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Complete list of countries visited by PM Narendra Modi in 2015

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

PM Modi departing from Delhi on his tour
File Photo

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

Heroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK files

India’s reluctance to allow Britain to position British officers in New Delhi and Mumbai to monitor illegal heroin trade in the 1980s strained India-UK relations, according to newly-released UK cabinet files.Then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government believed that “illicit heroin movement from India” was at an “all-time peak” and wanted her Indian counterpart Rajiv Gandhi to agree to two British Drug Liaison Officers (DLOs) to be appointed in India.However, Gandhi resisted until India had received information of its own on offenders seeking refuge in the UK, according to newly declassified documents in the National Archives. In contrast, Pakistan under President Zia-ul-Haq seemed more receptive to Britain’s requests with DLOs placed in Karachi and Islamabad happy with “effective steps to tackle the problem of heroin production”.”The evidence was that Pakistan was getting on top of the drug production problem,” a letter to Downing Street dated December 4, 1985, noted following a visit by then UK health minister David Mellor to Pakistan.It went on to warn of the problem shifting to India, saying “Mr Mellor believed that, as drug controls were increased in Pakistan, and particularly at Karachi Airport, much of the traffic was now taking the land route to India”.”This would inevitably have an impact on the extent of heroin used and production in India itself. India might replace Afghanistan and Pakistan as the major world supplier,” it said. Mellor was concerned about delays in securing India’s agreement to the secondment of two Customs officers. Following a telegram from Thatcher questioning the reason for the delay, Gandhi responded “I feel that there is a communication gap somewhere. We are determined to combat the drug menace with every resource at our command. We had readily agreed, in principle, to British drug liaison presence in India.”We have an equally pressing problem in relation to economic and commercial offenders, who operate from or seek foreign sanctuaries. Our Parliament and people continue to be exercised on what is perceived to be lack of adequate action against such offenders,” Gandhi wrote.Britain finally got its way and Hartley Booth, an adviser to Thatcher, confirmed the success in a memo dated November 28, 1986, “After 31 approaches from officials and FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) ministers during the last 15 months, India relented on November 20 and accepted the appointment of two drugs liaison officers from the United Kingdom to India”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Centre should go to court if it is against DDCA probe: Arvind Kejriwal

The government had said that the one-member Commission of Inquiry will identify any acts of omission and commission by DDCA and its office-bearers during the period between January 1, 1992 and November 30, 2015 and fix responsibility. The state cricket body had been headed by Jaitley for around 13 years from 1999 to 2013.

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Modi in Pakistan: VHP hopes Modi’s Lahore visit would lead to action against terror

He said “we also sincerely hope that Modiji will compel Pakistan to take effective action against Hafiz Saeed and Lakhvi both of whom have been roaming scot-free in the neighboring country despite their involvement in the dastardly terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26, 2008. “It will be the biggest victory for our PM if the neighboring country agrees to extradite Saeed and Lakhvi to India so that they could be tried before a court of law and brought to justice”, he added.

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Asaram Bapu case witness missing from Lucknow

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In the past, too, several witnesses have either been attacked or killed. Nine witnesses have been attacked so far and three of them have died.

Another witness in a rape case against self-proclaimed godman Asaram Bapu has been reported missing from the Thakurganj area of the state capital.In the past, too, several witnesses have either been attacked or killed. Nine witnesses have been attacked so far and three of them have died.The witness Rahul Sachan has been missing since November 26, station officer Samar Bahadur Yadav said, adding that a report in this regard had been lodged on the basis of a complaint by his security guard, constable Vijay Bahadur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Asaram has been in jail in Jodhpur since September 2013. Two months later, along with his son Narayan Sai, the self- styled godman was booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Surat. Talking about the missing witness, Yadav said that Sachan never shared his address and rarely took his security guard with him. The guard went to Sachan’s residence four days ago but was told by the former’s landlord that he had not come to his lodgings for many days. He said Sachan had been missing since November 26. Asaram is facing trial in three criminal cases. A sessions court in Jodhpur is trying a case against Asaram on the charge of raping a 16-year-old girl, of Shahjahanpur (UP) in his Jodhpur ashram in August 2013. Another case is being tried by a Gandhinagar court which relates to allegations of rape between 2001 and 2006 levelled by a Surat-based woman. In yet another case, Asaram and his son Narayan Sai have been accused by two sisters, also from Surat, of rape on October 6, 2013.

It’s party time, but where’s the cheer?

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RINGING IN 2016 | Hospitality segment, hotels fear celebrations could be less than 30% this time

File picture (for illustrative purpose only)

It’s that time of the year when Mumbaikars get into celebrations. But look around, you will see the cheer missing. According to officials in the Entertainment Tax department, the dip in enthusiam could result in festivities coming down to around 30% this time.The officials point out that many organisers are backing out from organising big events this time. “Worried about the overall shortfall in revenue, we called a meeting on December 5 of all the organisers who had registered their events and parties with us last year. But almost all of them said they were not organising anything this year,” said a senior official. “If the world stops partying like this, how will we meet our target. Most years, we get nearly 60-65% of our revenues this season,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“The scenario, it seems, is very bleak,” said Ravi Ranjan, brand manager of Bright Outdoors, a leading hoarding brand. “The market is very sluggish. Everybody’s unsure of what lies ahead and holding on to whatever money they have,” he told dna.“By November itself, we used to get huge New Year party ad bookings. This year, it’s almost third week of December and only three have approached,” Ranjan said adding “It is said that market follows a seven-year cycle of highs and lows. This low cycle began in 2008 and I hope it ends with 2015.”Even the organisers are trying to play it safe. Mumbai’s first ‘all-veg’ New Year party, ‘Limbo Neon Nights’, being organised by Milesahead Multimedia at Byke Suraj Plaza, is a case in study. Brushing off suggestions that he has taken the beef ban too strongly, Milesahead director Hira Bulani said, “See, I am a businessman. I will only plan something which is feasible and works for the guests.”According to him, since the Hindu holy month of Margashirsh has begun, even families which consume non-veg normally will be abstaining from it. “Also, fasts are observed on Thursdays to please Goddess Lakshmi. Why should I lose out on customers who want to observe Margashirsh and still party,” he asks.Bulani felt customers would be willing to come out and party if organizers thought out-of-the-box despite the tough market conditions. “We are taking the neon theme to another level. Like glasses which light up, glow-in-the-dark ice, etc. When you inject novelty into the theme it draws people in. The moment the hoardings went up inquiries for group bookings began pouring in en masse.”And the bookings are coming from vigilante vegetarian communities known for deep pockets. Bulani doesn’t see a problem with this though. “People who think that vegetarian and Jain food are not meant for party time, don’t know how to cook,” he said.

Witness in Asaram rape case goes missing

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Two months later, along with his son Narayan Sai, the self- styled godman was booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Gujarat’s Surat.

A witness in the rape trial against Asaram has gone missing from Thakurganj area here, adding a further twist in the cases involving the self-styled godman that have seen several other witnesses being either attacked or murdered. Rahul Sachan, a witness in rape cases against Asaram, has been missing since November 26, Station Officer Samar Bahadur Yadav said, adding that a report in this regard has been lodged on the basis of a complaint by his security guard, constable Vijay Bahadur. Asaram has been in jail in Jodhpur since September, 2013.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two months later, along with his son Narayan Sai, the self- styled godman was booked for the alleged rape of two sisters at their ashram in Gujarat’s Surat. Nine witnesses have been attacked so far and three of them have died.Talking about the missing witness, Yadav said that Sachan never used to share his address and rarely took his security guard with himself. The guard went to Sachan’s residence four days back but was told by the former’s landlord that he had not come to his lodgings for many days. He said that Sachan was missing since November 26. Asaram is facing trial in three criminal cases.A sessions court in Jodhpur is trying a case against Asaram on the charge of raping a 16-year-old girl, the daughter of a Shahjahanpur couple who had been his devotees for several years, in August 2013 in his Jodhpur ashram. Another case is being tried by a Gandhinagar court which relates to allegations of rape between 2001 and 2006, levelled by a Surat-based woman against Asaram.In yet another case, Asaram and his son Narayan Sai have been accused of rape on October 6, 2013, by two sisters, also from Surat.

Gujarat: Congress takes charge of 21 district and 124 taluka panchayats

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In the local bodies elections held in November, Congress had won 21 out of 31 district panchayats and BJP six. The remaining local bodies delivered a hung verdict.

Congress members on Tuesday took charge of 21 district panchayats and 124 taluka panchayats, elections for which were held in November.Similarly, the BJP members took up the post of president in 8 district panchayats and 86 taluka panchayats. “I congratulate our representatives who have taken charge as presidents in 21 district panchayats and 124 taluka panchayats,” state unit Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said. He said the party will deliver on electoral promises in the next five years.BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja said the BJP had won six out of eight district panchayats with clear majority, its representatives won the post of president in eight district bodies on backing of independents. “In the same way, we got a clear majority in 61 taluka panchayats but our representatives have won the post of president in 86 panchayats due to support of independents and others,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the local bodies elections held in November, Congress had won 21 out of 31 district panchayats and BJP six. The remaining local bodies delivered a hung verdict. In 230 taluka panchayats that had gone to polls, the Congress won 124 and BJP 61 (However, BJP has presidents in 86 panchayats on support of independents and others).In some of the remaining 20 taluka panchayats, either independents or others came to power or in some cases election of chairman will be held in future, officials said today. Election of presidents in two district panchayats in Devbhoomi Dwarka and Dahod was postponed and will be held in near future, they said. In around 20 taluka panchayats (out of 230) where there was a tie between the Congress and BJP, the chairmanship was decided by draw as per the rules of State Election Commission.

Lakhanbhaiya fake encounter: Bombay HC stays Govt’s decision to suspend conviction of 11 cops for 6 months

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Lakhanbhaiya was shot dead allegedly by the policemen in suburban Versova. The 11 policemen were released from jail on December 3.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
In a blow to the 11 policemen whose life sentence was suspended for a period of six months by Maharashtra government, the Bombay High Court on Monday granted an interim stay on the suspension order and directed them to surrender by January 4.The state government had last month passed an order by which it suspended for six months the life sentence imposed on 11 policemen convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the fake encounter of alleged Chhota Rajan gang member Ramnarayan Gupta alias Lakhanbhaiya in November 2006.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lakhanbhaiya was shot dead allegedly by the policemen in suburban Versova. The 11 policemen were released from jail on December 3. Lakhanbhaiya’s brother Ramprasad Gupta, a practising advocate, approached the high court challenging the government’s decision and terming it as “illegal, null, void, bad in law, perverse, unreasonable, arbitrary, cryptic, vague and liable to be quashed and set aside.”A division bench of justices R V More and V L Achiliya on Monday heard the petitioner’s advocate Yug Choudhary, the policemen’s counsel Girish Godbole and prosecutor Usha Kejriwal at length.”The government cannot take such decision of suspension in a case where a public servant has been convicted on a charge punishable with death. Such a suspension amounts to release of a convict from prison,” Justice More said.”There are hundreds of prisoners who are suffering from serious medical ailments. The government should consider their cases also for such suspension of sentence orders,” Justice Achiliya said.The court, while admitting the petition, granted stay on the suspension order and directed the policemen to surrender by January 4. The petition has been posted for further hearing on March 7. A sessions court had earlier convicted 21 people in the case, including the 11 policemen, and awarded them life imprisonment, while acquitting only encounter specialist Pradip Sharma in July 2013.

Don’t interact with media in Parliament House, visitors told

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The secretariat has not mentioned any reason for barring visitors from interacting with the media

Visitors to Parliament House have been advised not to interact with the media.”Visitors are requested not to interact with media,” says an advisory written in red on casual entry permits issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat. Visitors are also not permitted to carry mobile phones, cameras, fire arms etc inside the building, it said.The secretariat has not mentioned any reason for barring visitors from interacting with the media.The winter session of Parliament, which began on November 26 and scheduled to conclude on December 23, has witnessed repeated disruptions by opposition parties led by Congress for the last several days over alleged “political vendetta” by the Modi government and other issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Mizoram in 2015: Of various Governor appointments, Brus and the lift of liquor ban

Frequent change of governors dominated the political scenario in Mizoram in 2015 which also saw lifting of an 18-year-old ban on liquor in the state.

Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014 came into force in January, 2015 – Representational Image
File Photo

Frequent change of governors dominated the political scenario in Mizoram in 2015 which also saw lifting of an 18-year-old ban on liquor in the state.The year began with the swearing-in of Aziz Qureshi as governor on January 9 by Justice Michael Zothankhuma, who himself was sworn-in as a judge of Gauhati High Court two days ago.Qureshi was then removed on March 28 and West Bengal Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi was asked to take additional charge of Mizoram. On May 26, Lt Gen (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma, the present governor, was sworn-in at the Durbal Hall of Raj Bhavan. The frequent change of governors drew sharp criticism from many quarters and the Mizo Zirlai Pawl or Mizo students’ federation staged a protest demonstration in front of the Raj Bhavan on April 4, just before Tripathi was sworn-in. The central committee of the Young Mizo Association (YMA), the largest community-based organisation in the state, also condemned the frequent change of governors. Sharma is the eighth governor of Mizoram to be appointed after Vakkom Purushothaman resigned on July 12, 2014 in protest against his transfer to Nagaland by the NDA government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the state remained under a stringent prohibition regime for 18 years, the Mizoram Liquor Prohibition and Control Act, 2014 came into force from January 15 and liquor shops opened from March 16 in Aizawl from where permit holders could buy and consume Indian made foreign liquor. Following this, Conference of the Synod, the highest decision-making authority of the Mizoram Presbyterian Church, decided that people selling liquor and holding permit for purchase and consumption of alcohol will not be allowed to take active part in church activities.Repatriation of Brus lodged in six relief camps in North Tripura district also dominated headlines. On the Bru issue, the Mizoram government chalked out a road map for repatriation commencing from June 2 and to be continued till September 4. According to the road map, it was planned that Mamit district along Mizoram-Tripura border would host 2,594 Bru families, while 628 would be resettled in Kolasib district along Mizoram-Assam border and 233 families in south Mizoram’s Lunglei district. However, the mega plan for which Rs 68 crore was earmarked failed as not a single Bru came forward for identification as bona fide resident of Mizoram. The Brus had migrated to Tripura from Mizoram en masse during the later part of 1997 after militants belonging to the erstwhile Bru National Liberation front gunned down Lalzawmliana, a forest guard working inside the Dampa Tiger Reserve near Persang hamlet on October 21 that year. The first effort to repatriate the Brus on November 16, 2009 was not only hampered by the murder of a Mizo youth, Zarzokima of Mizoram-Tripura border Bungthuam village by Bru militants on November 13, 2009, but also triggered another round of exodus. Though hundreds of Bru families have been repatriated since 2010, many of them refused to return to Mizoram due to obstruction from anti-repatriation leaders who made a plethora of demands to the Centre and the state government. All the civil societies in the state opposed the Election Commission’s decision to conduct special summary revision of voters’ lists in the six Bru relief camps in Tripura resulting in the obstruction of the state election department officials from leaving for the relief camps from Mamit on November 9. The civil societies and leaders of the political parties insisted that those Brus who refused to return to Mizoram despite repeated pleas should be disfranchised in the Mizoram voters’ list.The death of former Chief Minister Brig Thenphunga Sailo, a towering figure among the Mizos and also well-known in the national politics, on March 27 was a blow to the state. Sailo formed the Peoples’ Conference (PC) on April 17, 1975 and it won the Mizoram union territory elections in 1977. Subsequently, it formed the government with Sailo becoming the state’s second chief minister. However, his government did not last long due to defections and Mizoram was placed under the President’s Rule for a brief period. But he bounced back to power in 1979. His party lost the 1984 elections with the Congress led by Lal Thanhawla. Sailo’s son Lalhmangaiha Sailo took over the baton of his party and renamed it as Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC).Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla’s brother Lal Thanzara resigned as MLA on August 18 after allegations of ‘conflict of interests’ and giving undue favour to a company by awarding crores of rupees worth contract as he was holding shares in that construction company. Opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) lodged an FIR with the Anti-Corruption Bureau against Lal Thanzara alleging the latter was indulging in corruption and misuse of office.Following his resignation, the Aizawl North-III Assembly seat fell vacant and a bypoll was held on November 21 in which he defeated his nearest rival K Vanlalvena of the MNF. He was sworn-in as a minister and was allocated Health, Information and Communication Technology and Information and Public Relations portfolios. Three Mizoram Police personnel were gunned down by suspected Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention (Democrats) near Mizoram-Manipur-Assam border Zokhawthiang on March 28. The slain policemen were part of a team of the state Assembly committee on government assurances visiting the area. The militants, after the ambush, decamped with two AK-47 rifles and five pistols without harming the three MLAs, including the lone woman legislator Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu, who were members of the Assembly team. Several HPC(D) militants including its self-styled army chief Lalropuia Famhoite, ‘finance secretary’ Norbar Sanate and self-styled sergeant major Biakliana, commander of the group which ambushed the Assembly committee team, were arrested.Elections to the village councils and local councils within the jurisdiction of the Aizawl Municipal Council (AMC), now upgraded to a corporation, were held on April 30 in which the ruling Congress won. However, the elections could not be held in 31 villages in Aizawl and Kolasib districts due to threats from the HPC(D).Another violent incident erupted in southern Mizoram’s Chawngte town on August 4, leaving a 20-year-old student dead in police firing to disperse agitators, which resulted in the ransacking of 19 houses belonging to rulingCongress leaders, including the Chief Executive Member of the Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) Buddha Lila Chakma and 21 government vehicles were damaged by the agitators.The Mizoram Chakma Students Union (MSCU) spearheaded a protest against alleged fraudulent recruitment of 101 employees by the CADC. The incident had a political fallout resulting in the exit of Chakma, who was replaced by Kali Kumar Tongchongya.The opposition MNF won the elections to the 19-seat Aizawl Municipal Corporation (AMC) held on November 26 by bagging 11 seats, defeating the Congress and MPC.

Congress seeks Arun Jaitley’s resignation over DDCA irregularities

On Wednesday, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas said the CBI ‘raid on the Chief Minister’s Office’ (CMO) was an attempt to divert attention from the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) ‘graft’ issue, but however Finance Minister Arun Jaitley uses CBI, he would not succeed.
File Photo
PTI
Demanding setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe into the alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) involving Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Congress leader Ajay Maken on Wednesday said ‘Jaitley should resign from his post for a fair and impartial probe’.Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president Maken, said “The DDCA irregularity is a very serious matter, and thus, serious examination should be done and serious action should be taken. The DDCA issue should not be diluted, and should not be marred into political controversy as grave irregularities have been committed.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demanding Jaitley’s resignation, he said: “As long as Mr. Jaitley is the Finance Minister, and is the minister in-charge of corporate law affairs, how can you expect a fair trial to take place under his finance ministership?”Lambasting the Arvind Kejriwal Government for holding back the DDCA report for nearly a month, he said, “The DDCA report was put before Kejriwal one month back, and since last one month nothing has happened in the report. And, when Kejriwal’s Principal Secretary Rajender Kumar’s office was raided on Tuesday, he is taking up this issue and linking the CBI raid in connection with a graft case involving Kumar with the DDCA.””The Delhi Government on November 12 had constituted a committee to look into the DDCA case, and gave three days to them for submitting the report. The report was handed over to the government on November 15, then why the Delhi Government was sitting on the report for over a month,”Maken sought to know from the Kejriwal Government.”If Kejriwal’s conscience is clear he should go in for a Court-monitored CBI inquiry into the DDCA case, and should not talk about the commission of inquiry,” he added.Meanwhile, he also read out some issues raised in the report. Earlier on Wednesday, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas said the CBI ‘raid on the Chief Minister’s Office’ (CMO) was an attempt to divert attention from the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) ‘graft’ issue, but however Finance Minister Arun Jaitley uses CBI, he would not succeed.”We will come out with details concerning the DDCA before the press on Thursday,” said added.Kejriwal on Tuesday had alleged that the CBI was searching for the DDCA files aimed at searching files related to graft cases, in which Jaitley was involved, which was rubbished by Jaitley.

Not just Delhi, but pollution exceeds prescribed standards in 15 out of 17 Indian cities

NAQI was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to monitor quality of air in major urban centres.

Traffic congestion in Delhi

Air pollution levels far exceed the prescribed standards in 15 out of 17 Indian cities where National Air Quality Index (NAQI) stations are situated, Greenpeace India said on Tuesday. The NGO released a ranking report of the 17 cities covered by NAQI, which claimed to have revealed data to challenge the complacence of the central and state governments regarding cities other than Delhi.It said the report is the first analysis of air pollution levels in Indian cities carried out using the NAQI system. Greenpeace India said that the shockingly high pollution figures recorded between April and November indicate the continuing severity of the “air pollution disaster”. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The assessment report said the official data showed that pollution levels in many Indian cities, including Delhi, Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Patna, Agra and Kanpur exceed famously toxic levels in Beijing and other Chinese cities, over the period covered by the NAQI data.NAQI was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to monitor quality of air in major urban centres. “As the political capital and the most polluted of all cities, the bad air in Delhi gets the most attention. But, scratch below the murky surface and you will find concentrations of PM2.5 in several other cities – Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Muzzafarpur and Faridabad, amongst others that would justify the triggering of a ‘Red Alert’.”Even the government’s own, largely inadequate NAQI data reveals that 23 of the 32 stations across India are showing more than 70 per cent exceedance of the national standards,” said Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.The report said that Delhi’s levels over the eight months of data were 12 times as high as the WHO annual guideline and three times as high as the national standard. Another six cities Lucknow, Faridabad, Ahmedabad, Kanpur and Varanasi — had average levels at least 10 times as high as the WHO annual guideline, it said.Comparing the situation in China and India, Delhi’s PM2.5 levels in July-November were almost twice as high as the levels in Beijing over the same period (132 vs 69 g/m3), and were even higher than the levels in the most polluted provincial capital – Jinan in Shandong, the report said.It said that PM10 levels in Delhi in the same period were more than three times as high as in Beijing. The report also referred to a modelling study carried out by two Indian researchers at IIT-Delhi which found that 60-90% of PM10 in Delhi is due to emissions outside the megacity.Noting that much of the debate on air pollution focuses on Delhi, the green NGO said “Delhi smog” is actually a “misleading” expression and satellite images of the winter-time pollution episodes show smog extending all the way from Punjab to Bihar, making “North India smog” a more appropriate label.Greenpeace India said that India’s NAQI system remains poor with most prominent cities lacking real time monitoring stations far behind the standards followed in the top 20 biggest cities of European Union, the US and China.On average, there are four air quality stations in cities in EU countries, five in US cities, and eight in Chinese cities displaying real time pollution levels, whereas 10 of India’s biggest cities do not even have a single such monitoring station, it saidDahiya went on to add that pollution levels in a few Indian cities have embarrassing distinction of having exceeded the toxic levels of Beijing and other Chinese cities, demonstrating levels at least ten times higher than the WHO standards, making air pollution truly a national emergency. As part of the first such initiative on analysing air pollution data, Dahiya said that the NAQI in its present form, fails to acknowledge the scale of the problem.”Data is only available in seventeen cities, which is a shockingly low number considering the size of our country. There is an immediate need to diversify and upgrade the manual stations to ambient air quality monitoring stations feeding data to the online NAQI portal. The existing system needs to include short and long-term solutions and advisories,” he said.The report said that the official data confirmed that exposure to toxic particulate pollution (PM2.5 and PM10) is alarmingly high in most Indian cities and National Ambient Air Quality Standards are being continuously violated.It said that the three key contributors to particulate pollution levels are emissions of dust and soot, SO2 and NOx, which form particulate pollution in the atmosphere.Analysis of the chemical composition of PM2.5 pollution indicated that during Delhi’s most polluted season, 25 per cent of the PM2.5 is secondary, meaning that controlling regional SO2 and NOx emissions can be an important approach to tackle the pollution.

