Online news channel!

Tag: diwali

20 cops under lens for letting noise fall on deaf ears

Over 20 assistant commissioners of police from across the state, who were summoned by the Bombay High Court for not registering a single offence under the noise pollution rules during Navratri and Diwali festivals, attributed their inability to register complaints to faulty equipment provided by the government and lack of them at police stations.Government pleader Abinandan Vagyani, representing the government though the police were at fault, assured the court that noise pollution rules and high court orders would be followed during the coming festivals.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, he also pointed out at several reasons for non-implementation, which were told to him by some officer. One such was a complaint to be lodged by an ACP level officer. The investigation couldn’t be done by a surbordinate officer, but a deputy commissioner of police. Also, action could be taken only on the basis of complaint.A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and GS Patel expressed displeasure over this callous approach. It said: “Government should accept that gross illegalities are happening across the state. Only if you start compliance, this problem will resolve itself.”The court had summoned ACPs, who are nodal officers, appointed for implementation of noise pollution rules after an affidavit was filed in the court, stating that other than Mumbai no other major city in the state faced any noise pollution problems during the Diwali and Navratri festivals. The court had on the last occasion observed: “Your officers, who were recording noise levels, were they deaf or was the noise falling on deaf ears.”The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Thane resident Mahesh Bedekar, raising concerns over noise pollution rules and norms not being followed during festivals. The court has now directed the state to inform it on December 23 of the number of noise pollution detection equipment required by each police station. Accordingly, on receiving data it would pass necessary orders to the government.

When PM Narendra Modi lost to Shah Rukh Khan

With 16.4 million followers, the Prime Minister is close to SRK who is number two on Twitter with 16.5 million followers, according to the ‘Year On Twitter 2015’ report.

The number of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s followers on Twitter has increased by four times to reach 16.4 million since taking office last year, but he still remains behind Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan.According to a list of the most followed Twitter personalities from India in 2015 released by the social media forum today, Big B’s @SrBachchan account remains the most followed one with 18.1 million followers. This year Modi (@narendramodi) takes the third spot after the number of its followers quadrupled from 4 million when he took office last May to over 16 million now, making him the biggest gainer on the top 10 list in 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With 16.4 million followers, the Prime Minister is close to SRK who is number two on Twitter with 16.5 million followers, according to the ‘Year On Twitter 2015’ report. SRK also created a record as one of his tweets became the most retweeted one in India during the year.His selfie with British boyband One Direction’s former member Zayn Malik at the Asian Awards in London took Twitter by storm with over 1,41,000 retweets and nearly 18.3 million views globally.Modi’s ‘Selfie With Daughter’ campaign on Twitter to promote rights of the girl child was one of the most popular hashtags on the microblogging site. The report said there were over 3,75,000 #SelfieWithDaughter tweets.On his first year anniversary in office, there were over 1,79,000 “#SaalEkShuruaatAnek” tweets. Modi is the only non-Bollywood personality who has managed to stay in the top ten list. The fourth and fifth spots are occupied by the other two Khans. Aamir has 15.5 million followers while Salman is half a million short than him. At number six in the list is actress Deepika Padukone followed by Hrithik Roshan and Priyanka Chopra. With 10.6 million followers, Akshay Kumar is at number nine while musician A R Rahman made it to the tenth spot.Among the most influential moments on Twitter, India beating Pakistan in the first match of the cricket world cup in 2015 led the list. #INDvsPAK drew a record-breaking 118.3 million impressions on Twitter, the report said.With over 9 million tweets this season, #IPL was among the most popular hashtags. In the world of politics, #DelhiElections and #BiharResults led the conversations on the social media site.Other popular topics were related to Diwali, Independence Day, floods in Chennai and the completion of 20 years of the iconic Bollywood film ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’.In November, @MakeInIndia, one of the largest economic development initiatives undertaken by the Indian government, had become the first non-US brand to get its own Twitter emoji for a worldwide audience. For the Diwali festival, Twitter had launched an emoji in the form of a lamp

Diwali Milan: Omar Abdullah takes dig at ‘selfie circus’ during PM Modi’s event

“This is the media we expect will ask tough questions of this government? Great visuals of an undignified selfie circus!!!” Omar posted on Twitter.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today took a jibe at journalists who were seen taking selfies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Diwali Milan event, calling it an “undignified selfie circus”. “This is the media we expect will ask tough questions of this government? Great visuals of an undignified selfie circus!!!” Omar posted on Twitter.The National Conference leader was referring to the visuals of journalists jostling with each other to have selfies with Modi at a Diwali Milan luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister in the national capital today. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

‘Popular’ PM Modi mobbed by media for ‘selfie’

He asserted the importance of festivals in the country and said that the celebrations in itself were an example of India’s great unity and diversity.

He waded with folded hands through the sea of scribes as everyone had their cell phones out to click a picture with him.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the ‘Diwali Milan’ lunch hosted at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters here, interacted with the journalists and was later mobbed by them for a ‘selfie’. He waded with folded hands through the sea of scribes as everyone had their cell phones out to click a picture with him. Addressing the media earlier, Prime Minister Modi emphasised on the importance of festivals and their celebration in the nation. “I wanted to host this event around Diwali, but I was indisposed. It’s good it’s happening now or else we would have had to wait till Christmas,” he jested.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He asserted the importance of festivals in the country and said that the celebrations in itself were an example of India’s great unity and diversity. “Celebrating a festival gives direction as well as strength to the society. I can’t imagine the number of stories that can be churned if we sit to analyse the impact of our festivals in our society. If you take the Kumbh Mela for example, a small Europe comes and assembles by the Ganga every day. That much is the number of people, who gather at the event. This signifies strength,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister was accompanied by BJP president Amit Shah, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu.Senior BJP ministers Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani were also present at the event. This event comes a day after Prime Minister Modi broke the ice with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and his predecessor Manmohan Singh, whom he invited over for tea, to talk about the landmark Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill and for the smooth running of the Parliament.

PM Modi reaches out to media for ‘Diwali Milan’, speaks of non-discrimination and equality

After his brief remarks from the podium, the Prime Minister stepped down to go around freely shaking hands with the assembled journalists, some of whom took selfies with him.

PM Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday spoke of the message of non-discrimination and equality as he reached out to journalists at a ‘Diwali Milan’ at the BJP headquarters in Delhi.Hailing Indian festivals as occasions which give a new inspiration to society, he said “The festival of lights (Deep Parva) is also a part of it. There is no discrimination in it. It also strengthens the value of equality.”Speaking about mass connect of festivals including the Kumbh fair, Modi said “In our society, festivals in themselves are a big strength, which give the society a new momentum, energy and enthusiasm.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A number of stories can be generated if its social and economic aspects are analysed. For instance the gathering on the banks of the Ganges during the Kumbh Mela is so huge as if there some small European country there,” he said. After his brief remarks from the podium, the Prime Minister stepped down to go around freely shaking hands with the assembled journalists, some of whom took selfies with him.It was a repeat of the scenes like last year when Modi reached out to journalists on a similar occasion. Again he was was literally mobbed by them during the informal interaction.The Prime Minister said that this year’s Diwali Milan got delayed due to his busy schedule. “Had it not been done now, one may have had to wait till Christmas.”BJP Chief Amit Shah wished a great year for the country’s democratic traditions.Referring to the two-day long debate in Parliament to commemorate the Constitution Day and the 125th birth anniversary of Dr BR Ambedkar, Shah said that Parliament has unanimously placed the supremacy of the Constitution above all.”Our effort will be to take this spirit down the line to people and make even the weakest person in the society aware of the Constitutional rights by next year along with the help of all parties and media,” Shah said.

Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal passes away

The 89-year-old Singhal was on Saturday admitted to Medanta hospital after his health deteriorated.

Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal passed away on Tuesday, at a multi-speciality hospital in Gurgaon.”Mr Singhal died at 2.24 pm at Medanta Medicity hospital in Gurgaon,” said Pravin Togadia.The 89-year-old Singhal was on Saturday admitted to Medanta hospital after his health deteriorated. He was suffering from respiratory problems for over a month. “He had multi-organ dysfunction, ARDS and sepsis and was being treated by a team of specialists,” said Medical Superintendent Dr AK Dubey.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>VHP has cancelled its 18-day Chaturved Swahakar Yajna that was slated to start at Delhi’s Birla Mandir from November 16, as well as its Diwali Milan programme.Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Singal’s death was a deep personal loss.

Hyderabad: 25-year-old woman commits suicide due to dowry harassment, parents allege foul play

Varsha reportedly hanged herself with a dupatta, but her parents allege that there were injuries on her body and that she was killed by her in-laws.

A young woman who was working with the DRDO in Hyderabad allegedly committed suicide due to dowry harassment. According to a report in The New Indian Express, Varsha, 25, hanged herself when her in-laws were not at home. The report states that she took the extreme step due to dowry harassment. However, her parents have alleged that there were injuries on her body and that she was killed by her in-laws. Varsha, an engineer, was working with the DRDO since 2011 and got married to Ranjith Goud in March 2015. The report says that her parents had given dowry worth Rs 80 lakh consisting of jewellery and property. Ranjith is a junior railway engineer and is said to have demanded more dowry of Rs 10 lakh in cash and the six acre agricultural land her father owned.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Varsha had reportedly been complaining about dowry harassment to her parents but they had tried to assure her that things would get better. Varsha ad Ranjith had gone to Goa for Diwali and had returned on Sunday evening at around 5.30 pm. On Monday morning, she allegedly committed suicide in her in-laws home. A case of dowry death under Section 304(b) has been registered after a complaint, the report says.

BJP’s saffron allies seek berths in Maharashtra cabinet and at Centre

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis

The Maharashtra cabinet is likely to be expanded soon by giving additional ministerial berths to the Shiv Sena and other allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), like the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, Republican Party of India (Athawale) and Mahadev Jankar’s Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Shiv Sangram that is headed by Vinayak Mete. Talking to reporters on the eve of Diwali, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had confirmed that the cabinet expansion will take place after his London tour. Since then, many names have been doing the rounds and there has been heavy lobbying at the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> However, leaders of many BJP allies are not members of either House in the state. They have to get elected within six months once they become ministers. BJP sources said that those who are neither MLAs nor MLCs can wait. Those who are already members will have to be given preference, they argue. There are a few prominent names doing the rounds. BJP MLAs Ashish Shelar from Bandra, Jaykumar Rawal from Shindkheda in Dhule district, and Sena MLA Gulabrao Patil from Jalgaon are three of those. Independent MLAs are also asking their share of the pie in return to their support to the government. Sena has been seeking a few important portfolios to have a better say in the government. MLC Vinayak Mete has been eyeing a ministerial berth for a long time. In fact, before the Assembly elections, Mete left the NCP, nursing ministerial ambitions. Mahadev Jankar, who won a lot of his community votes for the BJP in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, is also hoping to be rewarded in the cabinet expansion. RPI (A) leader Ramdas Athawale is another contender. In fact, Athawale has been demanding a share in power at the Centre as well. On Sunday, he said his party wants two ministerial berths at the Centre. Athawale’s spouse Seema is a frontrunner. “If we postpone the cabinet expansion again, the Sena and other allies who helped us come to power will feel jilted. That will lead to a trust deficit and we may face problems in running the government. If chief minister Fadnavis has received the green signal from BJP president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there is no point in delaying it,” a senior BJP leader said.

