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2016 may be a watershed year in Indo-Pak ties

If the year-end turned out well for India-Pakistan relations, 2016 holds greater prospects.After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore, he is set to meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the Swiss city of Davos, on the margins of the World Economic Forum between January 20 and 23.This is the third meeting between the two leaders in less than two months – the first being in Paris. It will take place a few days after the meeting of the foreign secretaries in Islamabad on January 15.Both prime ministers will have another opportunity to meet in Washington in March. US president Barack Obama has invited both the leaders for the Nuclear Security Summit to be held on March 31 and April 1.Experts here believe that the frequent summit meetings are designed to put pressure on bureaucrats to carve out a road map for peace, ahead of Modi’s tete-a tete in Islamabad with Sharif in September, on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.Insiders believe that a combination of factors pushed the Modi government into chalking a new line, cloaked in optics and symbolism.Western nudges, fears of extremism in South Asia, security situation in Kashmir, repeated requests by J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and worries of disruptions to a thaw – all played a part.Also, after repeated setbacks, the US and Russia appear to have concluded that the recent peace attempts between the Afghan government and the Taliban represent the last opportunity for a resolution in Afghanistan.Given Pakistan’s centrality in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, the US has, for weeks, been nudging New Delhi and Islamabad to resume dialogue, last suspended in 2013.US president Barack Obama, in October and November, had hosted both Nawaz Sharif and his army chief Raheel Sharif. The US secured an assurance from both that they were keen on avoiding exacerbation of tensions with India.While welcoming Modi’s diplomatic outreach, the J&K CM recalls that during his October 15 meeting with Modi, he had conveyed to the latter that development and success of his PDP-BJP coalition was linked to peace with Pakistan.”I was assured that an effort was on,” he said.Pakistan’s recent appointment of a former army general, Naseer Khan Janjua, as its national security adviser, has also opened a fresh window for early negotiations on terrorism and cross-border violence.”That the Pakistan NSA represents the views of his military establishment is good because the shadow-boxing is over,” said former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy.The “mother of all coups” – Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar described Modi’s December 25 visit to Lahore – also had an important fall-out.Modi’s optics have succeeded in convincing Pakistani leaders once again that a hardline BJP was more decisive than the Congress.Congress prime ministers, right from Rajiv Gandhi to Narasimha Rao to Manmohan Singh, despite having agreed to settle issues like Siachen and Jammu and Kashmir, backed out because of indecision.Ministry of External Affairs officials concede that what Modi had achieved was something Manmohan had dreamt of for a decade, but was not allowed by his own party – the Congress.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Hyderabad: Three youths planning to join ‘terror’ groups arrested

Earlier, in September 2014, Abdullah Basith and Maaz Hasan Farooq made an attempt to go to Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine via Bangladesh, along with two others Abrar and Noman. However, police foiled their attempt at Kolkata and brought them back to Hyderabad, and counselled them in the presence of their parents and let them off.

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Journo’s jottings 2015: When politics over beef claimed a life in Dadri

Sometime later, I wrote a story on how Akhlaq’s family saw him as a son, father, husband and brother and I realised how little I knew about the man who I was supposedly covering. He was not just “the man who was killed for eating beef”, he was “Papaji”.

Azaan Javaid

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‘Laddu’ weighing over 8,000 kg sets Guinness Record in Andhra Pradesh

“Our next target is to prepare a 500 kg kova (milk, sweet recipe) for Saibaba at Shirdi in Maharashtra,” Rao added.

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Indo-Pak ties: Brace for more Modi coups; two PMs have many meetings lined up in 2016

Pakistan’s recent appointment of a former army general, Naseer Khan Janjua, as its national security adviser, has also opened a fresh window for early negotiations on terrorism and cross-border violence. “That the Pakistan NSA represents the views of his military establishment is good because the shadow-boxing is over,” said former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarathy.The “mother of all coups” – Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar described Modi’s December 25 visit to Lahore – also had an important fall-out.Modi’s optics have succeeded in convincing Pakistani leaders once again that a hardline BJP was more decisive than the Congress.Congress prime ministers, right from Rajiv Gandhi to Narasimha Rao to Manmohan Singh, despite having agreed to settle issues like Siachen and Jammu and Kashmir, backed out because of indecision.Ministry of External Affairs officials concede that what Modi had achieved was something Manmohan had dreamt of for a decade, but was not allowed by his own party – the Congress.

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

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

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

Chargesheet rules out conspiracy angle in Dadri murder

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It names names 15 of the total 19 accused identified by Akhlaq’s daughter Shaista and his son Danish Saifi

Uttar Pradesh police, while filing a chargesheet in Dadri lynching case, ruled out conspiracy angle into the murder of Mohamamad Akhlaq who was beaten to death in Dadri’s Bisara village on September 28 by a mob that accused him of eating beef.The move can prove it difficult for the victim’s counsel or prosecution to establish murder charges (302) against any specific person or persons as the chargesheet has not invoked conspiracy charges giving more precedence to charges of rioting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chargesheet names 15 of the total 19 accused identified by Akhlaq’s daughter Shaista and his son Danish Saifi, who was also injured grievously in the attack allegedly led by Vishan Rana, the son of a local BJP leader Sanjay Rana.Initially 10 persons were named in the first information report (FIR) which also listed another 5-6 unknown suspects. The accused were booked under section 323, 304, 506, 307, 427 and 458 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 302 (murder), section 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with deadly weapons and 149 (unlawful assembly) were added to the FIR later leaving out an the important 120 A section which could have established criminal conspiracy.On the night of the incident Vishal and his cousin Shivam Rana, had allegedly asked Hindu residents of Bisara to ‘gather near the electric transformer, as remains of a slaughtered calf had been discovered’. A mob gathered outside Akhlaq’s residence and attacked his family with iron rods and sticks. While Akhlaq succumbed to his injuries, his son Danish survived the attack after receiving medical treatment for more than two months.In a statement to the police, a copy of which is with dna, Vishal was quoted as, “Some people informed us that (Mohamad) Akhlaq, a Muslim, had slaughtered a cow which is considered as mother in Hindu religion. Our feelings were provoked and after that we entered deceased Akhlaq’s home and injured Danish by beating him. We beat up deceased Akhlaq and dragged him towards the transformer and left him there.””I know the people who provoked us to take the step. I don’t know them by their name but I can recognise their faces and can identify them if police takes us to them” the document reads further.When asked why the police has ruled out criminal conspiracy a senior police officer said, “We have taken cognisance of the FIR and the case diary which does not indicate that there was a criminal conspiracy. There is no main accused in the case. In a riot and no one can be sure of the exact role of the accused”. The statement means that Vishal and Shivam, who allegedly instigated the mob, are also not being considered as prime accused.Furthermore while it was believed that there were two juveniles involved in the murder, it has come to fore that one of the juvenile has turned out to be above 18. This was after verifying his school documents.Two more persons, Puneet and Bhim, were arrested on Wednesday while two others, identified by Danish continue to be absconding indicating a chance of a supplementary chargesheet in the case. A total of 19 people are accused in the case.

Indian women who are fighting to stop genital mutilation

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

New Delhi: 15-year-old daughter of IFS officer found hanging; suicide suspected

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The police, however, did not find any suicide note in the house.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
A 15-year-old daughter of an IFS officer, allegedly hanged herself at her home in New Delhi’s Pandara Road on Wednesday. The incident took place around 12.15 PM following which a police team from Tilak Marg police station rushed to the spot.The police, however, did not find any suicide note in the house, said a police official. The girl was a student of class 11 and her mother is an IFS officer. She hanged herself with a long cloth from the ceiling fan in her room. The cause behind her taking the extreme step could not be ascertained yet, said the official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”An inquest has been initiated as per provisions of the CrPC,” said DCP (New Delhi) Jatin Narwal.A police official added that the police are questioning the girl’s relatives and friends for crucial leads and her personal phone is also likely to be sent to the forensic department.

Jitan Ram Manjhi’s kin arrested in murder case

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Senior Superintendent of Police, Gaya, Garima Malik told reporters here Manjhi’s grandson Vikki Manjhi and his father Yogendra Manjhi were arrested and charged with the murder of Vikki’s 25-year-old wife Soni Devi on Saturday last.
File picture
PTI
In an embarrassment to the former chief minister and HAM (secular) president Jitan Ram Manjhi, his son-in-law and grandson were arrested in Gaya on Tuesday in connection with the alleged murder of his granddaughter-in-law.Senior Superintendent of Police, Gaya, Garima Malik told reporters here Manjhi’s grandson Vikki Manjhi and his father Yogendra Manjhi were arrested and charged with the murder of Vikki’s 25-year-old wife Soni Devi on Saturday last. Vikki’s mother Sunaina Devi, who is the eldest daughter of Jitan Ram Manjhi and a ward member of Gaya Municipal Corporation, was allowed to go home following interrogation at a police station although the investigation in her role will continue, she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soni Devi was allegedly murdered at her husband’s home in Gaya town on the intervening night of December 19-20 and she was cremated by her kin at Vishnupad ghat the next morning, Malik said.Her father Ramdev Manjhi, a native of Sugaon village under Makhdumpur police station area in neighbouring Jehanabad district, had lodged an FIR charging his son-in-law and other family members with murdering his daughter and destruction of evidence.

Nirbhaya’s parents meet Ghulam Nabi Azad, seek passage of Juvenile Justice Bill in Rajya Sabha

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On a day the Supreme Court rejected a plea against the release of juvenile offender in the December 16 gangrape case, the government said the amendments to Juvenile Justice Act that will allow children between 16-18 years to be tried as adults in heinous crime cases will come up before Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

Nirbhaya’s parents participated in a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar in the national capital along with hundreds of youths and activists.

PTI
Parents of the December 16 gangrape victim on Monday met Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, seeking the passage of the Juvenile Justice Bill which will allow children between 16-18 years to be tried as adults in heinous crime cases.”We have been assured that the bill will be passed tomorrow and we believe that. Now, it is not the right time to talk about him (the juvenile convict of the gangrape case) as he is a free man and there is no law to hold him back. Our fight is not only for us but for all women and girls,” the victim’s father Badri Singh Pandey told reporters after meeting the Congress leader at the latter’s residence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day the Supreme Court rejected a plea against the release of juvenile offender in the December 16 gangrape case, the government said the amendments to Juvenile Justice Act that will allow children between 16-18 years to be tried as adults in heinous crime cases will come up before Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.However, Congress had earlier in the day termed this move as “brazen mischief” by the government, alleging it was to “defame the opposition” and divert attention from DDCA issue.”Let them not do this mischief. This is a total brazen mischief on the part of the government… This is only to divert the attention of the opposition from raising other issues, about DDCA,” Azad said, adding that the Congress will support the Juvenile Justice Bill in the Upper House.Before meeting Azad, Nirbhaya’s parents participated in a candlelight march at Jantar Mantar in the national capital along with hundreds of youths and activists. Amid protests, the juvenile convict in the case was sent to an NGO in Delhi yesterday.The victim’s mother Asha Devi said notwithstanding the release of the juvenile convict yesterday, she and her husband will continue their fight to ensure death penalty for the rest of the convicts who are currently lodged in Tihar jail.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal appeals to MPs to pass Juvenile Amendment Bill

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The apex court earlier on Monday dismissed the petition of DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal against the release of the juvenile offender in the gang rape case, saying ‘there has to be a clear legislative sanction’ in this regard.

DCW Chief Swati Maliwal
File Photo
PTI
After the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed the plea by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) against the release of the juvenile offender in the December 16 gang-rape case, DCW chief Swati Maliwal urged the Rajya Sabha MPs to unitedly pass the juvenile law.”Yesterday, I had met Hamid Ansari ji and he had assured me that he will produce it. I am very happy that tomorrow it will be produced. I appeal to all the MPs to unite to pass this bill, otherwise it will be a tight slap to all the Nirbhaya’s of the nation,” Maliwal told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I just got to know that within a minute, three laws were passed in the Rajya Sabha. I want to know why this Juvenile Justice Act Amendment bill was not passed in the last three years and how much more time will the Rajya Sabha take to pass this bill? How many more Nirbhaya’s will be created in this nation, after which the Rajya Sabha will pass the bill?” she added.The apex court earlier on Monday dismissed the petition of DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal against the release of the juvenile offender in the gang rape case, saying ‘there has to be a clear legislative sanction’ in this regard.Disappointed with Supreme Court’s decision, Nirbhaya’s parents on Monday said that the women of this country will never get justice. Rejecting the DCW’s petition, the apex court earlier said that under existing law detention cannot go beyond three years.The parents of the victim protested in the national capital on Sunday. Hundreds of sympathisers joined them at Rajpath near India Gate to show solidarity. The victim’s mother had said that she wanted justice for her daughter and said steps should have been taken long before to not set him free. Six persons, including the juvenile, had assaulted and raped Nirbhaya in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012.The victim succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital. Four of the accused were awarded death penalty by the trial court which was later confirmed by the Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Another accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013.

Nirbhaya Case: Centre says Juvenile Justice Amendment Law is ‘high priority’

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‘On behalf of the Central Government, we were specifically asked as to what our stand is. Keeping in mind the interest of the society and the issue of juvenile himself, we submitted that we are in favour of purposive interpretation of the law in such a fashion that it could be adopted to ensure that the society is not endangered also to assure the safety of the juvenile,’ she added.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Pinky Anand, who appeared for the Centre in the hearing of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) plea, on Monday said that Juvenile Justice Amendment Law is a high priority item for the ruling dispensation at the Centre. ‘The arguments put by the petitioner, DCW, were that the law should be interpreted in a fashion which should be in favour of society to say this that until the reform process is completed, till then the juvenile should not walk free in society because it is a danger to society as well as a danger to the juvenile himself,’ Anand told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’On behalf of the Central Government, we were specifically asked as to what our stand is. Keeping in mind the interest of the society and the issue of juvenile himself, we submitted that we are in favour of purposive interpretation of the law in such a fashion that it could be adopted to ensure that the society is not endangered also to assure the safety of the juvenile,’ she added.Anand further asserted that on behalf of the Central Government they urged that the Juvenile Justice Amendment Law is before the Rajya Sabha and the attempt was to go through it as quickly as possible. It is a high priority item for the government. It is extremely important that this act should go through as quickly as possible.The apex court earlier on Monday dismissed the petition of DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal against the release of the juvenile offender in the December 16 gang rape case, saying ‘there has to be a clear legislative sanction’ in this regard. Disappointed with Supreme Court’s decision, Nirbhaya’s parents on Monday said that the women of this country will never get justice.Rejecting the DCW’s petition, the apex court earlier said that under existing law detention cannot go beyond three years. The parents of the victim protested in the national capital yesterday. Hundreds of sympathisers joined them at Rajpath near India Gate to show solidarity. The victim’s mother had said that she wanted justice for her daughter and said steps should have been taken long before to not set him free. Six persons, including the juvenile, had assaulted and raped Nirbhaya in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital. Four of the accused were awarded death penalty by the trial court which was later confirmed by the Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Another accused, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail in 2013.

Juvenile convict in Dec 16 gangrape case walks free; Nirbhaya’s parents protest, get detained

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The freedom for the 20 year-old convict came as parents of the gangrape victim continued their protest for the second day today along with activists protesting against his release and demanding death for him.

