Aleppo will change course of war says Bashar
The Syrian State Television reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had said recent army advances in Aleppo would completely change the course of the country's war. Recapturing Aleppo would represent the most important stride forward in Assad's efforts to end the rebellion after nearly six years of conflict. Assad also said the Syrian government consulted with Russia daily, and "no decision is issued without discussions between the two countries". Reuters reported that rebels in besieged eastern Aleppo had called for an immediate five-day ceasefire and the evacuation of civilians and wounded, but gave no indication they were ready to withdraw as demanded by Damascus and Moscow. The Syrian army and allied forces have made rapid gains against insurgents in the past two weeks and looked closer than ever to restoring full control over Aleppo. In a statement calling for the truce, the rebels made no mention of evacuating the several thousand fighters who were defending an ever shrinking area of eastern Aleppo. Syria and Russia had said they wanted rebels to leave Aleppo and would not consider a ceasefire unless that happened. "The decision to liberate all of Syria is taken and Aleppo is part of it," Assad said in a newspaper interview, according to pro-Damascus television station al-Mayadeen. He described the city as the "last hope" of rebels and their backers.
BJP faces setback in Arunachal Pradesh
In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court restored the Nabam Tuki-led Congress Government in Arunachal Pradesh. A five-judge Constitution Bench, in a unanimous and unprecedented verdict, quashed all the decisions of Governor JP Rajkhowa that had led to imposition of the President’s Rule in the state, calling his actions as “illegal” and in violation of the constitutional provisions. The bench held that status quo ante as prevailing on December 15, 2015 – when Nabam Tuki headed the Congress Government in the state – shall be restored. With this the disqualification of the 14 MLAs had been upheld. The constitution bench headed by Justice JS Khehar directed the restoration of the status quo as it existed on December 15, 2015, directed the manner in which the Assembly proceedings had to be conducted and set aside all the steps and decisions the House had taken, describing them as unsustainable. The court said, “All decisions taken by the Arunachal Assembly after December 9 are quashed and unsustainable.” Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul said that he would file a review petition against the Supreme Court verdict.
Khalistanis gearing up in Canada
Punjab’s intelligence agencies were reported to have alerted the Canadian government about pro-Khalistan separatists running camps at Mission City areas in Canada’s British Columbia. Reports claimed that the group was training to launch an attack on Punjab. Punjab’s intelligence agency was said to have put together a report that stated that Canadian Hardeep Nijjar, accused of being involved in the 2007 Shingaar cinema blast who was a wanted terrorist in Punjab, had become the new operational head of the Khalistan Terror Force. report further claimed that he had formed a module comprising Sikh youths to carry out the attacks. The report said Nijjar had been imparting arms training to his group in Canada after the arrest of former KTF chief Jagtar Tara in Thailand by Interpol last year. He took Mandeep Singh and three more Sikh youths recently for AK-47 training in a range near Mission where they were made to fire for four hours daily. The Punjab agencies report also stated that Nijjar was to arrange weapons from Pakistan but due to the high alert situation on the border in the wake of the Pathankot incident, he was unable to procure the weapons from Pakistan. According to the media reports Nijjar’s intentions were revealed after Mandeep Singh, an alleged KTF member, was arrested in Ludhiana two weeks ago.
Impasse in Jammu and Kashmir continues
Despite the BJP and PDP leaders meeting the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir there had been no move towards the formation of a government. Mehbooba Mufti said she was seeking action and mere assurances on the specific demands that the PDP had put forward. BJP leaders in Delhi said the PDP had demanded “confidence-building measures,” including the handover of the Dulhasti and Uri Hydroelectric power plants from the National Hydro-electric Power Corporation (NHPC) to the State government, removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and dropping a plan by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to open an office in Jammu. Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister, Nirmal Singh, met Ms. Mufti and said the BJP was in favour of continuing the coalition with the PDP. But Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav told the media that the next government in J&K, , if it was with the PDP, would be formed only on the basis of the common minimum programme of the agenda for alliance that was agreed to with late Mufti Mohammed Saeed. Sahab. No new demands or elements could be added on.