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ISRO’s experiment to re-start PSLV stage-IV a success, says official

Veteran nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, who inaugurated the conference, hailed ISRO for the successful PSLV-C29 mission.

Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully reignited the fourth stage of its workhorse Polar rocket during the PSLV-C29 mission after putting in orbit six Singapore satellites, agency officials said on Thursday.The engine in the upper stage of the PSLV was shut off and re-started after placing the satellites in orbit yesterday, ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) Director S Somanath said. “We tried it for the first time and it was a success,” Somnath said, adding that the technique would be useful when launching multiple satellites in different orbits. The LSPC director was was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the 23rd national and first international Heat and Mass Transfer Conference (IHMTC 2015), organised by (LPSC). The PS4 is the uppermost stage of PSLV, comprising two ‘Earth storable’ liquid engines.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Veteran nuclear scientist Anil Kakodkar, who inaugurated the conference, hailed ISRO for the successful PSLV-C29 mission. “It’s a fantastic technological achievement that so many foreign clients are vying for taking their satellites on board PSLV. It is a great recognition,” he said. The PSLV-C29 injected the six Singapore satellites in orbit completing the exercise in about 21 minutes after it blasted off from the spaceport of Sriharikota, about 110 km from Chennai last evening.Speaking soon after the launch, an ISRO official had said in Sriharikota that the agency was carrying out the experiment to re-ignite stage four of the rocket for four seconds from 67.25 minutes (after the lift-off). “After injecting all the satellites we are carrying out a major experiment to ignite once again PS4. This aspect is going to be a major mission flexibility to plan different orbital missions in a single launch,” he had said.

Pakistan HC-Hurriyat meet proves nothing has changed between India-Pak: Shiv Sena

“We have been watching this mutiny for 50 years and the way they have been rebelling against India in Delhi. Yes, I approve of talks between the two countries but the nation is pained which an incident as this happens,” Raut added.

Sanjay Raut
File Photo
RNA
Backing External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent statement that nothing has changed between India and Pakistan, the Shiv Sena on Tuesday said the meeting between the Pakistan High Commissioner and Hurriyat leaders on Monday in the national capital was concrete proof that the ties between the two nations remained hostile.”I just read Sushma’s statement where she is saying that nothing has changed on ground between India and Pakistan and it is true and the example of that happened yesterday. On our soil, in the national capital, under our noses the Pakistan High Commissioner is inviting people who want to wage a war on India and we are simply watching the show,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asserted that if the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan had done something similar then his office would have been sealed and he would have been sent back to India in cuffs.”We have been watching this mutiny for 50 years and the way they have been rebelling against India in Delhi. Yes, I approve of talks between the two countries but the nation is pained which an incident as this happens,” Raut added.Speaking in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Swaraj admitted that “nothing has changed on the ground” between India and Pakistan and said while it was not possible to give the assurance of an “uninterrupted” dialogue, the government had no intention of being provoked by those who want halt the bilateral talks between the two nations.”We want to ensure we are not provoked by saboteurs who want to stop the dialogue process. We have elevated the level of terrorism. Now talks related to terrorism will happen at the NSA level, the rest will be taken up during secretary-level talks,” Swaraj said briefing the Lok Sabha on her recent visit to Pakistan.Later in the evening, a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and discussed Swaraj’s recent meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. According to an APMC release, Hurriyat leaders Peer Saifullah and Altaf Ahmad Shah discussed ‘Kashmir policy’ with Basit.”The Hurriyat delegation also handed over a message of their chairman Syed Ali Geelani to Basit, wherein he has stated that Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy, and should play an active role in highlighting human rights violations committed by the Indian forces in Jammu & Kashmir in international forums,” the release stated.

Hurriyat Conference leaders meeting Pakistan not in the interest of nation: Congress

Meeting between Hurriyat Conference leaders might not be talks for peace, but for forwarding seperatist agenda.

Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit

File Photo
The Congress party on Tuesday said that the meeting between Hurriyat Conference leaders with Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit was not in the interest of the nation and added that talks between India and Pakistan should be held for peace and not for encouraging separatism.”It is because of such incidents that talks were cancelled last time. Pakistan encouraging the separatists is not in the interest of the nation. The talks should be held, it should held for peace and not to encourage separatism,” Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the talks were cancelled last time after they met separatists, then the government should clarify why talks should continue after these talks,” he added.On Monday, a delegation of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Abdul Basit and discussed External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.According to an APHC release, Hurriyat leaders also discussed ‘Kashmir policy’ with Basit.Last week, during Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan, it was announced that the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan will meet on January to discuss the details of the comprehensive bilateral dialogue.According to the joint statement released by both nations, the discussions will involve peace and security, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachen, Economic and Commercial Cooperation, Counter-Terrorism, Humanitarian Issues, People to People exchanges and religious tourism.

Amid thaw SAS Geelani asks Pakistan to remain firm on Kashmir policy

During her two-day visit on the occasion of “Heart of Asia” Conference, Swaraj brokered new initiative for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, including Kashmir issue with Pakistani leadership.

A two member Hurriyat delegation of SAS Geelani led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi on Monday to discuss in detail the implications of the fresh thaw in relations between India and Pakistan during recent Pakistan visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.During her two-day visit on the occasion of “Heart of Asia” Conference, Swaraj brokered new initiative for a comprehensive bilateral dialogue, including Kashmir issue with Pakistani leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to According to the Hurriyat spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar, the personal secretary to S A S Geelani, Peer Saifullah and chief organizer APHC (G) Altaf Ahmad Shah conveyed the message to Basit that “Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy and play an active role in highlighting the human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Jammu & Kashmir on the international forums.”Though Basit discussed the matter threadbare with APHC (G) delegation for one-and-a-half hours, given the previous episode of acrimony with India, he chose to remain tight-lipped so much so that he even committed a goof up by instructing press counsellor, Manzoor Ali Memon to “Keep Silent” on WhatsApp group meant to give information to journalists.Basit discussed the matter threadbare with APHC (G) delegation for one-and-a-half hours, given the previous episode of acrimony with India, he chose to remain tight-lipped so much so that he even committed a goof up by instructing press counsellor, Manzoor Ali Memon to “Keep Silent” on WhatsApp group meant to give information to journalists.

Talks with Pakistan on the basis of trust: Sushma Swaraj

The minister also assured the Lok Sabha that dialogue will continue uninterruptedly. “There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion,” she said.

Underlining the importance of talks with Pakistan, India on Monday admitted that the deadlock had adversely affected the progress of SAARC and peace in the region. Rejecting the impression that there have been several flip flops in talks with the neighbouring country in the last few months, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told both Houses of Parliament that talks have been re-started on the basis of trust and there is a need to bridge the gulf in relations with Pakistan.The minister also assured the Lok Sabha that dialogue will continue uninterruptedly. “There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During half-an-hour discussion on her statement on her recent visit to Islamabad to attend Heart of Asia conference, Swaraj said dialogue is the only way forward hoping that anti-dialogue elements will not be able to provoke and effect the dialogue process. She also categorically stated that there is no involvement of any third party in talks held at Bangkok, Ufa in Russia and Paris. She also told Parliament that expansion of list of trade items through Wagah and Muzaffarabad routes is on the agenda of the talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. The minister said that religious tourism, which was not part of previous composite dialogue process, has now been included in the new comprehensive bilateral dialogue process.She further said the new dialogue mechanism has twin aims of removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern, and exploring and establishing cooperative ties. She said that initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues will contribute to welfare of the entire region, and promote better understanding and mutual trust.In the morning, in a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha, amidst ruckus created by Opposition benches on the issue of a killing in Punjab, Swaraj hoped that re-engaging with Pakistan will mark beginning of peace and development as continued estrangement was a hurdle to peace and prosperity in the region. She said the foreign secretaries of both the countries have been tasked to work out modalities and prepare schedules of the meetings under the new dialogue. She said, the government will take all steps, including through diplomatic channels to meet any security threat. Swaraj also noted that there was a sharp awareness that principal obstacles to the growth of ties, especially terrorism, would have to be clearly and directly addressed.Following Modi-Sharif meeting on November 30, it was decided that the two sides should hold the NSA-level meeting. “The national security advisors of the two countries accordingly met on December 6” in Bangkok, Swaraj said.The two NSAs focussed on “peace and security, terrorism, tranquility along the Line of Control and Jammu and Kashmir — the state which has been most directly impacted by terrorism and violation of LOC,” she said, adding her visit to Islamabad came on the back of these “constructive talks”. Swaraj said in her talks with Sharif and Pakistan Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad, which where held in the backdrop of this “positive development”, the “two sides condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate this menace.”Swaraj said the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia conference on December 8-9 in Islamabad was devoted to the themes of security and connectivity.”The conference provided to us an important opportunity on a vital regional platform for political consultations and regional cooperation to reiterate India’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability and development and our faith in its future,” she said. Swaraj said the expected meetings of NSA and directors general of military operations, as envisaged at Ufa, did not materialise “for the reaons that we all know.” Against this backdrop, when Modi and Sharif met during the COP-21 Summit in Paris on November 30, “there was a discussion on how the two countries could build an atmosphere conducive for again re-engaging with each other,” she said.

Hurriyat leaders meet Pak High Commissioner, ask to maintain ‘consistent’ Kashmir policy

After Swaraj met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other leaders, the two countries decided to engage in a comprehensive bilateral dialogue covering Kashmir and other bilateral issues.

Abdul Basit

Two hardliner Hurriyat Conference leaders on Monday met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in Delhi and told him that Islamabad should maintain “consistency and firmness” over its Kashmir policy.They also emphasised that Pakistan should play an “active role in highlighting the human rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir at international fora. “A Hurriyat delegation sent by chairman Syed Ali Geelani today held a detailed meeting for one-and-a-half hours with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They held a detailed discussion over the recent meeting of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan rulers on the occasion of Asia Heart Conference in Islamabad and also discussed the Kashmir policy there,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said in a statement in Srinagar. After Swaraj met Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other leaders, the two countries decided to engage in a comprehensive bilateral dialogue covering Kashmir and other bilateral issues.The two-member Hurriyat delegation comprised Geelani’s personal secretary Peer Saifullah and chief organiser of the amalgam Altaf Ahmad Shah, he said, adding Deputy High Commissioner and the other officials in the Pakistani mission were also present. “The Hurriyat delegation handed them a message of Geelani that Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy and play an active role in highlighting the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir at international forums,” Akbar said.The delegation also apprised the Pakistan High Commissioner about the present situation in Kashmir, he added.

PM Modi hails COP21 climate agreement as victory of justice, path towards ‘greener future’

Deliberations at COP21 and Paris agreement demonstrate the collective wisdom of world leaders to mitigate climate change, said the PM.

PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the landmark climate change deal reached in Paris last night as the victory of “climate justice” and said there are no winners or losers in the outcome.He appreciated how every country rose to the challenge for reaching the agreement at the Conference of Parties (COP)-21 and said deliberations showed collective wisdom of the world leaders to mitigate climate change.”Outcome of #ParisAgreement has no winners or losers. Climate justice has won & we are all working towards a greener future,” Modi tweeted, commenting on the legally-binding pact which seeks to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and making developed nations commit $100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”#ClimateChange remains a challenge but #ParisAgreement demonstrates how every nation rose to the challenge, working towards a solution,” the Prime Minister said in another tweet.Related Read: COP21 Conference: World agrees on historic climate accord, sets path to move away from fossil fuelsHe added: “Deliberations at #COP21 & #ParisAgreement demonstrates the collective wisdom of world leaders to mitigate climate change.” The historic agreement signed by 195 countries was reached after tough deliberations for days.Just before the 31-page document was finalised, French President Francois Hollande, who hosted the conference, called up Modi to apprise him of the latest status at the talks. “The Prime Minister appreciated this gesture of French President,” a PMO statement said.

Developed countries must honour their commitments, says India at the UN

India s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Bhagwant Bishnoi said the Development Agenda 2030 places people at the centre of development and recognize that poverty eradication needs to be the overarching objective of the efforts of the international community.

United Nations building

India has asked developed countries to honour their commitments towards development assistance, particularly to least developed nations, stressing that efforts to achieve poverty eradication should be based on the principles of social justice and equity.”While developing countries continue to address poverty eradication, the developed world must also honour their commitments with regard to development assistance, particularly to Least Developed Countries. For effective national action, it is necessary that there also be an enabling international environment,” India s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Bhagwant Bishnoi said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the Development Agenda 2030 places people at the centre of development and recognize that poverty eradication needs to be the overarching objective of the efforts of the international community.Related Read: COP21 Climate Conference: Final draft of climate deal ready, to be unveiled today”It is also imperative that our efforts for the achievement of this objective be based on the principles of social justice and equity,” he said on Friday in the UN General Assembly at a session on social development.He said while globalization and technology have brought considerable benefit to global society, the lack of equity in global processes continues to enhance inequality among and between countries, including the widening digital divide.”In this regard, we need to emphasize that market reform and structural adjustment programmes need to focus on all people,” he said. Bishnoi highlighted the approach taken by the Narendra Modi government to promote sustainable and inclusive growth for the welfare and well being of all people in the country, without leaving anybody behind.”The motto of the government is ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ or ‘together with all, development for all’. The government has accorded the highest importance to education for all, gender equality & women empowerment, skill development and Digital India,” he added.