After 25 years, separatists have rethink on hartals

No way to protest: Kashmir suffers Rs two trillion loss due to shutdowns in the valley since 1990

Strikes and shutdowns in the Kashmir Valley have cost its people and economy dear
Imran Nissar
dna
It took 25 years, 1,800 days of hartals and Rs two lakh crore financial loss for moderate separatists to wake up and realise that the frequent shutdowns in the Kashmir valley are the gross human rights violation.In fact, the Kashmir Valley has become the hartal capital of India with 1,813 shutdowns observed in the last 25 years of turmoil (since 1990) mostly on the call of the separatists and militants.The highest number of hartals was observed in 1991 when Kashmir remained shut for 207 days. The lowest number of hartals was observed in 2007 when Kashmir remained shut for 13 days. In ‘azadi groundswell’ of 2010, Kashmir remained shut for 132 days. Similarly, Kashmir observed shutdown for 33 days during the Amarnath land row in 2008.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Frequent hartals have dealt a crippling blow to the fledgling Kashmir’s economy of the state with financial losses pegged at Rs two lakh crore in the last 25 years.”We have suffered loss of Rs two trillion due to hartals and curfews. We have had more than 1,900 days of hartals and curfews. Of which around 60 to 65 percent were strikes and rest curfews. We are nearing 2000 days of hartals and curfews. Each day of hartal and curfew costs us Rs 100 crore,” said Shakeel Qalandar, senior member of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), a civil society group.Waking up to the rampant hartals, moderate separatists are now openly voicing concern over the old and outdated ways and methods of agitation.”Article 3 of universal declaration of human rights and article 6 of international covenant on civil and political rights say that everyone has right to life irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion and language. When there are frequent strike calls, aren’t we depriving people from earning livelihood. And that is a violation to right to life”, said Hilal Ahmad War, chairman of Peoples Political Party (PPP), a constituent of moderate Hurriyat Conference.However, the hardliners are unfazed saying the hartals are the only way to lodge protest against the gross human rights violation and other atrocities.”It (hartal) is a compulsion for us. They (government) have not left any option for us other than hartal to raise our voice. If we hit streets they use force to disperse us. Plus they keep us under house arrest and not allow us to move. In such circumstances, the hartals are the only option left with us for lodging protest”, said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Syed Ali Shah Geelani led hard-line Hurriyat Conference. Year wise number of hartals observed in Kashmir since the onset of militancy in 1990. Around 198 hartals took place in 1990 followed by 207 in 1991, 148 in 1992, 139 in 1993, 97 in 1994, 88 in 1995, 95 in 1996, 72 in 1997, 25 in 1998, 24 in 1999, 41 in 2000, 122 in 2001, 76 in 2002, 58 in 2003, 25 in 2004, 18 in 2005, 26 in 2006, 13 in 2007, 33 in 2008, 35 in 2009, 132 in 2010, 22 in 2011, 19 in 2012, 37 in 2013, 41 in 2014 and 22 till November 2015.

Talks with Pakistan on the basis of trust: Sushma Swaraj

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

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

Check edu.iift.ac.in for Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) MBA result

The long wait for candidates is finally over.

IIFT logo

The Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) has finally published the result for the MBA exam. It is currently available on the official website of IIFT. Candidates can check whether they have made the cut by logging on to the website. The exam was taken on November 22, 2015. It was held at Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Bhubeneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Jamshedpur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur and Visakhapatnam. Selected candidates will be called for essay, group discussion and interview subsequently. This year Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) entrance exam 2015 had some elements of surprise. The number of questions were increased and many candidates found questions in the DI-LR extremely difficult. About 1000 candidates are expected to be shortlisted for the next round. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Check your result at edu.ifft.ac.in

Sheena Bora murder case: Peter Mukerjea’s judicial custody extended till December 28

The application moved by Mukerjea’s lawyer also sought home food for Peter in jail, as he is a senior citizen, having heart ailments.

A Mumbai Magistrate court on Monday extended the judicial custody of former media baron Peter Mukerjea till December 28 in the Sheena Bora murder case, even as he moved an application seeking homemade food in jail on account of his ailments.”The judicial custody is extended till December 28,” ordered magistrate RV Adone after Peter’s 14-day custody granted on December 1, expired on Monday.Meanwhile, the application moved by Mukerjea’s lawyer Kushal Mor, sought home food for Peter in jail as he is a senior citizen, having heart ailments and has been taking medicine to lower his cholesterol. “In CBI custody it was being ensured that he gets proper healthy diet, now that he is in jail we need to ensure that he gets proper diet according to his medical needs,” Mor told the court. However, CBI special prosecutor Kavita Patil said jail officials always take care of their inmates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Magistrate Adone is likely to pass an order on Peter’s application tomorrow.Peter, 59, husband of prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, was arrested on November 19, for his alleged role in the murder case and was in CBI custody. He has been kept at the high-security Arthur Road Jail here, where other two accused in the case — Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamvar Rai — are also lodged. He was later taken to Delhi by CBI for conducting a polygraph test on him and brought back to Mumbai by month-end.Sheena (24) was allegedly strangled in a car and then her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 kms from Mumbai. Indrani (43), her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her ex-driver Shyamvar Rai have been charge sheeted in the case. The victim was Indrani’s daughter from an earlier relationship.CBI, while maintaining that financial transaction was the motive behind the murder of Sheena, had earlier said that Peter, during his interrogation, disclosed investments of crores of rupees made by him and Indrani and is expecting information from Interpol on the details of an account opened by Indrani in a bank in Hong Kong.

Additional BSF deployed to prevent illegal activities at Indo-Bangladesh borders, govt tells Supreme Court

The ministry of home affairs also informed the court that the government has approved the projects for border fencing and installation of floodlights for proper visibility during night in the border areas.

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that in order to prevent illegal cross-border activities at the Indo-Bangladesh borders, additional BSF personnel have been deployed.The ministry of home affairs also informed the court that the government has approved the projects for border fencing and installation of floodlights for proper visibility during night in the border areas.Filing an affidavit in response to a PIL against illegal Bangladeshi immigration, the government said 29 Border outposts have been identified and adequate men power have been deployed with special surveillance equipments, vehicles and othe infrastructure in support to prevent smuggling of cattles.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the court-appointed one-man commission had recommended a high-powered committee to inquire into various issues relating to infiltration.Senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika, who was appointed by the court in May, had submitted the 53-page report to the court suggesting the shifting of cattle ‘haats’ 20km away from the boundary area and re-location of the villages from the border fencing area.After visiting extensively to the border area, Hazarika submitted the report.Citing the causes leading to such influx into Assam, the report said as a Bangladeshi passport holder can not only own land in Assam but also contest an Assembly election, it shows that the illegal migrant lobby has struck deep roots in the state. Therefore, the necessity, for an independent investigation and an enquiry into these nexuses and all the facts in this regard, cannot be overstated.The court, which is hearing a plea about the threat of the indigenous population of Assam being reduced to a minority by the year 2047 looming large, is to take a call on the report on November 5.

Court orders registration of case against Farooq Abdullah for saying army can’t defend people against militants

The CJM ordered the police to register a case against the former J&K CM under IPC sections 124(A) and 131. Section 124(A) of the IPC relates to sedition and section 131 relates to abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty.

Farooq Abdullah

A Bihar court has ordered the police to register a case against former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his remark that the army cannot defend the people against militants.Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) of Sitamarhi Ram Bihari gave directions to Dumra police station of the district on Friday to register a case against Farooq Abdullah. The order came while hearing a writ filed by an advocate Thakur Chandra Singh in the CJM court on November 30.The CJM ordered the police to register a case against the former J&K CM under IPC sections 124(A) and 131. Section 124(A) of the IPC relates to sedition and section 131 relates to abetting mutiny, or attempting to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The complainant had described as “humiliating” Farooq Abdullah’s recent remark in Jammu that “How much can the Army defend us? Even if the entire Army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution.”

Chennai Floods: PIL alleges faulty release of reservoir water, demands action against Tamil Nadu officials

Businessman-activist Rajiv Rai has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking for action to be taken against certain Tamil Nadu government officials.

Businessman-activist Rajiv Rai has filed a PIL in the Madras High Court on Thursday, asking for action to be taken against certain Tamil Nadu government officials.A report in The New Indian Express states that he has filed the PIL against those officials who were responsible for the unannounced and late release of water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. Rai also asked for an investigation to be conducted by a high-powered committee headed by a former judge of the high court or Supreme Court as to why the flooding was caused in the city <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rai has alleged that the release of excess water on December 1 from the Chembarambakkam reservoir caused the flooding in the city. In his petition, he stated, “If one studies the levels of water in the various catchment tanks on a daily basis, one can see that the reservoirs had much greater inflow than outflow right through November 2015. Some Standard Operating Procedures ought to have been in place whereby water was let off from Chembarambakkam and other reservoirs in stages and not held back till the fateful night of December 1, 2015.”The petition alleges that state Chief Secretary K Gnanadesikan waited for three days after the Public Works Department (PWD) wrote to him on November 29 to release water from the Chembarambakkam reservoir. “The chief secretary, even though he was well aware of the reports that there was going to be heavy downpour for a few more days, didn’t direct the release of the water when he received the warning from PWD. The said act of the chief secretary and other officials is willful and resulted in loss of over 280 lives and caused damage to property… Court should form an independent committee to investigate the matter and punish the officials for failure to perform their duty, as it amounted to nothing short of manslaughter,” stated the PIL.

Hit and run case: Salman withdraws from Supreme Court plea to summon Kamaal Khan as witness

The high court on Thursday acquitted Salman in the case, quashing the trial court order convicting and sentencing him for five years.

A day after the Bombay High Court acquitted Salman Khan in the 2002 hit-and-run case, the Bollywood superstar on Friday withdrew his plea from the Supreme Court seeking examination of his friend and singer Kamaal Khan as court witness in the case.A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur allowed Salman’s lawyer to withdraw his appeal after she said that it had become infructuous in the light of Bombay High Court judgement in the main case.The Bombay High Court had on November 30 dismissed Salman’s plea.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The high court yesterday acquitted Salman in the case, quashing the trial court order convicting and sentencing him for five years.It held that the prosecution had failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the actor was driving the vehicle at the time of accident and was drunk.

Hardik Patel denied bail in sedition case by Surat court

The Surat police had arrested Hardik in October on charges of sedition for allegedly inciting a fellow activist Vipul Desai ‘to kill policemen instead of committing suicide’.

Hardik Patel

AFP
The bail plea of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who is behind bars in a sedition case for allegedly inciting a fellow activist to kill policemen instead of committing suicide, was on Thursday rejected by a district and sessions court here.Principal District Judge Geeta Gopi dismissed the bail plea of the 22-year-old firebrand leader, who spearheaded the agitation demanding reservation for the Patel community under the OBC category. Two sedition complaints were filed against Hardik, the first one in Surat and another in Ahmedabad. On November 16, Hardik, who is lodged in Lajpore jail here, moved his bail plea before the sessions court, claiming that he was booked under false charges, as mere spoken words do not amount to sedition.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The plea said the state government deliberately slapped false charges on him to keep him away from the recently-held local bodies polls across the state. The Surat police had arrested Hardik in October on charges of sedition for allegedly inciting a fellow activist Vipul Desai ‘to kill policemen instead of committing suicide’.Later, Ahmedabad crime branch also invoked sedition charge against him through a separate FIR filed on October 21 for allegedly inciting Patel youths to resort to violence in order to destabilise the state government. During the arguments on December 7, the Surat city police had opposed bail to Hardik, claiming that he may tamper with evidence if released on bail when the investigation is still on against him.The prosecution also argued that there is high possibility that Hardik will not cooperate in investigation once released on bail. Hardik has also filed a bail plea before an Ahmedabad court in the second sedition case filed against him, where the order is likely to be pronounced tomorrow.In the second case filed in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat High Court had recently dropped IPC sections 121 – pertaining to waging war against the government, 153(A) – promoting enmity between different communities and 153 (B) – assertions pre-judicial to national integrity, on the FIR against Hardik while retaining the charge of sedition.