VHP leader Ashok Singhal on life support, condition serious

Singhal has been suffering from respiratory problems for over a month now. He was earlier admitted to Medanta on October 20 after his condition deteriorated in Allahabad and was flown in to the national capital in an air ambulance.

“He is presently in the intensive care unit under treatment of a group of specialists comprising of people from critical care, respiratory, cardiology, neurology and nephrology,” Doctor AK Dubey told the media here.

File Photo
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Ashok Singhal who was admitted to the Medanta Hospital here has been put on life support system and his condition is serious. “He is presently in the intensive care unit under treatment of a group of specialists comprising of people from critical care, respiratory, cardiology, neurology and nephrology,” Doctor AK Dubey told the media here.Singhal has been suffering from respiratory problems for over a month now. He was earlier admitted to Medanta on October 20 after his condition deteriorated in Allahabad and was flown in to the national capital in an air ambulance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping in view Singhal’s bad health, the VHP has cancelled its 18-day Chaturved Swahakar Yajna that was slated to start at Delhi’s Birla Mandir from today , as well as its Diwali Milan programme.

Diwali din well above safe levels across seven major cities: CPCB

As per CPCB standards, in residential areas, 55 decibels (dB) during daytime and 45dB during night time is the safe limit.

While the deteriorating air quality during Diwali has left everyone gasping for clean air during the last couple of days, noise pollution too breached prescribed standards according to a report of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The central agency measured noise levels at 70 locations across seven cities and it found that barring seven locations, noise levels were above safe levels across all other locations. Residential areas were the noisiest while industrial areas were quieter.As per CPCB standards, in residential areas, 55 decibels (dB) during daytime and 45dB during night time is the safe limit. The environment ministry is in the process of revising these norms. “Out of 70 locations, only 07 locations at Peeniya (Industrial) and Whitefield (Industrial) in Bangalore; Jeedimetla (Industrial) and Addapotharam (Industrial) in Hyderabad; Tartala (Industrial) in Kolkata; Talkatora (Industrial) in Lucknow and Andheri (Industrial) in Mumbai are meeting both the day time and night time standards. All these 07 locations lie in industrial zone,” said the CPCB report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The noisiest areas during Diwali across the seven cities monitored were Kolkata, New Market (Commercial) followed by Dolmur (Residential) in Bangalore and Gomti Nagar (Silence) in Lucknow, with the maximum decibel level of 92dB recorded at New Market, Kolkata. The CPCB’s assessment goes on to show that over the past five years there is a trend of rising noise levels with marginal variation at 26 locations that were monitored across Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai and Lucknow.For residents of Mumbai there is some reason to cheer as CPCB’s ‘trend analysis’ of past year’s data shows that there noise levels are either decreasing in some places or are unchanged in the city. According to doctors and anti noise pollution activists, continuous exposure to noise in the range of 90-110dB can result in sensorineural hearing loss. The damage to eardrums caused by noise pollution has to be detected early to be reversed. Harmful effects of noise pollution· Rupture of the eardrum and deafness· Cardiac and cardiovascular changes· Stress and fatigue· Sleep disturbance and insomnia· Headache

Diwali effect: 20% rise in bronchitis patients due to crackers in Jaipur

Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes (bronchi), the air passages between nose and lungs.

Reuters
Air pollution caused by firecrackers this Diwali led to a rise of 20% in the number of people suffering from pollution-related bronchitis in the city.According to experts, the rise was due to heavy use of crackers that had less noise but produced high fume.”About 50 patients have been coming here every day since Diwali with complaints of running nose, sneezing, irritation in eyes, soar throat and difficulty in breathing. The number this year is nearly 20-25% more than previous years,” Dr Narendra Khippal, Professor at the Institute of Respiratory Diseases, SMS Government Medical College, told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Composition of chemicals in fireworks is getting dangerous and causing health-related problems, particularly in breathing and lung-related diseases. The composition even involves lead and mercury that are causing harm in conjunctiva, mucous membrane and nasal membrane,” he said.”Symptoms in patients this year indicate that they were in close contact with smoke of firecrackers and they inhaled it for a longer duration leading to bronchitis. People have started avoiding high noise creating firecrackers and are instead choosing less noise generating and fancy firework which produce more smoke,” Dr Khippal said.Bronchitis is an inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes (bronchi), the air passages between nose and lungs.”Patients with problem in breathing, soar throat and other related problems remained high yesterday and the reason behind it was mainly pollution due to firecrackers on night of Diwali,” Dr Swati Goswami, a homeopathic practitioner, said.Zaheer Ahemdad, a firecrackers trader on Hawamahal Road, said the demand for fancy firecrackers was slightly on higher side. “The sale of firecrackers with high sound was less as compared to previous years and people bought those which can be lit and held in hand. However, the overall sale was also less than the last year,” Ahemdad said.Activist Sanjeev Sankhla said that he conducted a special drive in some residential areas to make people aware of the harms of firecrackers.”Air quality has deteriorated badly in the last two days and affecting environment as well as people’s health, particularly that of children,” he said.

Chennai: Diwali day generates 38 tonnes of garbage in the city

Rockets and sparklers are easy to pick up but the waste from bombs mixes with the mud in the rain making it tougher to collect state officials.

Despite the heavy rains in the city, people here did manage to celebrate Diwali by bursting plenty of crackers. A report in Deccan Chronicle states that city generated 38 tonnes of garbage on November 11 thanks to crackers. In Chennai, the Alandur area had the highest amount of garbage with about 3.5 tonnes collected on November 11 and 4 tonnes collected on November 12.Adyar, Sholinganallur and Perungudi, besides Alandur, had the most fire cracker waste in the city. The waste has been collected and will not be taken to the landfill sites in Perungudi or Kodungaiyur adds the report. It will be taken to the Common Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility set up inside the Gummidipoondi Sipcot campus so it can be incinerated stated the report. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials have stated to the daily that the waste collected is less than what was the norm in the city. It looks like the rain put a dampener of the bursting of crackers for many people. Collecting the waste now remains a monumental task. Rockets and sparklers are easy to pick up but the waste from bombs mixes with the mud in the rain making it tougher to collect state officials.Coimbatore crosses 1000 tonnes of garbageJust before Diwali, the city of Coimbatore was generating nearly 1000 tonnes of garbage a day. According to a report in The Hindu, most of it was festive season-related waste. The waste was largely of the non-degradable variety, consisting of packing materials like paper, corrugated sheets, boxes and plastic containers. On November 11, the city corporation had collected 906 tonnes of garbage.

Delhi: Elderly couple murdered, house ransacked

“There were no CCTV cameras but on prima facie it is appearing the case of robbery as the wardrobe has been ransacked and destroyed,” RS Krishnaiya Joint Commissioner of Police, South Delhi told the media.

Image Courtesy: ANI

In a horrific case of twin murder, an elderly couple were allegedly smothered to death in the posh colony of Kailash area early on Friday morning by unidentified men after their house was ransacked.Manohar Lal Madan was 84 years old, his wife Vimla was 80, and the couple were in the national capital to spend Diwali with their eldest son.”There were no CCTV cameras but on prima facie it is appearing the case of robbery as the wardrobe has been ransacked and destroyed,” RS Krishnaiya Joint Commissioner of Police, South Delhi told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The intruders reportedly went to the building to proceed with robbing the place, however, they went ahead to the first floor and tried to attack their son.The family is asserting that it is a case of robbery. It has not been clear until now how much has been stolen by the assailants.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel greets people on New Year

She also interacted with various BJP leaders and MLAs here as well as at Gandhinagar and greeted them on the occasion.

She also interacted with various BJP leaders and MLAs here as well as at Gandhinagar and greeted them on the occasion (PTI)

File Photo
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel extended her greetings to the people of the state on the occasion of Gujarati New Year on Thursday. “I extend my heartiest greetings to all the six crore people of Gujarat on the occasion of beginning of New Year today. I prayed to God that Gujarat becomes more prosperous and surge ahead in it’s journey of development,” Patel said.Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister called on state Governor OP Kohli at Raj Bhavan. She also offered her prayers at Bhadrakali temple in the city and at Panchnath temple of Lord Shiva in Gandhinagar. She also interacted with various BJP leaders and MLAs here as well as at Gandhinagar and greeted them on the occasion. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP president Amit Shah also met Patel in the afternoon and exchanged greetings for new year, stated an official press release.In her interaction with media at a function here, Patel urged people to suggest ways to improve her governance. “There are still some sectors where we are (lagging) behind. In this new year, my government will try to develop these sectors with the help of people. I urge people to come ahead to pinpoint our mistakes so that we can bring improvements,” the CM said.Ahead of the local body polls, slated later this month, Patel expressed hope that people will remain on the BJP’s side. “The way people have always supported BJP and provided valuable guidance and motivation in the past, I am sure that you will also support us in this year too,” she said.The Gujarati new year falls on Varshapratipada or Pratipada Padwa during Diwali in Hindu month of Kartik.

Diwali firecrackers push up pollution level across the country

According to the National Air Quality Index provided by the Central Pollution Control Board in ten cities, the prominent pollutant PM 2.5 was hovering between 200 and 500 in cities like Muzaffarpur, Lucknow, Faridabad, Kanpur and Agra

Diwali pollution

Firecracker bursting during Diwali has increased the pollution level in various parts of the country, with toxic fumes from fireworks raising the particulate matter content in the air to five-six times higher than the permissible limit.According to the National Air Quality Index provided by the Central Pollution Control Board in ten cities, the prominent pollutant PM 2.5 was hovering between 200 and 500 in cities like Muzaffarpur, Lucknow, Faridabad, Kanpur and Agra. The air quality was rated as ‘severe’ in Lucknow and Muzaffarpur and ‘very poor’ in Agra, Kanpur, Pune, Patna and Faridabad. Hyderabad and Chandrapur in Maharashtra recorded ‘poor’ air quality.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air quality in Delhi also plunged to ‘severe’ level following the Diwali celebration with pollutants rising a whopping 20 times in certain areas owing to incessant fireworks and bursting of firecrackers, notwithstanding appeals by authorities. While ‘severe’ air quality can affects healthy people and seriously impacts those with diseases, air rated as ‘very poor’ can cause respiratory illness on prolonged exposure.”Toxic fume from cracker worsen the killer particles in the air that have already increased by 5 to 7 times than the safe standards. It also deposit deadly chemicals in our environment that will remain trapped for days,” the Centre for Science and Environment said. It said, since 2010, average Diwali pollution levels have shown very rapid build-up at least seven to eight times, but peak levels have hit ten times the standard.”This leads to very high exposure that harm health of not only those who suffer from respiratory and cardiac problems but even that of the normal healthy people,” the CSE said. With national capital being the most polluted city, CSE analysis said that November 2015 so far has recorded higher pollution in the city than the same duration last year.”The pollution data for the period November 1-9, 2015 and the same period last year has shown higher levels this year. The average for this period last year was 230 microgramme per cum in Delhi which has increased to 275 microgramme per cum,” it said.