Paris Climate talks hit roadblock, Javadekar says agreement depends on flexibility of developed countries

India stuck to its demand that developed countries like the US should shoulder more of the cost that countries face in adapting to the effects of climate change.

From L-R, Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India attend a news conference during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget

Reuters
Negotiations for a climate change deal hit a roadblock on Friday with countries like India and China refusing to yield their ground on emissions and funding, stretching the high-stakes talks by a day to wrap up a highly-elusive deal. Mounting hectic last-minute efforts, US Secretary of State John Kerry met Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar in the third interaction in as many days. Javadekar said the success of Paris agreement will depend on the spirit of accommodation and flexibility shown by developed countries. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India stuck to its demand that developed countries like the US should shoulder more of the cost that countries face in adapting to the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, China was resisting calls, led by the US and the European Union, for all nations to review and update their national plans for curbing greenhouse gas emissions every five years and had also reasserted demands that developed nations do far more to curb greenhouse gas emissions, sources said. Diplomats from 195 countries attending the Conference of Parties (CoP) are grappling with how to resolve differences over crucial issues, which are very dear to the developing nations but could not reach a deal before the self-imposed deadline of tonight. Despite the apprehensions of a repeat of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit that failed miserably, hosts France struck an optimistic note, saying “we are nearly there”. “We are nearly there. I’m optimistic,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters accompanied by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I’ll present a text tomorrow at 0900 (1330 IST) to the parties that I’m sure will be adopted.” “We had a very constructive meeting. We made a lot of progress. Progress made last night, a long night, but there’s still a couple of very difficult issues we’re working on,” he said, after talks with summit host, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. A desperate UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed to envoys to take a “final decision for humanity”. “This negotiation is complicated, most difficult but important for humanity.We have just very limited hours remaining.” He identified important questions including how to share the burden of cutting down greenhouse-gas emissions between rich and poor nations; how to finance the cost of climate change in developing countries and how ambitious to be in curbing planetary over-heating.

Manohar Parrikar becomes first Indian defence minister to visit PACOM

Harris encouraged senior Indian military leadership to participate in next year’s Chief of Defence Conference.

Manohar Parrikar has visited the US Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, becoming the the first-ever Indian Defence Minister to visit the key facility in a sign of deepening of military ties between the two strategic partners. The US Pacific Command in a statement described Parrikar’s visit as a “milestone” event during which he held meetings with the PACOM Commander Admiral Harry B Harris. Harris and Parrikar discussed the growth of the strategic partnership between the two nations and how routine, regular and predictable engagements strengthen that partnership, PACOM spokesman US Army Major Dave Eastburn said. The two also emphasised the importance of expanded maritime security cooperation within the context of broader military-to-military ties, especially in the Indo-Asia- Pacific, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Harris encouraged senior Indian military leadership to participate in next year’s Chief of Defence Conference. He underscored that the conference is important venue to build the relationships that will underpin security and stability throughout the region. Parrikar and Harris discussed the continuance of the maritime security cooperation, the potential for joint US India maritime patrols, and the value of foundational agreements such as a logistics support agreement and a communications and information security memorandum of agreement, Eastburn said.They also discussed Exercises Malabar, Yudh Abhyas, Red Flag, Vajra Prahar, and RIMPAC, re-emphasising that the United States is still India’s partner of choice for exercises and military-to-military engagements, he said.Parrikar is scheduled to meet US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on December 10. This is his first visit to the US as the Indian Defence Minister.

A new beginning: India- Pak held NSA level meet; terrorism, Kashmir among issues discussed

According to MEA, talks were held in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere.

Image courtesy: MEA

Ministry of External Affairs revealed that National Security Advisors of both India and Pakistan met in Bangkok on Sunday along with the respective foreign secretaries.According to MEA, talks were held in a candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere.PM Modi and Nawaz Sharif had earlier met briefly on the sidelines of Paris Climate Conference. During the meeting, the NSAs discuss peace and security, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir and other issues. NSAs have agreed to carry forward the constructive engagement in the future, said the MEA statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj is slated to travel to Pakistan to attend a multilateral summit. Earlier in the year, a proposed meeting of Pakistan NSA to India was called off after both sides failed to agree about the issues to be discussed.

Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal pitches for freedom for Kashmir

Kamal said that his elder brother and the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, following the 1996 assembly elections, had said even if he tore his heart out to show he is an Indian, he would not be believed

File photos of protests by Kashmiris

Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal on Saturday stoked a controversy saying Kashmir will be independent as neither India nor Pakistan loves the people of the Valley. “By heart, both of them do not treat us as their own. Neither India nor Pakistan loves us…. In my opinion, Allah has destined independence for us and we will get it,” Kamal said here after paying tributes to his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary.Kamal said that his elder brother and the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, following the 1996 assembly elections, had said even if he tore his heart out to show he is an Indian, he would not be believed. “Same is the case with Pakistan. They (India and Pakistan) do not trust us,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

COP21 Climate Conference: India happy with first draft of accord, all inputs included

Following three days of hectic parleys over a complex 54-page draft pact, negotiators released a document five pages shorter but still there was reportedly no agreement on about 250 undecided options across the text.

Indian stand at COP21 Climate Conference

AFP photo
India has expressed satisfaction with the first draft of the climate change accord released here with the new document retaining all its inputs as negotiators made “some progress” in hammering out a deal.”At the moment this is a shorter draft but everything which we (India) got inserted is still there. It’s five pages shorter,” India’s key negotiator Ajay Mathur said at the UN climate conference. He said French President Francois Hollande has spoken of “urgency” of moving ahead in resolving issues and India will continue to work together to get closer to an agreement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following three days of hectic parleys over a complex 54-page draft pact, negotiators released a document five pages shorter but still there was reportedly no agreement on about 250 undecided options across the text.This is the more or less the same text which was released in the Bonn conference, officials said. India also sought global support for bringing down the cost of renewable power to reduce reliance on coal.Elaborating on the process in talks, Mathur said the negotiation text as evolved by the various discussion groups would be consolidated and handed over to the presidency who will then create spin off groups on various unresolved issues that will then be the focus of negotiations.”We are encouraged that on fourth day, we had some progress. We agree with the presidency that we need to move ahead. There is a huge amount of work in progress which we hope will move towards a greater degree of competition before the presidency takes over the text and starts discussion. We are pleased with fact that progress has been made,” he said on Thursday.Climate Action Network International, consortium of NGOs across the world working on climate change, said the new draft is shorter by five pages than the previous version as options have been condensed and streamlined across different issues.Raman Mehta of the Vasudha Foundation, which is a member of the consortium, said that there were nations who are saying that the current paradigm of differentiation has outlived its use and are asking to replace it with the concept of total symmetry.”This is unfair and it doesn’t acknowledge the many serious differences that remain between nations. Delegates could create an equitable new paradigm on differentiation, but that framework has yet to be constructed,” Mehta said.Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he would continue to press developed countries to recognise their responsibility to take the lead, while urging developing countries to do more in line with their growing capabilities.

196 countries unite at Paris climate change summit: Modi pledges to reduce emissions by 35 percent

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Climate Summit: Developed nations must leave room for developing countries, says PM Modi

“We have to ensure, in the spirit of climate justice, that the life of a few does not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder. The advanced countries must leave enough room for developing countries to grow. We must strive for a lighter carbon footprint on our growth path,” Modi said at the Innovation Summit on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) which kicked off on Monday.

AFP
Developed nations must leave enough room for developing countries to grow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday, asserting that the life of a “few” should not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder.Noting that innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice, Modi also urged the world to come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all.”We have to ensure, in the spirit of climate justice, that the life of a few does not crowd out the opportunities for the many still on the initial steps of the development ladder. The advanced countries must leave enough room for developing countries to grow. We must strive for a lighter carbon footprint on our growth path,” Modi said at the Innovation Summit on the sidelines of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) which kicked off on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Paris Climate Change Summit: By 2030 India will produce 40% of its energy by non fossil fuels, says PM Modi”For that we must come together in a partnership to bring clean energy within the reach of all. Innovation is vital for combating climate change and ensuring climate justice. We need research and innovation to make renewable energy much cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to transmission grids,” he said.Noting that there is a need to make conventional energy cleaner while developing newer sources of renewable energy, Modi said this is a global responsibility for the collective future.”Our innovation initiative should be driven by public purpose, not just market incentives, including on intellectual property. That also means strong public commitment by suppliers to developing countries,” Modi said.”That will make clean energy technology available, accessible and affordable for all. This partnership will combine the responsibility of governments with the innovative capacity of the private sector. We will double our investments in research and innovation and deepen collaboration among ourselves,” he said.Modi observed that there should be an international network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next ten years on renewable energy and said innovation must be backed by means to make it affordable and ensure adoption. “We have very successful models of public-private partnership with many countries present here. India is also building renewable capacity in developing countries, including small island states,” he said.”The progress on clean energy technology and costs is impressive. If we raise the level of our efforts, we can transform the world. We will also lay the foundation of a new economy in new low carbon age,” Modi asserted.”We will restore the balance between ecology and economy, and between our inheritance and obligation to the future. And, live up to Gandhiji’s call to care for the world we shall not see,” he added.Modi highlighted that a vast section of humanity lives at the edge of poverty and in darkness after the sun sets and they need energy to light up their homes and power their future.”They are also the most vulnerable to the consequences of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel. Access to energy and a better life is a universal aspiration. So are clean environment and healthy habitats. As the world’s majority works its way to prosperity on a planet left with very limited carbon space, we have to do many things,” he said.Earlier, Modi and Obama met as part of “Mission Innovation” which was announced by the US earlier.It is an initiative to dramatically accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation to address global climate change, provide affordable clean energy to consumers, including in the developing world, and create additional commercial opportunities in clean energy.

‘Passionate’ PM Modi not under any ‘compulsion’ in Paris, says Piyush Goyal

Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concern towards the climate changes came from his ‘passion’ for the cause and not due to any ‘compulsions’, Union minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy Piyush Goyal said that India can be proud of its role in the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.

File photo

Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s concern towards the climate changes came from his ‘passion’ for the cause and not due to any ‘compulsions’, Union minister of state for coal, power and renewable energy Piyush Goyal said that India can be proud of its role in the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris.”This is a very important conference and India is taking it very seriously. The Prime Minister is himself in Paris and he has articulated on many occasions that concerns for the environment, developing more and more green energy is an article of faith for him. It is not something that he is doing under any compulsion; rather it is something that he deeply and passionately believes in,” Goyal told ANI exclusively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stressing on the importance of the awareness of global warming, he added that its impact was quite visible in the past few years and the world has now realised that if the issue is not addressed soon, the end result could be catastrophic.Talking about the statement made by US Secretary of State John Kerry that India would be a ‘challenge’ at the Summit as the Indian government seemed hesitant to accept more of a role in addressing global warming, Goyal said that the formed needed to view the problem in a holistic manner.”Well I think he (Kerry) needs to look at the whole issue more holistically. The base load in India is coal base. It cannot be anything else as we don’t have gas and without a base load we can’t even do renewable energy. We are a developing nation. We are rapidly creating infrastructure, setting up manufacturing, creating jobs for our people, setting up of homes, all of which the United States and the European nations did in the last 150 years on the back of low carbon base or coal-based energy,” he said.”Having already developed their nations, they have now realised the inconvenient truth after finding low-cost shale gas. I think it’s very important that the world recognises what Prime Minister Modi articulated as convenient action,” Goyal added.The Union Minister expressed confidence that India was one of the nation’s which was showing leadership in terms of expanding renewable energy, looking at innovations, technology, ways to expand energy security and raising concerns for the environment.Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Paris on Sunday to attend the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) where about 150 heads of state and governments will gather to set agenda for the Summit.The Prime Minister will address the summit in the plenary conference hall “Seine” on Monday at the leaders’ event where the aim of the summit is to reach a landmark global deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.During the twelve-day conference, India’s 25 member delegation will focus on Prime Minister Modi’s call for ‘Climate Justice’ that he had made in his address at the United Nations General Assembly last month.

India pavilion at Paris climate summit to showcase harmony with nature

India has already said that it expects Paris climate change summit to produce “equitable and just” climate agreement where the development space for developing world including India should be assured and the developed world needs to vacate the carbon space.

India’s harmony with nature, climate action plans to curb carbon emissions as well as an e-book depicting how the country has been environmentally conscious over the ages will be showcased at its pavilion to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the crucial climate summit which kicks off on Monday.Indian Environment Ministry officials said that Modi will inaugurate the pavilion by switching on the water screen which will have the message of “just climate action” on it.India has already said that it expects Paris climate change summit to produce “equitable and just” climate agreement where the development space for developing world including India should be assured and the developed world needs to vacate the carbon space.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials said that pavilion will have an ‘ipad-forest’ where people can get knowledge about India’s commitments to curb green house gas emissions, its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) which it has submitted, expectations from the Paris Climate change summit, an India quiz and a host of other sections.The pavilion will also showcase films on adaptation measures taken up by India.Officials said that around 40 films which will have around 21GB of information on adaptations will continuously run on the screen.The E-book will have eight chapters starting with how India has been environmentally conscious since ages and has worshiped nature like God.It will have chapters on how India has been conscious environmentally through various ages like the Vedic age, influence of Buddhism and others.There will be touch screens which will provide information on how India has taken adaptation measures in four regions, including conservation of coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar, glacier protection in Ladakh, heat action plans in Ahmedabad and Gujarat amongst others.There will also be a 360 degree giant screen where films on India’s actions will be screened continuously through more than a dozen projectors. There will also be three to four side events on mitigation and adaptations every day.Prime Minister Modi is expected to go around the pavilion after inaugurating it. Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar who has already reached Paris has reviewed the pavilion and will also be present.India in its INDCs, the voluntary pledges countries have made to cut carbon pollution ahead of the Paris meet, has announced that it aims at achieving around 40 per cent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.The Paris climate change conference also known as Conference of Parties (CoP-21) is scheduled to take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11.India has also pledged to curb its greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35% from the 2005 level.Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2 C.The conference is expected to attract close to 50,000 participants including 25,000 official delegates from government, intergovernmental organisations, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society.

