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Congress leaders hopeful of bouncing back to power in future

Veteran party leaders and ageing workers were felicitated on the occasion. It was also decided to give a scroll of honour to every senior party worker at their homes.

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‘Shrill’ debates in media overshadowing facts: Arun Jaitley

Referring to the latest data brought out by Registrar for Newspapers in India (RNI) in the report, he said newspapers have grown at over eight per cent and a large part of it is because of growth in regional newspapers.

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Australia defeat West Indies by 177 runs in thrilling finish, seal series 2-0 <!– /.block –>
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Delhi govt’s odd-even formula to be a failure: Sheila Dikshit

Dikshit who saw a crushing defeat to Kejriwal in 2013 Assembly elections said, “Congress is the one that takes along ‘aam’ (commoners) and ‘khas’ (elite). The party also believes in the power of women. We believe that given the right and equal opportunities, women can build a better world.” Also present on the occasion, Shivraj Patil, former Punjab Governor said, “Our efforts to build a better society should go beyond our homes, country. Environment protection is not an individual pursuit, it should be a united effort.”

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Arvind Kejriwal, Najeeb Jung, others pay tribute to constable killed in Karkardooma court firing

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The mortal remains of the deceased were kept in caskets draped in the national flag as the dignitaries paid tributes by laying wreaths over them.

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi on Thursday paid last tribute to Delhi Police Head constable Ram Kumar who was killed on Wednesday in Karkardooma court firing.The mortal remains of the deceased were kept in caskets draped in the national flag as the dignitaries paid tributes by laying wreaths over them, one by one.Kumar was killed when four armed assailants opened fire inside a courtroom at Karkardooma Court Complex in east Delhi on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The incident occurred around 11:15 am when a criminal, having more than 100 cases against him, was being produced at courtroom number 73. Those present in the courtroom, including the judge, had to run for cover as the assailants fired indiscriminately.A case of murder and attempt to murder has been registered at Farsh Bazar police station. Several teams have been formed to investigate and catch the culprits behind the daring attack.

Govt wants primacy for Kannada at primary school level: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah

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Siddaramaiah was speaking at the closing ceremony of the sesquicentennial (150 years) celebrations of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School here that was attended by President Pranab Mukherjee and Governor Vajubhai Vala.

President Pranab Mukherjee is received by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala and CM Siddaramaiah on his arrival at HAL Airport in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

PTI
Stating that language of the land should get priority in early learning, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said government wants primacy to Kannada in education at the primary school level.”It is true that every language we learn is an asset for us. I believe that language should be a carrier of thought and should not become a barrier to be fought,” Siddaramaiah said.”But, the language of the land should be respected and it should get priority in early learning, as that can only make the life of the child comfortable,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Our government and our people want primacy to Kannada in education at the primary school level,” he added.Siddaramaiah was speaking at the closing ceremony of the sesquicentennial (150 years) celebrations of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School here that was attended by President Pranab Mukherjee and Governor Vajubhai Vala.Complimenting Bishop Cotton Boys’ School for high quality of its academics, Siddaramaiah said every school in the state and the country should impart quality education to their students.”No child should be denied education citing the economic backwardness of its family,” he added.Highlighting the primacy given by his government to the education sector, the Chief Minister said funds earmarked for primary and secondary education for the current year is Rs 16,204 crore, whereas for higher education, it is Rs 3896 crore.

Supreme Court defers swearing-in of UP Lokayukta; takes up plea against appointment

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In an extraordinary hearing on a holiday, a bench comprising justices A K Goel and U U Lalit raised some pointed question as to how the name of Justice Virendra Singh was placed before its bench when the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court had specifically made some objections.
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dna Research & Archives
The swearing-in of former high court judge Virendra Singh as Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta was deferred on Saturday after his controversial appointment was challenged in Supreme Court before which the state government gave an undertaking to keep it in abeyance till the matter is decided.In an extraordinary hearing on a holiday, a bench comprising justices A K Goel and U U Lalit raised some pointed question as to how the name of Justice Virendra Singh was placed before its bench when the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court had specifically made some objections.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the bench said that there has been no statement by the government denying the stated position of the chief justice who had written a letter to the Governor and reported in the media, UP’s additional advocate general Gaurav Bhatia gave an undertaking on behalf of the government that there will be no oath taking ceremony on Sunday.The court was hearing a petition filed by UP resident Sachidanad Gupta alleging that the state government has played a “fraud upon the apex court” by hiding the fact that the Allahabad High Court Chief Justice had expressed his reservations to the name of Justice Virendra Singh.

President Pranab Mukherjee on southern sojourn from tomorrow

During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release said on Thursday.
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PTI
President Pranab Mukherjee would be on a southern sojourn for 14 days starting from December 18 to 31 at the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad.During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release said on Thursday.The President would attend the second convocation of the Central University of Karnataka on December 22 at Gulbarga in Karntaka. On the same day, he will inaugurate the Magneto Encephalography Equipment and renovated heritage building of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. He will also dedicate NIMHANS to the nation as an institute of national importance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 23, the President will attend the 150th Anniversary of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and lay the foundation stone of the State Cancer Institute at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore. On December 25, the President will inaugurate the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’s Veda-Patasala at Ai Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh. On December 27, Mukherjee would deliver the inaugural address at the Indian Economic Association s Annual Conference at Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad.On the same day, he will also attend the ‘Purnahuthi’ of ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam’ being organised by the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at Erravelli village in Medak in Telangana for ‘Lok Kalyanam’ (universal prosperity) and ‘Vishwa Shanthi’ (universal peace).ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will host a dinner in honour of the President on December 29. The President will host a reception for senior dignitaries of the State, Ministers, officials and others at the Rashtrapati Nalayam, Secunderabad on December 30, 2015.The Nilayam at Secunderabad in Hyderabad is one of the Presidential Retreats. It is customary for the President to visit the Nilayam at least once a year and conduct official business from there.

My Govt stable, crisis created by Governor, claims Arunachal CM Nabam Tuki

A no confidence motion was moved by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents on Thursday, which was adopted by Deputy Speaker T. Norbu Thongdok, a ‘rebel Congressman’ in the Chair.

Supporters of Chief Minister Nabam Tuki block the highway at Papu Nallah in Naharlagun, Itanagar, Arunachal Prdaesh on Thursday.

PTI
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Thursday said ‘his popularly elected government is stable’, and alleged that the crisis was created by Governor J.P. Rajkhowa”It’s a popularly elected government. There is no crisis from our side, it is created by the Governor,” he told ANI.A no confidence motion was moved by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independents on Thursday, which was adopted by Deputy Speaker T. Norbu Thongdok, a ‘rebel Congressman’ in the Chair. As many as 33 members of the 60-member House, including 20 Congress dissidents, later elected Kalikho Pul, another Congressman dissident, as the new Chief Minister.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Tuki and 26 MLAs supporting him boycotted the proceedings, dubbing as ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.”The 14 dissidents are not rebels, as they have already lost membership of the party. They don’t attend party’s meet, and are directly going to the media. They were found attending BJP meets, hence disqualified. At present, the assembly has just 44 members, of them 11 are from the BJP and two Independents,” Tuki said, while buttressing his claims.He said he had written to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and appealed to them to save democracy.”I believe in the judiciary, and the Assam High Court has stayed the orders of the Governor till February 1. The composite floor test is illegal, since the assembly session is not called, and the matter is sub judice,” he added.Meanwhile, the Congress on Thursday said there could be no business in the Rajya Sabha, because of the recent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh. Briefing media in New Delhi, leader of opposition in the Upper House Ghulam Nabi Azad said the Central government is using the Governor, who is upholder of the Constitution, for political gains. He alleged that the Centre is trying to destabilise Arunchal Pradesh government.In reply to a query, another spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala clarified that the Congress Party has not called any of its state leaders to Delhi on December 19.

Arunachal Pradesh political crisis: CM Nabam Tuki writes to President and Prime Minister seeking intervention

Tuki said that he along with his council of ministers called on the Governor on December 15 but despite registering protest and requests urging him to reconsider his illegal order, he refused to heed to their pleadings.

Arunachal Pradesh CM Nabam Tuki
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Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Wednesday shot off two separate letters to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention in the political crisis that has gripped the state. In the letters Tuki apprised them of the “unilateral decision taken by the governor by summoning the Assembly session without consulting the democratically-elected government.”As per the provisions of Article 174 of Constitution, the Governor can summon session of the Legislative Assembly only on the aid and advice of the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers. On the contrary, the Governor, on the strength of Article 175(2) issues a message for summoning a session,” Tuki said in his letters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”You are aware that message under Article 175(2) is only for a Bill and not any resolution of the members of the House. Furthermore, the Governor, not stopping by issuing this illegal order, also issues the agenda of the business to be transacted by selectively taking up pending business of removal of the Speaker to be chaired by the Deputy Speaker whereas the notice for removal of Deputy Speaker was submitted earlier to the Assembly secretariat,” he said.Tuki further added that he along with his council of ministers called on the Governor on December 15 but despite registering protest and requests urging him to reconsider his illegal order, he refused to heed to their pleadings.”In utter violation of all norms and laid down procedures, the Deputy Speaker, who stands disqualified along with some legislators convenes the illegal session with the permission of the Governor, in a badminton court and passes resolution for removal of the Speaker,” the letters said.”This is unprecedented murder of democracy and bypass of a democratically-elected government and in contravention to the provisions and ideals of the Constitution. I seek your support and timely intervention on the issue in the larger interest of the nation and to uphold the ideals as enshrined in the Constitution, the letters added.

Congress plans grand show on eve of Rahul-Sonia appearance in court

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The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.

Sonia Gandhi and other Congress leaders after submitting a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding removal of Arunachal governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa

dna
The Congress is planning a grand show on Saturday, when Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi and five other leaders are appearing before a magistrate’s court here in the National Herald case. They party has summoned all its chief ministers, state party presidents and MPs to the AICC headquarters at 24 Akbar Road here on Saturday for a likely march along with leaders to the Patiala Courts.The Congress sources said it would be a show of strength to express solidarity with the party leadership and register protest against senior BJP leader Dr Subramanian Swamy’s attempts to implicate its leaders with the charge of usurping properties of the defunct newspaper National Herald in Delhi and eight other cities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As a strategy, Rahul has decided not to offer bail or sign a security bond as he prefers to be sent to judicial custody. Though, earlier it was decided that Sonia will file for a bail bond because of her fragile health along with 86-year old treasurer Motilal Vora, party sources said, Congress president may also opt for jail to secure a sympathy for ‘victimisation by the ruling BJP and the Modi government’. They said Sonia and Rahul were taking a cue from former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi whose political fortunes resurrected following her arrest in 1977 after losing the elections.

Arunachal Assembly: Ministers used unparliamentary words, says Governor

The Governor claimed that he had issued the order on December 9 advancing the winter session from January 14 to December 16 as per laid down provisions of the Constitution and the law and in exercising powers conferred on him under Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India.

Arunachal Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa

Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prashad Rajkhowa on Tuesday night alleged that some ministers who called on him to request him to withdraw the order advancing the winter session of the state Assembly used “unparliamentary languages.””They used unparliamentary words and gestured in an animated and threatening manner against the Governor when they, along with Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, met him today,” a Raj Bhawan communique said.The Governor said they have legal option to challenge his order. The Governor claimed that he had issued the order on December 9 advancing the winter session from January 14 to December 16 as per laid down provisions of the Constitution and the law and in exercising powers conferred on him under Clause (1) of Article 174 of the Constitution of India. Legal experts were also consulted, the Governor claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, not willing to listen to him, the ministers questioned his authority and judgement, he said.”Some of the ministers got very agitated and led by Education Minister Tapang Taloh, used unparliamentary words and gestured in very animated and threatening manner before leaving the Raj Bhavan,” the statement said.They also virtually “threatened” to disturb the Assembly session starting from tomorrow, it claimed adding the Governor expressed extreme disappointment at the behaviour of the ministers, particularly when the Chief Minister himself had sought the appointment for official deliberation.

Karnataka Lokayukta resigns over alleged bribery scandal

Rao, who had resisted growing calls for stepping down following the allegation, had tendered his resignation on Monday and it was accepted by Governor Vajubhai R Vala on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty hanging over the institution.

Karnataka Lokayukta resigns
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Facing the prospect of his removal, controversial Karnataka Lokayukta Y Bhaskar Rao has resigned over an alleged extortion racket in the anti-graft ombudsman’s office involving his son.Rao, who had resisted growing calls for stepping down following the allegation, had tendered his resignation on Monday and it was accepted by Governor Vajubhai R Vala on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty hanging over the institution. “Hon’ble Governor of Karnataka is pleased to accept the resignation of Dr. Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao, as Lokayukta of Karnataka State with immediate effect,” a Raj Bhavan communique said on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rao is on a long leave since July last after his son Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) in connection with the case. A motion moved by BJP and JDS and also supported by the ruling Congress seeking the removal of Rao is pending before the Karnataka Assembly with the Speaker Kagodu Thimappa considering it before referring the issue to the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice to take the process forward.According to the Lokayukta Act, recently amended to simplify rules for removal of the anti-graft ombudsman, on admission of the motion, the presiding officers shall refer the matter to the High Court Chief Justice for investigation into the grounds over which the removal is sought. If the charges against the Lokayukta are proved by the inquiry, it is then taken up for consideration and adoption of the motion and sent to the Governor for assent.The investigation for proof of misbehaviour or incapacity of Lokayukta has to be done as provided in the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, by a three-member committee, comprising two judges and a jurist. The scandal surfaced after Lokayukta Superintendent of Police Sonia Narang wrote a letter to the Registrar of Karnataka Lokayukta about the complaint she received from a person who alleged that someone from the Lokayukta office demanded Rs 1 crore in bribe to avoid a raid. The SIT has arrested 11 persons, including Ashwin Rao, and registered five cases in connection with the alleged racket.In another development, a motion seeking removal of Upa Lokayukta Subhash Adi, moved by the Congress but not supported by BJP and JDS, is also before the Assembly. In their petition against Adi, the ruling party members have accused him of “misuse of office, misconduct and inefficiency”. The Opposition maintains there are no specific charges against Adi and the move against him is an attempt to shut down the Lokayukta institution itself.Former Upa Lokayukta SB Majage had earlier alleged that Adi had closed a case of misconduct against a medical officer from Hubballi, which was a being handled by him. Following that, some Congress leaders had demanded Adi’s resignation. The Congress leaders had also alleged that the medical officer was a relative of Opposition BJP leader in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar, during whose Chief Ministership Adi was appointed as the Upa Lokayukta. Procedure for removal of the Upa Lokayukta is similar to that for a Lokayukta.The Assembly Speaker has, however, said that he is not convinced with the evidence produced that alleged Adi had shown favouritism and exceeded his jurisdiction.