Sheena Bora murder case: Court asks CBI to complete probe by December 17

On Thursday, Indrani had moved an application through her lawyer Gunjan Mangla, seeking statements of witnesses recorded before the magistrate’s court.

A special court on Tuesday asked the CBI to complete its investigation in the sensational Sheena Bora murder case in the next 10 days and also allowed prime accused Indrani Mukerjea’s plea to get copies of statement of witnesses recorded before the magistrate. “Complete the investigation by December 17 and on that day I will open the sealed packets of the statements and give it to the accused,” special CBI judge HS Mahajan told the central investigative agency.On Thursday, Indrani had moved an application through her lawyer Gunjan Mangla, seeking statements of witnesses recorded before the magistrate’s court. However, special public prosecutor Kavita Patil had opposed Indrani’s application and said it was a case of “larger conspiracy” and that the CBI is carrying out further investigation, which she said was at a “crucial stage”. Patil also said that it would be harmful and damaging to disclose the statements of witnesses to the accused at this stage. Meanwhile, the court also allowed CBI’s application seeking permission to once again interrogate Indrani, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yesterday, Indrani’s lawyer Gunjan Mangla and Khanna’s lawyer Shreyansh Mithare had told the court that they don’t have any objection to the CBI plea seeking to interrogate the three accused for three more weeks. The probe agency on December 3, had moved an application saying that they had received the forensic laboratory report on the Skype communication and messages amongst Indrani, Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamvar Rai. The CBI told the court that they wanted to confront the accused with the FSL reports.On November 20, a Metropolitan Magistrate court had transferred the trial in the case to a sessions court here. Indrani, Khanna and Rai were charge-sheeted after their arrest in the case in August this year. Indrani’s husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea, who was arrested on November 19, is in judicial custody till December 14. Sheena (24), Indrani’s daughter from an earlier marriage, was allegedly strangled in a car and then her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 kms from Mumbai. While Indrani is lodged in Byculla womens’ prison, Peter is kept at the high-security Arthur Road Jail here, where other two accused in the case–Khanna and Rai – are also lodged.

Jessica Lal murder case: Delhi HC seeks status report on Manu Sharma’s plea for parole

Earlier on November 26, the court had issued notice to Delhi government and sought its response on Sharma’s plea.

The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the city government to file its report regarding the status of the application of Jessica Lal murder case convict Manu Sharma, seeking a month-long parole to appear in LLB semester exams. “Delhi government is directed to file the status report regarding the parole application of the petitioner (Sharma) on or before December 10. Jail authorities are also directed to file the nominal role of the petitioner,” a bench of Justice Ashutosh Kumar said.During the brief hearing, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, said that the state government was not opposing the plea of Sharma and it has been forwarded to competent authority that is Lieutenant Governor (LG) on November 5. Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog, appearing for Sharma, said that the examination is slated to commence from December 28 but before that Sharma has to appear for two days Personal Contact Programme starting from December 11.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier on November 26, the court had issued notice to Delhi government and sought its response on Sharma’s plea. Sharma, who is undergoing a life term in the murder case, has completed a post-graduate diploma in Human Rights and is now pursuing a Bachelor’s in Law course from Annamalai University, Chennai. He was earlier granted 30-day parole on December 26, 2014 to appear for his post-graduation exams with a condition that he would keep away from the area around the residence of Jessica and her family members.Sharma, son of former Union Minister Venod Sharma, was awarded life imprisonment by the high court in December 2006 for killing Jessica Lall in 1999. The trial court had acquitted him, but the Delhi High Court had reversed it and the Supreme Court had upheld the life sentence in April 2010. Lall was shot dead by Sharma after she had refused to serve him liquor at the Tamarind Court restaurant owned by socialite Bina Ramani at Qutub Colonnade in south Delhi’s Mehrauli.

Dear people of Chennai, there are no escaped crocodiles in the city

Rumours about escaped crocodiles have been flying around since the November 25 and the MCBT India’s Twitter profile have been trying hard to stop the rumour.

An unescaped crocodile

Twitter: MCBT_India
There have been so many rumours floating around about Chennai and the latest one is about a bunch of crocodiles lose in the city. The news is completely false and The Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology has debunked it to stop the rumour-mongering. They wrote on Twitter: “Please don’t spread the wrong news. There has been no containment issue. All our crocs are safely contained.” Rumours about escaped crocodiles have been flying around since the November 25 and the MCBT India’s Twitter profile have been trying hard to stop the rumour. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A WhatsApp message has been doing the rounds in Chennai which warns people about a ‘hurricane’ and ‘250cm rainfall in Chennai’. The message claims that the aforementioned information was a warning from NASA.According to The NewMinute, the MET department has predicted only light showers in Chennai on Wednesday and IBN hasn’t made any such telecast. Whatsapp groups often carry bizarre messages and an earlier one claimed that NASA had predicted an earthquake in India. (Read: Dear people of Chennai, NASA hasn’t predicted a hurricane or excess rainfall)

Paris a reminder India risks missing lessons from Mumbai attack

Members of the Force One Commandos from Maharashtra police demonstrate their skills during their inauguration ceremony in Mumbai, India, in this November 24, 2009 file photo.

Reuters
In November, during an exercise to test India’s readiness for a militant attack, teams of coast guards approached Mumbai and surrounding areas by sea, just as assailants did before deadly strikes in 2008. Several teams slipped through undetected.Officials say the response to the mock assault in Maharashtra was not a disaster, but the shortcomings it exposed were a reminder of India’s vulnerability to the kind of violence that hit Mumbai seven years ago, when 166 people were killed, and Paris in November. “There was a mixed result,” said a navy spokesman in Mumbai, describing the mid-November exercise that, by coincidence, came days after gunmen targeted Paris on November 13, killing 130. “We do find weaknesses, but over the years the number of people who can go through (our defences) is much less.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The atrocity in France drew immediate comparisons with events in Mumbai in 2008, when 10 gunmen landed on the city’s shores by boat, split into pairs and attacked various high-profile sites using semi-automatic weapons. In response, Mumbai police got better equipment, and a unit of the National Security Guard (NSG) was deployed to the financial capital. Fishermen have been made aware of the seaborne threat and can call a helpline if they spot anything suspicious.Maharashtra also set up its own elite counter-terrorism police unit: Force One. But the initial zeal with which the threat was treated has faded, security experts said. “A lot of effort goes in at first. But over time, people lose interest. Momentum is lost. There is no leadership continuity,” said Govind Sisodia, a senior commander of the NSG at the time of the Mumbai raid.Sisodia, now retired, was unable to scramble his elite force from its headquarters in New Delhi for 12 hours after the start of the Mumbai attack because no plane could be found. Poorly armed, trained and equipped police first-responders were no match for the heavily armed gunmen who simultaneously attacked multiple targets. The drama evolved into a hostage crisis that dragged on for three days.
Police academy Seven years after the attack, Force One has yet to move into its promised purpose-built headquarters outside the city. For now, it protects one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas from a modest office on the fourth floor of a shabby low-rise building which it shares with a police academy. Lines of drying laundry hang from the windows.”From every incident, we take a lesson, we revise our protocols,” said Sanjay Saxena, the inspector general of police running the unit, when asked about the Paris attack. Saxena gave little away about how his squad operated, including how he might scramble his hand-picked team from a northern suburb to districts in Mumbai’s historic south along the city’s jammed roads.Some of the commandos in Force One, modelled on Germany’s GSG 9 special forces, are allowed to live at home. According to some officials, the 600-strong force trains on a police parade ground. A critical worry, say security experts, is that tactics used by militants are evolving.While the attack on Paris echoed elements of that in Mumbai, it also differed, for example in the use of suicide belts to maximise casualties and rule out capture. “Mumbai ushered in a new era,” said G.K. Pillai, India’s home secretary after the Mumbai attacks. “This is a new type of terrorism: multiple, very well-trained teams striking a variety of targets. “The lesson was that in cities you need to have a few hundred of these elite commandos available within 10-15 minutes, whether it is Paris or London.”
Needles, haystacksHistorically, India has not been a hotbed of Islamist militancy, and its main security focus has been on containing a separatist insurgency in Kashmir, which it disputes with arch-rival and neighbour Pakistan. Intelligence agencies have little handle on tens of thousands of Indians working in Iraq, the Gulf and beyond.According to the government, there are 18,000 Indians in Iraq, parts of which are under the control of Islamic State, although some experts say the real number may be much higher. “Our data (on labourers) working abroad, especially in the Gulf, who are usually targeted for joining ISIS, is woefully inadequate,” said Vappala Balachandran, a senior foreign intelligence specialist who led an inquiry into the Mumbai attacks. “This is a serious cause for worry.”A recent Indian intelligence report found Islamic State had recruited 23 Indians, but the radical group considered them to be “inferior fighters”. The main threat to India, security analysts say, is from militants crossing from Pakistan, as was the case in the Mumbai attack and in a July raid on a police station in Punjab that killed at least nine.Urban settings are seen as their most likely targets. “Any urban area remains a target,” said Chidambaram, who took over as India’s home minister just after the Mumbai attack. “In a city anyone can burrow themselves and remain invisible for weeks, months, even a year.”Read: Three more Indian youths join Islamic StateAlso Read: Indian woman involved in recruiting for ISIS deported from UAE, arrested in Hyderabad

Every 5th food sample tested in India is adulterated, UP most guilty state

As per the report compiled by the state governments, food safety labs received 83,265 samples, of which 74,010 were tested till November 24, 2015.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
One out of every five samples of food items tested by public food safety labs in the country has been found “adulterated and misbranded”, with maximum in Uttar Pradesh followed by Punjab and Madhya Pradesh.Over Rs 10.93 crore penalty has been imposed in 2,795 cases, while culprits have been convicted in 1,402 cases so far this year, according to the testing report of public laboratories released by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).As per the report compiled by the state governments, food safety labs received 83,265 samples, of which 74,010 were tested till November 24, 2015. Out of the tested samples, the labs found 14,599 samples were “adulterated and misbranded”, the data showed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A maximum 4,119 samples were found adulterated and misbranded in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Punjab (1,458), Madhya Pradesh (1,412), Gujarat (1,243), Maharashtra (1,162) and Tamil Nadu (1,047). The penalty of Rs 10.93 crore has been imposed in 2,795 cases, and maximum fine of Rs 5.98 crore was imposed for cases reported in Uttar Pradesh.As many as 2,676 criminal cases and 7,860 civil suits were registered, of which convictions were reported in 1,402 cases, the report added. Issues related to quality of food and FSSAI came into the limelight after it imposed the ban on Maggi in June this year, which was later lifted by the Bombay High Court.In August this year, the Supreme Court junked the FSSAI’s advisory that asked manufacturers to get clearance for products even if the ingredients were already approved or deemed safe. The government is also mulling Rs 1,750-crore proposal to strengthen central food regulator FSSAI as well as state bodies.

Lashkar-e-Taiba plot to attack PM Narendra Modi discovered; IB, Delhi police in joint operation

The LeT terrorists have slipped into the country via Jammu and Kashmir, the report said.