PM Modi leaves for Paris COP21 climate change conference

Prime Minister Modi is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.

PM Narendra Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday left for France where he will take part in the Paris Summit on Climate Change along with 150 heads of nations.During his two-day visit, the Prime Minister will speak at the Leaders Event in which he is expected to touch upon issues pertaining to global warming and assert India’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint.Prime Minister Modi is also likely to hold bilateral meetings with several world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, on the sidelines of the summit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Mann Ki Baat: PM Modi speaks about climate change, wants to turn ‘Ek Bharat Shresth Bharat’ into schemeThe two-week long summit is being seen as a key event aimed at addressing the climate change challenge. An international agreement on climate change focussed on curbing the emission of greenhouse gases is expected to come out of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.One of the important challenges looming over mankind in recent times is to keep the average global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Prime Minister Modi has always taken a strong stand on climate issues. He has time and again urged the leading nations in the world to take steps to curb emissions in order to give clean environment to the future generations.Related Read: Climate change: India ready to be part of solution, says Prakash Javadekar

BJP slams Farooq Abdullah for ‘PoK part of Pakistan’ remarks, seeks apology

BJP strongly condemned the statement of the National Conference Patron yesterday that “PoK is part of Pakistan”.

BJP on Saturday sought an apology from former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his remarks that ‘PoK is part of Pakistan’, and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival. “Probably Farooq Abdullah is either suffering from amnesia or deliberately raking up the settled issue in order to remain in news for his political survival,” BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta told reporters here. Gupta strongly condemned the statement of the National Conference Patron yesterday that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and will remain with it while India will continue to control its part of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP spokesperson said Maharaja Hari Singh while signing the Instrument of Accession made the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, under his control, part of the Dominion of India. He said Farooq Abdullah’s father Sheikh Abdullah had even endorsed the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gupta said Pakistan was an aggressor which forcibly occupied the part of Jammu and Kashmir that is presently under its occupation and that it was India which took up the matter with the UN Security Council. He added that Indian Parliament, in a resolution in 1994, unanimously resolved its determination to get vacated PoK, part of Jammu and Kashmir, from illegal occupation of Pakistan. “Abdullah by his uncalled-for statement has acted against the resolution and harmed the interest of the nation and weakened India’s position on the J&K issue,” the BJP spokesperson said.Replying to queries about the reported demand in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) of joining India, Abdullah had yesterday said, “It will never happen. It (PoK) is part of Pakistan and will remain part of Pakistan. This (Jammu and Kashmir) is India’s part and will remain part of India…” Gupta said Abdullah must seek apology from the nation for his this blunder and set things in the right perspective. It looks like that the leaders of National Conference have been so much demoralised and frustrated that they have lost their wit and giving such irresponsible statements, he alleged.

PDP-BJP government has lost peoples’ confidence, says Omar Abdullah

The National Conference’s Working President pooh-poohed the “hype” being created by the PDP-BJP combine over several issues and described the present dispensation as a “directionless and a driver-less vehicle which is clueless about its destination.

Omar Abdullah

Asserting that the PDP-BJP coalition has lost peoples’ confidence, NC leader Omar Abdullah on Friday alleged that the state was “suffering” due to uncertainty over PDP’s leadership, and the administration was in a dilemma as to who was in “real command”.”On one side, Mufti Sayeed is seen working as the chief minister in Jammu and on the other (his daughter) Mehbooba Mufti is reviewing the government functioning in Srinagar as de-facto chief executive”, he said. Omar said this amid applause at a public rally in Ramban on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said that “uncertainty” over leadership in the PDP has “demoralised the administration” which is in a real dilemma, as to who was in “actual command”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have nothing with the internal affairs of the coalition government, or whether it is led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed or Mehbooba Mufti, but the key point is that the state and the people are suffering”, he said.”The tailpiece of this entire drama is that the BJP is refusing to buy the idea of Mehbooba Mufti taking over as the chief minister, covertly questioning as to who has granted such permission to the PDP”, Omar further alleged.The former chief minister is on a five-day visit to the Chenab Valley districts of Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar.Omar also claimed, “The PDP-BJP coalition has lost peoples’ mandate due to its vision-less policies, misgovernance of over nine months and leadership deficit. They both are destined to loose their deposits in the event of bye-polls.” “If elections were held now, National Conference will form the government on its own, without crutches of others”, Omar said.The National Conference’s Working President pooh-poohed the “hype” being created by the PDP-BJP combine over several issues and described the present dispensation as a “directionless and a driver-less vehicle which is clueless about its destination.” In this context, he referred to the “open feelers” being sent by the chief minister on the change of guard.In a lighter vein, Omar wondered over the effectiveness of Mufti Sayeed as a chief minister, while citing his long speech during the Prime Ministers’ Srinagar rally, encompassing state, national and international politics.”The anti-climax of his political discourse was the virtual snub hurled by (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, who minced no words in saying that he needed no advice on Kashmir”, Omar claimed.Referring to the criticism unleashed by the PDP against the previous National Conference-Congress government led by him, Omar asked what Mufti Syed-led government has done during the past over nine months, except “owning” the projects taken up or completed during his tenure. Omar said he was feeling a sense of pride and satisfaction when the Prime Minister came to inaugurate the projects completed during the six-years of his government. “This is the acknowledgment of my government’s performance and answer to PDP’s unfounded criticism,” he added. He said the commissioning of 900-MW Baghliar Project stands testimony to the efforts made by the National Conference-led government to usher the state towards progress and development. On the contrary, he said, the role of the PDP has all along been “negative”.In this context he made a mention of a Kishtwar project, “abandoned” by the present dispensation, saying this had the potential of generating economical energy. “Abandonment of this project depicts the PDP’s mindset which did the same to 1200-MW Sawalakote Project in 2003 that deprived Jammu and Kashmir of the much-needed power”, he said.Omar spelled out the major initiatives like expansion of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, which he said, his government had succeeded in getting approved by the then UPA regime. He said similar other initiatives were set in motion to herald a new era of development in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.Giving an overview of the political scenario, the National Conference’s Working President said though his party suffered a setback during 2014 Assembly elections, yet it remains a grassroots mass movement which identifies itself as a strong bastion of the people irrespective of caste, creed or colour.”We do not believe in divisive politics, which became very clear when Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah converted Muslim Conference into National Conference”, he said adding, while enrolling new members the party asks about the personal details of the incumbent but not his region or religion. He said being in the government or outside it does not matter at all for the National Conference which is dedicated to social harmony, peace and well being of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.He said NC would have been in the government but it opted out simply because, “we found BJP as an ideological mismatch and we have been proven right by the inherent contradictions between the two coalition partners now”. Omar exhorted people to strengthen the National Conference at the grassroots level so that it stands like a rock against all those working at cross purposes.”We want the state to flourish as a single entity where opportunities are available to all the three regions and people belonging to various faiths”, he added.

Watch: Farooq Abdullah says PoK will remain with Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir with India

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference party leader Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) would remain in Pakistan, while Jammu and Kashmir with India.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference party leader Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) would remain in Pakistan, while Jammu and Kashmir with India.Speaking to reporters Abdullah said, “PoK is in Pakistan, and will remain. Jammu & Kashmir is in India, and will remain. We need to understand this.”He further added, “War is not the solution, only lives our lost. Dialogue is the only option.”

Syed Ali Shah Geelani made lifetime chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference

The meeting thoroughly discussed the prevailing political situation in Kashmir and Hurriyat also made some vital changes in the organizational structure under Article 20 of the Hurriyat constitution, the spokesman said.
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Hardline Hurriyat Conference on Wednesday appointed Syed Ali Shah Geelani as its lifetime chairman while restructuring the separatist amalgam to accommodate leaders who defected recently from the rival faction headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.”Seeing the unshakable, steadfast, uncompromised and active leadership of Geelani, the Hurriyat conference had accepted him as its lifetime Chairman,” a spokesman of the Hurriyat said after a meeting of the conglomerate of various separatist groups in Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting thoroughly discussed the prevailing political situation in Kashmir and Hurriyat also made some vital changes in the organizational structure under Article 20 of the Hurriyat constitution, the spokesman said.Senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, who quit the moderate faction of Hurriyat headed by the Mirwaz last year, was appointed as the secretary general of the hardline Hurriyat faction.”Shabir Ahmad Shah was made Secretary General while as Ghulam Nabi Sumji and Masarat Alam Bhat (who is lodged in a jail since April this year) were appointed as his deputies,” the spokesman said.Besides Shah, prominent Shia leader Agha Syed Hassan and Nayeem Ahmad Khan — two other notable leaders to switch Hurriyat factions — were appointed as members to the committee for social and political affairs. Hassan was appointed as the provincial president for Ladakh region while as Khan was appointed as president for Jammu region.

India’s plan to cut emissions indicates ‘seriousness’: UN chief Ban Ki-moon

“I welcome India’s submission of its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). I believe it indicates the seriousness with which India is confronting the challenges of climate change, and it will help the world ‘bend’ the temperature projections for the rest of this century,” Ban said.

PTI
India’s plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions indicates its “seriousness” in confronting climate change challenges and will help the world “bend” temperature projections for the rest of the century, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said ahead of the crucial Paris summit.The UN Secretary General also took note of India’s concerns over the lack of climate ambition on display by developed countries on both fronts of mitigation and support, saying that there is “no question” that developed countries need to take the lead on climate action.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I welcome India’s submission of its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC). I believe it indicates the seriousness with which India is confronting the challenges of climate change, and it will help the world ‘bend’ the temperature projections for the rest of this century,” Ban told PTI.In its INDCs, India has offered to slash its emissions per-unit of gross domestic product figures to 35 per cent by 2030.The United Nations Climate Change Conference, widely known as Conference of Parties (CoP 21), will take place from November 30 to December 11 in Paris and will aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2 C.More than 120 leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will participate in the 21st Meeting of the States Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.India has expressed deep concern over the lack of climate ambition on display by developed countries on both fronts of mitigation and support. Ban said while there is no question that developed countries need to take the lead on climate action, nations however have to move forward.”Global emissions are continuing to rise. We have to look at the issue differently. We have to recognise that all countries have to do their part, to the extent they have the resources and capacity to take action,” Ban said.He stressed that countries understand that all nations need to be involved in the solutions, and all need to see that the benefits of low-carbon, climate-resilient growth are realised by all.”Developed countries need to lead but all countries need to contribute,” he said.India has stressed that developed countries cannot undermine the core principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities in arriving at a climate deal.Ban emphasised that the Paris conference has to result in an agreement that is “fair”. He said it needs to demonstrate solidarity with the poor and most vulnerable countries.”It has to recognise and respond to the circumstances and needs of the most vulnerable, who have not contributed to the problem of climate change yet have the most to lose due to its impacts,” he said.

PM Modi calls for ‘peaceful means’ to solve territorial disputes

“India hopes that all the parties to the disputes in the South China Sea while will abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration of the conduct of the parties in South China Sea, and redouble efforts for early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus,” he added.

Image Courtesy: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for ‘peaceful means’ to settle all territorial disputes.”India shares with ASEAN a commitment to freedom of navigation, over flight and unimpeded commerce, in accordance with accepted principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the law of the Sea. Territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means,” Prime Minister Modi said while addressing the 13th ASEAN-India Summit at the Convention Centre here.”India hopes that all the parties to the disputes in the South China Sea while will abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration of the conduct of the parties in South China Sea, and redouble efforts for early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister insisted that specific plans of co-operation with maritime security, counter-piracy and humanitarian and disaster relief should be evolved.Prime Minister Modi also said that he is looking forward to ASEAN leading the way in defining the regional architecture and that India attach the highest priority to this partnership.”The 1st ASEAN-India Cyber Security Conference we hosted in Jan 2015 should be the springboard for greater cooperation. ASEAN remains the largest investment partner ? both for inward and outward flows, but there is great potential for expansion,” he said.He also called for enhancing cooperation with ASEAN on terrorism and for adoption of Comprehensive Convention on international terrorism.

Govt pursuing a paradigm shift in disaster management: Rajnath Singh

“Our national policies include mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and development programmes, besides community resilience building,” he said.

“We have established robust Institutional structures from national to provincial level with legislative back up and policy framework for enhancing our capabilities to reduce risk and loss to economy,” he said.