Switch off mobile phones before entering House: Bihar Speaker

Earlier, protem speaker Sadanand Singh had made a strong comment on some members clicking photograph from their mobile during oath taking function on December 1.

The new Bihar Legislative Assembly Speaker Vijay Chaudhary on Friday took strong note of members using mobile phone inside the House and gave a stern instruction to put the cell phone on “switch off mode” before entering.”I have seen mobile phone of members ringing inside the house while proceeding is on. It looked very bad today when it happened during Governor’s speech also,” Chaudhary said before concluding business of the house for the day. “Such incidents are against respect of the House,” the Speaker said.”We have to make arrangement either to keep the mobile phone of the members outside the house or else members should themselves ensure that cell phone is put on switch off mode before entering into the House,” Chaudhary said resuming business of the House on departure of Governor Ram Nath Kovind after addressing the joint session of the two Houses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, protem speaker Sadanand Singh had made a strong comment on some members clicking photograph from their mobile during oath taking function on December 1. Later, talking to reporters Chief Minister Nitish Kumar shared the Speaker’s anxiety over use of mobile phone inside the House and stressed on strong ruling to enforce it.

Delhi cabinet approves two changes in new Jan Lokpal Bill

Following backlash from expelled AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav and the opposition in Delhi assembly over a ‘diluted’ anti-corruption legislation, the Delhi cabinet on Thursday approved two amendments to its new Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, 2015. According to AAP legislators, the amendments are in line with those proposed by veteran social activist Anna Hazare. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also asserted he will ‘surely’ implement Anna’s suggestions. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The amendments deal with the selection and removal of the Lokpal. While the ‘diluted’form of the bill suggested just four members in the Lokpal selection committee, with Delhi CM, the assembly speaker, leader of opposition in the assembly and the chief justice of Delhi high court, the amended bill says there would be three additional members. The new members will include another judge from Delhi high court, any eminent personality selected the rest of the committee members and the Lokpal chairman from the next term. For removal of Lokpal, there would be a high court enquiry first before referring the matter to the Delhi assembly, where two-thirds of the Delhi assembly can vote to remove the Lokpal. However, in the 2011 bill, a Lokpal could be removed only after being found guilty of wrongdoing by courts and a presidential clearance. However, the rest of the provisions of the bill have been kept unchanged. It is likely to be tabled in the house on Friday.AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh met Anna at Ralegan Siddhi on Tuesday, who had suggested the amendments. On Thursday, Bhushan also met Anna, following which he tweeted, Met Anna:He says 2015 Lokpal bill has many defects:Needs to be identical to 2014 bill;Ask Ak to bring that. Will agitate if Centre obstructs.”The Bill has to be cleared by the Lieutenant Governor and the Centre before it becomes a law.

Janlokpal Bill: AAP government amends draft, includes points suggested by Anna Hazare

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government

Anna Hazare

Delhi government on Thursday approved two amendments in the appointment and removal clauses in the draft Janlokpal legislation as suggested by veteran social activist Anna Hazare during his recent meeting with AAP leaders.The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday, said senior officials in Delhi government. As per the changes, there will be a provision for one more High Court judge and one eminent person in the selection panel while the impeachment process for removal will begin only after a higher court monitored probe of any allegation against the Lokpal, a senior government official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These were among the points over which former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan has targeted Kejriwal saying he had “diluted” key provisions of the original draft, a product of the 2011 anti-graft movement. But the government had dismissed the criticism earlier saying that Supreme Court had argued against inclusion of eminent persons in such positions during deliberations over NJAC and had argued that impeachment was the best possible removal clause.As per the draft Bill, the Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can be removed on the ground of proven misconduct or incapacity only by the Lt Governor on the recommendation of the Assembly by a minimum two-third majority of the total membership.It has provided for a four-member Selection Committee comprising the Chief Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition and one Delhi High Court judge. The Bill that has already been tabled is scheduled to be debated upon in the assembly tomorrow.

Will implement Anna’s suggestions on Lokpal: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

Kejriwal’s comment assumes significance as the government on Monday, after tabling the Bill, defended the proposed four – member selection committee — comprising Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition, Delhi High Court Chief Justice and Speaker — as one that is independent.
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dna Research & Archives
Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday thanked Anna Hazare for supporting the Delhi Janlokpal Bill 2015 with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal suggesting that he will “surely” effect the changes proposed by the veteran social activist, chiefly in appointment and removal of the ombudsman.”Annaji, thank you for your support and blessings. We will surely implement your suggestions,” the Chief Minister tweeted.Kejriwal’s comment assumes significance as the government on Monday, after tabling the Bill, defended the proposed four – member selection committee — comprising Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition, Delhi High Court Chief Justice and Speaker — as one that is independent. While welcoming the Bill, Anna has suggested that the Lokpal selection panel be of seven members, with two high court judges and one eminent person. Impeachment proceedings for removal should begin only after a Supreme Court go-ahead, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the draft Bill, the Chairperson or any member of the Janlokpal can be removed on the ground of proven misconduct or incapacity only by the Lt Governor on the recommendation of the Assembly by a minimum two-third majority of the total membership. The appointment and removal process of the members has come under criticism from former AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and BJP who have accused Kejriwal of playing the “biggest fraud” by diluting the provisions that had been envisaged originally.AAP leaders Kumar Vishwas and Sanjay Singh met Anna at Ralegan Siddhi today. Anna said he will step in if the NDA government at the Centre puts obstructions in the way of Janlokpal Bill, especially over the contentious clause which brings Union government functionaries under its ambit.”You go ahead, I will see if these provisions are opposed. They should not be opposed. It will be sad if obstacles are put on the way of a potentially good Lokpal. Centre has no intention for a corruption-free India,” Anna told reporters.

India central bank seen holding rates, room for cuts narrows | Reuters

MUMBAI India’s central bank is likely to keep its policy rate unchanged on Tuesday, following a big cut two months ago, and to sound cautious about the scope for more easing as it aims to meet its 2017 inflation target and braces for a U.S. rate hike.

All 45 respondents surveyed by Reuters last week expected the Reserve Bank of India to hold the repo rate INREPO=ECI at 6.75 percent, after easing it by 50 basis points at its last policy review in late September.

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan will also likely reiterate an “accommodative” stance in his statement, in the wake of data on Monday showing the economy grew 7.4 percent in the July-September quarter, faster than China but below the government’s goal of 8.0 to 8.5 percent growth.

But analysts are less certain about whether Rajan will cut the rate early in the new year. Although India will comfortably meet its target of keeping annual consumer inflation INCPIY=ECI to 6 percent in January, Rajan is expected to shift focus towards getting it down to around 5 percent by March 2017.

That’s an ambitious target for a country that less than two years ago suffered double-digit inflation. A recent pay hike to government employees and potential food price shocks could easily push up consumer price inflation from the 5 percent hit in October, analysts warned.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise U.S. rates in December for the first time in nearly a decade.

Although India has outperformed other emerging markets over the past two years, the country is not immune to Fed-related worries.

Concern about selling by foreign investors sent the rupee INR=D2 to a two-year low on Friday. During November, it lost more than 2 percent against the U.S. dollar, one of the worst performances in Asia, as foreign investors sold $1.5 billion in bonds and stocks.

A. Prasanna, an economist at ICICI Securities Primary Dealership Ltd in Mumbai, doubts that Indian interest rates can be cut before April.

“It is very difficult for inflation to sustain below 5 percent in India,” he said.

RBI Governor Rajan has eased the repo rate by 125 basis points since January, as inflation has eased thanks in large measure to a prolonged slump in commodity prices.

However, Rajan has been mindful of becoming dependent on this windfall. He has pushed the government to pass reforms and resolve problems such as poorly kept roads and historically high spending that has kept inflation high in India.

The governor has spent months improving the country’s defences against a Fed hike, building up foreign exchange reserves to near a record high of $352.37 billion, enough to cover about 10 months of imports.

(Editing by Richard Borsuk)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

BJP leader Prem Kumar becomes leader of Opposition in Bihar assembly

The Winter Session of Bihar Assembly is beginning from tomorrow to facilitate the newly-elected MLAs who would take oath on November 30 and December 1 respectively.

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prem Kumar has become the new Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly.

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Prem Kumar has become the new Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly. Senior Congress MLA Sadanand Singh on Sunday took oath as the Pro-tem Speaker of the Bihar Assembly. Governor Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath to Singh at a function at the Raj Bhawan here. The Winter Session of Bihar Assembly is beginning from tomorrow to facilitate the newly-elected MLAs who would take oath on November 30 and December 1 respectively.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Speaker will be elected on December 2. The Governor will address the joint session of the two Houses of the state legislature the following day. The Winter Session will be up to December 8.WIth agency inputs

Intolerance debate: Why so much hullabaloo over Aamir Khan’s statement, asks Nagma

She wondered why so much hullabaloo has been created over his statement on “intolerance” when similar sentiments have been expressed by some other prominent personalties.

Actress and Congress member Nagma on Friday came out in support of Aamir Khan over his comments on “growing intolerance” and said the superstar never thought of leaving India, as she slammed BJP leaders like Yogi Adityanath over their remarks. She wondered why so much hullabaloo has been created over his statement on “intolerance” when similar sentiments have been expressed by some other prominent personalties. Asked by reporters to comment on Khan’s statement, the filmstar-politician shot back “kaun sa pahad toot gaya hai desh par (what big trouble his statement has caused)?” The 40-year-old “Baaghi” actress criticised BJP leaders like Yogi Adityanath for targeting Khan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When did Aamir say he wants to leave the country? There is a false propaganda against him. He never said he wants to leave India.” The 50-year-old actor has featured in advertisements for the Government of India and does not belong to any political party, she said. The General Secretary of All-India Mahila Congress had come to Jambusar town in Bharuch district to campaign for party candidates contesting the taluka panchayat polls slated for November 29.President Pranab Mukherjee, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy, among others, have also spoken on the issue of intolerance, she said. The Congress politician took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his frequent foreign visits, saying “he should be issued an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) passport”. Nagma alleged law and order situation is deteriorating in BJP-ruled Gujarat, where she claimed attacks on women are increasing. She criticised the Gujarat government for extending soft loan at 0.1 per cent interest to Tata Motors for their Nano car plant in Sanand near Ahmedabad.

‘Hindustan only for Hindus’ remark: Congress wants dismissal of Assam Governor PB Acharya

Gogoi alleged Acharya was working more as an “RSS pracharak than a Constitutional Head of the state.”

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday took out a rally in Guwahati demanding dismissal of acting Governor PB Acharya for his alleged remark that “Hindustan is only for Hindus,” even as the BJP held a rally in Dibrugarh launching its campaign for the Assembly polls in the state due next year. Addressing the rally Congress president Anjan Dutta alleged that by his remark the Governor demeaned his post and violated his position of maintaining neutrality as a Constitutional head of the state by acting as a spokesman of the RSS.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dutta, along with other Congress leaders demanded Acharya’s dismissal alleging the Governor was using the Raj Bhavan as a headquarter of the RSS and claimed that the Governor had appointed pro-RSS persons without required qualifications in University governing bodies here. Earlier on November 22 Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had also demanded the Centre to appoint a permanent Governor in the state by replacing acting incumbent Acharya with an open minded person to keep unity in the country and continue with its development. Gogoi alleged Acharya was working more as an “RSS pracharak than a Constitutional Head of the state.” Meanwhile, launching a scathing attack on the Tarun Gogoi government, BJP president Amit Shah addressing a party Karyakarta Sanmelan in Dibrugarh, exhorted people to vote for BJP in Assam to bring in development, install a corruption-free government, increase employment avenues and safeguard its borders from illegal migrants.

Katra chopper crash: Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra expresses grief over death of pilgrims

In a condolence message, the Governor prayed for peace to the departed souls and for strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

The Governor has issued directions for the payment of ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, who is also the chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, on Tuesday expressed grief over the tragic helicopter crash in Katra in which six pilgrims and a woman pilot was killed. In a condolence message, the Governor prayed for peace to the departed souls and for strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.Earlier in the day, immediately after receiving information about the crash, the Governor directed the CEO of the Shrine Board to rush to the site and make all necessary arrangements for medical examination and transportation of the bodies to their respective homes. He also asked the DGCA to order an immediate inquiry into the incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Jammu- Seven dead after chopper carrying Vaishno devi pilgrims crashes in KatraThe Governor has issued directions for the payment of ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

Assam Governor did not make religious comment, says Kiren Rijiju

Rijiju, Minister of State for Home, was responding to a question on the Assam Governor’s controversial comments in Guwahati in the last two days.

Kiren Rijiju

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday sought to defend Assam Governor P B Acharya over his controversial remarks that “Hindustan is for Hindus” and Indian Muslims are “free to go Pakistan”, saying he did not make any religious comment.”The Governor did not make a religious comment. But it was for all religions not any particular one. But I have not heard the other comment (about Muslims in India being free to go to Pakistan and Bangladesh),” he told reporters here.Rijiju, Minister of State for Home, was responding to a question on the Assam Governor’s controversial comments in Guwahati in the last two days. The Assam Governor has stoked a controversy after he reportedly said on Saturday that “Hindustan is for Hindus”, drawing sharp criticism from Congress which alleged that it was reflective of the divisive ideology of RSS and BJP which has led to incidents like Dadri lynching.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Acharya’s attempt on Sunday to clarify the alleged remarks he made on Saturday at a book launch function further stirred the row after he said that “Muslims in India are free to go anywhere….If they want to go to Pakistan, Bangladesh, they are free to go”.

