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We don’t need to denigrate our heroes: Shashi Tharoor on criticism of Nehru by Congress mouthiece

‘Congress is focused on tomorrow, why these people are focused on yesterday’ History is about the great national heroes. Our freedom is their legacy,’ he added. In the December issue of ‘Congress Darshan’, questions have been raised on Jawaharlal Nehru’s decision for the state of affairs in Kashmir, China and Tibet. The article clearly states that Nehru should have listened to freedom fighter and former home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s views on international affairs. It also criticised Sonia Gandhi and said her father was a fascist soldier.

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JNU professor sacked for alleged sexual abuse of foreign student

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The decision was taken today at an emergent meeting of of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Executive Council (EC), the varsity’s statutory decision making body.

Jawaharlal Nehru University
File Photo

JNU on Monday terminated services of an assistant professor after a varsity inquiry committee found him guilty in a case of alleged sexual harassment filed by a foreign scholar pursuing research under him. The decision was taken today at an emergent meeting of of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Executive Council (EC), the varsity’s statutory decision making body. The complainant, a Bangladesh national, was pursuing research under the professor’s supervision in the varsity’s Department of Sociology.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A research scholar from Bangladesh working under supervision of the professor, had alleged that she was sexually abused by the professor. Subsequently, an inquiry was instituted by the Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), the university watchdog for dealing with such issues,” official sources said.”In its enquiry, the GSCASH found him guilty and recommended action against him, following which the EC meet was called to take a call on the issue. The EC decided to terminate his services with immediate effect,” they added.Meanwhile, repeated calls and text messages to the professor for his comments on the issue went unanswered.The EC’s decision comes at a time, when JNU is under criticism over the maximum number of sexual abuse cases reported from all the higher education institutes in the country.Only last week, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani had informed the Lok Sabha that 25 cases of sexual harassment were reported from JNU in 2013-2014, the highest among 104 higher education institutions from where such matters were reported, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC) data.Last month, Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal had also said that as much as 50 per cent of the 101 sexual harassment complaints filed in 16 educational institutions in the national capital since 2013 were from JNU.The varsity had recently notified its new sexual harassment policy which also includes a penalty provision for false complaints filed before the probe panel. GSCASH was instituted by the university in 1999 under the Vishaka guidelines of the Supreme Court. The panel has representatives from JNU Students Union (JNUSU), JNU Officers’ Association (JNUOA), hostel wardens, faculty and administrative staff.However, a group of JNU teachers had last month questioned the working of GSCASH, alleging that its “processes are perverted”.Demanding that JNU be a “gender-sensitive and gender-just” campus, a group of teachers has written an open letter to the varsity administration seeking its intervention to improve the functioning of GSCASH.The teachers had also alleged that the confidentiality with regard to complaints was being “blatantly violated”, leading to defaming the complainants and the putting their integrity on “public trial”. The committee had come out with a clarification saying that “it engages and encourages the community to file such cases in a confidential manner, without engaging unwanted attention and speculation at the same time”.

‘Modi Jacket’ becoming popular in the country: Kalraj Mishra

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Mishra said government has taken a number of steps to promote and popularise Khadi among people.

‘Modi Jacket’, a half sleeve coat often worn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has become “very popular” among the people in India as well as in some foreign countries, Union Minister Kalraj Mishra said on Monday.Mishra, Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, said in Lok Sabha that there was a time when ‘Jawahar Jacket, worn by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was very popular in India.”Now, the Modi Jacket has become very popular among a cross section of people. Modi Jacket is popular even in foreign countries. Recently, Japanese Prime Minister (Shinzo Abe) had worn a Modi Jacket,” he said during Question Hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mishra said government has taken a number of steps to promote and popularise Khadi among people.In reply to a written question, the Minister said the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) was set up in 1956 for the development of Khadi and village industries and for matters connected therewith.KVIC extends financial support for creation of employment opportunities and for marketing of products of khadi and village industries.There were 7050 outlets of Khadi institutions, seven departmental Khadi gramodyog bhavans and one Gramshilpa, he said adding that during 2014-15, Rs 12,513.72 crore worth of products were sold through Khadi stores.Mishra said to renovate the outlets and strengthen the production infrastructure, government has a separate scheme called ‘Strengthening of Infrastructure of Existing Weak Khadi Institutions and Assistance for Marketing Infrastructure’.

AMU divided over invitation to PM Narendra Modi

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The university administration is of the view that calling Modi to the campus would not just help in boosting the secular character of the university, but will also bring some additional funding from the Centre, which will bring the university out of the financial crisis.

The split between hardliners and moderates at Aligarh Muslim University widened after prime minister Narendra Modi was extended an invitation to the campus. University vice chancellor Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah, whose associations with Modi date back to the 2002 Gujarat riots, want to invite Modi on campus. His idea met stiff resistance from Leftist and Islamist ideologues. Shah also met Modi in the capital on Friday. “Modi has not yet instilled confidence in the Muslim community. Moreover, he should have something concrete to offer to the university if at all he wants to visit,” said professor Mustafa Zaida, secretary of the teachers’ association.The teachers’ association also feels that the university only invites personalities, who have contributed to academia. “Modi has no such contributions. Moreover, there has been no trend of prime ministers visiting the campus. After Jawaharlal Nehru, no prime minister visited the campus. We see no reason behind calling him here,” added Zaida.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The university administration is of the view that calling Modi to the campus would not just help in boosting the secular character of the university, but will also bring some additional funding from the Centre, which will bring the university out of the financial crisis. This is not the first time that the PM’s visit to an Islamist university has created resentment in the university. Jamia Millia Islamia’s decision of calling Modi for the annual convocation drew similar criticism. Jamia was critical of Modi’s statement made after the 2008 and Batla House encounter. Modi had then said, “There is a university in Delhi called Jamia Millia Islamia. It has publicly announced that it will foot the legal fee of terrorists involved in act. Go drown yourself. This Jamia Millia is being run on government money and it is daring to spend money on lawyers to get terrorists out of jail. When will this vote bank politics end?” However, VC Zameeruddin Shah feels that the PM is very optimistic about AMU. The VC had met the PM on Friday seeking financial assistance for its Kishanganj campus. “He has assured us all possible support,” he said. Shah, who feels that the PM’s visit can pull the university put of the crises, added, “I can call anybody and do anything that will be of interest to the university.”

Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul in the dock today, literally

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

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

Jawaharlal Nehru’s equations with Sheikh Abdullah, Hari Singh complicated J&K issue: Gujarat Governor

Speaking about Article 370, the Gujarat Governor said while some people say that it is no longer an issue as many central laws are applicable to the state, but added that its various aspects should also be examined.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had a “tilt towards ” Sheikh Abduah and a “tilt against” Raja Hari Singh, which played a big role in “complicating” the Jammu and Kashmir issue, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli on Saturday claimed.Kohli said this at the launch of a book ‘Dr Syama Prasad Mookherjee aur Kashmir Samasya’ authored by his daughter, Ritu Kohli. “He tilted very much towards Sheikh Abdullah, while he tilted against Maharaja Hari Singh, which played a big role in complicating the Jammu and Kashmir episode,” he claimed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kohli added that there is need to place the right narration of events before the country, even as he lauded the role played by Syama Prasad Mookherjee. Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh also said that major decisions were taken at that time because of Nehru’s personal inclinations and the “impact is being faced even today”.Kohli further claimed Congress, even after Independence, continued on its policies of “minority appeasement” or “softness towards Pakistan”, and the establishment of a national alternative to Congress, is one of aspects which needs an in-depth examination.Speaking about Article 370, the Gujarat Governor said while some people say that it is no longer an issue as many central laws are applicable to the state, but added that its various aspects should also be examined.Later when asked by reporters to comment on Kohli’s remarks, Deputy Chief Minister Singh said there are certain aspects related to the state’s history on which clarity is needed and some misconceptions are also present.Singh claimed that at the time when country became free from the British rule, all princely states were dealt with by Sardar Patel, while Nehru “only took care of Kashmir”, because of which “questions arise”.It is a big question, why we went to UN and internationalised the Kashmir issue, Singh asked.

Watch: Subramanian Swamy explaining National Herald Case

Subramanian Swamy in 2012 had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald

National Herald Case has been hogging the limelight of late. Congress is currently keeping the Parliament paralysed accusing political vendetta against top leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. Subramanian Swamy in 2012 had filed a complaint accusing them of cheating and misappropriation of funds in acquiring ownership of now-defunct English daily National Herald. The paper was set up by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, and shut down briefly in the 1940s and 1970s, and ceased operations in 2008. Swamy claims that Sonia and Rahul floated Young Indian which bought Associated Journals Limited, publisher of National Herald and the company was shut down by Sonia. He claims that Congress funds were used to buy Associated Journals Limited and that the mother-son duo aimed to grab property worth Rs 2000-crore. The Gandhis are the directors of Young Indian and own 76% and the remaining shares are owned by Motilal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda. Swamy has alleged that the Congress gave an unsecured loan of Rs 90 crore to the company. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were issued summons on Monday to appear before the court, but got temporary reprieve on Tuesday.They have been asked by the trial court to appear on 19th December. Here’s Subramanian Swamy explaining the case.

President Pranab Mukherjee to address concluding function of Pandit Nehru birth anniversary

The celebrations, which started last year, witnessed several seminars on Nehru, sit and draw competition and cultural events participated by children

President Pranab Mukherjee will deliver a speech at the concluding function of 125th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru scheduled in the city on Sunday.Co-organised by the Bidhan Memorial Trust and now defunct “Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru 125th Birth Anniversary Celebration Preparatory Committee”, the concluding programme will also see the presence of West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at the Calcutta University Centenary Hall, Congress leader and Chairman of the Trust Somen Mitra today said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The celebrations, which started last year, witnessed several seminars on Nehru, sit and draw competition and cultural events participated by children.

98% houses built under JNNURM and Rajiv Awas Yojana vacant

As many as 98% of the houses built in Delhi under the previous government’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana are lying vacant.

Union minister of state for housing and urban poverty alleviation Babul Supriyo on Thursday reeled out shocking statistics in the Rajya Sabha on how the poor are not interested in a large number of houses built by the government in big cities and towns.As many as 98% of the houses built in Delhi under the previous government’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana are lying vacant.The empty houses constructed under the two schemes account for 79% in Madhya Pradesh, followed by Punjab 78%, Himachal Pradesh 63%, Chhattisgarh (48%), Maharashtra (43%), Sikkim (43%), Andhra Pradesh (38%) and Telangana (29%).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a written reply to a question, Supriyo said under JNNURM and Rajiv Awas Yojana, a total of 1,695 housing projects were sanctioned at a total cost of Rs 40,536 crore, involving Central assistance of Rs 21,101 crore, for construction of 13,92,589 houses.As many as 9,80,216 dwelling units under the two schemes have been completed, but 2,37,546 of them, which is one-fourth of the houses built, are not yet occupied by the beneficiaries, Supriyo disclosed, pointing out that the highest number of 52,966 houses out of 1.23 lakh in Maharashtra are vacant, followed by Gujarat where 29,126 out of 1.18 lakh houses are vacant and Delhi where 26,759 out of 27,344 houses are unoccupied.Other states with poor vacancies are Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. These ten states account for 92% of vacant houses.MNREGA: The Government in Lok Sabha demolished the Congress claim of downgrading the UPA government’s flagship programme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) by slashing 40% expenditure on it and reducing the number of beneficiaries.Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia sought to put the government on the mat during question hour in the Lok Sabha, accusing the government killing the programme that was once dubbed by Narendra Modi as an example of failure of the Congress-led UPA government but included in his government’s success story in a U-turn. His contentions were, however, demolished with statistics by none else but Birender Singh, a former Congress leader from Haryana, who is now the rural development minister in the Modi government. Noting that the UPA Government had certainly allotted Rs 40,000 crore for MGNREGA in each financial year of 2010-11 and 2011-12 while spending only Rs 35,841 crore and Rs 40,000 crore respectively, the minister said actual expenditure as also allotment has gone up since the Modi government came to power.

