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PM Modi invites Nepalese PM to India amid ongoing border crisis

Madhesis, who share a strong cultural and family bonds with Indians, have imposed a general strike in southern Nepal, thereby causing shortage of fuel and other essential goods in the country. Madhesi leaders have submitted an 11-point demand to the Nepal Government. Their demands include re-demarcation of the provinces, fixing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and proportional representation.

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Complete list of countries visited by PM Narendra Modi in 2015

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A Right to Information (RTI) filed by Delhi-based activist Lokesh Batra revealed that by mid-September India had spent Rs 41.1 crores over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits in the last one year.

PM Modi departing from Delhi on his tour
File Photo

A Right to Information (RTI) filed by Delhi-based activist Lokesh Batra revealed that by mid-September India had spent Rs 41.1 crores over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits in the last one year. As the year come to an end, he has made 27 trips and visited 25 nations in a year, while views and counter-views emerge right from Rahul Gandhi’s criticism to Arvind Kejriwal’s questions and social media potshots, some still believe that his visits would strengthen his vision of ‘Make in India’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Let’s have a look at the nations that Modi visited this year:SeychellesDates of visit: March 10-11Purpose: Met President James Alexis Michelin as a part of Indian Ocean outreach programme and discussed maritime ties and bilateral development and cooperation.MauritiusDates of visit: March 11-13Purpose: Modi was the chief Guest at the Independence Day celebrations in Mauritius on March 12. He poured Gangajal in a sacred pond in Port Louis and commissioned an India-built naval patrol vessel for Mauritius.Sri LankaDates of visit: March 13-14Purpose: Sri Lanka released 86 fisherman prior to Modi’s visit. It was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 28 years aimed at improving the relation with the island country after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. The visit was also to discuss increasing Chinese activities in Lanka.SingaporeDate of visit: March 29Purpose: In his first visit to Singapore, he attended the state funeral of first Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew, on the sidelines he also met several world leaders and Israeli President.FranceDates of visit: April 9-12 Purpose: To encourage French defence, civil nuclear power and food processing companies to participate in Make in India programme.GermanyDates of visit: April 12-14Purpose: To visit business leaders at Hannover Messe business fair. He also unveiled a bust of Mahatma Gandhi in Hannover.CanadaDates of visit: April 14-16Purpose: To strengthen Indian- Canadian bilateral relations in various sectors including aerospace and defence, education, energy, mining, infrastructure, sustainable technologies, information and communication technology. He also met Indians in Canada and visited Laxminarayan temple and Gurudwara.ChinaDates of visit: May 14-16Purpose: The issues for discussion included long-pending border dispute, a widening trade imbalance in favour of China, stapled visas, China taking up large infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and economic matters.MongoliaDates of visit: May 16-17Purpose: Modi visited Mongolia to address Great Khural on May 17 and announced a line of credit of US $1 billion to Ulaanbaatar to develop institutions, infrastructure and human resources in Mongolia. He also gifted Mongolia a Bhabhatron for cancer treatment.South KoreaDates of visit: May 18-19Purpose: As a part of East Asia Policy, Modi upgraded the ties between two nations to ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ and signed seven agreements including one on avoidance of double taxation.BangladeshDates of visit: June 6-7Purpose: There were 22 agreements signed between the two nations including 1974 Land Boundary Agreement. Other issues discussed include business of water from the Teesta river, issues between border forces and an equal treatment for Bangladesh.UzbekistanDate of visit: July 6Purpose: Three pacts were signed to boost cooperation between foreign offices in the field of culture and tourism. Enhanced strategic, economic and regional issues like the situation in war-torn Afghanistan also made it to the agenda.KazakhstanDate of visit: July 7Purpose: Key issues discussed included fight against terrorism and extremism. Five key agreements were inked, which included a defence pact to enhance military cooperation and a contract for supply of uranium. RussiaDates of visit: July 8-10Purpose: Attended BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation ​(SCO) Summits.TurkmenistanDates of visit: July 10-11Purpose: PM Modi signed seven pacts with Turkmenistan, vowed to fight terrorism together and pitched for an early implementation of the US $10 billion TAPI pipeline project.KyrgyzstanDate of visit: July 12Purpose: Modi in Kyrgyzstan signed four agreements to boost defence cooperation and hold annual joint military exercises and discussed combating international terrorism and other crimes.TajikistanDates of visit: July 12-13Purpose: Narendra Modi unveiled a statue of poet Rabindranath Tagore in Dushanbe and discussed regional issues including Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) with President Emomali Rahmon.United Arab EmiratesDates of visit: August 16-17Purpose: Modi’s visit to United Arab Emirates was aimed at reaching out to the Indian diaspora there, wherein he announced E-migrate portal, ‘MADAD’ for Indian migrants, counsellor camps for Indian workers among other measures. The talks also focussed on enhanced energy and trade cooperation. The last prime minister to visit UAE was Indira Gandhi.IrelandDate of visit: September 23Purpose: First Prime Minister to visit Ireland in 59 years, Modi discussed global challenges like terror and radicalisation with his Irish counterpart Enda Kenny. He also hoped for relaxed visa policies for Indian IT firms. They also spoke about India’s membership of UN Security Council and international export control regimes including NSG.United StatesDates of Visit: September 24-30Purpose: Modi’s US visit was focussed towards United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), large Indian diaspora and Silicon Valley honchos.United KingdomDates of Visit: November 12-14Purpose: India and the UK sealed deals worth 9-billion pound, a civil nuclear pact was signed and collaboration in the fields of defence and cyber security was decided upon, besides talks about railway rupee bond were launched.TurkeyDates of visit: November 15-16Purpose: Modi attended G20 summit which focussed on current state of the global economy, sustainable growth, development and climate change, investment, trade and energy.MalaysiaDates of visit: November 21-22Purpose: Modi inaugrated Torana Gate, attended ASEAN and East Asia Summit, discussed Ayurveda and defence cooperation in Malaysia.SingaporeDates of Visit: November 23-25Purpose: Commemorating 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, PM Modi and his Singapore counterpart signed the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership.FranceDates of visit: November 30 – December 1Purpose: Modi attended COP21 Environment Conference and laid down India’s stratergy on global warming.Russia
Dates of Visit: December 23-24Purpose: 16th India-Russia annual summit talks would focus on stepping up economic engagement and strategic ties. Deals over defence sector which includes joint manufacturing of 200 Kamov-226T helicopters and purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems also hold an important place apart from access to secret Russian files to unveil mystery of the disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. AfghanistanDate of Visit: December 25Purpose: The Afghan Parliament constructed by India at the cost of US $ 90 million inaugrated by Modi.

Has Separatist Syedah Asiya Andrabi got Islamic State links?

Pro-Pakistan Dukhtaran-e-Milat (DeM) leader Syedah Asiya Andrabi is under fire.Three Hyderabad youths, who were arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) last week at the Nagpur airport, have told the Telangana police that they were on their way to Srinagar to meet Andrabi, who would have facilitated their onward journey to join the Islamic State (IS).The three cousins, Mohammad Abdullah Basit, Syed Omer Farooq Hussaini and Maaz Hasan Farooq, are in their 20s.They told the police that Andrabi was to have helped them cross over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for their onward journey to the Middle East.The Hyderabad police had said that the youths were motivated by IS propaganda online and were caught and counselled last year. The three were planning to join IS by crossing over to PoK en route to Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq.The police have booked the trio under Sections 121 (waging or attempt to wage war against the state), 121-A (conspiracy to wage war), 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.The police said the three are related to former Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) president Syed Salahuddin, who was killed in a road accident in Hyderabad last year.Andrabi, however, denied any links with the trio, claiming an attempt is being made to tarnish her image and implicate her in fabricated cases. “My name is being dragged unnecessarily. I do not know any of the persons in Hyderabad. A concerted effort is being made to tarnish my image. I came to know about the arrest of the three youths through newspaper reports,” Andrabi told dna.Andrabi, however, admitted that she knew Syed Salahudin and had attended his programmes.She said if the state government orders a probe, her innocence would be proved. “Let them probe and it will prove that I stand nowhere in the picture,” she saidInspector general of police, Kashmir Zone, Syed Javid Mujtaba Gillani, said that they have officially got no intimation about the arrest of the threes youth and their revelations about Andrabi. “They (Hyderabad police) have not communicated to my office. I am not sure if they have communicated to the director general’s office,” he said.The arrest of the youths come in the backdrop of several incidents of IS flag-hoisting in Srinagar, particularly after Friday prayers in old city.The police had picked up several youths since the hoisting of flags last year, but investigations have not revealed any organisational structure of the outfit in the valley. A top army commander had last month said that the IS was a live threat.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

If all goes well, PM will go to SAARC summit next year: BJP

It was at a lunch hosted by a union minister on a sunny Christmas Day that BJP spokespersons got messages at 1.39 pm that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was going to meet his Pakistani Counterpart Nawaz Sharif on his way from Kabul to Delhi.”This came as a pleasant surprise. We felt the Prime Minister had shown that he could take such out of the box decisions,” said a party leader. The conversation, which had till then revolved around former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee whose place the BJP leaders had visited earlier in the day on his birthday, turned to Modi.”Looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif where I will drop by on my way back to Delhi,” the message conveyed to the party spokespersons from Modi said.Just minutes before that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj got a call from Modi to tell her that during their telephone conversation, Sharif suggested that he drop in for tea and he had agreed. This was conveyed to BJP spokespersons when Swaraj called them to the ministry at 4 pm. She told spokespersons about the development and said that it was a welcome surprise for all. Swaraj said it was a spontaneous reaction and appreciated it saying there was no need for formality in relations with neighbours, spokespersons said.The Prime Minister’s Lahore visit not only created a sense of euphoria in the party but changed the mood as he stole the headlines, pushing BJP MP Kirti Azad’s suspension over the DDCA row to the backdrop.Party veteran LK Advani, who along with three other senior leaders had met a day after Azad’s suspension, and was critical of the leadership after the Bihar debacle, came out in support of Modi’s initiative. “The efforts initiated by Vajpayee ji, should be taken forward by present leaders like Modi ji and others, regarding the relationship of India and Pakistan…. The friendship between both the nations must get stronger so that both can get rid of the terror outfits which have been created in last few days,” Advani said.The BJP, which has taken a tough ideological position vis–a-vis Pakistan, has been unflinching in its support for Modi’s surprise gesture. A party leader said the Prime Minister was convinced that India cannot be a world power unless it showed flexibility in its approach towards neighbours. SAARC was the “larger circle” through which he could resolve bilateral ties, the leader said.Speaking of the ideological position of the BJP, the leader said even the RSS, the party’s ideological mentor, has accepted the alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.On Saturday, BJP fielded party spokesperson MJ Akbar to brief the media on Modi’s Lahore stopover. “This gives us all hopes that there will be one happy consequence. And, if all goes well, the Prime Minister will undertake the visit to SAARC Summit next year,” said Akbar.Describing as extraordinary the way the peace process has been revived, he said it gave “another opportunity to write a new chapter in a difficult history. But it cannot be written by one. It requires two authors reading from the same page.”Akbar said the PM had created a “transformative moment in the subcontinent” with
his “courage, vision, skill and imagination” and that the pursuit of peace in the complex region with its history of fraught ties between the two countries required such courage.Dismissing the Congress criticism as “childish”, he said the move was “symptomatic” of the diplomatic thaw in the sub-continent”.However, in an interview released on Saturday, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav reiterated the RSS stand about “akhand Bharat”. The party was evasive on it, with one leader saying there was democracy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

PM Modi, Jaitley victims of political intolerance: Ramdev

“Political intolerance” is at its peak in the country and the selective criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley by certain quarters is the fallout of this trend, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has said.”Political intolerance is at its peak in the country. Therefore, someone is criticising Modi and some other Jaitley and the BJP,” Ramdev told reporters last night after taking part in a book release function.The book “Dev se Mahadev” was written by Akash, son of BJP general secretary Kailash Vijaywargiya. Ramdev also dismissed that religious tolerance has been on rise in the country.”I have not seen religious intolerance even once. On the contrary, nearly 125 crore people of this country, including me, have become victims of political intolerance,” he said. Ramdev also took a swipe at the Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald issue.”Sonia Gandhi had launched thousands of cases against me during the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government, but I faced them all. Sonia and Rahul should face at least one investigation,” he said.Terming Lord Ram as the “soul of India and the national pride”, Ramdev said the issue of construction of Lord Ram’s temple in Ayodhya should not be politicised because it is attached to the faith of people.
Ramdev parried the query on whether parties involved in the issue of construction of the temple should make efforts to arrive at consensus instead of continued litigation.”Will court decide where Lord Ram was born. Entire India and world know that Lord Ram was born in Ayodhya and therefore the temple should be constructed in Ayodhya only,” he said. Responding to a query, Ramdev said that people of the country should have faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll promise to repatriate black money stashed abroad. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Shocking: Man sets wife on fire for not cooking mutton curry properly

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After eating it, he beat her up saying it wasn’t good enough and had a quarrel with her.

A 40-year-old woman on Thursday succumbed to injuries here after she was set on fire allegedly by her alcoholic husband for not cooking mutton curry properly four days ago, police said. Shanker Rao C, a labourer, allegedly poured kerosene on his wife Sulochana who worked as a maid and set her ablaze at their house in Katedan area on the evening of December 20, Mailardevpally Police Station Inspector S Venkat Reddy said. “Shanker had brought mutton and asked her to make curry.After eating it, he beat her up saying it wasn’t good enough and had a quarrel with her. Later, he poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze saying her living was useless because she didn’t know how to cook food,” the police officer said. Shanker was allegedly drunk at the time.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sulochana’s mother and daughter, who were present, raised alarm after he set her on fire and the neighbours rushed and doused the flames, police said. She was then taken to at a state-run Osmania General Hospital. “The accused was arrested yesterday on the charge of attempt to murder and harassment. Today, she succumbed to burn injuries at the hospital,” the police officer said, adding a case of murder would be lodged against the husband.

Modi in Russia: Congress slams PM Modi over national anthem faux pas

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The party also attacked the Prime Minister on the issue from the official AICC podium.