PM Modi celebrates Diwali with troops; pays tribute to 1965 Indo-Pak war martyr Abdul Hamid

Modi noted that during the Asal Uttar battle in 1965, Hamid single handedly destroyed 3 enemy tanks and helped stop their offensive, in spite of being mortally wounded.

PM Narendra Modi

For the second successive year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with troops on Wednesday, saying the world looks at India with respect because of their valour and “character”, in comments that come against the backdrop of protests by several veterans over OROP.He visited the Dograi War Memorial in Khasa in Amritsar and placed wreath at the venue of one of the toughest battles fought and won by Indian forces on September 22, 1965. He also laid a wreath at the Asal Uttar Memorial near Valtoha on the Amritsar-Khem Karan road in Punjab and at the tomb of Company Quartermaster Havildar Abdul Hamid, A Param Vir Chakra recipient.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Medal Wapsi: Ex-servicemen protesting for OROP to set their medals on fire at Jantar MantarModi noted that during the Asal Uttar battle in 1965, Hamid single handedly destroyed 3 enemy tanks and helped stop their offensive, in spite of being mortally wounded.”Paying homage to CQMH Abdul Hamid. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his gallantry,” Modi later tweeted. Asal Uttar Memorial marks the Battle of Asal Uttar, which was one of the largest tank battles fought within Indian territory in 1965.”Our forces captured/destroyed over 90 enemy tanks by the end of the Battle of Asal Uttar…During this battle CQMH Abdul Hamid single handedly destroyed three enemy tanks & helped stop their offensive, inspite of being mortally wounded,” Modi said in his tweets.Addressing the troops in Khasa, he said, “I have come to celebrate Diwali with you. I am happy to get this opportunity..” Hailing the soldiers, the Prime Minister said, “It is because of your valour, dedication and dreams that the whole world looks at India with respect. It is not only because of the uniform but character of the armed forces.” He said India holds its head high in the comity of nations because the generations of leaders in the armed forces nurtured the forces.”I congratulate those who have provided leadership over several years to the armed forces,” Modi said. His tributes to the “character” of armed forces come against the backdrop of protests by a section of ex-servicemen over the “dilution” of ‘One Rank, One Pension’. Several war veterans have returned their medals as part of their protest.Later, he tweeted, “I spent time with our soldiers and we had a wonderful conversation.” This is the second successive Diwali that Modi spent with troops since becoming the Prime Minister. Last year on Diwali, he had paid a surprise visit to Siachen, the highest battleground in the world, to spend time with the troops.Earlier in the day, he tweeted, “Today on the auspicious occasion of Diwali, I am visiting the border areas to spend time with our Jawans.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Modi also paid a visit to the Barki Memorial in Ferozepur, which was constructed in 1969 to commemorate the soldiers of the 7 Infantry Division killed in 1965 India-Pakistan War. The memorial has a pillar in the centre, a Patton tank and a Barki milestone on the south along with a water fountain at its north. The 27-feet high pillar is built of red and white sandstone. Modi in his address to the troops at Ferozepur, said, “Recently, in defence sector, the country has made many important decisions.” He said that experts in this sector would know how decisions are now quickly taken.The Prime Minister further said, “Bharat ki koshish hein ki Defence manufacturing yahaan ho. (It is India’s endeavour that defence manufacturing takes place here)”. He said that there is tradition to celebrate Diwali with one’s family and he treats them as his family, and had come to celebrate the festival of lights with them.”I feel happy to celebrate the festival with you,” he said and told them that last year he had visited Siachen on Diwali day.

Bihar elections: Process of government formation to begin on November 14, says Nitish Kumar

A legislature party of the grand secular alliance will be held in the afternoon of November 14 to elect a new leader and decide the date and venue for the oath-taking ceremony.

Nitish Kumar

Having secured a decisive mandate in Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said that the formal process for government formation will start on November 14, when the state Cabinet will meet and recommend the dissolution of the present House.A legislature party of the grand secular alliance will be held in the afternoon of November 14 to elect a new leader and decide the date and venue for the oath-taking ceremony, Kumar told reporters after emerging from Raj Bhawan, where he had gone to greet Governor Ram Nath Kovind for Diwali. Kumar said that after Saturday’s legislature party meeting, the alliance would formally stake claim to forming the government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To a question regarding the possibility of an RJD leader becoming Deputy Chief Minister, Kumar was non-committal and said merely that “everything will be told to you in time…why this anxiety before time?” Speculation is rife in political corridors that somebody from Lalu Prasad’s family could be made Deputy CM.RJD is the biggest partner in the grand secular alliance with 80 out of the cumulative 178 seats the grouping has won in the 243-member House. JD(U) has 71 MLAs and Congress 27.Saying that the official date for the swearing-in ceremony for the new government would be announced only on November 14, Kumar, however, averred that the media was free to make guesses regarding the date and venue for the said event. Media reports backed by some senior members of JD(U) have indicated November 20 as the “most likely date” for the oath- taking ceremony at Kumar’s favourite venue, Gandhi Maidan.

PM Modi celebrates Diwali with troops amidst OROP protests by ex-servicemen

He visited the Dograi War Memorial in Khasa in Amritsar and placed wreath at the venue of one of the toughest battles fought and won by Indian forces on September 22, 1965.

PM Narendra Modi
Manit Balmiki
dna
For the second successive year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with troops today, saying the world looks at India with respect because of their valour and “character”, in comments that come against the backdrop of protests by several veterans over OROP.He visited the Dograi War Memorial in Khasa in Amritsar and placed wreath at the venue of one of the toughest battles fought and won by Indian forces on September 22, 1965.Addressing the troops, he said, “I have come to celebrate Diwali wity you. I am happy to get this opportunity..” Hailing the soldiers, the Prime Minister said, “It is because of your valour, dedication and dreams that the whole world looks at India with respect. It is not only because of the uniform but character of the armed forces.” He said India holds its head high in the comity of nations because the generations of leaders in the armed forces nurtured the forces.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Medal Wapsi: Ex-servicemen protesting for OROP to set their medals on fire at Jantar Mantar “I congratulate those who have provided leadership over several years to the armed forces,” Modi said. His tributes to the “character” of armed forces comes against the backdrop of protests by a section of ex-servicemen over the “dilution” of ‘One Rank, One Pension’. Several of the war veterans have returned their medals as part of their protest.Later, he tweeted, “I spent time with our soldiers and we had a wonderful conversation.”This is the second successive Diwali that Modi spent with troops since becoming the Prime Minister. Last year on Diwali, he had paid a surprise visit to Siachen, the highest battleground in the world, to spend time with the troops. Earlier in the day, he tweeted, “Today on the auspicious occasion of Diwali, I am visiting the border areas to spend time with our Jawans.”

Diwali 2015: Here are the muhurat timings for Laxmi Puja this year

There are specific muhurtas to be followed to perform puja.

Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in India. There are several legends behind the festival and it is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. But one thing that remains common is the Laxmi Puja. At business houses, puja is done of the new ledgers; while at homes, the puja includes worshipping the Laxmi idol and jewellery in the house to welcome prosperity and stability.There are specific muhurats to be followed to do the puja which occur on different times on the day of Diwali. Pradosh Kaal Muhurat<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lakshmi Puja Muhurat = 5:42 pm to 7:38 pmDuration = 1 Hour 55 minsPradosh Kaal = 5:25 pm to 8:05 pmVrishabha Kaal = 5:42 pm to 7:38 pmMahanishita Kaal MuhuratStarts at the night of November 10Mahanishita Kaal = 11:38 pm to 00:31 amSimha Kaal = 00:13 am to 2:30 amChoghadiya Puja MuhuratMorning Muhurat (Labh, Amrit) = 06:44 am to 09:25 amMorning Muhurat (Shubh) = 10:45 am – 12:05 pmAfternoon Muhurat (Char, Labh) = 2:45 am – to 5:26 pmEvening Muhurat (Shubh, Amrit, Char) = 7:06 pm – 11:16 pmIt is advised that businesses and households perform the Laxmi puja in Pradosh Kaal muhurat which is after sunset and supposed to be more fruitful than other muhurats.

Obama wishes Modi on Diwali

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday night called up Prime Minister Narendra Modi to greet him on Diwali and they agreed to meet in Turkey on the sidelines of the G20 Summit to be held early next week.”A short while ago @POTUS (President of the United States) called. We exchanged Diwali greetings. This was our first conversation through the newly-established hotline,” Modi tweeted. “President Obama & I look forward to meeting in Turkey during the G20 Summit,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi said President Obama and he “discussed a wide range of other issues as well. It was good knowing how @WhiteHouse is marking Diwali.” After his visit to the United Kingdom beginning on November 12, Modi will travel to Turkey to attend the G20 Summit to be held on November 15-16.The Summit is being held at a critical juncture after the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals agenda at the United Nations and ahead of the climate change Summit in Paris on November 30 to December 1. “During the Summit (in Turkey), we will review the progress on decisions taken at the Brisbane Summit and take up issues of climate change, terrorism, refugees, weak growth in global economy, strategies for growth and employment, investment strategies, trade, energy and financial sector resilience,” the Prime Minister had said in a Twitter post a few days ago.

BJP veterans’ revolt against Modi-Shah: Congress, JD(U) pounce upon the BJP

“…There is policy paralysis, decision paralysis and delegation paralysis in the country. We hope that sane advice of Margdarshak Mandal will be heard to reform the ‘Chaal, Chehra and Charitra’ by PM Modi, Shri Amit Shah and the coterie,” he said.

File Photo

The statement of BJP veterans attacking the party leadership tonight over the Bihar poll debacle led rival parties to say their “suffocation” in the party is out in the open and that it was an “eyeopener” for its top brass.Head of AICC Communications department Randeep Surjewala said suffocation of BJP s ‘Margdarshak Mandal’ reaffirms what the entire country knew all along and that it is out in the open. He said the nation is caught up in a personality cult where one individual has become bigger than 125 crore people.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “…There is policy paralysis, decision paralysis and delegation paralysis in the country. We hope that sane advice of Margdarshak Mandal will be heard to reform the ‘Chaal, Chehra and Charitra’ by PM Modi, Shri Amit Shah and the coterie,” he said. JD-U General Secretary K C Tyagi said the statement is an eye-opener for BJP’s present leadership. “They(the ‘Margdarshak Mandal’) members are founder members of BJP. We had with them for so long. When there is no democracy in the party, how can there be democracy, how will there be democracy in the country. We extend full support to the Margdarshak Mandal, which has now been reduced to Mookdarshkar Mandal.”Congress senior spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the BJP can abuse them, but hoped they will not abuse its own Mardarshak Mandal unless they have now become a thorn in their flesh. “You can abuse us all day and night, but please pay attention to those who you call the Margdarshak Mandal and the leader of whom you call yesterday the person from whom you learnt the most,” he said. Taking a swipe at the rumblings in BJP, former union minister P Chidambaram said the country was seeing “the first fireworks” on the eve of Diwali. “On the eve of Diwali, we are witnessing the first fireworks. No surprises there,” he tweeted. Another Congress leader Manish Tewari said it is no secret that Advani and company has been waiting for an opportunity to air their resentment.CPI leader D Raja said this shows that there is a big trouble within the BJP on the debacle of Bihar election and went to the extent of saying that BJP is resorting to destruction and self-destruction in the name of attributing their own reasons for the debacle in Bihar. Union Minister Babul Suprio, however, said, the dressing room talk should not have come out in the open. Not speaking as a Minister but as a ‘BJP fan’, he said “everyone should sit together and present a united face”.