Narendra Modi treads extra mile, says no one needs to give certificate of patriotism

In a speech bereft of any harsh comments and full of conciliatory tone and tenor, PM virtually left nothing for the opposition benches to counter him on any point

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday

PTI
At the end of thre-day long marathon debate on commemorating November 26, the 125th anniversary of Dr Ambedkar as the Constitution Day, the Rajya Sabha saw a different avatar of Prime Minister Modi that is ready to tread an extra mile for reconciliation and let the parliament function by reining in forces of intolerance.Speaking on a positive note amid controversies surrounding Aamir Khan and returning of the Awards, PM Modi affirmed unequivocally that “nobody in the country needs to give a certificate of his or her patriotism as everyone in the country of 125 crore is a patriot first.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi’s well measured speech was quite an antithesis of debate in which treasury and opposition benches traded charges against each other often crossing the brief. It amply suggested that PM Modi is now ready to rein in rabid rebel rousers of intolerance within his party and in the larger Sangh parivar.In a speech bereft of any harsh comments and full of conciliatory tone and tenor, Modi virtually left nothing for the opposition benches to counter him on any point giving indications that he was ready to tread an extra mile to get through important legislations such as the GST and Land Bill. Modi’s speech was applauded by everyone present in the house.”We always talk in voices Paksh (my side) and Vipaksh (opposition), why cannot we be Nishpaksh (impartial) at times…Why we talk in terms of I and you, why cannot we say we in one voice….There are many excuses to be divided, but we should look for reasons to be united,” Modi said.Extending his hand to the Congress, the PM in the beginning of his speech acknowledged the role of Congress leaders, including Jawaharlal Nehru, in drafting the Constitution which he referred to as the single biggest source of guidance for the democratic nation.Modi even quoted Nehru saying that “Pandit Nehru said the successful implementation of our Constitution depends on our mutual cooperation.”Incidentally, on Congress suggestion, the government accepted to include the names of other Congress stalwarts for their role in the making of the Constitution.The resolution passed at the end of the debate read, “Having remembered with gratitude, the commitment of the father of nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the pioneering and monumental role played by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Sardar Vallbhbahi Patel, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and other founding fathers of our constitution and their contribution in enabling us to adopt, enact and give to ourselves the Constitution on the 26th November, 1949, which commenced on the 26th January, 1950…”Not only this, the resolution adopted also contained solemn reaffirmation of commitment to the principles and ideals of the constitution to protect “socialist and secular character” of country, the two values that have often come under attack of the BJP.This, Congress and Left leaders, claim has bound the BJP in a web and will prove to be a vital weapon to check the BJP whenever such need arises.

Venkaiah Naidu accuses Anand Sharma of ‘defending’ Emergency

Hours after Sharma made remarks about Indira Gandhi losing power after the Emergency era and then storming back to power in 1980,.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday accused Congress leader Anand Sharma of “defending” the Emergency.Hours after Sharma made remarks about Indira Gandhi losing power after the Emergency era and then storming back to power in 1980, Naidu tweeted, “Surprised and shocked over by my friend Anand Sharma defending emergency on the very day. when we are paying tribute to founding fathers of the Constitution and reaffirm our faith to Constitution in Rajya Sabha.” “Sharma is a senior leader and in my view he is representing Congress party views,” Naidu said on Twitter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier participating in the Upper House in the debate on ‘Commitment to the Constitution”, Sharma asked the BJP “not to distort history”. “If PM Narendra Modi’s government has been democratically- elected, Indira Gandhi’s government too was elected. Indira Gandhi lost election. She was rooted out but in 1980 won 351 seats. Don’t distort history selectively,” Sharma said. Asserting that history must be respected by each one of us, he had said that the country faced many challenges. “If authors, intellectuals, scientists and actors have complaints, it should be heard and they should not be subject to torture,” he had said.Sharma said it “saddens” us that on his 125th birth anniversary, Jawaharlal Nehru was not given respect “despite being the architect of modern India”. He also claimed that the Prime Minister “did not mention” Nehru’s contribution to India-Africa relations at a recent conference here, despite African leaders heaping praises on him (Nehru) and Indira Gandhi.

BJP not recognising Jawaharlal Nehru’s contribution reflects intolerance: Congress

In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,

Ghulam Nabi Azad
File Photo

Attacking the BJP for not acknowledging the contributions of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru in making of the Constitution, Congress on Thursday said this attitude reflected the ruling party’s intolerance which flows from the top to the streets.The main opposition party in Rajya Sabha also accused the BJP of trying to appropriate the icons of India’s freedom struggle without having such a leader of its own and trying to “manufacture a clash” between these famous personalities. “You can talk about German Constitution, its dictator … but you feel ashamed to talk about (Jawaharlal) Nehru. … You are not able to recognise the contribution of first Prime Minister …. This is called intolerance. It flows from the top and percolates down to the streets,” Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while participating in a debate on the commitment to the Constitution and B R Ambedkar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Azad accused the ruling dispensation of attempting to “manufacture a clash” between the personas of freedom struggle like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and Nehru on the lines of the “divide and rule” policy. Azad referred to Leader of the House Arun Jaitley’s speech and said it became clear to him that the discussion on Ambedkar and commitment towards the Constitution was actually a “shield to take aim at other targets.”He said Jaitley had referred to Hitler and not acknowledged Nehru, which made it clear that “nazar kahin thi, nishana kahin tha”. Ghulam Nabi Azad Leader of opposition Those who don’t have icons who took part in freedom struggle are trying to appropriate others,” he said, adding that Ambedkar, Bose, Nehru, Prasad, Maulana Azad cannot be appropriated and “will always belong to the people of the country”.Taking a jibe at the RSS-BJP, he said there were a lot of people belonging to “a parivar” who did not agree with the Constitution and “it is good if they also show their commitment. Der aaye, durust aaye (better late than never)”.As Azad questioned the procedures adhered to by the government in celebrating the Constitution Day, Jaitley stood up and asked why was there a “grudging feeling” in acknowledging Ambedkar’s contribution. Continuing his attack on the Modi government, Azad said that a tree laden with fruit bends. “If it does not bend, then there is something wrong with its DNA,” Azad said. He congratulated the writers and artistes who had “stood up against intolerance and injustice” and said that numerous “disturbing” incidents had taken place across several states in the last one and a half years. Azad said several incidents had happened in states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana and UP due to the prevailing situation of intolerance. In one such case, the arm of a person was cut because he was dining with an upper caste youth, the Congress leader said, holding the ruling party responsible for it.Azad said he was greatly inspired by Ambedkar and added that people who found inspiration in freedom fighters, who left their comfortable lives and spent years in jail, were always committed to Constitution. He claimed that the Congress only “manufactured harmony” which was what leaders like Gandhi, Nehru, Patel, Maulana Azad had taught. In his speech, Azad also raised procedural questions related to declaring November 26 as Constitution Day, saying that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had come out with a notification on it, though the matter fell in the realm of the Ministry of Home Affairs.This notification is “null and void”, he claimed and added that there were more improprieties like CBSE issuing an order to schools to celebrate this day, even before the notification had been issued. Azad also emphasised that the Constitution aimed to bridge the divide between rich and poor adding that social justice was a priority. It was also envisaged that every person should have freedom to practice their religion and freedom of opportunity.He also praised Ambedkar’s determination saying despite facing discrimination, he went on to acquire the best of education to become one of the leading visionaries of his time, adding that several problems that governments are dealing with now, were envisaged by Ambedkar way back.

Ignoring contribution of Nehru reflects intolerance: Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi: Attacking the BJP in Parliament for not acknowledging the contributions of leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru in making of the Constitution, Congress on Friday said this attitude reflected the ruling party’s intolerance.

The main opposition party in the Rajya Sabha also accused the BJP of trying to appropriate the icons of India’s freedom struggle without having such a leader of its own and trying to “manufacture a clash” between these famous personalities.

“You can talk about the German Constitution, its dictator … but you feel ashamed to talk about (Jawaharlal) Nehru. …You are not able to recognise the contribution of the first Prime Minister …. This is called intolerance. It flows from the top and percolates down to the streets,” the leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said while participating in a debate on the commitment to the Constitution and B R Ambedkar.

Image courtesy: PTIImage courtesy: PTI

Image courtesy: PTI

In a hard-hitting speech in the Rajya Sabha in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Azad accused the ruling dispensation of attempting to “manufacture a clash” between the personas of freedom struggle like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel and Nehru on the lines of the “divide and rule” policy.

Azad referred to leader of the house Arun Jaitley’s speech and said it became clear to him that the discussion on Ambedkar and commitment towards the Constitution was actually a “shield to take aim at other targets.”

He said Jaitley had referred to Hitler and not acknowledged Nehru, which made it clear that “nazar kahin thi, nishana kahin tha”.

“Those who don’t have icons who took part in freedom struggle are trying to appropriate others,” he said, adding that Ambedkar, Bose, Nehru, Prasad, Maulana Azad cannot be appropriated and “will always belong to the people of the country”.

Taking a jibe at the RSS and the BJP, he said there were a lot of people belonging to “a parivar” who did not agree with the Constitution and “it is good if they also show their commitment. Der aaye, durust aaye (better late than never)”.

As Azad questioned the procedures adhered to by the government in celebrating the Constitution Day, Jaitley stood up and asked why was there a “grudging feeling” in acknowledging Ambedkar’s contribution.

PTI

Azam Khan writes three-page letter to sympathise with Aamir Khan over backlash

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh minister Mohd. Azam Khan on Tuesday sympathised with Aamir Khan over the backlash triggered by the Bollywood actor’s revelation that his wife contemplated leaving India due to “growing intolerance” in the country.

Azam Khan came up with his own ridiculous idea of what causes rape. PTIAzam Khan came up with his own ridiculous idea of what causes rape. PTI

Azam Khan came up with his own ridiculous idea of what causes rape. PTI

In a three-page letter, urban development minister Khan said Aamir was a great and gifted actor and that “he shall not think on these lines as India was for all and that some comments from some people cannot be construed as opinion of the majority”.

He also urged the actor to feel for himself how such harsh words and acts would be hurting the millions of commoners, as he himself was a star.

Likening the feelings of the actor on intolerance to his own, the minister, known for his penchant for controversies, went on to write that the Bollywood actor need not be demoralised with the conditions prevailing in the country, as millions of Muslims had chosen to stay back in India instead of going to Pakistan because of their faith in the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel.

He also urged Aamir Khan to educate the illiterate Muslims that they should not be used by politicians. The Uttar Pradesh leader concluded his letter with three couplets, suggesting India was for all.

JNU to introduce three new MA courses in art, film and theatre

“The Board of Studies of the School of Arts and Aesthetics had recommended for introduction of the three courses. The proposal was mooted in July and discussed and approved by the board before placing the same before the council,” Sopory said.

Jawaharlal Nehru University will introduce three Masters programmes in film and television, art history and theatre from the next academic session.”The university will be offering three new MA programmes from the next academic session. The courses will be MA in Art History and Visual Studies; MA in Film, Television and New Media Studies; and MA in Theatre and Performance Studies,” JNU’s Vice-Chancellor S K Sopory told PTI.The varsity’s Academic Council (AC) had given a go-ahead for introduction of these courses in its recent meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Board of Studies of the School of Arts and Aesthetics had recommended for introduction of the three courses. The proposal was mooted in July and discussed and approved by the board before placing the same before the council,” Sopory said.”The preamble as well as the courses to be taught and credit requirements for the three programmes have been worked out,” he added.The AC, which is the decision-making body of the university, had in the meeting also taken note of a proposal to open ‘School of Indian Languages’ which will offer Masters programmes and research courses in Hindi, Urdu, Kannada, Tamil, Marathi, Assamese, Bengali and Odia languages.The proposal has now been forwarded to various departments of the university and the matter will be placed before the AC after their feedback has been received.The AC, however, rejected a proposal for introduction of short-term courses in ‘Indian Culture’ and ‘Yoga’ for “propagating spiritual and mythological traditions and establishing Indian values in the world”.

In office due to love of people, don’t need BJP’s certificate: Virbhadra Singh

“I am not afraid of any investigations as I have done not anything wrong…whenever the opposition initiated enquiries against me, I emerged stronger than before with the blessings and love of people,” he said.

Rejecting the BJP’s demand for his resignation, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Saturday said he was not in office due to mercy of the opposition party but due to love and support of the people who had elected him to the post for the sixth time. “I have faced many challenges in life and it was due to the love and faith of the people that I became the Chief Minister for the sixth time and did not need any certificate from the NDA,” he said while presiding over the closing function of the four-day Lavi festival which concluded at Rampur 135 km from here today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that he would not be cowed by such tactics, Singh said “If any enquiry is left, the Centre should conduct that also and even take the help of CBI”. “I am not afraid of any investigations as I have done not anything wrong…whenever the opposition initiated enquiries against me, I emerged stronger than before with the blessings and love of people,” he said.Alleging that all cases against him were politically motivated and the handiwork of state BJP leaders and few Union Ministers, he said their selfish and ulterior motives would never succeed. Singh said the Lavi fair, which had a long distinguished history, had started more than two centuries before independence and was famous for trade fair between Tibet and India. Earlier, the Chief Minister also offered tributes to the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his 125th birth anniversary and termed him as the leader of masses.