Bihar Ministry: Lalu’s son Tejaswi Yadav to be Dy CM, RJD gets crucial portfolios

Nitish Kumar took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for the fifth time on Friday.

Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind administers oath to RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tejashwi Yadav as a minister during the swearing-in ceremony of the new government at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Friday.

PTI
Nitish Kumar on Friday took oath as Bihar Chief Minister for a third straight term at the head of a 29-member Cabinet, including Lalu Prasad’s son Tejaswi as Deputy CM, in the presence of predominantly non-BJP leaders that could indicate possible future alignments.Tej Pratap, Prasad’s another victorious son in the elections, was among those who were sworn in by Governor Ram Nath Kovind at a grand function in the Gandhi Maidan in which 12 ministers each from JD(U) and RJD and four from Congress were inducted. Both the sons of the RJD leader are first-time MLAs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Kumar retained Home, Information and Publicity and General Administration departments with him, he gave Road Construction and Buildings Construction portfolio to 26-year- old Tejaswi, his Deputy CM. Tej Pratap has been given Health. Senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui has been entrusted with the Finance portfolio. Congress leader Ashok Chaudhary to be the next Education and IT minister. In an indication of his place in the order of pecking, Tejaswi followed the chief minister in oath taking as his parents Lalu and Rabri Devi, both former chief ministers, watched amidst full-throated cheers from the RJD activists in the gathering.Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, whose party was also a major beneficiary of the grand alliance, Minister H D West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, National Conference leaders and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar and AIUDF leader from Assam Badaruddin Ajmal were among those present at the ceremony. Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was deputed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also present.A number of Congress chief ministers including Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Oommen Chandy (Kerala), Tarun Gogoi (Assam) and Siddaramiah (Karnataka) (CPI-M’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja, DMK’s M K Stalin and T R Baalu also attended the event. Some allies of BJP Akali Dal Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal (Akali Dal)and Ram Das Kadam and Subhash Desai (Shiv Sena) were also present.Tej Pratap was the third personality to take oath in the ceremony where NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, JMM leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Vikas Party, also a former CM were present. Gandhi reached the venue only at the fag end of the ceremony due to late arrival from Delhi. Venkaiah Naidu sat beside RJD President Lalu Prasad and was seen talking to him from time to time. Leaders from Indian National Lok Dal, INLD and AGP attended the event.Though Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his CM son Akhilesh Yadav were invited, SP MP Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who is also son-in-law of Lalu Prasad, was there. Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury shared the stage as did Kejriwal and former chief minister Sheila Dixit and Gogoi and AGP leader Prafulla Mahanta.Rahul Gandhi shook hands and hugged RJD chief Lalu Prasad amid cheers by the crowd. Nitish Kumar’s son Nishant and elder brother Satish were present on the occasion.Lalu Prasad’s entire family including wife Rabri Devi and seven daughters along with sons-in-law sat in THE VVIP area and were seen cheering Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav in particular.Ministers from RJD who took oath are Tejaswi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Alok Kumar Mehta, Chandrika Rai, Ram Vichar Rai, Shiv Chandra Ram, Abdul Gafoor, Chandrasekhar, Munneshwar Chaudhary, Anita Devi and Vijay Prakash. Those from JD(U) are Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, Shrawan Kumar, Jay Kumar Singh, Krishnandan Prasad Varma, Maheshwar Hazari, Shailesh Kumar, Manju Varma, Santosh Kumar Nirala, Khursheed alias Firoz Ahmad, Madan Sahni and Kapildeo Kamat apart from Nitish Kumar.Congress is represented in the cabinet by Ashok Choudhary, Awdesh Kumar Singh, Abdul Jalil Mastan and Madan Mohan Jha. Two women, one each from JD(U) and RJD Manju Varma and Anita Devi respectively, got place in the new Bihar cabinet. Seven more could be accommodated in the Cabinet as under the constitutional provision a maximum of 15 per cent ministers of the total strength of the house is allowed.Senior Grand Allaince leaders said the coalition government has arrived at a formula of one minister for every 5 MLAs. According to this formula RJD’s share is 16, JD(U)’s 14 and Congress 5 besides CM. RJD had won 80 seats, JD(U) 71 and Congress 27 out of a total of 178 seats of alliance in the 243-member house. JD(U) saw eight new faces in the ministry. Only Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh, Shrawan Kumar and Jay Kumar Singh were members of the outgoing cabinet.Many prominent faces of the previous ministries like Shyam Rajak, Narendra Narayan Yadav, Leshi Singh and Ranju Geeta could not find berth in the cabinet this time. Congress state president Ashok Choudhary could not take oath when his name was called as he had gone to receive Rahul Gandhi. He took oath at the end after Gandhi had arrived.

Vyapam: Supreme Court notice to Centre, MP Governor on plea for his removal

A bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justices Shiva Kirti Singh and Amitava Roy allowed the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, that the notice be issued. The petition has been filed by activist Sanjay Shukla.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre and Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav on a plea seeking his removal on the ground of his alleged involvement in the Vyapam scam, currently being probed by CBI.The plea also seeks a direction from the apex court to Ministry of Home Affairs for formulation of guidelines on removal of Governors if they are found to be involved in corrupt practices while being in office.A bench comprising Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justices Shiva Kirti Singh and Amitava Roy allowed the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, that the notice be issued. The petition has been filed by activist Sanjay Shukla.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier also, the apex court had agreed to hear another plea seeking removal of Yadav from the post of Governor for his alleged involvement in the scam.The earlier petition, filed by a group of lawyers, had sought removal of Yadav and recording of his statement in the case.The multi-crore rupee professional examination scam in Madhya Pradesh involves several high-profile professionals, politicians and bureaucrats as accused.Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (MPPEB), popularly known as Vyapam, holds examinations for various posts such as teachers, medical officers, constables and forest guards.

Lalu Yadav’s sons in Nitish ministry, JD(U) to bring new faces

From RJD’s quota of 12 ministers, names of Tejaswi Yadav, his brother Tej Pratap Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Abdul Gafoor, Vijay Prakash, Chandrika Rai, Mundrika Singh Yadav, Santosh Nirala, Ram Vichar Rai and Sheo Chander Ram were confirmed by RJD sources.

The Nitish Kumar ministry will have 12 ministers from JD(U) with many new faces while Lalu Prasad’s both sons — Tejaswi and Tej Pratap– will be among the ministers from RJD.Highly placed sources in the Raj Bhawan said the list of ministers has reached Governor Ram Nath Kovind.JD(U) said there would be many new faces among 12 ministers from the party. Manju Varma, Madan Sahni, Shailesh Kumar and Kapildeo Kamat were among those tipped for ministerial berths.Bijendra Prasad Yadav, Shrawan Kumar, Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan and Jay Kumar Singh, all members of the outgoing cabinet, will also find a place in the new Ministry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>From RJD’s quota of 12 ministers, names of Tejaswi Yadav, his brother Tej Pratap Yadav, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Abdul Gafoor, Vijay Prakash, Chandrika Rai, Mundrika Singh Yadav, Santosh Nirala, Ram Vichar Rai and Sheo Chander Ram were confirmed by RJD sources.From Congress, state party chief Ashok Choudhary, Madan Mohan Jha, Abdul Jalil Mastan and Awdesh Kumar Singh will be sworn in, said state party sources.RJD had won 80 seats in the Bihar poll followed by JD(U) 71 and Congress 27 totalling 178 in the 243-member Legislative Assembly.A galaxy of leaders including Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Himachal Pradesh counterpart Virbhadra Singh would be present at the swearing in ceremony of the new Bihar government.

Make Cabinet note on Jan Lokpal Bill public: BJP, Congress to AAP

Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also claimed that the AAP government passed the Bill without any “cabinet note” demanding that the version that was tabled during the previous stint of the ruling party should be adhered to.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
BJP on Thursday asked the AAP government to put the Cabinet note on the Jan Lokpal Bill in public domain claiming that the draft was cleared despite “objections” of top officials and accused it of not taking the Lt Governor’s nod for tabling Bills.Leader of Oppostion Vijender Gupta, accompanied by BJP MLAs OP Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan met LG Najeeb Jung in this regard even as the Delhi Congress said that the ruling party lacks “intentions” to pass the Bill in its “undiluted” form.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken also claimed that the AAP government passed the Bill without any “cabinet note” demanding that the version that was tabled during the previous stint of the ruling party should be adhered to.”The government is claiming to have cleared the Bill. But why are they not putting on public domain the Cabinet note? Is it because it contains objections including from the Law department and the Chief Secretary?” Gupta asked.The BJP legislators told Jung that the government would introduce “eight important Bills” without his prior approval in the ongoing session of the Delhi Assembly.”The presentation of Bills without approval of the Lt. Governor is a futile exercise as they become null and void,” Gupta added.Maken held a press conference on the issue flanked by former DPCC chief Arvinder Singh Lovely and senior Congress leader Haroon Yusuf and said that if the government intended to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, “it would not have waited for nine months and six Assembly sessions.””There were different versions of the Lokpal mooted by Anna Hazare, Kejriwal and others, which varies from Lokpal, Jan Lokpal to Lokayukta, but the Congress Party wants the Jan Lokpal Bill on the pattern of the draft Bill tabled in the Delhi Assembly on February 13, 2014,” Maken said.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is trying to use the Jan Lokpal Bill like a “football”. “He has to follow the Transaction of Business rules, and it cannot come in the winter Session without the sanction of the LG,” Maken added.

Band, baaja, birthday: Bevy of A-list performers set to ring in Mulayam’s 76th

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh’s ruling Samajwadi Party is busy preparing for a grand celebration of the 76th birthday of its founder and national president Mulayam Singh Yadav on 22 November.

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTIMulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

Mulayam Singh Yadav. PTI

The stadium is being decked up for the big day, as acclaimed music composer A.R. Rahman is set to perform on the eve of the birthday. Organisers said there would also be “cultural performances” by Bollywood stars and dance troupes from Mumbai. While a host of functions have been lined up for the event at the party office on Vikramaditya Marg, the big bash will be held on November 21 at the athletic stadium in Saifai, the Yadav clan’s ancestral village.

Sources informed that the Rajkiya Nirman Nigam had been vested with the responsibility of holding the show, which is likely to draw over 50,000 fans and followers of the wrestler-turned-politician, envoys from at least 10 countries, movie stars and industrialists.

Mulayam Singh’s son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is supervising the preparations “and is keen to make the day a memorable one for his father”, said an organiser.

Adding a dash of glamour to the event are likely to be Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Hrithik Roshan (in the past, both have performed at Saifai Mahotsava).

Also in attendance would be Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, a Rajya Sabha MP of the Samajwadi Party. Invites have been sent to industrialists Anil Ambani and Adi Godrej. Scores of Uttar Pradesh ministers and bureaucrats will also attend.

Among political bigwigs would be Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad, Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda. Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik is slated to be part of the celebrations.

All government accommodation þguest houses, circuit houses and dak bungalows and major hotels have been booked in neighbouring Mainpuri, Etawah, Firozabad and Agra to host the visitors.

“With the influx of several VVIPs and celebrities, the Saifai airstrip is being done up and security fortified there and around the venue,” an official said.

Visitors will get a lavish spread, mostly vegetarian fare. Other than the usual north Indian delicacies, there will also be ‘sarrata’ (hot and spicy curd concoction) and ‘kaddu-poorie’.

Last year, Mulayam Singh’s long-standing friend and Uttar Pradesh’s powerful minister Mohd Azam Khan had rolled out the red carpet for Netaji — as the Samajwadi Party is called — in Rampur on his birthday.

He was taken around in an imported Victorian buggy. School children had lined up the path, playing music and bands. The money spent on the extravaganza was questioned by the media and the opposition.

IANS

Need for increased awareness against cow slaughtering: UP governor Ram Naik

Addressing the 5th convocation ceremony of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Veterinary university here, the Governor advised the students to follow the doctrine of Deen Dayal Upadyaya and work for the development of the country since the leader’s name was associated with the university.

When the support would grow, it would become more effective than law,” he told reporters here on being asked about the vexed issue of banning cow slaughter in the country.

There is a need for increased awareness, commitment and support for banning cow slaughter, when the support grows louder, it becomes more effective than law, Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik said on Tuesday. “There is no need of separate law as the law already exists. There is need of increasing awareness, commitment and support for banning cow slaughtering. When the support would grow, it would become more effective than law,” he told reporters here on being asked about the vexed issue of banning cow slaughter in the country.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing the 5th convocation ceremony of Deen Dayal Upadhyay Veterinary university here, the Governor advised the students to follow the doctrine of Deen Dayal Upadyaya and work for the development of the country since the leader’s name was associated with the university. Naik also praised former Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and Atal Behari Vajpayi in making the country self-sufficient. “While Lal Bahadur Shatri gave ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ slogan, Atal Behari Vajpayee added ‘Jai Vigyan’ to this slogan after the country’s nuclear experiment,” he said.Former Vice Chancellor of the university M L Madan stressed on the need of promoting livestock. “Since ‘pashupalan’ (live stock) is the backbone of agriculture, states and Centre should give maximum funding for promoting and preserving it. By promoting livestock, 10 per cent contribution of agriculture in GDP may be ensured. “More contribution of agriculture in GDP means less poverty. Not only green revolution and white revolution depend upon livestock but it also opens the gate for more employment and eliminates malnutrition as well as poverty,” he said.He also felt the need of change in veterinary education with improvement in breeding of animals. The university gave out three PhD degrees, while 18 students received masters degrees and 67 received bachelor degrees.”Honorary degree was also conferred on K M L Pathak, DDG Animal Sciences ICAR and A K Srivastava, Vice Chancellor and Director NDRI Karnal. Six of the nine medal awardees were girls,” Prof A C. Varsaney, Vice Chancellor of the university said.

Have things gone so far that media makes the menu for what you should view and read?

The fourth estate today is largely a bog of intrigue and wilfulness and an overall arrogance. We decide the news, its level of importance and mastermind what you should know.