In a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for walking past the guard of honour while Indian national Anthem was being played in Moscow, the Congress on Thursday said he has “forgotten” what it sounds like due to his frequent foreign visits and the nation was “deeply hurt” over the “unprecedented” incident. “Modi signs on National Flag and violates Flag Code. Now walks away when Indian National Anthem is being played in Russia. Unprecedented! “Nationalism BJP/Modi “Ishtyle”. Any comments from Modi Acolytes?,” AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said on Twitter,”Spending so much time abroad seems to have made PM forget what the Indian National Anthem sounds like. He walked in Moscow as Anthem played!” Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said it was “sad that Russians had to remind Modi that he has to respect his anthem. Bhakts got much to say?”Also read: PM Narendra Modi walks during national anthem upon his arrival in MoscowThe party also attacked the Prime Minister on the issue from the official AICC podium. “Finally, the nation is shocked and deeply hurt at what we see on television the PM walking away while the national anthem was being played in Moscow. “These are matters of grave national sensitivities and we believe particularly that when the Prime Minister abroad represents the whole nation, these sensitivities must always be respected,” party spokesperson and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar said at the Congress briefing.In an unusual incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yesterday begun to walk past the guard of honour presented on his arrival in Moscow for a summit meeting with President Vladimir Putin even while the national anthem was still being played and had to be pulled back by a Russian official. After the Prime Minister stepped onto the tarmac, a Russian official made a gesture with his hand which appeared Modi misinterpreted and started walking. However, another official stopped Modi from walking following which he stepped back and stood in attention.

RTI activist who exposed Vyapam scam meets Sonia, Rahul Gandhi over Whistleblowers Protection Act

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Congress general secretaries Digvijay Singh and Mohan Prakash accompanied the RTI activists during the meeting with the top party leadership.

Anand Rai

Protesting against proposed amendments in Whistle blowers Protection Act-2011, an RTI activist from Madhya Pradesh, who exposed the Vyapam scam, met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi over the issue.”We met Congress president and vice president in New Delhi two days back to apprise them about amendments proposed in the Whistle blowers Protection Act-2011 and drew their attention towards the attempts being made to weaken it,” RTI activist Anand Rai told PTI today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”While Soniaji discussed the issue with us for nearly 15-20 minutes, Rahul Gandhi heard us patiently for nearly 40-45 minutes,” Rai said. Besides Rai, RTI activist Ajay Dube, self-styled cyber expert Prashant Pandey and Gwalior-based activist Ashish Chaturvedi, who exposed the Vyapam and other scams in the state, were present on the occasion.”The Congress president and vice president also discussed the ongoing CBI probe into the Vyapam scam and asked whether we are satisfied with it or not,” Rai said. Congress general secretaries Digvijay Singh and Mohan Prakash accompanied the RTI activists during the meeting with the top party leadership, he said.Because of delay in the arrival of train, Chaturvedi was unable to meet Rahul, but was present in the meeting with the Congress president. Notably, the amendment in the Act is being done with a view to incorporate necessary provisions aimed at strengthening safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security of the state, etc. The amendments would address concerns relating to national security.MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known by its Hindi acronym ‘Vyapam’ or Vyavsayik Pariksha Mandal, conducts admission tests for engineering and medical colleges and also for recruitment in various government jobs in which alleged scam took place.The Vyapam scam is a massive admission and recruitment racket that witnessed dozens of mysterious deaths of accused, witnesses and others ever since probe into the alleged scandal began. Several politicians, a host of officials and scores of aspirants have been arrested in the case.

Bihar-like alliance for UP poll on the anvil

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Nitish and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh are reported to have already joined hands after preliminary discussions in this regard in Delhi on Monday. Sources say that the Congress would also readily be part of this alliance, though the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP could be kept out of this anti-BJP alignment.

Buoyed by the landslide victory of the anti-BJP ‘maha gathbandhan’ (grand alliance) in the Bihar Assembly election, Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar has already started sewing up a similar coalition in Uttar Pradesh in preparation for the 2017 UP Assembly election.Nitish and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Ajit Singh are reported to have already joined hands after preliminary discussions in this regard in Delhi on Monday. Sources say that the Congress would also readily be part of this alliance, though the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) in UP could be kept out of this anti-BJP alignment.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Yes Nitish ji and Chaudhry sahib (Ajit Singh) have met. We have been together in the (erstwhile) Janata Dal and have no reservations about forging an alliance for UP,” JD (U) general secretary KC Tyagi told India 24×7 TV channel of Zee Media in Delhi on Wednesday while fielding questions about the prospective alliance.Sources said Tyagi had already been entrusted the task of organizing a joint rally of the RLD and JD (U) in west UP after the Parliament session ends. Nitish is expected to announce the formation of the ‘maha gathbandhan’ at this rally. “The assent of the Congress would be obtained in the meantime,” a senior RLD leader told dna.UP RLD chief Suresh Niranjan told reporters in Allahabad that his party was indeed exploring a tie-up with the JD (U) and the Congress. “We want to repeat the success of the Bihar experiment in UP, too,” he said.The RLD and Congress had contested the 2012 UP Assembly election in alliance. But, the alignment did not continue in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. However, political watchers feel that after the BJP sweeping the parliamentary poll, it would be a matter of political expediency for parties like the JD (U) and RLD to align with the Congress to put up a joint front against the saffron brigade.One queer development in this entire scheme of things is the underlying resistance to including the SP in the proposed grand alliance. The reason for this is obviously the manner in which the SP deserted the ‘maha gathbandhan’ in Bihar, allegedly to help the BJP.For its part, the SP says it doesn’t need any alliance for a repeat victory in UP. “Our party is preparing to contest the election alone and we are confident that we will return with an even bigger victory this time,” SP MP and Mulayam’s nephew Dharmendra Yadav told reporters.The Congress is also being cautious for the time being. “As of now, we are preparing to contest the UP election alone. But let Nitish ji come up with his proposal. The Congress leadership will consider it and take a decision,” said Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari.

Indian women who are fighting to stop genital mutilation

A group of Bohra Muslim women in India are campaigning to end the cruel practice of female genital mutilation, writes the BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi.

BSF plane crash: Aircraft lost contact with ATC after attaining 500 m

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Meanwhile, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the plane has been retrieved from the crash site here and it has been sent for further investigation

PTI
The ill-fated Super King B-200 BSF aircraft that crashed in New Delhi on Tuesday had “lost contact” with the Air Traffic Control after attaining a height of 500 m following take-off from the Delhi airport, sources said on Wednesday. It is also not clear at this stage as to whether there was any loss of engine power and the pilot attempted to rescue the plane. “We don’t know whether there was a failure of engine power, and in spite of that, he (pilot) tried to land or take a left turn. All that is not known,” a civil aviation ministry source said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was no communication after it went to a height of 500 m and then it did take a left turn. Why it took that left turn is a subject matter of inquiry,” it said. “These are the only three things we are investigating,” the source said. The Beechcraft Super King plane crashed near Dwarka and burst into flames just outside IGI airport shortly after take-off killing all 10 people on board.The 1995 vintage aircraft suddenly took a kind of U-turn towards the airport after taking off at 9.37 AM and hit a tree while apparently approaching to land following a possible technical problem, according to officials from the Air Traffic Control and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).Meanwhile, the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the plane has been retrieved from the crash site here and it has been sent for further investigation. The government has already announced setting up of a four-member committee, headed by a senior Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) official to carry out the investigation into the causes of the accident.Deputy Director of AAIB R S Passi will be the chairman of the committee while Capt Anant Sethi, chief pilot of Madhya Pradesh government as its Operational Member, besides, two other members from the Bureau.

Political discourse becoming more vulgar: Arun Jaitley

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Jaitley is currently under attack from opposition over alleged involvment in the DDCA scam

Arun Jaitley

Amid frequent face offs between the government and opposition, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said political discourse in the country has become “more vulgar”.”Though extremely popular to say, the anti-corruption law must be made more and more stringent and more and more unreasonable. That is the more popular way these days in politics, particularly when political discourse also tends to become more vulgar,” Jaitley, under fierce opposition attack over alleged irregularities in Delhi’s cricket body, said delivering the annual Intelligence Bureau lecture.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley’s comments came amidst the ongoing tussle between the Arvind Kejriwal government and the Centre over alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association where he was the president for about 13 years till 2013. Suspended BJP MP Kirti Azad too alleged there were financial irregularities in the DDCA when Jaitley was at its helm.Jaitley has refuted the allegations and filed civil and criminal defamation cases against five AAP leaders, including Kejriwal. About “continuing mandamus”, Jaitley said the whole idea behind the move was to make sure that investigating agency does its job.”This process has gone on for two decades and you have cases of economic offences which are investigated by several agencies, state police, CBI and other agencies which requires an introspection and analytic view, a continuing mandamus alerts the investigation,” he said. Continuing Mandamus is a writ of Mandamus issued to a lower authority by the higher authority in general public interest asking the officer or the authority to perform its task expeditiously for an unstipulated period of time for preventing miscarriage of justice.The Finance Minister said there are not too many cases in which investigating agencies in a case involving continuing mandamus have ended investigation in favour of the accused. “The golden rule which most investigating agencies follow is that if a court is conducting a continuing mandamus, it is easier to file a charge sheet and let the court decide whether evidence exists or not,” he said.Therefore, Jaitley said, after 20 years of this experiment, a call has to be taken, including by the courts, whether the imbalance between a fair investigation and rights of the accused have been created by an institution of continuing mandamus.It is an instrument which can be used rarely in cases where there is reason to apprehend that an honest investigation is not being carried out. “To make continuing mandamus a regular practice, may have a tendency to create an imbalance in the criminal jurisprudence due to the reasoning adopted in the judgement of cases,” he said.

DDCA scam: AAP govt issues notification for Commission of Inquiry

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The government’s move, however, may trigger another round of confrontation between the AAP dispensation led by Arvind Kejriwal and the Centre as the former had not sought approval from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for forming such a probe panel

Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi government has issued a notification for setting up of a Commission of Inquiry, headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, to probe alleged corruption in Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) between 1992 and 2015, and asked it to submit its report within three months.The government’s move, however, may trigger another round of confrontation between the AAP dispensation led by Arvind Kejriwal and the Centre as the former had not sought approval from Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung for forming such a probe panel. Yesterday, the Delhi Assembly had passed a resolution to constitute the Commission of Inquiry even as Kejriwal accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of getting the CBI raid conducted at his principal secretary’s office to protect Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the alleged DDCA scam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the notification, dated December 22, issued by the government’s Vigilance Department, the one-member Commission of Inquiry will identify any acts of omission and commission by DDCA and its office-bearers during the period between January 1, 1992 and November 30, 2015 and fix responsibility. The state cricket body had been headed by Jaitley for around 13 years from 1999 to 2013.”The terms of reference of the Commission shall be to conduct inquiry into working, management and administration (including alleged financial irregularities) of the DDCA and whether such practices have been conducive to the game of cricket,” it stated.A senior government official said that the Commission of Iquiry will also give recommendations to make DDCA an institution compatible with international standards and to make the state cricket body an effective and transparent body so that it could promote the glorious game of cricket and identify and nurture talent. Subramanium will be paid Re one for this assignment.Reacting to notification, sources in the LG’s office said that the Delhi government notified setting up of the Commission of Inquiry without the Lt Governor’s approval. “Government did not send any proposal to constitute such Commission to the LG office,” one of the sources said.Yesterday, Kejriwal had claimed that Delhi government has the authority to set up a Commission of Inquiry to probe alleged corruption in DDCA. He had also sought the Prime Minister’s resignation for conducting a “flop CBI raid” at CMO. On December 21, the Delhi Cabinet had approved setting up of the one-member Commission of Inquiry under Subramanium.

Tihar starts yoga teachers training course for jail inmates

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On successful completion of the course, the trainee inmates will be provided certificate as yoga trainer which will help them find a suitable employment after their release.

dna Research & Archives
The Tihar authorities on Wednesday launched a yoga teachers training course for inmates in an effort towards their rehabilitation after release. The course was launched with 200-odd inmates selected from all the jails of the prison complex, beginning their training under the guidance of 20 trainers of NGO Panchvati Yoga Ashram and Nature Cure Centre.”This is the first-of-its-kind initiative started in any jail in the country to train inmates as qualified yoga teachers,” Director General (Prison) Alok Kumar Verma said, unveiling syllabus and curriculum of the course designed by Panchvati Yoga Ashram.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On successful completion of the course, the trainee inmates will be provided certificate as yoga trainer which will help them find a suitable employment after their release, said Additional IG (Prison) and Tihar spokesman Mukesh Prasad.Tihar had created a record of sorts when over 10,000 of its inmates had participated in a mega yoga session organised on the occasion of World Yoga Day on June 21.”The yoga revolution started at Tihar is going to be a life changing event for a number of inmates,” said yoga guru Ashutosh Kumar of Panchvati Yoga Ashram.

Crashed plane was airworthy, was flying well: BSF

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Only two days back this aircraft did a good duty and a day back it had carried back officers from Bhuj (from the DG/IG meeting),” BSF Director General D K Pathak said.

The BSF on Wednesday said its crashed Superking aircraft that killed ten of its highly experienced personnel was completely “airworthy” and was flying “very well” as it refuted allegations about any possible defect in the ill-fated plane. “This aircraft was 20-years-old and in the aviation (domain) an aircraft has life till 40-45 years. In the aviation (domain) such a plane is not considered old as required parts are changed from time to time…like engines are overhauled. “A major overhauling of this aircraft’s engines was done at the Beachcraft factory in Canada about six months back.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Only two days back this aircraft did a good duty and a day back it had carried back officers from Bhuj (from the DG/IG meeting),” BSF Director General D K Pathak told reporters here. “There was no problem in the aircraft and it was completely airworthy. I would like to add that till the time an aircraft is airworthy, there is no problem in flying it,” he said. He was speaking after paying the ceremonial last tributes and placing of wreaths on the mortal remains of the ten personnel who were killed in the crash yesterday, at the Safdarjung airport here. The event was also attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Ministers of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary. He said the main probe into the crash is being done by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and that it would be “premature” to speculate on the possible reasons for the air mishap. The Border Security Force Chief said the plane B-200, registered as VT-BSA, was flying about 3-4 days in a week. “As I said, this aircraft has been flying very well…it had been flying three to four days in a week and there was absolutely no problem. Whenever any kind of a snag is reported it is promptly attended to and aircraft is not made airborne until it is certified by the technicians that it is worthy to fly,” he said. The plane, he said, was carrying the stipulated load yesterday and refuted reports that the crash had something to do with excess weight as a few personnel were asked to board it at the last moment. The plane had a capacity to carry 11 passengers, he said. “Even if there is a last moment change in the manifest (travelling passenger’s list) it doesn’t matter because it was carrying the prescribed and authorised load. So, there was no excess load. There was nothing of that sort…even if numbers were increased, it is immaterial. It (B-200) was carrying its required capacity,” he said.