Congress slams omission of Jawaharlal Nehru’s photo in govt ad

The Rajya Sabha MP charged that the omission of Nehru’s photograph in the advertisement amounted to an insult to the 125-crore people in the country.

Congress MP V Hanumantha Rao on Saturday sat on a dharna as he took exception to the absence of a photograph of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in a Children’s Day advertisement brought out by the Union Women and Child Development Ministry. “The advertisement released by Maneka Gandhi’s ministry (Women and Child Development) in some newspapers had the photos of only the President and Prime Minister. “Nehruji was Prime Minister for 17 years. He was a freedom fighter and went to jail. He initiated public sector companies, irrigation projects and promoted science. They are trying to finish his legacy,” Rao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha MP charged that the omission of Nehru’s photograph in the advertisement amounted to an insult to the 125-crore people in the country. Rao, who at 10 AM began his protest at a statue of Nehru here, said he would continue with his dharna till 5 PM.He added that he would organise protests at all schools if the “practice” continued next year too.

Rahul Gandhi’s language reflects Congress’s ‘intolerance’, says RSS

New Delhi: Condemning the use of language by Rahul Gandhi against it, RSS today said it exhibits the “undemocratic and intolerant mindset” of Congress and all well meaning forces should protest against it.

“The kind of language ‘not just defeating but smashing RSS’ by Rahul Gandhi exhibits the undemocratic and intolerant mindset of Congress. All democratic and well meaning forces should protest it.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. ReutersCongress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Reuters

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. Reuters

“RSS condemns such undemocratic attitude, intemperate language and intolerant mind set of Congress party,” head of RSS’ communication cell Manmohan Vaidya said in a statement.

He said the Congress and the Nehru family have carried this “hatred and intolerance” since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s time and have not been able to arrest the growth of RSS or create a dent in its popularity.

“With all their political might Congress could not arrest the growth of RSS and dent its popularity. Now the support for RSS has increased multifold,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi had yesterday said that Congress will “not just defeat but smash the RSS”. He termed the poll verdict today in Bihar as a defeat of the “divisive agenda of Narendra Modi, BJP and RSS”.

PTI

Congress to intensify stir on Andhra Pradesh special status issue

Centre should implement all promises made in the AP Re-organisation Act, he added.

The state unit of Congress on Friday decided to intensify its agitation on the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh from Monday. The decision was taken at the executive committee meeting of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee under president N Raghuveera Reddy’s chairmanship. C Ramachandraih, the party’s floor leader in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council told reporters about the resolutions passed during the executive committee meeting. “The party would intensify the agitation. The stir would be taken in a phased manner from November 9 till the end of the month over our demand to the Centre to accord special status,” he said. Centre should implement all promises made in the AP Re-organisation Act, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In another resolution, the party condemned the attitude of NDA Government for its attempt to undermine the contributions made by the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” Ramachandraih said. Congress would take up a campaign on November 14, the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, at all the district headquarters, to focus on his contribution to the nation before and after the independence. He said that on that day, a large scale public meeting would be conducted by the party at Guntur.In another resolution, the party demanded that the state government fulfilled all promises made by the TDP during last general elections. “The party feels that the TDP government failed to implement the crop loan waiver to all farmers as well as women under the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWACRA) scheme,” he said.

Nehru’s legacy violently misrepresented today, says historian Irfan Habib

New Delhi: Eminent historian Irfan Habib on Friday took a dig at detractors of Jawaharlal Nehru saying people whose ideological ancestors had no role in the national movement are trying to negate the role and contribution of the first Prime Minister of India.

“Today, the national movement is not only forgotten, but violently misrepresented… particularly the legacy of Nehru… by those people whose ideological ancestors go back to persons… having no role in national movement,” the 84-year-old scholar said in his keynote address at a national conference here ahead of the 125th birth anniversary of Nehru.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inaugurated the two-day meet.

Irfan Habib. Image courtesy: Getty imagesIrfan Habib. Image courtesy: Getty images

Irfan Habib. Image courtesy: Getty images

“In fact, they had opposed it… They are trying to find heroes in it… They are particularly trying to negate the role of the Father of the Nation as also Jawaharlal Nehru,” Habib said.

According to him, in such a backdrop it is important to underline the contribution of Nehru as an individual to the national movement.

He regretted that the Karachi resolution has been “forgotten by the organisation which gave it”. The resolution, which spelt out the vision of a secular and socialist India, was drafted by Nehru after the suspension of the civil disobedience movement. Mahatma Gandhi added to it an important provision that of scaling down of rural indebtedness.

Habib noted that though Nehru was not a religious man and not interested in afterlife, Gandhi was extremely religious and still he “totally accepted” Nehru as his political successor. This point has also been made by Sardar Patel, he said.

Habib said that it was because of Nehru that millions of farmers got the ownership of the land that they were tilling and as long as they have got the land, he will “live”.

The historian lamented that the corporate sector has been “actually ungrateful” to the role and contribution of Nehru.

He said late industrialist G D Birla had hailed the second Five Year Plan contending that the private sector could manufacture consumer goods as it is working in key areas where private capital is not there.

He also made a strong plea to build up platforms to protect the legacy of Nehru, “even if there cannot be electoral alliances.”

Insisting that dominance of the corporate sector was bad for the health of the nation, Habib said India’s welfare is not welfare of the corporate sector and these are two distinct things.

PTI

Plot revealed? Nayantara Sahgal says Rahul Gandhi is showing ‘signs of great change’

“Many of us thought Rahul would be better if he takes up something else,” she said

“He was very impressive, very thorough about his facts,” she said.

File Photo
Noted writer and niece of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Nayantara Sahgal is impressed with the way Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has decided to play a “bigger role” and feels he is showing “signs of great change”. Speaking on the sidelines of fourth Chandigarh Literature Festival here today, Sahgal, when asked to comment on what she thought about Rahul, said, “Like everybody else I thought (several years back), he did not want to be in politics. Many of us thought it would be better if he takes up something else.” She, however, quickly added that now she has seen a great change in Rahul.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Recently, I watched him speak in the context of Bihar elections. He was very impressive, very thorough about his facts… Perhaps he has decided to throw in his weight fully now. Before that, he was doing it behind the scenes, trying to organise, democratise the Youth Congress. Now, may be he has decided to play a bigger role. “He is certainly showing signs of great change. I have noticed a change, which is very positive,” said Sahgal, who recently returned her ‘Sahitya Akademi’ Award over the Dadri lynching incident and growing inolerance.When asked did politics beckon her at any point in time, Sahgal, who said that in her early life, she has been deeply influenced by Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi, replied, “Never”. She further said that she could have gotten into “politics at any time (as it ran in the family). On two occasions I was offered a seat in Parliament, but I have never wanted power and never wanted wealth. I have never had any hankering for these two things.” Yet, she said, “politics has served me as a very good material for my fiction (as a writer)”.

1962 India-China war: Jawaharlal Nehru’s words pinch our hearts, says Kiren Rijiju

Our PM Nehru had stated, “‘…my heart goes out to people of Assam’, which amounted to surrendering of our territories to the Chinese,” said Rijiju.

The Chinese went back on their own and declared a unilateral ceasefire, claimed Rijiju.

File Photo
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s words in Parliament on the Chinese aggression in Ladakh and Arunachal had really pinched our hearts, and had demoralised our forces and the local people. “Participating in a debate in Parliament over the Chinese aggression, the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had said: “In those barren land and mountains of Ladakh and Arunachal, not even a blade of grass grows, why Parliament is wasting time,” said Rijiju, adding that it is a reality that China took over the entire western part of Arunachal Pradesh, which was a part of Assam in 1962. The Chinese had reached Assam in the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh, and the then prime minister Nehru had stated, “‘…my heart goes out to people of Assam’, which amounted to surrendering of our territories to the Chinese,” said Rijiju.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chinese went back on their own and declared a unilateral ceasefire, claimed Rijiju, adding: “This is a part of the history and we must come to term that if anything wrong has happened in history, we should accept it.”He said that he was not creating anything from his own figment of imagination, and he was only stating the facts, adding that the Congress, too, should not be intolerant about accepting something which is a fact. Arunachal people are the most patriotic. They remained solidly behind the nation despite so many Indian soldiers had lost their lives during the 1962 war. We continue to do that and I am proud of that,” said Rijiju, a Member of Parliament from the Arunachal West constituency.”If a former prime minister has made some kind of unsavoury, demoralising remarks, what is wrong in accepting that? My point is that history can’t be changed. At same time, factual, historical and all kind of incidents must be brought before the nation. Our next generation has the right to know about the correct historical stories and incidents,” he said. “First Prime Minister of India Pandit Nehru, for whom I have the greatest respect, had caused a great heartburn to the people of Arunachal Pradesh,” he added.

Ceasefire violations doubled during Modi rule: Congress

Congress on Saturday alleged that ceasefire violations by Pakistan have doubled since the BJP-led NDA government took over reins of the country.”Prime Minister must have understood that the ceasefire violations and incidents of firing and shelling (by Pakistan) have doubled during the period since he took over in 2014 till now as compared to the such incidents since 1972,” Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Gulam Ahmed Mir told reporters here today. Mir, along with vice president of J&K Congress Sham Lal Sharma and some Congress leaders today paid floral tributes to former prime minister Indira Gandhi on her 31st death anniversary at a function here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”All data on human causalities and loss of property in firing and shelling by Pakistan is with him (PM) and he can compare the two and see it has doubled during his short period,” he said.Mir asked,”Where did the 56-inch chest go. Prime Minister Modi used to proudly say if one head is decapitated, we will behead 10 and we will give them befitting reply so that they (Pakistan) do not raise its head again.””During the run up to the general elections in 2014, he used to target UPA government by saying we were weak in dealing with such violations. Why is he silent now over repeated ceasefire violations resulting in death and destructions of civilian population,” he said.He also attacked the BJP government over what he alleged its divisive politics and targeting of institutions. “Attempts are being made to re-write history. Questions are being raised on the first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru,” he said.While paying tributes to the late prime minister, Mir said that her martyrdom for the cause of nation’s unity and integrity will be remembered for generations to come. “Her glorious achievements like green revolution, 20-point programme, bank nationalisation, Pokhran-I and Garibi Hatao programme will always remind us of her great contribution in the building of modern India,” he said.

World praises Nehru-Indira, Modi govt heaps insult, says Assam CM Tarun Gogoi

Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday said the Narendra Modi government has relegated the rich legacy of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi to the backdrop, while African leaders heaped praises on them at the India Africa Forum Summit 2015.In a statement, Gogoi said the African leaders sang paeans on Nehru and Gandhi in front of Modi on Thursday fondly remembering their contribution in building India’s relations with their countries. Modi has “insulted” the legacy of Nehru and Indira through some recent “outrageous actions”, he asserted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The ‘myopic and partisan vision’ of Prime Minister Modi vis-a-vis relegating the contributions of the two great visionary leaders, who created the base of strong solidarity between African member states and India and laid the foundation of a modern India, stands totally exposed,” Gogoi, a Congress chief minister, claimed.”The two great visionary leaders created the base of strong solidarity between African member states and India on which the Modi government is treading upon today. “Instead of giving them the recognition they so richly deserve, it chooses to ignore them through some recent outrageous acts,” Gogoi alleged. “Prime Minister Modi’s actions in belittling the contributions of the two great leaders have only helped to demean his so-called stature of a visionary leader before the rest of the world,” he added.