Never before has the dispensation of news per se been so unilateral and arbitrary.

If Geeta the girl from Pakistan has gone back, or is in a home or even with her mom and dad, who’s bothered? We have decided it is now a non-story and it has run its course. Not 10 days ago, the highest in the land were eager to be photographed with this young woman. Now she is of absolutely no relevance.

The feeding frenzy that was Indrani Mukherjea and a brutal murder has faded away into a sort of shrug of the shoulder fugue and she is equally irrelevant, for all we care. No one even knows where the case against her stands.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Chhota Rajan could be back in Indonesia and no one would know. Nary a peep about him when, at one time, we were getting updates on the hour.

We made such a song and dance over OROP and our bravehearts and when 2,000 of them got together to give back their medals (not one was burnt, contrary to reports) last week, the media decided, “Ho-hum, these guys have canteen facilities and keep getting pension reviews, this story won’t sell. Spoilt bunch the lot of them, drop it.”

Remember the dainty woman minister in MP who kicked a 10-year-old beggar? What was the aftermath? No clue.

Amit Shah’s disastrous utterings that got Bihari egg on the BJP face. Has he been chastised?

The dogged VK Singh and his comment: Did he get his knuckles rapped? Was he fined like cricketers are? Or was it a two-day salute to general shock and then let go because life sucks anyway?

Not that anyone stooped to ask the beggar’s name. And the General, well, he soldiers on.

Have Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung kissed and made up? Are they all buddies now with the prime minister? Have they collected all the garbage and killed the dengue-spreading mosquitoes? Last heard, they hated each other enough to destroy Delhi.

Where do they stand now?

The echo answers, “where?”

Where are all the people who raped little children, some of those victims not even a year old?

Do the arrested ever go on trial, does anyone chase the story?

Did anyone indict Kailash Vijayvargiya for this display of brilliance on rape? He had said in 2013: “One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana.”

Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana described the Delhi gang-rape as a “small incident.”

No action is taken against them, no pressure put.

Keen not to be left behind in this bizarre dispatch of moral wisdom, Banwari Lal Singhal, a BJP legislator from Rajasthan worked out all by himself that wearing skirts in schools led to sexual harassment.

Can anyone recall that incandescent genius and Khap Panchayat leader Jitender Chhatar who told us that to his understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents? Chowmein, after all, leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts(!)

Why has Salman Khurshid been given the ‘pass’ slip after his needless statements in Pakistan and why has no action been initiated?

How many more people have to be killed in the Vyapam scam and their bodies found near railway tracks before justice is fast-tracked? This story cannot die, it is too big but it seems to be in a coma.

I can go and on but it is against this canvas that we hear now that India leads the way in censoring Facebook with governments make the maximum number of demands to remove content.

The report says: “Notably, there has been a three-fold increase in such demands in the first six months of this year as compared to last year.”

“According to the data released by Facebook in its biannual government requests report, India made 15,155 demands, outnumbering 92 other countries in the list.” Sure enough, that is three times what it was over the same period last year.

So, what is going on? Selective media overwhelming the synapses with white noise and numbing their viewers and readers into unquestioning submission, and making out the menu for the mind.

You eat what we tell you to eat.

True or exaggerated? It’s your call.

Bihar assembly dissolved, Nitish Kumar resigns as Chief Minister

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday submitted his resignation to Governor Ramnath Kovind after the cabinet decided to recommend the dissolution of the outgoing assembly

PTI
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday submitted his resignation to Governor Ramnath Kovind after the cabinet decided to recommend the dissolution of the outgoing assemblyKumar said that he has resigned from his post as the Chief Minister and a proposal has been sent to the Governor asking to dismiss the assembly immediately.”I gave my resignation to the Governor and he has accepted it,” said Kumar to media here.He further added that after a meeting of Mahagathbandhan in the evening, details of oath ceremony will be decided.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the Bihar Assembly election result, where Grand Alliance has claimed a thumping majority, Kumar resigns from his post. He would be sworn in again as the CM for the fifth time. The tenure for the current assembly will expire on November 29, however, the legislative assembly will be dissolved on November 14. Nitish Kumar, who led the Grand Alliance to a victory in the assembly elections, will stake claim to form a new government after a joint meeting of his party, the RJD and the Congress later on Saturday.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel greets people on New Year

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

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

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

British papers say Bihar defeat to impact Modi UK visit

British newspapers feel the electoral debacle for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party in the regional elections in Bihar state will have a sobering effect on his “high-profile” visit to the UK.

Intolerance row: India known for communal harmony, says Ratan Tata

“I don’t think it is my lot to make a comment on that. I can only say that in country we live together and I hope we can live together in harmony . I don t want to get into the issues of the observations what is being taken place,” Tata said when asked about the industry view on the ongoing debate on “intolerance”.

PTI
Top industry leader Ratan Tata today said India is known for communal harmony even as he sought to steer clear of the ongoing debate on ‘intolerance’ in the country.”I don’t think it is my lot to make a comment on that. I can only say that in country we live together and I hope we can live together in harmony . I don t want to get into the issues of the observations what is being taken place,” Tata said when asked about the industry view on the ongoing debate on “intolerance”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is a country I think has been a country of communal harmony. We work together live together for centuries. And I am sure we continue to do that,” he explained.Tata was speaking with reporters here on the sidelines of inauguration of T-Hub a technology incubator for startups.A host of eminent personalities and business leaders have joined the debate on ‘intolerance’, with Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy saying there was “considerable fear” among the minorities in India.”I am not a politician, I am not interested in politics, therefore, I don’t want to comment on that but the reality today is that there is considerable fear in the minds of minority in India,” he had said.RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had said tolerance and mutual respect was necessary and physical harm or verbal contempt for any particular group should not be allowed.Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and economist Lord Meghnad Desai had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must act quickly to correct India’s image to prevent any threat to foreign investments.Several BJP leaders, including it Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, were recently in news over making allegedly intemperate remarks. Adityanath had compared Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of 26/11 Mumbai carnage, over his “extreme intolerance” comment.Before him, BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya had triggered a row with a series of tweets in which he called Shah Rukh an “anti-national” and said that the actor’s “soul” is in Pakistan though he lives in India. Under fire for the remark, he later withdrew the controversial tweets but asserted had there been intolerance in India, Shah Rukh would not have been the most popular actor after Amitabh Bachchan.

LG Najeeb Jung threatened to file FIR against me when I raised land issue: Somnath Bharti

“They are showing AAP legislators and workers the threat of police to shut our mouth,” Bharti said.

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AAP MLA Somnath Bharti alleged that Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had “threatened” to register an FIR against him after he raised the issue of change of land use of a plot from a nursery school to a BJP office at DDA meeting on Thursday, a charge strongly rubbished by the LG’s office.Bharti claimed Jung threatened to register a police case against him during the meeting of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) today. The meeting took place at the Raj Niwas to “confirm” the minutes of the previous meet held on September 23, in which Bharti was “not present”. “…the Delhi government had given several requests for land for schools and hospitals.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nothing is happening on that end and here land is being given to the BJP for political purpose, which was earlier alloted for building a nursery school. They were not ready to discuss the issue. “I wanted to know if any study had been done to ascertain whether people want a school or not. They were not responding to my questions, but I kept on asking about it. I also furnished all letters from Delhi government demanding land for school and hospital… the LG said he will see to that an FIR is registered against me,” Bharti told reporters, adding that Jung ended the meeting abruptly. Bharti also claimed that Jung had also asked whether anyone was recording the meeting.The LG’s office, however, denied the charges made by Bharti​. “There was some argument between BJP leaders and Somnath Bharti. He was creating ruckus in the meeting. His charge of LG threatening is totally baseless and LG’s office strongly rubbishes the charge,” an official at the LG secretariat said. The Malviya Nagar MLA and former Law Minister claimed that BJP legislator OP Sharma, BJP’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay also “badmouthed” him. “They said, I was better in jail. This shows the BJP is misusing the police. They are showing AAP legislators and workers the threat of police to shut our mouth,” Bharti said.Apart from Bharti, Sharma, Upadhyaya, AAP’s Krishna Nagar MLA S K Bagga is also a member of DDA. Meanwhile, the DDA said Bharti created a “situation” saying, “He (Bharti) was not present in the last meeting when the decision was taken to move the proposal to public objections and suggestion phase. And, in today’s meeting he wanted that decision to be reverted,” the official said. “The Minutes of Meeting once done cannot be changed, as they reflect the decision taken. And, since he was not present in the previous meeting, how can he asked for the decision to be reverted,” he said. The decision to “change” the land use of a nursery plot in central Delhi to that of a plot for a BJP office has kicked up a row between the AAP government and the DDA, headed by the Lt Governor, who is its chairman.DDA, in a statement released yesterday, had said that the change in land use was done upon the request of L&DO, which owns the plot, in accordance with the DDA Act. In a two-page letter earlier to Jung, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had accused him of allotting the plot to BJP for building a party office and wondered what had “forced” the LG to take such a step.

Slipper thrown at former NSA MK Narayanan

Chennai: Former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan was on Wednesday attacked with a slipper by a suspected pro-Tamil activist at a programme in Chennai.

According to police and eyewitnesses, the accused, identified as Prabhakaran (35), hurled the footwear at the former West Bengal Governor at a programme here to discuss about the problems of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees.

MK Narayanan. AFPMK Narayanan. AFP

MK Narayanan. AFP

Narayanan did not suffer any injuries and laughed off the incident, sources said.

Prabhakaran was immediately detained by police and taken for interrogation.

PTI

Former National Security Adviser MK Narayanan attacked with a slipper at a Chennai function

Narayanan did not suffer any injuries and laughed off the incident.
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dna Research & Archives
Former National Security Adviser M K Narayanan was attacked on Wednesday with a slipper by a suspected pro-Tamil activist at a programme in Chennai.According to police and eyewitnesses, the accused, identified as Prabhakaran (35), hurled the footwear at the former West Bengal Governor at a programme here to discuss about the problems of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees. Narayanan did not suffer any injuries and laughed off the incident, sources said.Prabhakaran was immediately detained by police and taken for interrogation.

Congress’ intolerance march: Sonia Gandhi accuses PM Modi of ‘endorsing’ incidents of hate

Covering a distance of more than a kilometre from the Gandhi statue in Parliament to the Presidential estate on the Raisina Hill, Gandhi led a delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee and handed over a memorandum against “fear, intolerance and pressure tactics” orchestrated by some organisations.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi leading the leaders and parliamentarians in a march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday to protest against the alleged rise in intolerance.

PTI
Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday took to the streets and led a march of its top leaders to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the climate of growing intolerance in the country and accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “endorsing” incidents of hate.Covering a distance of more than a kilometre from the Gandhi statue in Parliament to the Presidential estate on the Raisina Hill, Gandhi led a delegation to President Pranab Mukherjee and handed over a memorandum against “fear, intolerance and pressure tactics” orchestrated by some organisations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Whatever incidents are happening in the country today are part of a well thought-out strategy being adopted deliberately to divide our society,” she told reporters quoting from the memorandum given to the President.Image Courtesy: PTIThe Congress President said what was happening in the country was a matter of deep concern to every Indian and the President has already made clear his views on them.”But the Prime Minister is silent. It clearly indicates that he endorses all these incidents,” said Gandhi, who was flanked by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leaders of the party in Parliament Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad, besides Rahul Gandhi and A K Antony.Gandhi said some outfits linked to the government and some of them part of the government are indulging in acts that are an assault on the multi-coloured culture and fundamental ideas of the society and are fuelling intolerance.”The Congress party will fight these forces with all its strength,” she said.Image Courtesy: PTIRahul Gandhi also attacked the Prime Minister for his “silence” and said he does not believe it is necessary for him to speak on these incidents while the President and the RBI Governor have conveyed their concerns.”The Prime Minister and the Finance Minister believe nothing is happening in the country and they feel everything is fine. This is the heart of the problem. These people believe in intolerance. Ideologically they are not tolerant. It is not a matter of just Congress party alone. It is a problem of every single Indian …and the PM does not believe in that,” he said.Asked about Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s comment that protests against intolerance are manufactured, he said “yes, the RSS and BJP people are manufacturing these incidents. The Finance Minister feels there is nothing going on. He should go to the villages and see what is happening.”He attacked Union Minister V K Singh saying “when two dalit children were burnt to death, he called them dogs. He should not be in the cabinet.””Large numbers of people have made it clear that they are unhappy with the way this government views this country,” he said.Gandhi parried a question on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination. The Congress delegation told the President that a “sinister campaign” was being unleashed to create social and communal tension in the country.”It is being done with the objective of polarising society and disturbing social harmony,” the Congress said.
Image Courtesy: PTIThe opposition party also expressed its gratitude to the President for speaking out “strongly and unequivocally against forces of prejudice, bigotry and intolerance, its memorandum said while expressing deep regret that the Prime Minister had not deemed it fit to do so.”Worse, his council of ministers continue to harbour individuals who are contributing heavily to spreading hate and divisiveness. Congress conveys its grave concern at growing atmosphere of fear, intolerance and intimidation being deliberately created by sections of ruling establish men,” it said.The march came against the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over rising intolerance as reflected in the Dadri lynching, beef row and other such incidents. They also expressed their gratitude to Mukherjee for speaking out strongly and unequivocally against the force of prejudice, bigotry and intolerance.Police barricaded the route of the march and deployed a large number of personnel. Many Congress leaders were not allowed to march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan as police allowed only a small delegation to enter it.

Shah Rukh Khan criticises ‘intolerance’

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan speaks out against what he describes as growing intolerance in India.

Big Business worried about Make in India? After NRN, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Lord Desai express concern

“Let us face it, investors want a sort of harmonious kind of environment to invest in. If they feel there is turmoil, there is unrest, that their investments are not safe, that’s what Moody’s is talking about… Therefore it is important that government actually act fast and corrects this image,” she said.