Mother of Dec 16 gangrape victim, Asha Devi being detained by police for protesting at India Gate in New Delhi on Sunday

PTI
The juvenile convict in the December 16 gangrape was on Sunday released and sent to an NGO at an undisclosed destination with police no longer guarding him, amid continued protest by the victim’s parents.The freedom for the 20 year-old convict came as parents of the gangrape victim continued their protest for the second day today along with activists protesting against his release and demanding death for him.”We have left him with an NGO,” police sources said. Government sources said when asked two days back whether he would like to go home in Badaun in Uttar Pradesh or to an NGO, he opted for the latter citing security concerns.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi Police on Sunday detained the family members and protestors of Nirbhaya who were protesting against the release of the juvenile convict in the December 16 gang rape case at Rajpath. Nirbahaya’s parents while protesting had asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi as to when justice would be delivered to them. “We demand that the juvenile should not be released. I met the Prime Minister last year but I didn’t get any answer. Today I want to meet the Prime Minister again and I want to ask him when would I get the justice”, Nirbhaya’s mother told the media here. The release became possible notwithstanding the Delhi Commission for Women’s late night effort to stall it failed after the Supreme Court post-midnight held a sitting and refused to stay it. In its order, the Supreme Court declined to stop the release of the juvenile offender and posted the matter before a vacation bench that will hear the matter tomorrow. Swati Maliwal, chairperson of the DCW which had approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court had also declined to stay his release, hoped that since the matter has become sub judice, the government and Delhi Police will not release the juvenile offender.”We are helpless as far as the release is concerned. Our government, whether Centre or state, they only listen to you when you protest and get lathicharged, else they don’t care,” said the victim’s father Badri Singh Pandey.Asha Devi, the victim’s mother said, “All knew that he will be released, so adequate steps should have been taken in the past three years.” The Special Leave Petition filed by DCW against the order of the Delhi High Court refusing to restrain the release of the convict, was referred by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur to the vacation bench.Lawyers associated with the case, including senior advocate Guru Krishna Kumar and Devdutt Kamath, had rushed to Justice Goel’s residence at around 1.30 AM after Maliwal was told by the Registrar that the matter has been assigned to the vacation bench.The grounds which has been taken in the appeal against the High Court order says that no mental assessment of the state of mind of the juvenile offender has been taken into account for his release.Kamath said that there are intelligence reports that even during his stay in the provision home, the convict was unremorseful of his action and he has been further radicalised. So at this stage, it cannot be said that he is not a threat to the society.The SLP has also stated that though the High Court was of the view that there was a need for mental assessment of the convict, there was no direction that before his release the authorities should go for a health and mental assessment of the offender.The convict, who is now 20 years old and was known to be the most brutal of the attackers, was yesterday taken to an undisclosed location from a correction home in North Delhi amid concerns that there was a threat to his life.Delhi government has said it had submitted a rehabilitation plan for the juvenile convict. The government said that as per the plan, a one-time financial grant of Rs 10,000 will be given to the youth and a sewing machine will be arranged for him so that he can rent a tailor shop.The convict along with five others had gangraped and murdered the 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on December 16, 2012, an incident that shook the nation and led to protests in the country.He was sentenced to three years in a reform home ‘Place of Safety’ in north Delhi’s Magazine Road by Juvenile Justice Board, a punishment which drew criticism from several quarters saying it was not adequate and was disproportionate in view of the heinous crime he had committed. There were also demands that he be tried in an adult court.

Nirbhaya case: Why acting so late to stop juvenile’s release, victims’s parents ask

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The reaction action Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in a dramatic move approached the Supreme Court late Saturday night to stay the convict’s release.

Victim’s parents

PTI
Questioning the role of the Centre and Delhi government, the parents of December 16 gangrape victim on Sunday asked why they did not take action earlier to stop the imminent release of the juvenile convict. Opposing the release of the juvenile, the victim’s mother said, “Our fight is just on the issue that he (juvenile convict) must not come out. If he will come out then what is the point of hearing (by Supreme Court) or any other thing.” “All knew that he will be released so steps should have been taken during these three years,” she said adding, “I want justice and stay on his release.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The reaction action Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in a dramatic move approached the Supreme Court late last night to stay his release. In their order pronounced at 2 AM, a vacation bench refused to stay his release, scheduled for today, by giving an urgent hearing and posted the matter for hearing tomorrow. The victim’s father too expressed unhappiness with the Centre and Delhi government for showing “helplessness” on the issue of release of the juvenile “What hearing? But what can we do? Whatever the court is doing is right. Our government, whether Centre or state, they only listen to you when you protest and get lathicharged, else they don’t care. However, if proper hearing or verdict would have passed on this case, then we would not have seen this day,” he said. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had filed a plea in the High Court against the juvenile’s release, pointed to the “provisions” which have to be applied before the juvenile convict is formally released. “According to rules of the Juvenile Justice Act, he can can be left out from the custody of the Juvenile Justice Board but he cannot be released as free person till management committee appointed for the purpose decides whether he is mentally sound, whether he has socially mainstreamed and that he has reformed.”

Nirbhaya case: Parents hold protest demanding stay on juvenile’s release, say SC hearing of no use

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Nirbhaya”s father also stressed that there is no point of hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court on Monday, while the convict will be freed today.

Nirbhaya’s mother

ANI
With the juvenile convict in the December 16 gang rape and murder case all set to walk free on Sunday, the victim’s parents wanted justice and demanded stay on the convict’s release.”I just want justice, I want stay on his (juvenile convict) release. Hearing is just to mislead the people. They (DCW) tried in night. They might have been able to stop the release if they had tried during the day,” said Nirbhaya”s mother.”We had gone there to demand justice but we were harassed. What happens to their force when women suffer on the roads? Why don”t they stop crime then? The government and the police do not bother about it. The common people will suffer,” she added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nirbhaya”s father also stressed that there is no point of hearing on the matter in the Supreme Court on Monday, while the convict will be freed today.”Not only in India, but also abroad, people do not want his release, as he had not done the act of a juvenile. The Prime Minister has the power to stop his release, but no one is taking any action,” he said.Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has decided to hear the plea of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) against the release of the juvenile in the rape case on Monday, ruling out that there will be no stay on his release.DCW chief Swati Maliwal reached the Supreme Court last night after DCW decided to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the apex court to stall the release of the convict.Related Read: Nirbhaya case: DCW chief Maliwal writes to Juvenile Justice Board asking them not release convictThe parents of the victim held a protest at Jantar Mantar. They had earlier decided to hold the protest at the India Gate, but because of the imposition of Section 144 in the area, they were not allowed.The convict, who is now 20-years-old and was known to be the most brutal of the attackers, has been taken to an undisclosed location from a correction home in North Delhi amid concerns that there was a threat to his life.Earlier, the parents of the gangrape victim, along with students and activists were detained by the police as they staged a protest against the release of the juvenile convict. The police action was condemned by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. In December 2012, the teenager was part of the six member gang that lured a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist and her male friend onto a bus, where the girl was gruesomely raped and her companion brutally beaten. The girl subsequently succumbed to her injuries 13 days later in Singapore. The incident caused nationwide outrage and led to widespread outpouring of anger against the rapists, including the teenager.

December 16 gangrape case: Juvenile convict’s village divided over his release

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Residents of the convict’s native village in Badaun district maintained that the youth, who did such a heinous crime, had no place in the village.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Even as the juvenile convict in December 16 gangrape case is set to walk free on Sunday after serving three years in a correction home, some residents of his native village here are not happy with the prospect of his return. The youth, now 20-years-old, was convicted of brutally assaulting and raping a 23-year-old medical student in a moving bus in Delhi on December 16, 2012, along with five others. The girl succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012.Residents of the convict’s native village in Badaun district maintained that the youth, who did such a heinous crime, had no place in the village. A senior resident Phoolchandra said that the incident has brought much infamy to the village and the country in the eyes of the world. He claimed that after the infamous episode, the village youth studying outside were also looked at contemptuously and are usually denied employment. As a result of which, employment is increasing in the village, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a stark contrast, the poverty-struck family members of the youth are eagerly waiting for his return. The family members said that the youth should be given a chance to repent and start a new life after returning to the village.The convict’s mother said that though no family member would go to Delhi to receive him, it was her wish that he returned to the village and helped the family living in abject poverty. She said that her husband was mentally challenged and her two daughters worked as labourers to support the family, therefore she needed her son to come back.Haji Tauseef Raza and few other village residents also seconded her opinion. They said that the youth, having served his sentence, had learnt a big lesson and should be allowed to start afresh. Raza said people of the village would fully support him.The Delhi High Court had on Friday refused to stay the release of the convict, stating he could not be stopped from walking free under the existing provisions of law. Meanwhile, the youth’s release was widely criticised by the parents of the victim and various other bodies, saying he must be kept in observation home until his reformation was ascertained.

Mother Teresa edges closer to sainthood

Pope Francis recognises a second miracle attributed to Mother Teresa, clearing the way for the Roman Catholic nun to be made a saint next year.

West Bengal: CPI(M) seeks Rajnath Singh’s intervention in case of trafficking & rape of a minor from state

The party claimed the girl suffered “unbelievable” violence and trauma and was dumped by one of her alleged traffickers in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital here and has been diagnosed with HIV.

CPI(M) on Thursday sought Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s urgent intervention to ensure action against some police personnel for “ignoring” a complaint about alleged trafficking and rape of a minor girl from West Bengal.In a memorandum submitted to Singh, the party requested him to ensure that the alleged victim gets free medical treatment and a rehabilitation package covering her lifelong expenses. According to the Left party, the girl, a native of Mograhat in South 24-Paraganas district, was abducted a year ago from Diamond Harbour when she was 17.The party claimed the girl suffered “unbelievable” violence and trauma and was dumped by one of her alleged traffickers in Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital here and has been diagnosed with HIV. “The girl had rung up her mother six months ago and gave exact location of where she was in Delhi. The mother rushed to the police station in Mograhat and the police directly spoke to the girl.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”But unbelievably, the police did not act. If they had the girl might have been saved. I have demanded immediate action against the police personnel involved,” CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat told reporters, while being accompanied by the girl’s mother Lal Bano Bibi.Karat said the role of West Bengal authorities has been “absolutely shocking” as more than a year after the girl went missing, no case has been filed though the girl was a minor at the time of abduction. “When will central and state governments take action to save our women from criminal networks of traffickers and conniving police?” she asked.

My daughter’s name was Jyoti Singh and I am not ashamed to name her, says Nirbhaya’s mother

The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally sexually assaulted on the ill-fated night of December 16 three years ago, and died 13 days later, triggering a massive public outrage.

Nirbhaya’s mother Asha Devi addresses at a programme to observe the third anniversary of Nirbhaya gang-rape case as Nirbhaya Chetna Divas at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
In a brave homage to her daughter, the mother of the December 16 gangrape victim on Tuesday took her name in public, and said people who commit heinous crimes like rape should hang their heads in shame and not the victims or their families.The 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally sexually assaulted on the ill-fated night of December 16 three years ago, and died 13 days later, triggering a massive public outrage. Among many, her spirit continued to live, and in tribute she was given the name ‘Nirbhaya’ or brave heart. But, today on the third anniversary of the infamous incident that shocked the entire world, the victim’s mother Asha Devi, in a display of extraordinary courage, took her daughter’s name in public.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My daughter’s name was Jyoti Singh and I am not ashamed to name her. Those who commit heinous crimes like rape, their heads should hang in shame, not the victims or their families. You should take her name too,” she said at ‘Nirbhaya Chetna Diwas’ in New Delhi, a public event organised by women’s and citizens groups at the Jantar Mantar to mark the anniversary.The parents of the girl, Asha Devi and Badri Singh Pandey also demanded that juvenile convict, allegedly the most brutal” of the six offenders, and scheduled to be released on December 20, should not be released, citing he was a threat to the city.”On the third death anniversary of our death, we are seeing the release of the juvenile convict. Where is justice in that? I do not know whether he is 16 or 18. I only know that he has committed a brutal crime and there should be no age limit for punishment,” Asha said.She also put forth four demands from a public platform that the five accused including the juvenile convict should be sentenced to death, fast-track courts be set up in all the courts to offer speedy justice to sexual assault victims, amendments to the Juveniles Justice Act be passed and utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund for setting up high quality forensic labs in all states.Celebrities like Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Delhi Congress chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee, and various women’s groups had gathered at the Jantar Mantar to pay homage to the girl and agreed that it was the certainty of justice which can bring about a change.The Jantar Mantar street after the incident had virtually turned into a public memorial for her, with people flocking in from all parts of the city to light up a candle or offer a prayer in her memory, with many moved to tears, recalling the brutality the young girl was subjected to. Today also, candle light vigils, prayer meetings and a series of other events marked three years of the heinous gangrape and death of the girl, that left the nation benumbed.

Not six yet? Sorry, come back next year!

Parents in a fix as schools refuse to admit children who don’t meet new age criteria to kindergarten and standard-I

Thinkstock
Never in their wildest dreams would have parents imagined that their over-enthusiasm in initiating their toddlers into the world of letters would boomerang. Take the case of Ridhi Shah (name changed), mother of a triplet. She had admitted her kids – one daughter and two sons – in nursery before they turned three. “They won’t be four by July 31, 2016 and hence won’t be eligible for kindergarten admission. But I can’t afford to put my triplet in nursery again as the fees have gone up. I now have no option but to keep them home for a year providing some tuition.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Shah’s is not the only case. Many parents like her, after putting their children in nurseries well before they attained the age of three, are now in a fix with schools turning them away. Schools are citing the new rules that make it mandatory that only those who have turned four could be admitted to kindergarten and those turned six could be admitted to standard-I. Charu Trivedi from Ghatkopar said, “I am trying admission for my kid in Jr.KG, but the schools are asking me to come next year.” There has been an increasing tendency among parents to put their children in nurseries at age as low as two. It was to curb this practice, that the state government, in January, issued a circular imposing the age criteria. According to experts, only by the time a child turns six will his/her brain develop enough to be adaptable to standard 1 curriculum. This was well the rationale behind the government’s decision too. Fr. Francis Swamy, principal of St. Mary’s ICSE School, Mazgaon, said, “If the child is younger than the stipulated age criteria fixed by the government, then nobody can help that child, not even the education department.” Swati Popat Vats, president of Podar Education Network and Early Childhood Association, said, “I support the government logic. We have already communicated to all the pre-schools to implement it strictly. The government should now create awareness among the parents so that they don’t hurry to get their kids admitted in nurseries and schools at very young age.” According to the government resolution, the age criteria as on July 31, 2016, should be 3 years and above for nursery admission, and 4 years and above for Jr.KG. Accordingly, the child when he/she reaches standard-I will be 6 years or above. This year in January, when the government issued the resolution, the schools had already started admissions. Hence the GR was postponed for implementation in 2016-2017.

