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‘Sonia did not allow me to become PM in 1991, treats Congress like family fiefdom’: Pawar’s new book

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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.

Kerala House beef row: Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi faces tough questions from MPs in Parliament

The Parliamentary panel, which met in New Delhi to discuss the issue of ‘communal and social harmony’, also asked Mehrishi about the number of communal incidents which have taken place in the recent past.

Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi on Tuesday faced some tough questions from Parliamentarians over a Delhi Police “raid” on Kerala House canteen for allegedly serving beef. The Home Secretary assured the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home that he would get back with a detailed statement.The Parliamentary panel, which met in New Delhi to discuss the issue of ‘communal and social harmony’, also asked Mehrishi about the number of communal incidents which have taken place in the recent past. He was also asked to explain how the government defines a ‘major’ or a ‘minor’ communal incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We asked the Home Secretary how the Delhi Police could take such a step like raiding the canteen of Kerala House over allegations that beef was being sold there. He assured the Committee to get back with a detailed statement,” a member present in the meeting told PTI. The Home Secretary was also quizzed about attacks on Dalits in various parts of the country. Members pointed out that while victims of communal riots are paid compensation, no such practice followed by the Centre for dalits.Controversy had erupted over Delhi police personnel entering Kerala House on October 26 following a complaint that cow meat was being served there. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal had condemned the “raid”. Though Kerala House said cow meat was never on its menu, it stopped serving even buffalo meat for a couple of days.Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi had claimed the canteen was not raided and that the police were merely taking “preventive measures” based on a PCR call. The incident had come close on the heels of lynching of a Muslim man at Bishada village near Dadri in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he and his family had eaten and store beef.Police had detained Hindu Sena chief Vishnu Gupta for allegedly making a false complaint about beef being served at Kerala House.”Parliament did not run but the Standing Comtee (Committee) on Home Affairs had a purposive two-hour meeting. Should these be televised? Just asking,” panel member and TMC MP Derek O’Brien tweeted later.Last month, the top MHA official had faced criticism from MPs for his absence from the meeting of the committee.

Winter Session: Demand in Rajya Sabha for cricket ties with Pakistan

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla questioned why the government was not giving its nod to go ahead with cricket matches between India and Pakistan.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla, who is also IPL Commissioner, raised the issue in the context of a meeting between National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok on Sunday, a week after Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Paris.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Demand for resumption of cricketing ties between India and Pakistan had an echo in Rajya Sabha on Monday with a Congress member questioning why the government was not giving its nod to it.Rajiv Shukla, who is also IPL Commissioner, raised the issue in the context of a meeting between National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok yesterday, a week after Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Paris.”When Prime Ministers are meeting, Foreign ministers are meeting, foreign secretaries and NSAs are meeting, only the cricketers are not being allowed to play. Everyone is creating a problem on that. When mangoes and sarees are being exchanged and their trade is taking place and everyone between two countries are meeting, only cricketers are not allowed to meet and play. When everything is happening, why not allow the cricket teams to play also. Government should explain and come out with a statement,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to support it, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said, “I think that it is a suggestion on which government should have a positive reaction. Why not government should look into it?”Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Government will work in national interest. It is equally concerned about the national interest as Rajiv Shukla is.”The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has already written to the External Affairs Ministry seeking a nod for holding a cricket series in Sri Lanka. Government has, however, not taken any decision on the issue so far.

98% houses built under JNNURM and Rajiv Awas Yojana vacant

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

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

Executive’s power to remit sentence can’t be taken away: Supreme Court judges

Justices U U Lalit and A M Sapre, who concurred with other three judges led by Chief Justice H L Dattu on six questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Rajiv Gandhi, differed on the issue

Supreme Court

Courts cannot take away the statutory powers of the Centre and the states to grant remission to convicts, two judges of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said in a dissenting verdict.Justices UU Lalit and A M Sapre, who concurred with other three judges led by Chief Justice HL Dattu on six questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Rajiv Gandhi, differed on the issue and said the courts cannot quantify the jail term leading to a situation where Executive is stopped from exercising their power of remission provided under CrPC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In our view, it would not be open to the court to make any special category of sentence in substitution of death penalty and put that category beyond application of remission, nor would it be permissible to stipulate any mandatory period of actual imprisonment inconsistent with the one prescribed under Section 433A of CrPC,” Justice Lalit, who wrote 80-page long separate judgement, said. The verdict also said that the life imprisonment “means imprisonment for the rest of life or the remainder of life of the convict”.However, such a convict can “always apply for obtaining remission” either under the provisions of the Constitution or under CrPC and “the authority would be obliged to consider the same reasonably”. The three other judges namely CJI Dattu and justices FMI Kalifulla and P C Ghosh upheld the principles enunciated in the Swamy Shraddananda judgement which had said that “a special category of sentence may be made for very few cases where the death penalty might be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years” and they can put beyond the power of remission of the executives.Referring to the Shraddananda judgment, the majority view said that courts can ignore remission right in heinous crimes like mass murder and terrorism by awarding sentences ranging from 20 to 40 years unless it is not rarest of rare offences emitting death sentence.”We hold that the ratio laid down in Swamy Shraddananda that a special category of sentence, instead of death can be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or for a term exceeding 14 years and put that category beyond application of remission is well-founded and we answer the said question in the affirmative,” the majority judgement said.

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: SC says Tamil Nadu govt cannot release convicts without consent from Centre

“Tamil Nadu government cannot grant remission to convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case without concurrence of Centre. States do not have suo motu power to grant remission to convicts under CrPC provisions,” said the court.