India has taken initiative for the paradigm shift in disaster management from relief centric to a holistic one and drawing the best practices around the world to improve its system and processes for disaster management, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today. Addressing the inaugural session of the Asia Leaders’ meeting towards implementation of the Sendai Framework for disaster risk reduction in Asia, Singh said that that the multi-dimensional aspects of disaster related risks should be dealt with affirmative action. “India has moved ahead from disaster mitigation to risk reduction. Our national policies include mainstreaming of disaster risk reduction and development programmes, besides community resilience building,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Home Minister said government has been actively pursuing a paradigm shift in disaster management from a relief centric approach in the past to a holistic one, that encompasses preparedness, prevention, mitigation and risk reduction. “We have established robust Institutional structures from national to provincial level with legislative back up and policy framework for enhancing our capabilities to reduce risk and loss to economy,” he said.Calling upon all entities, public and private, to strengthen the international support mechanisms for disaster risk reduction by sharing of reliable and affordable modern technology for capacity-building, Singh hoped the three-day deliberations will set the agenda for the First Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) due be held in New Delhi in November next year. “At the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan earlier this year, we committed to support a 15-year plan (2015-2030) of action with defined global targets and priorities under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,” he said.The Home Minister hoped the meeting would help devise future strategies for identification of risks, challenges and equal distribution of scarce resources ultimately contributing to achieve sustainable development goals. “Systematic incorporation of risk mitigation, emergency preparedness and capacity building approaches into national policy framework and developmental programmes would not only strengthen institutional mechanism but inculcate awareness among masses, in particular the law-making entities,” he said.

Nitin Gadkari leaves for Brazil to attend conference on road safety

Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari Minister on Sunday left for Brazil to attend the two-day global conference in Brazil on road safety.

India, along with host country Brazil is one of the Friends of the Decade of Action for Road Safety – an informal group committed to the success of the global plan.

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Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari Minister on Sunday left for Brazil to attend the two-day global conference in Brazil on road safety.The 2nd High Level Global Conference on Traffic Safety Time of Results, is being held in the capital city Brasilia on November 18 and 19, an official statement said. It is slated to be one of the most important discussions in the world on traffic safety and aims to reaffirm the international community’s commitment towards reduction of traffic accidents that are responsible for 1.2 million fatalities every year, the statement added. One of the major objectives of the event is to review the progress made by countries in implementing the Global Plan for the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plan aims to save five million lives worldwide through the adoption of policies, programmes, actions and legislations to increase safety on the roads especially for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety was held in Russia in 2009. Thereafter, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution for “Improving Global Road Safety”, in 2014. The forthcoming Brazil conference emerges from the UN resolution. The resolution expresses a concern about the fact that only 7 per cent of the global population is protected by appropriate traffic laws, which provides mandatory use of helmets, seat belts and protective devices for children among other norms.According to WHO’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, 35 countries, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the world population, have passed laws tackling one or more of the five key-factors of risk between 2008 and 2011. However the number of countries with comprehensive legislation about all five key-factors of risk remained constant at 28 (representing 7 per cent of the world population, or 449 million people) since the last WHO report in 2009.The goal of the Global Plan is that, at the end of the Decade of Action, the number of countries with comprehensive legislation on the subject increase by 50 per cent.Led by the WHO, the conference aims to strengthen the commitment of the international community around policies, legislations, measures and actions that can halt the factors that cause 1.2 million deaths worldwide and physical trauma to another 30 to 50 million people due to traffic accidents every year. The fatalities primarily affect children and young people from 5 to 29 years and young men are the main victims.India, along with host country Brazil is one of the Friends of the Decade of Action for Road Safety – an informal group committed to the success of the global plan.

Rape cases in India more than doubled in 2001-14: Report

Besides, cruelty against married women has risen nearly 2.5 times, the report on ‘Status of Women in India’, released at the International Conference on Gender Equality at Kovalam said

India has witnessed a surge in rape cases since 2001, when the crime more than doubled, an International Conference on Gender Equality was told.Besides, cruelty against married women has risen nearly 2.5 times, the report on ‘Status of Women in India’, released at the International Conference on Gender Equality at Kovalam said. While rape cases registered between 2001 and 2014 rose from 16,075 to 36,735, cases of cruelty against married woman jumped from 49,170 to 1,22,877, the report said.”If you look at it, ‘home’ is the first sanctuary of violence against women in the form of incest and early marriage,” Pam Rajput, Chairperson of a High-Level Committee (HLC) on the Status of Women in India, said at the Conference. The HLC report was an attempt to recommend policy interventions based on contemporary assessment of women’s economic, legal, political, education, health and socio-cultural needs, she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report notes that globally India ranks second-last (141 out of 142 countries) in health and wanted that public health spending be increased to 4.5 per cent. It was 40 years ago on the eve of the foremost UN world conference of women that the first report on the status of women in India was submitted.Rajput noted that India has one of the worst gender gaps in the world workforce participation, with only 25 per cent (15 per cent in urban areas and the rest in rural areas). “This can be revised only by integrating macroeconomic policy with social policy and examining the situation of underpaid women working in public services as voluntary or social workers,” she said. “Despite the economic growth and the increase in the level of education, women find it very difficult to make free choices,” she said.

Omar Abdullah accuses Narendra Modi of snubbing Mufti Sayeed

Omar said this was indicative of the systematic erosion of the institution of the Chief Minister under the incumbent Chief Minister and “how despite his unending praise of the RSS and BJP the Chief Minister stands discredited and snubbed by his own ally”

Omar Abdullah

Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “snubbing” J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at the former’s public rally here recently.”The NC working president (Omar) condemned how the Prime Minister snubbed an elected Chief Minister during his public meeting in Srinagar when the Prime Minister said he did not require anyone’s advice on the Kashmir issue after the Chief Minister’s speech,” a statement issued by the opposition party at the end of its working committee meeting said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar said this was indicative of the systematic erosion of the institution of the Chief Minister under the incumbent Chief Minister and “how despite his unending praise of the RSS and BJP the Chief Minister stands discredited and snubbed by his own ally”. The party also passed a resolution on the issue. “The issue of Kashmir is a political issue that has foxed many great minds over generations and no single individual can claim to be bestowed by the acumen to resolve this issue single-handedly.”The Working Committee of National Conference takes serious note of the arrogance displayed by the Prime Minister during his public meeting in Srinagar wherein he said that he did not require anyone’s advice on the Kashmir Issue, thereby snubbing an elected Chief Minister,” the resolution read. The party also lamented the “systematic erosion of the institution of Chief Minister under the current, incumbent Chief Minister.”At the meeting, the former Chief Minister discussed various organizational aspects and suggestions put forth by the members of the Working Committee. He reiterated the party’s efforts to not only streamline the organizational functioning of the party but also consolidate its grassroots presence in all the three regions of the state. Omar expressed satisfaction at the party’s revitalization in Leh and Kargil. He also reiterated the party’s vision to strengthen the minority, women and youth wings of the party and increase the party’s connect with various sections of the society.

Resolving Kashmir issue by giving jobs to youth fallacious: Hurriyat Conference

Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has been under house arrest since Friday, said the PM’s statement was a deception that will cannot change the reality of Kashmir issue.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
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Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention about resolving the Kashmir issue by providing employment to the youth was “bizarre” and “fallacious”.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talk in Srinagar about resolving the problem of Kashmir by providing jobs and employment opportunities to the youth is bizarre and fallacious propaganda,” Mirwaiz said. Modi had said that the youth of the state needed employment and assured the Mufti Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government that the Centre was standing rock solid behind it in its endeavour to restore normalcy in the state. Mirwaiz, who has been under house arrest since Friday, said the PM’s statement was a deception that will cannot change the reality of Kashmir issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Such deception will in no way change the reality of the Kashmir issue which Modi and his ilk know very well but want to dodge and not admit,” he said. He also condemned the killing of a youth in Srinagar yesterday allegedly in police action.Gowhar Ahmad Dar, an engineering student, was hit by a tear smoke shell allegedly fired by police to disperse a stone-pelting mob near his Zainakote residence on Saturday evening. He succumbed to injuries at a hospital.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani stresses on use of technology to strengthen school education system

The minister also felicitated all state education ministers for their efforts in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of having toilets in each government school under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign.

Union Minister for Human Resource Development , Smriti Irani launch smart apps e-pathshala, during the the National Conference on ICT in School Education, in New Delhi Saturday.

PTI
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said that use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) would strengthen school education system.Speaking at ‘edNEXT – National Conference on ICT’ in School Education in New Delhi, she said education ministers of some of the states are working to reduce burden of exams on students.Earlier, she appreciated the efforts put in by education ministers of all states in achieving hundred percent result in constructing separate toilet for boys and girls in schools during a period of one year. She said it was an outcome of the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India on August 15 last year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister also felicitated all state education ministers for their efforts in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of having toilets in each government school under the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya campaign. She also elaborated on paradigm shift where the stake holders were also asked to participate in the use of mobile apps tools and to find out the utility of these apps.Keeping in view the need to recognise the ICT initiatives being taken in the education sector, she made a clarion call to every citizen to come forward and contribute towards technology innovation for the benefit of school education. She also called upon the states to look into the issue of nutritional value of mid-day meal and prepare their own menu for mid-day meal keeping in mind the local climate and conditions.Prof. Ram Shankar Katheria, Minister of State for HRD, said the Prime Minister’s new initiative of Digital India would go a long way in ameliorating the prevailing poor conditions of our villages. He said concerted efforts of people across the country could find solution to varied problems, and stressed upon the need of digitalisation in school education.E-Pathshala, a web portal, which hosts educational resources for students, teachers, parents, researchers and educators, is available through especially-developed mobile app interface on Android, IOS and windows platforms for wider access and contains textbooks and other e-books as E-Pub 3.0 and Flipbooks in English, Hindi and Urdu.

90% Indian universities have outdated curriculum: CNR Rao

Rao also called for eliminating the bureaucratic hassles in the education system.

Eminent scientist and Bharat Ratna awardee CNR Rao believes that 90% of the universities and higher educational institutions in the country have an outdated curriculum, keeping them from making into the top institutes of the world.”90% of the universities in our country have an outdated curriculum. We talk about increasing funds, increasing infrastructure but there is no improvement in the content we are teaching in our hi-tech classrooms,” Rao said on Wednesday during the ongoing Visitor’s Conference at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.”One of the major reasons behind why Indian institutions don’t make it to the top 100 universities in the world. There are a lot of Indian students abroad who want to study in our country and come back, but there are no quality colleges to offer them the same kind of environment and education,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maintaining that Indian institutions need to improve, Rao, who is currently serving as the Head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, also asserted that the talent search in the country is “marginal”.”Talent search in our country has always been marginal. We teach our students what Newton and Faraday did, but there is no mechanism to look out for similar talent in interiors of the country,” he said.Rao also called for eliminating the bureaucratic hassles in the education system.”You want to introduce a course, institute a fellowship, establish an exchange programme, utilise the already allocated funds… there are so many laws, too many bureaucratic rooms.I think that process should be simplified,” he said.Heads of 114 institutions where President Pranab Mukherjee is the Visitor are participating in the three-day Visitors’ Conference which started on Thursday.The subjects that will be deliberated upon during the conference include creating inter-linkages of Industry-Academia, interfacing with ranking agencies, providing impetus to research and innovation in educational eco-system, establishing international networks and workforce sustainability, among others.Also addressing the conference were Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi and renowned geneticist MS Swaminathan.”Though the introduction of Right to Education (RTE) has contributed to a significant progress in the sector but the lack of three things – inclusion, quality and equity, are still roadblocks in ensuring progress at the ground level,” Satyarthi said.Swaminathan, known as ‘Indian Father of Green Revolution’, called for developing courses in “Sustainability Science” in all the institutions.

People of JK expecting financial package during PM Modi’s visit

Expectations run high ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir with people of the state as well as BJP’s alliance partner PDP hoping that a financial package would be announced to boost growth.

Expectations run high ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir with people of the state as well as BJP’s alliance partner PDP hoping that a financial package would be announced to boost growth.However, people affected due to the last year’s flood are sceptical of financial aides, alleging that after several announcements nothing has reached them.The state government headed by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has expressed hope that the visit of PM Modi, scheduled on November 7, will give an impetus to the development agenda.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We hope Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state will provide the much-needed impetus to the development agenda of the PDP-BJP coalition government,” Sayeed said a public meeting here last week.Sayeed said while he had offers of unconditional support from the Congress and the National Conference to form the government following a hung verdict in Assembly polls last year, he chose to go with the BJP as he saw an opportunity to change the destiny of the state as well as respect the mandate his now-coalition partner had won in Jammu region.”Our alliance with BJP was not a knee-jerk reaction … I have met the Prime Minister (Modi) on quite a few occasions. He has a mission to transform India and he is keen to usher in a new era of development in J&K,” he said.Sayeed’s Finance Minister Haseeb A Drabu said people of the state were expecting the Prime Minister to take tangible confidence building measures aimed at addressing the political and economic challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir.”The priority of the state government right now is to address the alienation especially among the youth and kick-start a developmental process to not only rebuild the flood-hit public and private infrastructure, but also ensure long-term economic prosperity of the people in all the regions and sub-regions of the state,” he said.However, many flood victims, particularly from Srinagar city, do not have much expectations with the Prime Minister’s visit as they feel the help, if any, coming now will be too late.”We are not sure whether there will be anything for us in Modi’s visit to Kashmir as he came here several times after the flood tragedy without announcing anything substantial for the sufferers,” Abdul Majid, whose house in Jawahar Nagar collapsed in the floods, said.