DDCA row | Shatrughan Sinha calls Kirti Azad a hero, says Jaitley should follow LK Advani’s example

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The BJP MP praised Kirti Azad for raising the issue of corruption and irregularities.

File Photo

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the District Cricket Administration (DDCA) controversy, BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha has said that Jaitley should follow come clean and follow LK Advani’s example. The BJP MP also praised Kirti Azad for raising the issue of corruption and irregularities.Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Sinha tweeted, “Kirti Azad-hero of the day. Humble appeal to friends. Avoid knee jerk reaction/coercive action against friend who’s fighting against corruption.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a series of tweets he said, “Have often quoted Newton’s 3rd Law. Feel that untimely action could boomerang. Sadly Party with a Difference has become Party with Differences.”He further added, “As for FM, issue should be fought politically not legally. As advised by our dashing dynamic PM, our FM could follow Advaniji’s eg & come clean.”Meanwhile, in a strong show of support for Jaitley, Modi had on Tuesday said the Finance Minister will come through “with flying colours” against the charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in the same way that L K Advani had in the Hawala case.LK Advani had resigned as MP in 1996 during the infamous Hawala scam and was later re-elected in 1998.Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday escalated protest against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley demanding his resignation.The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Monday after Jaitley filed a criminal defamation complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and five other leaders.The one member Commission of Enquiry will be headed by former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium.

10 killed as BSF aircraft crashes in Delhi

A piece of the plane’s wreckage is lifted with a crane at the crash site in New Delhi on Tuesday
Manit
dna
A Border Security Force (BSF) plane crashed on the boundary walls of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport here on Tuesday morning, killing all 10 people on board, including the two pilots, and injuring two labourers on the ground who were hit by debris.Even as an inquiry has been ordered into the incident, eyewitnesses said the aircraft narrowly missed the densely populated localities nearby, including a train, that passed on the Delhi-Jaipur line, seconds before the crash just about 50 metres from it, thus, avoiding a large collateral damage.The pilot, after detecting a snag, had contacted the Air Traffic Control and had sought permission for an emergency landing at the nearest runway but crashed in the process, a source said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“At 9.45 am, a phone call from monitoring station was received at BSF Air Wing control Room, Palam about some mishap with the VT-BSA, Superking B-200 plane. At 9.45 am, ATC, Palam airport, informed that it had crashed.The aircraft was totally burnt and all personnel were charred to death in the crash,” BSF said.The aircraft had taken flight from Palam Technical Airport at 9.40 am and plunged within five minutes, officials said. The flight was on way to Ranchi ferrying six technicians to repair an Mi-17 BSF chopper stationed there.Commanded by Captain Bhagwati Prasad Bhatt and co-pilot Captain Rajesh Shivrain, the aircraft was returning to the runway number 10 after developing a snag from the Dwarka locality side when it got entangled into tree branches just about 20 metres outside the airport boundary and finally crashed into a sewage treatment plant inside the airport.Eyewitnesses’accounts said the aircraft veered off over the Delhi-Rewari-Jaipur main railway line which is just about 50 metres from the accident site. “I saw the plane just above the tracks and veering left before a tall flame rose at the airport boundary,” said railway gateman Pramod Kumar who claimed to witness the accident from his elevated cabin at the Shahbad Mohammadpur railway crossing, less than 500 metres from the crash site. “The flames continued for over 20 minutes before I heard the police and ambulance sirens, he said adding the average frequency of trains passing the line is less than 10 minutes here.Another eyewitness who identified himself as Naresh Bharal said, “If the plane had crashed in the Baghdola village, which is less than 500 metres across the railway tracks or on the railway crossing where road vehicular traffic is high during the day, the damage could have been bigger.” Bharal said he was shaken after seeing the crash from such close quarters, a feeling expressed by several local residents who said they were lucky to have escaped the plane crashing on their homes.While emergency services were launched after the crash, air and rail traffic were not affected due to it.The bodies of three personnel were found charred in the burnt cockpit while the remaining seven were found entangled with the remains of the aircraft fuselage. The turbine multi-engine aircraft weighing 5,669 kg and with a seating capacity of 10 , plus two crew members, was registered with the BSF in 1995. Based at IGI airport itself. Deputy Commandant D Kumar, Inspector RP Yadav, Inspector SN Sharma, Sub Inspectors Ravindra Kumar, Sunder Singh and Chotte Lal, Assistant Sub Inspector DP Chouhan and a Constable K Rawat were those killed besides the two pilots.Meanwhile, Delhi Police has registered an FIR under section 304 A (death due to negligence) 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others), and 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) of Indian Penal Code.The FIR, according to a senior police officer, was registered against unknown persons. ” We will proceed further once we receive the Director General of Civil Aviation report. The black-box has been recovered from the spot,” the officer told dna.

BSF Plane crash: He was the best pilot around, say friends

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According to a nephew, Bhatt’s wife got the news of the crash as it flashed across the television in the morning. Her worst fears were confirmed as an official from the Border Security Force came by to confirm the news. “He was very dedicated to his family and a very jovial person,” recalls a batch mate who had come to offer his condolences.

PTI
There was a curious crowd of onlookers that comprised local residents, family members and colleagues outside Deputy Commandant Bhagwati Prasad Bhatt’s Sarojini Nagar residence. The small cramped hall is jammed with relatives and well-wishers, while a young boy of three is running around with his friends, oblivious of the fact that his father is never coming home. Bhatt’s wife is inconsolable even as their youngest – a toddler all of 1.5 years sleeps beside her.According to a nephew, Bhatt’s wife got the news of the crash as it flashed across the television in the morning. Her worst fears were confirmed as an official from the Border Security Force came by to confirm the news. “He was very dedicated to his family and a very jovial person,” recalls a batch mate who had come to offer his condolences.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhatt was the baby in a family that had four brothers and three sisters. “He always wanted to do something different,” says older brother Rajendra, as he fondly recalled their childhood. “Initially he was interested in modelling, though we convinced him otherwise,” he added.Hailing from Uttarakhand, Bhatt grew up in the foothills of the Himalayas, though his higher schooling was in Dehradun. He joined the General Cadre of the Armed Forces and later on got his commercial flying licence from Rae Baireli.There is much anger among the batchmates who had gathered to mourn the demise of their friend. They could not forget Vivek Chaudhary – another batchmate of theirs who suffered a similar fate near Mount Abu almost four years ago. Their association with Bhatt goes back almost 15 years and his death has deeply saddened them.Bhatt – who married his love in 2008 – was posted in Delhi since 2009, when he got his position in the air wing of the BSF. “He was the best pilot around,” echo his friends.Inside the house, the wife has quietened down a bit, exhausted, “he was my strength,” she keeps repeating, tears rolling down her face. “You have to go on,” her friends try to console her, “For your kids, you must take his strength and go on.”The scene at Chotte Lal Sharma’s Sarojini Nagar residence – he was one of the 10 that died in the air crash, is one of caution. Sharma’s brother-in-law Pradeep Sharma said, “We haven’t informed my sister yet. We have simply told her that her husband has met with an accident and he is lying critical in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).” The official phone call confirming the Sharma’s death went to his son Somesh. He too has kept his mother in the dark about his father’s fate.A neighbour recalls, “I would see him (Sharma) every morning before he left for work. He would always say ‘”Please on the lookout and make sure my family is okay.” The neighbour added, “I didn’t see him this morning.”For C L Bhalothia, the morning news of the air crash put him on the edge since he knew his friend Ravindra Kumar, SI (JAM) was on that flight. All he could remember was Kumar telling him “I’m off now, I will see you when I return,” the day before. That was the last time Bhalothia spoke to his friend and colleague of more than a decade.Various colleagues from his department rushed to the spot and confirmed the worst. “The minute I saw the news, I tried to call him on his mobile, it just kept ringing,” Bhalothia recalls. “I could sense something was wrong,” he added. “After a while, the operator message said that the ‘Phone is out of coverage area’, he said.Now came the worst part, Kumar’s family had heard about the crash on the news in the morning, though, it was up to Bhalothia to confirm their worst fears. Bhalotia and his wife immediately made their way to Kumar’s Lodhi Road colony house. Here Bhalothia’s wife is consoling Kumar’s wife Manorama, while Kumar’s children – a son – he is in Class 10 and a daughter – who is studying in the final year of B.Tech, helpless look on. A kindly neighbour is seen bringing trays of teas for the visitors who have come to grieve and offer their support. “Kumar was always seen with a smile on his face and he was always happy,” Bhalothia recalls as he wipes his tears away with his white handkerchief.Kumar, who hailed from Gaya, Bihar, joined the BSF in August 2006 after he retired as a mechanic in the VVIP squadron from the air force. Two younger brothers and his immediate family comprising of his wife and two kids survive him. In the evening, when one tried to call Kumar’s mobile number, the operator message said that the cell phone seemed to be switched off.

Union Minister VK Singh should be sent to a reform home: BSP

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Earlier, General V.K Singh (retired), who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was jeered at by some members of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha.

VK Singh

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Satish Mishra on Tuesday, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, said people with polluted mindsets like Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retired) VK Singh should be sent to reform homes.”People with polluted mindsets like Minister V.K. Singh should also be sent to reform homes,” Mishra said. Objecting to Mishra’s comment, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “We take strong objection to Mishra ji’s remark on V.K. Singh ji, it should be expunged.”Earlier, General V.K Singh (retired), who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was jeered at by some members of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha. In October, Singh had kicked up a row when he reacted to the killing of two Dalit children by reportedly saying that the government is not responsible if someone ‘throws stones at a dog’. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

DDCA row: PM has signalled Arun Jaitley to resign, claims Yechury

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Noting that Advani had resigned after the Hawala scam, he said that Jaitley should understand that the Prime Minister has suddenly remembered the veteran leader when the Finance Minister was facing a problem.

Arun Jaitley

CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Tuesday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has signalled to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to resign in the wake of DDCA row by citing the example of L K Advani in the Hawala case.”By drawing a parallel with Advani, the Prime Minister is giving a hint to Arun Jaitley that he should resign, get himself cleared and come back. I read it as a signal to Jaitley that you also do the same thing”, he told reporters.Noting that Advani had resigned after the Hawala scam, he said that Jaitley should understand that the Prime Minister has suddenly remembered the veteran leader when the Finance Minister was facing a problem.He was asked for his reaction to the Prime Minister’s comments that Jaitley will come out “with flying colours” against charges of corruption levelled against him by the opposition in the same way L K Advani did in the Hawala case.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about reports that bricks and pillars were being brought to Ayodhya for temple construction, he said that there has been consensus that there should be no further activity there and the BJP is also part of that consensus. “If they want to violate it, law should take its course”. On the Juvenile bill, he said that his party wanted the bill to be sent to select committee for threadbare discussion. Instead of the criterion of age, what is important is the type of crime. This was necessary in view of reports that the new recruits to ISIS are between 14 to 15 year old, he said.

Enforcement Directorate attaches Rs 100 crores properties of Chhagan Bhujbal

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The buildings in Bandra and Santacruz, owned by Pervesh Constructions where Bhujbal and his relatives are directors, were seized by the ED.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) continues to give nightmares to Chhagan Bhujbal and his family.In a fresh action against former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the Enforcement Directorate has seized two assets allegedly owned by a Bhujbal firm.Initial information suggests the seized properties are worth around Rs 100 crores.The buildings in Bandra and Santacruz, owned by Pervesh Constructions where Bhujbal and his relatives are directors, were seized by the ED.Last week, the Lok Sabha was informed that the money laundering investigations against Bhujbal have revealed that entities which have subscribed to companies controlled by the politician’s family were “dubious” and their transactions were done only on paper.Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, in a written reply, said a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has been registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Bhujbal, ex-PWD minister of the state, his family members including MLA son Pankaj, ex-MP nephew Samir, a firm called Ms K S Chamankar Enterprises and others.The Bombay High Court, on December 18 last year, has constituted a Special Investigation Team comprising the ED Director and the Director General of state Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct the inquiry and submit a report to it.

No indication from government on Ram temple: VHP

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“We have not received any indication from the government on Ram Temple. Saints of Ayodhya and VHP have always maintained that the Parliament, through passage of a law, will pave the way for Ram Temple construction,” VHP international general secretary Champat Rai said in a statement.

The VHP on Monday said it had not received any indication from the government on Ram Temple construction, and was of the firm belief that the temple in Ayodhya will come up on the basis of a related legislation in Parliament.Describing the transport of construction materials including stones into Ayodhya as per certain media report as a “routine exercise” that has gone on for years, VHP said it respected the judicial verdict on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue.”We have not received any indication from the government on Ram Temple. Saints of Ayodhya and VHP have always maintained that the Parliament, through passage of a law, will pave the way for Ram Temple construction,” VHP international general secretary Champat Rai said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The VHP leader added that reports in a section of the media attributing statements to Swamy Nritya Gopal Das of Ayodhya are misleading and concocted.”Swamy Nritya Gopal Das is a venerated Saint of Ayodhya who respects the law. Stones have been brought into Ayodhya since 1990 and preserved at Ramsevak Dham. A large number of devotees visit Ayodhya and never has there been any law and order situation arisen on this count till today.”We believe that the Parliament will pave the way for temple construction by passing a law. Saints, VHP and Hindu community have always respected the judiciary and have full faith in it,” Rai said.

DDCA row: Defamation cases will not scare AAP, says Arvind Kejriwal

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Kejriwal suggested that Jaitley should instead cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry formed by the Delhi government to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has rubbished the allegations of irregularities against him and his family.