Pawar play: Maharashtra’s politician for all seasons opens up on his 75th birthday

dna editor-in-chief Uday Nirgudkar with Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar

Zee 24Taas
In your life, a fighting spirit can be seen. Did you get this from your mother?My mother and father both. My mother was from a common family. She rebelled against the social norms of those times and educated herself. My father was in service but he was associated with the Satyashodhak movement and with Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil, a senior figure in educational sector. It is but natural that these things nourished our minds.Your family has a Peasants and Workers Party (PWP) background. Your mother was a PWP local board member and your brother-in-law is ND Patil. Still, you were attracted to the Congress.My mother was not a PWP local board member. She was elected to the Pune local board in 1936-37 for the first time as a Congress nominee. Around 1948, when the Congress went into the hands of Kakasaheb Gadgil and others in Maharashtra, a section of the party who thought intensely about rural areas felt uneasy. Yeshwantrao (Chavan) was part of that but never quit the Congress. Shankarrao More, Keshavrao Jedhe and others started PWP. Those who were uneasy in the Congress, such as my mother and elder brother, joined the PWP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In reality, the BJP leaders do not want to remain with the Sena. But after Bihar elections, BJP may start adjusting with the Sena… digest its arrogance and accept its demandsLater Yeshwantrao Chavan inspired you. When did you first meet him?In my childhood, my house had photographs of Stalin, Lenin and Karl Marx but my attraction to the Left did not last long. Yeshwantrao and myself had the same attraction for Nehru and his focus on modern science, technology and democracy as a means of life. This attracted me to Yeshwantrao.You took decisions which would hurt politically but were progressive with long-term social ramifications. Of these, one was the renaming of the Marathwada university. Did it hurt you politically?100 per cent. Marathwada was educationally backward. The first educational complex in Aurangabad was Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s Milind College. In Aurangabad university, the academic council unanimously decided to rename it after Babasaheb instead of Marathwada. A recommendation was made to the state but no implementation was done during the tenure of the three chief ministers. Then in Marathwada and Vidarbha, the Dalit Panther and such organisations raised the demand and were upset that Mahatma Phule, Punjabrao Deshmukh and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s names were given (to institutions) but despite the academic council’s unanimous decision, Ambedkar’s name was not given. This made me uneasy. I discussed the issue with my cabinet colleagues and SM Joshi gave me the moral strength. We took a decision but that very evening, houses of Dalits were set on fire. They were killed in Aurangabad, Nanded and other places. I had to suspend the decision in the next few days. It was a painful moment.Looking back, what would you call your most revolutionary decision?This can be one such decision. After the suspension, I lost my chief minister’s post and I had to pay the price in my base – Marathwada. When I became the CM in the 1980s, I realised that I had not taken the youth and people from villages into confidence before the decision. I rectified the mistake and took the decision again. The new generation welcomed it.What happened in 1978? The prevailing phrase then was you stabbed (Vasantdada Patil) in the back.The Congress was divided then. There was one Congress led by Indiraji (Gandhi) and one under Swarn Singh and Bramhanand Reddy. In Maharashtra, Yeshwantrao Chavan was our leader and he, Vasantrao Naik, Vasantraodada Patil were a part of the Swarn Singh Congress or Congress (S). We fought polls against each other but the two formed a government to keep the then Janata Party out. Vasantdada was the chief minister from our side and Nashikrao Tirpude was the deputy chief minister. From Day One, the government was not unified. In Delhi, Abasaheb Kulkarni, Annasaheb Shinde and others met at Yeshwantraoji’s place and concluded that we had to exit the government. The responsibility was handed over to me. Accordingly, I, Sushilkumar Shinde, Sundarrao Solankhe and Datta Meghe resigned as ministers. Chandrashekhar, our friend, declared support for us.Yeshwantrao telephoned me and asked me not to form the government. I agreed but Kisan Veer took the phone from me and since they were very close, told Yeshwantrao that if we back down, the political lives of these youth would be devastated and asked me to go ahead and form the government.This back-stabbing allegation has stuck to you. Do you think it would have been better if this has not happened?If this had not happened, the Congress would not have survived here.You went on to the Shiv Sena’s platform in 1984. What had happened then?In those days, textile mills defined Mumbai’s economy and were staffed by people from rural Maharashtra and Konkan. Firebrand leader Dr Datta Samant called for a textile strike. If Samant’s leadership was accepted by the textile sector, the mills would have gradually shut down on the pretext of strikes, and thousands would have been jobless. George Fernandes, myself asnd Balasaheb Thackeray decided to join hands to take the strike out of Samant’s hands. We succeeded then but unfortunately what we feared eventually happened.Modi made irresponsible, below the belt statements during elections. He should not have lowered the dignity of the PM’s post. In my 50 years of politics, I never saw Jawaharlal Nehru, VP Singh and Manmohan Singh use Modi like languageYou rejoined the Congress in Aurangabad in 1986. Is it true that Rajiv Gandhi kept you waiting for one-and-a-half years? He did not mention your name even once in his speech. Why?After Indira Gandhi’s death, Rajiv Gandhi expressed a wish that I should work with him. When I went for final darshan at her home in Delh and offered my condolences to Rajiv, he held my hand and said, “Sharad, I think enough is enough. Now the time has come, we have to work together.” I said we are with you in your crisis. Then polls were declared and we fought separately. I had no desire to contest the Lok Sabha polls and was the leader of the Opposition. There was a sympathy wave in Rajiv’s favour and there were doubts if the Opposition could survive. In those circumstances, to increase my colleagues’ confidence, I decided to contest. We met regularly. This cemented the decision to join hands and he assigned the responsibility to Arun Nehru. Arun told me in the first meeting that he was not amenable to me returning to the Congress as it would hurt both. But since the leader had said this, we had to finalise the modalities. We decided on the Aurangabad meeting. It is true that Rajiv Gandhi did not take my name but I was told that the family never took names on party platforms. So I never felt anything about it.Why did you clash with people close to you, such as Sonia Gandhi, Vasantdada Patil, and your contemporaries in the Congress, such as Antulay?All of them supported me later. Coming to Rajiv Gandhi, when we came together, I was not holding any post. I was in Goa when he called me at 3.30am and in his typical style asked me what I was doing. I said one sleeps at 3.30 in the morning. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was working. I said you are the prime minister, you have no choice, you have to work. He called me to Delhi. When I reached there, I was called to his home from the airport and was asked to take charge as the chief minister the next day. Shankarrao Chavan was the CM but had been moved to the centre.Do you think if this serpentine journey had been avoided, this Marathi manoos would have become the prime minsiter in 1991?I do not think so. In each of these times, there were reasons for the crisis. You spoke about Sonia Gandhi, now our relations are good. When the issue of making her the (Congress) president came up, we all felt that Sitaram Kesari had to be replaced. This included me, Anthony, Ghulam Nabi Azad and some more Congressmen. But one thing rankled me. When I was in Maharashtra, a meeting of the Congress parliamentary party was called and Pranab da (Mukherjee) put forth a proposal to change the Constitution so that an individual who was not a member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha could be the leader of the parliamentary party. After this was done, Soniaji was given the leadership of the Congress parliamentary party. I felt this was inappropriate.When I was in Maharashtra, Pranab da put forth a proposal to change the Constitution so that an individual who was not a member of the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha could be the leader of the parliamentary party. After that, Soniaji was given the leadership of the Congress parliamentary party. It was meant to stop meThis was akin to stabbing Sharad Pawar in the back…This was meant to stop me. Then Sonia Gandhi gave a letter asking me to lead the Congress in the Lok Sabha. I was uneasy. Differences started when there was a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and Sonia Gandhi read a prepared speech that said the BJP was raising the issue of her foreign origins and if this was affecting the Congress party, she will have to think about it seriously. It was decided that the opinions of all in the working committee members would be sought. (PA) Sangma, who was close to Sonia Gandhi, said if leadership is given to you, there will be opposition and the Congress will have to pay the price. Tariq Anwar supported it. I felt these questions would surely come up but we can answer them. The meeting was later adjourned. I took a flight to Pune. At the airport, journalists surrounded me and said that Sonia Gandhi had resigned before the Congress office after we spoke about this. There were demonstrations outside the Congress office and demands were made to expel three of us. We three then met in Delhi and prepared a detailed letter for Sonia Gandhi, in which we said we are not opposed to her foreign origins, but these questions will come up. After getting the letter, the working committee expelled us for six years. We then formed the NCP.Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalitha and Biju Patnaik came to power in their states on their own. The NCP, however, never managed to cross 70-75 seats in the 288 member Vidhan Sabha. Why?We are in the 50-69 range. Our weakness includes Mumbai, which has 36 Vidhan Sabha seats. NCP’s base is rural and consists of the Marathi manoos. But the Marathi manoos in Mumbai and Thane is connected to the Shiv Sena.This base that you are talking of has a caste colour, despite the leader being progressive. Why?Our support base essentially consists of farming communities in Marathwada and western Maharashtra, which are largely Marathas. But we have many people (from other communities). Jaidutta Ksirsagar is a Teli and opposition leader Dhananjay Munde is a Vanjari.If someone opens his mind, such as Aamir Khan, people attack him. He is Muslim, therefore, a soft target for these fringe elementsYou had warned about the impact of drought in the coming summer. You were the agriculture minister for years, your party was in power and when the Congress was in government, your loyalists held portfolios of irrigation and power. Despite this, why weren’t the problems around agriculture in Maharashtra solved?In Maharashtra, agriculture faces limitations regarding water. Expert committees said 65 per cent of the state will stay rain-fed. Maharashtra has the largest number of dams in India but due to the scarcity of water, the problems have not been solved.Are you promoting dynastic politics in NCP?I do not believe in dynastic politics. We are very much clear that people have to choose their leaders. Anyone in our party who is ready to work hard, is capable of expanding the party base and has a knack to solve people’s issues can be a leader. There are several in our party who are capable of leading. Late home minister RR Patil was one of them. Unfortunately he is no more. Besides, Jayant Patil, Dlip Valse Patil, Ajit Pawar, Jaydutta Kshirsagar and so on are there.But you have to choose only one as party leader?The above-mentioned leaders have the potential to lead the party. When the party workers feel that this leader can add more votes, he will be elected and accepted as a natural leader. Why people had to chose Indira Gandhi? Because she helped them get elected. She was a crowd puller. Same is the case with BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In the recent general elections, BJP leaders and workers chose Narendra Modi as their leader, despite having a senior leader like LK Advani.After Bihar elections result, do you think that the third front is again getting stronger? Will such a jumbo alliance succeed?I was 100 per cent sure the combination of Nitish Kumar, Lalu Prasad and Congress will win the elections. The reason is that each one has its stronghold and solid base. If the Congress and NCP come together against the BJP, we will surely defeat the BJP and can come to power. If the regional parties come together in respective states, they can give a strong fight to the BJP. That can change the political picture of the entire country.Do you think that in Uttar Pradesh also, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati will come together?Not all, they will never come together. There is a possibility of the Congress and SP coming together or BSP and Congress and left forces may join hands.You had said that the mid-term poll was likely to happen?The mid-term elections will not take place at the centre because Narendra Modi has enough numbers to run a stable government. I predicted mid-term poll in Maharashtra because BJP had no majority and was surviving on the props of Shiv Sena. I think the BMC elections scheduled in 2017 will be a turning point for the state politics. BMC is crucial for the Sena. In BMC, Sena is in a strong position. At the same time, the BJP is also spreading its base so there is likely to be a stiff competition between Sena and BJP. That will widen the rift and finally cause the separation. In reality, the BJP leaders do not want to remain with the Sena. But after the Bihar elections, BJP may start adjusting with the Sena and digest its arrogance and accept its demands.Many people have returned their government awards in protest against the intolerance in the country. What is your take on it?People’s opinion and government’s stand are two different things. A recent controversial statement by former Army chief VK Singh, now a central minister, was unfortunate. Some one from BJP also said if you are eating beef, then you should go to Pakistan. These statements were made by the ruling party leaders as well as by people who are in the government. The sad part is no one is there to contain them. If someone opens his mind, such as Aamir Khan, people attack him. He is Muslim, therefore, a soft target for these fringe elements. I read that BJP president Amit Shah warned these fringe elements. If it is true then it is the right step. The PM must have also have given suggestions to contain these elements. I did not find anything wrong with artists returning their awards.Modi had come to Baramati during Lok Sabha elections and lambasted NCP. He even called it the Naturalist Corrupt Party. Now the same Modi is praising you.Modi made irresponsible, below the belt statements during elections. He was the prime ministerial candidate. He should not have lowered the dignity of the post. In my 50 years of politics, I never saw Jawaharlal Nehru, VP Singh and Manmohan Singh use Modi like language. During his tours, it is Modi’s responsibility to maintain the dignity of the country and its people.

Jiah Khan case: CBI slaps suicide abetment charge against Sooraj Pancholi

Nafisa alias Jiah Khan was emotionally attached with the accused. The wilful conduct of Sooraj drove the her to commit suicide. Hence Sooraj is liable to be punished, read the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet.

Rabia Khan, mother of Jiah Khan, leaves the sessions court in Mumbai on Friday
Salman Ansari
dna
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday slapped charges of abetment of suicide against actor Sooraj Pancholi over the death of model-actress Jiah Khan.”Nafisa alias Jiah Khan was emotionally attached with the accused. The wilful conduct of Sooraj drove the her to commit suicide. Hence Sooraj is liable to be punished,” read the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet.The CBI relied on several messages between the two to nail Sooraj. It also conducted certain psychological tests on him. The test reports from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Navi Mumbai, showed his statements to be incomplete and fabricated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”From the psychological assessment and behavioral analysis, it may be inferred that Sooraj is hiding some information… and did not want to disclose some content of his last argument with the deceased, that may have caused her death,” the charge sheet said.The reports also said that it has been inferred that hand- written notes or letters of the deceased showed her mental status.The agency said that the two were in contact with each other since September 2012 and used to stay together till her death- – for nearly 10 months. They were also having physical relationship, it said.”Investigations have revealed that the deceased used to clean the room of Sooraj, and used to iron his clothes. She also used to clean and arrange the dining table, purchase decorative articles for the living room and the bedroom of Sooraj, whenever she used to stay with him in his flat in Shanti Bhawan. Jiah had also presented several valuable gifts to Sooraj,” the charge sheet said.A note written by Jiah establishes that Sooraj had ruined her life, it said. The false promises given by Sooraj to Jiah, as mentioned in the note, said: “You promised me one; we made it to one year. We would get engaged.”

Salute sir: Suresh Prabhu responds to distress tweet, arranges food for kid in train

The child’s father tweeted to Suresh Prabhu seeking help for the child who felt pangs of hunger after milk ran out due to the train running behind schedule.

Responding to the tweet, Suresh Prabhu swung into action and directed the DRM of Allahabad to take action in the case,
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Responding promptly to a tweet, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu came to the aid of a hungry child traveling in a train delayed by fog, ensuring that the five-year-old was provided with milk and biscuits by the railway authorities.The child, Avish, who was travelling with his mother Kusum Yadav, boarded the Manduadih (Varanasi) New Delhi Super Fast Express early on Thursday which got delayed due to dense fog. The child’s father Satyendra Yadav, who is based in Delhi, tweeted to Prabhu seeking help for his child who felt pangs of hunger after milk ran out due to the train running behind schedule.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to the tweet, Prabhu swung into action and directed the DRM of Allahabad to take action in the case, PRO of North-Central Railway Amit Malviya said on Friday. Following this, the station master of Fatehpur station provided the family with food when the train arrived there, Malviya said.When the train arrived at Kanpur Station later in the day, Railway authorities there were waiting with milk and biscuits for the child, the PRO said. Later, the mother thanked the railway officials for their prompt service, he added.

First planeload of Syrian refugees headed to Canada

After months of promises and weeks of preparation, the first planeload of Syrian refugees was headed to Canada on Thursday, aboard a military plane to be met at Toronto’s airport by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canadas Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses with airport staff as they await Syrian refugees to arrive at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, December 10, 2015.

After months of promises and weeks of preparation, the first planeload of Syrian refugees was headed to Canada on Thursday, aboard a military plane to be met at Toronto’s airport by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Trudeau’s newly elected Liberal government scaled back the number of Syrian migrants it will accept by year end after the attacks in Paris sparked concern that the election promise to bring in 25,000 by Dec. 31 would not allow enough time for security checks.Some 300 Syrian refugees were expected to arrive on two military flights, the first arriving in Toronto late on Thursday and the second in Montreal on Saturday. Trudeau has said 10,000 will be resettled by the end of the year and a further 15,000 by the end of February.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the airport, privately sponsored refugees have already been arriving on commercial flights in recent days at a separate terminal from the military airlift. Those arriving on Thursday were met by sponsors and ordinary Canadians who had come to the airport to greet the much-anticipated newcomers.”They are very tired, but they are happy and hopeful,” said Soriya Dasir, a worker with Abraham Festival, a group that sponsored a single mother and three children who had been living in a camp in Jordan for two years, as she escorted them past waiting media.Nearby, Shai Reef, 20, held up a sign that read: “Welcome to Canada” in Arabic.”I’m here to show my solidarity for and support of the Syrian people going through genocide in Syria,” Reef said. “As Jews, we were also locked out, I know what it feels like.”Toronto’s mayor tweeted a welcome, while the Toronto Star, the country’s largest newspaper, covered its front page with a “Welcome to Canada” banner headline in English and Arabic, along with an article explaining Canadian weather, ice hockey and quirky local slang.The Syrians’ reception in Canada contrasted sharply with that of the neighboring United States, where fear of Syrian refugees following the deadly Nov 13 Paris attacks spurred opposition to allowing them entry. Some US governors said their states would not accept Syrian refugees.With security concerns, immigration paperwork and the flight’s late-night arrival, refugees on the military aircraft being met by the prime minister were to be put up at a nearby hotel for the night before meeting their sponsors and resettlement agencies on Friday.While one provincial premier and some opposition politicians initially said Trudeau was accepting too many refugees too quickly, his decision to push back the timeline by two months silenced much of the criticism.Trudeau was elected to a surprise majority in October promising to accept more refugees more quickly than the previous Conservative government.