PM Narendra Modi

AFP photo
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), along with the Delhi Police are conducting a joint operation to nab several Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists who plan to attack PM Narendra Modi, says a report in an English daily.The militants had two plans — to carry out a mass shooting in a Paris-like or 26/11 type attack at a gathering attended by Modi. If he failed to penetrate Modi’s cordon, the militant was supposed to blow himself off or hurl a grenade at the crowd.If this was unsuccessful, the terrorists had been told to target other important dignitaries and officials in Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The LeT terrorists have slipped into the country via Jammu and Kashmir, the report said.At least four terrorists had infiltrated into the country last month and were in contact with Lashkar commander Abu Dujana for logistics and ground support, says the report. Jammu and Kashmir police have also been roped in for the investigation.The nature of the intended attacks point to an ISI-LeT nexus. It could also be that Al Qaeda’s India wing is behind the plans.One of the terrroists was arrested on November 24 during an operation conducted by IB and special operations group (SOG). Shabir Ahmad Malik, the suspect was in Jammu since November 20 and was staying at the house of one Amir Alam Gujjar at Bathindi area of south Kashmir. There were two others as well who were arrested, though their identities are not known.

With no word from Congress, government to go ahead with GST and other bills

While at the 45-minute long meeting on November 27 at the PM’s official 7-Race Course residence, the government did agree to review its position, Sonia Gandhi told Modi that she would discuss the proposal internally within her party.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi with former prime minister Manmohan Singh at a function in New Delhi on Saturday
B B Yadav
dna
With no response from the Congress, even a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the the PM’s residence, the government has decided to go ahead with key reform legislations, preparing for an imminent showdown, with the main Opposition in Parliament next week. Among other proposed legislations, the government has listed the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, officially known as The Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill, 2014 and also the Real Estate bill for consideration and passage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While at the 45-minute long meeting on November 27 at the PM’s official 7-Race Course residence, the government did agree to review its position, Sonia Gandhi told Modi that she would discuss the proposal internally within her party. Since then she has left for the United States for a medical check-up and nobody in the party is now ready to bite the bullet. The government is also planning to pass six bills in the Lok Sabha and seven in the Rajya Sabha next week, beginning Monday. Government sources say, they were still awaiting a response from the Congress in the light of economic advisor Arvind Subramanian’s recommendations that offer more-feasible economic solutions to address the main Opposition’s concern to resolve the long-standing political deadlock. “We cannot wait endlessly and hope Congress puts its point of view before the House during the debate,” said a government source. It is highly crucial for the Modi government not to miss the April 1 deadline for GST rollout, which means the bill has to be passed in the current session itself, to include its cascading effects in the budget preparations, which have already kicked off in North Block and across state capitals. The Business Advisory Committee of the Rajya Sabha has allotted a time of four hours for the GST Bill and two hours for the Real Estate Bill. The Select Committees of the House have already submitted their reports on these two bills which are pending for further consideration and passing by the Rajya Sabha. The legislative agenda of Lok Sabha includes consideration and passage of the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salary and Conditions of Service) Amendment Bill 2015, the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015, The Indian Trusts (Amendment) Bill 2015, the Payment of Bonus (Amendment) Bill 2015, and the Industries (Regulation and Development) Amendment Bill 2015. The non-legislative business which could be taken up in Lok Sabha next week includes a discussion on drought situation in the country, price rise and India’s relations with neighbouring countries. Arvind Subramanian’s recommendations on the GST were seen as an outcome of a meeting between the PM and the top Congress leaders and were held to resolve the deadlock to help it get passed in Parliament’s winter session itself. His panel decided to provide a range for the GST rate for various products and services: from 12 per cent to 40 per cent (the higher rate being applicable for select products such as luxury cars or tobacco products etc). However, the key revenue neutral rate suggested by the CEA panel stood at 15-15.5 per cent. The standard rate for GST stood at 17-18 per cent, the rate at which most products would likely be taxed. It also accepted a key Congress demand to do away with a proposal to levy a 1 per cent inter-state tax on transfer of goods. Congress is, however, refusing to budge . “Unless this, the barrier of 16-18 per cent is not removed and there is an independent authority. We are not going to accept it. The BJP wants the GST which is anti-people,” said Congress spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Pramod Tiwari. “Our leader Rahul Gandhi has made it very clear that we are not going to accept GST which is anti-people, anti-traders and anti-common man,” he added. Another trigger has come from a statement of Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy proposing to levy an additional 2 per cent cess on income tax to garner funds for skill development. Congress leaders say, if approved, this cess, would be a part of the basket of 27 different kinds of cess and surcharges. Other than that, the Congress is already unhappy with the 0.5 per cent Swachh Bharat cess that came into effect from 15 November this year. There is also disquiet for not including petroleum products in the GST. Petrol that costs Rs60.48 per litre in Delhi can drop to just Rs30.35 a litre if the 18 per cent GST rate is implemented. The government has kept the petroleum, alcohol and tobacco products outside the purview of GST as the states do not want to lose them as hefty money earners, yielding most of the tax revenue. The way the Congress forced the government’s hand not to allow manufacturing states like Gujarat to levy 1 per cent additional tax besides the national GST, pressure is bound to build on the government in Parliament not to exclude any item from the GST. Since the production cost of petrol today is Rs23.77 per litre while the petrol pumps get commission of Rs2.26 per litre, the GST at 18 per cent works out to Rs4.32, making the selling price of petrol as Rs30.35 per litre. Its inflated price of Rs60.48 per litre in Delhi is because of the central excise of Rs19.06 plus the state’s levy of sales tax or VAT of Rs12.10. The central and state taxes together account for Rs31.16 per litre while it would be just Rs4.32 if brought under GST. The Modi government has, however, steadily raised taxes on petrol and diesel to increase revenue collections as the excise duty on petrol was Rs9.48 per litre in April 2014 and has been hiked five times to rise to Rs19.06 per litre. The industry doubts if the government would be prepared to forgo the revenue by agreeing to bring petrol and other petroleum products under GST.

All central agencies working to negate ISIS threat: Government

The government, he said, was aware of the threat posed by the ISIS the world over and in the country in particular.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary on Saturday said ISIS threat is “not being taken lightly” and states have been alerted.The government, he said, was aware of the threat posed by the ISIS the world over and in the country in particular. Chaudhury told reporters on the sidelines of his reviewing the 41st passing out parade of the North Eastern Police Academy near here, that all states have been asked to be alert, “especially at the borders”.Stating that all central agencies were working to negate the threat, the Union Minister said, “The personnel at the international border have been asked to be alert.” Chaudhary also said that jailed ULFA leader Anup Chetia has to face the legal process and not go scot-free. “Nobody can escape the law. Chetia has to go through the legal process (for his criminal acts),” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chetia, who was in Bangladesh since his arrest by the neighbouring country’s police in 1997, was handed over to India on November 11 following which he was arrested by CBI in Delhi the next day. Chetia was arrested in connection with a murder in Golaghat (Assam) and the investigation agency had taken him under its custody on a six-day transit remand.He was brought to Guwahati on November 18 and produced in the SJM CBI Court the same day to be sent to five-days CBI remand that day. At the end of the CBI remand, Chetia was produced on November 23 and remanded to 14 days judicial custody which ended today. Chetia was on Saturday remanded to another 14 days of judicial custody.

Kamal Haasan’s criticises AIADMK’s flood relief measures; Jaya’s minister not amused

The actor was ‘confused’ and had ‘blabbered’ unaware of the ground reality, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam said.

Taking strong exception to film star Kamal Haasan’s reported criticism of ruling AIADMK’s flood relief activities, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam today charged the actor with becoming a ‘puppet’ of those who tried to gain political mileage in such situations.In a strongly-worded statement, Panneerselvam, considered Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s ‘Man Friday’, also explained to the actor the government’s spending in social sectors and disaster management and advised him to go through the budget “by allocating time in between his movie shootings”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Panneerselvam’s retort comes in the wake of the actor’s reported criticism in a section of media, where he had purportedly said the “system has collapsed” and that he was making donations since the government had asked him and reportedly expressed his displeasure over it.”In an extraordinary situation where Chennai had received over 40 cm of rainfall in a single day resulting in flooding, instead of being supportive of the Amma (Jayalalithaa) government, he has made wrong statement which is above his qualification,” Panneerselvam said. The actor was ‘confused’ and had ‘blabbered’ unaware of the ground reality, he said.Explaining government’s relief measures, he said though the state was returning to normalcy after rains in earlier part of November, it once again struggled as it received rain in excess of 40 cm last week, a record after 1918.”In a film produced by him, he may set right natural disaster in just one scene or a song. But reality is different. Normalcy can be restored only with proper planning and over a period of time which Amma (Jayalalithaa) is doing expeditiously,” Panneerselvam said. “If he wants to know about natural disaster, he should once again watch his movie Anbe Sivam,” he said. The movie, also starring R Madhavan, deals with the trials and tribulations of two protagonists stuck in a deluge.On Jayalalithaa’s instructions, over 40,000 government staff were involved in flood relief, 300 boats employed while some 12 lakh affected persons had been rescued and lodged in camps. So far, some 55 lakh food packets have been distributed and over 23,000 medical camps held, he said. “In such a situation, saying that the entire system has collapsed, is not only contrary to facts, but also amounts to insulting the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said.He also lambasted the actor for questioning what happened to the taxpayer’s money as government solicited contributions. “His statement shows that he has become a puppet of people who eye political mileage in such a situation,” he said, referring to a Tamil saying which means grabbing available valuables from a burning house.The Minister said Kamal Haasan should clarify if he had ‘sold himself out’ to any ‘evil force’ which aims at creating an illusion that tax payers’ money was ‘misappropriated’ by the government, and thus malign its reputation among people.”Even the Rs 679 crore tax payers’ money allotted for disaster mitigation in the budget for year 2015-16 is being spent now,” he said, adding that the actor need not have any doubt about where the money was going and insisted that Jayalalithaa was keen to ensure taxes were not wasted.Her government was not seeking ‘alms’ from the actor, but he was trying to gain ‘cheap publicity’ by making an offer claiming he was doing it for people, Panneerselvam said.Referring to the actor’s outburst at the height of the ‘Vishwaroopam’ controversy where he threatened to leave the country in the face of strong protests from Muslim bodies, the Minister sought to remind him that it was Jayalalithaa who helped solve the stand-off.But the actor had forgotten thanking Jayalalithaa then and had made such remarks now, he said.Further, the government had not sought any contribution from him, but only from the Centre even as many good-hearted individuals and state governments where making voluntary donations considering it a noble deed, he said. “The Tamil tradition is to not beg from anyone and turn down charity,” he said. In fact, Telugu actor Allu Arjun, had committed to providing Rs 25 lakh for the city where he stayed for 18 years, Panneerselvam said.On the actor’s comment that ‘ruling party’ was spending Rs 4,000 crore on corporate projects and why it could not be divided among 120 crore people of India, Panneerselvam wondered if the question was directed at the Centre. “Don’t know why he is asking that question now. Probably he is angry that (Centre) has not waived the service tax levied on cinema industry,” he remarked sarcastically.Referring to a recent ad-film featuring the actor, Panneerselvam said there were reports that he had donated the Rs 15 crore he charged as his payment, to an NGO which had only denied such reports.”We cannot be tolerating Kamal Haasan’s blabbering just because he is a big actor or makes big films. People of Tamil Nadu who have complete faith in Chief Minister Amma will never believe or accept them,” he said.

Botched up eye surgery: MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan pledges strict action

According to reports, 22 people have lost their vision after surgery. The eye camp was organised from November 16 to November 24.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said that his government would take strict action against those responsible for botched up cataract surgery camp held at the Barwani district hospital, which claimed the eyesight of over 20 people. “The government has taken the loss of eyesight due to cataract surgery in Barwani very seriously. None of those responsible would be spared,” Chouhan tweeted. “The state government will ensure that the victims get full medical care. The government will bear all the medical expenses,” he said in another tweet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 32 people developed infection after the cataract surgery in Barwani district hospital. According to reports, 22 people have lost their vision after surgery. The eye camp was organised from November 16 to November 24.The patients, mostly elderly men and women, are now undergoing treatment for eye infection at a hospital in Indore.

1984 anti-Sikh riots: Delhi court refuses to accept closure report, tells CBI to investigate case against Jagdish Tytler

Laler had reserved the order on October 30 after hearing arguments of counsel for CBI and the riots victim on the issue of whether to accept the closure report.