PTI
A defiant Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party will not be scared by civil and criminal defamation suits against him and five other AAP leaders by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and asked him to prove his innocence before the inquiry commission.Kejriwal suggested that Jaitley should instead cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry formed by the Delhi government to probe the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association.”Jaitley should not try to scare us by filing cases against us. Our battle against corruption shall continue. Jaitley ji should cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry and prove his innocence there,” Kejriwal tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jaitley on Monday filed both civil and criminal defamation cases against Kejriwal and five other AAP leaders for allegedly defaming him and sought Rs 10 crores in damages and their prosecution for offences that entails a punishment of upto two years in jail.The Chief Minister’s decision to brazen it out became clear last night itself as the other AAP leaders named by Jaitley in his defamation suit had stuck to their guns and continued to target the Finance Minister.”Setting aside his ministerial responsibilities, Jaitley ji is making the rounds of the courts. But we won’t let the matter get buried this time around. We will continue to hold him corrupt in DDCA affairs,” AAP leader Sanjay Singh said.Jaitley should not “threaten” us with jail and should instead focus on replying to the specific queries raised by us, Ashutosh said. The Finance Minister has rubbished the allegations of irregularities against him and his family.Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders have publicly been making allegations against Jaitley with regard to the DDCA affairs although some of the allegations have gone beyond that. Top leaders of the BJP hit back, accusing AAP of attempting to reduce the stature of Jaitley in public life and hailed the finance minister for maintaining an “impeccable standard of probity”.”AAP is using the route of defaming him (Jaitley) and his family members through namecalling in press conferences and the social media,” Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Jaitley’s junior in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said.Meanwhile, the Delhi Cabinet has approved setting up of one-member inquiry commission under former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities in DDCA. The Cabinet also decided to call a special session of Delhi Assembly tomorrow to discuss alleged irregularities in DDCA and last week’s CBI raid at the Delhi Secretariat.

63 students failed in IITs in last session: Smriti Irani

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Out of the failed students 8 were from General category, 9 from OBC, 16 and 30 from Scheduled Caste (SC) and 16 from Scheduled Tribe (ST) category respectively.

Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani
File Photo
PTI
Sixty-three students failed to secure the prescribed minimum grade in six Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) during 2014-15 session, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday. Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani provided this information in response to a written question in Lok Sabha about whether students have been expelled from various IITs on the ground of poor performance.”The IITs have a rigorous academic system that prescribes minimum grades to be obtained by the students for continuation in the IIT system. During the year 2014-15, a total of 63 students in undergraduate courses have failed to secure the prescribed minimum grade in 6 IITs,” Irani said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Out of the failed students 8 were from General category, 9 from OBC, 16 and 30 from Scheduled Caste (SC) and 16 from Scheduled Tribe (ST) category respectively.”The IIT Council has discussed the matter and implemented a system called Peer group Assisted Learning (PAL) to handhold students who are socially and educationally backward,” she added.In an unprecedented action by any IIT, the institute at Roorkee had in July this year expelled 73 students whose performance was not up to the mark after their first-year of the BTech programme. A group of 64 students had moved Uttarkhand High Court against the decision, but the court had upheld the institute’s decision.However, the institute reinstated the students in August this year as a “one-time measure” and said they will be on an academic probation throughout the year and have been re-admitted on strict conditions.The students were taken back on the condition that they will also have to repeat the year and will be bound to clear again all the courses of both autumn and spring semesters of the first year, besides maintaining a minimum attendance of 75 per cent in every subject.

DDCA row: Kirti Azad dares Arun Jaitley to file defamation case against him too

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A day after addressing a press conference to expose alleged financial bungling corruption in ​the DDCA, BJP MP Kirti Azad has now dared Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to file a defamation case against him.

PTI
A day after addressing a press conference to expose alleged financial bungling and corruption in Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA), BJP MP Kirti Azad has now dared Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to file a defamation case against him.Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, had on Sunday fallen shy of taking Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s name, who was DDCA president during the time he claimed financial bungling took place.Taking to micro-blogging site, Kirti Azad wrote:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Sunday, with the capital’s AAP government announcing a Commission of Inquiry into alleged irregularities there and Arun Jaitley deciding to sue Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by slapping civil and criminal defamation cases against him and five other AAP leaders in Delhi courts on Monday.With the battlelines drawn, the Delhi Government announced setting up of the inquiry commission under chairmanship of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to probe alleged irregularities including financial bungling in the capital’s cricket body, the Delhi & District Cricket Association.The decision came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA during his 13-year-old tenure as its chief till 2013. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations.”The inquiry will begin very soon,” a Delhi Government spokesperson said.Jaitley told PTI late last night that he has instructed his legal team in his personal capacity to institute civil defamation cases in the Delhi High Court and criminal defamation cases in the Patiala House courts against Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai.(With agency inputs)

Attempts being made to create conditions like 2002: Azam Khan

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Speaking at a programme on Sunday evening to handover financial assistance to 125 girls for their marriage, the Minister attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his statements on protection of cow, and the Ganga.

In an apparent reference to the Gujarat riots, Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Sunday alleged attempts are being made to create “disturbing” conditions like in 2002, with an eye on upcoming elections in many states.”Attempts are being made to create disturbing conditions as those had emerged in 2002, with a dangerous inclination, keeping in mind the upcoming elections in three states in 2016 and then in UP, in 2017,” the state Cabinet Minister said.Speaking at a programme on Sunday evening to handover financial assistance to 125 girls for their marriage, the Minister attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his statements on protection of cow, and the Ganga.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He again alleged that the BJP has taken massive donation from a “beef exporter”, a charge the party has already denied.He said the BJP had made all efforts in Bihar to garner support on these three issues – cow, the Ganga and the temple – but they received a “historic drubbing”.Khan asked the saffron outfits as to why they have not disclosed the details of the donations collected in the name of Ram Mandir.”Where is the huge amount of money? If the people s money is returned to them, it would help eliminate poverty to a very great extent,” he said.Khan, who is the national general sectary of the SP, today again spoke of his desire to become PM, just days after he asserted he is the “fittest” person to hold the post.”I possess all the capabilities and competence to hold the coveted position. The moment Narendra Modi steps down, SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav himself would propose my name for that post. A proposal for any lesser position shall be an attempt to hurl insult upon me,” he said.”I have already issued a warning to the BJP to vacate the seat for I am coming. You are not capable of defending the country but I would exhibit the way to safeguard it,” he said.The Minister, who was the chief guest at the programme on the occasion of Minorities Day, opined that the Day is being observed at the behest of UNO, which instead of behaving like an independent organisation remained an “enslaved entity” of the US.There are super powers who are engaged in launching exploitation of poverty-stricken countries to augment their economies, he alleged.

BJP eyes ordinance to change poll dynamics in Assam

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Technically, the Centre can bring in an ordinance after the end of winter session of Parliament on December 23 as government cannot promulgate ordinances when Parliament is in session.

Tarun Gogoi

To steal show over Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in Assam ahead of assembly elections due in April next year, BJP government is preparing to grant scheduled tribe status to six communities that right now are clubbed as Other Backward Castes (OBCs).Sources said that as the bill to grant status to these six communities – Tai Ahom, Moran, Muttock, Koch Rajbongshi, 97 groups of tea tribes and Adivasis and Sooteas – is still stuck at cabinet note stage and given the current status of Parliament logjam, the government may bring in an ordinance within next two months.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Technically, the Centre can bring in an ordinance after the end of winter session of Parliament on December 23 as government cannot promulgate ordinances when Parliament is in session.Sources said that PMO could either decide to take up change in rules for granting ST status in a cabinet meeting or directly approve an ordinance in which case, the Parliament will have to pass a constitutional amendment within six months from the issuance of the ordinance.The BJP knows that promulgation of an ordinance could drastically improve its chances in coming state assembly elections as it would pave the way for sealing a peace accord with the pro-talks faction of United LiberationFront of Asom (ULFA) led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. Efforts are on an advance state to make ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia a part of it. A successful peace accord with ULFA can change the election dynamics for the BJP that is already breathing down the neck of Congress in Assam.Besides the six communities in question, a large number of native Assamese are keen to have the arrangement in place to as it would take care of the fear that stems from the influx of Bangladeshis.Granting ST status to these communities will bring more than 40 per cent population of Assam under the tribal status that in terms of assembly strength would bring as many as 80 out of 126 assembly seats under reserved tribal status.Gogoi government knows the impact the ordinance can have and is trying to assert its claim over it.In fact, the process to grant scheduled tribe status to these communities had begun during fag end of Congress led UPA-II rule, it could not pick up speed as it required inclusion of five norms to declare a community as scheduled tribe.These included socio-economic, including educational backwardness vis-à-vis rest of the population of the state; historical geographical location; consideration of autonomous religious practices where the priests or ojas are from the community; distinct language or dialect; presence of a core culture relating to life-style, marriage, songs, dances, paintings and folklore; and, endogamy or marital relationship primarily with other Scheduled Tribes. Upper handThe BJP knows that promulgation of an ordinance could drastically improve its chances in coming state assembly elections as it would pave the way for sealing a peace accord with the pro-talks faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. Efforts are on an advance state to make ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia a part of it. A successful peace accord with ULFA can change the election dynamics for the BJP that is already breathing down the neck of Congress in Assam.

DDCA row: AAP announces inquiry commission; Jaitley to slap defamation cases against Kejriwal, others

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Arun Jaitley

Reuters
The political slugfest over DDCA affairs intensified on Sunday with the capital’s AAP government announcing a Commission of Inquiry to go into alleged irregularities there and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley deciding to sue Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by slapping civil and criminal cases against him and five other AAP leaders in Delhi courts on Monday. With the battlelines drawn, the Delhi Government announced setting up of the inquiry commission under chairmanship of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities including financial bunglings in the capital’s cricket body, the Delhi and District Cricket Association. The decision came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA during his 13-year-old tenure as its chief till 2013. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The inquiry will begin very soon,” a Delhi Government spokesperson said. Hitting back at Kejriwal for making “false and defamatory” statements against him, Jaitley is slapping criminal and civil defamation cases against him and five other AAP leaders in Delhi courts on Monday.Jaitley told PTI tonight that he has instructed legal team in his personal capacity to institute civil defamation cases in the Delhi High Court and criminal defamation cases in the Patiala House courts against Kejriwal, Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, Sanjay Singh, Raghav Chadha and Deepak Bajpai. He accused them of issuing false and defamatory statements against him and his family members.Kejriwal and the five AAP leaders have publicly been making allegations against Jaitley with regard to the DDCA affairs although some of the allegations have gone beyond that. Jaitley has also rubbished allegations against his family members, saying, “I have no family member who has even one paise interest in any form of business. Why should my family be part of a sports management business?Jaitley has chosen not to give any legal notice to Kejriwal and other AAP leaders asking them to apologise or face defamation cases. Instead, the cases will be filed straightaway in the courts. Upping the ante against Jaitley, AAP pressed for his immediate removal from the Union Cabinet.Addressing media at Kejriwal’s official residence soon after BJP MP Kirti Azad’s press conference regarding alleged corruption in DDCA, AAP leaders said “DDCA scam” was “Commonwealth (scam) of cricket.” “Now the onus is on Prime Minister Modi whether he will accept such a person in his Cabinet,” Kumar Vishwas said. Coming out strongly in support of the Finance Minister, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “We are proud of the impeccable qualities of honesty, integrity and credibility of Arun Jaitley. The transparency and credibility with which he has lived his public life all these years and his commitment to probity is too well known.”A defiant AAP leader Deepak Bajpai said, “We are not going to be bogged down by such intimadatory tactics. We are privy of Arun Jaitley’s history. Moreover after today’s expose, whole country has come to know about the truth and we are committed to fight against corruption whatever it takes.” Another leader Ashutosh said,”Jaitley don’t threaten us with defamation. Answer the questions we had asked? You will take us to court, we will take you to people’s court. Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against the Delhi CM’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the Central agency’s action was aimed at targeting the AAP chief and it was looking for a file relating to graft in DDCA.The decision to appoint the commission came a month after an AAP government-appointed probe committee recommended immediate suspension of DDCA by the BCCI for alleged irregularities. The Delhi Government panel had suggested that an interim committee of professional cricketers should manage affairs of the game in the capital.The committee had also recommended to the government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Enquiries Act while mentioning about findings on DDCA’s alleged wrongdoings by various probe panels in the recent past including the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO). BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, today demanded an ED and DRI probe into the affairs of DDCA.Jaitley has strongly rejected the allegations calling them a propaganda technique of Kejriwal to deflect attention when he himself was in the “dock” following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat. Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, today addressed a press conference here but did not take the name of Jaitley, under whose charge as president of DDCA he claimed there were financial bungling.Dubbing as “diversionary tactic” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s threat to slap defamation cases against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, Congress tonight demanded his resignation and sought a JPC probe into alleged financial irregularities in DDCA under his watch. Party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed demanded that Jaitley resign as Cabinet Minister “in the interest of justice” as he is also incharge of corporate affairs ministry, which looks after such issues, and that the government should initiate steps to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee to probe alleged irregularities in Delhi and District Cricket Association.”Jaitley should not use the defamation cases he has planned to file against AAP leaders as a diversionary tactic in the wake of demands for his resignation,” Ahmed said. Ahmed, the party’s senior spokesman, said Jaitley’s ouster was all the more necessary after BJP MP Kriti Azad’s allegations about corruption in DDCA. He said Azad was not just a BJP leader but also a member of India’s 1983 cricket world cup winning squad. Jaitley headed the cricket body for 13 years till 2013.He said “naturally” the issue would be raised in Parliament on Monday by different political parties as Jaitley was “practically the number two in the government”. As regards Congress, he said that the parliamentary party would take a decision. Another Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit, who hails from Delhi, however, sang a different tune. He said the matter was between Kejriwal and Jaitley.He alleged Kejriwal was in the habit of making “wild and baseless” allegations against “anybody and everybody” and took defamation “very lightly”. Dikshit said it would be interesting to see how things pan out. If there is no substance in Kejriwal’s allegations, he will have to face the “brunt” for making such charges

DDCA row: AAP govt decides to set up inquiry commission

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The decision to form the commission of inquiry came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA during his 13-year-old tenure its chief. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations.