Three found guilty for India gang rape

A court in Kolkata (Calcutta) has found three men guilty for the 2012 gang rape of an Indian woman who later waived her right to anonymity to encourage other rape survivors to speak out.

Trapped in a watery hell: What it was like to be stuck during the Chennai floods

At first, from what I understood, the entire city had a power shutdown and several areas were waterlogged.

The flooded ground floor in the hospital

Latha Srinivasan
Monday, November 31I woke up expecting to go to work as usual, despite the rain. But by 9 am, things had changed. I had to rush my 72-year-old mother to the hospital as she was unable to move and was slurring. Worried that she had suffered a stroke, I got her admitted immediately at the Global Hospital (Perumbakkam) for an MRI and CT scan. Getting all the required tests took up the whole day, after which I spent a sleepless night at the hospital. Tuesday, December 1Mom was weak and unable to eat and I was anxiously waiting to meet the doctors. It was raining heavily by 9 am and I was informed that the attending physician was running a little late. By noon, I found out that though my mother’s tests were fine, she had extreme weakness and she could be discharged only on Wednesday. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At around 3 pm, my cousin called to inform that I should leave the hospital ASAP as the Perumbakkam lake near the hospital had suffered a breach. I assured him that things seemed fine, so I would manage. However, by 6 pm there was two feet of water at the entrance of the ground floor and the hospital staff had placed sand bags to prevent it from coming inside. Meanwhile, people on Twitter were reporting that heavy rains had caused severe waterlogging in several areas in the city and that people who were stranded were being accommodated in other people’s homes, schools, marriage halls etc. When I went into the cafeteria for dinner at 9 pm, I realised that the situation could soon turn serious as food was running out. There were some 150 patients and those attending to them, stuck in the hospital because of the rain and they all moved to sit in the lobby on the first floor to wait out the night. At 12:30 am, the power suddenly went out and I heard the nurses running around in the darkness. I stepped out to see what was happening and one of the nurses informed me that water had inundated the generator room causing a shutdown. We were now on limited power only for ICU and critical patients. She also told me that there was a lot of water on the ground floor. From what I could see, medical equipment had been moved up to the first floor and were lined up in the corridors. Now, I was worried, but I still didn’t think that there was a need for panic. And who would I call in the middle of the night anyway? From what I understood, the entire city had a power shutdown. So I headed back to the room to get some shut eye.Wednesday, December 2I woke up at 7 am to find out that there was still no electricity and now, no water as well. Luckily, the hospital staff had filled a bucket of water in each room during the night. I immediately ran to check the situation on the ground floor. What I saw startled me. The entire ground floor was filled with dark, murky water. The Sai Baba idol in the lobby, which is a source of resilience and strength during testing times when loved ones are ill, was submerged in four to five feet of water. The hospital had created a makeshift kitchen to provide hot food and beverages to patients as they were the priority. But the 100-odd outpatients and their families had also been stuck there for nearly 24 hours. While the hospital may have been able to provide them some facilities like drinking water, how much longer could everyone be sustained in this water deluge with no power and no access to fresh supplies? People struggled to make calls as the telecom networks were erratic. My mobile had about 40% power and I wasn’t sure how long that would last. When I finally managed to ask one of the doctors what was happening, he said, “There’s some eight feet of water outside the hospital and the only way out is on boats. We have spoken to the relevant people, including the Chief Minister’s office, the Army and others. They have assured us that help is on the way.” It was at this point that I officially panicked – we had no water, no power, no telecom network and no damn way of getting out of the hospital! And my car was sitting in the parking lot in five feet of water.Twitter had come to my rescue earlier, so I quickly managed to send out a couple of tweets asking for help, as only emergency services had power in the hospital and people needed to be rescued immediately. The bad network was causing more panic. But I managed to call Shreesha Reddy of India Today TV and Dhanya Rajendran of The News Minute, both of whom made calls to various people for help. Meanwhile, the hospital staff was working hard to ensure that patients were fine. By 10:45 am, one of the doctors told me there were only three more hours of power left for patients on ventilator. But the nurses said, “Madam, even if we have to pump their hearts manually, we will do it – we will not allow a single patient to die, don’t worry.”There was no help in sight for nearly three hours now and I had been on my feet the whole time, walking around to try and get proper phone network. It was then that a call came through from the Tamil Nadu Health Minister DR C Vijaya Baskar who told me that the fire service personnel and even the army had been informed about helping us. I appraised him about the drastic circumstances and that it had already been nearly 12 hours without electricity.Meanwhile, India Today TV put me live on air to explain what was happening at Global hospitals in Perumbakkam. I did so and continued to wait, hoping to see a boat come in or a helicopter land. But more than an hour passed and there was still was no sign of any help, though the rains had stopped. It was around 12:30 pm that we finally saw a fishing boat come in, evoking spontaneous claps from the almost 50 people standing on the first floor. People started to smile a little and the anxiety reduced, but then came the scramble as to who would leave first. Everyone wanted to get on that boat, but it could accommodate only 12 at a time. Meanwhile, a second boat came in. One of them went in the direction of Shollinganallur and the other to Medavakkam. The administrative staff quickly swung into action before chaos ensued and created a list of dialysis patients and outpatients who had been stranded. They sent them out first and then patients who had got discharged were taken to safety.It was more than two and a half hours later that I could finally get on the boat with my mom. Too weak to walk, she was in a wheelchair and we would have to wade through 3-5 feet of water to get on the boat. But the staff assured me they would figure it out and four men just lifted the wheelchair and carried her over the water and set her on the boat. I was so thankful to them. On the other hand, I was really scared to wade through the muddy water, being petrified of snakes and scorpions. The water was ice cold and waist high and I held the hand of the doctor leading the way, who encouraged me ahead till I reached the boat. Around me in the boat, I saw an old couple, a two-year old who had undergone surgery on his hand crying and being comforted by his parents, and some other patients.But as soon as we got onto the fishing boat, it started to rain again and the fire and rescue personnel told me that we had to wait out the rain. I was exhausted as I had been on my feet for most of the last 24 hours. Nature seemed to be testing everyone beyond their limits. We quickly grabbed umbrellas, plastic bags, towels and anything else we could find, to cover our heads. All of us on the boat – except my mother – were cold and wet and some of us were shivering. No one had eaten anything that day and it was after 2 pm. When the rain slowed a little, I urged the boat guys to move out and we did. We were instructed to sit tight in the boat and not make sudden movements as the boat could be thrown off balance. As soon as we moved out from the hospital portico, the rain and cold wind hit us hard. I was holding the umbrella over my mother’s head, but the rain was ruthless. We were all soaking wet and had to travel nearly 2.5 kms on that boat to get to safety. The men navigated the waters carefully so as not to hit electrical posts, open wires, hard objects or anything else that could fatally injure any of us or leave us stranded in the water. The water depth had to be constantly monitored by men navigating the bot. We saw an ambulance, a water lorry and numerous vehicles sitting in eight feet of water as we moved out of the hospital gates. The area around the hospital is marshy and through the rain and cold we crossed the water body slowly. We actually rode on roads that were inundated in more than five feet of water and saw many homes submerged. There was not a single soul in sight. and the areas were uncannily eery and deserted. That 15-minute ride was perhaps one of the longest ones in my life. I kept asking every few minutes when we would reach safety.Finally at 3 pm, we reached land, after a struggle of over seven hours. But our ordeal wasn’t over yet.​ As soon as got to the Shollinganallur signal, the men quickly helped us out as they needed to go back and fetch more patients. We had been told at the hospital that there were two ambulances and a jeep there, that would help us reach home. The fire and rescue personnel put my mom in the ambulance along with another family. But the ambulance driver flatly refused to drop us home, stating that the vehicle was only to take patients to another hospital. The other family managed to find an auto in the rain, but with my mom unable to walk, I didn’t know what to do. I tried reasoning with the ambulance drivers, but to no avail. I had to leave my mom in the ambulance, to try and make calls, but didn’t have a proper signal and realised I was on my own. After 10 minutes, I headed out to find an auto and saw a government vehicle parked nearby. When I spoke to the gentleman inside, explaining my situation, he replied, “Why don’t you speak to the Health Minister? He is right here.” I have never written much on politics nor do I know the protocol of what one can say or not say to politicians, but in this situation I needed to get my mom home and didn’t care how. Seeing the Health Minister near the boat in two feet of water, I wading there, introduced myself and asked for help. I may have possibly even said so several times in front of TV cameras that seemed to be interviewing him, but I just didn’t care. But the Minister happened to remember having spoken to me on the phone earlier in the morning. Immediately, another man came forward, arranged for a Tata Sumo and had my mom transferred into the vehicle. As soon as I got into the vehicle (which I then knew was the Health Minister’s) Vijaya Baskar and his First Secretary Radhakrishnan came and shook my hand, assuring me, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care. You’ll reach home safely.” I told Radhakrishnan that it was very important that the remaining patients in the hospital got help. He told me they had arranged for a 15 KVA generator, but couldn’t transport it in the boat. “We’re now getting smaller generators that can be taken to the hospital. Don’t worry, we will take care of everyone in the hospital,” he said.I left in the Health Minister’s car, with a fire and rescue person and the driver, and finally reached home at about 4 pm. The fire and rescue person carried my mom up the flight of stars and gently sat her in the sofa in the living room. My mother and I hadn’t had even a drop of water for over nine hours by then. But we were both finally safe and back home and I have never been so relieved in my life. Besides, when I saw the newspapers over the next few days or so, I realised that the Health Minister and Radhakrishnan had kept their word – they had helped the hospital and ensured that not one patient’s life was lost there. And I was truly grateful to them for that.

National Herald Case: I will not budge an inch, says Rahul Gandhi

The Congress Vice-President charged the BJP with adopting ‘vendetta politics’, while responding to the case involving him, his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others.
File Photo
PTI
As the National Herald case involving Congress’ top brass snowballed on Tuesday, a defiant Rahul Gandhi charged the BJP with adopting “vendetta politics” and vowed to continue questioning the Narendra Modi government and not “budge an inch.””Let them do what they want. They can do whatever they want to. I am not going to budge one inch. The same questions I am asking the Prime Minister (Modi) or the government, I am going to continue asking them,” Rahul said.The Congress Vice-President charged the BJP with adopting ‘vendetta politics’, while responding to the case involving him, his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and others. His job as an opposition party member was to question the government, he said, adding, he was “not afraid” of these things.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, at Cuddalore, he accused the BJP of resorting to “political vendetta,” on a day when a magistrate court in Delhi exempted him and Sonia Gandhi from personal appearance today in the case. It had however directed them to be present before it on December 19.”Well I absolutely see a political vendetta. This is the way the Central government functions, the way they think,” Rahul, who was in Cuddalore to distribute aid to flood-hit people, said, showing a similar combative attitude adopted by his mother.Invoking the legacy of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her mother-in-law, Sonia Gandhi had asserted that she was not scared of anyone. Rahul also vowed to keep up the pressure on the NDA government.While Rahul initially said that he will react on the issue after returning to Delhi where Parliament is in session, he, however, later said there was “political vendetta” on the issue while responding to repeated queries from reporters.

Offerings from budding scientists: Biodegradable plastic, jaggery chocolates and much more

Better India: First India International Science Festival showcases creativity of the youth

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan during his visit to Expo

Optometry powered by a cell phone, an app that allows touch-free interaction with computers, biodegradable plastic, a jacket that helps visually-impaired people move, and jaggery chocolates high on haemoglobin content that can be eaten by diabetic people too. These are just a tiny fraction of the sea of projects that were exhibited at the first India International Science Festival (IISF), a nationwide science exhibition that was organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology.Aditya Khant from Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai who came up with Airtouch, an application that allows for ‘touch-free, sensor-independent input for human-computer interaction’. Khant, a student of 12th standard, does not even study computer science in school, and had an exam on Monday. “I build a simpler prototype when I was in the 9th standard in which one could play drums just by hovering your hand over the device.I have been developing that ever since; my mother has helped me with the aesthetics,” he says. He plans to be an entrepreneur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Delhi-based Shreyas Kapoor of Modern School, Barakhamba, built an app that enables one to accurately find one’s eyesight disorder and apply for a lens accordingly. “An aberrometer (the instrument that determines the power of the lenses a person needs) costs about Rs 13,000. In villages, people are blind because of that. I made an app in which a figure will appear on the screen. A myopic person will see it as ‘8’, while a normal person as ‘5’,” he says. He adds that his school ‘does not know that I exist’, and that he met his mentor, MIT student Kshitij Marwah at a convention sometime ago. He plans to research further on his app, imbibe artificial intelligence in it, and further research on AI in the future.Aditya and Shreyas are both students in a team of 12 students which will represent India in the next leg of the Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS) to be held in Arizona next year. IRIS is a nationwide initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Intel Education. The winning team will have a planet named after him or her and will have their graduation funded.On the other hand is Ananya from Deeksha Vidya Mandir from Kadur. Deeply hurt by the death of their pet cow who chewed on plastic, she decided to make biodegradable plastic out of cornflour or potato starch. “I worked on it for six to seven months,” said the 10th standard student, adding that she wants to be a doctor, without leaving her love for experimenting with innovations like these.Ananya is the silver award winner of Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), a nationwide science awards programme organised by DST. The gold was clinched by Oza Alay Kumar from Mehsana who came up with an artificial tree model which will turn carbon monoxide into oxygen, and a wind tunnel which cleans the polluted air with solar energy. Prithvi Raj from Jamtara was given the bronze for inventing a jacket with a radio sensor, arel and solar plates that help the visually-impaired to walk safely on the roads.This is the first time that the ministry has come up with a nationwide science exhibition, and in the process has included IRIS and INSPIRE, two reputed science fairs. The initiative is also helped by Vijnana Bharati, a not-for-profit organisation working for science popularisation”We wish for society to understand science better, and with an exhibition of such a huge scale, we hope that we create an environment in which people will be attracted to science. We have a lot of theoretical ideas, but we need better experiments in this country,” said Jayant Sahasbuddhe, Organising Secretary at Vijnana Bharati. The exhibition, which ended Monday, saw an attendance of two lakh, with children presenting 230-plus research papers besides hosting five workshops for over 10,000 delegates as well as the general public.

Chennai floods: Aid stickers fuel anger

Relief workers allege they are being forced to paste stickers of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalitha on flood aid coming into Chennai.

Notes from the Chennai Floods: Better off than most

“We were trapped in the middle of a Biblical experience, and with boats being used for rescue, the Ark was not far behind.”