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Echoing Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy’s concerns over ‘growing intolerance’, another business leader Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and economist Lord Meghnad Desai today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must act quickly to correct India’s image to prevent any threat to foreign investments. Stating that she feels “very sad” about the current environment in the country, Shaw said it “creates a kind of concern about investing in country.””Let us face it, investors want a sort of harmonious kind of environment to invest in. If they feel there is turmoil, there is unrest, that their investments are not safe, that’s what Moody’s is talking about… Therefore it is important that government actually act fast and corrects this image,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I think we are a country that have always celebrated diversity and unity in diversity. We have always celebrated our democracy as a very vibrant democracy, as a very tolerant society. And I think we must uphold all these values. I think that’s what all of us are talking about,” said the Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon Limited.Lord Meghnad Desai said the country is experiencing a total change in political ideology of the government. “Now the problem is, it is actually different ideology or it is actually intolerance? The murders of rationalists have nothing to do with BJP because they happened before BJP came to power. “I think what is true is that the tone of at least the junior Ministers and MPs of BJP is very openly hostile to Muslims… It’s basically the anti-Muslim tone of some of the BJP Ministers and MPs which actually for a lot of people is wrong and it is time that the leaders of BJP said so openly and clearly (on it),” he said.
Murthy had lamented that there is considerable fear in the minds of minorities in India and wanted governments to bring back the sense of confidence in them. Joining the debate on growing intolerance, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan had yesterday said that tolerance and mutual respect was necessary to improve the environment for ideas and physical harm or verbal contempt for any particular group should not be allowed. Against the backdrop of growing intolerance in the wake of Dadri lynching and subsequent acts of violence, he also said protection of right to question and challenge was essential for India to grow.

Tolerance the best bet for growth, says Raghuram Rajan

Addressing a convocation at IIT, Delhi, Rajan said excessive political correctness stifles progress. He said that protection of the right to question and challenge was essential for India to grow.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan on Saturday became the latest votary of tolerance and mutual respect. Progress and growth are linked to the environment of tolerance and mutual respect, he said. Addressing a convocation at IIT, Delhi, Rajan said excessive political correctness stifles progress. He said that protection of the right to question and challenge was essential for India to grow. Rajan’s words come a day after international rating agency Moody’s Analytics cautioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi that India may lose domestic and global credibility if he doesn’t rein in his party members.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mumbai-born music maestro Zubin Mehta, who is here for a concert, also joined the debate, speaking against the attacks on writers and artists who have returned awards and also criticised the attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of Observer Research Foundation, by the Shiv Sena in Mumbai on October 12. He said India’s tradition of debate and open spirit of enquiry was critical for economic progress. On whether ideas or behaviour that hurt a particular intellectual position or group be banned, he said: “Possibly, but a quick resort to bans will chill all debate as everyone will be anguished by ideas they dislike. It is far better to improve the environment for ideas through tolerance and mutual respect. He further said while the thuggish mischief makers are there in every group, tolerance and respect lead to a good equilibrium.” On Friday, Moody’s had said that controversial comments from various ruling BJP members amidst the raging beef controversy were not helping the government. “While PM Modi has largely distanced himself from the nationalist jibes, the belligerent provocation of various Indian minorities have raised ethnic tensions,” said Moody’s. It asked the government to deliver on the promised reforms to reach the growth potential. Over the past few weeks, more than 40 writers, 12 film-makers and three scientists have returned awards to condemn the killing of writers and rationalists like MM Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar. Some 53 historians, including Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib and KN Panikkar, in a joint statement, have expressed serious concerns over settling differences through physical violence. “Arguments are met not with counter-arguments but with bullets,” the statement said, referring to the lynching of a man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef and the ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni in Mumbai. A group of scientists have also petitioned the President to initiate suitable action against incidents of intolerance.

Subramanian Swamy asks ‘Grandfather’ Raghuram Rajan to focus on his work

Subramanian Swamy

A host of eminent personalities today joined the debate on growing intolerance with music maestro Zubin Mehta speaking against “ostracising” writers and authors that would amount to cultural dictatorship while Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy said there is “considerable fear” among the minorities in India.RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said tolerance and mutual respect was necessary and physical harm or verbal contempt for any particular group should not be allowed. On his part, President Pranab Mukherjee yet again called for preserving the pluralistic character of the country as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said unity, peace and harmony is a first condition if India is to move forward and attain new heights of development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 79-year-old Mumbai-born music conductor, who lives abroad and has just concluded a multi-city concert performance in India, batted for complete freedom of expression for the writers and filmmakers saying it should be there in the world’s largest democracy. “Our writers, our filmmakers do have a chance of speaking their minds. We should not ostracise them. Otherwise, we will become a dictatorship, a cultural dictatorship and that is inadmissible,” he said. Mehta said: “If they write their opinion, they should not be ostracised by the government. There should be complete freedom of expression. We are the largest democracy in the world”.He also hoped that the government “invites them for discussions and speaks to them”.Murthy expressed concerns that there is considerable fear in the minds of minority in India and wanted governments should bring back the sense of confidence in them.”I am not a politician, I am not interested in politics, therefore, I don’t want to comment on that but the reality today is that there is considerable fear in the minds of minority in India,” he said. Murthy said there was also “considerable fear” in the minds of people of one region living in another region. Citing the Shiv Sena campaign against the South Indians living in Mumbai in 1960s, he said, “Today there is a lot of that worry. I get lots of emails, I get a lot of people talking to me even though I stay at home because of my leg”.Murthy said, “the first priority of this government, or for that matter any government, both at the Central level and the state level, is to bring back the confidence, the energy, the enthusiasm, the trust in the minds of every Indian that this is our country, I have all the rights here, I am very safe here and therefore I will work towards the betterment of India”. The RBI Governor used the occasion of his convocation address at the Delhi IIT to say tolerance and mutual respect was necessary to improve the environment for ideas and physical harm or verbal contempt for any particular group should not be allowed.Asserting that India’s tradition of debate and an open spirit of enquiry is critical for economic growth, he said encouraging challenge to all authority and tradition would rule out anyone imposing a particular view or ideology because of power. Against the backdrop of growing intolerance in the wake of Dadri lynching and subsequent acts of violence, Rajan said tolerance means not being so insecure about one’s ideas that one cannot subject them to challenge–it implies a degree of detachment that is absolutely necessary for mature debate. He said tolerance can take the offence out of debate and indeed instill respect. Reacting to his speech, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted “He (Rajan) should go to RBI and do his job; He shouldn’t speak like a grandfather.” Swamy said he has made a mess of RBI and the Prime Minister should sack him. “Tolerance of what? Tolerance of terrorism,” he asked.Former finance minister P Chidambaram asked will the BJP say that Pranab Mukherjee’s and Raghuram Rajan’s speeches today against intolerance are also “manufactured protest?” BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said “we welcome his statement. There is tolerance and that is why we are progressing.”The President, who had on a number of occasions spoken against growing intolerance in the last three weeks, once again called for preserving the multiplicity and pluralistic character of the country.Speaking at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Delhi High Court here, he said India has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance.”Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time. Our ancient civilisation has over the centuries accommodated our diversities.”Multiplicity is our collective strength which must be preserved at all costs. It finds reflection in the various provisions of our Constitution,” Mukherjee said. In the wake of the Dadri lynching and subsequent incidents, the President had asked a question whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane in the country during a function at his home town at Suri in West Bengal on October 19.This was followed by his appeal to people for practising tolerance and to accept differences while respecting dissent. Speaking at a function to flag off ‘run for unity’ on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s 140th birth anniversary, the Prime Minister said unity is our biggest strength. “We have to move forward with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony,” he said.Modi said if 125 crore Indians with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony walk one step together shoulder to shoulder, then the country will move 125 crore steps in one go.”Our strength is a nation bound together by unity and which can sacrifice everything for unity and this is the message of Sardar sahab,” he said, recalling that Patel’s life was dedicated to national unity. At the beginning of his speech, Modi also remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, saying she sacrificed her life on this day and it cannot be forgotten.Reacting to his speech, the Left parties said the Prime Minister should know that these values were being threatened by the Sangh parivar and he should crack the whip on them. CPI MP D Raja said the President’s frequent calls for preserving the pluralistic character of the country underscores NDA government’s “failure” in performing its duties towards ensuring peace.

Karthik Gowda gets married in lavish multi-crore wedding at Coorg

Though invites had been sent to Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and BJP senior leader L K Advani, they did not attend states the report.

Karthik Gowda

The Union Law and Justice Minister DV Sadananda Gowda’s son Karthik Gowda got married on Friday at Coorg in a very lavish wedding. Karthik Gowda tied the knot with Rajashree, the daughter of businessman K Nanaiah.The Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi attended the wedding as did Governor Vajubhai Vala, according to The New Indian Express. There were many VIPs, businessmen and friends and family who were present.Though invites had been sent to Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and BJP senior leader LK Advani, they did not attend the wedding. Reformed don Muthappa Rai was one of the invitees and he was seen taking selfies with people at the wedding.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karthik Gowda has been in the news as actor Mythria Gowda had filed a case against him alleging rape. But it was stayed by the High Court.According to the daily, the wedding preparations were opulent with costs running in crores. With the pandal costing Rs 1.3 crore, the three-day wedding amounting to Rs 5-7 crore. Ten thousand guests feasted on wedding day lunch that included more than 30 vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes with Kodagu specialties.

Uddhav Thackeray’s ‘masti’ charge sees CM Fadnavis putting him in D-company

Sena minister Eknath Shinde “resigned” in protest, alleging that the BJP was using the police machinery to clamp down on Shiv Sainiks.

On Friday, a day before the Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP-Shiv Sena government celebrates its first anniversary, there were fireworks, albeit of a different kind.Sena minister Eknath Shinde “resigned” in protest, alleging that the BJP was using the police machinery to clamp down on Shiv Sainiks.Locked in an intense battle for the Kalyan-Dombivli civic body, the Shiv Sena and BJP went for each other’s jugular, with Sena president Uddhav Thackeray threatening to bring down the government if acted in masti (arrogance). Fadnavis retaliated by calling his ally a natak (drama) company. The polling will take place on Sunday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Threats apart, Shiv Sena sources admit that the party, which shed its status as the principal opposition in the Assembly to join the BJP-led government, may not walk out in the immediate future despite the leaders of the two parties trading barbs for months. However, a likely flashpoint may arise in the 2017 BMC polls.”I can’t watch the injustice meted out to our workers with open eyes. I can’t sit next to them (BJP) in the government and the cabinet,” said Shinde during a rally on Friday.Between Shinde and Fadnavis, there is a history. Shinde had stopped attending cabinet meetings for a while protesting against the government not heeding requests from legislators. This “boycott” was withdrawn after Fadnavis heeded these requests, claimed Shinde’s aides.”I am a Shiv Sainik first and a minister later. So, I know the pain and sentiments of a Shiv Sainik,” said Shinde, who submitted his resignation to Uddhav.However, this “resignation” was seen as a stunt. Technically, it has to be submitted to the chief minister, who then forwards it to the Governor with his recommendation.That the resignation was a stunt became clear when Uddhav said: “You were not made a minister by the BJP but by the Shiv Sena and Shiv Sainiks.” Uddhav then said he was turning down the resignation. The Sena president attacked the police and Thane commissioner Parambir Singh for allegedly colluding with the BJP.”If Shiv Sainiks are externed, I will extern the government… If I feel that the government is acting out of arrogance, then I will withdraw support to it and ensure that it is brought to the road,” threatened Uddhav.Fadnavis, showing uncharacteristic aggression, called the Sena a “drama troupe” and said they were not afraid of the Sena’s threats.The Shiv Sena and BJP have exchanged similar barbs in Kolhapur, whose municipal corporation will also go to polls with Kalyan- Dombivali.Rejecting allegations of goondaism by BJP workers and the police levelled by Shinde and the Sena, he charged that Sena workers had bashed up a BJP activist and tried to crush the brother-in-law of a BJP candidate under a vehicle.”In 2004, who called Javed Miandad home for meals? The pitches at Wankhede and Firozshah Kotla were dug up and (underworld don) Dawood Ibrahim’s samdhi Javed Miandad was called home for meals,” attacked Fadnavis while trying to blow the bottom out of the Sena’s opposition to sporting and cultural ties with Pakistan, which have seen a face-off between the two parties in Maharashtra.That’s D company making an entry.