Former PM Rajiv Gandhi

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said the killers of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi cannot be released by the Tamil Nadu Government without the Centre’s consent.The apex court said the killers of the former prime minister will stay in the jails of Tamil Nadu, thus overruling the state government’s decision to release the convicts. “Tamil Nadu government cannot grant remission to convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case without concurrence of Centre. States do not have suo motu power to grant remission to convicts under CrPC provisions,” said the court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It further added, “Centre will have primacy in granting remission to convicts in cases registered under central law and probed by central agencies like CBI.”The Supreme Court, however, refers to a three-judge bench the factual and legal aspects of grant of remission to convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.The Supreme Court was pronouncing its verdict on constitutional issues arising from Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, including the power of states to remit sentences.The bench, also comprising justices FMI Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and UU Lalit, had reserved the judgement on August 12 after hearing for eleven days the arguments advanced by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who appeared for the Centre, and others including senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and Rakesh Dwivedi, representing V Sriharan alias Murugan, one of the seven convicts, and Tamil Nadu government respectively. The court would be dealing with seven issues framed by the smaller bench on the scope of the Executive’s power of remission.It was also supposed to decide whether state governments also have power of remission in cases where central agencies like CBI are the prosecutor.”The issue of such a nature has been raised for the first time in this court which has wide ramification in determining the scope of application of power of remission by the Executives, both the Centre and the State.”Accordingly, we refer this matter to the Constitution Bench to decide the issue pertaining to whether once power of remission under Article 72 (by the President) or 161 (by Governor) or by this Court exercising Constitutional power under Article 32 is exercised, is there any scope for further consideration for remission by the Executive,” the apex court had said while referring the matter to the Constitution bench.It had said the Constitution bench would decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the government. The bench would also decide whether life imprisonment meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission, it had said.Another issue for the constitution bench to decide is whether a special category of sentence could be provided for cases where death penalty might be substituted by imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years and to put that category beyond application of remission.The bench is also supposed to decide whether the Union or the State has primacy over the subject matter enlisted in concurrent list of 7th Schedule of the Constitution for exercise of power of remission.During the hearing, Centre had said that repeated mercy pleas before the President and the Governor by convicts seeking remission or commutation of their sentences violated the principle of finality. It had also asserted that the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.The Tamil Nadu government, on other had, had asserted the states have power to grant remission under the law and trashed accusations that its decision to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case was “political and arbitrary”.The state government had wanted to know as to why Congress governments at the centre delayed the decision on their mercy pleas that led to commutation of their death sentence in the first place.Jethmalani, appearing for one of the convicts, had sought dismissal of Centre’s plea, contending that the citizens could file writ petitions for enforcement of their fundamental rights and “Union of India is not a citizen but State under Article 12; it has no such rights vested in it”. The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the state government’s decision to release three convicts – Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence had been commuted to life term by it two days before.It had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu.(With PTI and ANI inputs)

Present govt not doing enough to improve India-Pakistan ties, says former External Affairs Salman Khurshid

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “casual meeting” with Sharif on the sidelines of climate summit in Paris, Khurshid said such an engagement will have meaning only if the two countries are going to be “honest” and serious intention to make progress.
File Photo
PTI
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had “risked elections” to improve ties with India, former External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said expressing disappointment over the current government “not doing enough” in this regard.On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “casual meeting” with Sharif on the sidelines of climate summit in Paris, Khurshid said such an engagement will have meaning only if the two countries are going to be “honest” and serious intention to make progress. He dismissed criticism over his recent speech in Pakistan saying that he had instead urged the western neighbour to give up Kashmir. That was the major point of my speech and not criticising the Indian government, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have some personal knowledge through meetings and close observations that Nawaz Sharif risked his election when he said he wants better relations with India and will go the extra mile,” Khurshid said at the Times Litfest in New Delhi.The senior Congress leader said that when Sharif embraced Modi during his visit to India, “his intention was to find a solution. I was disappointed that the present government of India has not done enough.””I think that we need to know if there was a substantive conversation and if there is any indication of intent of seriously moving forward. Otherwise meeting is meaningless,” he said on the sidelines of the event.Khurshid also sought to distance himself from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement that the banning of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ by the Rajiv Gandhi government was wrong.”I don’t think it’s relevant to talk about what happened in the past. What is relevant is what we are doing today. If anything that happened 27 years ago is being repeated today then examine it in merits. What’s the point in going back in history?” Khurshid asked.He said there was some distance between the experience of Indian Muslims and what their counterparts are going through in conflict-ridden regions such as Syria and Iraq. The issue is “thankfully” not getting transmitted to them in India, he said.”Should they go out of their way and speak more vigorously and should they just ignore it as this is not a part of their lives? Although you have sprinkling of people who have joined the ISIS, I don’t think this a major concern for the psyche of the Indian Muslim which is a good thing,” he said.During a Q&A session, he also identified the first-past-the-post system as a major vice and insisted on the adoption of proportional representation. He also said that reservations, in their present form, had contributed to group identity.

Satanic Verses row: Chidambaram has proved Congress is an intolerant party, claims Kiren Rijiju

Chidambaram, who was a Minister of State for Home under the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when the ban was imposed in October 1988, said speaking at a litfest.

Kiren Rijiju

Amidst the ongoing debate over alleged intolerance, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday said former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement that banning Salman Rushdie’s book ‘The Satanic Verses’ was a mistake has punctured the Congress stand on the controversial issue.”The atmosphere of intolerance created by Congress was punctured by Chidambaram even before the discussion,” he told reporters as Lok Sabha took up the issue for debate. Rijiju, Union Minister of State for Home, said it has now proved that Congress has made a mistake by levelling the allegations that there was an atmosphere of “intolerance”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Congress itself is an intolerant party. Chidambaram has proved this,” he said. Twenty-seven years after the then Rajiv Gandhi government banned Rushdie’s controversial novel, Chidambaram had said on Saturday that it was “wrong.””I have no hesitation in saying that the ban on Salman Rushdie’s book was wrong,” Chidambaram, who was a Minister of State for Home under the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when the ban was imposed in October 1988, said speaking at a litfest in New Delhi.