Jagdish Tytler

A Delhi court has ordered further investigation into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler.Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Saurabh Pratap Singh Laler ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct further investigations and refused to accept the closure report that gives Tytler a clean chit.Laler had reserved the order on October 30 after hearing arguments of counsel for CBI and the riots victim on the issue of whether to accept the closure report. The riot victims have filed a protest petition against the clean chit given thrice to Tytler by CBI, claiming there was ample evidence to prosecute him and accused the agency of favouring him.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Complainant Lakhvinder Kaur, whose husband Badal Singh was killed in the riots, in her protest petition had challenged the closure report and sought the court’s direction to CBI to investigate the matter further to bring on record available “incriminating evidence” against the accused. Seeking dismissal of the protest petition of riot victims, CBI had said during its probe, it was established that Tytler “was not involved in the incident of attack which took place at Gurudwara Pulbangash on November 1, 1984”.The agency had described Tytler as “innocent” and said it cannot “falsely implicate an innocent person” merely on the basis of charged sentiments and to satisfy the ego of some. Senior advocate HS Phoolka, representing the victims, has also sought court’s direction to CBI to lodge an FIR against Tytler for the offences of influencing witness and hawala transactions.CBI prosecutor PK Srivastava had argued that arms dealer Abhishek Verma, who was examined as witness by the CBI, was not a “credible witness” and on the basis of his statement, no case of influencing witness and making hawala transactions can be lodged against Tytler.The main case pertains to riots at Gurudwara Pulbangash in north Delhi where three people were killed on November 1, 1984, a day after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. CBI had re-investigated the case of killing of Badal Singh, Thakur Singh and Gurcharan Singh near the gurudwara after a court had in December 2007 refused to accept the closure report. Tytler has denied any role in the riots.

Will expose AAP for making false allegations against me, Delhi Police: BS Bassi

“I am gathering further details on these allegations, and if necessary, will also take adequate action. Bhim Sen Bassi works with honesty. I will bring truth out in front of the people and expose these liars,” he added.

Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi on Friday asserted that he is not all worried about false allegations being made by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP Government, and added that he will expose the latter before the people and also take adequate action against the latter for making such ‘baseless’ allegations against him and his force. “I am not worried about false advertisements and allegations against me. I am not scared of any one who calls me a deceiver. In my entire life, I have followed the path of law and honesty,” a curt yet aggressive Bassi told media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “I am gathering further details on these allegations, and if necessary, will also take adequate action. Bhim Sen Bassi works with honesty. I will bring truth out in front of the people and expose these liars,” he added. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has complained against the Delhi Police to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), accusing it of trying to ‘hound’ ruling AAP MLAs by reopening old cases and creating new ones against them. In a letter to the MHA written on November 7, Kejriwal also said that the Delhi Police was not cooperating with his government on several issues. He has mentioned 10 specific complaints against the city police. The Delhi Police has categorically rejected the charge and issued a point-by-point rebuttal in response to Kejriwal’s letter to the Union home ministry.

Sheena Bora murder case: CBI moves court to quiz Indrani Mukerjea, Sanjeev Khanna and Shyamvar Rai in jail

On November 20, a Metropolitan Magistrate court had transferred the trial in the case to a sessions court here and had directed that the three accused be produced there on December 3.

CBI on Thursday moved the sessions court here seeking permission to question prime accused Indrani Mukerjea, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and her driver Shyamvar Rai in jail in the Sheena Bora murder case even as judicial custody of the trio was extended till December 17. “We seek permission to interrogate the accused in jail for three weeks,” CBI special prosecutor Kavita Patil told the court. However, Special Judge H S Mahajan is likely to hear the probe agency’s plea on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On November 20, a Metropolitan Magistrate court had transferred the trial in the case to a sessions court here and had directed that the three accused be produced there on December 3. According to CBI sources, they have received the forensic laboratory report on the Skype communication and messages amongst the trio. “We need to confront the accused with these FSL reports,” they said. Meanwhile, Indrani, through her lawyer, moved an application seeking statements of witnesses recorded before the court.The 43-year-old has also sought Rai’s confessional statement in the case. The court will hear this application too on Monday. Indrani, Khanna and Rai were chargesheeted after their arrest in the case in August this year. Indrani’s husband and former media baron Peter Mukerjea is in judicial custody till December 14. He was arrested on November 19 and was subsequently subjected to sustained grilling and polygraph test during his 11-day CBI custody.Sheena (24), Indrani’s daughter from an earlier relationship, was allegedly strangled in a car and then her body burnt and dumped in a forest in Raigad, about 84 kms from Mumbai. While Indrani is lodged in the Byculla womens’ prison, Peter is kept at the high-security Arthur Road Jail here, where other two accused in the case–Khanna and Rai — are also lodged.

Dawood aide Abid Patel arrested at Nepal border for two BJP leaders’ murder

New Delhi: An aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim allegedly responsible for gunning down of two BJP leaders in Gujarat’s Bharuch district, was on Thursday arrested at the Indo-Nepal border by central security agencies with the help of Nepal Police.

The brother of Javed Chikna, one of the close aides of Ibrahim, Abid Patel was nabbed when he was crossing over to Nepal, official sources said.

File photo. Image courtesy: ibnliveFile photo. Image courtesy: ibnlive

File photo. Image courtesy: ibnlive

They said security agencies had been tracking his activities after his name surfaced in the conspiracy of the killing of the two BJP leaders. The sleuths had information that he would be crossing over to Nepal from Bihar.

The central security agencies had taken their Nepalese counterparts into confidence and in a joint operation Abid was nabbed as he had entered into the Nepalese territory, the sources said.

He will be handed over to Gujarat Police, who will question him in connection with the murder case.

Two unidentified gunmen had shot dead former party president of Bharuch district and senior RSS member Shirish Bangali and the Bharuch district general secretary of BJP’s youth wing Pragnesh Mistry on 2 November.

PTI

US charges man over Muslim cab driver shooting

The victim was identified by a local newspaper as a 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant.

Police officials

AFP
US police in Pittsburgh have arrested and charged a 26-year-old man with shooting a Muslim cab driver in the back in the early hours of Thanksgiving, officials said on Thursday. Muslim activists allege the shooting was a hate crime, but police told AFP those charges were still under investigation. Anthony Mohamed, 26, from Hazelwood, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, in the state of Pennsylvania, is charged with aggravated assault, criminal attempt homicide and recklessly endangering another person, police said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The victim was identified by a local newspaper as a 38-year-old Moroccan immigrant. His name has not been released and officials say he wishes to remain anonymous for fear of safety. The driver told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the passenger asked whether he was from Pakistan and then talked about the extremist Islamic State group killing people. Police said Mohamed got into the taxi outside a casino at 1:13 am (0613 GMT) on November 26. He allegedly asked the driver to wait so he could get money to pay the fare, but returned a few minutes later with a rifle. As the victim drove off, he was shot in the back by a bullet that blew out the taxi’s rear window, police said. He was taken to hospital in a stable condition. Since the Paris attacks on November 13, activists have warned against an unprecedented anti-Muslim backlash in America, fueled by right-wing intolerance in the presidential campaign.

Botched eye-surgery: Haryana govt sets up 3-member probe panel

Strict action would be taken against those found guilty, Manohar Lal Khattar said in a statement released.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar
File Photo
PTI
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Wednesday said a three-member panel has been set up to probe the alleged botched eye surgeries that resulted into partial vision loss of at least 16 people in Ambala Cantt.Strict action would be taken against those found guilty, Khattar said in a statement released. As per reports, at least 16 people suffered partial vision loss after undergoing cataract surgery at a charitable hospital in Mahesh Nagar locality of Ambala Cantt.Dr Charanjit Singh of charitable society ‘Sarv Kalyan Sewarth Samithi’ had conducted the cataract surgeries on November 24 and charged Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 from each of the patients. Khattar also attacked opposition parties, alleging that instead of taking up matters of public interests, they come unprepared to create nuisance. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Saradha scam: CBI grills TMC leader Shankudeb Panda

Panda has been asked to appear again before the CBI with relevant documents next Tuesday, the official said.

Shankudeb Panda

The CBI on Wednesday interrogated Trinamool Congress state general secretary Shankudeb Panda in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam.Panda, who was attached to the Saradha Group as a journalist, was earlier summoned by the CBI on November 26, but did not respond to the call. This morning, however, he suddenly went to the CBI office at the CGO complex in Salt Lake on his own. He was interrogated for hours by the probe agency, a senior CBI official said.Panda has been asked to appear again before the CBI with relevant documents next Tuesday, the official said. Journalist-turned-politician Panda was grilled in December last by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) which too is probing the multi-crore scam in which several Trinamool leaders have been accused.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

India schools face bag weight checks

Maharashtra state officials will conduct random checks to ensure school bags are not too heavy.

Chennai floods stop 137-year-old paper

The Hindu newspaper, published daily since 1878, does not come out on Wednesday as workers fail to access the printing press due to floods.

16 suffer vision loss after botched eye surgery; hospital sealed in Ambala

Chandigarh: At least 16 people suffered partial vision loss after undergoing cataract surgery at a charitable hospital at Maheshnagar, officials said on Tuesday.

Ambala Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta said that the operation theater of hospital has been sealed.

“The operation theater was not found properly sterilized and well-equipped. It could be one of the reasons of infection,” he said.

Representation image. ReutersRepresentation image. Reuters

Representation image. Reuters

The registration of the hospital was also unsatisfactory. The receptionist of the hospital could not produce OPD and other records when SDM asked for it, Gupta said.

Charitable society ‘Sarv Kalyan Sewarth Samithi’ at Maheshnagar in Haryana’s Ambala district conducted the cataract operation on 24 November.

Gupta said that Dr Charanjit Singh had conducted the eye operations and had charged Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 from each of the patients.

However, Dr Charanjit said that most of the patients were all right after the surgery and were operated in a proper manner.

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij has ordered a departmental probe into the incident.

“I have constituted a committee, SDM, Ambala CMO and Director from Eye Department, which will go and make inquiry, Vij said here.

“We have ordered to bear entire expenses of the patients including medicines,” he said.

Regular operations were being conducted and it was not an eye camp, he said, adding that “all affected are adults and there is no child”.

Out of 15, eye sight of 14 is improving, which is a big thing, he said.

“Eye Department head, Dr Jagat Ram told me this. I met patients at the PGIMER,” he said.

Gupta said that “The society had no mandatory clearance from us to hold the camp. They had applied for permission in 2013, but it was denied by us as we first wanted to conduct an inspection of the hospital and get details of the surgeons who will conduct operations.”

A similar incident had taken place at Samalkha in Panipat in March in which 13 patients suffered from vision loss.
Meanwhile, PGIMER hospital spokesperson said, “At present, 14 patients have responded very well to the treatment and in one case, we are trying to save the eye.”

The spokesperson said that 14 patients came to Advanced Eye Centre with post-operative infection on 26 and 27 November.

“All the patients had undergone cataract surgery in Ambala on 24 November. In PGI, these patients were treated with antibiotic injections in the eye besides topical and intravenous antibiotics,” the spokesperson said, adding that 11 patients required surgical procedure,” she said.

Twelve patients will be discharged today on oral and topical drugs and are being advised follow the checkup schedule, she said.