Hurriyat plans march when PM Narendra Modi visits Kashmir

Modi is expected to visit the Valley and address a rally here on November 7.

The Hurriyat said it would inform the state administration and send a written letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar with regard to the rally.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Thursday said it would take out a march here on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address a rally next month. “Hurriyat has decided to organize ‘Million March’ at TRC (Tourist Reception Centre) ground in Srinagar on the day of planned rally of the Prime Minister in Kashmir,” a Hurriyat spokesman said. Modi is expected to visit the Valley and address a rally here on November 7. The spokesman said the march would not affect the Prime Minister’s proposed rally in any way and people wanting to participate in his rally will not be stopped. The march would be “peaceful and disciplined…there wouldn’t be any law and order problem and nor will it disrupt the traffic,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He hoped that about a million people will take part in the march expected to be addressed by several top separatist leaders. The Hurriyat said it would inform the state administration and send a written letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar with regard to the rally.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s parallel march to counter Narendra Modi’s rally

Modi will be arriving in Jammu and Kashmir on November 7 to inaugurate the second phase of Baglihar hydro power project which will be followed by a public rally in Srinagar, his first in the city after PDP-BJP formed the coalition government on March 1.

It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally versus Hurriyat Hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s `Million March’ in Srinagar on November 7.While the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government is busy preparing for Modi’s rally at Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium, pro-Pakistan Hurriyat hawk Geelani has announced a parallel march to the neighbouring TRC grounds on the same day creating a tricky situation for the security establishment in Jammu and Kashmir.Modi will be arriving in Jammu and Kashmir on November 7 to inaugurate the second phase of Baglihar hydro power project which will be followed by a public rally in Srinagar, his first in the city after PDP-BJP formed the coalition government on March 1.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”More than a million people will participate in the rally and it will be a clear referendum proving the people’s support to the freedom movement. Geelani Sahab will invite all the top pro-freedom leaders to address the rally”, said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani-led hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference.Hurriyat Conference has also decided to formally send a written communiqué to the deputy commissioner, Srinagar assuring that the march will be peaceful and not affect Modi’s rally on that day.”Hurriyat Conference will take the responsibility that the million march will be peaceful and disciplined. The event will not create any law and order problem. The million march will in no way affect the public rally of the Indian Prime Minister and the people desirous to participate in his rally will not be stopped or hindered”, Ayaz said.The spokesman noted that both the public rallies will decide that how many people are with India and how many support the freedom struggle.”Hurriyat Conference want to give a peaceful message through this march to the world as well as the Indian Prime Minister that the freedom struggle of Kashmiris is neither terrorism nor a communal movement. People of Kashmir have launched a just struggle for their birthright”, he said.Hurriyat spokesman said preparation for the million march have started from Thursday and all the Hurriyat constituents will be activated for this purpose.”Mr Modi should understand that the Kashmiris are not warmongers but a peace-loving nation. Rulers of India should fulfil the promises made with the Kashmiri people on national and international fora”, he said.Meanwhile the Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ordered that nine departments would set up camp offices in civil secretariat, Srinagar to coordinate the arrangements for the visit of the Prime Minister. “These offices will remain operational in Srinagar between November 2 and November 7”, an official spokesman said

Delhi-based environment group bags United Nation’s climate award

The prestigious award was bagged by Delhi-based Chintan group for its project ‘E-waste: From Toxic to Green’ which revolves around preventing greenhouse gas emissions due to mass burning of electronic waste in Delhi NCR while promoting green livelihoods for urban waste-pickers.

An Indian environment group was awarded this year’s UN Climate Solutions Awards for their work with waste pickers and e-waste to tackle climate change.The prestigious award was bagged by Delhi-based Chintan group for its project ‘E-waste: From Toxic to Green’ which revolves around preventing greenhouse gas emissions due to mass burning of electronic waste in Delhi NCR while promoting green livelihoods for urban waste-pickers. The group’s model to fight climate change was chosen as the best among 16 other initiatives presented from across the globe.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21), the Momentum for Change spearheaded by the UNFCCC Secretariat recognizes innovative and transformative solutions that address both climate change and wider economic, social and environmental challenges.”The project is about forming strategic partnerships with the formal and informal sector to channelize e-waste safely. By doing this, Chintan ensures that the hazardous dismantling of e-waste is stopped and safer practices are adopted, and safeguarding both the environment and livelihoods. Chintan has mitigated climate change by preventing e-waste from being burned and creating incentives for it from the collection by urban waste pickers for recycling,” it was said in an official statement.Chintan said that it has trained more than 2,000 workers to collect about 25 tons of e-waste every year for safe disposal. This offers a unique last mile service to households and ensures that the waste is recycled rather than being burned.Winning initiatives, called ‘Lighthouse Activities’ highlight some of the most innovative and scalable examples of what people are doing to address climate change. All the 16 initiatives will be showcased at a series of special events during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris scheduled to take place from November 30 to December 11.

68 years of Kashmir accession: What actually happened on 27 October, 1947?

It is difficult to imagine the cliffhanging drama that unfolded as Indian troops landed in Kashmir on 27 October 1947. The place was in limbo, the Maharaja having left Srinagar for Jammu in a long convoy at 2 am on the night of 25 October, a few hours after signing the accession.

At the Cabinet meeting on 26 October, Nehru insisted that the accession must have the people’s backing. So, Sheikh Adbullah sent in a quickly scribbled note on behalf of the National Conference. He was sitting in the next room, having brought his family down to Delhi.

A boy cycles past a wall damaged in alleged firing from the Pakistan side of the Kashmir border, at Mawa village, in Samba district, about 58 kilometers south of Jammu, on Saturday, 24 October, 2015. APA boy cycles past a wall damaged in alleged firing from the Pakistan side of the Kashmir border, at Mawa village, in Samba district, about 58 kilometers south of Jammu, on Saturday, 24 October, 2015. AP

A boy cycles past a wall damaged in alleged firing from the Pakistan side of the Kashmir border, at Mawa village, in Samba district, about 58 kilometers south of Jammu, on Saturday, 24 October, 2015. AP

At dusk, companies of the Sikh regiment were scrambled from their Gurgaon billet. On the morning of 27 October, Dakotas flew them to Srinagar. Anxious National Conference leaders were scanning the skies over Rangret airport, their hopes fading, by the time the first plane arrived at 10 am. The heroic Maqbool Sherwani had by then turned the marauding tribesmen towards Shadipura from Shalteng. Chancing upon him as he tried out his new motorcycle, those invaders from Pakistan had asked him for directions.

By afternoon, the tarmac was a broken mess; it had been built only for the Maharaja’s small private plane. By then, the badly-briefed soldiers had killed their first quarry, mistaking four ordinary Kashmiris for invaders while passing Barzula village a couple of kilometres before what was then the edge of the city.

The dramatic events of that day have left a legacy of divergent narratives. Those divergences are a major reason why many Kashmiris and the majority of Indians so often talk past each other. Each seems unreasonable to the other. That of course is a recipe for deadlock and increased resentment.

A common impression among many Kashmiris is that the army’s arrival on this day that year was a temporary measure, meant only to save Kashmiris from the tribesmen. That is one cause for the hartal call in Kashmir today.

In fact, when Maharaja Hari Singh first sought urgent military aid on 24 October, the cabinet had refused to send troops unless the Maharaja acceded, arguing that the Indian Army could only defend Indian territory. This was not Nehru’s idea, or Patel’s, but that of Governor-General Mountbatten (who chaired the Defence Committee of the Cabinet).

That brings one to another strongly held idea in many Kashmiri minds – that the accession itself was temporary. They conclude this by clubbing the accession with the promise of a plebiscite. Most Indians, on the other hand, separate the two. The accession was final, as were the accessions of the other 500 or so potentates.

The real differences are that this one was conditional (only for defence, external relations and communication), and this Maharaja did not follow up with an instrument of merger. That means that the state of Jammu and Kashmir continues to have a legal standing, and cannot be reconstituted into alternative states – as Andhra Pradesh recently was.

The boot is generally on the other foot when it comes to narratives regarding Article 370. Many Indians think this was a temporary provision until a final decision on the state’s future was taken by a separate constituent assembly of the state. Most Kashmiris insist that 370 is a permanent part of India’s constitution, the hinge upon which the state’s relationship with the Union is based.

That brings one to divergent perceptions about the constituent assembly. The state’s constitution clearly states that it is an integral part of India. Union Home Minister GB Pant used that term for the first time in Parliament in 1958, soon after the state’s constitution took effect on 26 January that year. Once the state’s constitution was in place, it (and the assemblies elected under its mandate) dictated how much control the Union would have.

Unfortunately, a demand for integration has been so often bandied about by RSS activists that many Indians now confuse it for just an RSS rant. Indeed, RSS activists tend to confuse it with Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerji’s ek nishan, ek vidhan, ek pradhan campaign of 1952-53.

Mookerji’s campaign was specifically against the New Delhi agreement of 1952, negotiated by committees headed by Maulana Azad on behalf of the Union and Sheikh Abdullah on behalf of the state. And that agreement was in the same bracket as Article 370. It was meant to determine this particularly prickly Centre-state relationship until the state’s constitution was ready.

Ironically, many of the Kashmiris who contest integration and insist that Article 370 is permanent and sacrosanct also hold fast to the state’s separate constitution. Generally, they neither question the rigged elections through which that assembly was constituted, nor the processes through which the proceedings were managed.

Actually, one can go round and round in circles arguing about each of the above points. Finally, all the divergences regarding the permanence or otherwise of what happened that fateful day and subsequently, boil down to a fundamental difference in perspective – whether one wants to interpret all that happened as meant to pave the way for Kashmir’s inclusion in India, or as meant to open doors that might lead to its independence.

(David Devadas, an expert on political and international affairs, is the author of In Search of a Future, the Story of Kashmir)

BJP knocks out Congress in Leh Hill Council polls; PM Narendra Modi hails victory

Congress, which had 22 seats in the outgoing Council, managed only four seats this time while National Conference got two.

Pm Narendra Modi who expressed his gratitude to the people of the region for reposing their faith in BJP (File Photo)

AFP
Dislodging Congress, BJP on Friday swept the elections for the 26-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, bagging 17 of the 24 seats for which results were declared.Congress, which had 22 seats in the outgoing Council, managed only four seats this time while National Conference got two. One seat was bagged by an Independent.The poll victory was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who expressed his gratitude to the people of the region for reposing their faith in BJP. “Delighted at the results of Ladakh Hill Council Polls. My gratitude to people for placing their faith in BJP. Congrats to BJP Karyakartas,” he tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The party had won the Lok Sabha polls last year from Ladakh Constituency, the lone seat in the region, by dislodging Congress. BJP candidates won from Tegar, Panamik, Tangtse, Chushul, Kungyam, Sakti, Igoo, Martselang, Thiksay, Chuchot, Upper Leh, Phyang, Sku-Markha, Saspol, Temisgam, Khaltse and Skurbuchan council seats in the elections held on October 19. Congress has so far managed only four seats winning Lamayouru, Basgo, Lingshet and Korzok seats. National Conference has won two seats — Lower Leh and Turtuk, while Diskit seat went to an Independent. The results for two council seats -Hunder and Nyoma – are awaited. 90 candidates were in the fray for the elections and over 65 per cent electorate had exercised their franchise.In the last elections held in 2010, Congress had 22 seats while BJP had 4. The most important seat was considered to be Lower Leh from where Rigzin Spalbar of NC won. Spalber, outgoing CEC of LAHDC, had left Congress just before the polls to join NC.

BJP heads for majority in Leh-Ladakh council polls

BJP, which won the Lok Sabha polls last year from Ladakh Constituency, needs five more seats to get a majority in the LAHDC polls.

BJP bagged nine of the 13 seats for which results have been declared so far.

File Photo
BJP is heading for a clear majority in the 26-member Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, bagging nine of the 13 seats for which results have been declared so far.BJP, which won the Lok Sabha polls last year from Ladakh Constituency, needs five more seats to get a majority in the LAHDC polls.According to the election officials, BJP candidates won from Thiksay, Chuchot, Upper Leh, Phyang, Sku-Markha, Saspol, Temisgam, Khaltse and Skurbuchan council seats in the elections held on October 19. Congress, which had a strong presence in the previous council, has so far managed only three seats winning Lamayouru, Basgo and Lingshet seats.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference has won only one seat so far.

Jammu and Kashmir trucker’s killing: Fresh protests, clashes breakout in Anantnag

A strike was observed across the Valley to protest against Zahid’s death. Shutdown is being observed in many parts of the district in the valley.

The opposition National Conference has blamed the BJP which rules Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Several hundred local residents protested in South Kashmir’s Anantnag District against the killing of a Kashmiri trucker by a mob in the Udhampur area of Jammu region on Tuesday here. Clashes also broke out between protesters and the security forces. Unrest has started in the valley since Clashes took place in Anantnag on Sunday and Monday, when Zahid’s funeral took place.A strike was observed across the Valley to protest against Zahid’s death. Shutdown is being observed in many parts of the district in the valley. Unrest has started in the valley since Clashes took pace in Anantnag on Sunday and Monday, when Zahid’s funeral took place. A strike was observed across the Valley to protest against Zahid’s death. Even today, a shutdown is being observed in many parts of the district. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition National Conference has blamed the BJP which rules Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Mr Abdullah said it was a “needless death” in the name of beef ban for which the “BJP and its allies” were responsible. Nine men, all locals, have been arrested for the attack on Zahid. Sources say three of them belong to political parties and one is a suspended police constable.