Africa summit: Congress boycotts PM Narendra Modi’s dinner for Nehru sake

Congress sources said its leaders will boycott all the functions hosted by Prime Minister Modi for the visiting dignitaries, protesting his alleged ploy to erase the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the architect of India-Africa relations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with South African President Jacob Zuma and wife Bongi Ngema at a dinner hosted in New Delhi on Wednesday

PTI
Taking its opposition to the NDA government to the next level, the Congress on Wednesday stayed away from the dinner hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the visiting African leaders, who are participating in the third edition of India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS). The party, however, will attend the official banquet being hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday.Congress sources said its leaders will boycott all the functions hosted by Prime Minister Modi for the visiting dignitaries, protesting his alleged ploy to erase the contribution of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was the architect of India-Africa relations. Congress leaders are angry that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who kick-started the summit by supervising the foreign ministers’ meeting on Tuesday, didn’t mention Nehru or any other Congress leader in her address. Among the dignitaries, it was left to foreign minister of South Africa Maite Nkoana-Mashabane who on Tuesday remembered Nehru and called the late leader as one of the founders of South-South cooperation. Congress leaders believe that it was, in fact, the UPA government which started the IAFS in 2008.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leaders in two Houses of Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mallikarjun Kharge were invited to the dinner. Sonia Gandhi did not have any invitation though the Congress has extremely close ties with African nations and some of the towering leaders treat Nehru as their idol.Congress sources say it was unfortunate that the names of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi who had made stellar contribution for African de-colonisation and for the ending of apartheid were not mentioned in any of official media releases. Also there is no mention about the “Africa Fund” set up by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 in the ministry of external affairs’.

Non-NET fellowship row: Government appoints 5-member review panel

The government reiterated that it has directed the UGC not to implement the decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships.

Amid unrelenting protests by students against the scrapping of the non-NET fellowship by the University Grants Commission, the government on Wednesday appointed a five-member panel to review the research grants offered by UGC which has been asked to continue all existing grants.The government reiterated that it has directed the UGC not to implement the decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships. The students, who have been protesting since last eight days, termed the government’s notification an “eyewash” and said they will continue with their agitation till the “review” is done. “In order to encourage and expand quality research in diverse fields, the Central Government has constituted a five-member review committee to go into the issues related to the research fellowships provided by UGC. The panel will submit its report to the HRD Ministry by December, 2015,” an official notification said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Central Government has directed the UGC not to implement the Commission’s decision to discontinue the non-NET fellowships and continue all existing fellowships,” it added.The committee has been asked to: determine the feasibility of enhancing the coverage of NET fellowships which are merit based, establish a transparent system of transfer of fellowship amounts every month to non-NET fellows, considering economic and non-economic criteria for eligibility for the fellowship, among others.UGC had resolved to discontinue the scheme of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) fellowship, which is provided to those undertaking research in central universities across India, in a meeting held on October 7, contending that the fellowship programme was discriminatory in nature and lacked uniformity among universities in the selection process. The Commission had also cited shortage of funds as the reason behind inability to provide fellowships, triggering protests last week by the students from universities across Delhi demanding that the decision be revoked.Under the scheme, financial assistance was provided to students undertaking MPhil and PhD of Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000 per month respectively. PhD students got assistance for four years and MPhil students for 18 months. They also got a contingency amount per year to help them carry out their research.Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani had on Sunday assured that the fellowships will not be discontinued after she met a student delegation. “We demand that the committee must be an enhancement panel and not a review panel. Also it should not restrict fellowships by merit or income criteria for the fellowship.The notification does not say anything about scholars who are going to enroll in the next academic session,” said Shehla Rashid, Vice President, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Hundreds of students from JNU, DU, Jamia Millia, Ambedkar University and other institutions have been camping outside UGC office since last week demanding that the authorities restore the fellowships.

Jawaharlal Nehru’s message still relevant, says Pranab Mukherjee

The President told journalists on board his special flight from Tel Aviv to New Delhi last night, “certain messages and principles have relevance for a very very long time

Pranab Mukherjee

Jawaharlal Nehru’s message of peaceful coexistence has eternal relevance and is not “bound in a timeframe,” President Pranab Mukherjee said in remarks coming in the backdrop of questions being raised about the legacy of the country’s first Prime Minister.The President told journalists on board his special flight from Tel Aviv to New Delhi last night, “certain messages and principles have relevance for a very very long time. Peaceful coexistence is one such message and it is not to be bound in a timeframe.” He was answering a question on the relevance of Nehru’s ideals, particularly peaceful coexistence, in today’s context.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He had underlined that principles of peaceful coexistence during his discussions with leaders of Jordan, Palestine and Israel during his six-day trip. Mukherjee was also asked about his remarks in Israel that religion should not be the basis of a state with a journalist pointing out that Israel and Pakistan were based on religion.He replied, “I said that religion cannot be the basis of a state. For instance in a large number of Arab countries, Islam is the religion. But on the basis of religion the Arab countries have not converged into one state.”Pakistan was created out of India on the basis of religion in 1947. A large chunk had come out of Pakistan and become an independent sovereign state within 25 years( Bangladesh),” he said, ading that this is the point he had made to Israeli parliamentarians.The President, who was in the region at the time of escalating tensions, was asked why he had not specifically commented on the Israel-Palestine conflict. He had been criticised in Israel for not denouncing “Palestinian terrorism”. He replied, “I know that different countries have different relations. It is not the job of another country to make any comment on that. This is international diplomacy and courtesy.”He pointed out that India had established full fledged diplomatic relations with Israel nearly 23 years ago but continued to maintain its “principled position” with regard to Palestine. The President said that in his discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders he had got a sense that both sides wanted to resolve the issues between them

Modi government ‘tacitly enabling’ attacks on writers: Amitav Ghosh

He also said that although he appreciated the courage displayed by other writers, he himself is not going return his Akademi award.

Amitav Ghosh

Getty Images
Author Amitav Ghosh on Thursday said that the government has been silently enabling the attacks on writers by not acting against the incidents. However, he said that he would not follow the cue of other writers and not return his Sahitya Akademi award.Ghosh told Indian Express, “There can be no doubt that the present government is tacitly enabling these attacks by failing to take punitive and preventive action. In refusing to protest, the Sahitya Akademi is shamefully in dereliction of its duties.” He also said that although he appreciated the courage displayed by other writers, he himself is not going return his Akademi award as it would amount to a “repudiation of the institution’s history.” <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Recently a host of writers have returned their Akedemi awards in a gesture of protest. 88-year-old Sahgal, niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, was among the first to lodge her protest against the Akademi’s silence over repeated attacks on writers and rationalists who were raising their voice of dissent.Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal, Urdu novelist Rahman Abbas and Kannada writer- translator Srinath DN said they were handing back their Sahitya awards. Khayal and Srinath were joined by Hindi writers Mangalesh Dabral and Rajesh Joshi who backed the spiralling protest by litterateurs against “communal” atmosphere following rationalist M M Kalburgi’s killing.Punjabi author Waryam Sandhu and Kannada translator G N Ranganatha Rao said they have intimated to the Akademi their decision to give back their awards. With this, at least 16 authors have announced their decision to return their awards with some warning that minorities in the country today feel “unsafe and threatened”.”The communal poison is spreading in the country and the threat of dividing people looms large,” the writers warned. Under fire from several quarters, the Akademi has called for a meeting of the Executive Board on October 23.Sahitya Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari had said that the institution was committed to the core secular values enshrined in the Constitution of India. Khayal said, “I have decided to return the award. The minorities in the country are feeling unsafe and threatened. They feel their future is bleak.”

Jawaharlal Nehru sought US help during 1962 Indo-China war, claims new book

India’s implementation of the Forward Policy served as a major provocation to China in September 1962,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official, wrote the book titled ‘JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War’.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had sought American assistance and wrote to the then US president John F Kennedy to provide India jet fighters to stem the Chinese tide of aggression during the 1962 Sino-India war, according to a new book.The main objective of Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, to attack India in 1962 was to “humiliate” Nehru who was emerging as a leader of the third world, it said. “India’s implementation of the Forward Policy served as a major provocation to China in September 1962,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official, wrote the book titled ‘JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA and the Sino-Indian War’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Mao’s focus was on Nehru, but a defeat of India would also be a setback for two of Mao’s enemies: (Nikita) Khrushchev and Kennedy,” Riedel wrote. As India was losing its territory to China fast and suffering heavy casualty, Nehru in a letter to Kennedy in November 1962 said India needed “air transport and jet fighters to stem the Chinese tide of aggression.” “A lot more effort, both from us and from our friends will be required.”Nehru wrote another letter to Kennedy in quick succession, Riedel writes.This letter written by Nehru in a state of panicky was hand delivered by the then Indian Ambassador to the US B K Nehru to Kennedy on November 19. “Nehru was thus asking Kennedy to join the war against China by partnering in an air war to defeat the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army of China). It was a momentous request that the Indian Prime Minister was making. Just a decade after American forces had reached a cease-fire with the Chinese Community Forces in Korea, India was asking JFK to join a new war against Community China,” Riedel wrote in his book.Ahead of Nehru’s letter, the then US Ambassador to India Galbraith sent a telegram to the White House giving the President an advance notice that such a request was coming from Nehru. In the letter, Nehru asked for 12 squadrons of US air forces, Riedel told the Washington audience during the preview of the book at an event organised by the Brookings Institute a top American think-tank yesterday.”A minimum of 12 squadrons of supersonic all weather fighters are essential. We have no modern radar cover in the country. The United States Air Force personnel will have to man these fighters and radar installations while our personnel are being trained,” Nehru wrote in the letter, which has been quoted by Riedel in the book. In addition, Nehru also requested “two squadron of B-47 Bombers” to strike in Tibet, the author says quoting the letter.In the letter, Nehru assured Kennedy that these bombers would not be used against Pakistan, but only for “resistance against the Chinese”.The stakes were “not merely the survival of India”, Nehru told Kennedy “but the survival of free and independent Governments in the whole of this subcontinent or in Asia”.

Writers renouncing honours suffer from ‘disease of secularism’, says RSS

They (these writers) did not utter a word on Hindus displaced from Kashmir because in their view Hindus do not have any human rights, said RSS.

These intolerant intellectuals have made known their restlessness, said RSS.

RSS has come down heavily on litterateurs suffering from “disease of secularism” returning their “medals”, saying they had no problem in accepting the honours from those “guilty of anti-Sikh riots”. It said nothing but the “Nehruvian model” was acceptable to these secular “pen artistes”. “Some pen artists afflicted with the disease of secularism have returned their medals to protest attempts at distorting Hindu religion and destroying India. No matter which government the country wants, nothing but the Nehruvian model is acceptable to them. “These intellectuals were not hurt when they accepted the honours from those guilty of anti-Sikh riots,” an editorial in RSS mouthpiece ‘Panchjanya’ said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that the “secular definition” of minorities is limited to “just one group”, it said,”They (these writers) did not utter a word on Hindus displaced from Kashmir because in their view Hindus do not have any human rights.” The editorial claimed Jawaharlal Nehru had in 1938 written to Muhammad Ali Jinnah acknowledging cow slaughter as the “fundamental right” of Muslims. “Nehru promised to allow cow slaughter if Congress ruled the country. Not only that, he said he would quit even prime ministership to allow cow slaughter to happen,” it said.”But now, after the rule has changed, they (the writers) are unable to tolerate it. These intolerant intellectuals have made known their restlessness. They are restless because the ‘chair’ has gone, it hurts them,” it said.

Kannada writer returns Sahitya Akademi award

“As a protest to the attack on free thinking and food liberty, I am herewith returning the award,” said Tarikeri, who was conferred the award in 2010.

Joining the bandwagon of writers and poets protesting “growing intolerance”, Kannada writer Prof Rahamat Tarikeri has returned his Sahitya Akademi award in protest against the killing of scholar M M Kalburgi and rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.In a letter addressed to the President of the Akademi, Tarikeri said, “It is sad that the Sahitya Akademi has not condemned the brutal murder of Kalburgi, an eminent scholar and Akademi award recipient. The killing of Pansare, Dabholkar and Kalburgi, is an attempt to create an intolerant society”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tarikeri, Professor at Hampi Kannada University, said the recent Dadri lynching over beef eating rumours is also part of “this intolerance”.”As a protest to the attack on free thinking and food liberty, I am herewith returning the award,” said Tarikeri, who was conferred the award in 2010.He has enclosed a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, the award amount, a shawl and memento, along with the registered post forwarded to the Regional Office of the Akademi in Bengaluru, the writer told PTI.Nayantara Sahgal, 88-year old niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, had virtually set the trend of protests by several other writers against the Sahitya Akademi questioning its silence over repeated attacks on writers and rationalists who were raising their voice of dissent.At the state level, six Kannada writers had earlier this month returned their awards to Kannada Sahitya Parishat upset over the delay in arrest of killers of Kalburgi, who was shot dead at point blank range two by men at his Dharwad residence recently. The police are yet to crack the case.

PM Modi woos Bihar voters in Mumbai, says quota will stay

The Prime Minister was in the city to lay the foundation stone for four projects – India’s largest container port at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills, Dahisar East-Andheri East metro line and Dahisar East-DN Nagar metro.

PM Narendra Modi in Mumbai on Sunday.