Not-so-happy Diwali for Delhi: Pollution levels ‘alarming’ ahead of festival, could reach ‘scary’ heights

New Delhi: Pollution has reached “alarming” levels in Delhi even before Diwali and could touch “scary” heights after the festival on Wednesday, an environment watchdog said on Tuesday.

Diwali, the festival of lights, has been increasingly adding tonnes of toxic smoke to the city’s air in recent years because of the extensive use of firecrackers, leading to major health issues.

This year the pollution levels could cross previous levels, experts warned.

One reason for this is crop burning, widespread construction activity and carbon emissions from outdated trucks and vehicles.

Representational image. Getty

Representational image. Getty

When one monitors the particulate matter in Delhi’s air, which is filled with noxious pollutants, on any average day it is at least three times the prescribed normal levels with smog.

This rises to greater heights during winter.

Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist working with the Delhi-based Social Action for Forest and Environment, told IANS: “The rise in pollution levels after Diwali has been going up three-to-four times the normal levels. But it’s alarming to see the rise even before Diwali.”

At this rate, Tongad said the levels could touch “scary” heights when the festival gets over.

Over the past few weeks, the country’s northern belt — Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh — have witnessed hazy skies owing to the acres of crops set ablaze.

“What Delhi is facing even before Diwali has a great affect from these burnt crops,” Tongad said.

Echoing similar views, a scientist at the ‘Air Lab’ of Delhi government’s Delhi Pollution Control Committee, MP George, said Diwali makes a fair bit of contribution to air pollution in the city.

“The pre-Diwali air pollution levels could be associated with the crop fires which show their impact on Delhi. Diwali adds to the growing city’s pollution,” George told IANS.

The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) of the ministry of earth sciences prescribes the PM 2.5 level — Particulate Matter with a diameter smaller than 2 1/2 microns, where a micron is one millionth of a meter. The nano particles suspended in the air in the range of 0-100 is safe, while those above 100 fall under the unhealthy “poor” air quality level.

According to Delhi Pollution Control Committee of the government of Delhi, the PM2.5 (particulate matter) levels, which is a measure of pollution in the air, stand at 222.87 units, as recorded around the Indira Gandhi airport, as against the standard prescribed norm of 60 units. The levels show nearly four times the amount of pollutants allowed in the air.

Whereas, as per the WHO, the guideline values for PM2.5 levels stand at 10 units, raising a question about the way Indian authorities measure the pollution levels.

SAFAR also predicts that the levels after Diwali, could reach as high as 429 units of PM 2.5, reaching the absolute “critical” levels of pollution. According to SAFAR: “This Diwali is going to be colder as compared to last year. There is enough moisture in the air and the atmospheric holding capacity of pollutants is quite high.”

Jai Dhar Gupta, who has been a victim of the city’s pollution and went through years of nebulization and steroids, has turned into a clean energy crusader and manufactures air purifying masks through his company, Vogmask.

“The Indo-Gangetic plain is like a dust bowl. With the crop burning that has been happening, the PM 2.5 levels have reached critical stage. It requires the government to issue advisory in this emergency situation and aggressively fight the pollution,” Gupta told IANS.

He said that Paris earlier in 2015 adapted emergency measures when their PM 2.5 levels reached around 100, and said the situation is graver in Delhi.

IANS

Remove fear of minority community: Azam Khan to PM Modi

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should learn a lesson from drubbing in Bihar polls and work towards removing “fear” of the minority community.

“If you behave with hatred with everything created by the God then he will not be happy with you,” Azam said.

File photo of Azam Khan. PTIFile photo of Azam Khan. PTI

File photo of Azam Khan. PTI

“‘Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ was your slogan, accept it with an open heart and cremate religious and caste-based ill feelings,” he said.

Invoking ancient saints, the UP minister appealed to the Prime Minister to lessen the fear of the minorities.

“Take lessons from Dadhichi and Valmiki Maharaj. Take fear out of the hearts of the people who are afraid of you and set an example of oneness. Get out of ‘dal and daldal’ (groupings) and become the prime minister of great India.”

The Samajwadi Party leader said people of Bihar have set parameter of mutual brotherhood and relationship.

“Bihar polls have decided the fate of the country,” the minister said. In a written statement, Azam said atmosphere of peace, brotherhood and mutual faith, which prevails after Bihar polls, proves that Indians want a similar atmosphere.

“It is my appeal to the Prime Minister that he should not only learn from the situation, but take it as an experience. He should take an initiative to create a new person in himself,” Azam said.

“On the occasion of Diwali, the pained hearts congratulate you with hope that this won’t happen again in democratic and constitutional system,” he said.

PTI

President urges people to celebrate ‘pollution free’ Diwali

In his message to the people, the President said the festival represents the victory of light over darkness and good over evil

It was a Diwali message with difference this time from President Pranab Mukherjee, who greeted people on the eve of the festival and urged them to celebrate “in a pollution free manner”.In his message to the people, the President said the festival represents the victory of light over darkness and good over evil. “May the festival serve as a catalyst for greater unity within our country. Let us on this occasion join forces, share happiness, help the needy and engage in collective efforts to lead our nation to greater and greater glory.”May the festival bring joy and prosperity to all sections of our people across the length and breadth of the country. I urge all Indians to celebrate Diwali in a pollution free manner,” he said. The message from the President comes at a time when concern is being raised over air pollution in the national capital. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Diwali 2015: Best messages to send Diwali wishes to your loved ones

Just incase you are tired of the same old messages every year or you don’t know what to reply, let us help you with it.

Wikimedia Commons
Diwali, the five-day festivals of lights has begun and you can see all the cheerful atmosphere everywhere. Decorated lanterns, busting crackers, igniting diyas are a common sight, witnessed in every household every day during this festival.This five-day festival begins with Dhanteras and ends with Bhai Duj. The festival is celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil.The only thing which probably doesn’t rest during such festivals is our cell phones. We are sure your phone hasn’t stopped beeping since yesterday with all the Diwali messages, wishing you a great year and prosperity ahead. So, we bring to you, some of Diwali messages below which you can use to reply your well wishers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here is a list of some really good Diwali messages1. May this Diwali, Light up new dreams,fresh hopes, undiscovered avenues, different perspectives, everything bright and beautiful,and fill your days with pleasant surprises and moments.Happy Diwali.2. On this auspicious festival, may your life,Shimmer with Silver,Shine with GoldAnd Dazzle like Platinum…..Wish you a very prosperous and happy year ahead.3. There’s always something warm and bright, about this time of the year,when everything has a special glow, and hearts are full of cheer, that’s why, this special greeting comes your way, to wish you all life’s best, on Diwali and in the coming year, too. 4. Let your Sorrows Burst Like Crackers, your Happiness be like Sparkles, your Dreams Soar like Rockets and let your Life be Enlightened by Lamp Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year ahead.5. Delightful laddos, Incandescent diyasWhole lot of fun, a big stock of mastiLots of mithai and Innumerable fireworksWishing you the best bargainon fun n lots of sale-e-brationWish you a very Happy Diwali

All you need to know about Narak Chaturdashi, the second day of Diwali

The muhurt for the ​Abhyang Snan this year is 5:22 am to 6:46 am.

Wikimedia Commons
Narak Chaturdashi, which falls on the second day of Diwali after Dhanteras, is celebrated as an important day in all Maharashtrian families. Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated for the victory of Lord Krishna against Narakasur and hence the name. According to Hindu mythology, Narakasur, the son of Mother Earth, becomes an evil asur who ruled several kingdoms brought under his rule by force. Narakasur comes to rule Heaven and Earth. Lord Indra pleads with Lord Vishnu who promises to deal with the matter in his incarnation as Krishna. In his incarnation as Krishna, he attacks Narakasur while riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama and beheads him with the Sudarshan Chakra.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another version, it is said that Narkasur is granted a boon by Lord Brahma that he will only die at the hands of a woman. So in the battle, it is Lord Krishna’s wife Satyabhama who beheads him with Krishna as her saarthi. So the rituals for this day include breaking a bitter fruit. The bitter fruit symbolises the defeat of Narakasur. Like Dussehra, the defeat of Narakasur reminds us that good always win over the evil. In West Bengal, this day is known as Kali Chaudas. The day marks the defeat of Narakasur at the hands of Goddess Kali.In Maharashtra, families celebrate this day by getting up early in the morning and having an abhyanga snan with ‘ubtan’. This ubtan is a mixture of chandan, ambe haldi, multani mitti, khus, Rose, besan etc. People worship the Lord by visiting temple early in the morning and bursting crackers. The muhurt for the ​Abhyang Snan this year is 5:22 am to 6:46 am.In southern India, people wake up early and take a holy bath. Then they make a paste of kumkum and oil and apply it on their foreheads. Some communities in Tamil Nadu do Lakshmi Puja on this day.In West Bengal, one will find the idols of Goddess installed in various pandals across the state.In Goa, the day is celebrated like Dusshera. The only difference is that here effigies of Narakasur are made and destroyed instead of Ravana.Now that we know the real reasons behind our celebrations, it’s more fun to celebrate it!

Chinese lights spell darkness for traditional potters this Diwali

New Delhi: For generations, Indian homes were lit up by diyas, or traditional earthen lamps, during Diwali. Potters now complain that customers prefer cheaper Chinese electrical lighting or more pricey products in shopping malls, jeopardizing their livelihoods.

Until a few years ago, hundreds of potters and their families would be overworked in the run up to Diwali, churning out tens of thousands of small and big clay lamps that would brighten innumerable homes and businesses.

The diya business has now sharply declined.

Go for decorations that are environmentally friendly and also help out the community. AFPGo for decorations that are environmentally friendly and also help out the community. AFP

Go for decorations that are environmentally friendly and also help out the community. AFP

“There is a huge fall in the sale of diyas. For what is supposed to be a festival of lights, our life has entered a dark phase,” Harkishan, the head of Kumhar Gram, Delhi’s largest colony for potters, told IANS.

“Diwali has lost its traditional charm as Chinese products have taken over the Indian markets.

“People are more interested in decorating their homes with Chinese lights or jelly candles rather than with the traditional diyas,” he said.

Harkishan, 60, who won the National Award for Terracotta art in 1990, is not the only one despairing.

Harkishan, who arrived in Kumhar Gram in 1971 from Haryana, said the latest products in markets had jolted their business. “Every year there is at least a 30 percent fall in sales.