A residential area is seen surrounded by floodwaters in Chennai on Saturday

PTI
This was a harrowing week, but we are better off than most. “Better off than most” has been my refrain all week. We do not live on the ground floor. Years of living in Bombay taught us always to be prepared. Years of living have taught us how to shrink our needs and conserve everything from the inverter and cell batteries to food and water. Years in this flat have taught us where to place towels and buckets to absorb the leakage and seepage which happen with a few hours of rain. But it was still harrowing as we lost power, the inverter gave out, the landline died and took with it the Internet connection, leaving our cell phone (charged but with no signal) as the solitary, tenuous connection with the world. Losing contact with the world was the worst part of the week for us. With the road not being visible from our windows, no access to news and a sky that had closed in on us, we had no sense of whether the situation was improving or worsening. Would this ever end? On the third evening without power, we lit more candles than ever and yet, neither the room nor our spirits quite lit up. We did not look outside, trying to see where power was restored. It was as if we had entered a zone from which there was no return.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>And yet, we’re better off than most.***In my family, as in many others, the Chennai contingent is largely made up of senior citizens living alone. Most do not use the cell phones their children have bought them and most do not own and maintain vehicles of their own.Their daily needs include access to day-night pharmacies with delivery and the ability to go see a doctor for this or that. With no power, there were no lifts available, and we just hoped the time would pass without incident. Even if we could get them downstairs, there was no transport available outside and the ground floor was inundated.Scattered families, with even branches at one remove, now quite out of touch mean that most of us have no one to call in an emergency. Even if we could get through.Hired caregivers usually commute long distances. What if they cannot travel to work? What if? What if?As we sat out the rain, it reinforced my concerns about caregiving and support systems for the elderly. This, of course, applies to all categories of people requiring care.The deaths at a major hospital due to power failure were reported, but on Twitter and Facebook, you also heard about other near-misses. Generator sets that volunteers repaired. Back-up that was made available. Gas cylinders that were procured and delivered to old age homes. What happens in a seniors-only household where people are not net-savvy enough to read Google Docs with volunteer lists?Stranded without power, without water, without a working phone, running out of medicine and without access to the outside world, middle-class seniors have little recourse to help unless someone from the outside worlds points attention to them.We need to build these support systems in less critical times so that the need is never this acute. The best 24/7 efforts of millions of volunteers cannot be a replacement.But, it is true, we are all better off than most.***In a conflict zone study in Baluchistan, women pointed to the non-availability of information as one of the greatest sources of stress in their situation. People leave home but until you see them walk in through the door, you do not know whether they are safe, caught in cross-fire, “forcefully disappeared” or killed in a bomb attack. The rain pouring outside was not quite a war-zone—although most have suffered its privations as if it were—it is true that the greatest stress came from not knowing what was going on and not being able to ask anyone. It does not matter that no one has answers in these situations. Asking is a form of stress relief, and it is the human interaction that follows that offers that little amelioration.My mother remarked that roving jeeps making public service or weather update announcements on megaphones would have been a relief. I agree. Some information, any information, would have been welcome.Without the hum of electricity indoors, the silence was deafening, amplifying the noise made by the rain.No phones meant too that no one could check on you, and there is nothing that makes a situation bleaker than thinking no one wants to know how you are. Moreover, volunteers are writing that it is hard for them to communicate and coordinate as signals and Internet connections drop. That is tragic— there are people out there with the will and the means to help but their efforts are blunted by technology, which is something that can be fixed.We learn slowly and from the disasters of the last decade, the one thing we have learnt is to provide sanitary napkins. Perhaps it is time to add information technology to our list of essentials? In this age, not knowing and not communicating are the greatest hardship. Can mobile service providers find a way to “weather-proof” their service (I ask as a non-technical person)? Can we have back-up “primitive” systems of public outreach?***We were and are better off than most. We knew that when the rain started. We remembered that as we kept vigil. We remembered that with greater gratitude when power and landline were both restored after three days.The first thing we did was to switch on the TV and watch the news. If we hadn’t remembered all along, we would have known then.My first (so far, only) foray takes me to the grocery store. Young people, in their late teens and twenties, have shown up to work, looking tired and spent. I ask one girl who has been working there for several years. She describes the water in her hut, which is now probably history. Her relatives who live in a flat came and took her family which includes a child to another family residence. In that moment, she relives the terror she felt for her child. I tell her, empty words, that it is going to be better soon. She says, “They are feeding us.” Those words break my heart.They hold her understanding that this act of shelter is a strain for her relatives. This is an extraordinary kindness that she experiences as a huge obligation. She would like to go home where she does not have to be beholden. She must be hungry too, stocking shelf after shelf of food she cannot buy.I ask the young boy who is packing my purchases. Has he eaten anything? Has the cashier? They don’t look like they have; I write this and think, they probably usually don’t before coming to work. With grace, they reassure me, they will be fed. Fed what? They are less sure. I leave a few packets of biscuits for them, feeling miserly and stupid. And overwhelmed.It is the same story, wherever I go. Hungry, tired faces, trying to do the best they can. Something a few biscuits will not change.***As we emerge from the watery vigil and the debilitating isolation, I see on social media post after post, calling for and coordinating help to those worst affected. The coordination is impressive and the commitment even more so. That story is still underway. As the call for volunteers and supplies is renewed every hour, there are those familiar questions about reconstruction.Volunteers cannot do this work indefinitely. Their own livelihood and life demands will reclaim them once the edge of the crisis passes. Who will then work to pick up the pieces? The very people whose lives have been shattered.The people who have worked all week.And, inescapably, the government.The conference in Stockholm, organised by the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University and the University at Albany, State University of New York, was on political participation in Asia. One of the ideas most discussed was “post-democracy.” A post-democratic polity is one in which citizens are indifferent to the state and have low expectations of it. Instead, it is left to a corporatised civil society and business to take responsibility for both physical and social infrastructure. At first glance, this is an interesting idea. Many of those coming out in hundreds to help in Chennai certainly belong to a post-democratic India. They are helping night and day partly because they want to and partly because they believe the state incapable of and unable to handle relief on its own. Scepticism about the government or the political class’ will to help is common, and the fact that the stories about stickers on relief packages seemed plausible long before it was confirmed, is an illustration. But only a small part of India can afford to be post-democratic— those of us that are better off than most.For the rest, the government and its networks are going to be critical for recovery.Water has inundated the office of the small taxi company we have used for almost two decades. The company has grown before our eyes but not to the point of cushioning such losses as they might have incurred in the last month. Replacing office furniture and computers, getting phone lines restored, paying advances to old-timers, getting vehicles repaired and turning away business in the interim will all cost the businesses money. As employers, what affects small businesses like this one can have an impact on communities all over the state as families are affected, their incomes drop and access and life-chances change. Will we be loyal to the small businesses that make up our community? Or, when they turn us away in the next few weeks, will we switch to using the bigger companies in the same line? Beyond our loyal custom, though, the businesses will need loans to recover. It is more likely that public sector banks and other government schemes will help them than that private financial institutions will.This is also true for people who have lost their homes. While they are in shelters, volunteers can rescue them and take them food, blankets and doctors. When they go home and find their homes literally or virtually destroyed, can individual volunteers or groups of volunteers really help them repair and rebuild even in the most basic ways? It is unlikely, even unrealistic. This is where the government can come in. Useful populism would consist, for instance, in offering people a stove, tube lights (also, restored connections!), school book replacements, a month’s supply of essential foods and medicines. Let us hope it does not take the form of colour television sets! Expediting the replacement of essential documents like ration cards, voter IDs and title deeds is also something only government can do. Legal NGOs can help with the documentation but the processing is up to government offices.Post-democracy is an attractively packaged idea but did not, does not seem to work for most of the people I know. Only for those better off than most.***When I see the dedication of volunteers—those acting with a large group and those on their own initiative, helping out those they can reach—I ask my usual question, in the words of that old song, “Will you still love me tomorrow?” We will have different kinds of work to do tomorrow.Tomorrow, we will need to take all the analyses of why this happened and transform that into policy or a code of business ethics or something. Tomorrow, we will need to help people rebuild their lives and businesses. Tomorrow, we will need to think of a better system of care and social support for the elderly, the sick, the differently abled and those living alone for any reason. Tomorrow, we will need to reflect on what worked and did not work in the way we organised relief— because, unfortunately, there will be another disaster somewhere, and we will need to have learnt. Tomorrow, we will need to think about better systems of communication that survive climate vagaries. Tomorrow, actually today, we will need to think about climate change and our everyday choices. Which of these things will we sign up for?Tomorrow, however, as someone said, is another day.***I can think, I can write and someone may even publish these words. I am better off than most because I can do that. I hold on to those words: “Better off than most.” But let this be over now.
​SwarnaRajagopalan is a political scientist by training. She is currently based in Chennai.

7 of a family returning from Haridwar killed in mishap on Hisar-Delhi highway

The car was on its way to Jandwa village from Haridwar when it was hit by the truck, the official said, adding that the accident took place around 4 am.

Representational Image

Seven members of a family, including four women, were killed on Sunday when the car they were travelling in collided with a truck on Hisar-Delhi National Highway near Garhi village, about 50 kms from here. Three others were injured, two of them seriously, in the mishap which took place in the wee hours. All the deceased hailed from village Jandwa in Churu district of Rajasthan, a police official said.The car was on its way to Jandwa village from Haridwar when it was hit by the truck, the official said, adding that the accident took place around 4 am. Six members of the family died on the spot while another succumbed to injuries at Medical College, Rohtak, he said, adding that the injured were admitted to a hospital in Hansi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The victims were identified as driver Manoj (35), his mother Rukmani (55), Hadmana (65), his wife Munshi Devi (63), Mahima Devi (50), Mana Devi (60) and Mauna Raam (60).

Why an MP wants India to talk about child sex abuse

An MP is trying to put the spotlight on the taboo topic of incest and child sexual abuse in India, home to the largest number of sexually abused children globally, writes the BBC’s Geeta Pandey in Delhi.

Lawyer files for return of Koh-i-Noor

A petition demanding the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the British Royal Family’s Crown Jewels, has been filed in a Pakistan court, reports say.

New-born sold in Maharashtra, five held

The five accused were nabbed yesterday by Manmad Police in the district and were produced before a local court, which remanded them in three days police custody.

Representational Image

Five persons, including three women, were arrested from Manmad near Nashik for allegedly selling a new-born baby girl, police said on Thursday.The five accused were nabbed yesterday by Manmad Police in the district and were produced before a local court, which remanded them in three days police custody.According to the complaint lodged by Sunita Pawar, mother of the 22-day-old baby and a resident of Ahmednagar district, four of the accused told her that she would not be able to take care of her daughter due to her poor financial condition and convinced her to give away her baby for adoption to a woman – Ashwini Khairnar – who lives in Manmad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When Sunita, along with the four persons, visited Khairnar’s place in Manmad, she saw her daughter being sold for Rs 60,000, following which she lodged a complaint with the local police, Manmad police station sub-inspector Dhirendra Singh Bilwal said.The accused were identified as — Bhausaheb Maruti Godse (69), Kusum Kharat (50), Terija Khatarnavre (42), Swapnil Paraj Dhavare (26), and Ashwini Khairnar (age not mentioned), he said.

I want every child born in this country to be free of AIDS: JP Nadda

There have been concerns in some quarters about the ability of some of the states to contribute their share to the programme. These doubts should now be laid to rest, said Nadda.

An AIDS awareness rally being taken out by NSS students of SIES College, in Sion on Tuesday
Hemant Padalkar
dna
On World AIDS Day, union health minister JP Nadda announced major policy decisions towards strengthening India’s fight against the HIV/AIDS epidemic. It has been decided that the National AIDS Control Programme will continue as a Central Sector Scheme”There have been concerns in some quarters about the ability of some of the states to contribute their share to the programme. These doubts should now be laid to rest,” said Nadda.He said that in view of the growing need for treatment services, the ministry has decided that the cut-off level for initiation of Anti Retrieval Therapy (ART) will henceforth be a CD4 count of 500.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With this decision, an additional 1 lakh people will start getting benefit of this treatment. It has also been decided to offer third line treatment to patients who need it. “NACO has been asked to gear up for these initiatives and we hope to start actual delivery in the coming weeks”, the minister informed.Nadda, on Tuesday, released the “India HIV Estimations 2015-Technical Report” and launched Distance Learning Programme on Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), Integrated HIV TB e-learning module, PPTCT ART Linkage Software (PALS) and HIV Sensitive Social Protection Portal.He expressed happiness over integration of Prevention from Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) programme with the RCH programme and said this programme is continuing to scale up to ensure zero transmission from mother to child.”I want every child born in this country to be free of AIDS and have the freedom to realise their dreams. The above steps are important milestones as we traverse the 90:90:90 strategy adopted by UNAIDS,” he said.The HIV Estimation-2015 report shows that India has been successful in achieving the MDG-6 of halting and reversing the HIV epidemic by 2015. The fact that new infections have declined by 66% from 2000 and 2015, and AIDS-related deaths fallen by 54% from 2007 to 2015, is a concrete proof that India has delivered on its global commitment in achieving MDG-6.While India’s success story continues, the current estimates highlight key challenges that will need to be addressed with urgency as the programme moves ahead to achieve NACP IV goals in the short term, the 90-90-90 targets in the intermediate term, and to end the AIDS epidemic in the longer term. The slow-down identified in the rate of decrease of new HIV infections in last few years is a key issue, while scope of improvements in ART and PPTCT coverage exists.

Gujarat local body polls: Congress hopeful after high voter turnout

The leader said he can envisage the defeat of BJP and victory of the Congress.

Overwhelmed by the high voter turnout till noon across Gujarat for the second phase of local body elections, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed confidence of winning the polls and termed the trend as a “wave for change”.Patel on Sunday exercised his franchise at a booth in his ancestral village of Piraman in Bharuch district . “This enthusiasm among people, who are coming out in huge numbers, to cast their votes, indicates a wave of change. Attempts were made (by BJP) to replicate the ‘Gujarat Model’ across India. But, people will eventually realise that they have been cheated and misguided by such claims of development,” Patel told reporters.The leader said he can envisage the defeat of BJP and victory of the Congress.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Polling to 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities was conducted today from 8 AM to 5 PM. Counting of votes will be done on December 2. As per the primary report from the State Election Commission, more than 35 per cent voters have already exercised their franchise till 3 PM across Gujarat. Among the prominent personalities, who have cast their votes, include state Health Minister Nitin Patel, Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and many other leaders from both the parties.After casting his vote in Kadi town of Mehsana, Nitin Patel also expressed confidence of winning polls. “For BJP, development is the only agenda, be it local body polls, Assembly polls or Lok Sabha. People of Mehsana, who were deprived of drinking water earlier, are now given water from Narmada. People knows what this BJP government has done for them,” he said.Besides, people associated with the Patel Quota stir also cast their votes, including president of Sardar Patel Group(SPG) Lalji Patel. Face of quota movement, Hardik Patel’s father Bharatbhai, mother Ushaben and sister Monica also exercised their franchise in Viramgam town of Mehsana

Women farmers in India defy convention

Meet the women running Indian farms

For faster growth, Modi needs to show Indians more reasons to save

MUMBAI On paper, India’s households have more reason than ever to save. But convincing them that the central bank can keep inflation low is proving difficult, hindering the country’s ambitious growth plans.

That raises the stakes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government, which wants to channel more savings into investments that can generate both growth and jobs, to boost chances of winning a second term after its landslide victory in 2014.

Real interest rates have been positive for over a year, ending almost a decade of negative rates, during which fast-rising prices ate away at whatever savers earned on deposits, and hardened their preference to hold gold and property.

Now inflation is around record lows and gold and property prices are languishing.

But a lack of confidence that inflation will stay muted, combined with lacklustre income growth, means India’s overall savings growth rates are at the weakest level in years, following five years of decline.

“If the government really wants to propel savings in the economy, it would be the best time to roll out more instruments like the tax free bonds… or to increase the investment limit into tax-free provident funds,” said Deepti Taneja, a 32-year-old New Delhi college professor.

Making it easier for some 18 million state and local government employees, like Taneja, to save more, the government pay commission, which reviews public sector salaries every few years, has recommended an increase of several billion dollars.

