An editorial in the Marathi publication also sought to know who was responsible for the lack of grass-root leadership in the Congress, whose history dates back to the freedom struggle.

It also said the Congress will have to function as a “strong opposition party in future”.

The Congress suffered a drubbing at the hands of the ruling BJP in Assam and the LDF in Kerala during the recently held Assembly polls in the two states.

Notably, Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole recently said he has stopped reading ‘Saamana’ and the Shiv Sena should not comment his party and its leadership.

However, the Marathi daily on Wednesday said, “Sonia Gandhi asked why the Congress could not defeat the incumbent governments in Assam and Kerala despite putting up a good fight. The same question was asked through this column in ‘Saamana’.”

If senior Congress leaders have read the editorial and put across the feedback from the grass-root level to Sonia Gandhi, “it is good”, said the Sena, which shares power in Maharashtra with the NCP and Congress.

It said Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, and new Chief Ministers of Assam (Himanta Biswa Sarma) and Puducherry (N Rangawamy) are all former Congress leaders.

“These three had to quit the Congress and then they emerged as strong leaders,” the editorial noted.

It said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was putting up a lonely fight against the BJP and despite facing severe criticism, he always puts forth his point.

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Rahul Gandhi criticised the Centre on several points and also made suggestions. After criticising him severely, the government had taken decisions on the suggestions made by him,” the editorial claimed.

The Sena said Rahul Gandhi is the Congress’ “senapati” (commander)and his attacks on the government are specific and to the point, it added.

The editorial further said the Congress will have to function as a strong opposition party in future.

It claimed that there was “anger” among people against the central government on issues like unemployment, economic crisis, inflation, and its handling of the COVID-19 situation.

“At this time, all main opposition parties will have to come down from ‘Twitter’ branches to the political ground…coming on the ground doesn’t mean inviting crowds (at the time of the pandemic), but to question the government every day and hold it accountable,” the Sena said.

The Congress should take the lead and Sonia Gandhi must be wanting to give the same message. She is still the Congress president and it is important to take note of her views, it said.

The editorial also noted that the election of Congress president has been postponed for the third time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though there may not be a full-time president, a party functions on the strength of its grass-root cadre,” it said.
 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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Why East Jerusalem has become a flashpoint in the decades-old Israel-Palestine conflict

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Why East Jerusalem has become a flashpoint in the decades-old Israel-Palestine conflict



Weeks of tensions between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem have boiled over in recent days, unleashing some of the worst violence between Israel and the Palestinians in years.

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have left 30 Palestinians dead, including ten children, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promising not to ease up anytime soon. Palestinians militants, meanwhile, have launched hundreds of missiles into Israel, killing three people.

Ostensibly, the rocket launches by Hamas were a response to Israeli police storming the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, one of the holiest nights of the year for Muslims. The incident injured hundreds over the weekend.

Hamas then issued an ultimatum demanding Israeli forces withdraw from the compound – the third holiest site in Islam, part of which comprises the Wailing Wall – by a specific deadline. When Israel refused, Hamas’s military wing followed through on its threat by firing rockets toward Jerusalem, forcing Israeli lawmakers to flee parliament.

Jerusalem divided

Beyond the mosque confrontation, though, there are broader historical and political factors at work.

Monday’s airstrikes fell on Jerusalem Day, when Israeli Jews celebrate the “reunification” of Jerusalem following the Six-Day War of 1967. As the ongoing unrest demonstrates, the city is far from unified.

Adding to the tensions, thousands of Jewish ultra-nationalists had planned to march through Palestinian-dominated East Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day as a demonstration of Jewish sovereignty over the entire city.

Israeli police changed the route at the last moment, partly due to the increasingly violent clashes between security forces and Palestinian demonstrators during Ramadan.

There were also concerns of unrest if the Israeli Supreme Court handed down its decision on whether four Palestinian families should be evicted from their homes in the Shiekh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, to be replaced by Jewish settlers. This is the culmination of a decades-long legal battle dismissed as “a real estate dispute” by Israeli officials.

This case is emblematic of the systematic appropriation of Palestinian homes and land in East Jerusalem since 1967. The seizure of Palestinian property is so common here, an Israeli settler was captured on video recently telling a Palestinian, “If I do not steal your home, someone else will steal it.”

The recent evictions in Shiekh Jarrah have been described by Hamas officials – and Palestinian supporters elsewhere – as a form of ethnic cleansing.

The Biden administration has also said it is “deeply concerned” about the potential evictions while urging leaders across the spectrum to “denounce all violent acts”.

Decades of dispossession

Israeli settlement building and expansion, especially in and around East Jerusalem, is a deliberate strategy. This is not only being done to appropriate Palestinian land, but to alter the demographics of the area and prevent the establishment of a sovereign Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel exclusively claims Jerusalem – home of the ancient Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism – as its eternal undivided capital.

The dispossession of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank is not new. Indeed, the expulsion of Palestinians in the areas now largely recognised as the official borders of the self-defined Jewish state of Israel was required to establish a Jewish majority.