“Chinese products are choking our business,” he said, adding that today’s young ones may simply turn their back on diyas and other earthen products.

Krishna, 30, another potter, agreed.

“Earlier we did not even get time to rest during Diwali. But now we do not even sell half the products we prepare. Diwali is no more a busy time,” added Krishna, who learnt the craft from her family elders.

“Now people head to malls and supermarkets. They are no more interested in buying earthen lamps and more from potters,” Krishna told IANS.

“Worse is they don’t mind spending more on other products. We hardly get a customer or two now. How can we survive?”

Others in the potters’ hub said that often prepared products — including diyas — remain unsold. This never used to happen until about five years ago.

There was a time when Indian families went only for simple earthen lamps. Now the demand is mainly for decorated and fancy lamps.

No wonder many potters are slowly moving away from their traditional business in search of greener pastures.

“Only years ago our shops used to be crowded during Diwali. Now we wait and wait for buyers,” complained a woman who has been selling clay products in Malviya Nagar in south Delhi for the past 30 years.

Different types of clay are used to prepare diyas. Much of it comes from Haryana, Harkishan explained, adding that even the quality of clay was not as good as it used to be earlier.

Potters are angry that successive governments have not done much to protect the traditional business of pottery.

“Earlier soil (clay), used to prepare diyas, was easily available in Delhi itself,” another potter said. “Now we have to bring it from states such as Haryana and Rajasthan.

“We face several problems while transporting the clay. Shouldn’t the government be taking care of such simple issues?”

IANS

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, CM Parsekar extend Diwali greetings to people

The celebrations of such significant national festivals like Diwali have played a vital role in promoting social solidarity, national unity and in fostering love and friendship among the people.

Goa Governor Mridula Sinha and Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar have extended their greetings and good wishes to the people of the state ahead of the festive occasion of Diwali.In her message, the Governor said that Diwali is an important and happy occasion that is linked integrally to our cultural and traditional life.She said that Diwali serves to dissipate the darkness, ignorance and evil from society as people come together for the celebrations ignoring caste, class and religious barriers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The celebrations of such significant national festivals like Diwali have played a vital role in promoting social solidarity, national unity and in fostering love and friendship among the people.”During the last over one year of my stay here, I have observed that every festival is celebrated here with total peace, cooperation and camaraderie, thereby strengthening the unity among the people belonging to different faiths.”I hope that Diwali this year will be celebrated by the people with renewed joy, enthusiasm and peace and thus add happiness to their life,” Sinha said.Parsekar, in his message, said, “The festival of lights signifies the triumph of good over evil. Let this celebration of Diwali inspire us to follow the path of righteousness and share joy among our fellow countrymen.”May the divine glow of Diwali illuminate our lives in all spheres and may Devi Laxmi bless us all with good health, prosperity and happiness,” he added.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat meets President

The meeting lasted for over 30 minutes during which Bhagwat extended Diwali greetings to Mukherjee, officials said.

Mohan Bhagwat

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat today called on President Pranab Mukherjee and extended Diwali greetings to him.”Shri Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsanghchalak, RSS paid a courtesy call on #PresidentMukherjee on the eve of Diwali today,” according to the official twitter account of the President. The meeting lasted for over 30 minutes during which Bhagwat extended Diwali greetings to Mukherjee, officials said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Bijli Bachao: LED-ing with example

The non-profit organisation is helping people save electricity by providing right kind of information about electronic products

With the onset of Diwali, decorative lights and lamps can be seen outside every house across the country. And the trend of using LED lights is helping people save money by reducing electricity consumption, say experts, who work in the field of saving energy. However, Bijli Bachao — a not for profit organisation — claims that though people save energy by using LED lights for Diwali, the shopping of electronic appliances during the festive season without proper research would mean spending more electricity, if the product is not eco-friendly.The organisation’s mission is to provide consumers the right kind of information so that they can make informed decision towards electricity consumption. Through their website, the organisation provides free information to people about how to save electricity, top 10 appliances, general tips on electricity safety, research, news on electricity, among others. The website also has a calculator where people can calculate the benefits of using five star rated electronic appliance like refrigerator as compared to a three star one.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about their initiative, Abhishek Jain, founder of Bijli Bachao, said: “We get more number of visitors on our website during summer than during Diwali. Due to the latest trend of using LED lights, the consumption of energy is less as they more energy efficient. People should buy only LED lights to decorate their house. However, lot of people rush to buy electronic appliances like television, refrigerator, washing machine etc during this festive. So, we suggest them to buy it with an inverter technology that saves lot of energy.”He added: “We have observed that at electronic stores, the staff is not efficient to solve the queries of the public or to suggest them what is best for them in order to save electricity. Most of the time people are misguided by them saying that the cost of maintenance is high for inverter and that is how people land up in buying an appliance that would more electricity.”

OROP official notification to be issued before Diwali: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: The official notification for One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme will be issued before Diwali, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The announcement comes on a day when protesting ex-servicemen decided to step up their protests and return their medals across the country starting 9 November.

“As you are aware, it will be issued before Diwali,” Parrikar told reporters in New Delhi in reply to a question when the official notification on OROP will come out.

The government had on 5 September announced the OROP scheme for the veterans but an official notification was awaited. The government has cited the Model Code of Conduct for the Bihar polls as the reason behind the delay.

Even after government had announced OROP scheme, a section of the veterans had continued their protest citing seven lacunae, including annual equalisation, 2013-14 as the base year among others.

PTI

Diwali 2015: Fire crackers are as harmful as firearms, says Delhi High Court

Noting that there was a public outcry over the bursting of firecrackers, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also said firecrackers do not have any religious sanctity and they not only adversely affected the environment but caused various ailments.

Crackers are capable of causing harm like firearms and hospitals have to specially gear up for the “onslaught” on Diwali night, the Delhi High Court has said while rejecting a woman’s plea for a temporary licence to sell crackers in the national capital.Noting that there was a public outcry over the bursting of firecrackers, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also said firecrackers do not have any religious sanctity and they not only adversely affected the environment but caused various ailments. Hence, licences for their sale should be granted by following rational criteria, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I may add that it is not as if firecrackers are capable of any less harm than an arm within the meaning of Arms Act. Owing to less stringent control on use, firecrackers are available far more easily than an arm and are rampantly used and which has over the years resulted in incidents of fire and injury caused by firecrackers, on the occasion of Diwali, having become a routine affair and multiplying annually.”So much so that the city hospitals have to gear up for the onslaught and to be in a state of preparedness, especially on the night of Diwali. Certainly, none can claim a right to burst firecrackers at the cost of injury to another,” the court said. The court’s observation came while declining to interfere with Delhi police Commissioner’s October 31 decision to refuse Temporary Fireworks Licence to Manisha Sharma for sale of fire crackers in the national capital.”Inspite of the Supreme Court having limited number of hours during which the firecrackers can be burst/displayed on the festival of Diwali, the same remains more on paper than in fact, owing to the implicit difficulties in enforcement. “The only way of enforcement is to limit the availability of firecrackers in the city,” the judge said, adding that “I am of the view that it is not in public interest for this court to direct the authorities concerned to grant temporary licence to sell firecrackers when the authorities have refused the same to the petitioner.”

No international dimension to stand on Nepal at the UN: India

New Delhi: A day after it raised for the first time the current crisis in Nepal at the UN, India on Thursday said there was no “international dimension” to its statement and asserted that Nepalese government has to address the political crisis which was hampering supplies from Indian side.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said India was awaiting the report from Nepalese government on the killing of an Indian during a protest in Birganj.

MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup. Reuters

MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup. Reuters

“There is no international dimension. What India said at the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is part of the internationally agreed process and as part of Nepal’s membership of the UNHRC,” he said when asked about India’s statement at the Interactive Dialogue at 23rd Session of the UPR Working Group on Wednesday in Geneva.

Asking Nepal to consolidate Constitution building by accommodating “all sections” while emphasising that problems facing it cannot be resolved through force, India had said,”We note the concerns expressed by UN human rights bodies, UN Country Team and Nepal’s own Human Rights Commission over continuing incidents of violence, extra-judicial killings and ethnic discrimination in the country.”

India also urged the Himalayan nation to investigate and take credible measures to prevent recurrence of “incidents of violence, extra-judicial killings and ethnic discrimination in the country”. This is for the first time, India has raised the issue of Nepal at the UN.

Asked about Nepal’s request that ahead of Diwali, India should ensure smooth supply of essential commodities to check anti-India sentiment, the Spokesperson said, “The problem in Nepal is a political problem and has to have a political solution and that what we have been urging Nepal consistently from day one and that is what we will continue doing.

“There is a problem in Nepal due to disaffection among the section of the Nepali population and sooner the Nepalese leadership reaches out to that particular section and reaches
to some kind of accommodation, the sooner our supplies can resume which has been caused entirely by the blockade at the Nepalese side of the border.”

On the killing of an Indian by Nepal police during a protest in Birganj on November 2, the Spokesperson said, “The embassy has sought investigation report from government of Nepal. Let’s await that report.”

Swarup also insisted that the obstruction in the supply of essential goods to Nepal was due to protests there. Giving the details of cargo trucks crossing from some of the entry points, he said India has always tried to send its vehicles whenever it could with supplies.

Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal’s Terai region, are protesting against division of their ancestral homeland among other issue under the new Constitution and their agitation has closed the main trading point near Raxaul, halting supply of essential goods from India, causing an acute shortage of fuel in Nepal.

PTI

Article critical of Thackeray family goes viral; Raju Parulekar says writers can’t be restricted

An article critical of Thackeray family has gone viral after the writer published it on his personal blog saying the writers can’t be restricted.

An article critical of Thackeray family has gone viral after the writer published it on his personal blog saying the writers can’t be restricted.Raju Parulekar, a Pune-based journalist, who was once close to Raj Thackeray has written the article ‘Anatomy of Thackeray Family’ for a Diwali magazine. However, Parulekar believes that the article might not get published as it is regarding Thackeray family and therefore, he decided to publish it on the blog – ‘I Can So I Will’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Before beginning the article, Parulekar wrote, “This article has been originally written for Diwali magazine (print) of Grahak Hith, in the section called ‘legacy and lineage’. Editor of the magazine requested me to write on Thackeray family. It was with my conviction I wrote this article. Now article is with Grahak Hith. They might print it, they might not. When I spoke to them, I realised they were shaken. On their part nothing is wrong but I took my decision to publish it on my blog. Ultimate responsibility is mine.”Parulekar says that the article (Anatomy of Thackeray Family) does not refer to entire Shivsena and/or Maharashtra politics but refers only to the family of Thackeray’s. Hence, this article has few limitations, yet Balasaheb Thackeray remains the ‘Life-Giving Sun’ for the ‘Sons & Cousins of Thackeray Family.Parulekar was shot to fame after he claimed that the Anna Hazare wanted to remove undemocratic and fascist Kejriwal, Bedi, Prashant Bhushan and their pawns from his core team.Stating that Balasaheb Thackeray was not much involved in Samyukta Maharashtra Movement, he added, “All we can say that he witnessed the movement as a cartoonist. However, Balasaheb Thackeray had organisational skills which Acharya Atre lacked and post Samyukta Maharashtra Movement.”He also added that Balasaheb Thackeray accidently grabbed the golden opportunity to consolidate orphan anger of Marathi people.Further mentioning that Balasaheb’s slogans were a sheer lie, Parulekar wrote, “Balasaheb Thackeray did not let Shivsainiks and Maharashtra know that he wanted to make a business out of politics. Remember his famous, smart slogans – ‘Our policy is 20% Politics and 80% Social Work’, ‘Politics is nothing but Eczema’! That was a sheer lie.”To read the article: Anatomy of Thackeray Family

PMO postpones meeting to decide no interviews for non-gazetted posts

The PMO was scheduled to have meeting of chief secretaries of all states on Friday to bring state governments in sync with PM’s decision to not to take interviews of candidates appearing for non-gazetted posts.