Narendra Modi may assess DRDO report card on Thursday

The last time Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) headquarters in New Delhi in August 2014 for an annual award event of the scientists, he put the organisation on notice asking it to get over what he termed as “chalta hai attitude”, apparently, pulling it up for slow progress on critical projects.Thursday morning, Modi visits DRDO again, this time to attend a function to mark the birth anniversary of late President APJ Abdul Kalam.During this ‘notice period’ of over a year, DRDO has had changes in the organisation, most notably being sacking of its head Avinash Chander in January last, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Modi on Thursday uses the occasion to speak in a manner as if to appraise the establishment’s performance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That how things would shape up during PM’s visit on Thursday raises even more curiosity as current DRDO chief S Christopher, highly likely to be present on the occasion, recently raised a red flag over fund and manpower crunch and government’s indifference to helping the situation in the presence of defence minister Manohar Parrikar. On the occasion of the 39th Directors’Conference of DRDO on September 23, he had said over manpower crunch that “this is an issue which DRDO has been pursuing for a long time and currently a case for 436 scientists is with the government for approval”. He asked the government to “appreciate the gravity of the situation and take appropriate measures to ensure manpower” only to be advised by Parrikar to “roll up their sleeves”.Read Christopher’s concern’s against the backdrop of the fact that he was handpicked by Modi government four months after his predecessor Chandra’s unceremonious exit. During his last visit to DRDO, Modi had pulled up the DRDO in as many words when he said,”The world will not wait for us. We have to run ahead of time. We should not say in 2014 that a project conceived in 1992 will take some more time”.Several important DRDO projects, including the Tejas LCA is running behind schedules. DRDO, on the other hand, rues the fact that 5-6 per cent of India’s defence budget for research and development is inadequate to meet the aspirations of country’s defence needs especially when China spends about 20 per cent of its defence budget on R&D.

BJP members thrash MLA over beef row in J&K House

Rashid was punched, kicked and abused by the MLAs as soon as he took his seat in the House on Thursday morning. A group of BJP legislators led by MLA Nowshera and president of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha Ravinder Raina pounced on Rashid and caught him by the neck trying to pull him down.

National Conference legislators come to the aid of Engineer Rashid in the J&K assembly

PTI
A group of BJP MLAs physically assaulted the independent lawmaker from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid in the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly for hosting the beef party in MLAs hostel lawns on Wednesday evening.Rashid was punched, kicked and abused by the MLAs as soon as he took his seat in the House on Thursday morning. A group of BJP legislators led by MLA Nowshera and president of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha Ravinder Raina pounced on Rashid and caught him by the neck trying to pull him down.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, National Conference and Congress members and independents immediately swung into action and saved Rashid from the clutches of the BJP MLAs who were unrepentant about their behaviour.”They tried to kill me. They kicked and hit me on my chest. I fell unconscious for a moment and did not know what was going on. Education minister Naeem Akthar had a few days ago said they will sacrifice me and today they put the plan in action. If this is democracy, then shame on Indian democracy,” Rashid said.Rashid, who heads Awami Ithaad Party, said he was consulting the legal experts about lodging an FIR against the BJP MLA for assault on him. “I am in touch with my legal team to find out whether an FIR could be lodged. If the law permits, I will lodge an FIR for murderous assault on me,” he later told dna.Chaos and confusion reigned supreme in the House after BJP members thrashed Rashid. Slogans rent the air with opposition walking out in protest against the unruly behaviour of BJP members in the House.Leading the charge was NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah who asked the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to stand up and condemn the behaviour of the members of alliance partner.”What Rashid did after Supreme Court order is not illegal. He has not broken any law. so why punish him,” he said.Under fire, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed strongly condemned the incident and urged his deputy and BJP leader Nirmal Singh to make a statement and admit that mistake has been committed (by members of his party).”What happened today is highly unfortunate. The sanctity of the House should be maintained and it should not be reduced to a wrestling ring where blows are exchanged. Legislative assembly is a sacred forum where laws are made and matters of public importance are raised and deliberated upon,” Mufti said. Deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh condemned the incident but with a rider that the hosting of beef party by Rashid in the MLA hostel too had hurt the sentiments of the people. “I condemn the incident in the House. The hosting of beef party by Rashid also hurt the sentiments of the people,” he said.However, the BJP members involved in the attack remained defiant saying cow is their mother and nobody has right to hurt their sentiments.”Cow slaughter or sale of cow beef is banned under section 298 of Ranbir Penal Code. Hindus all over the world consider cow as their mother. However Rashid provoked us when he entered the House by saying he would host thousands of beef parties in every nook and corner of the valley,” said Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowhsera.Raina said he has filed a formal complaint before the police to lodge an FIR against Rashid for hosting the beef party. “I have talked to the director general of police. I have also moved an application before the police station Kothi Bagh for registering a case against Rashid, but no action has been taken so far,” he said.Meanwhile, authorities on Thursday suspended the manager and deputy manager of the MLA hostel pending enquiry into the hosting of beef party by lawmaker from Langate Engineer Rashid.

Dadri lynching: Farooq Abdullah says secularism been ‘killed’, asks Centre to respect all faiths

Amid outcry over lynching of a man in Dadri over rumours of consuming beef, former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today regretted that secularism has been “killed” in the country, as he appealed to the Centre to respect all religions in order to save the nation.

Farooq Abdullah

Amid outcry over lynching of a man in Dadri over rumours of consuming beef, former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah today regretted that secularism has been “killed” in the country, as he appealed to the Centre to respect all religions in order to save the nation.”I regret that in India, which was known as a secular country, secularism has been killed. It is the biggest regret. The Constitution of India gives a right to everybody to preach his or her religion and it does not allow anyone to attack any religion,” Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said people from all religions had “lived comfortably in the country that is why India has been saved till now”.”But since the atmosphere of RSS has been created, the animosity is increasing. God forbid, something should not happen which endangers India. Those in power in Delhi should think about whether they want an organised and good India or an India where there will be riots every day. “I appeal them that if they have to save secular India, then they should respect all religions and try to understand these religions,” he said.Asked about Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta’s assertion that he was “a proud RSS man”, Abdullah, president of opposition National Conference (NC), said Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed should answer what he has got by allying with the BJP.”Ask Mufti sahib. He is the one who has given him the chair. You ask him that he used to make promises that he will not ally with the BJP, but he is now sitting with them. What has he got? He dug out a mountain but discovered only a mouse. God forbid, we fear he may divide the state,” Abdullah said.

Opposition protests in J&K Assembly for second day

Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was rocked by protests for the second day today as opposition members stormed the well of the House demanding adjournment of Question Hour to discuss various issues including regularisation of casual workers.

Uproar in J&K assembly

Image courtesy: ANI’s Twitter handle
Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was rocked by protests for the second day today as opposition members stormed the well of the House demanding adjournment of Question Hour to discuss various issues including regularisation of casual workers.The opposition members also demanded a discussion of Article 35 A which upholds the unique status of the permanent residents of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.Yesterday, opposition members had protested over beef ban and other issues in the Jammu and Kashmir legislature with banner-waving MLAs of NC and Congress storming the well, climbing tables and clashing with marshals in the Assembly, leaving a lawmaker and a security staff injured.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference (NC) had raised the issue of beef ban in both the legislative assembly and the legislative council with its leader Omar Abdullah questioning why the PDP-BJP Government approached the Supreme Court when the legislature is “free” to scrap the 1932 provision in the Ranbir Penal Code prohibiting cow slaughter.The protests had started after the chair in the Assembly and the Council disallowed motions moved by NC seeking suspension of Question Hour over beef ban issue and also by Congress for a discussion on rehabilitation of flood victims and imposition of service tax on helicopter services for Vaishnodevi pilgrims.

Women enter a new all-boys club

Women entering the inner core of the world’s most majestic golf clubs is an event of our times.

A man playing golf

dna Research & Archives
Women entering the inner core of the world’s most majestic golf clubs is an event of our times. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we have been so antiquated and outmoded in our openness. The Augusta National or even the St Andrew’s have unshackled their doors and minds only now to let women in to be members. Golf’s not alone in this regard. We have the corporate world as well. That hiring women is an imperative that organisations have come to believe in only now. If at all. But it’s heartening to be part of a dialogue that’s seeking change. That gender fairness is being pursued.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month I was hosting the Deutsche Bank Women in Asian Business Conference. And their subject was most interesting – Men Matter. The idea was to debate how in organisational structures and in boardrooms men hold the key to women rising up the ladder. Not because women won’t rise on their own but because for centuries men haven’t made enough place for them. Core to this was the realisation that to alienate men from the gender debate was like cutting off half the population that could potentially spur the movement forward.Traditionally, gender issues have been accredited to women’s issues as if its a battle by women for women. There is only little discussion on why that has happened. There is also the notion that men can’t talk gender equality because it stops them being ‘men’. We have a great sense of the women’s issues, but a surface level understanding on what role men can play in helping progress the gender agenda: How can that be addressed? Corporate boardrooms are brimming over with challenge. “It’s time to take the issue mainstream,” asserted Tan Sri Rafiah Salim, who counts herself among the few women who sit on powerful boards and is a former UN assistant secretary general.Diversity is not just about numbers but about how many places or positions women are, so they also make a lager impact on policy, and therefore impact the lives of more women. Is it time to inspire, challenge and change ideas around the role men play in supporting and sponsoring women to top? It’s hard not to mention that very awkward statistic that there are more CEOs named John than women CEOs around the world. Is it time for India Inc to doggedly chase the notion that men must become ambassadors for gender fairness? How can organisations explain what’s in it for men to be part of this diversity change? How could they be brought on board? While we do have some laws that make things mandatory but surely the movement of getting more women in company’s key positions will get propelled if the inherent philosophy says so. Over the weekend Unilever’s Paul Polman insisted, “Gender equality also presents an enormous opportunity for economic and business growth. Addressing the barriers is not just the right thing to do; it must be a business priority.”Even as corporations search for their own solutions, it might work well for them to begin here: Advocacy over advice. Men matter as they can transform leadership positions by opening them to women and turning their sponsors over just being mentors. They must actively be part of the women’s equality movement.

Dowry seekers, wife beaters to face social boycott in Kashmir

Muslim clergy have called upon all the harassed girls to register their complaints before local imams apart from police so that the family which tortures their daughters in law could be ostracized in the society.

Husbands and mothers-in-law beware! Demanding dowry or beating wife would invoke social boycott in the Kashmir valley.Muslim clergy have called upon all the harassed girls to register their complaints before local imams apart from police so that the family which tortures their daughters in law could be ostracized in the society.”For the last three there have been 1200 cases of domestic violence in Kashmir. And it is just 20 per cent of the actual number of cases. Eighty per cent of people do not register their cases due to social, family and other pressures. It is an alarming trend and we need to take this issue head on,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief cleric of Kashmir and chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the plan charted out by the clergy, the families found involved in the domestic violence and demanding dowry would face instant social boycott by the community in their localities in a last ditch effort to end the harassment of the brides.”Apart from the legal action there is a need to mount social pressure on these elements. First and foremost thing is that our sisters and daughters should muster courage and register their cases before the police. After that they should approach local imam so that he could involve the community. Mohalla and imam will then mount pressure and boycott these elements socially”, said Mirwaiz.Clergy has also decided to go full throttle and launch awareness campaign to educate people about the tenants of Islam so that the menace of domestic violence and dowry is put to an end.”There is no concept of dowry in Islam. In fact, it is the other way round. Groom’s family has to bear all expenses of the bride as well. Unfortunately, it has become cultural thing. Imams will be speaking on these issues on Fridays. I will be speaking myself on this issue for the next month in Jamia Masjid to create a religious awareness among the people,” said Mirwaiz.Waking up to the violence against women, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to start one-stop-crisis-center to help the women in distress.”We have got a go ahead for the centre. It will have office in Jammu and its lines will be opened in Kashmir. Distressed women could call us. on the number which we will be providing. We will provide all the legal and police protection to the women in distress. Besides we will also provide temporary shelter to such women,” Asiea Naqash, J&K minister of state for health and social welfare, told dna.

Muslim organisations launch campaigns against ‘un-Islamic’ ISIS

Slamming ISIS for “un-Islamic” acts and “undermining the basic tenets” of the faith, several Muslim organisations in the country have launched campaigns against the terror group, saying it was trying to justify its violence by distorting Islamic symbols and history.