“We hope at least to some extent this money from the pay commission will come as savings into the banking sector and not go towards physical assets,” a senior policymaker said.

But, people still want better incentives to make financial investments.

“I am really confused about what will I do with these surplus funds once they start crediting it to my salary, because most of the financial instruments presently offered by the government provide little tax exemption,” said Taneja, a mother of two.

If not enough of the rise in incomes goes towards savings it could lead to other problems for the economy.

“The government has to raise savings. It is a virtuous cycle that kicks in when savings goes up, investment goes up and GDP grows,” said D.K. Joshi, chief economist at CRISIL, a leading credit rating agency, which also advises on risk and policy.

“If on the other hand your investment goes up and savings doesn’t, your current account deficit gets bloated.”

There is work to do. The World Bank estimates the gross savings rate – corporate, government and domestic savings – dipped below 30 percent in 2014 for the first time in over a decade.

Bank deposits, a proxy for financial investments by India’s conservative households, grew just 10.6 percent in the September quarter. That is well below expected capacity, which some analysts put at 1.5 times economic growth: closer to 15 percent.

SAVE, SAVE, SAVE

Government initiatives to pull more cash out from under India’s mattresses have had little success.

A recent gold deposit scheme to monetise more of the 20,000 tonnes of gold Indians have hoarded has attracted just 400 grammes.

Another plan to raise 400 billion rupees ($6 billion) through tax-free infrastructure bonds was announced in this year’s budget, but the specifics are yet to be finalized.

New Delhi still hopes higher incomes, lower inflation and a push to create more than 190 million new bank accounts will boost gross savings back above 30 percent, but it is unlikely to hit the peak savings rate of over 36 percent soon.

But there are some encouraging signs that Indians are becoming more interested in financial investments: equity mutual funds have seen inflows of 798.5 billion rupees so far this year.

But overall equity participation in India remains paltry. Less than 2 percent of Indians hold shares, compared to 30 percent of Koreans and 10 percent of Chinese.

The last time India boosted pay and allowances for government officials in 2008, the household savings rate jumped to 25.2 percent from 23.6 percent.

That rate has since dropped closer to 18 percent, much of it still flowing into gold and property.

But if even 16.5 percent of the newly raised wages and pensions for the public sector flows into financial savings – a target set by the current five-year plan to 2017 – then close to $14 billion in new cash could be pumped into the system.

That would be more than double the amount that can be expected at the current savings rate, and it would be enough to cover almost 5 percent of planned government spending this fiscal year.

(Additional reporting by Suvashree Choudhury in MUMBAI and Manoj Kumar in NEW DELHI; Editing by Clara Ferreira Marques and Simon Cameron-Moore)

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

Rebuilding Life After 26/11: ‘Struggle to pay rent of Rs 4000 every month’

On the 7th anniversary of 26/11, iamin interviews survivors of the attacks in Mumbai.

Deepak Gupta decided to give up studies and pursue a skill course to support his family after losing his father in the 26/11 attacks.
Ashmak Maity
iamin.in
He sat silently, hugging his bag, young but with a certain strength and confidence in his bearing. After all, since his father who used to be a hawker at CST station was shot dead on 26/11, seven years back, Deepak Gupta had to shoulder a lot of responsibilities. A good student with an interest in economics, this 22-year-old has decided to give up studies and pursue a skill course. He tells iamin how he hopes to pay the rent and is proud to be able to help his family, even at the cost of education.How did you get to know of your father’s death?We didn’t get to know that day, even though we had heard of the attack. The next day Dadaji (grandfather) called us and told us what had happened. He was 36 years old when he was killed in the terror attack. It shook us up, but as a family we stood by each other. We hardly had time to mourn because there was so much to take care of. We were left with hardly any money and reality hit us hard.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>How did your family recover?I have an elder sister and two younger siblings. All four of us started helping out our mother with her chores. We would sweep and store water and also study for school. Eventually, we all overcame the trauma, but things obviously changed for us. For instance, my sister had to marry early, immediately after her 12th standard, for various social reasons. If dad was alive, sister could have graduated.What do you plan to do?Every month we find it difficult to pay a meagre rent of Rs.4,000. That’s why I decided to join an electrician’s course so that after 6 months I can start working as a professional.I plan to help my family as much as I can. My younger siblings are still too young and can help only with household chores. Once I start earning, my mother can stop stressing and worrying. Hopefully, we’ll see better days and lesser financial troubles.
This article was first published on iamin.in. For more such hyperlocal stories visit their website.

India’s ruling party confronts Gandhis as parliament gathers | Reuters

NEW DELHI Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has just suffered a bruising election setback, yet his party appears in no mood to compromise with the main political opposition to get stalled economic reforms back on track.

Instead, the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has launched an all-out offensive against the Congress party, in a potentially dangerous game of brinkmanship that risks turning the next parliamentary session into a prolonged slanging match.

“It’s a political vendetta,” said veteran newspaper editor and commentator Shekhar Gupta of the BJP’s attacks on Congress, and specifically Rahul Gandhi, heir apparent to his mother and party leader Sonia Gandhi.

Yet behind the sound and fury on TV news networks may lie a more considered tactic, party strategists and political analysts said: isolate Congress while quietly persuading regional parties to back a tax reform bill that is the BJP’s top priority.

“We are trying to convey to everyone that the government is willing to tweak the bill and present it in a form that benefits all the states,” said one senior BJP source, who did not want to be named.

Sanjay Kumar, director of the CSDS think-tank and a leading opinion researcher, said: “They keep hitting the line that Congress is a dynastic party. The idea is to split the opposition.”

In May, 2014, Modi won India’s strongest election mandate in three decades, but his dominance in the lower house is neutralised by an upper house where the BJP is in the minority.

And, while he has pushed through some reforms by executive order, that solution is temporary and likely to put off foreign companies who want stable legal frameworks in place before investing in Asia’s third-largest economy.

One of the biggest changes Modi envisages to make the economy run more smoothly, a unified tax system, requires altering the constitution.

Securing that amendment in the winter session of parliament that starts on Thursday would be vital to implementing tax reform in 2016, as Modi has repeatedly assured global investors he would.

APPEARANCE OF STRENGTH

The BJP’s aggression may serve as cover for backroom deals that recognise the realities created by its defeat this month in the eastern state of Bihar, Modi’s biggest setback as prime minister.

That election result has given a sense of empowerment to regional leaders like Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar, who teamed up with a local ally to rebuff Modi’s challenge in the state of more than 100 million people.

So, while the BJP strategist spoke of exposing rampant corruption during the decade of Congress rule that ended in May 2014, he saw no contradiction with the idea that “Modi may consider having a cup of tea with Sonia Gandhi“.

The two party leaders have not held face-to-face talks in this parliament since it was elected.

Congress, part of the victorious Bihar alliance, sees no sign that the government wants to engage in sincere dialogue.

Instead it has chided Modi for going on a series of foreign trips since the Bihar landslide and neglecting his work at home.

“Where is a conciliatory attitude?” asked Anand Sharma, a senior Congress leader and interlocutor on the key tax reforms.

“You have a prime minister who has a confrontational mindset, who is arrogant. He humiliates the opposition, day in and day out,” Sharma told ET Now, a financial news channel.

That is despite some senior aides recommending to Modi that he engages the opposition more actively, while a handful of top BJP figures have openly questioned his leadership.

GST OR NOT GST

Perhaps more worrying for businesses waiting with increasing frustration for the new national goods and services tax (GST), there appears to be a lack of consensus on how it would work in practice.

The GST would create a single market in India for the first time since independence in 1947 and, the government estimates, boost the economy by up to two percentage points.

But there is as yet no agreement on what rate the tax should be levied at; three separate committees have yet to make their final proposals.

And, at a meeting of federal and state officials last week, there was no agreement on the threshold at which the tax should apply to small businesses. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley skipped that discussion to attend a film festival.

Some officials express doubts over the Modi government’s strategy for securing the passage of the GST amendment, saying it could miss its self-imposed deadline.

“You have to go more than half the way to convince the Congress,” said a senior government official involved in the policy process. “You have to be more than generous. But the BJP is still behaving as if it was in the opposition.”

(Additional reporting by Manoj Kumar; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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

Peter Mukerjea’s CBI custody extended: Agency accuses him of ‘deliberately concealing facts’

Mumbai: A special court here on Monday extended till Thursday the CBI custody of Peter Mukerjea, former media tycoon and one of the four prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case.

The CBI also accused him of “deliberately concealing facts” pertaining to murder and disposal of the victim’s body.

File image of Peter Mukerjea.  IBN-Live

File image of Peter Mukerjea. IBN-Live

Mukerjea was produced before the court where the prosecution sought 10 days’ custody of Mukerjea, claiming he was not cooperating in the investigations into his step-daughter’s murder and the CBI had come across certain documents of which he (Mukerjea) had exclusive knowledge.

Mukerjea was arrested on Friday and remanded in three days’ custody, which ended on Monday.

In its two-page remand application on Monday, the CBI further contended that Mukerjea did not disclose facts related to the case, or his conversations with his wife Indrani Mukerjea, mother of Sheena Bora, born from a love affair.

However, he has revealed some investments running into crores of rupees in fixed deposits and immovable properties in Britain and India in 2010-2011, but has not disclosed the source of the funds for the same, the CBI said.

The CBI sought 10 days custody on the grounds that Mukerjea had roots in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Goa and Shillong and abroad and they needed his interrogation to recover important, incriminating documents and evidence related to the case.

In August, Mumbai police arrested Indrani, her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai in connection with the Sheena Bora murder.

In continuous custody since then, they have been remanded in CBI custody till 3 December.

IANS

Sheena Bora case: Peter Mukerjea to be brought to Delhi for further questioning

CBI sources remained tight lipped about reasons which triggered this sudden move but confirmed that Mukerjea will be further examined here

Indrani and Peter Mukerjea

Former media honcho Peter Mukerjea will be brought by CBI to its headquarters here in connection with its probe into the murder of his step-daughter Sheena Bora.CBI sources remained tight lipped about reasons which triggered this sudden move but confirmed that Mukerjea will be further examined here. One possible reason being speculated is that the agency might want to carry out a lie-detection test on Mukerjea which is available at Central Forensic Science Laboratory here in the wake of his apparent flip flop on various questions. Mumbai also has a small scientific aid unit of CBI which also carries out polygraph test.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sheena’s mother Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai are listed in the charge sheet in the case for the murder that took place in April 2012 and are in judicial custody in Mumbai. Sheena (24) was Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage.Peter was arrested arrested on November 19 and granted CBI custody till November 26 by the special court in Mumbai. CBI has claimed financial transaction as the motive behind the murder of Sheena and Peter during his interrogation disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani. The agency has also claimed that it has across some important information and incriminating documents which are very crucial for the purpose of investigation about which Peter had exclusive so he needed to be interrogated thoroughly.

Indrani told me Sheena Bora married diamond merchant in US, says Vidhie Mukerjea

“I contacted Sanjeev Khanna and asked him about the murder and his involvement in the said crime. He took it very casually and said `ha ha’ and disconnected the call,” Vidhie says.

Vidhie, whose statement was recorded by CBI after it took over the case, also says that whenever she asked Indrani about Sheena’s whereabouts, Indrani used to get angry.

File Photo
Vidhie Mukerjea, daughter of Indrani and Peter Mukerjea, has told CBI that when she tried to contact Sheena Bora after her disappearance in April 2012, she received a reply but from a new email id in Sheena’s name. This may bolster CBI’s case that after murdering Sheena in April 2012 and disposing of her body, Indrani, her mother, used to send emails or text messages in her name. Vidhie, whose statement was recorded by CBI after it took over the case, also says that whenever she asked Indrani about Sheena’s whereabouts, Indrani used to get angry. Indrani told her that Sheena had married a diamond merchant in USA, according to Vidhie. “The police informed my father (Peter) and me that Sheena Bora was murdered on April 24, 2012 and a murder case has been registered against my mother (Indrani), driver Shyam Rai and my biological father Sanjeev Khanna. I contacted Sanjeev Khanna and asked him about the murder and his involvement in the said crime. He took it very casually and said `ha ha’ and disconnected the call,” Vidhie says in the statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In 2009, Sheena started living with us in Mumbai. Then she was introduced to me as my mother’s sister. At the same time, I came to know that Sheena and Rahul (Peter’s son from earlier marriage) were having an affair. Due to this, Peter and Indrani used to quarrel a lot. My mother dislikes Rahul,” Vidhie told CBI. “During 2009-2010, I came to know that Sheena was my mother’s daughter as communicated by Rahul to my father Peter. I enquired with my mother and she shouted saying Rahul is lying as he wants his father Peter to divorce her,” Vidhi says.

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea sought to change insurance nominees, says report

A month before his arrest in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, Peter Mukerjea had sought to change nominees for one of his insurance polices.

A month before his arrest in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case, Peter Mukerjea had sought to change nominees for one of his insurance polices.According to a leading daily, Peter had started the process of changing the nominees for one of the four high-value life insurance policies in September.Peter had reportedly bought policies from two private insurers in Kolkata in 2003–from Indrani and Vidhie to his two sons Rahul and Rabin.Quoting sources, the report said that Peter had called up the branch of the insurance company in Kolkata and asked that the nominees of the policy in his name be changed from Indrani and Vidhie, Indrani’s daughter from Sanjeev Khanna, to his sons Rabin and Rahul. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The insurance company had also agreed to the demand, but the process was delayed due to faulty paperwork.CBI had on Sunday questioned Rahul Mukerjea, who has handed over several documents allegedly used by Sheena Bora to “blackmail” her mother Indrani Mukerjea.Rahul is considered an “important link” in murder case by the agency which also continued the grilling of his father Peter Mukerjea, who was arrested on November 19.CBI had on Saturday grilled Peter for around 11 hours. According to them, the CBI, which will seek further remand of Peter as his custody is expiring on Monday, has also summoned those persons who used to handle his accounts with relevant documents comprising his income tax details.Rahul, who was trying to trace Sheena after her sudden disappearance on April 24, 2012, started recording telephonic conversation he had with Peter and Indrani over Sheena’s whereabouts as he found their replies evasive and inconsistent.He had given these audio clips to the police before the probe was transferred to CBI.

The Monday morning question: Has the Sheena Bora murder case turned from tragedy to farce?

Not to trivialise a murder in any way, but just how many people were involved in the conspiracy to kill Sheena Bora? There was the mother Indrani Mukerjea. There was a driver, Shyamvar Rai whose role bounces between scapegoat and perpetrator depending on who is writing the story. There was Sanjay Khanna, a sleepyhead ex-husband in the car who allegedly slumbered through it all, which must be a first in the history of cold kills.

Oops, what did I miss?

There was also Siddhartha Das a first husband in Kolkata who made a cameo appearance more resentful that his humble lifestyle had been hit by the glare of publicity, than any affection for his high-flying wife and who said he was the actual father of the murdered Sheena Bora. There was also a boyfriend who was run through the media gauntlet and then dumped, and there was also a brother Mikhail who seems to be now parcelling the family for official sacrifice.

Sheena Bora in a file photo. PTI

Sheena Bora in a file photo. PTI

I say ‘was’, but they are all there, and added to the mix now is husband Peter Mukerjea himself as an alleged co-conspirator, currently under arrest. Surprisingly, seeing that this case had the nation riveted for weeks as media trampled grassy knolls and police stations with impunity to feed a hungry public every juicy morsel, Peter’s arrest has not caused much of a ripple. It just hadn’t ignited passion or shock and it is as if the play has now moved from the tragic to the farcical.

What link between him and the murder has been forged so long after he was put through the ringer by the Mumbai police and let go as a person of no interest?

If you recall, even the top cop was changed because then commissioner Rakesh Maria was seen as Peter’s friend.