Congress distances itself from Chidambaram’s remarks about Salman Rushdie’s book

Chidambaram had on Saturday said the decision of the Rajiv Gandhi government to ban Rushdie’s book ‘The Satanic Verses’ was wrong.

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Congress on Monday distanced itself from former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s statement that the banning of Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’ by the Rajiv Gandhi government was wrong.Describing Chidambaram’ remark as his personal view, senior Congress leader Kamal Nath on Monday said, “No question of a single person puncturing party’s stand. Congress’ stand is clear. Today what the country is confronted with is an assault on harmony,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”That is Chidambaram’s own view,” the former Parliamentary Affairs Minister said while replying to a query.Chidambaram had on Saturday said the decision of the Rajiv Gandhi government to ban Rushdie’s book ‘The Satanic Verses’ was wrong.”I have no hesitation in saying that the ban on Salman Rushdie’s book was wrong,” Chidambaram had said at the Times LitFest in New Delhi.

BJP asks Congress to be tolerant after Chidambaram’s remark on Satanic Verse ban

P Chidambaram

Congress leader P Chidambaram’s admission that the Rajiv Gandhi government’s decision to ban Salman Rushdie’s novel ‘Satanic Verses’ was wrong on Sunday found support from independent voices, while BJP wondered why it took him 27 years to say so and advised the opposition party to be a “little tolerant”.”The question arises that after close to nearly three decades why was there a need to do so (to admit the mistake). If it is reflective of Congress’ thinking, then one needs to see it in a larger perspective and everyone, which includes Congress particularly, needs to be a little tolerant,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He, however, said caution needed to be exercised by all as “Constitution puts reasonable restrictions on the freedom of expression”. Noted author Amitav Ghosh said he was glad that Chidambaram, who was Minister of State for Home in the Rajiv Gandhi government when it had banned Rushdie’s book in October 1988, accepted that it was a wrong decision.Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan said he agreed with Chidambaram entirely. “These kinds of books are literary pieces and in my view there is no occasion to ban such book,” he said. Congress leader Manish Tewari said the former Union minister was absolutely correct and that time had come for the country to move beyond proscribing books and other creative material. “We need to create tolerant ethos in this country,” he said.”I have no hesitation in saying that the ban on Salman Rushdie’s book was wrong,” Chidambaram had said on Saturday, speaking at a list-fest. He had also said the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi was also wrong and that the late prime minister had herself admitted as much.

Amarinder Singh’s remark an insult to anti-Sikh riot victims: HS Phoolka

On November 19, Phoolka had demanded that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of Bharat Ratna award as he had “justified” the killings in the over three-decade old riots. Rejecting the charge, Amarinder had said he did not take his demands seriously.

Image Credit: Facebook

Noted lawyer and crusader for justice to anti-Sikh riots’ victims H S Phoolka ON Saturday said Congress leader Amarinder Singh’s remark against him was an insult to the victims of the 1984 carnage. Phoolka also charged the former Punjab Chief Minister with speaking in favour of anti-Sikh riots accused Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath in order to grab the post of Punjab Congress President.”Amarinder has leveled an allegation against me that I have been making false statements pertaining to 1984 riots to grab the headlines in newspapers. By saying so, Amarinder has insulted the victims of anti-Sikh riots,” Phoolka said on Saturday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Before making such allegations, you must have thought about the victims who have been fighting their cases for so long,” said Phoolka, who had resigned from all posts held in Aam Aadmi Party in September but remains a member.On November 19, Phoolka had demanded that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of Bharat Ratna award as he had “justified” the killings in the over three-decade old riots. Rejecting the charge, Amarinder had said he did not take his demands seriously. “He (Phoolka) has been raising such things to get in the news for the last 31 years,” Amarinder had said.Phoolka alleged that Amarinder in an interview to a newspaper in May 2010 had said that Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath were wrongly implicated in anti-Sikh riot case.”A leader like you, who became Chief Minister, MLA… does not have the time to meet the victims of anti-sikh riots and is giving clean chit to Jagdish Tytler and Kamal Nath (in anti-Sikh riot cases) just to get the post of PPCC Chief,” he said.He also asked Amarinder to prove that a video of Rajiv Gandhi’s speech delivered on November 19, 1984 at Boat Club on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary was not authentic.In the video grab which was shown to media on Saturday, Gandhi was purportedly seen saying: “when the big tree falls, the earth shakes”, an apparent reference to the anti-Sikh riots. Phoolka, who unsuccessfully contested 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana, asked Amarinder to prove that he (Phoolka) had given wrong statements and that Jagdish Tytler was wrongly implicated, within 15 days.”Otherwise, I will intensify my campaign against him,” he said.

Watch: The shocking video where Rajiv Gandhi justified 1984 anti-Sikh riots

Rajiv Gandhi saying, “Bada ped girta hai, toh Dharti toh hilegi hi.” (When a big tree falls, the earth will shake)

File Photo

Recently, HS Phoolka, senior lawyer, AAP Leader and a social activist who has been fighting for the 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims released an old video which shows Rajiv Gandhi saying, “Bada ped girta hai, toh Dharti toh hilegi hi.” (When a big tree falls, the earth will shake)Phoolka also demanded that Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna be taken back. He was quoted saying: “A Prime Minister, who justified genocide and whose party was responsible for the massacre, can’t be a Bharat Ratna. We demand Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna’s be taken back.” Phoolka said at a press conference that, “In 1984, on this day, nation’s prime minister had justified the killing of 3, 000 Sikhs in his address at the boat club in national capital. He had said that when a big tree falls then the earth shakes. Instead of punishing the culprits of such mass murder, he was justifying it.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He added, “He not only failed to take action against accused Tytler and HKL Bhagat, he made them ministers in his cabinet. On November 16, 1984, the Home Minister of the country announced that the death toll in the Sikh riots was 684. It took him three years to realise how many had died after a report which assessed that 2733 Sikhs were killed”.Phoolka also claimed that the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress government had wiped the records of this remark. Watch the video below:

Rajiv Gandhi justified 1984 anti-Sikh riots; take back Bharat Ratna: HS Phoolka

BJP secretary RP Singh joined Phoolka at the press conference where they made the demand

HS Phoolka

ANI
Sikh riots’ victims activist and AAP member HS Phoolka on Thursday caused a flutter by demanding that former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi be stripped of Bharat Ratna award as he had “justified” the killings in 1984 carnage, a plea dismissed as cheap politics by Congress.BJP secretary RP Singh joined Phoolka at the press conference where they made the demand. The two leaders also released a video of Gandhi’s speech delivered this day in 1984 at Boat Club on Indira Gandhi’s birth anniversary in which he had said “when the big tree falls, the earth shakes”, an apparent reference to the anti-Sikh riots. “A Prime Minister who justifies the killing of innocent citizens, definitely does not deserve Bharat Ratna. We therefore call upon the government to withdraw the Bharat Ratna conferred upon Rajiv Gandhi,” Phoolka, a lawyer, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”A Prime Minister who takes three years even to count the dead bodies of innocent citizens killed in daylight in the capital cannot be a Bharat Ratna,” they said, holding Congress responsible for the massacre. “We demand Rajiv Gandhi’s Bharat Ratna be taken back.” They said they were unable to get the video of the speech as it was “deleted” from the records and archives of Doordarshan.To a question on his sharing the platform with a BJP leader, Phoolka, who had resigned from all AAP posts but remains a member, noted that leaders from several parties had helped him. Reacting sharply, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi described the demand as “petty, petulant and ridiculous” and called their charge against the late Congress leader “patently false”.Singhvi noted that several political careers had ended because of the “aberrations” in 1984 and noted Manmohan Singh as a Prime Minister had apologised and so had Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Former Punjab Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Amarinder Singh also rejected Phoolka’s contention and said he does not take his demands seriously. “He has been raising such things to get in the news for the last 31 years.” BJP, however, steered clear of Phoolka’s demand with party spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain saying everybody has right to air his opinion in a democracy.On a party leader joining Phoolka in making the demand, he said he also belonged to the same community whose thousands of members were killed for no fault of theirs. Those demanding that his Bharat Ratna be withdrawn also come from the same community, he said. Hussain, however, took a swipe at Gandhi, saying the country remembers his statement and people cite his comments during debate on tolerance and intolerance.

Diwali 2015: Fire crackers are as harmful as firearms, says Delhi High Court

Noting that there was a public outcry over the bursting of firecrackers, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also said firecrackers do not have any religious sanctity and they not only adversely affected the environment but caused various ailments.

Crackers are capable of causing harm like firearms and hospitals have to specially gear up for the “onslaught” on Diwali night, the Delhi High Court has said while rejecting a woman’s plea for a temporary licence to sell crackers in the national capital.Noting that there was a public outcry over the bursting of firecrackers, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also said firecrackers do not have any religious sanctity and they not only adversely affected the environment but caused various ailments. Hence, licences for their sale should be granted by following rational criteria, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I may add that it is not as if firecrackers are capable of any less harm than an arm within the meaning of Arms Act. Owing to less stringent control on use, firecrackers are available far more easily than an arm and are rampantly used and which has over the years resulted in incidents of fire and injury caused by firecrackers, on the occasion of Diwali, having become a routine affair and multiplying annually.”So much so that the city hospitals have to gear up for the onslaught and to be in a state of preparedness, especially on the night of Diwali. Certainly, none can claim a right to burst firecrackers at the cost of injury to another,” the court said. The court’s observation came while declining to interfere with Delhi police Commissioner’s October 31 decision to refuse Temporary Fireworks Licence to Manisha Sharma for sale of fire crackers in the national capital.”Inspite of the Supreme Court having limited number of hours during which the firecrackers can be burst/displayed on the festival of Diwali, the same remains more on paper than in fact, owing to the implicit difficulties in enforcement. “The only way of enforcement is to limit the availability of firecrackers in the city,” the judge said, adding that “I am of the view that it is not in public interest for this court to direct the authorities concerned to grant temporary licence to sell firecrackers when the authorities have refused the same to the petitioner.”

Waqf Board moves Delhi HC against AAP govt decision to supersede it

The court decided to hear both the matters together after lawyers appearing for the Board sought a passover as their main counsel had not arrived.

The court decided to hear both the matters together after lawyers appearing for the Board sought a passover as their main counsel had not arrived.

Delhi Waqf Board has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the AAP government’s decision of transferring its powers and duties to the revenue department of the city administration for six months. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, before whom the matter was listed, adjourned it to November 5 to be taken up with another plea moved by the Board for directors to the Delhi government to notify that its Chairperson has been elected.The court decided to hear both the matters together after lawyers appearing for the Board sought a passover as their main counsel had not arrived. DWB has challenged the October 8 notification by which the Delhi government has with immediate effect “superseded” the Board for a period of six months.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The notification has also stipulated that “in accordance with Section 99(2)(b) of the Waqf Act, 1995, all the powers and duties of the Board under the provisions of the Act will be exercised and performed by the Secretary (Revenue) Government of NCT of Delhi”.

Congress veteran ML Fotedar discloses Indira Gandhi invited him to work with her

The Congress veteran said Indira Gandhi used to take his advice on key decisions.