Islamic State

Slamming ISIS for “un-Islamic” acts and “undermining the basic tenets” of the faith, several Muslim organisations in the country have launched campaigns against the terror group, saying it was trying to justify its violence by distorting Islamic symbols and history.Muslim organisations have held meetings in places like Delhi, Jodhpur, Kozhikode and Lucknow to urge Muslim youths to refrain from associating with ISIS, which they said was involved in un-Islamic activities resulting in the killing of thousands of innocent victims.According to a Home Ministry report, in Kerala, Ittehadul Subhanil Mujahideen had organised a state-level conclave in Kozhikode on September 20 under the banner of ‘Youth Movement Against IS Terrorism’, which was inaugurated by its president, TP Abdulla Koya Maudani.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his address, Maudani called for united efforts to counter the proliferation of the ideology of the Middle East terror group, asserting that the outfit was justifying terrorist actions by distorting Islamic symbols as well as history.ISIS was distorting ideologies related to ‘Jihad’ and ‘Khilafat’, Maudani explained, and added that Sunni and Shia “extremism” would only lead to destruction of the Muslim community.Separately, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Kerala, MI Abdul Aziz said at a press conference in Kozhikode earlier this month that terrorist activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were un-Islamic as well as a challenge to society.He said that the claims of ISIS with regard to the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate were “fake”. His organisation also held several meetings at other places in Kerala highlighting the atrocities committed by ISIS.The Rajasthan unit of Jamiat Ahle Hadees had organised a youth conference in Jodhpur on September 13 against terrorist activities of ISIS. Speakers at the conference urged youths to refrain from associating with ISIS which they said was involved in un-Islamic terrorist activities.Also, Syed Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, Dargah Dewan, Dargah Sharif, Ajmer, said at a press conference on September 19 that the entire world should unite against ISIS, which was undermining the basic tenets of Islam.In Delhi, ISIS was criticised by several Muslim outfits at a ‘Peace Conference’ held at India International Centre on September 17.In Uttar Pradesh, Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahli, Imam, Eidgah Aisbagh, Lucknow; executive committee member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, issued a ‘fatwa’ on September 9 against ISIS, saying the outfit was involved in un-Islamic activities in killing innocent people.

Congress insists Rahul Gandhi is attending conference in US; claims will be back before Bihar polls

Reacting sharply to the BJP criticism, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said that it would be better for the BJP if it focused more on the poll tussle in Bihar rather than the visit to US of Gandhi.
File Photo
PTI
Rahul Gandhi has gone to Aspen in US to attend a conference and would be back much before campaigning in Bihar polls gets underway, Congress said on Thursday dismissing BJP’s criticism of the tour of the party Vice-President.Reacting sharply to the BJP criticism, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said that it would be better for the BJP if it focused more on the poll tussle in Bihar rather than the visit to US of Gandhi.”With defeat in Bihar staring in the face like in Delhi, BJP is presenting Mohan Bhagwat with his anti-reservation statement while one day comes out with a new law for more reservation in Rajasthan…”, he claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress leader insisted that the party Vice President has gone to the US to attend a conference ‘Weekend with Charlie Rose’ at Aspen Institute in Colorado. BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao had earlier said that the Conference Gandhi was claimed to have gone to attend had got over in July and accused it of “resorting to falsehood to hide facts we don’t know”.”Congress is unable to give proper reason for Rahul’s absence. Everyday they are trotting out a new story, coming out with a new fact that turns out to be false. It is resorting to apparent falsehood and lies to hide facts we don’t know,” he told reporters.Rao claimed the institute’s manager had stated that nobody by the name of the Congress leader had either attended its event or was scheduled to take part in future. Rao said Rahul was entitled to go on a personal visit but Congress should stop “lying” to “mislead” the country.BJP and Congress are involved in a bitter war of words after the Congress leader left for the US, with the ruling party firing the first salvo derisively claiming he had been sent on a “forced vacation” as his Bihar allies believed that his presence would harm their chances in the assembly polls.Hitting back, Congress accused it of spreading “patent lies” and “petty canards” as BJP was foreseeing its “imminent loss” in the Bihar polls.”Rahul Gandhi is travelling to Aspen, US, on a short visit to attend a conference. ‘Weekend with Charlie Rose’ is a conference where thought leaders from different walks of life like politics, finance, technology, media, medicine, sports gather to deliberate on multiple issues,” Surjewala had said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Beef ban creates divide between BJP and PDP

PDP said consumption of beef will continue to be allowed in the state notwithstanding the directive of the High Court for implementing a ban even as BJP said the sentiments of Hindus should be respected in the larger national interest without any provocation.
File Photo
PTI photo
The issue of beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir has created a divide between the ruling coalition partners, with PDP saying the prohibition cannot be accepted while the BJP is pressing for strict implementation of the 150-year prohibitory rule.PDP said consumption of beef will continue to be allowed in the state notwithstanding the directive of the High Court for implementing a ban even as BJP said the sentiments of Hindus should be respected in the larger national interest without any provocation.”No one can suppress religious freedom. If something is ‘Halal’ (allowed) in a religion, why should there be a ban on it? The Supreme Court, in its recent judgment, has also said that meat ban cannot be forced down people’s throat. You cannot do this with the religious beliefs of the people,” PDP leader Peer Mansoor told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mansoor, who is also the political advisor to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, said India is known world over for its democracy and people have the right to preach their religious beliefs.”There is no ban in other states like Uttar Pradesh. So, why ban it here? People have the right to eat what their religion permits… Even our Chief Minister (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) and party president can eat beef if they like to and their health permits. Why should they not eat it when it is permitted in their religion?” he said.Mansoor said the PDP is a party based on certain principles and it would never compromise on them. He said PDP formed coalition with BJP for governance of the state on the basis of a common minimum programme known as ‘Agenda for Alliance’ and it did not mean that there was any merger of the ideologies of the two partners.”There will be no compromise on our own ideology,” he said.On the other hand, BJP state vice-president and Member of Legislative Council Ramesh Arora said his party would not budge on its demand for strict implementation of the ban.”We are in favour of implementing the ban and we want it to be enforced strongly. These statements from few PDP leaders are their personal views and not a party view. But they should restrain themselves from issuing such irresponsible statements,” he said.”I tell you, I have read Quran and interacted with religious scholars. It (eating beef) is not mandatory for Muslims,” the BJP leader insisted.Arora said the PDP leaders should respect the sentiments of Hindus and have a “rethink on their personal perceptions in the larger interest of the nation”.”They (PDP) members should restrain their emotions and talk rationally. They should think of not hurting the sentiments of the Hindus nationwide. They should stop from saying anything that strengthens separatist or fundamental tendencies and widens the gap in the society,” he said.He said if the PDP has any differences with the BJP over the issue, it should raise them at Coordination Committee meeting.”They should raise their differences. But I am sure at the end they will agree with us,” he said, adding “the sentiments should not come above the law, otherwise that will not be good”.Mansoor said there should be tolerance especially in the matters of religion.”Our country is a tolerant nation. It is not like other countries like Pakistan where there is no religious tolerance. If our country is strong and moving forward, it is because of tolerance,” the PDP leader said.He noted that the beef ban law has been there since the times of Maharaja and “Even as it was there, beef was still consumed here. There was no (implementation of) ban.”He criticized National Conference (NC) for not scrapping the law while being in power for decades in the state.

Shutdown observed across Kashmir valley over Sopore killing

The victim Bashir Ahmed Bhat, who had quit militancy after serving a prison term, was attacked near his residence in Sagipora.

A complete shutdown is being observed on Sunday across the Kashmir valley against the killing of a three- year-old child and his father in Sopore town of Baramulla District.All roads were seen empty and the shops remained closed.Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani on yesterday had called for a complete shutdown on Sunday.The victim Bashir Ahmed Bhat, who had quit militancy after serving a prison term, was attacked near his residence in Sagipora.Sources reported that Bhat and his three-year-old son were injured after unidentified militants struck at his residence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both were rushed to hospital, but Bhat succumbed to his injuries on the way, while his three-year-old son died this afternoon.

Kashmir is never going to be part of Pakistan, says Farooq Abdullah

Abdullah said, “they (Pakistan) are not going to get Kashmir even if they try over the sky. That is not going to happen. So why cause further miseries for nothing. Why don’t they realise it is the Muslim population dying this side and Muslim population that is dying that side.

National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has rejected the notion that the threat of a nuclear war would solve the Kashmir issue, asserting that the region would never be a part of Pakistan and dialogue is the best way to “move forward”.Admitting that Kashmir has been the main agenda as far as India and Pakistan are concerned, Abdullah said: “What is important is dialogue between the two nations to get to some point of understanding. “There is no way, by threats of war or using atom bomb and saying we have nuclear weapon, that does not solve the problem. What we have to do is find ways and means, whether it is Track II or III, to get to some position of understanding.”One thing is absolutely clear: borders won’t change how much countries want to change it, borders will not change.” Abdullah said this while participating in a programme titled ‘A Conversation on Jammu and Kashmir’ with former R&AW chief A S Dulat, who has also authored a book titled ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’ nlast night.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The programme was anchored by journalist Ashis Ray. Abdullah said, “they (Pakistan) are not going to get Kashmir even if they try over the sky. That is not going to happen. So why cause further miseries for nothing. Why don’t they realise it is the Muslim population dying this side and Muslim population that is dying that side.”They bomb us and we bomb them. It is innocent people who dies. How long, 65 years. Enough. I would like to tell both India and Pakistan: For God’s sake. Enough is enough. Let us get together and move forward rather than live in tragedies.” Following the cancellation of NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan last month, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz accused India of considering itself a regional power, forgetting that Pakistan is “nuclear power”.”(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s India acts as if they are a regional superpower, but we are also a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves,” Aziz had said. Earlier this month, Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif termed Kashmir an “unfinished agenda” and warned India of “unbearable damage” in case of a “long or short” war.”If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale short or long it will have to pay an unbearable cost,” he had said in his address to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with India on September 7.But answering questions, Abdullah said “the truth is, Kashmir is never going to be part of Pakistan, whether Farooq Abdullah lives or dies. It is never going to happen in many centuries to come. So let us draw a different friendship. Come and enjoy Gulmarg, Pehlgam and the gardens Mughals made. Come and enjoy the Kashmiri dishes we cook. Give something to us as tourists.”I would love to see the day I can drive right through to Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. My grandfather, my uncle are buried in Lahore. I cannot go there. When I die you can not stop my soul from going there.”

Pressure on Mufti government to bring ordinance to override beef ban

Leading the charge is main opposition party National Conference (NC) which has called upon the government to explore ordinance route to make amendments to Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) ahead of the approaching Eid-ul-Azha.

Pressure is mounting on Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-BJP government to promulgate the ordinance to bypass the Jammu and Kashmir high court order banning the sale of beef in the restive state. Leading the charge is main opposition party National Conference (NC) which has called upon the government to explore ordinance route to make amendments to Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) ahead of the approaching Eid-ul-Azha. The party has also decided to bring a bill in the coming assembly session to amend the RPC in a bid to override the ban on beef.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Mufti Sahab should get the ordinance passed by his Cabinet and send it to the Governor as soon as possible to prevent an explosive situation on Eid-ul-Azha where traditionally cow sacrifices are commonplace all across the state”, said Abdul Rahim Rather, senior NC leader and former finance minister. Under section 298A Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), killing or slaughtering of a cow or similar animal (including ox and buffalo) is non-bailable offence which carries punishment of 10 years imprisonment and fine. Under section 298B, possessing of meat of such an animal is a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine.. Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Jammu and Kashmir high court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal on Wednesday had directed the director general of police to enforce the ban on the sale of beef in the state. “The ordinance is a moral obligation of the Mufti government towards the people of this state whose religious beliefs could be impinged on by the implementation of the ban on cow slaughter, as directed by the Honorable High Court”, said Nasir Aslam Wani, NC provincial president. NC’s demand for ordinance has evoked a sharp reaction from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and BJP. “It (ordinance) is not possible. Let us wait for the assembly session”, Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP, told dna. BJP however lambasted National Conference calling its demand for ordinance as insult to the judiciary. “It is a shameful statement to target the judiciary. Our judiciary is the most independent and transparent in the entire world. NC is trying to create wedge between the Hindus and Muslims”, Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowshera and president of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, J&K, told dna.

Hizb militants kill members of breakaway faction: 3 bodies with torture marks found in Kashmir’s Baramulla

Srinagar: Hizbul Mujahideen militants suspectedly killed two activists of a breakaway faction along with an unidentified person, reflecting growing struggle between militant outfits in Kashmir.

Bodies of the three were found in an orchard about 30 kms from here in Pattan in Baramulla district this morning. Two of them were later identified as Aamir Qadir Reshi of Sopore and 23-year-old Ashiq Wani of Lolipora of Pattan, police said, adding efforts were underway to identify the third one.

Reshi and Wani have been associated with Lashker-e-Islam, a breakaway outfit of Hizbul Mujahideen formed by its rebel leader Abdul Qayyum Najjar, sources said. Wani was an active militant since last last year while Reshi had joined ranks with the terror group in July this year, they said.

Police said the three could have been killed by Hizbul Mujahideen members led by Fayaz Wailoo, who has reportedly been tasked to neutralise members of the Najjar faction. Najjar broke ranks with Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin earlier this year to float his outfit which carried out attacks on mobile towers and other telecommunication installations despite being warned not to do so.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

He was also responsible for killing of some separatists sympathisers in Sopore who were associated with Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, sources said. After discovery of the bodies in the morning, there were protests in Pattan and Palhalan towns on Srinagar-Baramulla highway and markets in the area were closed down.

“The protestors resorted to stone-pelting on law enforcing personnel. Additional forces have been rushed to the area to bring the situation under control,” police said. Working President of opposition National Conference and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed sorrow over the mysterious killing of the three youth and demanded a high-level probe into the incident.