So in this storyline, we have three husbands, one wife, one real father (and two of the step variety), a chauffeur and a boyfriend who was the son of the current stepdad, not to mention a brother who lived a bucolic life somewhere in Assam.

How does one wrap one’s head around the conspiracy seeing as how the three men have a wife in common — albeit separated by years. At least, Khanna and Peter have arrived on the stage and are now allegedly partners in crime. They have supposedly colluded with the mother and the driver to kill Sheena, who had been drugged. Logic asks why Indrani would need two husbands to get into the act.

We have to bring in here a sub-plot. The brother of the murdered girl Mikhail announces that he was also drugged in a hotel room by Mumsy and managed to escape. He then concludes in a burst of brilliance that since Mum had tried to kill him once, she would not do it again so why bother telling the cops that his drink was spiked?

So while this heinous plot is being hatched we are informed that Sheena is in the US, and that’s why no one looked for her for three years. Never heard of Facebook, SMS, WhatsApp, Skype and the rest, apparently.

In case the mystery has not deepened enough, her passport is with Rahul, the boyfriend and son of the freshly-arrested Peter. And it seemingly never struck Rahul that you need a passport to travel to the US or anywhere abroad. Even when the gruesome murder becomes public knowledge, Rahul doesn’t get rid of the passport, he lets the cops find it.

The driver has confessed. Indrani has sort of confessed. Khanna has somewhat agreed that he was party to it and probably woke up after 39 winks. The CBI now believes that there is sufficient prima facie evidence that Peter was also involved in the plot even though he thought Sheena was the sister not the daughter. To add more confusion to the confounding equations we now have a Sohail Buddha, an assistant police inspector with the Mumbai Police, who sought retirement and joined Star TV as vice president, internal security when Peter was the CEO, and positioned Shyamvar as driver in the Mukerjea household.

Think about it.

After the disappearance, Indrani and her husband lived a normal life. Khanna returned to his life. Shyamvar stayed on the payroll, the cop kept working at his job. All of these people were either involved in killing a young girl or, at least suspicious that something was not quite right.

No one knows where this is all going to lead but, it is tough to believe they all sat around having coffee and planning the killing. Although, in fairness, Khanna might have been unwittingly sleeping through it.

Who are these people and who on Earth wrote this script?

Somebody out there, please end the travesty and tell the truth.

Sheena Bora case: CBI quizzes Rahul, grills Peter Mukerjea

Rahul is considered an “important link” in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case by the agency which also continued the grilling of his father Peter Mukerjea

Rahul Mukerjea

CBI on Sunday questioned Rahul Mukerjea, who has handed over several documents allegedly used by Sheena Bora to “blackmail” her mother Indrani Mukerjea.Rahul is considered an “important link” in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case by the agency which also continued the grilling of his father Peter Mukerjea, an accused in the case who was arrested on November 19. Rahul has handed over the documents belonging to Sheena, which, according to a source, she used for “blackmailing” Indrani, who is accused of murdering her.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to investigators, Sheena, who was engaged to Rahul, was blackmailing Indrani that if she did not give her a 3 BHK flat in the city, she would expose her by telling people that she was Indrani’s daughter and not sister, as the latter had claimed. Rahul visited the CBI office, situated opposite to Secretariat in South Mumbai, this morning and handed over breakfast to Peter, a former media baron, who has been arrested on charges of murder and criminal conspiracy.Rahul stayed at the office for about an hour and returned again in afternoon, according to CBI officials. “Yes, I am being questioned and there isn’t any confrontation between me and my father. I don’t want to compromise on the investigation and I will make a statement at right time,” Rahul told media persons before entering the CBI office at around 1:50 PM. He left the office at around 5:30 PM without talking to waiting media.Rahul is Peter’s son from first wife and stepson of the prime accused in the case Indrani Mukerjea. An official said that CBI questioned Rahul on various claims made by Peter in his defence. As per CBI, Peter was in know of Sheena’s murder and had been in continuous touch with Indrani over phone from UK before, during and after the crime.CBI had yesterday grilled Peter for around 11 hours and his interrogation started again in morning, the sources said without elaborating. According to them, the CBI, which will seek further remand of Peter as his custody is expiring tomorrow, has also summoned those persons who used to handle his accounts with relevant documents comprising his income tax details. Rahul, who was trying to trace Sheena after her sudden disappearance on April 24, 2012, started recording telephonic conversation he had with Peter and Indrani over Sheena’s whereabouts as he found their replies evasive and inconsistent.He had given these audio clips to the police before the probe was transferred to CBI. As per the chargesheet filed by CBI in court, Indrani was against Rahul’s relationship with Sheena as she feared that Sheena will become inheritor of entire property of her and Peter, which is suspected to be the prime motive behind the murder. Apart from Peter and Indrani, other accused in the case are the latter’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna and former driver Shyamvar Rai who have been remanded to judicial custody till December 3.

Indrani Mukerjea sent emails from Sheena Bora’s account to people believe she was alive: CBI chargesheet

According to the chargesheet filed by CBI on Thursday, investigation agency sources said the mail was one of the many emails that Indrani had sent to people in her bid to make them believe that Sheena was alive.

Indrani Mukerjea after being produced by the CBI at the Esplanade court in Mumbai on Friday in connection with Sheena Bora murder case.

PTI
Almost a year after allegedly murdering her daughter Sheena Bora, Indrani Mukerjea wanted her husband Peter to believe that she was neither mother nor sister of Sheena and that the 24-year-old victim was very much alive. This is stated in an email sent by Indrani from Sheena’s account to Peter Mukerjea, who was arrested last week in connection with the murder, as per the chargesheet filed by CBI in the case.According to the chargesheet filed by CBI on Thursday, investigation agency sources said the mail was one of the many emails that Indrani had sent to people in her bid to make them believe that Sheena was alive.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It may all sound very bizarre to you but this and only this is the real truth. Indrani is neither my sister nor my mother but just a good Samaritan who arrived in our lives a few years ago,” the mail, sent to Peter on March 14, 2013, read.Though Indrani’s lawyer Gunjan Mangla could not be contacted, her former husband and accused Sanjeev Khanna’s lawyer Shreyansh Mithare said he is yet see the chargesheet.”I am yet to go through the chargesheet. Hence, I don’t want to comment,” Mithare told PTI.Peter’s lawyer Niranjan Mundergi also said he has not seen the particular mail, hence, cannot comment. The email, purportedly sent from Sheena’s account, says that her grandparents had a daughter, whose name was also Indrani. “My grandparents had a daughter and an only child Indrani Bora (your wife’s namesake), who was my mother,” the mail read. It said that her mother (Indrani Bora) had Sheena and Mikhail from a man she had eloped with as the family totally disapproved the relationship.”After struggling for couple of years on their own and finding it impossible to make ends meet, they (Indrani Bora and her husband) decided to return home when my mother was pregnant with Mikhail,” the mail said.According to the email, Sheena’s father belonged to a lower caste and did not come from a financially sound family, the relationship was unacceptable to her grandparents and they were ashamed to acknowledge him.After she (Indrani Bora) returned, she was ill-treated at the house and unable to bear it, she left the home, the email further read. The mail also said that in 1991 when there was a major civil unrest in Assam and numerous kidnappings were taking place, Sheena’s uncle had brought a young girl home in an unconscious and injured state.”I was so young that time that I never understood it and did not know who she was and where she came from,” the mail read.It further read that while the girl’s face was battered, Sheena thought her face did resemble the photograph of her mother (Indrani Bora), but was much younger.”The girl who was brought was taken away and was never to be seen again,” it said.”Your wife Indrani was the girl who was brought to our home in that unconscious state,” the mail written to Peter, said.The mail also said that the child (girl who was brought) was briefed with the complete details of Indrani Bora and a new identity of hers’ was prepared in 1991 under that name.”If you have access to her birth certificate you will see that it was made in that year though it should have been made many years ago,” the mail said.The mail said that the girl started to embrace the identity of Indrani Bora.”She (Indrani) met Sanjeev Khanna (her former husband) through the family she was living with and they got married in next couple of years. When his (Sanjeev’s) family contacted my (grand) parents, they said that they had nothing to do with their daughter as she had left home after a fight and it was shameful for a girl to do but she was not their daughter,” said the mail.The mail also said when Sheena approached Khanna for information but he warned her to stay away from Indrani and Vidhie (Indrani’s daughter with Sanjeev Khanna).

Sheena Bora murder: CBI likely to question Mumbai police officers

Raigad cops, who disposed of her body without following norms, also to be quizzed

dna learns that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is likely to question officers from the Mumbai police, who were privy to the investigations into the Sheena Bora murder case.”In due course, some policemen, including cops from Raigad who disposed of Sheena’s body without following proper procedures, will be questioned,” a CBI source said.The Mumbai police’s investigation has come under criticism from many quarters.”I believe it was a strategy of the Mumbai police to give a long rope to Peter. But before doubting their bona fides, I would wait and watch what happens further,” former Mumbai police commissioner M N Sigh told dna.Peter was arrested by the CBI on the basis of the evidence provided by his son Rahul, who had shared the same details with the Mumbai police, too.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This has baffled many like former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Y P Singh. “If Rahul had provided all evidence he had given to the CBI to the Mumbai police too, I fail to understand why Peter was not arrested. It’s a serious offence and not some cheating case, where arrest can be a last option,” he told dna.The CBI arrested Peter on Thursday and charged him with murder, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and lying to protect his wife Indrani Mukerjea.According to the CBI, Peter was aware of the conspiracy right from the beginning and went to the extent of lying to Rahul that he had spoken to Sheena and she is settled in the US. Rahul was reportedly engaged to Sheena.The CBI, while seeking Peter’s police custody, informed the court that they have a recorded conversation between Peter and Rahul to bolster their case.The other factor going against the Mumbai police was the keen interest shown by then commissioner and ace investigator Rakesh Maria in the case. Maria personally spent a lot of time in the Khar police station, interrogating Indrani and two other accused, which, ultimately, led to his unceremonious transfer.Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had taken a jibe at Maria saying that the police commissioner should take a similar interest in cases that does not get media attention as well.After Maria’s transfer, Fadnavis defended his decision, saying that a police commissioner is not an investigation officer but a supervisory authority.”There is no doubt that Peter lied and there were inconsistencies in his statements. He even lied to his own son that Sheena was Indrani’s sister, even after being told by Rahul and Sheena herself that she was Indrani’s daughter. Peter will have to answer a number of uncomfortable questions to come clean in the case,” M N Singh said.Interestingly, the Mumbai police had never given a clean chit to Peter.The CBI also told the court that Call Detail Records (CDR) of Peter and Indrani showed that they were in touch with each other before, during and after the murder of Sheena.”We have the CDR, which shows long conversations between Indrani and Peter in and around the time of the crime. We got suspicious when records showed no such long calls between them earlier,” CBI officials said.”There is surely a lapse by the Mumbai police. With so much of incriminating evidence, they should have arrested Peter based on suspicion, and, in the custodial interrogation, more details would have emerged,” said Y P Singh.What the case is all aboutTwenty-four-year-old Sheena was allegedly murdered on April 24, 2012. Her mother Indrani Mukerjea and her husband Peter Mukerjea are prime suspects in the case. Both are former TV honchos. The other suspects in the case are their driver Shyamvar Rai and Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna. Indrani, Khanna and Rai were arrested earlier by Mumbai police and are currently in judicial custody. Though the Mumbai police started the investigation into the case, it was later transferred to the CBI.

Citizenship row: Onus on Rahul Gandhi to prove he is innocent, says Subramanian Swamy

“How can one believe that for five years Rahul continued making a typing mistake,” Swamy said.

“I am happy he (Rahul) called me a chamcha as in Congress, chamcha is a very high post,” Swamy said.

File Photo
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday accused Congress leader Rahul Gandhi of evading questions on the issue allegedly involving him in the incorporation of a company in Britain in 2003. “I have obtained documents which show that Rahul Gandhi had claimed himself to be a British national before the company law authorities there for setting up a company,” Swamy told reporters here. “Rahul Gandhi has confessed that he is a British citizen.The onus to prove he is innocent is on Rahul Gandhi,” he said in reply to a query.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”How can one believe that for five years Rahul continued making a typing mistake,” Swamy said on Congress party’s stand that the mention of being a British national in the documents may have been a typing error. Rahul has rejected the allegations against him and has dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order an inquiry against him and jail him if he is proved guilty. He accused Modi of using his ‘chamchas’ (cronies) to throw mud at him like the RSS and BJP did against his parents and grandmother Indira Gandhi.”I have also been labelled as a ‘chamcha’,” the BJP leader said. “I am happy he (Rahul) called me a chamcha as in Congress, chamcha is a very high post,” Swamy said. I feel that being called a chamcha is a great compliment, he added.

From taxi rides to forced prostitution: How foreigners in India are being trapped by human traffickers

Even as Delhi police attempts to crack the murder mystery surrounding two Uzbekistani women, investigators have come across the modus operandi employed by Gurvinder alias Gagan, the accused in the case as well as other human-traffickers.

Shokhista, mother of the murdered Uzbekistani belly dancer, being consoled by her younger daughter Nadira
Azaan Javaid
dna
Even as Delhi police attempts to crack the murder mystery surrounding two Uzbekistani women, investigators have come across the modus operandi employed by Gurvinder alias Gagan, the accused in the case as well as other human-traffickers. An investigator said that Gurvinder used to drive a taxi operating out of Delhi, Punjab and Rajasthan and it was during this time that idea of ‘venturing’ into human trafficking came to Gurvinder who now has a country wide network and mostly conducts his ‘operations’ through social media websites like Facebook.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On many occasions Gurvinder had passengers either coming for the first time to India or those who were already studying here. The accused told us that during his travels from to various destinations in the national capital and other northern states, met several foreigners from Central Asian states. He would interact with them and as he gained confidence he used either offer them jobs,” said the official. “He used to tell his victims them that he knew some rich people who could offer a lot of money for jobs like baby-sitting and running household chores as well as modeling and hospitality,” the official told dna.Take for instance the case of Atazhanova Shaknoza Kupalbayevna (also known as Naaz) who was initially being seen as a suspect in the murder of Uzbekistani belly dancer Shakhnoza Shukurova. However Gurvinder confessed of killing her as well. A letter drafted and addressed to the Uzbekistan embassy in India by Naaz was recovered from the belongings of Shakhnoza.In the letter Naaz wrote that a girl named Muyassar, residing in Vodnik, told her that that she could have a job of a babysitter and a housekeeper. In july Naaz left her native in Horazm and came to Tashkent from where she went to Almaty in Istanbul and then travelled to India before staying in Nepal.She added that she handed her passport over to another woman, Dilya, and worked as a maid in her house for a week till Gurvinder took her to Chandigarh.Naaz wrote I asked what I was going to do there, and the girls told me I had to dress nicely and sit, I would be looked at. There was one girl named Zamira who was engaged in prostitution; I could not understand anything and was forced to work. I worked there for seven days and returned to Delhi to Gagan’s and Muyassar house,”Naaz added that she met Muyassar again in September who sent her to work for a “broker” named Gorof.“I worked for 11 days. For each day of my work, she (Muyassar) received Rs 15,000. On September 13, I came to work for a broker named Rohan. Every day, I was forced to have sexual relations with six or seven men. They took the money from a broker 10 days in advance. I worked until September 15 and told them that I need to send money home for my brother’s surgery. They gave me $500 and said it was a loan,” she wrote.In the letter, Kupalbayevna also describes the beatings she allegedly got at the hands of Gorof’s mistress, Gagan and Muyassar. “ I wanted to go home but they told me I had to pay my debt off and then I would be able to leave,” the letter reads. The letter ends with Naaz asking for help so she can live with her husband.”I gave her rupees one lakh for my passport. If something threatening my life happens to me while I am in India, I am asking to blame Muyassar (Masha) and her husband Gurvinder (Gogan), the letter concluded.

