A special CBI court of India on Tuesday fixed September 30 for delivering the verdict in the decades-old Babri Masjid demolition case, reports The Hindustan Times.
Former deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, BJP stalwarts Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti are among the 32 accused.
The date for judgment in the Ayodhya criminal conspiracy case was set on Wednesday by Surendra Kumar Yadav, judge, special CBI court, Lucknow.
Earlier this month, the court completed all proceedings in the case by recording statements of all 32 accused.
Lawyer KK Mishra, who is representing 25 out of the 32 accused in the case, including senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti, confirmed the date set by the court for delivering the verdict.
The expected date of judgment is also in line with the one month extension granted by the Supreme Court, instructing the special CBI court to wind up the case by September 30.
The earlier deadline for judgment had expired on August 31.
The sensitive case involving senior politicians of the BJP has dragged on for a long time despite several deadlines for its completion set by the Supreme Court.
Last year in July, the SC had extended the deadline for completion of criminal trial in Ayodhya case by six months and given a total of nine months for delivering the final order.
The deadline expired on April 19 this year and another extension till August 31 was granted by the apex court.
On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered the special judge to conduct a day-to-day trial, concluding it in two years.
It also called the demolition of the disputed structure a crime, which shook the “secular fabric of the Constitution”, and allowed the CBI plea for restoration of criminal conspiracy charge against the VIP accused.
The SC had termed the Allahabad high court’s February 12, 2001 verdict dropping conspiracy charge against Advani and others as “erroneous”.
Before the 2017 verdict of the apex court, there were two sets of cases relating to the demolition, going on in Lucknow and Rae Bareli.
The first case allegedly involving unnamed “kar sevaks” proceeded in a Lucknow court and the second set of cases relating to eight VIPs was being heard in a Rae Bareli court.
In April 2017, the Supreme Court transferred the Rae Bareli case to the Special CBI court in Lucknow.
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Vietnam will resume international commercial flights to several Asian destinations starting Friday, after a monthslong shutdown to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
But the flights are not yet available for tourists. They are reserved for Vietnamese nationals, diplomats, experts, managers, skilled workers, investors and their families, reports AP.
Flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to destinations in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan will operate on a weekly basis. Flights connecting the cities with Cambodia and Laos will resume next week, according to a report posted on the government website.
To board a flight, passengers must hold a certificate showing they have tested negative for coronavirus no more than five days before the departure date. Upon arrival, they will be tested and placed under quarantine, the report said.
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Vietnam shut down international flights on April 1. National carrier Vietnam Airlines estimated last month that it would lose $650 million this year.
Vietnam has reported 1,059 cases of the coronavirus. It managed to avoid any deaths until July, when the virus crept into Da Nang, killing 35 people.
No new cases have been reported for two weeks. Last week, Da Nang lifted a travel restriction after two months.
Also read: We’ll be safe if everybody’s safe: UN chief
An Indian soldiers was killed and two others were wounded when Indian and Pakistani troops clashed along the highly militarised frontier in Kashmir, an official said Wednesday.
Lt Col Devender Anand, an Indian army spokesperson, said three soldiers were injured when Pakistani soldiers used gunfire and mortar shells to attack border posts along the Line of Control in southern Rajouri on Tuesday evening.
He said one of the injured soldiers later died.
Anand called the incident “an unprovoked violation” of the 2003 cease-fire accord and said the Indian troops “befittingly retaliated,” remarks given after almost every such incident along the volatile de facto border.
There was no immediate comment from Pakistan.
In the past, each side has accused the other of starting border skirmishes in the Himalayan region, which is divided between the two nations but claimed by both in its entirety.
The countries have fought two wars over their claims to Kashmir.
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Yoshihide Suga was elected as the Prime Minister of Japan on Wednesday, replacing long-serving leader Shinzo Abe.
Suga, who was chief Cabinet secretary in Abe’s government, is to launch his own Cabinet later in the day, reports AP.
Suga has stressed his background as a farmer's son and a self-made politician in promising to serve the interests of ordinary people and rural communities.
He was chosen as leader of the ruling party on Monday. Abe has resigned earlier because of ill health.
He has said he will pursue Abe’s unfinished policies and that his top priorities will be fighting the coronavirus and turning around an economy battered by the pandemic.
Abe said before the change was official that as a lawmaker, he will support Suga's government and he thanked the people for their understanding and strong support for the upcoming leadership under Suga.
“I devoted my body and soul for the economic recovery and diplomacy to protect Japan’s national interest every single day since we returned to power,” Abe told reporters at the prime minister’s office before heading into his final Cabinet meeting. “During this time, I was able to tackle various challenges together with the people, and I'm proud of myself."
Suga gained the support of party heavyweights and their followers early in the campaign on expectations he would continue Abe’s policies.
Suga has been a loyal supporter of Abe since Abe’s first stint as prime minister from 2006 to 2007. Abe’s tenure ended abruptly because of illness, and Suga helped him return as prime minister in 2012.
Abe, 65, has ulcerative colitis and his current treatment requires IV injections. He said last month his condition has improved but, facing ongoing treatment and physical weakness, he decided to resign.
Suga has praised Abe’s diplomacy and economic policies when asked about what he would like to accomplish as prime minister.
Suga, who does not belong to any wing within the party and opposes factionalism, says he is a reformer who will break down vested interests and rules that hamper reforms. He says he will set up a new government agency to speed up Japan’s lagging digital transformation.
In a reshuffle of the ruling party key posts, however, Suga evenly allocated top posts to key factions, a balancing act seen as a return of favour for their support in the leadership race.
Suga said he will appoint “reform-minded, hard-working people” to the new Cabinet. About half of the members in the Abe Cabinet are expected to be retained or shifted to different ministerial posts.
Media reports say some key ministers, including Finance Minister Taro Aso, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi, Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto, and Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, the son of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, will stay. Abe's younger brother, Nobuo Kishi, is reportedly tapped as defense minister, replacing Taro Kono who is expected be shifted to administrative reforms minister.
Compared to his political prowess at home, Suga has hardly traveled overseas and his diplomatic skills are unknown, though he is largely expected to pursue Abe’s priorities.
The new prime minister will inherit a range of challenges, including relations with China, which continues its assertive actions in the contested East China Sea, and what to do with the Tokyo Olympics, which were postponed to next summer due to the coronavirus. And he will have to establish a good relationship with whomever wins the US presidential race.
India on Tuesday confirmed more than 83,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, pushing its caseload to nearly 5 million.
The Health Ministry also reported 1,054 new deaths, taking the fatalities up to 80,776, reports AP.
With 4.93 million confirmed cases, India currently has the second-highest total in the world after the US.
Infections have maintained an upward surge amid an ease in coronavirus restrictions nationwide. More than 600,000 new cases have been confirmed in India in the last week alone.
Maharashtra, with more than 1 million cases, remains the worst-hit state, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
India also has the highest number of recovered patients in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country’s recovery rate stands at 77.8 percent, with nearly 3.8 million people recovering from the virus so far, according to the Health Ministry.
India’s Parliament, which reopened Monday after being shut down for more than five months due to coronavirus, said that more than 10 million migrant labourers had made their way back to their home states from various corners of the country during a strict nationwide lockdown. It said there was no data available for the number of migrant deaths.
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Thousands of migrant workers, out of money and fearing starvation, went out of cities and headed back to villages when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the nationwide lockdown on March 24. The unprecedented migration was one key reason that the virus spread to the far reaches of the country.
The lockdown also caused a severe economic crisis. India's economy contracted nearly 24 percent in the second quarter, the worst among the world’s top economies.