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi government has decided to set up a commission of inquiry under chairmanship of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium to probe alleged irregularities including financial bunglings in the capital’s cricket body DDCA.The decision to form the commission of inquiry came amid AAP’s fierce attack on Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over alleged irregularities in DDCA during his 13-year-old tenure its chief. Jaitley has strongly rubbished the allegations. “The inquiry will begin very soon,” a Delhi Government spokesperson said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet said “Gopal Subramaniam agrees to chair Commission of Enquiry on DDCA scam.”Following a CBI raid in Delhi Secretariat in connection with charges against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajendra Kumar, AAP has been claiming that the Central agency carried out the searches to target the AAP chief and was looking for a file relating to graft in DDCA.Since then, the party has been demanding resignation of Jaitley from the Union Cabinet. The decision to appoint the committee came a month after an AAP government-appointed probe committee recommended immediate suspension of DDCA by the BCCI for alleged irregularities including financial bungling.The Delhi Government panel had suggested that an interim committee of professional cricketers should manage affairs of the game in the capital.The committee had also recommended to the government to appoint a Commission of Inquiry under the Commission of Enquiries Act while mentioning about findings on DDCA’s alleged wrongdoings by various probe panels in the recent past including the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO).BJP MP Kirti Azad, who has been campaigning against alleged corruption in Delhi’s cricket body, today demanded an ED and DRI probe into the affairs of DDCA.

RSS’s Muslim body to launch education trust

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According to the Rajinder Sachar committee report, the share of Muslims in government services is just 4.4%.

Only 2.2% of Maharashtra Muslims complete education till graduation.

Getty Images
The RSS-affiliated Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) is planning to push the cause of education among Muslims by launching a trust to undertake educational and social activities. The trust will start educational institutions and ensure that Muslim students benefit from scholarships. The ‘Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Memorial Trust,’ will be named after freedom fighter and revolutionary Ashfaque Ullah Khan, who was sentenced to death with his close friend Pandit Ramprasad Bismil by the British in the 1925 Kakori conspiracy case. Like Bismil, who is known for his patriotic poem “Sarfaroshi ki Tammanna Ab Hamare Dil Mein Hai,” Khan too was an Urdu poet, and prominent member of the Hindustan Republican Association.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The MRM is the only niche organisation in the Sangh Parivar for Muslims. “We will ensure that minority community students get scholarships, launch computer training and e-learning centres and start schools… and even management and architecture colleges,” the trust’s president Latif Magdum told dna. The trust will be formally inaugurated in Pune on December 21 by senior RSS functionary Indresh Kumar, who is the MRM’s chief patron, and the trust’s chief advisor. Ashfaq Ullah Khan, who shares his name with that of revolutionary poet-grandfather is also scheduled to attend along with former vice-chancellors SN Navalgundkar and SN Pathan. “Only MRM members can be members of the general body,” said Magdum, who has been associated with Pune’s Azam Campus as the secretary for around 30 decades. Magdum, a senior MRM functionary, was among those, who were invited for the swearing in of Narendra Modi as the prime minister last year. The trust will have Chhattisgarh Wakf Board chairman Muhammed Salim Ashrafi as the vice-president, Dr Tahir Hussain as the secretary, Abbas Ali Bohra as the treasurer, Dr Zakir Hussain and Jharkhand minority commission chairman Shahid Akhtar as joint secretaries. “As part of our social activities we will seek to bring the community into the national mainstream and organise programmes like Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations and commemorate 1857’s great war of Independence… and help those who are needy,” said Magdum, adding that the trust would start educational institutions with minority status. The trust also plans to construct a memorial of the revolutionary after whom it is named, in Delhi and state capitals, he added. In a bid to deepen its outreach among Muslims the MRM was established in 2002 at the behest of then RSS chief KS Sudarshan. It was initially called “Rashtravadi Muslim Andolan-Ek Nayi Raah” and re-christened the MRM in 2005. Muslims form around 10.6% of Maharashtra’s 11.23 crore population. However, only 2.2% of the community has completed education till graduation and the proportion is at a lower 1.4% for women. According to the Rajinder Sachar committee report, the share of Muslims in government services is just 4.4%. The community also suffers from regressive social practices like oral, triple talaq and low literacy and work participation of women. In September 2014, the body had held its first programme in Mumbai where Kumar, who was questioned by the CBI in the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts at Hyderabad, addressed participants while making a strong pitch against cow slaughter and on the common ancestry between Hindus and Muslims.

2015 review: Saradha scam fails to dent TMC’s electoral fortunes in Bengal

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TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength.

Mamata Banerjee after party’s victory in civic polls

PTI
The multi-crore Saradha scam continued to haunt the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal during 2015 but it had little impact on the party’s performance in municipal and panchayat elections and also bypolls as it registered emphatic wins.TMC’s arch rival CPI-M tried hard to regain some lost ground although the Marxists admitted that they still have some “deficiencies” in terms of their strength. The year began with CBI’s action against several TMC leaders, which the party termed as “vendetta politics” by the Narendra Modi government. CBI arrested TMC leader and former transport minister Madan Mitra and also questioned former party general secretary Mukul Roy after which Roy, once a trusted lieutenant of party supremo Mamata Banerjee, distanced himself from TMC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For BJP, which had garnered nearly 18 per cent votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the year did not bring much hope as it failed to put up a good show in successive elections to municipalities and panchayats. According to a senior state BJP leader, the notion that the central party leadership is going soft on Saradha scam and has entered into a deal with TMC in return of its support in Rajya Sabha, where BJP is in a minority, has further eroded the party’s credibility. Ahead of the Assembly polls, BJP appointed Dilip Ghosh, an old RSS hand as the new state president replacing incumbent Rahul Sinha.Left and Congress charged the Modi government with “having a deal with TMC” for its support in passing bills in the Upper House in return of CBI going slow on the Saradha scam. They argued that TMC did not raise its voice on issues such as Vyapam scam and Lalitgate when the Opposition protested against it. Allegations and counter-allegations apart, TMC cruised along to impressive victoriesThis prompted TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee to say, “The people of Bengal are with us. CPI(M), Congress and BJP are together in their fight. But the election results have shown that they have been rejected by the masses.” However, the year also saw certain cracks in TMC as the party’s once powerful General Secretary Mukul Roy’s wings were clipped and Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek virtually took over as number two of the party. Roy who was under CBI scanner, was stripped of the position of TMC all India general secretary as well as from the post of party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha. However, there were signs of his mending fences with the party as he met Mamata in Parliament and was invited to a dinner meeting.Political observers say that with Assembly poll only a few months away, TMC leadership’s strategy is to bring back the disgruntled partymen in its fold. The CPI-M, which slipped into a state of disarray after repeated electoral setbacks since the 2011 Assembly election in the state, has been trying to recapture some lost ground in the state which it had ruled for over three decades.In an attempt to make its presence felt, it organised some aggressive political programmes and continued rectification drive. The baton of the state party unit was passed on from septuagenarian Biman Bose to a relatively younger Surya Kanta Mishra.Notwithstanding its effort to stage a comeback, the Marxist party still have some deficiencies in terms of its strength which was admitted by former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “It is true that we are conducting rallies, meetings in various districts. But still there are some deficiencies in terms of strength,” Bhattacharjee recently said.The Marxists have undertaken a move to infuse new blood in the organisation replacing old faces to rejuvenate the party. More than 70 per cent chiefs of the party’s various units from district to local committee level were replaced in the organisational conferences held in the past few months. The party this time has changed secretaries in nine districts including Kolkata.Caught between TMC and CPI-M, Congress leadership was in two minds whether to contest the ensuing Assembly poll alone or to forge an alliance. The state Congress leadership is clearly divided on this issue with a section wanting to go with CPI-M while another group favoured tie-up with TMC with which it had contested the 2011 elections.

National Herald Case: We will continue the fight and not bow down, say the Gandhis

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Sonia, Rahul and three other accused in the case –Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey–sought bail which was granted after they furnished personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi with party Vice President Rahul Gandhi arrives at party office after attending a hearing in National Herald Case, in New Delhi on Saturday.

PTI
After a 10-minute hearing, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul were on Saturday granted unconditional bail in the high-voltage National Herald case by a local court where they appeared along with a phalanx of top party leaders.Facing a private criminal complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the transfer of shares of the defunct party newspaper Herald to a newly-created company, the two Gandhis, accompanied by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Priyanka Gandhi appeared before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen at 2.50 PM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The party’s legal eagles Kapil Sibal, Ashwini Kumar, both former Union Law Ministers, and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, as also top Congress leaders such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, A K Antony, Shiela Dikshit, Ambika Soni and Meira Kumar were at hand.Sonia, Rahul and three other accused in the case –Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes and Suman Dubey–sought bail which was granted after they furnished personal bond of Rs.50,000 and one surety each. One of the accused Sam Pitroda was not present as he was stated to be unwell. Swamy pressed the court to impose conditions on the foreign travel of the accused, which was not accepted by the court. He said later that he had not opposed the bail but had told the court that conditions should be imposed on the Gandhis’ travel abroad since they “were in the habit of running away from the country”.The magistrate fixed February 20 as the next date of hearing and the proceedings were over within minutes after which the Gandhis came out smiling. They had to navigate through jostling lawyers, journalists, security men and party workers to reach their cars.Later addressing the media at the party office, Sonia, Rahul and Manmohan Singh hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing him of levelling “false allegations” against them and making “full use” of government agencies to “deliberately target” the Opposition.”We will continue the fight and not bow down,” they said.”The accused are reputed persons having deep political grassroots and there is no apprehension that they will flee,” the Magistrate noted while granting them bail on furnishing personal bond of Rs.50,000 each and one surety.While Antony gave surety to Sonia, Priyanka stood surety for her brother. Congress leader B K Hariprasad gave surety for Vora, Ghulam Nabi Azad for Fernandes and Ajay Maken for Dubey. In his reaction, Swamy said all their claims that they would not seek bail proved false. “They said they will not take bail. What happened now,” he told reporters after the short hearing.Sibal and Singhvi told the court that these are people who have deep roots in society and they hold high office and do not have any previous charge against them. The summons were issued by the court on Dec 8 after the Delhi High Court the previous day had refused to quash the summons issued to them earlier to appear as accused. Both Sibal and Singhvi told reporters after the proceedings that the court rejected Swamy’s plea and gave bail to the leaders.”It is most unfortunate that Swamy sought imposition of conditions including restrictions on travel abroad but the court granted unconditional bail,” Singhvi said.”I don’t see the slightest reason for dissatisfaction with the court order,” he added.Rejecting Congress criticism that he was doing vendetta politics at the behest of Congress, Swamy said look at the evidence in the case and not vendetta.”I have so many friends (in the BJP). I am a Jan Sanghi. I know them (BJP leaders) personally. I have not taken an appointment with the prime minister and spoken to him at all about the case,” he told reporters.The Magistrate made it clear that no exemption from personal appearance will be granted to any accused for the next date of hearing. The judge, who held the proceedings in a closed room, asked Swamy to bring all relied upon documents in support of his complaint on the next date of hearing.Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC Treasurer), Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned under sections 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.The trial court had on June 26 last year asked them to appear before it on August 7, 2014 but the order was stayed on August 6, 2014 by the Delhi High Court which on December 7 this year vacated the stay by rejecting the plea to quash the complaint and the summons. On December 15, 2014, the court had further stayed the summons till final disposal of the petitions.Swamy has accused them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of Herald. All of them were directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI), a company that was incorporated in 2010 and which took over the “debt” of Associated Journals Ltd (AJL), the publisher of National Herald.Swamy had accused Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds by just paying Rs 50 lakh by which YI obtained the right to recover Rs 90.25 crore which the AJL had owed to the Congress party.Along with the Gandhis, five other accused — Suman Dubey, Moti Lal Vora, Oscar Fernandez, Sam Pitroda and Young India Ltd–had challenged the summons issued to them by trial court on Swamy’s complaint.

National Herald case: Congress workers protest by burning effigy of PM Modi in Lucknow

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The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.

Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were granted bail by Patiala House district court on Saturday, December 19, 2015.
File Photo
PTI
Congress leaders and workers on Saturday burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and took out a protest march here against the NDA government, accusing it of falsely implicating leaders of opposition parties including Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case.Led by Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirmal Khatri and AICC secretary assistant in-charge of state affairs Prakash Joshi, partymen took out a padyatra from the state party office to General Post Office here to lodge their protest against the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The partymen shouted slogans against the NDA government accusing them of framing Congress leaders to harass them and targeting Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in the National Herald case. Youth Congress activists here burnt Modi’s effigy at the busy Hazratganj Crossing to mark the protest.Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul today sought and got bail in the National Herald case after a local court rejected complainant Subramanian Swamy’s opposition to the relief for them on the ground they are influential and can flee the country. The case is based on a private criminal complaint lodged by Swamy against them of cheating, conspiracy and criminal breach of trust.

Online jihadis abuse girls who went on an army sponsored tour

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Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.

It is turning out to be redux of the Praagaash controversy in the strife torn Kashmir.Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.Unfazed by the abuses, the girls put up a brave face as they arrived after the 10 days of tour on Wednesday. From saluting to shouting loud Jai Hind to singing patriotic and Bollywood numbers, the girls’ message was loud and clear that they cannot be browbeaten to submission by online abusers and separatists.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 80 girls had signed in for the 10 days tour to different parts of the country. However the army pruned the list and selected 30 girls who were taken to Delhi, Agra and other places. During their tour, the girl students met President Pranab Mukherjee, HRD minister Smriti Irani and visited parliament.But back home, the girls and the parents had to face abuse where in the online `jihadis’ posted pictures and videos on social networking sites calling for social boycott of the families. “Third rate girls from third rate families”, reads one abusive post on the face book.Another netizen asked the society to boycott these girls and their families. One face book user even went to the extent asking boys not to marry these girls. “Kis besharam baap ki beti (daughter of shameless father)”, reads another abusive post.The abuse had an eerie similarity with Praagaash all girls rock band which was disbanded after Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir ud-din Ahmad issued fatwa calling music un-Islamic in 2013. This had followed abusive and hate messages posted on the social networking sites against the three girls of the band.Unperturbed by the abuse, the girl students said the tour has helped them to open up vistas and horizons. “It was a great experience for all of us. World opened before us”, said one of the girlsLieutenant General Satish Dua, General Officer Commanding (GoC) 15 corps, admitted that some of the comments were so low that he could not even mention it here. “It is up to the civil society to take stock and whether young girls should be subject to such trauma”, he said.The army commander said it was very voluntary tour with the assistance of schools, education department and with the consent of parents. “In fact we had the list of 80 students. But we had to prune it down. And those who could not tour were disappointed”, he said.Lieutenant General Dua said India is a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. “Social media even more so. Similarly the children and parents are entitled to their opinion and attitudes,” he said.

Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul in the dock today, literally

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The duo will be fourth in Nehru-Gandhi generation to appear before any court of law after Motilal, Jawaharlal and Indira

Congress top brass are tight-lipped. Party’s supreme leaders – president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul – are all set to appear before the Patiala House district court here in connection with the National Herald case on Saturday. But they are not willing to reveal their cards fully, on whether Rahul will be applying for bail or will prefer to go to jail. The case, filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, accuses the Gandhis and four others of forming a company with the intention of acquiring property belonging to the now defunct newspaper National Herald that was founded by Jawaharlal Nehru. The seventh entity summoned in the case is Young Indian, the company formed by them, in which the Gandhis own 76% shares.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Both the Gandhis have aggressively countered the allegations against them as political vendetta. It’s only after all efforts and appeals exhausted, Sonia and Rahul are appearing before the court. They will be the fourth-fifth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to appear before a court of law after Motilal Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Congress workers and MPs are all geared up for tomorrow’s showdown. Though the party has rubbished media reports that it would organise a ‘solidarity march’ to court on Saturday, all its MPs are staying back in the capital. Normally, MPs fly back to their constituencies during the weekend. Even a chief minister of a northeast state, who had arrived in the Capital on Thursday, was told to stay back, sources said. AICC general secretary and Congress MP Janardan Dwivedi, however, stated the Congress has no intentions to protest against judiciary and that’s why he has asked PCC chiefs not to come to the AICC headquarters. However, Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha say they have been asked to assemble at the party headquarters on 24, Akbar Road, by 1 pm. The court hearing on the case is scheduled at 3 pm. Party general secretary Digvijay Singh, said the party leadership will decide only Saturday morning if party MPs and office-bearers will march from AICC headquarters to Patiala House Court along with Sonia and Rahul. Tight security Under the aegis of the Special Protection Group, the Delhi police have been conducting thorough security checks inside and outside the court premises. The distance from 10, Janpath – Sonia Gandhi’s residence – to the court is a mere 3.3 kms – a journey that can be covered in under 10 minutes – though the route will see heavy police presence and almost 16 additional CCTV cameras. The setting of the courtroom drama is No.4, Judge Loveleen’s chambers – a room small enough to hold barely 10-15 people. According to confirmed sources, the venue or the courtroom will not change. “If there was a change, it would have been intimidated by now,” said a source on condition of anonymity. The room has seen security sweeps by various security apparatus for the last two days. To counter the anticipated media rush, passes were issued only to a few print media and agency reporters. “There was no hindrance during my time when we used to cover news. One could just walk into the court premises irrespective of who was standing trial,” veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar recalls as he reminisced his time as a reporter. Reacting to the news about the issue of passes to cover the trial, he quipped, “This is not definitely not like the emergency (imposed by Indira Gandhi), but such a tight control on the media definitely emphasises the politicising of the event. Courts are no more institutions; they have been reduced as a mere political tool.”

Shah Rukh Khan a patriot, go watch ‘Dilwale’: MP home minister Babulal Gaur

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Earlier, BJP general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya had strongly criticised Shah Rukh Khan for his comments on intolerance.
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Even as right-wing activists staged protests against Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Dilwale in various parts of the state today, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur said that the actor was a patriot.”Yes, he is a nice man and a patriot,” Gaur told reporters when asked about the protests. He further said the film was “very good” and the people should watch it.Earlier, BJP general secretary and former Madhya Pradesh Minister Kailash Vijaywargiya had strongly criticised Shah Rukh Khan for his comments on intolerance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The release of “Dilwale” was marred by protests in Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and other parts of the state. The protesters have taken exception to Khan’s comments a few weeks ago where he had expressed concern over rising intolerance in the country amid a raging debate on the issue.

National Herald Case: Sonia, Rahul may seek bail

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The Congress President and Vice President have been summoned by the trial court on a private criminal complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of conspiracy, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of property .

Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

PTI
Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi could seek bail when they appear before a magistrate on Saturday in the National Herald case with the Congress today insisting that they were open to all legal remedies and options.”We are open to availing all legal remedies and options including bail” said party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala ahead of the two top leaders appearing before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen in the Patiala House courts tomorrow. The Congress President and Vice President have been summoned by the trial court on a private criminal complaint of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy of conspiracy, cheating, breach of trust and misappropriation of property.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Surjewala said the Congress leadership does not want the court process to be interfered with or influenced in any manner and so the party has asked workers not to come to the court. Partymen claim that the Congress wants it to be a low key affair. AICC has dismissed reports that the Congress has called its state leaders to Delhi when the Gandhis will appear before the court The party has been maintaining so far that a decision would be taken in accordance with what advice the lawyers will give.Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who is representing the Gandhis, said “Unnecessary hype over a routine procedure need not be created by the media. We are proceeding in every manner in accordance with law.”Singhvi, who is also party spokesman, said “We have been scrupulously avoiding all hype or hoopla about this as fas as courts are concerned.” Party General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed said the Congress would politically fight the Narendra Modi government on the issue as it was a “vendetta”.Congress MPs have been asked to gather at the party headquarters tomorrow ahead of the appearance of the Gandhis in the court as a measure of solidarity. “The Modi government cannot suppress Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi or the Congress party from continuing to raise the voice of the people,” Surjewala said adding the government was on a “malicious witch hunt” against all political opponents including the Congress leadership.

Modi Kutch visit: Gujarat govt spent Rs 31 lakh on building tent for PM, alleges Congress

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The annual three-day conference of Directors General of Police and Inspectors General of Police organised by the Intelligence Bureau was today launched in the presence of Modi and Union Minister Rajnath Singh.
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PTI
Gujarat Congress on Friday alleged that the state government spent Rs 31 lakh on raising a lavish tent for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Dhordo in Rann of Kutch, where he will stay during the ongoing meeting of country’s top police brass.The annual three-day conference of Directors General of Police and Inspectors General of Police organised by the Intelligence Bureau was today launched in the presence of Modi and Union Minister Rajnath Singh.”Prime Minister describes himself a Pradhan Sevak but improper expenses have been made to build a tent for him. The money spent is huge,” state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solnaki alleged.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are not against the conference as such, they should meet and discuss national security but our problem is the expense done behind it,” Solanki added.In a statement earlier on Friday, Congress leader Jayrajsinh Parmar claimed that Rs 31 lakh have been spent to build the tent for Modi.”The Prime Minister himself has appealed to countrymen to forsake the LPG subsidy but is now living in a tent worth Rs 31 lakh,” Parmar said.He also criticised the state government for providing “royal treatment” to the Prime Minister.”Gujarat government is spending huge money on the PM but not giving good price to farmers for cotton,” he said.

Exaggeration of figures about children benefiting from Mid Day Meal scheme: CAG

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In a report tabled in the Parliament on Friday the CAG also found that often food was being prepared in unhygienic conditions exposing children to health hazards.
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With practices like “fudging” of data and “inflated” costs prevailing, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found there is an “institutionalised exaggeration” of figures about children benefiting from Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme.In a report tabled in the Parliament on Friday the CAG also found that often food was being prepared in unhygienic conditions exposing children to health hazards.The auditor also observed a trend as per which the enrolment of children in schools providing mid-day meals is showing a “consistent” decline which it said indicates that more and more people are seeking better education and not just food.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CAG in the report said the mechanism in place for assimilating data on the number of children availing meals was seriously compromised and the percentage of actual children as gathered from various sources was consistently lower than that furnished by the states to the HRD Ministry.The audit, it said “evidenced an institutional exaggeration of figures” regarding students taking meals, “irregular diversion or theft of grains, inflated transportation costs and fudging of data which point to widespread leakages.”The data it suggested should be examined through independent checks and a system of surprise checks should be introduced.In its report the CAG also said that from 14.69 crore in 2009-10, the number of children enrolled in schools covered by the MDM scheme has come down to 13.87 crore, while enrolment of children in private schools had gone up from 4.02 crore to 5.53 crore.”Clear trends were noticed, which demonstrated that the meal served its purpose only when the expectation of the parents, with respect to good education for their wards, was fulfilled,” the CAG said in its report.The audit also found was that most states had not formulated any criteria to identify poor children belonging to disadvantaged sections, whom the scheme aims to benefit. As a result this objective remained on paper only, it said.

India’s Gandhis due to appear in court

Indian Congress party leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi are due to appear in court on Saturday in connection with a corruption case.

India to contribute Rs 3.32 crore to UN emergency response fund

India had contributed $500,000 (Rs 3.32 crore) to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2014 and announced a similar contribution for the 2015-16 period
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dna Research & Archives
India will contribute $500,000 (Rs ​3.32 crore) to a UN rapid response funding mechanism for the 2015-16 period to support global humanitarian relief operations.India had contributed $500,000 (Rs 3.32 crore) to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2014 and announced a similar contribution for the 2015-16 period.”India has been in the forefront of humanitarian action. India has been responding to several global humanitarian relief operations in keeping with our resources and capabilities…India has endeavoured to be the early responders in cases of humanitarian crisis,” First Secretary in the Indian Mission to the UN Abhishek Singh said at the 10th anniversary high-level pledging conference on Thursday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India contributed $10 million (Rs ​66.47 crore) to the Ebola Trust Fund and helped in the evacuation of Indians as well as many foreign nationals from war-torn Yemen in 2015.The relief and rescue work provided by India in the aftermath of earthquake in Nepal this year was done in consultation and coordination with the Nepalese government, Singh said.Reiterating India’s support to the efforts of CERF, Singh said the country would continue to help to alleviate suffering of people resulting from humanitarian emergencies.”Humanitarian emergencies require immediate attention. Any delay in providing assistance can have long term consequences. There is indeed a need for coordination and partnership to meet these challenges,” he said.Noting that CERF provides funding to world’s most neglected and under-funded crises, Singh said the fund extended support in humanitarian emergencies in around 50 countries in 2014.While South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia were the three largest recipients in 2014, CERF also funded efforts in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Myanmar.The General Assembly set up CERF in December 2005 to bring immediate relief in natural and man-made disasters and save thousands of lives that would otherwise be lost to delay.

Hold simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies for the sake of development: Parliament panel

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.

A parliamentary panel has asked the government as well as the Election Commission to explore possibility of holding simultaneous elections, to reduce frequency of polls and enforcement of code of conduct that impedes economic development. “This is important for India, if it is to compete with other nations in developmental agenda on real time basis as robust democratic country,” said the 31-member panel headed by Congress party’s Tamil Nadu MP Dr E M S. Natchippan. The panel said massive costs could be saved with the conduct of simultaneous elections. Only the Election Commission spends around Rs 4,500 crore for holding staggered Lok Sabha and state assembly elections, currently. The costs incurred by political parties are enormous.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Committee has envisaged holding of elections of some state assemblies at mid-term of Lok Sabha and remaining with the end of tenure of Lok Sabha. It said the proposed first phase could be held in November 2016, involving states like West Bengal, Kerala, Puduchery, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Goa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland and Karnataka. The states whose terms end between May 2016 to May 2018 should be clubbed together. In Phase two, rest of states, whose terms end between December 2018 to June 2019 should be held in June 2019 along with Lok Sabha elections.The MPs in the Standing Committee looking after the Ministry of Law and Justice said if all the political parties cooperate, the necessary steps can be taken without hurting the interests of any political party.First three general elections to Lok Sabha were conducted simultaneously with all state legislative assemblies till 1967. However, the cycle got disrupted due to premature dissolution of some assemblies in 1968 and 1969. In 1970, the Lok Sabha was itself dissolved prematurely. The panel reminded the practice in South Africa, where elections to national and provincial legislatures are held simultaneously for five years and municipal elections are held two years later. In Sweden, elections are held on a fixed date on second Sunday in September for four years.Though admitting that it may not be feasible in 2016 or even in a decade, but it has expressed confidence that a solution will be found in a due course of time.

9 injured as Kolkata metro escalator malfunctions

Metro Railway General Manager A K Kapoor ordered a high-level probe into the incident and asked for a report within two days.

Kolkata Metro
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At least nine persons were injured on Thursday when an escalator malfunctioned at Girish Park metro station in Kolkata, Metro Railway officials said.The escalator in the northern end of the station was moving in upward direction when suddenly it started moving downwards at around 8.30 PM, Metro Railway Senior PRO Indrani Banerjee said. Out of the nine injured persons, six were administered first aid at the station while three others were sent to a hospital, she said.Metro Railway General Manager A K Kapoor ordered a high-level probe into the incident and asked for a report within two days, Banerjee said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Belgaum hopes for speedy justice from Supreme Court

Many youngsters of these Marathi-speaking parts of Karnataka struggle to get legal docus for jobs in Maharashtra

It was an early New Year celebration for Belgaum resident Piyush Nandkumar Hawal (25) on Wednesday when he received news about the formation of a separate nodal ministry for the Belgaum dispute, as reported by dna on Tuesday. The ministry was formed under the leadership of public works department (PWD) minister Chandrakant Patil.Hawal wasn’t alone. The Marathi-speaking people of Belgaum, Bidar, Karwar and Gulberga districts of Karnataka were in a jovial mood and could be seen congratulating each other as the news gradually spread through social media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The news came as a pleasant surprise to us. This has been our demand for years and we had intensified our efforts three months ago,” said Hawal, who has been meeting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Sena MLAs and MPs in Maharashtra and Delhi to consolidate their support for the Belgaum movement.Speaking to dna over the phone, president of Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), Vasantrao Patil, said, “This is the first positive step by the Maharashtra government in the last 60 years. We are hopeful. We look forward to speedy justice by the Supreme Court.” MES has been fighting for a merger of 865 villages of Karnataka with Maharashtra on linguistic grounds since 1956.The prime reason for celebrations is that the Marathi-speaking people of this disputed area need not make rounds of the chief minister’s office and general administration department (GAD) for small works. All works, related to border disputes, come under the purview of GAD, a portfolio that CM Devendra Fadnavis has kept with himself.Many youngsters and students of these Marathi-speaking parts of Karnataka often struggle to get caste verification and other citizenship documents, required for admission and jobs in Maharashtra, where quota is offered to Belgaum students.Former Belgaum mayor Maloji Ashtekar said, “The aspirants have to rush to Mumbai, 500km away, to meet the CM. And since the CM is the busiest person in the government, people have to make several rounds. With Chandrakant Patil as nodal minister, we can now expect much respite. Besides, going to Kolhapur (Patil’s hometown, nearly 100-120km from the disputed area) would be a lot easier and cheaper than going to Mumbai.”With Patil as the nodal minister, Belgaum also hopes for speedy justice. “In the last one year, Fadnavis didn’t meet lawyers fighting the state’s case in the Supreme Court even once. On the other hand, Karnakata CM Siddarmaiah held two meetings with his legal team. We hope that Patil spends some time on the case,” said Hawal. Fadnavis could not be reached for comments due to the ongoing session in Nagpur. ‘BJP-Sena stopped grants for Belgaum institutes’People complained that the BJP-Sena government stopped a grant of Rs5 crore for Belgaum, which was approved by the previous Congress-NCP government two years ago. “The fund allocated by Ajit Pawar, the then finance minister, was for institutions working for the Marathi language and Marathi-medium schools in this area. The Fadnavis government must restore the same,” said Vasantrao Patil.