On May 14, 1948, Zionist leaders unilaterally declared the independence of the state of Israel, sparking the first Arab-Israeli War. During the war, over 400 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated and obliterated to make way for modern Jewish towns and cities.

This Saturday marks al-Nakba, or the “Catastrophe”, for Palestinians. It is the day of mourning for the loss of historical Palestine and the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

This process has continued throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank since their occupation in 1967. There are now more than 5 million Palestinian refugees registered with the UN, nearly a third of whom live in refugee camps.

The plight of Palestinian refugees remains a particularly contentious issue for the two sides. A UN General Assembly resolution in 1948 asserted the right of refugees to return to the areas captured by Israel in 1948-’49.

And in 1967, a UN Security Council resolution demanded Israeli forces withdraw from territories captured during the Six-Day War.

International law

The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem and its ongoing settler activities in the West Bank contravene international humanitarian law. They are also not recognised by the vast majority of the international community, with the notable exception of the United States under the Trump administration.

Yet, Palestinian dispossession continues today with over 600,000 Israeli settlers now living across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The continued Israeli occupation of these territories, coupled with the appropriation of Palestinian land, are among the primary causes of conflict between the two sides.

But there are also domestic political factors at play. Hamas is a militant group, which is also responsible for administering the Gaza Strip. Its legitimacy largely rests on its resistance credentials, which means the movement routinely feels obligated to demonstrate its capacity to confront perceived Israeli aggression.

This is in stark contrast to the inaction of the Hamas’ rival party, Fatah, and its leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who has remained largely silent in recent weeks despite the loss of Palestinian lives.

Israel’s political system is also in crisis, with no party able to form a stable government after four inconclusive elections in the past two years (and now a fifth potentially in the offing).

With the government in flux, pro-settler parties – namely Naftali Bennett’s New Right Party – have become the kingmakers in the Knesset. Any aspiring government will likely need their backing to form a majority, which requires the support of pro-settler policies.

With all of this in mind, we can expect more violence, regardless of who eventually wins power in Israel. Unless the international community – in particular, the Biden administration – intervenes to find a meaningful solution to the conflict.

Tristan Dunning is a Sessional Lecturer at The University of Queensland and Martin Kear is Sessional Lecturer Dept Govt & Int Rel at the University of Sydney.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.





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Bhima Koregaon Case: Supreme Court Dismisses Activist Gautam Navlakha’s Bail Plea

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Bhima Koregaon Case: Supreme Court Dismisses Activist Gautam Navlakha’s Bail Plea


Bhima Koregaon Case: Supreme Court Dismisses Activist Gautam Navlakha’s Bail Plea

Gautam Navlakha had surrendered before the NIA on April 14 last year. (File Photo)

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea of activist Gautam Navlakha, seeking bail in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case of Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra.

A bench of justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph dismissed the appeal of Gautam Navlakha against the Bombay High Court order denying him bail in the case.

Justice Joseph, who pronounced the verdict for the bench, said the court is dismissing the appeal of Gautam Navlakha.

On March 26, the top court had reserved its verdict on a plea of Mr Navlakha.

The Supreme Court had on March 3 sought response from the NIA on Gautam Navlakha’s plea in which he has claimed that the charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time period and hence, he was entitled for default bail.

The FIR against him was re-registered in January 2020, and Gautam Navlakha had surrendered before the NIA on April 14, last year.

He had spent 11 days in the NIA’s custody till April 25, and since then he is in judicial custody.

According to the prosecution, some activists allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements at the Elgar Parishad meet in Pune on December 31, 2017, which triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in the district the next day.

It has also alleged that the event was backed by some Maoist groups.

On February 8, the high court had dismissed Mr Navlakha’s plea saying that “it sees no reason to interfere with a special court’s order which earlier rejected his bail plea”.

Mr Navlakha had approached the high court last year, challenging the special NIA court’s order of July 12, 2020 that rejected his plea for statutory bail.

On December 16 last year, the high court bench reserved its verdict on the plea filed by Mr Navlakha, seeking statutory or default bail on the grounds that he had been in custody for over 90 days, but the prosecution failed to file a charge sheet in the case within this period.

The NIA had argued that his plea was not maintainable, and sought an extension of time to file the charge sheet.

The special court had then accepted NIA’s plea seeking extension of 90 to 180 days to file the charge sheet against Mr Navlakha and his co-accused, activist Dr Anand Teltumbde.

Mr Navlakha had earlier already argued that he has spent 93 days in custody, including 34 days of house arrest, and that the high court must count house arrest as a period of custody.

While he was under house arrest, Gautam Navlakha’s personal liberties remained curtailed, his counsel had submitted.

The NIA had earlier argued that Mr Navlakha’s house arrest could not be included in the time spent in the custody of police or NIA, or under judicial custody.

It had submitted that the Pune police arrested Mr Navlakha in August 2018, but had not taken him into custody.

It had said that Mr Navlakha remained under house arrest, and the Delhi High Court quashed his arrest and remand order in October 2018.
 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



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