OM Prakash Chautala’s parole: Fresh war of words between LG and AAP government

After the LG dismissed the charges saying Chautala’s parole plea was rejected on October 5, the AAP government had dared the LG to deny that the “pressure” on Jain was based on another parole plea

Om Prakash Chautala

The war of words between Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and ruling AAP over the parole controversy escalated on Friday with the government questioning how he knew about a second parole plea by former Haryana Chief Minister O P Chautala without the file reaching his office.Though Jung’s office was not mentioning about any second parole plea by Chautala, on Friday it claimed the LG had come to know about it “informally” and had mentioned it during a meeting with Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain on October 21. The AAP has been alleging that Jung was showing “undue interest” in Chautala getting parole and had pressured Jain in this regard.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the LG dismissed the charges saying Chautala’s parole plea was rejected on October 5, the AAP government had dared the LG to deny that the “pressure” on Jain was based on another parole plea. “It was brought to the notice of the Home Minister that parole case of Om Prakash Chautala is pending with the Home Department and should be processed on merit without political considerations. Delay in processing the file by the Home Department is not reasonable as the convict is 84 years old and has had medical history,” a statement by LG office said.It said that Jain had himself fixed up the meeting with Jung with the request of withdrawing 24 cases registered against AAP leaders pending in various courts including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Another meeting was held on the same issue on September 11, OSD to Jung Ajay Choudhary said. Rejecting the claim, the AAP government said it had recommended withdrawal of prosecution against a number of political leaders including from both BJP and Congress. It said the list includes Congress’ Mukesh Sharma and BJP’s Vijay Goel, Parvesh Verma, Vijendra Gupta and Ramesh Bidhuri.The government claimed vindication saying the LG’s statement amounts to his “admission” that he was in touch with people related to Chautala. “How did the LG know that another parole application had been filed by Chautala when the file had not even reached him?” a senior government official asked.Jung’s Secretariat said that it was obvious that Jain has tried to make “political capital” out of this reference and “has used the occasion to vent out angst at his unsuccessful attempt to push through the withdrawal of cases against AAP leaders.” It said that the government’s allegation that Jain was “pressurised” by Jung to grant parole to Chautala was “purely a figment of imagination”.”On late evening of October 28 again a fresh file was received from the office of the Chief Minister on the subject of OP Chautala’s parole. This file contained notes from Chief Minister and Home Minister alleging that the LG had pressurised the Home Minister to consider the parole to OP Chautala,” the statement by LG’s office said. Jung’s office claimed that in both the meetings, Jain insisted that the file withdrawing cases against AAP leaders “should be cleared today itself and he would like to take it back personally”.”Jain asserted that it is humiliating and below dignity for their senior leaders to attend the courts on frequent dates,” the statement added. Apart from the names of Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, the names of other AAP MLAs in the list are Vishesh Ravi, Rakhi Birla, Vandana, Jarnail Singh and Kapil Mishra.”He was advised that there should be a proper dispatch and receipt No. for such file before being formally considered within the Lt. Governor Sectt,” the statement said. The LG office asserted that it is clear from the file movement that the file regarding parole of Chautala was received in the Delhi Home Department on October 9 and it was kept pending by Jain till October 23 and sent to Chief Minister on October 28.”The assertion on the part of the Minister that he was pressurised for granting of parole is a shocking distortion of facts and deliberate manipulation to make it a political issue and settle political scores,” the statement said.The LG office also noted that parole applications of the Haryana Chief Minister’s son Ajay Chautala has been twice rejected by Jung on May 6 and October 26. “In this episode, an attempt has been made to present a distorted view of criminal justice system for political gains.””The present file related to parole of OP Chautala has now been received on 28.10.15. The same shall be considered on merit and as per the law of the land. Under the law, Lt.Governor is the competent authority for taking final decision on accepting or rejecting the applications by convicts for parole,” it said.On LG’s assertion that Jain met him with the request of withdrawing cases against AAP MLAs, the government said compoundable cases against political leaders or workers are never withdrawn on executive orders and it is clear that no minister is involved in this process.It said that the committee, comprising senior government, police officials and director of prosecution, merely recommends that compoundable cases are fit for withdrawal and the final decision wrests with the judiciary. “Therefore the office of the LG has made an unsuccessful attempt to divert attention from the real issue of Chautala’s parole.” “The cases that are considered by this committee are generally those of a political nature and hence related to political dharnas, agitation, defacement of property and are not serious/heinous crimes.”It is clear that no minister is involved in this process, therefore the office of the LG has erred in making this incorrect allegation,” the government said.It added that the government is actively considering a proposal that the entire process be decentralised and a committee be formed under each of the 11 revenue districts comprising the DM, DCP, Chief Prosecutor and SDM concerned.On LG’s assertion that Jain met him with the request of withdrawing cases against AAP MLAs, the government said compoundable cases against political leaders or workers are never withdrawn on executive orders and it is clear that no minister is involved in this process.It said that the committee, comprising senior government, police officials and director of prosecution, merely recommends that compoundable cases are fit for withdrawal and the final decision wrests with the judiciary. “Therefore the office of the LG has made an unsuccessful attempt to divert attention from the real issue of Chautala’s parole.” “The cases that are considered by this committee are generally those of a political nature and hence related to political dharnas, agitation, defacement of property and are not serious/heinous crimes.”It is clear that no minister is involved in this process, therefore the office of the LG has erred in making this incorrect allegation,” the government said. It added that the government is actively considering a proposal that the entire process be decentralized and a committee be formed under each of the 11 revenue districts comprising the concerned DM, DCP, Chief Prosecutor and SDM.

Bihar Elections 2015: 53.32% voting in crucial third phase, women outnumber men in voting booth

Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Nayak told reporters that Buxar recorded maximum 56.58% voter turnout, while Patna saw minimum 51.82% voting.

PTI
Women outnumbered men as an estimated 53.32% voter turnout was recorded in 50 assembly constituencies spread across six districts of Bihar which went to the polls in the third phase on Wednesday.Chief Electoral Officer Ajay V Nayak told reporters that Buxar recorded maximum 56.58% voter turnout, while Patna saw minimum 51.82% voting. Continuing with the earlier pattern, women outnumbered men in exercising franchise. While women voter turnout in today’s polling was 54% it was 52.50 for men, he said. Nayak said 59 persons were arrested during the day.Besides, 38 motorcycles, two country-made pistols and six cartridges were seized by the security personnel. Voting was, however, peaceful. He said a 123-year old lady cast vote on booth number 101 in Taraiya Assembly seat in Saran district. Today’s polling percentage was nearly three% more than the total voting percentage in the 2010 state assembly poll but is less than the first two phases of balloting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The first phase of polling on October 12 witnessed 57% voters turnout and 54.5% in the second phase on October 16. Giving details, the CEO said Saran recorded 52.50% turnout, Vaishali 54.82%, Nitish Kumar’s home district Nalanda 54.11%, Patna 51.82%, Bhojpur 53.30% and Buxar 56.58%.Kumar, who cast his vote at a polling booth at Bakhtiyarpur, faced protests from a section of the people agitating over the death of a girl allegdly due to lack of proper medical facility in the area.Other prominent personalities who exercised their franchise during the day included Governor Ram Nath Kovind and his wife Savita, RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife Rabri Devi and son Tejaswi and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.Union minister Ravishankar Prasad arrived at the polling booth on an e-rickshaw with his mother. Union Minister of State Ramkripal Yadav rode a motorcycle to a booth here to cast his vote. Polling ended at 4 PM in ten constituencies due to security reasons and at 5 PM in the remaining 40. Stakes are high for grand secular alliance and NDA in this round of polling. In the last Assembly poll in 2010 JD(U) had won 23 seats while BJP had won on 19 out of the 50 constituencies.Eight seats had been bagged by RJD. But this time with a change in equation the scene is different. From grand secular alliance, RJD is contesting in maximum 25 seats, JD(U) 18 and Congress 7 in the third phase.From NDA, BJP is fighting on 34, LJP 10, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) 4 and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) 2.
Image courtesy PTIAmong those whose political fates were decided today are Lalu Prasad’s sons Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav at Mahua and Raghopur seats respectively in Vaishali district. Other prominent contestants today were BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav (Patna Sahib), ministers Shyam Rajak and Shrawan Kumar from Phulwari and Nalanda seats respectively, Deputy Speaker Amarendra Pratap Singh (Ara) and BJP chief whip in state Assembly Arun Kumar Sinha (Kumhrar).Prasad’s political turf Saran, which has 10 assembly seats, and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s home district Nalanda which has a total seven seats went to the polls today. There were a total of 1,45,93,980 voters for the 50 seats where the fates of 808 candidates, including 71 women, were decided today.Voting on 81 seats have already been completed in the first two phases on October 12 and October 16. Two more rounds of polling would be held on November one and November five for the rest of the 112 seats of the 243-seat Bihar Assembly and results would be declared on November eight.

Dadri lynching: Incident result of Mohammad Akhlaq’s son’s affair with Hindu girl, alleges ABVP

The ABVP will push the love affair theory during a ‘discussion’ on ‘appeasement politics’ on the first day of a convention.

RSS student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) is set to claim that the Dadri lynching happened because one of the sons of (deceased) Mohammad Akhlaq was having an affair with a Hindu girl.According to the Indian Express, the ABVP is set to take this stand at its annual state-level convention to be held in Sitapur from November 1 to 3. Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik has been invited to be the chief guest at the convention.The ABVP will push the love affair theory during a ‘discussion’ on ‘appeasement politics’ on the first day of the convention, says the Indian Express report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It has appeared in a section of the media in western UP that one of Akhlaq’s sons had an affair with a local Hindu girl and his family was attacked on the same dispute,” ABVP Awadh region organisation secretary Satya Bhan told The Indian Express. “But leaders of different political parties diverted the issue towards another reason, of beef consumption, for appeasement of minorities for political gains. UP minister Azam Khan’s move to write to the UN, also maligned the image of India. It will be clarified at the convention,” he added.Satya Bhan was also quick to allege that the UP government had provided financial help to the bereaved family only because they belonged to the minority community. As it happens, the ABVP is not clear as to which son of Akhlaq the Hindu girl was supposedly having an affair with. The other issues to be discussed at the convention would be communal harmony, women’s security, female foeticide, commercialisation of education, student union elections, terrorism, unemployment, poor condition of farmers in UP, law and order situation of the state and ‘involvement of foreign forces in promoting Naxal activities in the country’, said Indian Express.Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and killed by a mob this month following rumours that his family was storing beef. His son Danish was also assaulted and received serious injuries, spending time in a hospital. The incident had sparked off widespread outrage in the political class and among the public.

BJP govt has destroyed Haryana, says INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala

Slamming the first ever BJP government in Haryana led by Khattar, who has been giving details of its “achievements” on completion of one year, Chautala said they have destroyed the state.

Abhay Singh Chautala
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Haryana’s main opposition on Sunday accused the Manohar Lal Khattar government of “destroying” the state and cheating people by going back on its promises made before Assembly polls.”The Chief Minister says they have undertaken Vikas (development), but I will say that they have done Vinash (destruction),” senior INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said.Slamming the first ever BJP government in Haryana led by Khattar, who has been giving details of its “achievements” on completion of one year, he said they have destroyed the state. Hitting out at Khattar government’s claims that it had taken various steps to rein in corruption, Chautala, speaking with party leaders Ashok Arora and Rampal Majra, asked “why have they failed to take action on the chargesheet which we submitted to the (then) Governor last year about various acts of ommission and commission of the previous Congress government in the state?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I had recently asked Chief Minister about what his government intended to do about the chargesheet and he had assured the members in the state Assembly that his government will get an inquiry done into this. We (INLD) had even said that if we are found wrong on any of the facts which we raised in our chargesheet, then action be taken against us. But one year has passed, they are still dilly dallying the matter, which indicates there is tacit understanding between the Congress and the BJP,” he alleged.Chautala raked up “a mega scam in the making” pertaining to the purchase of 1509 Basmati variety of rice from farmers at the price of general variety rice by government agencies.”While the purchase rate of this particular variety last year was at Rs 3,300 per quintal, now the government agencies are procuring it at Rs 1,450 per quintal. However, the farmers allege that they are being paid only between Rs 1,200 to Rs 1,300 per quintal. I demand a high level probe by an independent agency into this scam,” he said.Criticising the government over its claims of having taken many pro-farmer decisions, he said, “Immediately after they came to power, there was acute shortage of pesticides (urea). A couple of months back, the government claimed to have made highest ever payment of Rs 1,092 crore for crop damage, but still there are many farmers who have not got any compensation…Farmers including cotton farmers affected by white-fly pest attack have not been adequately compensated,” he said.Chautala also claimed that BJP has gone back on promises in its poll manifesto.”They promised unemployment allowance to youths and to give Rs 15,000 per month salary to the Safai Karamcharis and equal pay scales to employees at par with Punjab, none of which has been fulfilled. On the contrary, during the past one year, many sections including employees, guest teachers, nursing students, laboratory assistants and other sections have been forced to hit streets as the promises made to them by the BJP have not been fulfilled,” he said.The INLD leader said “no concrete step has been taken to ensure early completion of SYL Canal, which would have helped Haryana get its share of water”. He charged the Khattar government with failing to end favouritsm in jobs, “which had ruled roost during previous Congress regime”.On the law and order situation in the state, he alleged that it has worsened ever since present government took over.While recent incidents at Sunped in Faridabad and Gohana, in which two Dalit children were burnt alive and a Dalit youth died allegedly in police custody, have shaken the state, “there has been a manifold increase in crimes against Dalits and women”, he said.”As many as 100 Dalit families of Bhagana village in Haryana were forced to convert while victims of Mirchpur incident are still living in a state of fear and insecurity,” he said.On the power issue, he stated, “they made tall promises of giving 24-hour power supply to the people, but the truth is that they are fiding it difficult to supply even four hours of power (in rural areas). Moreover, they also burdened the consumers with hiked power rates.”We give the government time till November 1 to roll back the increased power rates or else we will be forced to hit the streets to protest,” he said.On the rise in rates of pulses, Chautala said, “Recently, huge stocks of pulses were seized from hoarders in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, both of which are ruled by the BJP…pulses, which are selling at around Rs 70 per kg in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, have shot through the roof in our country and are selling at well above Rs 200 per kg”.”But the government is not worried about common consumers…we only hear about row over beef or some irresponsible statements made by the BJP Ministers, be it at the Centre or Haryana,” he said.On the minimum qualification criteria for various posts of Panchayati Raj institutions, Chautala said, “Today, if a referendum is conducted, 99 per cent people in the state will not favour this”.On Khattar’s recent visit to US and Canada to attract investments, he said, “This was just an eyewash. No new investment has come to Haryana”.Meanwhile, Chautala said preparations were underway for INLD’s ‘Samman Rally’ on November 1 in Rohtak, to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Deputy Prime Minister, late Devi Lal. Chautala said among other leaders, they had also invited Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, to participate in the rally.

Delhi CM Kejriwal urges LG Najeeb Jung to direct DDA to clear dues to MCDs

With the MCD sanitation workers on strike over non-payment of salaries and arrears, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to direct Delhi Development Authority to immediately clear its dues running into over Rs 1,600 crores to the civic bodies facing financial constraints.

With the MCD sanitation workers on strike over non-payment of salaries and arrears, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has urged Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to direct Delhi Development Authority to immediately clear its dues running into over Rs 1,600 crores to the civic bodies facing financial constraints.Mentioning financial constraints faced by the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi, Chief Minister Kejriwal said that activities of the civic bodies are “adversely affected” and the issue was also raised in a meeting called by Union Urban Development Minister on October 1.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a letter written to the Lt Governor, Kejriwal has said “due to financial crunch the municipal corporations are unable to meet their core functions relating to handling and removal of garbage.””Often the municipal corporations delay paying monthly salaries to Safai Karmcharis (sanitation workers) which leads to threats of strikes by them,” he said.He said Delhi Government has made efforts to release funds and grants under Plan and Non-Plan heads to all the three municipal corporations in time.Underlining Property Tax as one of the main sources of revenue generation to the MCDs, the Chief Minister said, “It is informed that DDA owes more than Rs 1,600 crores to them in terms of Property Tax.”The Property Tax dues owed by DDA was Rs 765 crore to South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Rs 590 crore to North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Rs 200 crore to East Delhi Municipal Corporation, he stated in his letter.Urging the Lt Governor to look into the matter, Kejriwal asked him to give suitable “instructions” to DDA to clear all outstanding dues with respect to Property Tax to the MCDs at the earliest.Demanding regular payment of salaries, arrears, regularisation of their posts, cashless health card, sanitation workers went on strike from October 23. In June also they had gone on strike raising the same demands.