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
Recollecting his association with the Nehru-Gandhi family, Congress veteran ML Fotedar recalled how former prime minister Indira Gandhi had invited him to Delhi to work with her.”After Pandit ji, I came in contact with Indira ji. She used to come to Kashmir. She used to visit Pahalgam. She used to stay there also. But generally she used to stay in Srinagar guest house, a place where generally leaders from Delhi would come and stay. Chinar leaves would fall on the grass. Indira ji asked me when that season would start. She would come to Kashmir during that season,” he told ANI in an exclusive interview ahead of the release of his book ‘Chinar Leaves’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In 1980 when Indira ji became the Prime Minister, I was working in her constituency. In two elections, I worked there for three-four months. She brought me to Delhi. She said “you work here”. I said yes. The next day I told her that I would like to go to Kashmir and bring my things with me. So, I brought my family also. I left Srinagar permanently. From `80s, we are staying here. For four years I stayed with Indira ji. I would not call it as political secretary, but just like a secretary. But it was a political work that I used to do. She asked me to stay in Delhi and I stayed in Delhi till she was alive,” he added..The Congress veteran said Indira Gandhi used to take his advice on key decisions.”I cannot say that I made people ministers. I did what Indira ji asked me to do. She asked me to see who should be the minister from which state and why. If a minister has to be made for Delhi then who should it be and why. I had to see this completely. I used to give a list to Indira ji and she used to make them ministers. This is what Indira ji did,” he added.Fotedar further said that one cannot compare Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv.”First, he (Rajiv Gandhi) wasn’t ready to become the Prime Minister or a MP. But I made him ready. He became an MP and learnt how the Parliament operates. And after that he became the Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, he did great work. He solved many issues,” said Fotedar.”I worked with Rajiv ji for six months and after that he said he did not want me to work in his office. He wanted me to become an MP and then a minister. I told him that I wanted to sit at home. But he refused and made me the MP and then a minister,” he saidRecalling his conversations with Rajiv Gandhi, Fotedar said the former prime minister did not want to appoint him as the political secretary because he considered him to be his ‘guru’.”You become a minister in my government and I am making you an MP also. I think in 1987 I became a minister and an MP. I remained that for about 11 and a half years and I served the people and then I shifted to Gurgaon,” he added.Fotedar said that he persuaded Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take over as the party chief post Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.”After Rajiv ji, we were worried as to who will lead. We could not see anyone in the Congress Party who could become the leader. We had great leaders at the state-level, but we did not have an all-India leader. Then my eyes fell on Sonia ji and after a lot of persuasion she agreed to become the president of the Congress Party,” Fotedar said.”We thought of making her the Prime Minister but she did not agree. She did stay Member of the Parliament but did not become the Prime Minister. She wanted someone else to become the Prime Minister. This is the story of 1998. Sonia ji became the leader of the parliamentary party, but she made Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister for ten years,” he added.

Rahul Gandhi’s leadership credentials will be challenged: Veteran Congress leader ML Fotedar

Rahul is a reluctant politician like his father Rajiv Gandhi and has his “limitations” as he has not been groomed for the job unlike his father whom Indira Gandhi herself groomed, says veteran Congress leader M L Fotedar in his yet to be released book “The Chinar Leaves”.

A close aide of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi has come out in the open to question the leadership credentials of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and says it is only a matter of time when it will be challenged within the party along with that of his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi.Rahul is a reluctant politician like his father Rajiv Gandhi and has his “limitations” as he has not been groomed for the job unlike his father whom Indira Gandhi herself groomed, says veteran Congress leader M L Fotedar in his yet to be released book “The Chinar Leaves”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fotedar, who rose to become a Union Minister, also makes critical remarks about Sonia saying despite her many virtues, political management is not one of them and her obsession to promote Rahul further created problems in the party.Amid a raging debate on when Rahul would take over the reins of Congress, Fotedar, in the HarperCollins publication, says Rahul had a “certain stubbornness” and his motivation to become a leader was “not very strong”.”Rahul Gandhi’s leadership is unacceptable to the people of this country and Sonia Gandhi has her best years behind her. The party has no one to provide direction. It refuses to learn.”It has made wrong choices while appointing opposition leaders in both Houses of Parliament. It has made wrong choices about how to deal with the challenges in the Assembly elections. In fact, there is nothing right which the party has done or is doing. It saddens me that the Nehru Indira legacy has reached a cul-de-sac,” he said.He goes on to add that “Since Soniaji still is the unchallenged leader of the party, it should be her responsibility to reinvent the party. Blaming Rahul in a way is shifting the blame from the Congress president to someone who has yet to display his leadership skills.”History is threatening to repeat itself. It is a matter of time before Soniaji’s and Rahul’s leadership is challenged from within the party. I will be observing closely how they stand up to this looming challenge, because Sonia is not Indira and Rahul is not Sanjay,” the Congress leader said.On Sonia, the former Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist said she will go down in history as the longest serving Congress president “even if not the most distinguished”.’Fitoor’ ignited passion iFotedar said when Sonia took over as the party chief in 1998, the party was on the verge of disintegration and she helped to rebuild it from a position where its seats had come down to about 116.The veteran Congressman, who is still a CWC member, said the supreme irony is that sixteen years later the party is again on the verge of collapse. “However, this time there is no saviour.”Fotedar’s book also highlights how in contrast to Rajiv Gandhi, Rahul does not possess that kind of experience as his formative years were marred by seclusion owing to security concerns.”Rahul needed more exposure and grinding to become ripe for the top job. Also, there was nobody to tutor or mentor Rahul. Sonia Gandhi is not Indira Gandhi and was herself dependent on so many people for what she should do,” he said, adding that many of those who advised her were as ignorant as her on many issues.”Rahul had a certain stubbornness and his motivation to become a leader was not very strong. People around Soniaji secretly did not wish him to succeed because they realized that if Rahul grew as a leader they would themselves become irrelevant.”The dilemma before Soniaji was that on the one hand she could not do without her coterie while on the other hand she had an overriding desire to see her son succeed in politics,” he said.Fotedar also says there were too many vested interests all around and Sonia was reluctant to accept her responsibility for the decline of the Congress in the war of perceptions.”Soniaji has many virtues but political management is not one of them. What she acquired over time she could not hold on to either because she lacked skills herself or those from whom she sought advice lacked them. The result was that the party started disintegrating.”Her obsession to promote Rahul further created problems, with those close to her and those close to Rahul working at cross purposes. By the time the 2012 Assembly elections took place, the writing was on the wall: the Congress was on its way out in the 2014 parliamentary elections, if it did not take corrective steps,” he said.Fotedar said sycophants around the Congress president tried to create a perception that the increase in the number of seats for the party in previous elections was on account of the active participation of Rahul Gandhi in campaigning and his appeal as a youth icon.”Soniaji allowed this perception to gain ground, thereby denying due credit to Dr Singh. It was abundantly clear that Soniaji had made up her mind to foist Rahul Gandhi on the party and the country and was waiting for the right time.”In my judgement Rahul Gandhi had not been groomed for the job and was totally reluctant to take on the responsibility,” the Congress elder said.Fotedar, who has been sidelined by the party ever since Rajiv Gandhi’s death after he was repeatedly ignored even for a Rajya Sabha berth, said in the book that he did not fit in with the new scheme of things of Sonia as she feared that he was not a sychophant and will not hesitate to tell the truth.”Maybe she had strong apprehensions that I would not approve Rahul’s candidacy for the prime minister’s post largely because of his limitations and mainly because Indiraji had clearly indicated that Priyanka was to be her political heir eventually,” he said.The Congress leader also hit out at his detractors saying he was never going to be part of Sonia’s preferred list of advisers, who, he said, were there due to her patronage rather than for their contributions to party.