PTI
It was an election-eve message well meant for the voters in Bihar, where the first phase of polling will take place on Monday. Addressing a gathering at MMRDA Grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex here on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi clarified NDA’s stand on reservation – the most discussing election point in Bihar – and said that reservation is here to stay and that his party is not against it. “Rumour-mongers are at work in states with Dalit, adivasi and Other Backward Class populace; that the BJP, once getting elected, will do away with reservation,” Modi said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Prime Minister was in the city to lay the foundation stone for four projects – India’s largest container port at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial at Indu Mills, Dahisar East-Andheri East metro line and Dahisar East-DN Nagar metro. Addressing the gathering, attended in large numbers by the followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, Modi said, “Some pious work is destined to be undertaken by us. The earlier government didn’t bother to do anything. Is it that the (Indu Mill) land has suddenly popped up after we came to power?” He said works are underway on the ‘Panch Tirth’ (five pilgrimage spots) dedicated to Dr Ambedkar. One of these would be in London, where he stayed while studying at London School of Economics. The other memorials would be at Indu Mills, at Alipur Road in Delhi, birth place in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh and ancestral place in Ratnagiri. He also suggested to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis that a green belt be created at Indu Mills, planting saplings collected from each of the more than 40,000 villages of Maharashtra. “There should be saplings representing other states and countries as well,” he said. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, Road, Transport and Highways minister Nitin Gadkari and CM Fadnavis also came in for praise by the PM for the commendable work in a short span of 15 months. “It used to take 1 to 2 years earlier to prepare a Detailed Project Report on metro corridor. Now it was done in just four months’ time,” Modi said. Appreciating CM Fadnavis’ pet project, Jalyukta Shivar Scheme – a water conservation and management initiative, the PM said, “Not much was done for farmers because of which they are left to fight drought all the time. Your CM has taken the right step in troubleshooting drought problem.” Announcing November 26 as Constitution Day, Prime Minister Modi said the day will be dedicated to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and will serve as an opportunity for students across the country to gain insight into finer details of Indian Constitution and the man behind it.

PM Modi lays foundation stone Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday laid the foundation stone of an ambitious project which will more than double the capacity of the country’s largest container port JNPT in next two years.

Modi laid the foundation stone at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), situated off the financial capital’s eastern seafront, for the Rs 7,900 crore fourth terminal project to be carried out in two phases.

Narendra Modi. ReutersNarendra Modi. Reuters

Narendra Modi. Reuters

He was accompanied by Maharashtra Governor C Vidyasagar Rao, Union Shipping and Ports Minister Nitin Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The port aspires to be among the top 15 of the world with the implementation of several infrastructure projects, including the fourth terminal. At present it is ranked 31st.

The terminal will help the exim trade, and comes at a time when the country is aspiring to be a manufacturing powerhouse which is clear through the government’s flagship ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The fourth terminal project is being executed by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminal, a subsidiary of Port of Singapore, on a design, built, fund, operate and transfer basis under which JNPT will get a 35.9 per cent share in revenues.

With the two-phased project, the overall container handling capacity of JNPT will more than double to 10 million standard units from the present 4.5 million, Union Shipping Secretary Rajive Kumar had said yesterday.

Work on the project has been divided into two phases, entailing an investment of Rs 4,719 crore and Rs 3,196 crore, respectively, and work is expected to be complete by the end of 2017.

The project involves construction of two berths of one km in each of the two phases and land acquisition is also minimal as 70 hectares of land will be reclaimed from the sea for each of the berths.

At present, JNPT operates one of the three terminals at the port while the other two are done by DP World and APM Terminals, Kumar had said, adding that addition of the fourth terminal will mean three of the biggest port operators being present at the port.

A corporate film tracing growth of JNPT into the 31st biggest container port globally and projects being undertaken to increase capacity, including a standalone berth and a Special Economic Zone, was shown at the ceremony.

Modi, who is on a day-long visit to the financial capital which includes a public meeting, did not speak at the event.

The event comes amid a growing trend of state-run major ports losing market share to the privately run non-major ports, which has resulted in Gautam Adani-led Mundra Port to emerge as the largest port by cargo handled.

PTI

K. Satchidanandan quits Sahitya Akademi, joins protest by literary icons

Joining the protest over rising communal violence cases in the country, Malayalam and English poet K. Satchidanandan quit the Sahitya Akademi on Saturday, becoming the latest literary icon to do so.

Joining the protest over rising communal violence cases in the country, Malayalam and English poet K. Satchidanandan quit the Sahitya Akademi on Saturday, becoming the latest literary icon to do so.Earlier, Malayalam author and activist Sarah Joseph returned the prestigious Kendra Sahitya Akademi award protesting against the ‘communal policies’ of the central government.Writer Shashi Deshpande resigned from the Sahitya Akademi General Council yesterday, saying she is ‘deeply distressed’ by the silence of the Akademi on the murder of Professor M M Kalburgi, a Kannada writer, scholar and winner of the Akademi award, who was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Dharwad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noted writer Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, has also returned the prestigious award in protest against what she called the ‘vanishing space’ for diversity.The Literary icons have been protesting against the soaring cases of communal violence in the country and the inaction of the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Religion must not be used as mask to satisfy hunger for power: President Pranab Mukherjee

The President’s remarks come against the backdrop of lynching of a 50-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over beef rumours and the ongoing political slugfest over it.
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Amidst the raging beef controversy that has triggered communal overtones, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday warned that “hate speech and fear mongering” should stop and asserted that religion should not be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power of some individuals.In an interview to Arabic daily ‘Al Ghad’ ahead of his visit to Jordan, Mukherjee underlined the need to “amplify the voice of moderation”.”Hate speech and fear mongering should come to an end. Our values should become part of our daily life. We must amplify the voice of moderation. We should not permit religion to be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power and control of some individuals,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President’s remarks come against the backdrop of lynching of a 50-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over beef rumours and the ongoing political slugfest over it.”Tolerance and co-existence are basic tenets of our civilisation. We hold them very dear to our hearts,” he said while noting that the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had propounded the five principles of peaceful co-existence among nations.Related read: Core values of tolerance, plurality cannot be wasted, says President Pranab MukherjeeMukherjee said he agreed with Jordanian King Abdullah that the world is confronted with a “third world war to which we must respond with equal intensity. I also agree that we must go back to essence of respective faiths and creeds”.Referring to a speech made by Abdullah, he said that leaders of every country, every belief, every neighbourhood need to take a clear and public stand against intolerance of any kind. Mukherjee said India has sought to challenge and repudiate the terrorist narrative that global counter- terrorism efforts are directed against any particular religion or ethnic group.”We are convinced that terrorism can be rolled back only through comprehensive, coordinated international cooperation combined with a strengthened, enforceable international legal regime,” he said.India is aware of the impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan’s resources and truly commends its leadership and people for their compassion and untiring efforts to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of the ongoing strife in Syria, the President said. Mukherjee will embark on his first historic visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel beginning October 10.India and Jordan are united in the fight against terrorism and extremism which have become a global menace, he said adding that his visit will serve the dual purpose of improving bilateral relations and providing an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global developments.

Return of Sahitya Akademi award not a first, Nayantara Sahgal bitterly opposed the Emergency too

Several books indicate Nayantara Sahgal was one of the most bitter opponents of Emergency imposed by her cousin Indira Gandhi.

Image credit: Ramesh Lalwani

Wikimedia Commons
Nayantara Sahgal, niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, has returned her Sahitya Akademi award over the Dadri lynching case alleging that ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.”The prevailing situation of the country is very pathetic. The Hindutva ideology which is going on in the country right now is ruining the name of the Hindus and as a Hindu myself, I am very hurt,” Sahgal said. She has been particularly critical about Narendra Modi’s silence over the entire issue where a Muslim man was killed by a raucous Hindu mob for allegedly consuming beef. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sahgal has been widely attacked on Twitter by the right-wing supporters for being silent during many errors of omission and commission during the Congress regime. But as several books indicate, Nayantara Sahgal was one of the most bitter opponents of Emergency imposed by her cousin Indira Gandhi. Sahgal’s appointment as ambassador to Italy was cancelled by Indira Gandhi shortly after she returned to power. 24 Akbar Road: A Short History of the People behind the Fall and Rise of the Congress, a book written by veteran leader Rasheed Kidwai shares some interesting facets about the Sahgal’s protests during the heady days of Emergency. According to Nayantara, her activities were closely monitored and her telephone was tapped. She was asked to show her book A situation in New Delhi to the censor board for permission but she refused to do so. Later, in A Voice for Freedom, Sahgal eloquently wrote that she felt sick seeing so many admired, veteran leaders in jail alongside other political workers.There were apprehensions that Sahgal may be arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act during Emergency but that never happened, though a close Indira aide, then West Bengal CM Sidhartha Shankar Ray, reportedly threatened to do so. A rather interesting anecdote shared in KIdwai’s book suggests that Sahgal was so frustrated with Congress that she found the right wing Jan- Sangh a worthy alternative. The book quotes Sahgal telling Subramanian Swamy, “People need to know that the Jan Sangh does not have three horns and a tail”. From that comment to now, not only has Indian politics undergone a tectonic shift, so has Nayantara Sahgal’s opinion on right-wing forces.

‘Hindutva’ ideology ruining name of Hindus everywhere, says Nayantara Sahgal

Eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who returned her ‘Sahitya Akademi’ Award over the Dadri lynching case, said on Wednesday that the rampant ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.

(File Photo, image by Ramesh Lalwani) Wikimedia Commons

Eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal, the niece of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who returned her ‘Sahitya Akademi’ Award over the Dadri lynching case, said on Wednesday that the rampant ‘Hindutva ideology’ was ruining the name of Hindus in the nation.”The prevailing situation of the country is very pathetic. The Hindutva ideology which is going on in the country right now is ruining the name of the Hindus and as a Hindu myself, I am very hurt,” Sahgal said.A day ago Sehgal returned the Sahitya Akademi award in protest against increasing intolerance towards right to dissent in the country and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the “reign of terror”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sahgal, who received a Sahitya Akademi award in 1986 for her English novel ‘Rich Like Us (1985)’, said, “The ruling ideology today is a fascist ideology and that is what is worrying me now. We did not have a fascist government until now… I am doing whatever I believe in.”Citing various incidents of killings of writers and rationalists including M M Kalburgi and Govind Pansare, she alleged, “Rationalists who question superstition, anyone who questions any aspect of the ugly and dangerous distortion of Hinduism known as Hindutva whether in the intellectual or artistic sphere, or whether in terms of food habits and lifestyle are being marginalised, persecuted, or murdered.”Sahgal told PTI that “Modi is a politician who knows how to speak. He has given long speeches. On twitter and other social media he is vocal. He should be responsible for (what is happening) in the country.”The author further added that under Modi’s government, “India is going backwards. It is rejecting our great idea of cultural diversity and debate and it is narrowing down to an invention called Hindutva.”

On Gandhi Jayanti, President Pranab Mukherjee emphasises non-violence message

Gandhi Jayanti is a day when “we should rededicate ourselves to Bapu’s ideals of non-violence, peace and tolerance.”

President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday asked people to follow non-violence, peace and tolerance that was preached by Mahatma Gandhi, in a message that came against the backdrop of lynching of a man in Uttar Pradesh following rumours that he had consumed beef.On the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, Mukherjee said the ideals that the Father of the Nation espoused are a part of India’s collective living heritage and will lead the country through the “challenges of the present” and enable in building a strong and resurgent nation.Gandhi Jayanti is a day when “we should rededicate ourselves to Bapu’s ideals of non-violence, peace and tolerance,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President’s message assumes added significance as it comes against the backdrop of lynching of a man by a mob in Dadri in UP following rumours that he had consumed beef.Mukherjee said India’s heritage is “deeply imbued with the idea of being ‘one people.’ It is a celebration of our diversity, our plural culture, our many languages, religions and different modes of life. This was the idea that moved those who strove for India’s freedom.”He urged the people to imbibe wisdom from the valued teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and strive to translate Bapu’s ideals into action.”May his vision lead us through the challenges of the present and enable us build a strong and resurgent India,” he said.”Our deep and abiding commitment to democracy stems from this idea. We continue to be guided by these ideals. We remain committed to them not because it is our past, but because it is also our future,” Mukherjee said.Terming Mahatma Gandhi as an “extraordinary revolutionary with rare farsightedness,” the President recalled the words of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on Bapu’s demise “the light is gone and yet it will shine for a thousand years.”