LG Najeeb Jung threatening our officials, asking to paralyse Delhi government: AAP

A statement issued by the Delhi government stated that Jung had allegedly threatened the officials of police action and disciplinary proceedings by instituting bogus inquiries against them unless they deliberately paralyse the Delhi government’s functioning.

Moving ahead on its war with the Centre, the AAP government on Friday alleged that Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung had summoned several senior officers placed with them, threatening them of dire consequences if they don’t obstruct the functioning of Delhi’s elected government.The issue was discussed in Friday’s cabinet meeting and a group of ministers (GoM) was constituted under deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia with home minister Satyendra Jain and transport minister Gopal Rai to look into such complaints and provide the ‘affected’ officials with the requisite support, including legal help at government cost.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A statement issued by the Delhi government stated that Jung had allegedly threatened the officials of police action and disciplinary proceedings by instituting bogus inquiries against them unless they deliberately paralyse the Delhi government’s functioning by making adverse and obstructionist notings against the government’s decisions. It further stated that such intimidating tactics have gone up since the last month.Sources said such officials have told the Delhi government that the LG has been allegedly putting pressure on Delhi government officials, forcing them to act illegally by using the names of top Central government officials, and that their civil service careers would be destroyed, if they don’t comply with his orders.”The GoM will, upon receiving a complaint for help from any officer would assess if it is a case of political victimization. The GoM can also take up a case suomoto. If it prima facie finds that it is a case of political victimisation on accord of a bonafide decision/action taken by that officer, then the GOM shall be authorized to take all steps required to protect that officer including providing legal support at government’s cost,” a statement from the Delhi government read. Deliberate transferThe Kejriwal government also alleged that the LG had deliberately transferred VAT commissioner Vijay Kumar ahead of the crucial Diwali season. A statement issued by the LG house, however, clarified that the transfer was slated to take place. The LG house refused to comment on allegations levied on Jung of intimidating Delhi government officials.” In view of the background of several episodes of poor treatment meted out by the elected Government to the Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretaries – Home, Power, GAD, Services, Commissioner (Transport), Principal Secretary (Law) and others, the Lt. Governor’s Secretariat does not wish to comment on this issue,” the statement read.

Kiren Rijiju downplays his ‘North Indian’ remarks; says it applies to entire society not one section

The Minister of State for Home said if citizens do not make it an “issue of concern” then how will things get corrected?

PTI
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday sought to downplay his endorsement of a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians “enjoy” breaking rules and said it was not indicated at one section but was applicable to the entire society. He said attempts to “politicise” his statement were wrong and added if there is any wrong happening in the society everyone was responsible for it.”I think the LG had made the statement about 6-7 years back and I had said that what he said was correct but this is applicable to entire society and not to one section like north Indian, south Indian, east Indian or west Indian. It is not like that. It is applicable on all society and society has to understand that. We regularly come across reports of rape, murder and loot happening here and there and we should be worried about it,” he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Minister of State for Home said if citizens do not make it an “issue of concern” then how will things get corrected?”It is wrong if someone wants to politicise it (his statement)…All I meant was that if there is any wrong in society we are responsible for it and we should find out collective ways to correct or mend it,” he said.Also read: Kiren Rijiju shares ex-Delhi LG’s view that North Indians enjoy breaking rulesRijiju had on Wednesday said he agreed with the statement of a former Lt Governor of Delhi who had once remarked that north Indians “take pride in and enjoy” breaking rules.”I was witness to a statement made by one of the Lt Governor’s of Delhi some years back. He had stated that people of north India enjoy breaking the rules and by evening he was forced to apologise. But I believe what he said was right,” he had said on the sidelines of a function for inauguration of a think tank on police-related subjects.Though he did not name the Lt Governor, records show the comments were made by the then Delhi LG Tejinder Khanna who had said in February 2008 that “it is a speciality of north and west India that the people feel a sense of honour and pride in violating law and boasting that no action has been taken against them”.

Kiren Rijiju shares ex-Delhi LG’s view that North Indians enjoy breaking rules

“If people are not showing the right conduct and they are indisciplined and they don’t listen even when told once, twice or ten times, police will have to use stick to make them listen,” he said.

Society will not be reformed by abusing police alone, Rijiju said.

In potentially controversial comments, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said he agreed with the statement of a former Lt Governor of Delhi who had once remarked that north Indians “take pride in and enjoy” breaking rules. “I was witness to a statement made by one of the Lt Governor’s of Delhi some years back. He had stated that people of north India enjoy breaking the rules and by evening he was forced to apologise.”But I believe what he said was right,” Rijiju said on the sidelines of a function for inauguration of a think tank on police-related subjects. Though he did not name the Lt Governor, records show the comments were made by the then Delhi LG Tejinder Khanna who had said in February 2008 that “it is a speciality of north and west India that the people feel a sense of honour and pride in violating law and boasting that no action has been taken against them.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, he had later retracted his statement after Congress and BJP protested. Rijiju went on to say people here love to brag about having threatened a police official. “That means the society as a whole needs to change.”The junior Home Minister said it was not right to blame police for everything. “Many people say police has become very rude. Police will be rude only if citizens are indisciplined. If people are disciplined, then police will not be rude. But there is a general saying here that until you beat them with a stick, people don’t listen. “So if people are not showing the right conduct and they are indisciplined and they don’t listen even when told once, twice or ten times, police will have to use stick to make them listen,” he said.(Yahan toh boltey hain ki danda jab tak nahi dega toh log sudhartey nahi hain. But if citizens theek nahi hai …indisciplined hai…dus baar bolney ke baad nahi mantey hai toh phir toh danda toh chalana padega) The Minister’s comments came against the backdrop of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegation that Delhi Police was the “most corrupt”. “Kejriwal keeps on saying that Delhi police did not do something or the other but if he, himself, will not correct his approach what could the police do?” (aap (Delhi CM) khud nahi sudhrogey toh police kya karega),” he said.Defending the men in uniform, he said it is easy to blame police for any incident or crime that takes place anywhere, but it is only the men and women in ‘khaki’ who keep awake all night to ensure peace and law and order.”Police ko gaali dekar samaj nahi sudhrega (society will not be reformed by abusing police alone). One incident cannot make the police force corrupt,” he said. The Minister said if a woman does not feel safe in her surroundings, the society will have to take the blame for it. “There is something wrong in the society. We have to accept. We are very good in criticising others (but) we don’t accept….(our mistakes). I am very critcial of my own conduct, my own system and my own society if they are not perfect. If we don’t criticise and develop ourselves how will we improve?,” he said. Rijiju said it was very “disturbing” and “frustrating” as a Minister when there are frequent media reports about harassment of women. “You feel very helpless. But I cannot show my helplessness outside. We have to take action against these things…but it’s not enough…,” he said.The MoS said the present-day police is just a “reflection” of the society. He said the police and politicians are the “favourite punching bags” for everyone and that they are made to do some of the most “difficult” and “thankless” jobs. Rijiju said just having robust systems for security and police affairs is not enough and sincere reforms are required to improve them.

Taliban threatens southern Afghan city, civilians flee | Reuters

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan Taliban forces advanced on the capital of the volatile southern Afghan province of Helmand on Tuesday amid fierce fighting with government forces that threatened to cut off a major highway and prompted many families to flee.

The fighting near the town of Lashkar Gah comes three weeks after the Taliban won its biggest victory in the 14-year war, capturing the northern town of Kunduz and holding the city centre for three days before government forces regained control.

“Helmand’s capital appears to be under serious military pressure,” a Western official said. “We’re hearing reports about civilians fleeing in large numbers.”

Helmand province is one of the world’s biggest centres of opium cultivation, with a complex mix of warring tribal groups and Taliban insurgents creating a chronic problem for the Western-backed government.

Provincial Governor Mirza Khan Rahimi said heavy fighting had been going on for two days in the district of Gereshk to the north of the city. The fighting has threatened Highway One, the main transport artery linking the major southern city of Kandahar with Herat.

Farhad Dawary, head of the local Civil Societies Union, which represents non-government social organisations, said that after days of fighting, families were both fleeing to Lashkar Gah from outlying areas and trying to escape from the city.

“There is fear among the people in Lashkar Gah, there are lots of rumours the city might fall,” he said.

Government officials said Lashkar Gah would not fall but one security source said the town of Baba Ji, to the north of the provincial capital had fallen and the Taliban itself said it was making major advances.

“The fighting is ongoing in full force and we have killed 25 government forces and seized a number of weapons,” said spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi.

KUNDUZ SHOCK

The fall of Kunduz at the end of last month came as a profound shock in Afghanistan, piling pressure on the government of President Ashraf Ghani and raising questions over the capacity of security forces to maintain stability.

Afghan government forces, which have taken on the bulk of fighting since international troops ended most combat operations last year, have struggled to contain the Taliban, which has stretched the army in a series of operations across the country.

As the battle continued near Lashkar Gah, there were also reports of heavy fighting in the Ghurian district near the major western city of Herat.

The Taliban raised their flag in the main district centre for a few hours before police reinforcements arrived and cleared them out, Herat police chief, General Abdul Majid Rozi said.

As the fighting flared, Ghani chaired a meeting of the National Security Council and ordered military forces to step up combat operations against the insurgency.

Having briefly taken Kunduz at the end of September, the Taliban last week threatened the city of Ghazni, southwest of Kabul, cutting off the main route between Kabul and Kandahar for three days.

Earlier this week, they were also reported to have overrun the district of Ghormach in Faryab province on the northern border with Turkmenistan.

The deteriorating security situation prompted U.S. President Barack Obama last week to delay plans to pull American forces out of the country next year, with at least 5,500 troops now due to remain after 2017.

(Additional reporting by Krista Mahr, Hamid Shalizi and Aimal Yaqubi in Kabul, Jalil Ahmad Razaee in Herat; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Alison Williams)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Justice Reva Khetrapal to be Delhi’s new Lokayukta

The 63-year-old judge’s name was recommended to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court by AAP government in July as well as earlier this month.

Justice Reva Khetrapal’s name was unanimously agreed upon for the post. (Image source: All India Radio News Twitter handle)

Former Delhi High Court judge Reva Khetrapal will be Delhi’s new Lokayukta, a post which was lying vacant since 2013. Justice Khetrapal was chosen unanimously for the post on Tuesday by a four-member panel comprising Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini and Leader of Opposition leader in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta. Jung will recommend her name to President Pranab Mukherjee tomorrow for appointing her as Delhi Lokayukta.The 63-year-old judge’s name was recommended to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court by AAP government in July as well as earlier this month. The other two judges whose names were suggested by the AAP government were retired Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Bilal Nazki and retired Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High Court Jasbir Singh. BJP and Congress had been cornering the AAP government over the vacant post of Lokayukta and also accused it of delaying to fill up the same. As per Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act, 1995, term of Lokayukta is for five years. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Justice Reva Khetrapal’s name was unanimously agreed upon for the post. With this, a long pending issue has come to a logical conclusion. The institution of Lokayukta is crucial to ensure corruption free governance and to maintain high level of probity in the public domain,” said BJP’s Gupta.Khetrapal was additional judge in the Delhi High Court between February 28, 2006 and September 22, 2014. She was also Additional District and Sessions Judge in 1991 and was posted as Special Judge (Narcotics) in 1994. She was appointed as Secretary, Press Council of India in 1999. In August, former Law Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah had turned down the Kejriwal government’s offer to appoint him as the new Delhi Lokayukta.The last Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) Manmohan Sarin, had relinquished office in November, 2013, following a five-year term. Since then, the post is lying vacant.

Punjab protests: CM Parkash Singh Badal calls emergency cabinet meeting; additional forces deployed

The Congress delegation had earlier today met Punjab governor Kaptan Singh Solanki over law & order situation after which a call rose for President’s rule in the state.

Paramilitary forces have been deployed in four cities in view of the state-wide protest over the desecration of the Sikh holy scriptures

Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal will be having an emergency cabinet meeting as the state saw protests for the seventh day following the incident of alleged desecration of Sikh holy books.Tensions mounted in Punjab as additional and paramilitary forces have been deployed in four cities in view of the state-wide protest over the desecration of the Sikh holy scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib. The angry protesters have been demanding the arrest of people behind disrespect the holy book and the policemen, who had been involved in the firing on a mob in Faridkot that killed two persons last week.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress delegation had earlier today met Punjab governor Kaptan Singh Solanki over law & order situation after which a call rose for President’s rule in the state. “There is a virtual paralysis in the Punjab government. The kind of condition that is there in Punjab, a little spark can be dangerous. The farmers who should be on the farm are on the road and the shops are closed. We requested the governor that until there is peace in the state, President rule should be imposed,” Congress leader Sunil Jakhar said.Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has convened an emergency Cabinet meeting today at 5pm as protests show no sign of stopping. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the Badal yesterday and assured him all possible help from the Centre to defuse the tension prevailing in the state.The Home Minister later briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation in Punjab.With agency inputs

Lt Guv Jung and CM Kejriwal not on same page as new name comes up in Lokayukta search

Delhi government will oppose Kakru’s name for the post that has been lying vacant since November, 2013, over the issue of certain allegations against him.
File Photo
PTI
With the name of retired Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Nisar Ahmad Kakru, doing the rounds for the Delhi Lokayukta’s post, the tussle between the Lt Governor and the Arvind Kejriwal government could take a new turn as the ruling AAP is opposed to the candidate. Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is to hold a consultation tomorrow featuring, among others, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to select a candidate for the post.The Law Department of AAP government has proposed a panel of three names vis-a-vis the appointment of Lokayukta — retired Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, Bilal Nazki, retired Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High Court, Jasbir Singh, and retired judge of Delhi High Court, Reva Khetrapal. But sources said that Kakru’s name, too, is doing the rounds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government will oppose Kakru, whose name has come up in connection with the search for a new Lokayukta,” sources said.Delhi government will oppose Kakru’s name for the post that has been lying vacant since November, 2013, over the issue of certain allegations against him.As per Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act, 1995, the Lokayukta is appointed after consultations among the chief justice of high court, the chief minister and the leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly. BJP has sought to corner the AAP government alleging that it was delaying the appointment of Lokayukta.The government had told high court in the last hearing that all steps will be taken to ensure that the Lokayukta is appointed by the end of October.In August this year, former Law Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, AP Shah, had turned down the Kejriwal government’s offer to appoint him as the new Delhi Lokayukta. The last Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) Manmohan Sarin, had relinquished office in November, 2013, following a five-year term.