Scindia scuttled Manmohan Singh’s chances of becoming PM in 1999: Book

On April 17, 1999, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, which had managed to complete one year in office, lost its majority in Parliament by just one vote and the question of a successor government arose.

Manmohan Singh could have become Prime Minister of India in 1999, six years earlier, but his party colleague Madhavrao Scindia conspired to rock his boat. Amongst many revelations, made by senior Congress leader Makhan Lal Fotedar in his yet-to-be released book ‘The Chinar Leaves’ it is stated that Scindia was extremely peeved at Congress president Sonia Gandhi conveying to President K R Narayanan that the government would be headed by Singh, and not by her. Scindia was killed in a plane crash on the outskirts of Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh on September 30, 2001, nearly three years before Singh took over as the PM in 2004.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On April 17, 1999, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, which had managed to complete one year in office, lost its majority in Parliament by just one vote and the question of a successor government arose. On April 21, 1999, Sonia Gandhi met President Narayanan to formally stake her claim to form the next government, when, according to Fotedar, she asked the President to appoint Singh as the next PM. But, Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had been professing his support to Sonia, suddenly did a volte-face and refused to back her. He instead floated the name of Jyoti Basu.But Fotedar has now disclosed that Scinda was actually behind the volte-face by Yadav. “He (Scindia) asked his good friend Amar Singh, who was also close to Mulayam Singh, to review the decision of supporting the Congress-led government. The rest is history,” writes the senior Congress leader, who has been out of active politics ever since Sonia Gandhi took over reins of the party. Recalling his tenure within the grand-old party, Fotedar says, in 1990, Rajiv Gandhi was not preferred as the Prime Minister by President R Venkataraman who was backing Pranab Mukherjee. Further, he also corroborated Natwar Singh’s account that Sonia Gandhi vacated the opportunity of leading the nation in 2004, not due to a personal conscience but allegedly under ‘family pressure’. Vekatraman also had a dislinking for Chandrashekhar, who ultimately became PM on November 1990, but lasted only till June 1991, forcing fresh elections. “I knew in my heart of hearts that this government was going to be more unstable than the VP Singh government. But I believed that the timing of the next elections would be determined by the Congress rather than the Prime Minister,” writes Fotedar.As soon as Chandrashekhar took charge, his differences with the Congress started coming to the fore. The economy of the country was in a shambles and there seemed no remedy in sight. The Congress had its reservations when American aircraft refuelled on Indian soil after the commencement of the Gulf War in January, 1991. The final straw was when a few months later, two sub inspectors of Haryana CID were found snooping on Rajiv Gandhi’s residence at 10 Janpath. This led the Congress to withdraw support and elections were subsequently announced.Fotedar has written about Indira Gandhi’s wish in seeing her granddaughter Priyanka joining active politics at a later date. He had conveyed Indira’s will subsequently to Rajiv Gandhi, who chose not to give any reaction and merely said, “So this is what mummy said”. Fotedar also informed Sonia Gandhi about Indira Gandhi’s desire soon after she took over as the Congress president, but she did not seem too happy as she had already made up her mind to induct her son Rahul instead.Fotedar has also recalled that he had warned PV Narasimha Rao about the RSS conspiracy to target the Babri Masjid. He notes that had Arjun Singh resigned over the Babri issue, he would have in all probability been the Prime Minister.Claiming his role in the ascendence of Ahmed Patel, Oscar Fernandes, and Tarun Gogoi, shrewed Fotedar, a Kashmiri Pandit, who enjoyed huge influence over the corridors of power by advising Indira Gandhi and Rajiv also played the most important part in forcing Sitaram Kesri to relinquish the office of the Congress president. A dejected Kesri told him that what he had done was not right as “Yeh aurat tumhe kuch dene wali nahin hai (This woman will not do anything for you).” Kesri was proved right, Sonia Gandhi soon after taking reins marginalised Fotedar to the sidelines.

Indira Gandhi’s close aide says she preferred Priyanka as her political successor

Indira’s long time political advisor also said that the former prime minister saw potential in Priyanka and was certain that she had the ability to become a great leader.