Former Nepal PM Baburam Bhattarai quits party amid differences over new Constitution

Bhattarai, who spent his years as a student at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and is said to have close links with India, has been sympathetic to the agitation launched by Madhesi parties demanding more rights and representation to the people residing in the southern plains of Nepal.
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Image courtesy: en.wikipedia.org
Baburam Bhattarai, Nepal’s former prime minister and top Maoist leader sympathetic to Madhesis, on Saturday resigned as lawmaker and also quit the party to form his own political “force” amid differences with the major Nepalese political parties over the new Constitution.Bhattarai, a veteran leader of the Unified CPN-Maoist, was the senior-most leader after party chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as ‘Prachanda’.Bhattarai, who spent his years as a student at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and is said to have close links with India, has been sympathetic to the agitation launched by Madhesi parties demanding more rights and representation to the people residing in the southern plains of Nepal. He has consistently attacked lawmakers, including members of his own party, for not taking minorities’ concerns into account during the drafting of the new Constitution — Nepal’s first by elected representatives.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 61-year-old leader has indicated that he would form a new political “force” within a couple of months.”Effective from today’s date I have resigned from all obligations, responsibilities at all levels as well as general membership of the UCPN Maoists,” Bhattarai told reporters.”I will now do what I can as a citizen of this country…as long as I am alive I will work for the country and the people,” he said. He also appeared to distance himself from the Maoist ideology and said Maoism has become irrelevant and obsolete in today’s world. He has indicated that his new party would be democratic in nature.Bhattarai’s decision has given a big jolt to the UCPN-M as he leads a strong faction within the party, say insiders. The UCPN-M has 124 seats in the 601-member Parliament. Party sources say nearly half of the Maoist lawmakers are likely to toe Bhattarai’s line.During a press conference, Bhattarai said he would visit cities in the troubled Terai region, some of which are close to the Nepal-Indian border, in a few days to understand the situation there.Bhattarai will visit Biratnagar, Janakpur, Nawalparasi and Nepalgunj in southern Nepal. But he would first visit Janakpur on Tuesday, his close aides said.The Terai region (plains) has been on the boil since the new Constitution was debated. The Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of the plains, are up against the new charter, alleging that it doesn’t protect their rights and interests.The ethnic Tharu community say the model of splitting Nepal into seven provinces leave them under-represented in the country’s Parliament. More than 40 people have died in the ensuing protests over the new Constitution.Bhattarai, who led the second Maoist government between 2011 and 2013, was one of the key figures behind Nepal’s civil war that killed nearly 17,000 people. He was the vice chair of the UCP-M that fought a decade long war to topple the monarchy in Nepal.

Subramanian Swamy dubs JNU students, professors as ‘naxals’

Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy has made another controversial remark by calling the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and professors “naxalites.””Not only students, I am also calling JNU professors as naxal,” said Swamy while responding to a question here on Friday. Speaking on his recommendation to change the name of JNU to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose University, he said that Bose was far more educated as compared to Nehru. Also Read: Subramanian Swamy speaks out on reports he was offered JNU vice-chancellor’s job

Narendra Modi wishes former PM Manmohan Singh on his birthday

Born on September 26, 1932 in Gah (now in Punjab, Pakistan), Singh’s family migrated to India during partition in 1947.

Modi-Manmohan(File Image)

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday wished former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on his 83rd birthday.”I wish Dr. Manmohan Singh on his birthday and pray to almighty that he remains in good health and leads a long life,” tweeted Prime Minister Modi. Former prime minister and economist Dr. Manmohan Singh is celebrating his 83rd birthday on Saturday.Born on September 26, 1932 in Gah (now in Punjab, Pakistan), Singh’s family migrated to India during partition in 1947. Singh became the 14th Prime Minister of the country on May 22, 2004 and continued till 26 May 2014.Singh is the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to be next vice-chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University?

It is learnt that HRD Minister Smriti Irani spoke to Swamy about the offer. However, there was no official communication from the Ministry.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy

HRD Ministry is believed to have offered the post of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) vice chancellor to BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, but he has put some conditions before accepting the coveted post.It is learnt that HRD Minister Smriti Irani spoke to Swamy about the offer. However, there was no official communication from the Ministry.It also remained unclear what riders the BJP leader has placed before the Ministry for accepting the offer.Interestingly, the development comes even before the Union Ministry is to finalise the search-cum-selection committee for selecting the new VC. The current VC S K Sopory is set to retire in January next year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per the rules, a panel of names selected by the committee is sent to the President ( who is Visitor of the central varsities) by the HRD Ministry before the announcement of the new VC. The advertisements for inviting applications from the interested candidates for appointment of the new VC was given in August this year.

BJP hits back at Rahul Gandhi, Venkaiah Naidu calls Congress VP ‘childish’ and ‘immature’

Naidu also sought to turn the tables against Gandhi, saying Rahul’s grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru and father Rajiv Gandhi too had used the “suit boot” attire. “….now he (Rahul) is also talking about suit boot (suit boot ki sarkar), forgetting his grandfather used to wear suit boot, forgetting his father used to wear suit boot.

Hitting out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for his “suit boot” remarks against Narendra Modi, Union Minister M Venkaiah Nadu on Sunday termed it as “childish and immature” and accused him of taking the name of Prime Minister to remain in the news.Naidu also sought to turn the tables against Gandhi, saying Rahul’s grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru and father Rajiv Gandhi too had used the “suit boot” attire. “….now he (Rahul) is also talking about suit boot (suit boot ki sarkar), forgetting his grandfather used to wear suit boot, forgetting his father used to wear suit boot. Are you criticising your grandfather and father? Are you ridiculing them?” the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs asked.Attacking the Congress leader for his suit-boot jibe made at an election rally in Bihar, Naidu said: “Please think before you speak, there should be some maturity in what you speak. Don’t be childish and immature. Making such cheap comments against the Prime Minister of the country- that too on a personal dress….”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pointing out that the suit presented to the Prime Minister was auctioned and the money was used for public purpose, he said “….I don’t know who is writing his script, who is writing the speech, but they are misleading him.” Launching the Congress campaign in assembly poll-bound Bihar, Rahul Gandhi had on Saturday raked up the “suit boot ki sarkar” jibe to target the Modi government, warning people that they would lose their land and livelihood if NDA came to power in the state.Painting Modi and BJP-led NDA as a ‘club of rich’, he had said “While the Mahatma shed his suit and donned a dhoti as he led the poor farmers, Modi who claimed to have started as a chaiwala (tea seller) started wearing Rs 15 lakh suit after becoming Prime Minister.” When a reporter persisted with the issue, Naidu said “….we need not focus on him. He is trying to take the name of the Prime Minister, so that he is in the news…” Slamming the Congress, he said it was still unable to reconcile with the reality and continuing its ‘disinformation’ campaign against the government.”Words for the poor and deeds for the rich had been policy of the Congress over the years,” he added.Referring to various social security schemes launched by the Centre, Naidu said it would unveil Mudra Yojana – credit for the ordinary small traders, street vendors and unemployed youth on September 25. Stating that Rahul Gandhi and Congress were saying that they won’t allow even a inch of land to be acquired, he said “I would like to know what is the scale of the inch for Mr Rahul Gandhi?”Accusing Congress governments of “forceful” acquisition of lakhs of acres of land, he challenged its leaders to explain as to how they allowed their governments to acquire and loot the land of farmers to the tune of nearly 80,000 acres in one state (Haryana). He dared the Congress and its leaders holding a rally today on the land bill to explain on this “if they have guts.” Naidu also said allegations made against External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had boomeranged on the Congress and its leaders as they could not answer in Parliament as to why they allowed Lalit Modi to flee the country.”….every allegations they are making is boomeranging on them. This spit and run practice is not going to help Congress party,” he said.Sounding confident of party’s victory in Bihar polls, Naidu said “On one hand Congress leader says we should not protect convicted, corrupt people while on the other hand you have aligned with RJD (Rashtreeya Janata Dal of Lalu Prasad Yadav).””There is a great combination in Bihar, where all the ‘Cs’ have come together. The Casteist, the Corrupt, the Communal, the Convicted- all of them have joined together, this is their grand alliance. They are going to be rejected by the people,” he added. Responding to a question on West Bengal government releasing files related to Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Naidu said “The state government should have talked to the centre also, but anyhow they have done it.”I don’t want to make any comment. It should not be politicised. Everybody in the country is interested to know the truth about what happened to Netaji- including me,” he added. “What will be its implications on the international arena that has to be studied. That is under study of the government of India,” he said.

Declassification of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose files end in a whimper

Experts feel that the 64 intelligence files do not contain conclusive information pertaining to Netaji’s death.

The classified Netaji files were presumed to be bombs waiting to explode, after they would be brought under public scrutiny. But when these 64 intelligence files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose were finally declassified by the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government, it ended in a whimper.While many circles hailed and lauded the state government for taking a bold step on a very sensitive issue, historians who had a preliminary glance of the contents opined that there was nothing sensational in it that could throw new light on Netaji’s mysterious disappearance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Experts feel that the 64 intelligence files, 55 with the then Special Branch of Calcutta Police and nine with the state’s IB, do not contain conclusive information pertaining to his death.The 12,744-page dossier, however, opened up new avenues about Netaji’s interactions with people, his personal life and his dreams about freeing India from the British rule.On several occasions, the kin of Netaji and some newspaper publications had reported that he had not died in a plane crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945 and some had even claimed to hear from him, when rumours of his death were doing the rounds. In the 40s, the Bose family had contacts with the Japan consulate. Netaji’s wife Emilie Schenkl’s letter addressed to Rama and Chitra, the two daughters of Sarat Chandra Bose, Netaji’s brother, reads that she referred to herself as Bose’ widow. But the letter was more about her daughter Anita and little on Netaji.As many as 21 files throw light on the Azad Hind Fauj as well as names and addresses of INA members.However, what is clear is that Sarat Chandra Bose and his family were under the surveillance of the investigating agency during the Jawaharlal Nehru-led Central government and Bidhan Chandra Ray-led West Bengal government. In 1950, despite the death of Sarat Chandra Bose, his two sons – Amiya Nath Bose and Sisir Kumar Bose were under the government’s scanner till 1971.

Postage controversy: Govt says Gandhi family can’t get all the honour

Do the Congress people want to see the country through only one lens?, he asked.

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A controversy erupted on Wednesday over the decision to discontinue postage stamps of Indira and Rajiv Gandhi with the government saying only one family can not get this honour, even as the Congress termed the move as “insult to the history” and demanded an apology. Defending the move, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also said that an advisory committee has suggested to replace the picture of Indira Gandhi with that of Yoga on inland letters, but no final decision has been taken as yet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prasad said a decision has been taken on advice of the Philatelic Advisory Committee to issue definitive series of stamps in the honour of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Patel, Shivaji, Maulana Azad, Bhagat Singh, JP Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Vivekananda and Maharana Pratap. “In the definitive stamp series, the focus was (so far) on one family… though other names were there. Mahatma Gandhi was there, Maulana Azad was there. Dr Ambedkar was there. Dr Bhabha was there,” he said.The Minister said the new series is “inclusive” and seeks to encapsule the contribution of all the leading lights of the freedom movement including Jawaharlal Nehru. Defending the decision to drop stamps on former Prime Ministers Indira and Rajiv Gandhi stamps, Prasad said the government believes that whoever has contributed in making of India, irrespective of the ideology, should be honoured and postage stamp is a symbol of that honour. “We feel that this right should not belong to only one family,” he added.Reacting sharply, Congress said the decision shows a “very narrow mindset” and demanded an apology from the government. “We condemn the approach and attitude of this Government towards Gandhis who have sacrificed a lot for the nation. It is an insult to history”, Congress party’s senior spokesperson Anand Sharma told reporters here.Prasad, on his part said, “We have been most liberal and understanding in giving due recognition to people of different ideology and approaches. All of them (who figure in the new series) have contributed in a very significant way to make modern India. He further said four commemorative stamps have been issued so far in memory of Indira Gandhi, two in the name of Rajiv Gandhi and seven times on Nehru.”We need to ponder why so many commemorative stamps have been issued in memory of members of one family,” he added.On definitive series stamps, Prasad said till now Nehru has figured eight times and he is still there. The definitive stamps are being issued on Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi since 2008. “Congress party has been in power for so many years, but Maulana Azad has not figured in definitive stamp till date. I would like to ask Congress if Maulana Azad did not deserve to be included in definitive stamp…Dr Rajendra Prasad, Swami Vivekananda…Sardar Patel figured once in 2001 than disappeared,” Prasad said. “Congress party is making issue out of it, so we want to officially clarify. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi says ‘sabka saath sab ka vikas’ it means who all have contributed for the country, whatever their ideology was, we will honour all and not only one family,” he added.Postal stamps will be also be issued in Rabindranath Tagore, Mohd Rafi, Hemanta Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, Manna Dey, Rabindranath Tagore, and renowned artists, like Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pt Ravi Shankar, M S Subbulakshmi. Stamps will also be issued in memory to freedom fighters like Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, he said. “This shows the diversity of the country…Why Congress is worried. Have we removed Jawaharlal Nehru. Do the Congress people want to see the country through only one lens. We don’t want to see this. This is the fundamental difference. Congress should tell, was Sardar Patel not of Congress, was Maulana Azad not of Congress, Nehru is there. Dr B R Ambedkar is there. We have also added Yoga,” Prasad said.He said the government wants to depict the diversity of the country on postal stamps. He also added the decision is not caste in stone and would be reviewed periodically.