Kejriwal govt bats for trying boys above 15 years of age as adults for rape

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Kejriwal said a Commission of Inquiry will be set up within a week to examine issues relating to women safety, in accordance with the resolution passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Prosecuting juveniles aged above 15 years as adults for heinous crimes, setting up of ‘special police stations’ and ensuring death penalty or life term to those accused of raping minors were among a host of proposals mooted by the AAP government on Monday to deal with cases of sexual violence.A meeting of the Delhi Cabinet, presided over by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, discussed the law and order situation in the city in the wake of rape of two minors, and appointed a Group of Ministers (GoM) to come up with a report within 15 days recommending appropriate amendments to the existing criminal law. If the government chooses to go ahead with the proposals, it could mark flashpoint in its already turbulent relationship with the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Setting up special police stations absolutely wrong: Delhi Police chief BS BassiBriefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Kejriwal said a Commission of Inquiry will be set up within a week to examine issues relating to women safety, in accordance with the resolution passed by the Delhi Legislative Assembly. He also took a swipe at Narendra Modi saying the Prime Minister should “stop his foreign tours” and instead “focus” on improving Delhi’s administration.”Since CrPC and IPC are subjects in concurrent list over which Delhi Government has executive powers, GoM will examine and submit a report on whether Delhi Government can set up special police stations to register and investigate crime against women in those cases where women do not get satisfactory response from local police stations,” said Kejriwal.He said the “GoM will also further examine and recommend that those committing heinous crimes like rape and murder and are above 15 years of age should be treated as adults and not juveniles under the law for being tried in these cases.”The GoM, headed by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, will prepare a list of rape cases pending in various courts in Delhi in order to fast-track them. The proposal to prosecute juveniles aged above 15 years of age as adults came as two boys, aged 16 and 17, were accused of raping a two-and-a-half year old girl in west Delhi’s Nihal Vihar last week.A senior government official said after the GoM submits its report to the Cabinet, a decision on whether to forward it to the Centre or not will be taken by the government. The Chief Minister said Delhi government was ready to spend funds to increase the number of courts, judges and improve the existing infrastructure in this regard for expeditious delivery of justice.Attacking the police, the Chief Minister said law and order situation has deteriorated significantly and women do not feel secure in the city.”There is no fear among those who commit such crimes. The sense of security is over,” the Chief Minister said.He claimed there have been more than 1,500 rapes in Delhi since January 1, 2015 but only 1 person has been punished, adding it would be good if media raises these issues instead of “abusing” him.Sisodia, assisted by Home Minister Satyendar Jain, has been tasked with preparing “suitable amendments in appropriate criminal laws” for providing harsh punishments to those guilty of committing heinous crimes against women.”The GoM has been asked to furnish its report within a fortnight, so that the cabinet can consider these and bring an amendment bill in relevant criminal laws during the next session of assembly,” an official said.The GoM, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, will also examine whether the investigating teams or forensic experts can be held accountable in case of delay in filing charge sheets relating to cases of sexual violence against women, he said.In May, the Lok Sabha had passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2014 which will allow children in the 16-18 age group to be tried as adults if they commit heinous crimes. The bill did not get through in Rajya Sabha. The amendments were prepared in the backdrop of public outcry over the Delhi gangrape case of 2012 in which a juvenile accused escaped with a lighter punishment because of his age.Kejriwal said a list of pending rape cases in which special prosecutors are required is being prepared. He said it will be ensured that samples in rape cases are sent to forensic labs at the earliest so that the investigation is not hampered. He said government will expeditiously instal CCTV cameras across the city and light up the dark spots which have already been identified.Kejriwal has been targeting the Centre following the rape of a toddler and a five-year-old girl in the capital on Friday and even demanded control over the Delhi Police for at least one year. On Monday, Kejriwal had a meeting with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung following which he stepped up attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he will not let him sleep “peacefully” if “jungle raj prevails”.

Setting up special police stations absolutely wrong: Delhi Police chief BS Bassi

Delhi Government on Monday mooted several proposals to deal with cases of sexual violence in the wake of two incidents of rape with minors in the city.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Delhi Police chief BS Bassi on Monday slammed the AAP government’s proposal for setting up ‘special police stations’ as “absolutely wrong”, advising the Chief Minister Kejriwal to “concentrate on areas of governance related to women safety”.”It’s absolutely wrong when he is talking of a parallel police force. What he needs to do is that there are many areas of governance which constitute the safety of women. So I will urge the CM to concentrate on those areas,” Bassi said to a news channel.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Government on Monday mooted several proposals to deal with cases of sexual violence in the wake of two incidents of rape with minors in the city.”Since CrPC and IPC are subjects in concurrent list over which Delhi Government has executive powers, GoM will examine and submit a report on whether Delhi Government can set up special police stations to register and investigate crime against women in those cases where women do not get satisfactory response from local police stations,” Kejriwal had said.Earlier, the Delhi Police Commissioner in a letter to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, suggested the government to build enough creches for working mothers and make value education compulsory in schools and colleges, in the wake of the two recent cases of rape with minors.Referring to the incident in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar, where a five-year-old girl, whose parents were out working, was allegedly raped by three men, Bassi said there are thousands of such mothers – mostly the ones employed in the unorganised sector – who have to leave their children at homes in the absence of adequate day-care facilities.”I also suggested that moral education and value education should immediately be introduced for boys in schools and colleges as compulsory subjects,” Bassi said, adding, schools should also look for “deviant behaviour” among children and provide for a “system” to “ensure” that they are corrected through counselling by psychologists. The police chief further said that the government should also assess school dropouts and provide for their rehabilitation.Bassi sent the letter to Sisodia this morning. Copies of the letter were also marked to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.Attributing the increase in the crime rate in Delhi to “truthful registration” of cases, the Commissioner claimed that incidents of crime are “not increasing”, it is the “registration of crime which has increased”. He added that police needs help of civil society and the state government to fight crime.

Congress slams Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘blame-game’ rant on rape of minors

Training his guns on AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, who has been accused of domestic violence by his wife, Congress leader Ajay Maken said that how can the party expect to deliver on women’s safety when their own former minister has been implicated in such a case.

Kejriwal blamed the Delhi Police and the Lieutenant Governor for the low standard of women’s safety.
File Photo
PTI
The Congress on Saturday said that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Government has completely failed in the matter of ensuring the safety of women in the national capital, and added that it acquired the habit of ‘blaming the opposition’ for its mistakes.”When Kejriwal was the opposition, he used to blame Sheila Dikshit for crimes against women. Today, we want to ask him as to what he has done as chief minister to prevent such incidents from happening in the capital,” Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) chief Ajay Maken told reporters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When the Congress was in power in Delhi, the CM office monitored every complaint and crime rates took a hit. Now, the crime rate has gone up, so have the complaints, and the crime against women call centre has been discontinued,” Maken said.Training his guns on AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, who has been accused of domestic violence by his wife, Maken said that how can the party expect to deliver on women’s safety when their own former minister has been implicated in such a case.”The AAP Government is continuously at war with everyone. Either they are fighting with the media, the police or with the Prime Minister. And, when they are done with these fights, they fight within themselves. This government in the last eight months has failed to get a single thing done,” Maken added.Earlier today, shocking cases of twin rapes of minor girls were reported in the national capital.In the first incident, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl was raped allegedly by two men who abducted her on a motorbike from outside her house in west Delhi’s Nangloi area on Friday. In another incident, a five-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by three neighbours in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar.Kejriwal blamed the Delhi Police and the Lieutenant Governor for the low standard of women’s safety.”The Delhi police is under absolutely no democratic control. Who holds the responsibility of the Delhi Police report. Prime Minister says he has the police under him, so he should answer on this issue, but we won?t remain silent,” Kejriwal said.

Vyapam scam: Observer for recruitment tests found dead on railway track in Odisha

Former IFS officer, Vijay Bahadur, who was an observer for two recruitment tests in the Vyapam scam was found dead in Odisha. Bahadur was found dead on railway tracks in Jharsuguda on Thursday, October 15.

Former IFS officer, Vijay Bahadur, who was an observer for two recruitment tests in the Vyapam scam was found dead in Odisha. Bahadur was found dead on railway tracks in Jharsuguda on Thursday, October 15.As per a report in Hindustan Times, Bahadur had gone to Puri with his wife Nita Singh to attend a reunion of 1978 batch IFS officers. Deputy superintendent of police, GRP (Jharsuguda), Dilip Bag told the daily, Bahadur prima facie died after falling from the moving train. But, the post-mortem report is still awaited and probe into the case will progress based on it.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The report also said that his wife Nita Singh had raised questions over the open door of the AC compartment and the absence of a coach attendant.Related read: Vyapam scam: 70 accused seek ‘permission to die’ from President Pranab MukherjeeAll Vyapam scam related cases were recently handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Taking the Vyapam scam probe forward, CBI had carried out searches at nearly 40 places in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh including the premises of alleged mastermind Jagdish Sagar and Dhanraj Yadav, a former OSD to Madhya Pradesh Governor Ram Naresh Yadav.The searches in connection with alleged irregularities in the conduct of examinations by MP Professional Examination Board, popularly known as Vyapam, spanned across Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Rewa, Jabalpur, Lucknow and Allahabad among other cities, CBI sources said.A few weeks ago, senior official of the Central Bureau of Investigation, sent to Madhya Pradesh to aide the probe into the Vyapam Scam, was found in an unconscious state at a railway station in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district.

Returning awards no solution, but strong protest a must: Goan Sahitya Akademi award winner Damodar Mauzo

Panaji: While several accomplished writers across India have renounced their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest against brewing intolerance in the country and the silence of the apex literary body following the murder of rationalists and writers, winners of the award in Goa have chosen to tread a different path. Eleven Sahitya Akademi award-winning Konkani writers on Thursday refused to renounce their awards. Such a step “is not going to solve the problem”, says well-known author Damodar Mauzo.

Damodar Mauzo. Image courtesy: Damodar Mauzo Facebook page

Damodar Mauzo. Image courtesy: Damodar Mauzo Facebook page

In this interview, Mauzo, who won the Sahitya Akademi award in 1983 for his novel ‘Karmelin’, speaks about the shades of growing intolerance in Goa and how some of the major social movements in the state have been guided by communal sentiment. He also tries to put in context how award-winning authors like Nagesh Karmali, who were involved in tarring of old Portuguese signages in 2004 in Fontainhas, the state capital’s Latin Quarter, are now supporting him in the battle against socio-cultural intolerance.

Q: How did this collective of 11 Sahitya Akademi award-winning writers come about?

A: When there was a spate of cases of writers returning awards, I immediately contacted the writers I knew. Some were returning awards and some had not returned these. After listening to both sides, I came to the conclusion that returning the award is not going to solve the problem, because award is not given by any particular organisation or by the government. It is given by a body of writers. It is a long procedure and they must respect it. I think returning the award is not the solution, but strong protest is a must. Even taking to the streets, giving slogans in public will help. I was very upset with the comment of the president (of the Akademi) who said, you have earned credibility and benefited by (accepting the) the award. In fact, Sahitya Akademi benefits by giving awards to great writers like Amitav Ghosh and others.

Q: Should the president of the Sahitya Akademi apologise for his callous remarks?

A: He should have, long back. We are worried because of his silence. He should have reacted immediately because he heads a body of writers.

Q: What is the immediate course of action for you and your collective of 11 Sahitya Akademi award winners?

A: We have to convene a meeting of artistes from all the fields – theatre, painters, singers, musicians etc. We will find ways to voice our concern. One, we will go to the Governor. Whether she is on our side or not, she will have to listen to us. And then there are major upcoming events like IFFI. Maybe we will find some way to take our voice to the national and international delegates. But this is one thing we have to be very, very careful of. The growing intolerance is fomented by the political leadership.

Q: We have heard through the media about the rising levels of intolerance in the rest of India. How is the situation in your home state, Goa? Do you feel the levels of intolerance are rising here too?

A: Yes, very much.

Q: Could you quantify?

A: I am very happy that active writers and artistes are vociferous whenever there is a threat to harmony, threat to co-existence. But in spite of that, intolerance is rising… I am talking about the last few years, right from the (official) language agitation, to anti-Konkan Railway (agitation), Mopa issue, everywhere we like to connect it to a communal part, which is very much worrying.

Q: You have writers, part of your panel of 11 award winners, who were also involved in certain extra-constitutional acts at one point of time.

A: I am aware of it and have always been vociferous about it. They are my friends as writers, but I feel writers should be more cautious when they react to a particular issue, particularly Medium of Instruction. We ourselves should exert tolerance to intolerance, also try to understand why they are reacting like this.

Q: A sense of duress has brought the 11 of you together. Your immediate goal is to get a response from the Sahitya Akademi. How well will this collective use this opportunity to keep watch, monitor and critique the goings on in your immediate neighbourhood, Goa?

A: In Goa, every time we form an organisation and start a movement, it falls apart because we do not have the same opinion on other issues. In this case also I do not know the future. Some of my friends are on the same wavelength, some are not.

(Mayabhushan Nagvenkar is a Goa correspondent for the Indo-Asian News Service)

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