PTI

How 10-year-old Ishita Katyal became the speaker at TEDYouth conference

When asked about future plans, while it is confusing for even adults to answer, 10-year-old Ishita Katyal is confident – she wants to be an author and a motivational speaker. Studying in 5th standard at Vibgyor School in Pune, Ishita was the youngest speaker at the TEDYouth conference held in New York on November 14 this year, where she spoke on the topic ‘What do you want to be now’ for four minutes. Slated to talk at the TEDxGateway in Mumbai on December 5, iamin caught up with this brilliant young girl.

iamin.in
Her journey to TEDYouth ConferenceIt all started in 2013 when Ishita attended a TEDx Pune event with her mother and she heard speakers talk on motivational and current topics. “I got inspired listening to the speakers at the conference and I wanted to organise my own TEDx event. My parents and my family encouraged me to do so,” said Ishita. After clearing two interviews on Skype conducted by TED members, the young girl was selected to be the youngest organiser of TEDxYouth events in Asia-Pacific region.After this, Ishita organised a TEDxYouth at Balewadi event at her school which highlighted on how to make lives simpler through the use of technology.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Selection of topicAlthough quite young, Ishita was always intrigued when she was asked who she wants to be in future. “It is a generic question which is asked to children right from the age of 4-5. I wanted to talk on this because it is a question that everyone should consider, from a younger age. I am sure most of the kids of my age would be asked of the same,” she added.The applaud she received at the TEDYouth conference for her speech was effective enough to prove that a child too could also make a considerable impact on audiences.Future endeavoursAn avid book reader, Ishita has already authored a book titled Simran’s Diary, a story of a girl named Simran and her daily life adventures. “I want to write more books. Also, I want to be a motivational speaker and talk on inspiring topics like how to fulfil your dreams. I want to speak in more events in future,” she added.Ishita says that it is her parents and family who inspire her to follow her dreams without any pressures. “We are happy that she is so confident of her life goals. We want her to get maximum exposure so that even in future she may try a new field and do what she wants to,” said Nancy Katyal, Ishita’s mother.(Ishita Katyal will be speaking at the TEDxGateway, Mumbai, on December 5, 2015, at NCPA.)
This article was first published on iamin.in. For more such hyperlocal stories, visit their website.

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

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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday

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

No advance bail, 4 Thane corporators to surrender

The four corporators, Vikrant Chavan of the Congress, Najib Mulla, Hanumant Jagdale, both NCP, and Sudhakar Chavan, an independent, had moved the high court in November after the Thane sessions court rejected their anticipatory bail plea.

With a view to averting any adverse remarks from the court, the four Thane municipal corporators alleged to have abetted the suicide of developer Suraj Parmar withdrew their anticipatory bail applications filed before the Bombay high court on Tuesday, after the court rejected their pleas. Justice Ajey Gadkari, dismissing the applications on the grounds of withdrawal, directed them to surrender before the police on Saturday by 9 am. “Considering the enormous magnitude of the offence and gravity of the case, the applications stand rejected. The interim relief grated to them by way of not to arrest till the final hearing was also vacated.” They were asked whether they would surrender or appeal against the order and proceedings were adjourned post lunch break.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The four corporators, Vikrant Chavan of the Congress, Najib Mulla, Hanumant Jagdale, both NCP, and Sudhakar Chavan, an independent, had moved the high court in November after the Thane sessions court rejected their anticipatory bail plea. The four contented they were not involved in the suicide of the developer and had complained only against illegal constructions being carried out in Thane area by not only the deceased but others developers as well. Further, it was argued that since they belong to the opposition parties they were being implicated. They have been cooperating in the probe and custodial interrogation was not required. Special Public Prosecutor Raja Thackeray had strongly opposed the pleas on the ground that the police need to probe the money trail angle of the accused and since they were having major political clout the TMC officials were not coming forward to give details. Only if they are in custody would they do so. In one of the hearing he also argued that the police also needed to find out the details of money transferred from an accused account to NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad. The Thane police had registered a case after a notebook containing handwritten notes left by Parmar in his car as his suicide note revealed names of these accused, who allegedly “harassed” him. Parmar had scratched out the names and explained the deletion out of fear that they would harass or harm his family. Parmar had shot himself on October 7. His suicide note alleged that a nexus of corporators and officials was harassing him for bribes.

Jharkhand govt asks Centre to declare state as drought-hit

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The state government had announced a package of Rs 1,398 crore to drought-hit farmers on November 6 for subsidised diesel, distribution of seeds, construction of small check dams and other facilities.

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Image Credit: Wikicommons
Jharkhand government on Tuesday decided to recommend the Centre to declare the state as drought-hit following scanty rainfall this season.Additional Chief Secretary and in-charge of the Cabinet department N N Pandey said that the decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Raghubar Das. A physical verification found crop loss and decline in the levels of ground water and surface water bodies, Pandey said.The state government had announced a package of Rs 1,398 crore to drought-hit farmers on November 6 for subsidised diesel, distribution of seeds, construction of small check dams and other facilities. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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JharkhandRaghubar DasRanchidrought-hitCentre

Gujarat local body polls: Counting of votes today, crucial test for BJP

The six municipal corporations registered only 45 % voter turn-out, but elsewhere it was over 60 %. The State Election Commission had made all the preparations for the counting at several places across the state, officials said.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
Counting of votes for the crucial local bodies polls in Gujarat, a litmus test for the ruling BJP against the backdrop of Patel quota agitation, will be conducted on Wednesday. Voting for six municipal corporations was held on November 26, while that for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities was held on November 29.The six municipal corporations registered only 45 % voter turn-out, but elsewhere it was over 60 %. The State Election Commission had made all the preparations for the counting at several places across the state, officials said.The elections are being seen as a challenge for the BJP and the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, as they come after the Patel quota stir. These are also the first major elections in the state after Anandiben took over from Narendra Modi. The Congress is hoping to make a comeback in the state, cashing in on resentment of the Patel community against BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Patel leaders who are demanding inclusion in the OBC quota had appealed the community members to vote against BJP and for Congress ahead of the elections. All the six municipal corporations — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar, and Bhavnagar — are at present controlled by the BJP. Most of the other local bodies in rural and semi-urban areas too are controlled by the BJP.Meanwhile, the SEC today conducted re-polling at a booth each in Dahod and Mahisagar districts.”Some people had stormed into a booth in Ghodiya village of Zalod tehsil in Dahod and broke the EVM machine when polling was underway for district and taluka panchayats last Sunday. Similar incident took place in Nani Bhugedi village of Santrampur in Mahisagar. So we are conducting repolling today,” said SEC secretary M V Joshi.Ghodiya has 854 registered voters while Nani Bhugedi has 921 registered voters.

Volkswagen Group to recall 323,700 diesel cars in India | Reuters

NEW DELHI Volkswagen’s Indian unit will recall 323,700 diesel cars after a government investigation found it had flouted local pollution limits, the latest blow to a company that has admitted to cheating emission tests.

Volkswagen Group India will recall cars from Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi brands across various models equipped with the EA 189 engines, it said in a statement late on Tuesday.

In November, India found cars made by Volkswagen’s local business had surpassed nitrogen oxide emissions limits, with significantly higher variations in some Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars.

The findings came two months after the carmaker admitted to cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests and said that up to about 11 million vehicles worldwide could be affected.

The emissions scandal is the biggest business crisis in the carmaker’s 78-year history. It is facing slowing orders for new cars, its labour boss said, with consumers shunning purchases after news of the cheating broke in September.

To fix the issue in India, Volkswagen said it will update the software carried in EA 189 engines after getting an approval from the ministry of heavy industries and testing agency, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI).

Ambuj Sharma, additional secretary in the ministry of heavy industries, said the voluntary recall would begin this month.

In the wake of the scandal, India will, over the next six months, test diesel vehicles manufactured by all other carmakers to assess if the problem is industry-wide, Sharma said.

Volkswagen sold 26,479 vehicles between April and October giving it less than 2 percent share of the passenger vehicle market, industry data showed, lagging carmakers such as Toyota Motor Corp, Ford and Maruti Suzuki.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; editing by David Clarke)

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

Patel Quota Row: Gujarat HC drops ‘waging war against govt’ charge against Hardik Patel and co

Justice J B Pardiwala, after hearing the arguments, ordered the removal of three IPC sections in the FIR – section 121 (waging war against government), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity) – against Hardik and his aides.

Hardik Patel

In a partial relief to Patel quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel, the Gujarat High Court today dropped the charge of ‘waging war against government’ against him and his five aides but upheld the stringent sedition clause against them. Justice J B Pardiwala, after hearing the arguments, ordered the removal of three IPC sections in the FIR – section 121 (waging war against government), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity) – against Hardik and his aides.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court, however, refused to drop IPC sections 124 (sedition) and 121-A (conspiracy to wage war against government), which attract punishment of life imprisonment or up to 10 years.In October, the city Crime Branch had lodged an FIR against 22-year-old Hardik and five of his close aides under charges of sedition and waging war against the government.Later, Hardik, Chirag Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya and Ketan Patel were arrested. They are currently behind bars. Two other aides of Hardik – Amrish Patel and Alpesh Kathiriya – were not arrested as the high court had granted them interim protection. In another development, the high court today extended their interim relief from arrest for another 15 days. This was the second sedition complaint against Hardik after he was booked under the same charge by Surat Police.In November, Hardik and others moved the high court to set aside the FIR against them, claiming that their protest to seek reservation for Patel community does not amount to “sedition or waging war against government”.During the arguments on November 2, public prosecutor Mitesh Amin had strongly defended the stand of Crime Branch for slapping stringent charges against the Patel leaders, stating that the FIR is based on the call interceptions made by it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editing by Richard Borsuk)

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

National Anthem Row: PVR Cinemas confirms incident took place, staff intervened

Speaking about the controversy, a PVR spokesman said: “PVR Cinemas is fully committed to the policy of equal respect for everyone. According to order of Maharashtra Government, it is mandatory for all cinemas to play National Anthem before every film.”

YouTube ScreenGrab

Earlier on Monday, a video had gone viral on social media which showed a family being ushered out of a theatre for refusing to stand up when the national anthem was being played. The 2.40 minute video clip shows audience creating ruckus, while a few people questioning the family as to why they could not stand for the national anthem when they can sit for four hours to watch the movie. The incident apparently took place at PVR, Kurla in Mumbai. (Watch: Family thrown out of theatre for not standing up for national anthem)<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking about the controversy, a PVR spokesman said: “PVR Cinemas is fully committed to the policy of equal respect for everyone. According to order of Maharashtra Government, it is mandatory for all cinemas to play National Anthem before every film. Being a law abiding company, like all other cinemas in Maharashtra, PVR Cinemas follows the practise of playing National Anthem prior to every show. On 29 November 2015 there was an altercation between guests at one of our cinemas in Mumbai, our staff intervened keeping in mind the safety of guests and a peaceful environment for all our guests”. (Read: Why Tagore would’ve been ashamed of modern India)

Facing harassment, female passenger seeks help on Twitter, Railway Ministry comes to the rescue

On 26 November, a woman travelling alone on a outstation bound train in Maharashtra took to twitter to seek help in a harassment related issue.

The woman tweeted:

NDTV reported that a senior officer, Ved Prakash took notice of the tweet and told the Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil to help the woman. Patil also replied to her tweet, seeking information about the train and she was also asked to contact the security helpline number 182. The Railway Ministry’s twitter account responded:

Patil is quoted in the website as saying, “the man had a wait-listed ticket and his behaviour and body language did not seem to be decent and since Mahajan was travelling alone, she felt terrified.”

The Times of India reported that as the train reached Bhusaval, she was helped by RPF Jawans. The male passenger was moved to another coach as he had a valid ticket to travel on the train.

Indian economic growth picks up to 7.4%

India’s economy grew at an annual rate of 7.4% between July and September, official figures show, picking up from the previous quarter.

Srinagar: Blindfolded Kashmiri Pandit invites ‘hugs’ to promote brotherhood in Valley

He said the basic aim of the campaign is to promote universal brotherhood, interfaith dialogue, tolerance and also build bridges between people of different communities within the state.