National Herald Case: Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to appear before court on Saturday

Under procedures, once an accused has been summoned, he or she has to appear before it and seek bail which the court may grant.
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AFP photo
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will appear in a Delhi court on Saturday in the National Herald case amid speculation that they may not apply for bail. The party remained tightlipped on the course to be adopted by the two leaders when they appear before the court on Saturday afternoon.Under procedures, once an accused has been summoned, he or she has to appear before it and seek bail which the court may grant. Otherise, they can be taken into judicial custody. If the accused does not apply for bail, the court can take the accused in the judicial custody.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said “we respect judicial process and we will submit ourselves to the majesty of the court process. The Congress President and the Vice President have complete faith in the judicial process. They will be proceeding as per the advice by the lawyers”.Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi, who had represented the Gandhis in the court, steered clear of questions whether the Gandhis would apply for bail. “We cannot share our strategy. I have not spoken to anyone on the issue. I cannot speak on it”.Several senior party leaders, including CWC members and party General Secretaries and party MPs, would accompany the Gandhis to the court as a mark of solidarity.

Three years after December 16 gangrape, activists say women’s safety has not improved in Delhi

“What has changed in Delhi? Do we have lesser rapes now? Has the security system been strengthened?” activists asked.

Women activists say “nothing much has changed” when it comes to safety of women in the national capital since the tragic December 16 gangrape case three years ago which shook the nation and led to a massive public outcry, forcing Parliament to enact a new anti-rape law.”What has changed in Delhi? Do we have lesser rapes now? Has the security system been strengthened? Have the convicts of brutal gangrape been hanged? Definitely, the Nirbhaya gangrape triggered a huge outcry, but where are the results,” said Ranjana Kumari, activist and Director, Centre for Social Research.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The nation is yet to see the ‘hanging’ of the convicts and to believe the fact that the ones contributing to violence against women will be severely punished and the situation ‘changed VS not changed’ will continue till strong examples are set that the accused will not be spared,” she added.Another activist Kavita Krishnan said, “The juvenile accused is likely to walk free, that speaks volumes about the ‘change’ in the past three years. Neither there is political will nor conviction of the accused”.”Law has been made, funds have been allocated, fast track court was to hear the case, but where is the implementation and where are the results that reflect a change in the society,” she added.Six persons, including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, plunging the country into grief.Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by a trial court in the gangrape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.The Centre had yesterday asked Delhi High Court to extend the observation home stay of the juvenile convict who is scheduled to be released on Sunday, saying several mandatory aspects were missing from the post-release rehabilitation plan which needed to be considered before setting him free. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) also issued conditional summons to the Delhi chief secretary, police commissioner and the Union home secretary on Tuesday following their “failure” to produce reports on the release of the juvenile convict.”Things have moved on paper, policy decisions are also being made. It is not that initiatives have not been taken but this passing of buck between the Centre and the state government is providing an edge to police as there is no accountability,” said Annie Raja, General Secretary, National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW).Various events including candlelight vigils and art exhibitions will be organised in the national capital tomorrow as a token of remembrance for Nirbhaya.In memory of their beloved daughter and to reaffirm their lifelong commitment to improving women’s safety, the parents of the victim, in collaboration with women’s and citizens groups, will also mark the day as ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Divas’ at Jantar Mantar.

Haryana Panchayat polls to be held in January in three phases

On December 10, the State Election Commission had said that it would soon set in motion the process for conduct of Panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new law in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.
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PTI
The much-awaited Panchayat polls in Haryana will be held next year in three phases on January 10, 17 and 24, State Election Commission said on Tuesday.Addressing a press conference in Panchkula, near Raipur on Tuesday evening, State Election Commissioner Rajiv Sharma said with the announcement of the elections, Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the area of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) where the polls will be conducted.The election process would be completed by February 15, 2016. He said that as the Supreme Court has upheld the new Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015, now elections to the PRIs would be held as per the new Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharma said that the candidates who have already filed nominations as per the amended Act need not to file fresh nominations, but have to file fresh declarations or affidavits along with the required documents before the Returning Officer concerned during the period specified for the same. He said that the poll to elect panches, sarpanches of gram panchayats and members of panchayat samitis would be held in three phases.”There are a total of 6,198 Gram Panchayats, 126 Panchayat Samitis and 21 Zila Parishads in the state. Polls would be conducted for 416 members of 21 Zila Parishads, 3001 posts of 126 Panchayat Samitis and 6,198 and 62,492 posts of sarpanches and panches respectively,” he said.On December 10, the State Election Commission had said that it would soon set in motion the process for conduct of Panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new law in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants. Earlier, the polls were to be held on October 4, 11 and 18.The model code was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition challenging the validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. The qualification for women (general) and Scheduled Caste candidates has been fixed at Class VIII.Meanwhile, Haryana’s main opposition INLD has challenged the ruling BJP to contest the upcoming Panchayat polls on party symbol.”The BJP had been claiming that it has done a lot for the people over the last year, then this is the right time they should test their popularity by contesting on party symbol,” INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said. However, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said that the BJP will not contest the upcoming polls on party symbol.”The Panchayat elections should be held with the spirit of brotherhood. Hence, the party has decided not to contest these polls on party symbol,” Khattar told reporters here on sidelines of a function.The Chief Minister urged people of the state to elect good representatives to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state in the upcoming elections so as to ensure better and transparent administration at village level. He said that the state government has implemented the new Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, to enable educated and responsible people to enter into the system.In reply to another question, the Chief Minister said that voting is the fundamental right of every citizen and all should exercise their right to franchise for strengthening of democratic system. In reply to a question, State Election Commissioner Sharma said that three political parties – Bahujan Samaj Party, SAD and CPIM – have written to the Commission expressing their desire to contest elections on party symbols.Regarding educational qualifications of the contesting candidates, Sharma said that the list of recognised schools have been uploaded on the website of Board of School Education Haryana. Apart from this, Education Department has been asked to depute an officer in the Commission office to verify the certificates of contesting candidates.The State Election Commissioner said all preparations have been made to ensure the conduct of fair and peaceful polls. As many as 21,475 polling booths have been set up, of which 4,337 have been identified as hyper-sensitive and 4,159 as sensitive. Special arrangements would be made at these polling stations by the district administration concerned, he said. Sharma said that approval has also been given by the State Election Commission to conduct videography at hyper- sensitive polling booths.”Notification for the first phase of the elections would be issued on December 17, that of phase two would be issued on December 23 and of phase three would be issued on December 30, 2015,” he said.He also said that in the first phase, nominations could be filed from December 23 to December 29, 2015 and during the same period the affidavit or declarations would be furnished by the candidates to the concerned Returning Officers.Scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on December 30 and the last date of withdrawal would be January 1, 2016. Symbols to the contesting candidates would be allotted on January 1 and the list of contesting candidates would also be made public on the same day.Similarly, in the second phase, notification would be issued on December 23, 2015. Nominations could be filed from December 30 to January 4, 2016 and during the same period the affidavit or declarations would be furnished by the candidates to the concerned Returning Officers. Scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on January 5, 2016 and the last date of withdrawal would be January 7, 2016.Symbols to the contesting candidates would be allotted on January 7 and the list of contesting candidates would also be made public on the same day. In the third phase, notification would be issued on December 30. Nominations could be filed from January 5 to January 9 and during the same period the affidavit or declarations would be furnished by the candidates to the concerned Returning Officers.Scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on January 11, 2016 and the last date of withdrawal would be January 13, 2016.Symbols to the contesting candidates would be allotted on January 13 and the list of contesting candidates would also be made public on the same day. Sharma said while elections for sarpanch and members of Zila Parishad would be conducted through EVMs, ballot paper would be used for elections for panches and members of Panchayat Samitis. He added that it was for the first time that EVMs would be used for elections for members of Panchayat Samitis in districts Panchkula and Rewari.He said that counting of votes for the Panches and Sarpanches would be taken up on the same day at the polling stations itself, whereas, the counting of votes for election to the offices of Members Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad would be taken up on January 28, 2016 at the place specified by concerned District Election Officer.The casting of ballot would be conducted from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. Sharma said that 1,10,09,317 people are eligible to cast their ballot in these elections of which 59,04,696 are men and 51,04,621 are women.More than one lakh workers would be deputed for conduct of the election process.To ensure peaceful and secure conduct of elections in the state, requests have been sent to Director General of Police and Home Secretary to deploy personnel of Haryana Police, Haryana Armed Police and Home Guards. He also said that general and election expenditure supervisors would also be appointed.Officers of the level of senior Indian Administrative Services and Haryana Civil Services Officers would be appointed as general supervisors, and officers from the Excise and Taxation Department would be appointed as election expenditure supervisors. Giving information about election expenses of candidates, Sharma said that the Election Commission had increased the limit on election expenditure.The expenditure limit for panches has been increased to Rs 10,000, for Gram Panchayats with fewer than 15 members it has been increased to Rs 30,000 and for those with more than 15 members, it has been increased to Rs 50,000. Similarly, Rs one lakh has been set as the expenditure limit for members of Panchayat Samitis and expenditure limit of Rs two lakh has been set for members of Zila Parishads.

Talks with Pakistan on the basis of trust: Sushma Swaraj

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

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

Saradha scam: TMC removes general secretary after CBI interrogation

Panda, while reacting to the move, said, “I accept my party’s decision and won’t say anything to the media.”

Shankudeb Panda

Hours after he was questioned for the second time by CBI in the Saradha scam, TMC state general secretary Shankudeb Panda was on Monday removed from his post, a senior Trianmool Congress leader said.”He has been removed from all party posts with immediate effect, but he will continue to be a member of the party,” TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee told PTI. Panda, while reacting to the move, said, “I accept my party’s decision and won’t say anything to the media.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He was on Monday grilled for the second time by the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam. The central agency had earlier interrogated the TMC leader, who was attached to the Saradha Group as a journalist, on December 2. Panda had earlier been grilled in December, 2014 by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), also probing the multi-crore scam, in which several Trinamool leaders have been accused of wrongdoing.

Supreme Court raps Uttar Pradesh govt for not appointing Lokayukta

The apex court, on December 4, had issued notice to the state government on a separate plea asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of its order to appoint a new Lokayukta in the state.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav
File Photo
PTI
The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.”Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?,” the bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said while fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16. The bench was critical of the submissions made by the Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh that the needful would be done shortly.”Last time also, you had said the same thing,” the bench said.The bench was hearing the pleas filed by Mahendra Kumar Jain and lawyer Radhakant Tripathi seeking a direction to the state to appoint the Lokayukta at the earliest in pursuance of the Supreme Court orders. The apex court, on December 4, had issued notice to the state government on a separate plea asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of its order to appoint a new Lokayukta in the state.On April 24, last year, the court had upheld the constitutional validity of amendment in UP Lokayukta Act for fixing eight-year tenure for the anti-corruption ombudsman. It had also directed the state government to take steps for selecting new incumbent of Lokayukta Justice (retd) N K Mehrotra within six months.The apex court had in July this year taken note of a contempt petition alleging non-compliance of its on April 24, 2014 order and directed the state to do the needful within 30 days.The contempt plea, filed by Sachidanand Gupta, had alleged disobedience by the state government. Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for Gupta, had said that the state administration needed to be issued contempt notice for its brazen defiance of the orders. Justice Mehrotra was appointed as Lokayukta on March 16, 2006 for six years and later, the government granted him a two-year extension by amending the Act under which the tenure was extended to eight years or till a successor took over.While upholding the constitutional validity of the amendment to the UP Lokayukta Act, the court, in 2014, had directed the state government to take steps to select a new ombudsman within six months.

Oommen Chandy Invitation Row: PM has insulted Kerala, says Rahul Gandhi

Speaking to media, Rahul Gandhi said, “PM has insulted the people of Kerala by stopping the Chief Minister from attending the function. This is not acceptable to us,” Mr Gandhi said.

PTI
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused PM Modi of insulting the people of the state over a function to which Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has not been invited.Modi will undertake his first visit to Kerala which is already in controversy after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he was being kept away from a function where the PM will be present by an outfit of Hindu Ezhava community.Speaking to media, Rahul Gandhi said, “PM has insulted the people of Kerala by stopping the Chief Minister from attending the function. This is not acceptable to us.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Combined Tri services commanders conference at INS Vikramaditya, the largest aircraft carrier of the country, on Tuesday.Later, Modi will be attending two functions close to the backward Ezhava community, apparently in an effort to woo them with assembly polls expected early next year.Modi will unveil the statue of former Kerala Chief Minister late R Sankar, a well-known leader of the Ezhava community, who had headed the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) and the Kerala PCC.However, the programme has run into controversy with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy allegedly being asked to stay away by SNDP General Secretary Vellapally Natesan. Chandy himself in a press note had brought up the issue saying he would not be attending the function as Natesan had requested him not to attend and was “deeply saddened”.Natesan has not stated the reason for asking Chandy to keep away from the function.Chandy has already informed Prime Minister’s office that he would not be attending the function.Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi described the action as pettiness of the worst kind and wanted that Prime Minister should himself refuse to go to the function.(With agency inputs)

India’s malnutrition rates falling faster than before; Bihar, UP worst performers

The report, that details nutrition data from across 28 states and Delhi, shows that 38.7 per cent of children under 5 in India are stunted, which is a measure of chronic undernutrition.