CPI to observe ‘anti-price rise’ day on October 5

Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of party’s two-day national executive meeting, which got over on Sunday, D Raja expressed concerns also over drought situation in parts of the country.

The Narendra Modi Government has failed miserably in controlling the price rise, says D Raja.
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Blaming Narendra Modi Government for rise in prices of essential commodities, CPI on Sunday said it will observe October 5 as an “anti-price rise” day to highlight Centre’s failure in dealing with the issue.”Prices of essential commodities have gone up even as fuel prices have gone down internationally. The Narendra Modi Government has failed miserably in controlling the price rise. Hence, to protest its failure, we will observe the anti-price rise day,” CPI National secretary D Raja said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to PTI on the sidelines of party’s two-day national executive meeting, which got over on Sunday, Raja expressed concerns also over drought situation in parts of the country.The Rajya Sabha member said the party will also highlight plight of farmers from drought-affected areas on the protest day. He reiterated the Left Front will contest Bihar assembly polls as an Independent bloc and claimed the communist parties will provide voters with an alternative “for the development of the state.”The five-phase Bihar polls begins on October 12 and results of the election will be declared on November 8.Meanwhile, CPI congratulated it’s student wing, All India Students Federation (AISF), for winning the post of president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union. AISF’s Kanhaiya Kumar has been elected as the president of the union.

Married Rajiv because he was a ‘handsome young man’: Ex-Pakistan FM reminisces Sonia’s witty quip

Lahore: Sonia Gandhi married Rajiv because he was a “handsome young man”, according to an account by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri who cites a light-hearted quip made by the Congress President.

Kasuri’s meeting with Sonia in 2005 finds mention in his new book ‘Neither A Hawk Nor A Dove’ while talking about then President Pervez Musharraf‘s 2005 visit to India.

Sonia Gandhi. ReutersSonia Gandhi. Reuters

Sonia Gandhi. Reuters

In the book, he remembers receiving Sonia, the Congress Party President, when she called on Musharraf.

Sonia seemed rather reserved when she came for the meeting, Kasuri writes.

He says in the book that he received her in the waiting room prior to the meeting with the President. She was accompanied by Natwar Singh.

“I thought I could cheer her up and mentioned that while I was at Cambridge, I remember strolling with Sohail Iftikhar (son of Mian Iftikhar-ud-Din, who had been a prominent Congress leader and a friend of both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru).

“And seeing a handsome young man walk from the opposite direction on the Kings Parade. When I asked Sohail who this young man was, he whispered to me that his name was Rajiv and that he was the grandson of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” Kasuri writes.

“The moment Sonia heard me refer to Rajiv as a handsome young man, she broke into a broad smile and said good humouredly, ‘That is why I married him’,” Kasuri says.

Referring to another interesting event during the 2005 visit, the former foreign minister writes about the last one-day match between India and Pakistan in Delhi.

He says that “when we arrived at the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground, Sonia Gandhi and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh were already present.”

“A carnival atmosphere prevailed in the stadium, with a fair Pakistani presence loudly cheering Shahid Afridi in full swing. I had the odd feeling that his shots were aimed in our direction. Foreign Minister Singh light-heartedly commented, ‘Aap Afridi ko bhee apnay sath hee lai jaen’ (Take Afridi back home with you),” Kasuri writes.

He says that unlike the cheering Pakistani crowd in the general stands, the Indians and Pakistanis in their enclosure were polite and restrained in their reactions.

“As the match entered an interesting stage, President Pervez Musharraf expressed his desire to delay leaving the stadium for his meeting with Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh (who was sitting next to him).

The President suggested to Prime Minister Singh that they should return to the stadium at the end of their scheduled meeting at Hyderabad House.

“Before long however, President Musharraf and I received chits informing us that the match had ended earlier than anticipated, with Pakistan not only winning the match hands down but also clinching the series,” Kasuri says.

PTI

Bill Gates to Narendra Modi: You need to generate new healthcare models for India

After over a year in power, the Narendra Modi government’s decisions to cut federal welfare spending on the poorest of India’s 1.25 billion people have come in for a sharp criticism, including from within his cabinet.

In a break with India’s Socialist past, Modi saved money on federal social and subsidy expenditure, and pumped it into an infrastructure stimulus he hopes will trigger a spurt in economic growth, a Reuters report had said.

Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates in this op-ed piece, which was published in The Times of India, has addressed Modi and said that even though the healthcare system in India has improved quite a bit, it still is uneven from state to state:

Resources matter, but how they are used is just as important. India is immense and immensely complex. There is no existing health system model that can simply be applied to India. You need to generate new models. How can you provide high-quality care in vast rural areas where there are very few doctors? Given that so many Indians use private health providers, how can the government work with the private sector to improve care? How can such a sprawling health system produce and use data in real time to respond to what is happening on the ground? These are challenges India is wrestling with. You have the creativity and intellect to solve them, and I believe you also have the political commitment.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates with PM Narendra Modi. AFPMicrosoft co-founder Bill Gates with PM Narendra Modi. AFP

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates with PM Narendra Modi. AFP

In this May 2015 article, Reuters quoted government sources and said that lower welfare spending will be compensated for by giving state governments a larger allocation of tax revenues to spend as they choose. But state chiefs, government officials and a cabinet minister have warned that the spending shakeup endangers the country’s most vulnerable.

Maneka Gandhi, women and child development minister in Modi’s cabinet, had said the impact of the policy will borne by India’s estimated 300 million poor. “This may result in a situation where the focus is lost on critical programmes related to malnutrition of children… nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers,” Gandhi wrote in an 27 April letter to the finance minister, Reuters said.

In his first full-year budget, approved by Parliament on 7 May, Modi halved funding for a scheme that gives millions of poor children free food and drastically cut allocations to make clean water available in rural areas.

On the other hand, funding for roads and bridges more than doubled, and is now higher than the sum allocated to education.

The cuts to nutrition and water stand out because of the precarious condition of India’s impoverished. Four out of 10 stunted children in the world are Indian — which is more than sub-Saharan Africa.

In his op-ed, Gates pointed out that statistics show how the quality of life in India has become much better. “But the second thing is how uneven it still is from state to state. The child mortality rate in the worst-performing states is three times higher than it is in the best states.”

In 2013, the country recorded 50,000 maternal deaths. About 1.5 million children die each year before the age of five.

Modi’s first year in office has seen a string of successes, including forging closer ties with major trading powers, boosting foreign investment and cutting red tape.

His approval ratings remain high, although he faces growing headwinds in the countryside, where bad rains and low crop prices have affected the 70 percent of the people that live there. The fear is that the spending squeeze will hit when the most vulnerable need more help.

“Increasing signs of rural distress in India make Modi’s cuts politically risky,” said Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Modi’s gamble is that infrastructure investment will generate dividends for the poor in time for the next general election by increasing the economy’s capacity to grow through better roads, ports and railways.

At the same time as taking away central funding, Modi has increased the share of taxes given to states to 42 percent from 32 percent, money that, if well spent, can cover the shortfall from the spending cuts.

The policy shift is championed by economists in a new body called Niti Aayog, or policy commission, Modi’s replacement for the Soviet-style Planning Commission set up by post-independence leader Jawaharlal Nehru.

It is headed by Columbia University’s Arvind Panagariya, who advocates fiscal stimulus to invest in infrastructure and restore growth, and rely on the growth to later finance health and other social spending.

With inputs from Reuters

India has stood as beacon for the world since 1947, says John Kerry

Commemorating the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel ahead of India’s 69th Independence Day, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said India has stood as a beacon for the world.

John Kerry

AFP photo
Commemorating the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel ahead of India’s 69th Independence Day, US Secretary of State John Kerry has said India has stood as a beacon for the world.”Since 1947, India has stood as a beacon for the world, as an economic power that prides innovation, as a resilient democracy in the face of terror and as a strategic power that upholds international norms,” Kerry said in his Independence Day message on behalf of US President Barack Obama. “As the world’s largest democracies, the US and India stand side by side in defending and promoting the freedoms and values we hold,” he said on Thursday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As was highlighted during President Obama’s visit for India’s Republic Day in January, the US takes pride in our indispensable partnership with India, a friendship built on our shared democratic values, the entrepreneurial spirit of our people, and our shared interests,” Kerry said. Sending best wishes to the people of India on the occasion of Independence Day, Kerry said, “Today we commemorate the legacy of India’s freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, whose message of nonviolence established a united, inclusive republic and served to inspire leaders from around the globe.” Kerry, who has made several trips to India, said on his many visits over the years that he never cease to be amazed by India’s rich national identity.”From the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the jungles of the Western Ghats, India is a stunningly beautiful landscape with rich cultures, histories and peoples united under one nation,” Kerry added.

Single entrance exam for engineering, management students in Telangana, Andhra?

Engineering and management colleges under the All India Council of Technical Education will be able to admit more students if the proposal is accepted.

File Photo

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh’s engineering and management universities will now open their doors for students from across the country if the recommendation made by the government-appointed panel is approved by the HRD Ministry, a leading newspaper daily reported. On Sunday, the government panel recommended setting up of a single entrance exam for admissions to all engineering and management schools that come under the All India Council of Technical Education. As per the newspaper report, there are 4,398 AICTE approved colleges in Telangana and 4,359 colleges in Andhra Pradesh that offer engineering or technology courses currently. There are 551 AICTE approved colleges in Telangana and 426 colleges in Andhra Pradesh that offer management courses. Out of these only 15% seats are available for students from outside the state. The proposal will open up seats for such students and will also benefit local students who plan to go to other states to study. “The common ranking system will minimise the number of entrance tests that a student takes. A common test is always a welcome step as it will benefit students by having a common eligibility criteria to get an admission anywhere in the country,” Raman Rao, former registrar of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University told the newspaper. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This proposal will also help reduce all the coaching classes and centres that seem to make a lot of money by providing help for entrance exams. The AICTE review committee recommended a single National Testing Service to conduct Joint Entrance Examination and Common Admission Test. The results will be used by all institutions. The proposals have been put up on the government website mygov.in.

Disclosure of those who altered Nehru page on Wikipedia has security implications: NIC

“Based on the input from CERT.IN, it is seen that there may be security implications in sharing the information. Thus the same may not be shared,” the response from CPIO of National Informatics Centre Swarup Dutta said.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Whether computer systems of National Informatics Centre were used to alter the Wikipedia page of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and post scandalous information about him and who had done it? The NIC, software solution provider of the government, has refused to part with the information to these questions on the grounds it may have “security implications”.The response which does not cite any exemption clauses given in the transparency law, mandatory while withholding the information sought under the RTI Act, says the reply is based on the input received from the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT)-IN. “Based on the input from CERT.IN, it is seen that there may be security implications in sharing the information. Thus the same may not be shared,” the response from CPIO of National Informatics Centre Swarup Dutta said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The RTI applicant had sought from the Department of Electronic and Information Technology the details of IP address 164.100.41.28 which was allegedly used to alter the Wikipedia page on prime ministers of India in which malicious information about Nehru was posted on it.The NIC was also asked to provide the names of the officers who used the IP address at the time of content of Wikipedia being edited. The applicant had also sought to know if any inquiry was initiated in the matter. Surprisingly, the NIC did not cite any of the 10 subsections of Section eight of the Right to Information Act for withholding information which is mandatory under the Act.Recently, government said in Lok Sabha that a probe has been launched in the matter but NIC did not respond to this question in its RTI response. “Actions have been initiated to investigate into the incident and determine the source of edit,” Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said.According to various decisions of the CIC and high courts, denial of information is “exception” hence it must be accompanied with proper explanation about the reasons for withholding the information. The section 8(2) of the Right to Information Act says notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923) nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.After the reports emerged about the alleged changes from the government department, the Congress had termed it a “cheap, undemocratic and gutter level tactic”, as it demanded a “full enquiry” and lodging of a criminal case into the reported changes made from a central government IP address on Wikipedia pages to show that Nehru was of Muslim lineage. “A deliberate, sinister and malicious attempt was made… to alter the Wikipedia pages of… Jawaharlal Nehru, his father Motilal Nehru and grandfather Gangadhar by showing or attempting to show that their lineage was not ‘Kaul’ of Jammu and Kashmir but lineage… was Muslim,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had said.He had also said that what made the case “very serious” was that this attempt was made from an IP address of NIC.