Facing flak from the opposition parties for inducing people in the midst of Bihar elections, the Modi government has postponed the process to abolish interviews for lower posts till Bihar polls are over.The PMO was scheduled to have meeting of chief secretaries of all states on Friday to bring state governments in sync with PM’s decision to not to take interviews of candidates appearing for non-gazetted posts.According to sources the government has cited ‘Unavoidable Administrative Reasons’ to postpone the meeting which will now be held on November 16, by when both Bihar polls and Diwali holidays will be over.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Chief Secretaries of all the states were conveyed on October 27 that scheduled workshop has been postponed. Centre wants to rope in states for the Modi government move to make the initiative a huge success,” sources said.Announcing the decision not to take any interviews for group B and C posts that fall in non-gazetted category, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his radio broadcast Mann Ki Baat on October 25 had said that his government will implement the decision from January 1, 2016 and the process for the same has been initiated.Asserting that he wants to end the practice of interviews as it bred corruption and the poor people were being looted by dalals, Modi in his radio broadcast said, “The government has completed the entire process to do away with interviews for lower rank jobs. There will be no requirement of interview for Group D,C and B non-gazatted posts in central government. It will come into effect from January 1, 2016.”Though PM steered clear from mentioning anything related to Bihar elections as directed by the Election Commission, taking an exception to the announcement, the opposition parties – JD (U), RJD and Congress – approached the election commission claiming that it falls within the definition of inducement and thus violated the model code of conduct.While the election commission has not commented on the issue so far, according to sources, it has spoken to the government about the opposition parties’ view, prompting the PMO to halt the process of calling the chief secretaries of states to discuss the issue.The process of calling state chief secretaries as stakeholders will now begin after Diwali by which time the election would also be over, a senior government official said.Recently, Minister for Personnel Jitendra Singh had written a letter to all Chief Ministers asking them to identify such posts which could be exempted from interviews.

Plot Mein Twist: Geeta refuses to identify Mahatos as her family

As Geeta made her way out of the ceremonial lounge of IGI around 11.30 PM, the family tried to make their way forward carrying rose petals and marigold garlands but she was whisked away by security personnel.

File Photo

Elated over Geeta’s return from Pakistan after a gap of 15 years, the Mahatos from Bihar today turned up at the Indira Gandhi International Airport to accord a warm welcome to their “family member”, only to be left dejected hours later as she refused to recognise them.As Geeta made her way out of the ceremonial lounge of IGI around 11.30 PM, the family tried to make their way forward carrying rose petals and marigold garlands but she was whisked away by security personnel.Later, addressing a press conference, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Geeta refused to identify the Mahatos as her family. Earlier, she had identified them through pictures sent by the Indian High Commission in Pakistan.Talking to a huge media posse outside the lounge, one Manoj, who claimed to be Geeta’s brother, expressed his “disappointment” over not being given the chance to garland the 23-year-old.”We want to meet her. Wanted to welcome her properly. It’s a great moment for us. We had lost all hope. Want to thankthe media, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, our lawyer. It’s like lord Rama’s homecoming after spending 14 years in exile. This is our Diwali,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Contrary to her categorical denials in this regard, he also claimed that Geeta was married and used to live with her husband when she got lost from a “Baisakhi fair”. Janardhan Mahato, who claims to be her father, thanked Swaraj and Pakistani officials for ensuring her return. “She will recognise us all and will embrace us the moment we meet her. She is not a girl anymore, she’s god.” Geeta was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by the Pakistan Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. Indian government has said that Geeta would be handed over to the rightful family only after DNA test.

Not just Bihar, but entire India will celebrate Diwali on November 8: PM Modi

Prime Minister Modi also pitched education, jobs and healthcare as the BJP-led NDA’s agenda for development of Bihar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves as BJP leaders CP Thakur and Sushil Kumar Modi look on during an election rally in Naubatpur near Patna on Sunday.

PTI
Pitching on the BJP’s agenda of development in Bihar and expressing confidence of winning the ongoing Assembly polls in the state, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that the whole country will be celebrating Diwali on November 8 when the poll results will be declared.”Not only people of Bihar but the whole country will celebrate Diwali on November 8 when the poll results will be declared. The people of Bihar have made up their mind to give him(Nitish) a farewell,” Prime Minister Modi said while addressing a rally.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent reference to Bihar Chief minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav as brothers, Modi said, ‘the duo elder and younger brother ruled Bihar for 25 years. But did they ever explained to the people about the work done under their regime. Did they spoke about any infrastructure development in the state? They consider themselves as king and are arrogant thats why they don’t consider it worth to give an explanation to the people who voted them to power.”Prime Minister Modi also pitched education, jobs and healthcare as the BJP-led NDA’s agenda for development of Bihar.”When I talk of development, I want to stress on six points. I am not here for tall promises. We have three point formulae for the state that is electricity, water and road. We have another three point formulae for the families that is education and employment for youth and medicine for the elderly,” he said.Hitting out at the duo of Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad Yadav over their ‘Bahari’ (outsider) remark, Prime Minister Modi said it was during their rule that the youth of the state were forced to migrate to other states.”Those who talk of Bahari, I want to inform them that the youth of Bihar were forced to move outside the state during their (Lalu-Nitish) rule. You both are responsible for dismantling two generations during your rule of 25 years,” he added.Prime Minster Modi reiterated that development remains his core agenda for the Bihar polls. Continuing his tirade against the Bihar Chief Minister, Prime Minister Modi had earlier said the poll-bound state needs ‘democracy’ and not a ‘tantrik’ for its salvation.”We all know what the election results are going to be on November 8. Everyone knows what will happen. But does ‘tantrik’ Nitish have any idea what will he do once he loses? This atmosphere that I am seeing right now is ripe and an indication towards the defeat of Lalu, Nitish and Sonia ji. The wrongdoers will be punished,” he said while addressing an election rally in Nalanda.The Bihar chief minister was in the eye of storm recently after a video was uploaded on YouTube by BJP leader Giriraj Singh showing Nitish Kumar cosying up to a tantrik and hugging him.”We said ‘Nitish zindabad’ and ‘Lalu murdabad’ and you joined hands with the same Lalu,” the tantrik is heard saying in the video.

Civic bodies trying to tarnish our image: deputy CM Manish Sisodia

The explanation came in the wake of MCD’s sanitation workers threatening to go on strike demanding hike in their salaries.

The AAP government on Friday accused the BJP- ruled civic bodies of Delhi for spoiling its image ahead of the four-day India-Africa Summit starting on Novembet 26. In a press meet on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia claimed that his government had released enough funds to the three civic bodies of Delhi to pay its workers, as compared to the corresponding period last year, when Delhi was under LG’s rule. The explanation came in the wake of MCD’s sanitation workers threatening to go on strike demanding hike in their salaries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “An attempt is being made to create an chaotic atmosphere in Delhi before India-Africa Summit and Diwali,” Sisodia said. He added that against the 58 percent disbursal of funds released by Delhi government to the North Municipal Corporation of Delhi in Oct 2014, the AAP dispensation had released 75 percent of total funds. For South Delhi Municipal Corporation, the AAP government released 69 percent of the money by Oct whereas in it was 57 percent in 2014. Sisodia claimed these bodies were not demanding Rs1,400 crore due on the Delhi Development Authority which reports to the centre.

Ramayana on the silver screen: MEA set to commission a film on the epic before Diwali

The so-called secularists may baulk at it. The Ministry of External Affairs is going to view presentations by leading filmmakers next week on the topic: “Ramayana – A Shared Culture in India and Southeast Asia”.

ibn live imageibn live image

ibn live image

The presentations may be held as early as just before Dussehra, immediately after the deadline for filing submissions ends on 19 October at 5.30 pm. The 26-minute film project is likely to be awarded to the best candidate by Diwali which falls on 11 November. This is the first time that the MEA is going to commission a film on Ramayana.

The film is likely to cost the MEA anywhere between RS. 40 to 50 lakh but it is no deterrent for the MEA.

The Narendra Modi government feels that Ramayana, the eternal battle between good and evil, holds a borderless appeal and carrying the message of the Ramayana to international audience is the need of the hour.

The MEA commissions films worth crores of rupees every year. Normally it stays away from religious topics and chooses subjects which give it heft for soft power projection or furthers national interests or promotes relations with friendly countries.

Three years ago, the UPA government had commissioned a film on Christian nun from Kerala Saint Alphonso. However, earlier this year when MPs from Kerala wrote to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for commissioning second part of the film, she turned down the proposal.

But the Ramayana is a different ball game, even though it may lead to demands for commissioning films on scriptures of other religions as well.

Going by the vast appeal of Ramayana in Southeast Asian countries, most of which are either Buddhist or Muslim dominated, the Modi government’s decision to make a film on this timeless epic is not only understandable but laudable too.

If out of ten nations of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) at least seven nations — Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia –have received the influence of Hindu culture since the early days of Indian contacts, it is largely because of the influence of Ramayana.

Consider the following little known facts.

*The capital of early Thailand was called Ayutthaya, named after Lord Ram’s capital of Ayodhya. Another ancient city in Thailand is Lavpuri, named after Ram’s son Lav.

*The Royal king in Thailand is called ‘Bhumipal Athulyatej, Rama IX’.

*The country Laos is named after Ram’s son Lav.

*Thai kick boxing which is based on the military skills of Bali and Sugreeva, famous characters of Ramayana, is now an event in International Olympics.

*Ministers in Malaysia take oath of office in the name of Lord Ram’s Paduka ‘Urusan Seri Paduka’ and the agong or royal president takes oath of office in the name of the dust of Ram’s Paduka ‘Urusan Seri Paduka Dhuli’, as the Malaysians consider the dust of Ram’s ‘paduka’ or footwear holier than the Paduka itself.

*One may find it strange but it is true that even if a mosque has to be built in Malaysia, the government orders are issued in the name of ‘Urusan Seri Paduka’.

*Predominantly Muslim countries in Southeast Asia like Brunei and Indonesia, the world’s largest Islamic nation,  take pride in saying ‘Islam is our Religion but Ramayana is our Culture’.

*The Southeast Asian Games in 1997 used Hanuman as its mascot.