India’s latest data on the state of nutrition came as a mixed bag, with malnutrition rates declining faster than before but not nearly fast enough for to meet global targets. The India Health Report: Nutrition 2015 was released on Thursday by union health minister JP Nadda and Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi. The report, and health experts from Public Foundation of India and the International Food Policy Research Institute, who jointly organised the launch, cautiously congratulated India for its progress, but stressed that a lot more needed to be done, and fast.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report, that details nutrition data from across 28 states and Delhi, shows that 38.7 per cent of children under 5 in India are stunted, which is a measure of chronic undernutrition. Additionally 19.8 per cent are wasted, indicating acute undernutrition and 42.56 per cent are underweight which is a composite of the two conditions.India’s average annual rate of decline for under-five stunting, between 2006-2014 has been 2.3 percent per year, much better than the 1.2 percent per year rate that the country saw during 1992 and 2006. However, India still lags behind its neighbours and even some sub-Saharan countries. Nepal has an average annual decline rate of 3.3 percent per year, and Bangladesh matches that of India.This, as Professor Ramanan Laxminarayan from PHFI, co-author of the report, said, meant that child undernutrition weakly correlated with income, as despite India’s economic dominance in subcontinent ïn terms of per capita income”.This has been observed among states too, as different states with similar income levels performed differently. Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, for example have similar income levels, yet Gujarat had a much higher rate of prevalence of stunting. Kerala and Goa had similar rates of stunting prevalence when Goa has almost double of Kerala’s per capita net state domestic product.Bihar and Uttar Pradesh were the worst performers, with high levels of stunting, calling for immediate action to be taken in those areas.Additionally, there is the added burden of obesity and overweight populace leading to a possible epidemic of noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as Dr, Soumya Swaminathan, director general Indian Council of Medical Research pointed out. She also called for a relook at existing midday meal schemes, to reconstitute their carbohydrate content with proteins, and make sure micronutrients were sufficient,.Dr. Laurence Haddad, co-Chair of the Global Nutrition Report, also released today, and a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute urged India to increase its commitment and its spending on countering malnutrition.Health minister Nadda, took note of all the points, especially Haddad’s argument of spending on nutrition being a great investment for the country — one rupee spent on a person would yielded Rs 34, a benefit cost ratio of 34 is to 1. He also spoke about the various interventions by his ministry, such as a mandatory 48 hour period to stay in hospitals during childbirth to provide counselling and initiate breastfeeding, establishing nutrition rehabilitation centres at district and sub-district levels, and the National Iron Plus Initiative to control anemia at all stages of life.Experts also called on the government to check other social determinants, such as mothers with less than ten years of education, underage mothers, adolescent girls with low Body Mass Index, open defecation, so as to save people from the irreversible effects of cognitive impairment and susceptibility to chronic disease, and the country from a disastrous economic burden.

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

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

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

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

Justice for Nirbhaya: Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on steps post release of juvenile

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also asked the government to inform it about the measures taken, if any, regarding post release rehabilitation of the juvenile, who will walk out of the observation home on December 15 after serving the stipulated three year incarceration

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought Centre’s response on BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea that the juvenile convict in the December 16, 2012, gangrape case be not released till it is “demonstrably assured” that he has reformed and was not a menace to society.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also asked the government to inform it about the measures taken, if any, regarding post release rehabilitation of the juvenile, who will walk out of the observation home on December 15 after serving the stipulated three year incarceration. The court asked whether a management committee has been constituted as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules, is it still in existence and what are its activities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”What are the plans, take instruction. it is not an ordinary case and requires consideration,” the bench said. It issued notice to the Ministry of Law, Ministry of Home Affairs and the juvenile convict through JJ Board and also asked the government to get instructions from the committee and listed it for hearing on December 14. The court passed the order after Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain and central government’s standing counsel Jasmeet Singh told the bench that while there was no opposition to extension of the juvenile’s stay at the observation home, as per the rules the committee has to make plans for post release rehabilitation.Counsel for the Centre placed before the court the reports of the IB relating to the behaviour of the juvenile during his stay in special home. However, the court asked the counsel to place the report before it in a sealed cover.The government was responding to Swamy’s petition, who claimed that there is lacuna in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, as amended in 2011. JJ Board had sentenced the juvenile three years detention in reformation home.In his petition before the HC, Swamy contended that “no provision has been made in the Act, to provide for vicious unregenerate convicted juveniles who despite having undergone the reformation process for the maximum penalty of three year’s custody in a special home, continue to be a menace to the society”. “…provision has to be made to deal with such juvenile for further period in such a manner that he does not prove menace to the society.”The question arises, in a very acute form, in the instant gangrape case, where the respondent no.1 (juvenile), one of the offenders, who was adjudged to be under eighteen years of age at the time of the offence, is about to complete the maximum period of the offence prescribed…. and yet it is learnt that there is a report of the Ministry of Home Affairs wherefrom it emerges that this juvenile has not reformed but has become worse, having been radicalized by association with another juvenile convicted of involvement in the 2011 Delhi High Court blast,” the plea said.He also said in his petition that the JJ Board should be given some “teeth to deal with such a case of an unreformed juvenile criminal”. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected Swamy’s petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000.He had sought that juvenile in the case be prosecuted in a criminal court in view of the gravity of his offence. Six persons, including the juvenile, had brutally assaulting and raping a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by trial court in the gang rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail on March 11, 2013, and proceedings against him were abated following his death.

Ministry of AYUSH to integrate allopathic and traditional forms of medicine

Speaking to dna, Director General of the ICMR, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that there was much government encouragement to find ways of integrating allopathic and traditional forms of medicine. ICMR, she said would be responsible for generating and collecting sound data and evidence.

Bringing traditional medicine into the domain of allopathic science, the ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) has announced several projects looking into its “efficacy” in various ailments. In Parliament, minister for AYUSH Shripad Yesso Naik said that the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy had undertaken clinical studies on “chikungunya and influenza like illnesses” and the Central Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS) and Central Council for Research in Unani Medicines(CCRUM) had signed MOUs with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for joint collaborative projects on Ayurvedic and Unani formulations related to treatment of Dengue and Tuberculosis (TB) respectively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna, Director General of the ICMR, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said that there was much government encouragement to find ways of integrating allopathic and traditional forms of medicine. ICMR, she said would be responsible for generating and collecting sound data and evidence.The MOU with the Unani council was signed two years ago under the aegis of the then DG, VM Katoch, who had written to all other institutions to cooperate. Swaminathan, then Director at the National Institute of Research in Tuberculosis, had held meetings with the Unani council to go over the compounds they said might help in TB.”However, we decided that the treatment for tuberculosis had to be allopathic,” said Swaminathan. What Unani could offer was relief with side effects, help build a patient’s appetite, weight, make their jaundiced liver healthier.This resulted in formulations of protocols and, so far, trials are being carried for the safety of these unani formulations in “animal models”. The next step will be to test the interaction of the formulations with existing TB drugs, on volunteers. If that goes well, then the trials will move to giving these formulations to TB patients.”The dengue project is recent and came about after the recent outbreak,” said Swaminathan. she recounted that the Ayurveda council had advertised a list of herbal remedies for dengue during the outbreak, and Swaminathan spoke to Ayush officials about validating these remedies. “If they work then we can out them out in a global market,” she said.Due to this conversation, two teams comprising allopathic and ayurvedic professionals were set up to, again, form protocols and chart a way of carrying out these studies in allopathic hospitals. “Currently it’s in the preliminary stages and we’re looking at four to five hospitals across India to test certain ayurvedic formulations. Right now they’re testing the batches for purity and quality,” said Swaminathan. After this, they need to approach the ethics committee.”Ayurveda hasn’t offered a cure for dengue, but increased symptomatic relief,” she added saying that maybe antiviral activity could be observed in these formulations. “We need to have such clinical trials, similar to how siddha medicine is being tested in a lab in Chennai for antiviral activities.”

Hit-and-run case: Bombay High Court acquits Salman Khan; then, who killed Nurulla Sharif?

Justice AR Joshi of the HC, too, rejected these arguments. But it didn’t go against the actor as he pronounced that “the prosecution had failed in proving that he (Khan) was guilty”.

Salman Khan coming out of the Bombay HC after the verdict on Thursday.
dna photo

The Bombay High Court (HC) didn’t exactly answer that. Strictly speaking, it was not bound to as the case related only to whether Salman was at the wheel or not on the day of the accident. The whodunnit can only be answered by the Supreme Court now – if the Maharashtra government goes on appeal. All that was clear on Thursday were these: Salman was not drinking and driving, and he is not guilty. Salman’s lawyers had argued in the lower court that Nurulla Sharif died when the damaged car fell on him after slipping from a crane called in by the police to tow it away. The actor’s family driver, Ashok Singh, had claimed that he was driving the car.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Justice AR Joshi of the HC, too, rejected these arguments. But it didn’t go against the actor as he pronounced that “the prosecution had failed in proving that he (Khan) was guilty”. On May 6, the lower court had convicted the actor and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment. On Thursday, the HC quashed the order, saying, “The trial court had erred in accepting the prosecution evidence.” As to Salman running away from the scene and whether he would be punishable under the Motor Vehicles Act for not offering medical aid to the person injured by the car in which he was seated, the HC observed: “The mob gathered after the accident was in a furious mood. Some were even carrying rods and other things in their hands. In the considered view of this court, the charge cannot be attracted, considering the then circumstances.” In any case, since the case was only against Khan, the HC cannot now order the arrest of Singh or carry out further investigations. The case, naturally, had drawn a lot of public attention and many believed that the actor was indeed guilty. Justice Joshi had a few words on this public perception. “Law does not have any place for general public opinion. It cannot be swayed away by any popular belief that a particular accused, because of his standing in society, could have committed the offence…,” he said adding “Mere suspicion cannot be an accepted material to hold a person guilty.” Justice Joshi also said that the probe into the case had various flaws. He said not recording evidences of appropriate witnesses and omissions in injured witnesses’ testimony would definitely create a doubt about the involvement of Salman. “The entire evidence was circumstantial in nature,” he said. With these words, he acquitted Salman of all charges in the case. Salman, meanwhile, was called to appear before the HC on Thursday to hear the judgment. He looked drowsy and non-emotional. Pronounced free, Salman broke down in tears. His brother-in-law Ayush Sharma and sister Alvira Agnihotri were beside him. Later, he composed himself and smiled at his lawyers. The actor later tweeted: “I accept the decision of the judiciary with humility. I thank my family, friends and fans for their support and prayers.” For Khan, it means an end to a 13-year ordeal. But all is not over yet. There’s still the black buck case. What’s the hit-and-run case?On September 28, 2002, Salman Khan is alleged to have been in an inebriated state and driving and ran over five persons, who were sleeping outside a laundry in Bandra. One person – Nurulla Sharif – succumbed to his injuries. The other four suffered injuries. What’s the state stand?Minister of state for home Ram Shinde told mediapersons that the state government would decide whether to approach the SC or not on Monday or Tuesday. He said that since the HC verdict came only on Thursday, the government is yet to receive a copy of the judgment. After receiving it, the state would send it to law department for advice and take a call. What’s the black buck case?

PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi shake hands at Sharad Pawar’s birthday celebrations

Rahul greeted the Prime Minister with a ‘Namaste’ before he was about to leave the function after it got over. However, the two immediately followed it up with a handshake.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanges greetings with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi during a function to celebrate NCP chief Sharad Pawars 75th birthday at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Thursday.

PTI
Setting aside their bitterness, both within and outside Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi shook hands today at a function to felicitate NCP supremo Sharad Pawar upcoming 75th birthday.Rahul greeted the Prime Minister with a ‘Namaste’ before he was about to leave the function after it got over. However, the two immediately followed it up with a handshake.As the function was about to be over, NCP leader Praful Patel called Rahul and Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled Maharashtra and Rajasthan Devendra Phadnavis and Vasundhara Raje on stage for a group photo with a galaxy of leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Modi and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides Pawar and his wife Pratibha, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal, BJP veteran L K Advani and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah were on the dais.There have been hardly any exchange of pleasantries between Modi and Rahul since the latter became the Prime Minister in May last year. The Congress vice president is the one of the most vocal critics of the Prime Minister.

Haryana: SC upholds minimum qualification criterion for Panchayat polls; EC starts preparation for elections

The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls.

Supreme Court

The State Election Commission on Thursday said it will soon set in motion the process for conduct of panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.”We will send a proposal to the state government immediately after we get the operative part of the Supreme Court judgement. “After getting the nod from the government, the process of holding the (panchayat) polls, which had been put on hold in view of the apex court hearing the petition, will be set in motion once again,” Haryana State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said over telephone. The Model Code of Conduct was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition pertaining to the validity of the educational qualifications for the candidates contesting panchayat polls in Haryana.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls. The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. As the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, the SEC had decided to put on hold all the activities in pursuant to Commission’s notification dated September 8 and all other notifications/orders issued subsequently, Sharma said.The Commission had on September 8 issued the programme for the conduct of elections to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. According to the programme, the panchayat polls were to be conducted in three phases – October 4, 11 and 18. Meanwhile, ruling BJP in the state has hailed the Supreme Court verdict.”The Supreme Court verdict on the panchayat poll issue has proved that Haryana Government’s thought and direction of work are correct,” State Health Minister Anil Vij tweeted. When asked to comment on the judgement, senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “I am yet to go through the verdict. I don’t know on what ground the writ petition has been dismissed.” Hooda had earlier said that before fixing minimum educational criteria for contestants of panchayat polls, the BJP government in the state and at the Centre should do the same for MPs and MLAs. State’s principal opposition party INLD, which had slammed the Khattar government alleging that it showed haste in fixing the education criteria, today said their views remain the same.”Everyone has to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, but our reservation was with the government. The BJP government should not have shown hurry in fixing minimum qualification criteria as it will debar nearly 70 per cent candidates from contesting. “The government should have first sought people’s view on this before moving ahead,” party’s state unit president Ashok Arora said.However, 33-year-old Sunil Jaglan, the man behind ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign and the Sarpanch of village Bibipur, termed it as a “historic” verdict. “It’s a historic verdict. Having educated elected representatives at the grassroot level of our system means that communication gap between government and public will be bridged. “Educated sarpanches will not be at the mercy of bureaucrats and effectively implement government schemes,” Jaglan said.

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Minimum educational qualification mandatory for Panchayat polls: Supreme Court

The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls, while the qualification for women (general) and Scheduled Caste candidates has been fixed at Class VIII.

Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls.”The writ petition is dismissed,” a bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said. The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls, while the qualification for women (general) and Scheduled Caste candidates has been fixed at Class VIII.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, in case of a woman candidate belonging to the Scheduled Caste category contesting election for the post of panch (panchayat head), the minimum qualification would be Class V.

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