Indira Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi

Congress veteran and former PM Indira Gandhi’s close aide ML Fotedar has claimed that Indira had predicted her death days before she was assassinated and wished her granddaughter Priyanka Gandhi to step in her shoes.Indira’s long time political advisor also said that the former prime minister saw potential in Priyanka and was certain that she had the ability to become a great leader and carry forward her political legacy.According to a report published in an English daily, Fotedar said that Indira had told him that the next century belonged to Priyanka.He said that three days before Indira was assassinated, they were both in Kashmir where one day after visiting a temple there they sat there and relaxed, it is then when began talking to him about Priyanka and her potential.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Fotedar further sad, “I was taken aback by the manner in which she opened up. Maybe she had a premonition that her end was imminent and she felt the need to talk about her desire to see Priyanka become a leader. I felt her words were really important. That night, I wrote down every word she said that day about Priyanka.”Although, he said that Sonia Gandhi did not seem to agree with Indira’s suggestion. He said, “After Indiraji’s death, I told Rajiv [Gandhi] about Indira’s views on Priyanka. I have also told Soniaji about Indiraji’s desire to see Priyanka as a leader. I do see a lot of similarity between Indiraji and Priyanka. I feel Priyanka has the same aggression that Indiraji had as a leader. The Priyanka we are seeing today is nothing. Just wait and watch. As Indiraji said, the next century belongs to Priyanka​.” Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, 1984 in Delhi. The Gandhi loyalist, ML Fotedar’s recollection of the olden times will be soon released in his book Chinar Leaves on October 30.

In a veiled attack on PM Modi, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi calls him ‘arrogant’

Speaking at a launch of a book ‘Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India’ by technocrat Sam Pitroda, Gandhi said his father, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Pitroda despised mediocrity and would not only get disturbed by it, but also attempt to “murder the mediocrity”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that some people little bit and suddenly become arrogant and don’t talk to others with respect, comments which could be seen as a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Speaking at a launch of a book ‘Dreaming Big: My Journey to Connect India’ by technocrat Sam Pitroda, Gandhi said his father, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Pitroda despised mediocrity and would not only get disturbed by it, but also attempt to “murder the mediocrity”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He (Sam Pitroda) did the telecom revolution. He worked with the Prime Minister (Rajiv Gandhi). He worked on the Knowledge Commission. But for me, I haven’t seen much change in Sam. In our country people achieve little bit and suddenly they become arrogant. They don’t talk to people with respect. They have airs about them. I have not seen that in Sam. He is still the same,” Gandhi said.Pitroda said for making the ‘Make in India’, an ambitious project initiated by Modi, successful, it is necessary to build infrastructure like good roads, power and have skilled labour.Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recalled his association with Pitroda and said the journey from a small village in Odisha to become a leading technocrat in the country was indeed remarkable.A key policy maker when it came to technology during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure, Pitroda played a key role in the telecom revolution of the country. He also headed the Knowledge Commission during the tenure of Manmohan Singh.

Chennai: Protesting college students injured after caning by cops

The students protested in front of their college when the college management rejected their demand to conduct students’ union elections on Monday.

Representational image

The city police were called in to reign in protests by students of the Presidency College on Monday. The police caned the protesting students and as a results eight students were injured, The New Indian Express report.The students protested in front of their college when the college management rejected their demand to conduct students’ union elections on Monday.The injured students were taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital. Some of the students were arrested. The report adds that students complained that they were ruthlessly caned by the cops. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is reportedly not the first time the students have protested asking for students’ union elections. Three months ago, candidates had been shortlisted for the college union posts but the college allegedly rejected some candidates who had political backing. The college management wanted some of their candidates to be supported by students.P Uchi Makali, state president, Students Federation of India (SFI), told the daily that without a students’ union they were wary of raising issues as the college might take disciplinary action or reduce their internal marks.

Louis Berger case: Prosecutor accuses Churchill Alemao’s daughter of threatening him

Alemao’s daughter Sharon Alemao however denied the allegations.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Rajiv Gomes, the special public prosecutor in the Louis Berger bribery case, on Tuesday alleged that Sharon Alemao, the daughter of former Goa PWD minister Churchill Alemao, threatened him outside the court.Alemao who has been charge-sheeted in the case is in judicial custody. He has filed a fresh bail application before the special anti-corruption court in Panaji.Gomes, appointed as the special prosecutor in the case, said the incident took place after today’s hearing.”One lady who was sitting in the co-driver’s seat (of an SUV) who I recognised as Sharon Alemao…pointed a finger at me and said: ‘I will take care of this guy’,” Gomes said in his complaint.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It appears that the said statement was made to me in order to instill fear in me not to discharge my duty freely,” Gomes said, adding, his assistants had witnessed the incident.The Panaji police, however, are yet to register a case. Inspector Siddhanth Shirodkar said they were still examining the complaint. When contacted, Sharon Alemao said the accusation was false and intended to tarnish her image. She had no occasion to run into Gomes anytime during the day, she said.

Delhi police arrest man who shot himself at Rajiv Chowk Metro station

New Delhi: The 22-year-old man who allegedly shot himself at Rajiv Chowk Metro station has been formally arrested by Delhi Police on Sunday.

The accused, identified as Shibesh Adhikari, is suspected to be mentally unstable and has given inconsistent details about the sequence of events, a senior police official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A police team led by the Station House Officer(SHO) of East Delhi’s Yamuna Bank police station has been sent to his native village in Uttar Pradesh to collect more information, which is crucial to the probe, according to the official.

The man claimed that he accidentally shot himself as he was on his way to “assassinate” a person who was about to “blow up” Delhi Metro.

According to police, Sridesh boarded a train from Chandni Chowk station (on Yellow Line) and was on his way to Noida (on Blue Line). While changing train at Rajiv Chowk, he went to a secluded corner and allegedly tried to shoot himself on his head but he missed the target and the bullet grazed past his shoulder.