One second stands between transgender woman Prithika and her dream of becoming a police officer

India’s very own Caitlyn Jenner, 24-year-old Prithika Yashini has suffered a setback.

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The first transgender woman to appear for recruitment to the state-law enforcement agency, she failed to pass the 100-metre run during the tests. Yashini was to run the distance in 17.5 seconds or less at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday. The officers informed her that she had unfortunately completed the race in 18.6 seconds, and missed out by a little over a second.

But this isn’t the first hardship she has had to face in life. After being disowned by her family and ridiculed by her college mates, she eventually made the decision to complete her transformation and move to Chennai. And her troubles continued.

Her application for the sub-inspector tests was first rejected and she couldn’t appear at the selections as her educational certificates were issued in her previous (male) name. Only after appealing to the Madras High Court could she finally appear for the exams.

Becoming a police officer has been her dream ever since she was a child in her village of Kondalampatti in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu

“I think I was four or five years old when I decided that I wanted to become a police officer. That ambition remained even during the tough times,” she said to the New Indian Express.

“I am now at the selection process. It is like a dream come true,” Prithika had told The Hindu. But her elation was short-lived.

Her friend Bhanu told DNA that they plan on taking this matter up in court, They didn’t send a call letter for the physical or exam – they just informed us on the phone the night before. We don’t know how they disqualified her in the 100 m so we need to go to court once again.”

“If only I were considered as a third gender and treated fairly,” lamented Yashini to The New Indian Express.

MP Police denies Vyapam whistleblower’s allegation of vendetta

A day after Vyapam scam whistleblower Prashant Pandey’s wife was briefly detained and Rs 9.96 lakh alleged hawala money was seized from her, MP police on Sunday denied Pandey’s charge that they had acted in vendetta.

A day after Vyapam scam whistleblower Prashant Pandey’s wife was briefly detained and Rs 9.96 lakh alleged hawala money was seized from her, MP police on Sunday denied Pandey’s charge that they had acted in vendetta.”The law of the land treats all citizens equally, whether it is a whistleblower or any other person. If policemen indulge in wrong doings, an FIR is registered against them and they face enquiries. If found guilty, they are dismissed from their services,” Additional Director General of Police Vipin Maheshwari told a hurriedly convened press conference in today evening. When asked if Pandey had accused the police of acting in vendetta against his wife Meghna at the behest of the state government, since he had blown the lid off the Vyapam scam by touching upon its different aspects, the police official advised, “He should come forward and co-operate in the investigation to ensure that the case is disposed of quickly”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Based on a tip-off from an informer about hawala transactions at Laxmi Motors, a private firm situated near the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the police kept a vigil and noticed Prashant’s wife Meghna, who works as a human resources manager at the firm, exiting her office with a bag yesterday, the police official said. Women police officers searched Meghna’s bag and found Rs 9.96 lakh in cash about which she couldn’t give a satisfactory explanation, after which it was seized under Section 102 of the Criminal Procedure Code and the local Magistrate was informed about it, he said.The police official said that Meghna was allowed to go without being arrested and any hawala transaction is being probed threadbare. The police had informed the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and a probe is on, he said. However, Prashant Pandey maintained that the police action was illegal and the cash seized is their own hard-earned money. “My family is being harassed at the behest of the MP state government after the Supreme Court ordered a CBI probe into the Vyapam scam and mysterious deaths related to it,” Pandey said.His family had earned this money by working hard for ten years and it was mentioned in their IT returns, he said. “We live in a rented flat. We were supposed to give Rs 10 lakh to a real estate developer to book a flat,” he said. Pandey had provided several documents about the Vyapam scam, related to widespread rackets in recruitment and professional courses entrance tests conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board. He has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court on the issue.

India not responsible for water shortage in Pakistan: Top official

India is not responsible for water shortage in Pakistan, a top official has said in Islamabad, while dismissing as baseless reports that India was not observing the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty.

India is not responsible for water shortage in Pakistan, a top official has said in Islamabad, while dismissing as baseless reports that India was not observing the bilateral Indus Waters Treaty.Indus River System Authority (ISRA) Chairman Rao Irshad Ali said that reports in media about India getting more water is nothing but a propaganda.In a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Water and Power chaired by Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra in Islamabad, Ali said India was using less than its allocated share under the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) signed between the two countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The IWT is a water-sharing treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.Ali during the meeting on Thursday dismissed media reports that India was not observing the IWT as baseless and said that India was getting less compared to their allocated share of water, The New reported.Hafiz Saeed, the leader of the militant group that carried out the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, Lashkar-e-Taiba, regularly claims that Indian “water terrorism” was responsible for the water scarcity in Pakistan.

TDP wins Prakasam MLC poll

Magunta bagged 724 votes while YSR Congress candidate Atla Chinna Venkata Reddy secured only 13 votes.

Telugu Desam Party candidate Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy on Tuesday won the Prakasam district’s MLC election under local bodies quota.Magunta bagged 724 votes while YSR Congress candidate Atla Chinna Venkata Reddy secured only 13 votes. Besides, 17 votes were declared invalid, returning officer Hari Jawaharlal said. The counting began at the Ongole Municipal Corporation office and was completed in 45 minutes.District Collector Sujatha Sharma, Superintendent of Police C Srikanth and the Returning Officer monitored the counting. Later, Magunta thanked all those who supported him in the election.”Our family is in public service for over 25 years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Once again it is an opportunity for me to serve as MLC,” he told reporters.

Admission 2015: Which are India’s best ranked Universities

The top 50 Universities have been divided into 4 categories: National, Regional, Govt/Private, Traditional/ Professional.

Zee News has done a survey in association with Prastut Consulting to select the top 50 Universities of India. The survey conducted in 27 centres took opinion of 2454 people to compile the final rankings.The top 50 Universities have been divided into 4 categories: National, Regional, Govt/Private, Traditional/ Professional. Apart from students studying or interested in pursuing Science, Humanities and Commerce, the survey also covered those who are studying various professional courses and also management students. Views of parents, faculty members and HR professionals have also been taken into consideration. Some of the parameters used to rate the universities are history and reputation, admission process, Course curriculum, learning environment, faculty competence, infrastructure, exchange programme with foreign universities, research facility, labs, hostel facility, placement, new innovative courses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Among top 30 national universities the numero uno position has been taken by Benaras Hindu University. Others in top 5 were University of Delhi, University of Pune, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Punjab University. SRM Universityu has been adjudged the best private university, followed by Manipal University. Watch the entire programme to know more :

Indian Navy rescues 19 crew members from merchant vessel sinking off Mumbai coast

Visuals of Navy rescuing crew members of vessel Jindal Kamakshi.

Image Courtesy: ANI Twitter
Navy helicopters rescued 20 persons on board a listing merchant ship off Vasai coast in neighbouring Palghar district on Monday morning.”While 19 were airlifted and brought to INS Shikra in Mumbai, one more on board the vessel was airlifted by a second Navy chopper,” said a Defence spokesperson.The Navy got a request at 7 AM for immediate evacuation of those on board the ship which was listing precariously, he said.Late on Sunday night, the distress message said the vessel listed heavily, with 20 persons onboard and requested assistance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Information was received around midnight by the Indian Navy that a vessel in distress Jindal Kamakshi which was 40 nautical miles from Mumbai harbour and 25 nautical miles off Vasai coast had listed heavily,” a Defence spokesperson said.He further said, the vessel had counter ballasted (flood opposite tank) to improve stability. Condition is currently stable.”Considering the sea state in the area, we are keeping a close watch on the situation and keeping close to evacuate the vessel should the situation worsen,” he added. Due to inclement weather and choppy seas, ships often get into distress mode resulting in an alarming situation in Mumbai as there have been multiple incidents in the last few years of oil spills, vessels drifting ashore, collisions, etc.The biggest incident was collision between MV Khalijia III and MSC Chitra that had occurred in August 2010. The aftermath had resulted in closure of Mumbai harbour as well as Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Mumbai Port Trust. Moreover, the containers had drifted as far as Uran apart from the oil spill.The oil spill damaged the environment that was estimated by NEERI to be to the tune of Rs5,149.17 million or $358.1 million. NEERI’s report had stated that a total of 46,589 mangrove plants had died due to the spill and 6,27,117 mangrove plants were affected.(With inputs from Ateeq Shaikh)

Govt raises solar power target by five times to 100,000 MW by 2022

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday raised the solar power generation capacity addition target by five times to 1,00,000 MW by 2022, which will entail an investment of around Rs 6 lakh crore.

AFPAFP

AFP

“Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for stepping up of India’s solar power capacity target under Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) by five times, reaching 1,00,000 MW by 2022,” an official release said.

“The Cabinet decision is a giant step towards creating clean and sustainable energy source in the country,” Communication and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

According to the statement, the target will principally comprise of 40 GW (solar) rooftop and 60 GW through large and medium scale grid connected solar power projects.

With this ambitious target, India will become one of the world’s largest green energy producers, surpassing several developed countries, it added.

“The total investment in setting up 100 GW will be around Rs 6,00,000 crore. In the first phase, the Government of India is providing Rs 15,050 crore as capital subsidy to promote solar capacity addition in the country,” it said.

This capital subsidy will be provided for Rooftop Solar projects in various cities and towns, for Viability Gap Funding (VGF) based projects to be developed through the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and for decentralised generation through small solar projects.

PTI

Sushma Swaraj flags off Kailash Mansarovar yatra, offers ‘no comments’ on Lalit Modi

New Delhi: The first batch of pilgrims for the annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the new Nathu La route was flagged off on Tuesday by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who declined comment on the Lalit Modi controversy.

Attired in a pink sari, Sushma Swaraj flagged off the event at the Jawaharlal Nehru Bhawan here at 10.30 am She made a brief speech and posed for photographs with the yatris. Only photographers were allowed in, not the accompanying journalists.

Sushma Swaraj in a file photo. AFPSushma Swaraj in a file photo. AFP

Sushma Swaraj in a file photo. AFP

She pointed out that the motorable Nathu La route would enable even the elderly to go on the pilgrimage.

In all, 250 yatris would travel via the Nathu La route, in batches of 50 each. Eighteen batches of 60 people each would go through the old route through the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.

Kailash Mansarovar is believed to be the seat of Hindu god Shiva. Pilgrims travel at high altitudes of 19,500 feet. The traditional trekking route is inhospitable and rugged.

Hundreds go on the pilgrimage every year, a part of the journey overseen by Chinese authorities.

This year, the pilgrimage will be conducted between June 8 and September 9.

India and China signed on September 18 last year a bilateral agreement on the alternative Nathu La route for Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage.

Addressing the gathering, Sushma Swaraj said that people-to-people contact was an important aspect of diplomacy, especially in religious tourism.

“Those going on the Kailash Mansarovar yatra will be thanking the Chinese government in their minds for making the yatra possible,” she said.

Later, asked about the ongoing controversy over former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi, the union minister quipped, “no comments”.

Meanwhile, the Congress continued to press its demand for the sacking of Sushma Swaraj over the Lalit Modi episode and alleged the Narendra Modi government was out to save the former IPL chief who has been charged with financial impropriety.

“The BJP, the external affairs minister and the entire government have come out to save an accused of the Enforcement Directorate. The ‘suit-boot ki sarkar’ (government of the suited-booted) is doing everything to save an economic offender,” Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar told reporters here.

The party demanded that Sushma Swaraj should be sacked as minister for her “immoral and illegal” work in helping Modi procure travel documents to Portugal last year.

He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should speak out on the issue in his next ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address.

Sushma Swaraj has maintained she helped Lalit Modi, who has been living in London since 2010, with travel documents to go to Portugal for the treatment of his cancer-afflicted wife on “humanitarian grounds”.

IANS