Sheena Bora Murder Case: Peter Mukerjea charged with murder

According to reports, Mukerjea has also been accused of attempted murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy by the CBI

Former media magnate Peter Mukerjea, who was arrested on Thursday in connection with the sensational Sheena Bora murder case for allegedly ‘shielding the accused’ has been charged with murder.According to reports, Mukerjea has also been accused of attempted murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy by the CBI”Peter Mukerjea booked under sections in original FIR 302, 120 B, 306, 201, and 363 of the IPC. Proceedings yet to begin,” reports ANI.Peter Mukherjea’s wife Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai were produced before the court, which extended their judicial custody till December 3.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mukherjea was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), hours after it filed a chargesheet in which Indrani, the mother of the victim born from her first marriage, and two others were accused of the crime.Sheena Bora was allegedly murdered by her mother, Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai here in April 2012. The body of the 24-year-old was dumped in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district.The chargesheet, filed three months after Sheena Bora’s remains were found in a forest near Mumbai, names Indrani, Khanna and Rai as accused–who were all arrested in August this year.The agency has charged them with criminal conspiracy to kidnap, murder, cheating, destruction of evidence, forgery and use of forged documents besides violation of provisions of Information Technology Act.

Sheena Bora case: Peter Mukerjea to be produced in court

The CBI is likely to seek his custody as they want to interrogate him to unravel his role in the murder case.

Former media magnate Peter Mukerjea, arrested by the CBI in connection with the sensational Sheena Bora murder case for allegedly “shielding the accused”, will be produced in a magistrate’s court here on Friday.Peter Mukherjea’s wife Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai will also be brought to the court since their judicial custody expires on Friday.In a fresh twist in the Sheena case, Peter Mukherjea was arrested on Thursday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), hours after it filed a chargesheet in which Indrani, the mother of the victim born from her first marriage, and two others were accused of the crime.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A CBI spokesperson had said that Peter’s name surfaced during its probe in the case and “he has been arrested”.The spokesperson refused to divulge any further details in the case, but sources in the probe agency said he has been arrested for allegedly “shielding the accused” and “inconsistencies” in his statements.Peter was placed under arrest after another round of questioning on Thursday. Peter, who has been kept in the office of Special Task Force of CBI here, will be produced before the magistrate’s court.The CBI is likely to seek his custody as they want to interrogate him to unravel his role in the murder case.The probe agency, which was handed over the case on September 29 after a turf-war between the ousted Commissioner Rakesh Maria and the new incumbent Ahmed Javed, had questioned Mukherjea for hours before it was decided to place him under arrest, the sources said.Sheena Bora was allegedly murdered by her mother, Indrani’s former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her former driver Shyamvar Rai here in April 2012. The body of the 24-year-old was dumped in a forest in the neighbouring Raigad district.The court is likely to give a copy of chargesheet to Indrani, Khanna and Rai. The chargesheet, filed three months after Sheena Bora’s remains were found in a forest near Mumbai, names Indrani, Khanna and Rai as accused–who were all arrested in August this year.The agency has charged them with criminal conspiracy to kidnap, murder, cheating, destruction of evidence, forgery and use of forged documents besides violation of provisions of Information Technology Act.Mikhail Bora, the younger brother of Sheena, told ANI that he has no idea what is going on. Since CBI is investigating, he wants to see what happens. “I’ve told time & again, will cooperate with CBI 100%, seeking justice for my sister & I hope will get it soon.”

Sons duty-bound to maintain mother: Madras HC

The petition challenged the order of the Madurai Family Court to pay Rs.3000 a month to his mother.

The Madras High court on Thursday said as per ‘dharma’, sons are duty-bound to maintain the mother and directed one of the sons of a woman, settled in Canada and earning Rs.three-lakh a month, to provide her Rs 15,000 a month.Disposing of a criminal revision petition filed by the first son of the woman, Pon Devaki, Justice S Vimala of the Court’s Madurai Bench, said the “right of the mother to expect her children to maintain (her) is not only statutory right, constitutional right, fundamental right, natural and moral right but also human right.” The petition challenged the order of the Madurai Family Court to pay Rs.3000 a month to his mother.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The judge said “as per “dharma”, the sons are duty-bound to maintain the mother. When dharma says that sons should take care of their parents, it means duty, breach of duty is punishable,” the judge said. The judge said the son should not have made his mother approach the Family Court. The first son, instead of speaking about the duties and responsibilities of a son, was talking about the duties and responsibilities of his mother.”He has no authority to speak on that line,” the judge said.Regarding the quantum of the compensation for mother, the judge said the claim for maintenance cannot be a match for profit and loss account. “It reflects the requirement of a mother who created sons for the world. The 70-year-old mother has ailments, she would not be able to render any physical work.” The sons were in possession of the houses and lands. Her daughter, who had promised to give her Rs.5000, had become a widow and she would not be able to give her money. However, she can give at least Rs.3000 for her mother who had given her a house, the judge said.The judge said the revision petitioner, Elangovan, must pay Rs.3000 as ordered by the trial court. The judge said the second son Rajakumaran, who is in Canada, did not even take care to find out why a petition was filed by his mother. He did not even contest the proceedings. By remaining abroad, he would not be in a position to take care of the physical comforts of his mother, who had claimed a total compensation of Rs.21,000 from the three children.Her second son should pay Rs.15,000 a month. Even though there is no claim for enhanced maintenance by the mother, she expressed her requirements in a personal hearing, the judge said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi accuses BJP of pursuing ‘communal and divisive’ agenda

Sonia alleged that the “ideology at work” shuns the pursuit of secularism, tolerance, inclusion and equality.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Accusing the Government and its “masters” of “systematically working to dismantle” the legacy of Congress, Sonia Gandhi on Thursday launched a scathing attack on the ruling BJP over its alleged “communal and divisive” agenda. She said “blatantly partisan” appeals were being made by the ruling establishment to obtain votes and that policies aimed at favouring the “powerful” were being followed at the expense of the weak.Sonia alleged that the “ideology at work” shuns the pursuit of secularism, tolerance, inclusion and equality.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Spokespersons of its agenda make blatantly partisan appeals to obtain votes,” she said.Referring to the defeat of the NDA alliance in the Bihar polls, she said it was possible for the Congress to overcome the recent “obstacles” it faced through hard work and perseverance.”In recent times our party has faced some set-backs, but as the election in Bihar shows, if we persevere and work hard, we can overcome these obstacles. We should never forget that the Congress is much more than just a political party, it is a people’s movement,” she said.”Today, when we see the ruling establishment pursuing communal and divisive politics, when we see the ruling establishment following policies that favour the few and the powerful at the expense of the weak and the many…Indiraji’s life and values acquire even greater importance,” she said.The Congress chief was addressing a gathering of Youth Congress on the occassion of the 98th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. Sonia hailed the former Prime Minister as the “mother of millions” and as one who has left an “indelible impression” on history.”National unity and secularism were amongst the pillars of her beliefs. She was keenly mindful of the suffering and injustice faced by the weak and the marginalised…Even today in many parts of the country she is remembered as Maa (mother),” she said.”Today, the present government and its masters who exercise their control from behind the scenes, are systematically working to dismantle the legacy of the Congress, to rewrite our history, to negate all that Nehru, Indiraji and all our leaders have achieved. We will not allow them to succeed. Our party’s history is intimately linked with the history of our country,” she said. She stressed on the need to reach out to the masses by taking up their issues and working among them “not just in time of elections but at all times.””Perhaps, one way for the Youth Congress to do this is to make its own version of Indiraji’s 20 point programme and dedicatedly work towards fulfilling it,” she said.Sonia also recalled the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and BR Ambedkar in her speech. Ambedkar was the main architect of the Indian Constitution, she reminded the youth activists.

West Bengal: School bars HIV positive student from attending classes

The victim’s mother claimed that initially, the school authorities had assured to support the boy, but later turned their back after pressure from other parents.

A school in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district threw out a class 1 student after the child tested positive for HIV.According to a report by IBNLive, the school authorities barred the student from attending classes in June, after guardians of other students raised objections about the kid’s presence.The student’s mother is also HIV positive and works with a government agency to spread awareness about AIDS. The school authorities imposed the decision despite having conducted an awareness programme in the school which had assured the school authorities and guardians that the disease is not contagious.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The victim’s mother claimed that initially, the school authorities had assured to support the boy, but later turned their back after pressure from other parents.

Yet another case of alleged torture of Indian domestic help reported in Saudi Arabia

Coimbatore: A fresh instance of alleged torture of an Indian domestic help in Saudi Arabia has come to light days after the case of a maid from Tamil Nadu who claimed she had had her hand chopped off by her employer in the Middle-Eastern country.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The family of 55-year old Rajalakshmi said the Indian domestic help was in police custody in Riyadh after fleeing her workplace as she had no passport or travel documents.

Her daughter, Gomathi, pleaded for immediate government intervention for her rescue and return to India.

The latest claims of “torture” of a woman worker from Tamil Nadu has come to light barely days after Kasturi Munirathinam returned to Chennai after her right hand was chopped off allegedly by her employer in Saudi Arabia.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had taken up Kasturi’s case with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and, following efforts by the External Affairs Ministry, she was brought back to Chennai on 7 November.

Kasturi’s case had sparked outrage and brought back into focus the plight of Indian workers, especially women, in some of the Gulf nations even as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj termed such instances unacceptable.

Gomathi, in a petition submitted to District Collector Archana Patnaik, said her mother had contacted her on the phone last Friday and said she was in police custody after escaping the house of her employer where she was unable to bear the “torture”.

She said her mother was sent to Riyadh to work as maid by an agent in February last. She alleged that Rajalakshmi’s employer did not give her proper food and tortured and assaulted her daily without any reason while making her work 18 hours a day.

The employer had also given only Rs 15,000 in wages to her mother during the last eight months, Gomathi said.

PTI

Russian acid attack victim shifted to Moscow

Sudhir Shetty
dna
The 23-year-old Russian girl, a victim of an acid attack in Varanasi, was flown back to Moscow early Monday morning. Darya Yurieva, a tourist who had been living in Varanasi, in Uttar Pradesh, had suffered 46 percent burns after her landlord’s son threw acid on her while she was sleeping, Friday morning.Yurieva was first admitted to Sir Sunderlal Hospital at Banaras Hindu University and then transferred late Sunday night to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, via Medanta’s air ambulance. On Monday, Poonam Dhanda, spokesperson for Safdarjung told the dna that Yurieva had been flown to Moscow at 5 am, on the Russian Embassy’s direction, as her parents wanted her home.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We got the news on Sunday night itself,” said Dhanda, “and she was transferred out of Safdarjung at 1 am.”Yurieva suffered burns to her facial area, according to Dhanda, mainly her face, both eyes, neck, front of the chest, right arm, abdomen, chest, right thigh, with her right eye being worse affected than her left. In the hours that Safdarjung had her, from 10:10 pm to 1 am, the doctors were working towards saving vision in her left eye.Tatiana Kutinova, the international press attache with the Russian embassy in New Delhi, told dna that Yurieva was in a state of shock. “She wants to know if she will get her face back, if she will look the same,” said Kutinova.”She has been shifted to a hospital specialising in burns in Podolsk, a city near Moscow. Though the Indian government has offered all possible help, her relatives want her there with them, instead of flying all the way to India.”Minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, also tweeted in the afternoon that Yurieva had been flown back home, and that the Indian ambassador had met her mother.”The acid victim has been flown to Moscow. Our Ambassador has met the mother of the victim,” external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.The minister further tweeted that “we have assured her that India will bear all expenses on her treatment in Russia.” She said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has also announced Rs 5 lakh towards this.Kutinova said that too many details couldn’t be given out about Yurieva, as most of the conversations Embassy officials had with her parents centred around the case and the subsequent medical treatment the young girl would need. “Most of what we know we found out from the Indian media; that Yurieva came to India in August and had been travelling. Siddharth, the accused travelled with her and they were friends. We don’t know the manner of their relationship, but it seemed he proposed to her in Varanasi and asked her to stay back in India. However, Yurieva wanted to return to Russia when her visa expired, in early 2016.”Yurieva has a dual citizenships with Bulgaria and Russia, and her family according to the embassy are from the Moscow district. She was an avid traveller, India not being the first place she visited.

Delhi Police ATR says no case against Union Minister VK Singh for ‘dog’ remark

The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) had earlier summoned top cops in Ghaziabad, seeking a response on what action had been initiated against Singh’s ‘dog’ remark under the SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

File photo

The Delhi Police on Monday filed an Action Taken Report (ATR) in the Delhi Court for the controversial ‘dog remark’ made by Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK Singh, and stated that that no case is made out against him.The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) had earlier summoned top cops in Ghaziabad, seeking a response on what action had been initiated against Singh’s ‘dog’ remark under the SC-ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.The NCSC had issued summons to Haryana’s Director General of Police (DGP) and Ghaziabad’s Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), asking them to appear on November 2.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> General (Retd.) Singh, who is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s MP from Ghaziabad, had while attempting to delink the Centre over the killing of two Dalit kids said the government is blamed even if a stone is pelted at a dog. Two children succumbed to burn injuries after a house was set on fire allegedly by members of the Rajput community near Ballabhgarh, Haryana on October 20.The deceased Vaibhav (2 years) and Divya (10 months) died before reaching the Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi. Their mother Rekha (22) was admitted to the ICU with serious burns while her husband Jitender (26), a medical attendant at a hospital, escaped with minor burns on his hands.The former army chief’s statement drew sharp criticism.

Nitish Katara murder: Supreme Court dismisses AAP govt plea seeking death for killers

Vikas and Vishal Yadav, serving 30 years jail term for brutally killing Nitish Katara in 2002, had on October 9 escaped death penalty.

Vikas Yadav, one of the murderers of Nitish Katara

The Supreme Court has dismissed the Delhi government’s appeal seeking death penalty for the killers of Nitish Katara, reports PTI. Vikas and Vishal Yadav, serving 30 years jail term for brutally killing Nitish Katara in 2002, had on October 9 escaped death penalty, with the Supreme Court ruling it out, rejecting the plea of the victim’s mother Neelam Katara who termed it as a ‘rarest of rare’ crime.”What they (Yadavs) did cannot be condoned, but it (the offence) is not so heinous and abhorring that warrants death,” a bench of justices JS Khehar and R Banumathi said. The bench, which had recently dismissed the special leave petitions of Vikas, Vishal and Sukhdev Pehalwan against the Delhi High Court verdict in the case, did not agree with the submission of senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Neelam Katara, that the two convicts deserved death penalty.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I don’t see it as honour killing,” the bench observed at the outset when Salve opened arguments on the plea seeking enhancement of the sentence, saying that the high court had held it as the honour killing.”I am asking for death penalty,” the senior lawyer said, adding that the convicts, who were educated and hailed from “good families”, had killed the youth in pre-meditated and brutal manner and mutilated the body before burning it.The court said that the convict’s sister Bharti Yadav had even gone to the victim’s house to deliver the invitation card of her sister’s wedding and it cannot be said that the family of the convicts did not approve the relationship.Perhaps, the “trigger” was the moment when the convicts saw her dancing with Nitish and took him away and killed him, the court said, adding that every murder is brutal but it is difficult to say it is “abhorring”.”It was just a murder. That is it… They (convicts) have also suffered the sentence for 16 years,” it said, adding that the manner of disposal of the body fell under the IPC provision dealing with destruction of evidence.Vikas (39), Vishal (37) and Sukhdev (40) are serving life term awarded by the lower court in May 2008 for abducting and killing Katara, a business executive and the son of a railway officer, on the night of February 16-17, 2002, as they opposed the victim’s affair with Bharti, daughter of Uttar Pradesh politician DP Yadav.

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