Kashmiri Pandits in May 2015 staged a protest in Srinagar demanding that the state and the Centre take the community members into confidence before any decision on their return to the Valley.
File Photo
PTI
Amid a raging debate on intolerance in the country, a Kashmiri Pandit stood blindfolded in the heart of the city inviting people to hug him to exhibit brotherhood between various communities in the Valley.Inspired by a Muslim man who stood blindfolded in Paris asking people to embrace him if they trusted him after the November 13 attacks, Sandeep Mawa, a doctor by profession, stood at Press Colony in Srinagar asking people to hug him. He was accompanied by members from Sikh and majority Muslim community, who embraced people irrespective of their religion to send a message of tolerance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We, all humans, are alike. When God has not differentiated between us, why should there be any division? There should not be any intolerance. This is the message we want to send across,” Mawa, who is the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Reconciliation Front, said.He said the basic aim of the campaign is to promote universal brotherhood, interfaith dialogue, tolerance and also build bridges between people of different communities within the state.”We do not want politicians and agencies to divide people on the basis of religion. We will not allow anyone to harm Kashmiriyat. We oppose the hate campaign. The politics of religion is not good,” he said.Mawa said politicians should leave the people of Kashmir alone and desist from “dividing” the people.”If they do not mend their ways, there will be a civil revolution in Kashmir,” he said. He also asked the Centre to talk to Pakistan for “addressing Kashmir issue” saying the neighbouring country was “a party to the dispute”.

Tejaswi Yadav named leader of RJD legislature party

Tejaswi Yadav, chosen as the party chief over his mother, Rabri Devi.

Tejaswi Yadav

dna Research & Archives
Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav was chosen as the leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislature party at a meeting held at Patna.Meanwhile, former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi has been named as the leader of RJD Legislative Council.RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had nominated the names of Tejaswi and Rabri for the posts during party’s first legislature party meeting held on November 13.Tejaswi, who has also been given the charge of three portfolios in the Nitish Kumar-led government, on Sunday, said that he would leave no stone unturned for development of Bihar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I will leave no stone unturned for development & to increase the value of Brand Bihar, so that @NitishKumar can be proud of me as his deputy,” he tweeted.

SC dismisses TN govt’s plea to seek ‘ultra-Left’ folk singer Kovan’s custody

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea of the Tamil Nadu government seeking two-day police custody of ultra-Left folk singer Kovan, who was granted relief by the Madras High Court in a sedition case.

A bench comprising Justices FMI Kalifulla and U U Lalit did not find any merit in the state government’s appeal seeking police custody of Kovan. The state government had challenged the high court order which had stayed the remand of Kovan to police custody.

Left singer Kovan, IBNLiveLeft singer Kovan, IBNLive

Left singer Kovan, IBNLive

54-year-old Kovan, propagandist singer of ultra-Left arts and literary outfit ‘Makkal Kalai Ilakkiya Kazhagam’, was arrested in Tiruchirapalli on 30 October for alleged sedition, uploading “defamatory” electronic content against Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and “disturbing public peace”. On 7 November, the Madras High Court had stayed a local court order remanding Kovan to police custody for two days, saying it was ‘erroneous’.

The high court had passed the interim direction at a special hearing on a petition by the singer, challenging Chief Judicial Magistrate Court’s 6 November. The alleged defamatory content in the form of videos were uploaded on some Tamil websites which had gone viral in messaging mediums like Whatsapp. The content, though centred around the liquor vending policy of the Tamil Nadu government, allegedly had direct references to Jayalalithaa, showing her in a bad light.

The HC had said a perusal of the papers revealed that in permitting two day custody to Kovan, the primary concern of the lower court had been the need to probe any link with the Naxals.

PTI

Volkswagen emission scandal: NGT issues notice to Centre, carmaker to seek ban on sales

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued a notice to the Centre and Volkswagen on a plea seeking ban on manufacture and sale of its vehicles for allegedly flouting emission norms.

Image Courtesy
Getty Images
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a notice to the Centre and to Volkswagen on a plea seeking ban on the manufacture and sale of its vehicles for allegedly flouting emission norms. Several thousands of Volkswagen Group vehicles have been found to have flouted emission norms around the world by using a cheating device called the “defect device” which gauges that it is in testing environment and lowers emissions. However, in real-life driving situations, the car cranks up its engines and operates at full capacity for maximum performance. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The scandal was first revealed when Volkswagen admitted to its misdoings on September 18, after the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) pulled it up after detailed investigations. ALSO READ: How did Volkswagen dupe millions of customers, flout stringent emission normsIn India, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) found a significant variation in the emission level in on-road vehicles compared to laboratory measurements. Earlier November 4, the government was expected to issue a showcause notice to the Volkswagen Group. Last month, the German auto major reportedly recalled nearly one lakh cars in the country under the diesel car emissions scandal. Prior to this it had also recalled its premium cars which included 389 units of its best selling premium hatchback Polo in India. Volkswagen’s luxury flagship Audi on Thursday, November 26, 2015, suspended two engineers after its larger diesel engines were found evading emissions limits in the United States, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler said.ALSO READ: Volkswagen cuts capital spending planAmid the scandal, Volkswagen India has announced an India-spec compact sedan with an investment of Rs 720 crore. The compact sedan will be rolled out from the company’s Pune plant, and production is expected to begin early-2016.

Four women vocally oppose the new restrictive banning foreigners from availing surrogacy in India

After the central government put out a circular on November 4, banning foreigners from availing surrogacy in India, a group of surrogate mothers appealed the apex court, calling the change “discriminatory”, “having projected surrogacy in a very negative light”.

The means to build a house, send children to good schools, make sure their future is secure, earn a proper living –these were the motivations of the six women who approached the Supreme Court appealing the proposed new restrictive surrogacy laws in the country, that would crack down on the vast commercial fertility industry. Speaking to dna, four of the six women vocally opposed these laws, saying that they were happy with the services they provided, the returns they got, yet no one would hear them out.After the central government put out a circular on November 4, banning foreigners from availing surrogacy in India, a group of surrogate mothers appealed the apex court, calling the change “discriminatory”, “having projected surrogacy in a very negative light”. In the petition filed to the court, the women said that it cannot be “equated that surrogates are ready to rent their wombs at any costs or for any reasons.” They argued that the existing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) guidelines were “sufficient” to check the well being of the surrogates, and had “ethical binding” on clinics. Prabha*, Anu*, Sabina*, Saba*, currently work with SCI healthcare, whose team, led by Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour, on their website claim to be “one of the largest and most experienced IVF/surrogacy providers in India”. They claim that on hearing about the ban on foreigners in the news, they banded together and approached their handler at SCI to do something about it. Thus they got in touch with lawyers Vishnu Sharma and Radhika Thapar, to file the appeal on their behalf.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to dna at the SCI office, all four stated that their current lives were far better because of surrogacy. From working 12-hour thankless shifts in factories to eke out a basic living, to being able to live with their families and have all needs provided for, all four said they were happy with their lot. “And we can help other families become parents, that makes us feel good,” said Sabina, who was a surrogate for an American couple two years ago, and has come back for a second round.Saba recounted her long unending shifts at a factory in Delhi’s industrial area. As did Prabha, who too worked in a factory doing “packing” work. “We couldn’t be with our children all day long. Where would we leave them? You don’t know where they’ve been,” said Prabha, who now has both her daughters and her husband living with her in a surrogate home provided by the clinic. All four live in individual rooms in this home, along with their families, near the clinic with a “social worker” who takes care of them. They receive Rs3.5 lakh for the surrogacy, and pay no rent or bills. “The kind of medical care we get now, with regular check ups, we didn’t have when we had our own children,” said Sabina. “They give us a check-up even if we have a cough and we don’t have to pay for any of our medicines,” added Saba. “People have been saying we have been forced or tricked into this. Media has been writing false stories about us,” said Saba. “But I would like to come back again after a few years to have another baby. We’re doing this on our own and our husbands and families support us.”*Names changed to protect identity We are happy: Sabina All four claimed to have a thorough knowledge of what they’d taken on, and said that the clinic had helped them understand all the entire procedure and all that it entailed. Said Sabina, “If other women are being forced into surrogacy at other places, we’ll raise our voices for them. But we are happy with what we’re doing and the government shouldn’t stop this work.”

EVS Elangovan’s supporters seek woman MLA’s removal from Congress

On Saturday, State Mahila Congress President and MLA S Vijayadharani had alleged “harassment, use of filthy, abusive, and defamatory language” by Elangovan against her. She also wrote to the party top brass, seeking his removal.

Tamil Nadu Congress president E V K S Elangovan
File Photo
PTI
A day after a woman Congress MLA alleged harassment at the hands of Tamil Nadu unit president E V K S Elangovan, his supporters have sought her removal even as the legislator air-dashed to Delhi to ease the State unit chief out of his office. Of the 61 district Congress presidents, 12, including R Mano (North Chennai), N Rangabashyam (Central Chennai) and V R Sivaraman (Kanchi North), have sought expulsion of S Vijayadharani from the party.On Saturday, State Mahila Congress President and MLA S Vijayadharani had alleged “harassment, use of filthy, abusive, and defamatory language” by Elangovan against her. She also wrote to the party top brass, seeking his removal.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent fall-out today, the 12 district presidents in a joint-statement said “Annai (Mother) Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi should take action against Vijyadharani and establish discipline in the party.She must be removed from her Mahila presidentship and basic membership.” They alleged that Vijayadharani was “haughty and contiuously functioning in a manner which besmirched Congress culture and had taken the matter to police which could be settled within the party.”On November 27, the MLA had sought action from Elangovan against those who had dumped a Mahila unit banner in the restroom. She had alleged that Elangovan rather than taking action had used filthy language and asked her to get out.Referring to this, the functionaries said action could be taken only on the basis of a formal complaint and cannot be done offhandedly.”We are in the process of sending a memorandum to the high command seeking Vijayadharani’s removal,” Elangovan confidant and Kanchipuram (North) Congress president V R Sivaraman told PTI.Vijayadharani, meanwhile, left for Delhi today and her supporters said she was “waiting to meet party chief Sonia Gandhi and Vice-president Rahul Gandhi to protect party interests and seek Elangovan’s removal.”Elangovan reiterated he did not use intemperate language against Vijayadharani. “I did not address her disrespectfully. Since she spoke loudly I asked her to not do it and since she continued, I asked her leave my room,” he told reporters adding “as she did not go out, I got out of the room.”Meanwhile, based on the complaint of Vijayadharani’s supporters, police have filed a case under IPC sections, inclduing 354, for using force to outrage the modesty of woman and 506 (1) for criminal intimidation against Elangovan.In a counter-complaint, Elangovan’s supporter Alice Manohari alleged that Vijayadharani and her party associates insulted her using casteist terms on November 27 here. A case has been registered under the Prevention of Atrocities against SC/ST Act against Vijayadharani. A top police official said FIRs had been filed and they are inquiring into the complaints, but declined to state if action was being contemplated.

Eight Indian fishermen arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters

Colombo/Rameswaram: Eight Indian fishermen were arrested on Sunday by Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly poaching in the country’s waters, the sixth such incident this month.

The fishermen were arrested along with their two trawlers this morning for fishing in the waters near the Delft islet in Jaffna, a Sri Lankan Navy official said.

Representational Image. AFPRepresentational Image. AFP

Representational Image. AFP

They have been handed over to the Fisheries and Aquatic Department officials in Karainagar in Jaffna, the official added.

The fishermen were almost near the Lankan coast when they were arrested, Rameswaram Assistant Director of Fisheries Gopinath said, adding that while four fishermen hail from Rameswaram, the rest are from Pudukottai.

On November 26, Lankan navy personnel arrested 15 Tamil Nadu fishermen on charges of allegedly violating the International Maritime Boundary Line.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi the same day seeking his intervention for release of fishermen arrested by the Lankan Navy and seized boats, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had said with the arrests continuing ‘unabated,’ it has created a sense of fear and unrest among the community.

The Navy had arrested 34 fishermen on different occasions earlier this month on charges of poaching in Lankan waters.

Today’s arrests followed the release of all 126 Indian fishermen last week who were in Sri Lankan custody for poaching in the country’s territorial waters.

Sri Lankan government says it is planning to introduce a new legislation to confiscate equipment of Indian fishermen poaching in the country’s waters.

PTI

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