“The killing of the youth is inhuman and heart-rending act….A high-level probe should be immediately ordered into the incident,” Omar said in a statement here. He said the incident needs to be thoroughly probed to identify the culprits and expose their motive behind the killings.

Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) termed the incident as “sorrowful and condemnable” and assured “appropriate action” as per law against the culprits. “It (killing of three youth) is condemnable and sorrowful incident and police should investigate it on fast-track basis,” PDP General Secretary Rafi Ahmad Mir said in a statement here.

Expressing sorrow and anguish over the incident, he said “I am sure the investigation will take place and taken to the logical conclusion and action would be taken against the people behind this.”

He said the “Valley has a fragile political atmosphere where the people have been the worst sufferers of conflict and such incidents leave them psychologically numb and disturbed.” He asked the opposition parties to desist from playing politics over the incident.

“This a serious issue and opposition should desist from playing politics over it,” he said adding the government would take appropriate action as per law and the expectations of the people.

PTI

World’s tallest statue of sitting Buddha to be built in Gujarat

The Gujarat government is building the tallest sitting statue of Buddha in the world at Dev ni Mori near Shamlaji, 150 kms north of Ahmedabad, says reports.According to report, the 108 meter tall statue will be the second tallest in the world after the 153 meter Spring Temple in China and tallest after 92-meter statue in Thailand. The statue will have Buddha covered by a seven-hooded Mucalinda, the mythological serpent who provided shelter when Buddha was in meditation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 700 crore project was presented at recently held International Buddhist Conference, which saw delegates from 26 nations. The project was said to be Modi’s cherished projects while he was Gujarat CM. Quoting Anil Patel, secretary of Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board (GPYVB), report said that an architect firm has been finalised and the project work is expected to begin in year’s time.

Separatists call shutdown in Kashmir valley over beef ban

The shutdown call has been given by Geelani group of Hurriyat Conference and is supported by all separatist leaders.

A complete shutdown is being observed across Kashmir valley on Saturday over beef ban order by the state High Court.The shutdown call has been given by Geelani group of Hurriyat Conference and is supported by all separatist leaders. All shops, business establishments, schools, colleges and government offices are closed and public transport is off from the roads.In order to maintain peace and tranquillity, the authorities have deployed police and paramilitary jawans in large numbers at vital places. Meanwhile, authorities have imposed strict restrictions in some areas to stop protests against beef ban. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Major row over service tax on chopper service to Vaishno Devi shrine

Pilgrims travelling by helicopter will have to pay now Rs2,340 fare instead of Rs2,078 for to and fro journey to the revered shrine.

A major row has erupted after Jammu and Kashmir government imposed 12.5 per cent service tax on the pilgrims travelling by chopper to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in the Trikuta hills of Katra in Jammu division.Pilgrims travelling by helicopter will have to pay now Rs2,340 fare instead of Rs2,078 for to and fro journey to the revered shrine.While Congress termed the service tax as Jizya, the main opposition party National Conference said the move is aimed at whipping up passions and generating avoidable controversies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Is this Mr Modi’s definition of Jizya tax on pilgrims to Vaishno Devi? Is it BJP-PDP’s version of Jizya tax to pilgrims of Vaishno Devi?” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in New Delhi.National Conference Provincial president for Jammu division Devinder Singh Rana said this is yet another uncalled for measure to avert the attention of the people from the failures of the government.”After imposition of heavy toll tax on the road leading to the holy shrine, this is yet another measure to put extra burden on pilgrims, which may boomerang,” Rana saidCalling for roll back of the service tax, Rana appealed to the people to maintain peace and calm and not get provoked by the state government’s deliberate attempts to unleash communal frenzy in order to cover up their own failures.Katra Hotels and Restaurants Association president Rakesh Wazir said the imposition of tax is unjust, unfair and unwise which needs to be withdrawn with immediate effect.”More than one crore pilgrims visit Vaishno Devi shrine every year but look at the condition of roads, lanes, drains and the sanitation which are in bad shape. Levying tax on the pilgrimage and that too when it is promoting the tourism can never be justified and as such it needs to be withdrawn with immediate effect,” said Rakesh Wazir, president of association.

Centre has nothing to do with spying allegation of Omar Abdullah, says Minister

Jammu: The Centre on Sunday steered clear of the row surrounding the alleged spying on Omar Abdullah, with Union minister Jitendra Singh saying that it is “something between him and the state government”

Omar had on Sunday accused the J&K government of “brazenly” spying on him, a charge rejected by the ruling PDP.

Omar Abdullah accused state govt of spying on him. PTI

Omar Abdullah accused state govt of spying on him. PTI

Singh, MoS in the PMO, told reporters, “He (Omar) has blamed the state government and not the Centre. The Centre has nothing to do with it. It is something between him and the state government.”

He was in Jammu to attend a ‘meet the press’ function organised by the Press Club Jammu.

Omar had alleged that a CID person was posted outside his residence to keep a watch on people coming and going out.

“Mufti government brazenly spying on me. A journalist interviewing me for a national daily just got stopped right outside my gate by CID person,” he had tweeted.

“She (journalist) was asked who she was and what the purpose of her visit was! Seriously guys if you want to know just ask me, I couldn’t care less if you do,” he added.

Addressing Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Omar wrote on the micro-blogging site, “Dear Mufti Sb, if you and your apparatchiks want to know what I’m up to pick up the phone and ask me. Please don’t accost people outside my gate!” PDP had rejected the accusation, saying Abdullah was leveling the allegation just to “make news”, and hit back by charging him of spying on PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and other leaders when he was the Chief Minister.

Waheedur Rehmaan Parra, PDP leader and political advisor to the Chief Minister, said, “It was not a cop who had questioned the journalist outside the residence of Omar Abdullah.

“It was a National Conference worker who was denied entry to Omar’s residence who had asked a few questions to the lady.”

PTI

Bharat Bandh: Largest strike since 1991, claim trade unionists

Trade unionists say this is the 16th, and by far the largest strike since ’91, and bigger than the 48-hour bandh of February 22-24, 2013.

Protesters being detained by police in West Bengal.

AFP
When almost 14 to 15 crore workers from the organised and unorganised sectors went on strike across India, on Wednesday, they ensured this was the biggest strike the country had seen in the post-liberalisation era from 1991 onwards. In a nation-wide strike called by the 11 central trade unions, against the proposed changes to labour laws by the NDA government, unorganised workers, road transport workers, government bank and insurance workers, private transport workers, to name just a few, all refused to turn up for work, sending a strong message of anger to the government.Trade unionists say this is the 16th, and by far the largest strike since ’91, and bigger than the 48-hour bandh of February 22-24, 2013.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is much anger among workers with the government not working for a minimum wage and trying to make unionisation and strikes impossible,” said AK Padmanabhan, president of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the trade union wing of CPM. In a similar vein, DL Sachdev, the national secretary of All India Trade Union Congress, called this the biggest strike, leaving almost no sector untouched, from non coal sector of iron ore and copper mining, to oil and gas, to transport. “It’s bigger than we hoped,” he said, talking about the workers’ anger manifesting.Both Sachdev and Padmanabhan, echoing other trade unionists, pegged this show of numbers and solidarity on the audacity of the NDA government to actually fiddle with labour laws to turn them, according to the unionists, in favour of corporates. Sachdev called this a drive to provide “slave labour” to big corporates, while Padmanabhan referred to the PMO writing to all states to follow Rajasthan’s example in changing labour laws.”Soon after this government came to power, in June 2014, Rajasthan amended its labour laws to favour companies and factories over workers. We wrote to the PMO against this, but soon after other states too started changes without consultation with trade unions. In the 46th Indian Labour Conference, July 2015, the PM did not even touch upon our demands,” said Padmanabhan.Unionists and rights activists have repeatedly said that they are not opposed to simplification and consolidation of labour laws, as long as worker rights are not diluted. However, with proposed changes, such as amendments to the factories Act and the Small Factories Bill – establishments with less than 40 workers are exempt from 14 labour laws – a large number of workers will be removed from legal protection. These laws will also make unionisation and going on strike more difficult.They have also demanded a minimum wage of 15,000 per month and a pension of at least Rs 3,000 for casual workers.The first strike against neo-liberal economic policies took place on November 29, 1991, barely five months after the said policies had been announced. Though it did not see much participation from all trade unions, subsequent strikes only grew in number, directly proportional to anger, discontent among the workforce, and the disinvestment in the public infrastructure. The game-changer according to unionists, came in September 2009, when all the central trade unions came together, including the RSS affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, to form a coordination committee. But it is the accelerated actions of the present government, that has prompted such a massive bandh. The BMS chose to absent itself from this biggest ever strike, wanting to give the government more time, leading to accusations of being co-opted.”We hope the government takes cognisance of these numbers, else our actions will intensify. This is only the first protest strike,” said Sachdev.CII and ASSOCHAM have also put out statements asking for dialogue rather than striking, and saying that India has lost Rs 25,000 crore in one day. However, unionists call striking their fundamental right, crucial to preserving the strength of the workforce.

Jammu and Kashmir: Separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani sends confidential letter to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif

A three member delegation met the Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit to hand him the letter.

Ayaz Akbar, Hurriyat Conference spokesperson said that the Geelani’s (above) letter is confidential and highly important

File Photo
Jammu and Kashmir’s hardliner separatist Syed Ali Shah on Wednesday sent a confidential letter to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, reports IANS. A three member delegation met the Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit to hand him the letter.The delegation which comprised of Geelani’s top aides Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, and Altaf Ahmad met with Basit and spoke to him for an hour.Ayaz Akbar, Hurriyat Conference spokesperson said that the letter is confidential and highly important. “Officials at the high commission assured us that the letter will be dispatched to the Pakistan prime minister on Wednesday,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Geelani was set to meet Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz during the India-Pakistan NSA talks which was scuttled.

No role for any third party in India-Pakistan talks: BJP

Jammu: BJP on Wednesday said there was no role for any third party, including Hurriyat Conference, in the talks process between India and Pakistan as per the Simla agreement.

BJP said there was no role for third party in Indo-Pak talks. AFP

BJP said there was no role for third party in Indo-Pak talks. AFP

“There is no room for any third party interference or consultation for holding talks between India and Pakistan,” state BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi told reporters in Jammu.

“Dialogue can take place only between the two countries as per the Shimla agreement and any involvement of person or organization within or outside India is not acceptable…there is no role for Hurriyat Conference or any other separatist body in any such talks,” Sethi said.

Opposition National Conference had on Tuesday said Hurriyat Conference has shunned armed violence and opposes it and is prepared for a sustained, productive dialogue. “This should be enough for New Delhi to engage with them and include them in their talks with Pakistan – be it on issues directly related to Kashmir or indirectly related to Kashmir.”

Sethi said the talks can take place between the two countries to resolve the border dispute and on ceasefire violations and Pakistan’s support to terrorists and separatists in India.

Pakistan’s attempts to involve Hurriyat will only give legitimacy and importance to it, which is unacceptable, Sethi said.

PTI

Time to make UN vibrant with India as permanent member: Sumitra Mahajan

She told Ban that India is ready to accept this new responsibility and the world’s largest democracy and emerging economy will make the Council more vibrant and representative.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has emphasised the need for urgent UN Security Council reform, saying it is time to make the powerful body “vibrant” with the inclusion of India as a permanent member.She made the remarks during her meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 31 on the sidelines of the ongoing Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament.In the around 30-minute long meeting, Majahan discussed critical issues of UNSC reforms, terrorism, peacekeeping and climate change with the UN Chief, sources told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ban commended the vibrancy of India’s democracy to which Mahajan responded that “now the time has come for a vibrant Security Council” which includes India as a permanent member.She told Ban that India is ready to accept this new responsibility and the world’s largest democracy and emerging economy will make the Council more vibrant and representative.She said the UNSC must be reformed and restructured to reflect current political realties and more developing nations should be included as permanent and non permanent members.Mahajan noted that the lack of reform has affected the credibility and effectiveness of the Security Council and said nations count on Ban s leadership for urgent reform of the UN.She stressed that India strongly believes that democratic norms must percolate in the institutions of global governance including the UN and an early reform of the UN and expansion of the Security Council is an important priority for India.With the world body commemorating its 70th anniversary this year, she said the milestone provides a historic opportunity, which must be grasped, for UN reforms.Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Pallath Joseph Kurien as well as other Indian officials were also present during the talks.This was the second meeting between the two in about eight months. Ban had met the Lok Sabha speaker in January this year during his visit to New Delhi.Voicing concern over the scourge of terrorism, Mahajan urged Ban that action must be taken not just against terrorism but also against states that support and sponsor such groups and provide safe havens to terrorists.She noted that acts of terrorism, wherever they take place, must be condemned by the international community. In this regard, she highlighted the need for the early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.She also voiced India’s commitment to assisting the UN in the maintenance of international peace and security.Noting India’s longstanding contribution to UN peacekeeping, Mahajan said India’s cumulative contribution of nearly 200,00 peacekeepers, including a fully formed Female Police Unit, exemplifies and cements India’s strong credentials as a responsible member of the world community.Mahajan also voiced appreciation for Ban’s initiative to convene the Climate Summit in Paris in December and expressed hope that the developed countries will make good their commitment to assisting the developing nations in meeting the challenges in the common interest.