BSNL to allow landline users avail free call benefit on mobile

BSNL mobile subscribers will soon be able to avail free calling benefits offered on their landline phone as the state-run firm is going to roll out a convergence platform that will sync subscribers’ mobile and fixed line connections.

BSNL mobile subscribers will soon be able to avail free calling benefits offered on their landline phone as the state-run firm is going to roll out a convergence platform that will sync subscribers’ mobile and fixed line connections.”We are in the process of rolling out fix mobile convergence platform by Diwali. This will enable consumers avail value added service in mobile phones, make free night calls from mobile phones if they have subscribed to landline and host of other modern facilities,” BSNL Chairman and MD Anupam Shrivastava said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that with this roll out, consumers will be able to link their mobile and landline accounts.”The sync between the two accounts will be such that it will enable our subscribers receive their landline calls on mobile phones,” Shrivastava said.BSNL has invested over Rs 400 crore to modernise its landlines.The company slipped to sixth position in terms of overall subscriber base in April. At the end of August, BSNL’s total subscriber base was around 7.8 crore. After a long period, BSNL in July and August 2015 ranked among top five mobile players in terms of net addition of monthly subscribers.BSNL, however, has been losing customers in landline space despite offering free night calls from landline to any phone in India.”We have been able to arrest decline rate in landline connections. In a few months and with launch of fix mobile convergence, our landline should turn positive. We have already turned gainer for mobile subscribers under mobile number portability scheme,” Shrivastava said.The company has launched free roaming scheme which enables its subscribers to attend free incoming calls while travelling anywhere in the country at no extra cost.”Free roaming scheme has become one of the major growth drivers for uptake in mobile subscriber number,” Shrivastava added.The company is also in the process to tie up with Hitachi’s ATM business unit which will allow its landline customers, who pay bill offline, to make payment anytime during the day.”Many landline users still pay bill at our counter. The counters are open for limited time and between peak office hours i.e. 10am – 2pm. We are partnering with Hitachi. It will install ATM at our premise which will also accept cash.BSNL customers will be able to pay their bills at this ATM as per their convenience,” Shrivastava said.He said that Hitachi ATM machines will be rolled out initially in small cities around March 2016.BSNL will also get revenue share from each transaction made on ATMs installed in its premise.

Dadri lynching: Marred by fear and polarisation, Bisara awaits for peace to return

The villagers don’t want to revisit the horror of witnessing two of their neighbours getting mercilessly beaten by frenzied mob.

Akhlaq’s 17-yr-old daughter Sajida sitting in her room

iamin.in
Around 60 km away from the national capital, Bisara, a small hamlet in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri district presently remains enveloped with fear after a mob lynching led to the death of a 50-year-old man over rumours of beef eating last week.What is ironical is that this is the same hamlet where people of two different communities have been staying peacefully for the last five decades celebrating their festivals together. “A Muslim would celebrate Diwali with same fervour as a Hindu would,” shares village Pradhan Sanjay Rana.A week after Mohammad Akhlaq’s death, an uncanny silence has dawned on the villagers who are not too pleased with the political leaders and scribes frequenting Bisara these days. Young children and women can be seen staring out of the windows but they don’t want to talk.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Akhlaq’s next-door neighbour avoids a television reporter trying to question him about what happened that fateful night. His wife quickly intervenes, ‘Tum chup raho, pata lage kal ko log humein hi marne lag jaye.” (Stay mum, you never know when the same mob attacks us for speaking something against them), she is heard saying.The villagers don’t want to revisit the horror of witnessing two of their neighbours getting mercilessly beaten by frenzied mob.Read: Mohamad Akhlaq’s family remembers the man they knew​“We want peace to return”With a population of roughly around 15,000 people, Bisara is home to 300 Muslims, while Thakurs or Rajputs constitute of 70% of the total populace.Confessing that the hamlet has never experienced an incident like this ever before, Rana, who arranged immediate financial and medical help for Akhlaq’s family says their village’s reputation has been stained forever. “It was an unfortunate incident and shouldn’t have happened. Few people have disturbed harmony of the village. We only hope that peace returns soon,” he shares.
Mohamad AkhlaqWhile speaking to iamin, Rajender Singh, one of Akhlaq’s neighbours, shared that they still haven’t recovered from the shock. “We lived like a family. When their daughter was getting married, we became a part of the ceremonies as if there was a marriage in our own house. We all sat and ate together in the veranda in my house,” he recalls.It took the infuriated mob just 15 minutes to unleash their fury on the family and rob the village of its peace, recalls a 45-year-old Moolchand, owner of departmental store in the area. “We couldn’t clearly make out the announcement made on the loudspeaker as we were watching television. Suddenly, the entire lane was filled with angry villagers. Hundreds of them were shouting in rage. Some people pleaded them to stop beating the family members fearing they might die. But the mob didn’t stop. It was a barbaric sight,” the shop-owner says.“Communal cauldron had been simmering for sometime”As iamin spoke to Pradhans of neighbouring hamlets, they confided that communal cauldron had been simmering for quite sometime in these cluster of villagers.“For the past five to six months, fringe groups have been organising camps and meetings in Bisara, Jarcha and Virpura and other villagers polarising people on sectarian lines,” a village chief points out to iamin on conditions of anonymity.One such group is Samadhan Sena, set up by Govind Chaudhary, a resident of Virpura village. A wave of communal disharmony has ruptured the social fabric in the villages since Samadhan Sena set up its offices, according to Ehsaan Ilahi, Pradhan of Jarcha, a Hindu-dominated village.“The Sena would hold meetings in Jarcha and nearby villages, and rope in youth in the age group of 16-20 years. They would organise bike rallies holding black flags shouting ‘Muslims go back to Pakistan’,” he stresses.Around four months back, Jarcha witnessed its first communal incident. “My son was attacked in the school by fellow students who called him ‘Pakistani’. When I complained it to the police, a mob came to my house and warned me. Now, I drop my son to school and pick him myself,” shares the village chief.Ehsaan, who has been heading the village for past five years, further shares, “Five years is a lot of time and my Hindu brothers have always voted for me. I used to donate money to organise programmes in Diwali and Holi. These are all planned attacks to disrupt harmony.”Groups like Rashtravadi Pratap Sena (RPS) and Chaudhary Charan Singh Sena are other similar groups, as per villagers, that recruit men, mainly young boys, to carry out violent attacks against other community.Is unemployment compelling youth to join fringe groups?“It is not about being a Hindu or a Muslim. These young men who are being roped in don’t have any work neither any land to earn their livelihood. Political leaders are influencing them and they are mindlessly indulging into behaviours they should refrain from,” insists Hasmat Thakur, Pradhan of Kalunda village.According to him, it is because of unemployment and lack of opportunities that the youth are joining these fringe groups. “We are afraid that the future of the present generation is in peril if they continue to indulge in such activities,” Hasmat adds.Politicos are acting irresponsibly, say villagers Meanwhile, irresponsible comments by politicians have further upset the villagers. Union cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma, immediately after the incident tried to justify what happened saying, ‘Consuming Cow Meat is Wrong, Excitement of Kids led to the Attack’. Another BJP leader and former MLA Nawab Singh Nagar also added fuel to the fire saying, “Police Did Not Take the Meat Samples Seriously.”On Sunday, BJP MLA Sangeet Som, accused of making inflammatory speeches during the 2013 Muzaffarnaga riots, organised a Mahapanchayat where he was quoted saying,“The Akhlaq family members were taken by the Uttar Pradesh government (to Lucknow) in an airplane. How they treated the accused in the Muzaffarnagar riots, they are treating those who have slaughtered a cow the same way.”“We are trying to contain the situation here. We can’t do that unless political parties continue to visit the hamlet only to polarise the two communities further,” sums up one of the villagers.A thought to ponder upon: “I have long pledged to serve the cow but how can my religion also be the religion of the rest of the Indians? It will mean coercion against those Indians who are not Hindus” -Mahatma Gandhi, during a prayer discourse on cow slaughter. This article was first published on iamin.in. For more such hyperlocal stories, visit their website.
Also read: Police asks Twitter to delete ‘provocative’ posts on Muhammad Akhlaq’s killing

Forget bans on alcohol, porn: We need to take the infants’ plea in SC for ban on crackers seriously

In a season of insane bans inspired by bigotry and intolerance, the most sane idea has come from infants.

Three Delhi-based infants have moved the Supreme Court through their father for a ban on bursting of crackers this Dusshera and Diwali. Arguing that the pollution created by crackers harms their under-developed lungs, the infants have sought a series of remedies for improving air quality.

Supreme Court of India. ReutersSupreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Unless you are naive enough to link crackers with Indian culture and traditions, or find some convoluted argument to see the plea as part of a conspiracy against Hindu festivals, there is very little to disagree with the concerns of the infants and their parents.

In Delhi, the emission levels are highest in the world. In September, the National Air Quality Index in September continuously registered levels above 300 for particulate matters that pollute the air. Such high levels — between 301 and 400 — mean the air quality is poor and continuous exposure can lead to a variety of illnesses.

With the onset of winter, when the air turns cool and moist, pollutants hang low and become stagnant. During this period the some of the particulate matter exceeds 1500 micrograms per cubic metre, nearly 15 times more than the standard limit for healthy conditions.

It is a no-brainer that crackers laden with hazardous chemicals that emit poisonous gases turn Delhi into a gas chamber. Add to this the noise pollution, environmental waste, risk of burn injuries and major fires, and exploitation of child labour in the industry, we should have been proactively debating a stringent ban on crackers by now. Unfortunately, we have made a habit of ignoring real issues that affect our lives — pollution, epidemics, inflation, failure of the health and education system–and wasting time on unproductive debates and campaigns.

Bursting crackers was never part of the tradition. Deepavali (Deep: lamps; Avali: rows) was always meant to be a festival of lights on the dark amavasya night of Kartika month of Indian calendar. While most of us believe the lamps are lit to celebrate the return of Lord Rama from exile (or the killing of demon Narkasura by Krishna), there is also some scientific logic behind it.

Indians believe that since the Diwali season is preceded by the monsoon, the fire element in the environment diminishes due to the cloud cover. The lighting of lamps was traditionally meant to compensate for the lower level of tej tattva. Crackers were a late addition to the celebration, initially perhaps just as sources of more light. Their controlled use may have helped the environment by killing monsoon insects and flies. But, now it has all gone out of hand with bursting of hazardous crackers turning into a mindless show of ostentation.

In the petition on behalf of the infants, their parents have rightly argued that the pollutants from crackers violate their right to clean air guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and lead to asthma attacks, diminished lung capacity and various other diseases.

In the past, various governments have tried to curb the menace of post-Diwali pollution. There have been efforts to create awareness through campaigns in schools and curb the use of crackers by imposing a time limit. Some years ago the Supreme Court had stepped and imposed a complete ban between 10 pm and 6 am. But, several studies have shown none of this has worked because both the government and citizens have been blasé about implementing the measures.

The latest petition by Delhi infants gives us another opportunity to look at crackers for what they are: a health hazard. Puerile debates on banning meat, eggs, alcohol, porn sites, books, films and other forms of expression can wait. We can start showing some maturity by listening to what the children of Delhi are saying: the air around us is killing everybody, without differentiating between the lungs of Hindus, Muslims, Jains, vegetarians and beef-eaters.

Toddlers move SC through parents for a cracker-free Diwali, Dussehra

New Delhi: In an attempt to ensure pollution-free environment, three kids through their fathers have moved the Supreme Court against the use of loud fire-crackers during the festival of Diwali and Dussehra.

The petition, filed by the fathers of three children between the age of six and 14 months, stressed on their right to be brought up in a pollution-free environment and sought that government agencies be restrained from issuing licence for sale of crackers in the national capital.

Supreme court of India. Reuters

Supreme court of India. Reuters

The plea said that the widespread use of firecrackers in Delhi during the festive season exposes vulnerable infants to severe diseases such as asthma and worsens lung condition.

“They are foremost prone to lung disease, asthma, coughing, bronchitis, retarded nervous system development and cognitive impairment,” the petitioners Arjun Goyal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin, Delhi residents, submitted through their lawyer Gopal Shankar Narayan.

The plea said the right of their kids to breathe clean air is essential for a conducive environment for growth and development and blamed the authorities for not laying down any guidelines regarding sale of crackers.

“Authorities haven’t laid down any guidelines to ensure that manufacturers or sellers conform to environmental norms while distributing these crackers. A look at the licences will show that environmental and pollution concerns are furthest from the minds of the Government representatives,” it said.

“The imminent advent of festivals that involve widespread fireworks are a clear and present danger to the health of the Applicants and the other children who are residents of Delhi,” the petition said.

The plea also cited a study in Bangalore that shows how a widespread awareness campaign and enforcement mechanisms led to a sharp 32 per cent decrease in pollution levels there during Diwali time in 2013 compared to a year ago.

The petition said that a 2005 top court ruling restricting use of fireworks beyond 10 pm had brought some respite to Delhiites but studies thereafter revealed that cases of wheezing, respiratory diseases, exacerbation of bronchial asthma and bronchitis increase by 40 per cent during Diwali.

PTI

Bihar Elections likely to be held in four or five phases

Election Commission sources said hectic work is on to tie up various issues before the full commission makes a visit to the Bihar for assessing the preparedness of the state’s electoral machinery ahead of finalising the poll schedule.

The high-stakes battle for Bihar, essentially between BJP and the ‘Janata Parivar’ is likely to be fought in a multi-phased election to the Assembly, probably between late October and early November sandwiched between festivals.Election Commission sources said hectic work is on to tie up various issues before the full commission makes a visit to the Bihar for assessing the preparedness of the state’s electoral machinery ahead of finalising the poll schedule. Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti are likely to visit Patna early next month for discussions with top officials of the administration and police and representatives of political parties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Commission is said to be looking at a window before festival season starts late October or to squeeze some phases between Dussehra and Diwali for holding the polls. Though a final decision is yet to be taken on the number of phases, it is likely to between four or five. The term of the 243-member Bihar assembly ends on November 29 and the new House should be in place before that. Elections under the Constitution can be held anytime six months before the due date.After the thrashing in the Delhi Assembly elections, the BJP is setting great store by the Bihar elections where foes– Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad–have come together in an uneasy alliance. The Bihar polls will be followed by a round of Assembly elections in various states including Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and Assam.As the Commission prepares to publish the final electoral rolls on July 31, a team sent by the poll panel to Bihar briefed it on Friday about the election preparedness of the official machinery. The team briefed the Commission about the progress in preparing the electoral rolls, vulnerability mapping of sensitive constituencies, awareness campaign for voters to get their names included in electoral rolls and threat perception.Since Bihar will be a stand-alone election, EC hopes to get the required number of personnel from central forces for the assembly polls without much ado. The festival of chhath, which is an important event in Bihar, falls six days after Diwali that will be celebrated on November 11. Election Commission had dispatched four special teams of ‘auditors’ to the state for weeding out duplicate entries from electoral rolls.The four teams comprising six officers each are part of the Commission’s newly-set up Regulatory Audit Division and Bihar is their first assignment. The Audit Division has been mandated to detect specific instances of non-adherence to the Commission’s guidelines or legal provisions required to be followed by the field election machinery.Soon after the publication of electoral rolls on July 31, the state electoral machinery will commence the process of updating of electoral rolls to ensure that those left out are included. The EC will have to take into account weather conditions, festivals, exams, holidays, heavy monsoon, heavy rain and floods before arriving at exact schedule.The poll watchdog has undertaken mapping of all constituencies of Bihar into three categories. Where EC finds maximum sensitivity, it plans to deploy central police forces “well in time,” a senior Commission functionary said. The Commission would be using voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in 36 of the 243 assembly constituencies but the number could increase.VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. An EVM will have a small attachment to it which after pressing the button for a desired candidate, will print that name on a paper. It will be stored inside the machine and can be used in case of any controversy over the final result.Considering Left-wing extremism that affects parts of the state, an assessment of central paramilitary forces is also going on.

CJI Dattu calls controversy over conference on Good Friday ‘unfortunate’

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India HL Dattu today termed as “unfortunate” the controversy surrounding his colleague Kurian Joseph’s objection to the holding of judges’ conference on Good Friday and said while all Supreme Court judges are invited, the presence of only top three is mandatory.

Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu, Image courtesy PIBChief Justice of India, HL Dattu, Image courtesy PIB

Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu, Image courtesy PIB

Seeking to downplay the controversy, Justice Dattu said the two-day affair on Friday and Saturday was actually not a ‘conference’ but a meeting where judges discuss among themselves issues and problems related to the judiciary.

When asked about the issues raised by Justice Joseph, he termed it as “unfortunate”.

“I am the head of the family…if one member questions me, we will settle it ourselves,” he told reporters in an informal interaction after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the joint conference of chief justice of high courts and chief ministers.

He said as judges do not get time to interact with each other, such meetings are held periodically where important issues are discussed.

He said while all Supreme Court judges are invited, the attendance of top three apex court judges — the CJI and two senior-most judges in this case Justice TS Thakur and Justice AR Dave — is mandatory.

The last such event was organised on 7 April 2013.

In his letter to the prime minister, Justice Joseph had said: “Irrespective of the religion, Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid, Bakrid, Christmas, Easter etc. are great days of festival celebrations in the neighbourhood. Your good self would kindly appreciate that no important programmes are held during sacred and auspicious days of Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Eid, Bakrid etc., though we have holidays during that period as well.”

“I regret my inability to attend the event as the Conference coincides with the Good Friday ceremonies. Good Friday is a day of great religious significance to us, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ,” he had said.

PTI

CJI HL Dattu refuses to comment on timing of BJP national meet, raised by SC judge

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India H L Dattu on Saturday refused to comment on his Supreme Court colleague Kurian Joseph’s objection to the holding of the judges’ conference on Good Friday and Easter weekend and rubbished reports that another judge had also disapproved the event’s timing.

“No comments,” Justice Dattu said when asked about his reaction to the views expressed by Justice Joseph in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regretting his inability to attend dinner for top judges tonight for the same reason.

Chief Justice of India HL Dattu. PTI/File imageChief Justice of India HL Dattu. PTI/File image

Chief Justice of India HL Dattu. PTI/File image

The CJI rubbished reports that another Supreme Court judge, Justice Vikramjit Sen, had also objected to holding of the conference between holy period of Good Friday and Easter.

“There was no confrontation, no statement, no objection from Justice Vikramjit Sen. This was wrongly reported…,” he said, adding that Justice Sen did not communicate and “even talked” with him on the issue.

“There was no communication from Justice Sen regarding any disagreement with regard to the conference and it is wrongly reported by media,” he said.

The CJI was answering queries of media persons while emerging out of the reception hosted by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to felicitate Supreme Court judges and Chief Justices of 24 High Courts who have been here for the three day conference.

On being asked whether he is attending the Prime Minister’s dinner tonight, the Chief Justice said, “I am definitely attending Prime Minister’s dinner tonight. Why should I not?”.

In his letter to the Prime Minister two days ago, Justice Joseph had said: “Irrespective of the religion, Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid, Bakrid, Christmas, Easter etc. are great days of festival celebrations in the neighbourhood. Your good self would kindly appreciate that no important programmes are held during sacred and auspicious days of Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Eid, Bakrid etc., though we have holidays during that period as well.”

“I regret my inability to attend the event as the Conference coincides with the Good Friday ceremonies. Good Friday is a day of great religious significance to us, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ,” he said.

The apex court judge also urged the Prime Minister that “being the guardian of Indian secularism, I request your Honour to kindly have in mind these concerns also while scheduling events and benevolently show equal importance and respect to the sacred days of all religions which are also declared as National holidays.”

He said it was “customary for us to be part of the religious and other ceremonies with the parents, elders and other family members during the holy weekend. Hence I would be in Kerala during those days.”

PTI

Surat could soon be just 20 minutes away

Three diamond barons and a prominent developer, including the one who was recently in news for distributing cars, diamonds and jewellery to his employees as Diwali bonus, are planning to bring Mumbai within 20 minutes’ reach from Surat.

Three diamond barons and a prominent developer, including the one who was recently in news for distributing cars, diamonds and jewellery to his employees as Diwali bonus, are planning to bring Mumbai within 20 minutes’ reach from Surat. The plan is part of regional air connectivity which their airline started recently between small cities in Gujarat with non-scheduled flights operating between Surat, Bhavnagar and Rajkot, which its operators claim is getting passenger occupancy of around 82 per cent. The airline management is now in the process of seeking approval from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Airport Authority of India (AAI) to connect Mumbai with the diamond hub of Surat. A meeting in this regard was held here on Tuesday. The promoters, whose main business centres around diamond polishing and exports, have even christened the airline as Diamond Aeronautics Pvt Ltd after taking over Air Ventura a few months back. The airline has been set up at the initial cost of over Rs 50 crore. “There is tremendous demand for connecting Mumbai to Surat due to the business opportunity the two cities offer,” says Ishvar Dholakiya, MD, Diamond Aeronautics Pvt Ltd. When asked to comment as what made them start an airline, when most of the airlines are in bad financial health, Kartikey Garasia, CEO of the airline said the vision of the airline and its promoter’s vision is to give regional air connectivity a boost and therefore the question of profit or loss does not arise. The airline presently operates with two nine-seater and one four-seater planes. The promoters include diamond industry barons including Govind Dholakiya of SRK Exports, Savji Dholakiya of Hari Krishna Exports and Lalji Patel of Dharmanand Diamonds and leading developer Lavji Dalia. Savji, whose company has a turnover of over 6,000 crore, was all over the newspapers and television news in October last year after he declared Diwali bonus to 1,201 of his employees, gifting 424 of them with Fiat Punto Evo cars, 207 with two bedroom apartments and 570 employees jewellery worth Rs 3.6 lakh each. A similar service connecting smaller cities in Maharashtra was planned by Marol-based Supreme Aviation in October last year. The airline was seeking subsidy from the state government of around seven seats per flight. However, the plan never took off.