After the incident, he was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital and was headed for a surgery. He was discharged on Saturday, following which he was formally arrested on Sunday, the officer added.

PTI

Home Ministry likely to reject recommendation for abolition of death penalty

Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other senior officials had detailed discussions on the Law Commission’s report supporting abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases

The Home Ministry is likely to reject Law Commission’s recommendation for abolition of death penalty, maintaining that time was not ripe yet to remove it completely from the statute book keeping in mind the threat from terrorism.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other senior officials had detailed discussions on the Law Commission’s report supporting abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases. “Discussions within the Ministry as well as with the Law Ministry are continuing and a final decision is expected to be taken this week. In all probability, the recommendation for abolition of death penalty will be rejected,” a senior Home Ministry official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Officials are of the opinion that time has not come yet to do away with capital punishment as threat of terrorism to India continues. In its report, the Law Commission had recommended by a majority “swift” abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases, noting it does not serve the penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment. The recommendation by the 9-member panel was, however, not unanimous, with one full-time member and two government representatives dissenting and supporting retention of capital punishment.Two government appointees on the law panel — ex-officio members P K Malhotra (Law Secretary) and Sanjay Singh (Legislative Secretary) had given their dissent notes. Besides them, Justice (Retd) Usha Mehra, a permanent member of the panel too had opposed it. A copy of the report was also submitted to the Supreme Court by the Commission as the apex court had asked the panel to examine the issue.In 1967, the Commission in its 35th report had supported continuation of death penalty.Registering his dissent, Law Secretary Malhotra had said Parliament in its wisdom has prescribed death penalty only in heinous crimes. “The need of the hour is to retain it…We have a vibrant judiciary which is respected world-over. We should have faith in the wisdom of our judges that they will exercise this power only in deserving cases for which the law is well laid down in various judgments…,” he said.Legislative Secretary Singh had maintained the panel should not recommend something which has the effect of preventing the state from making any law in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of the country.The Commission had said there is a need to debate as to how to bring about the “abolition of death penalty in all respects in the very near future, soonest.”

Did the Indian army plan to topple the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1987?

Citing book of Hoon ‘The Untold Truth’, the report also claims that the plan was hatched on the behest of few very senior politicians.

In a sensational claim that may bring into limelight cracks in the relationship between the army and the ruling class in the past, a former Army commander has claimed that there was a plan to topple Rajiv Gandhi’s government in 1987. An army coup was planned to execute the operation, reports a leading daily.According to the report, Lt. Gen. PN Hoon has alleged that former Army chief General Krishnaswami Sundarji and former vice chief of Army Lt. Gen. S F Rodrigues, who went on to become Army chief were also involved in the plot. Citing Hoon’s book, The Untold Truth, the report also claims that the plan was hatched at the behest of a few senior politicians.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It also states that President Giani Zail Singh had blamed Rajiv Gandhi for corruption and negligence​ in his farewell function hosted by the then Punjab Governor in 1987. Singh also believed Rajiv was not sympathetic towards the victims of anti-Sikh riots of 1984.When Hoon received a message that a letter had been received at command headquarters from army HQ seeking three para-commando battalions, Hoon immediately briefed Rajiv and his principal secretary Gopi Arora about the development.”I also explained to them how dangerous this move could be, not only for the country, but also for our political system,” report quotes Hoon as saying. According to Hoon, the late VC Shukla, who was one of the members of Rajiv’s cabinet, was aware of all the developments. According to Hoon, Zail Singh didn’t proceed with the plan as he thought the baton of power may formally shift to the armed forces. However, not all agreewith Hoon’s sensational claim. In the report, Air Marshal Randhir Singh, a veteran of many wars, disagrees with Hoon and says there had never been any attempt at military coup.

Man shoots himself in Delhi’s metro station

The youth is said to be a native of Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh. Initial probe reveals he was headed to a private hospital in the city where his father is admitted. Police are also scanning the CCTV footages of the two metro stations to ascertain the exact sequence of events.

In what could be a major security breach, a 22-year-old youth shot himself inside the centrally located Rajiv Chowk metro station on Thursday night. The youth, identified as Shibesh, was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital with a bullet injury to his shoulder. The youth is said to be a native of Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh. Initial probe reveals he was headed to a private hospital in the city where his father is admitted. Police are also scanning the CCTV footages of the two metro stations to ascertain the exact sequence of events.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Metro Authorities told dna questioning of some passengers has revealed that the youth boarded a metro train from Chandni Chowk metro station and if these claims are found to be true, it could effectively mean that the man sneaked in a pistol into a metro train compartment. “The man suddenly shot himself near gate number three inside Rajiv Chowk metro station around 9.30 pm. Security personnel rushed him to a hospital,” said Hemendra Singh, PRO (CISF). According to police the youth made no attempts to shoot anyone else and the situation was normalised soon. Police also said that no suicide note was recovered from Shibesh’s possession so far.

Better late than never, say commuters on 7/11 Mumbai train blasts verdict

Several suburban railway commuters on Wednesday welcomed the verdict in 2006 Mumbai train blasts case but felt that the punishment for the dastardly act came too late.

2006 Mumbai train blasts

Several suburban railway commuters on Wednesday welcomed the verdict in 2006 Mumbai train blasts case but felt that the punishment for the dastardly act came too late.”This justice is a bit delayed, but not denied. Our judiciary has given a message to all that whosoever are guilty of such heinous crimes, won’t be spared. I hope that now the departed souls (victims) are at peace,” said chartered accountant and Western Railway (WR) commuter Nagesh Dubey.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Echoing same sentiment, fashion designer Sajida Noorani said that those who killed 189 people without any reason “have no right to live” and wished that all the 12 convicted in the case would have got death penalty.Another WR commuter and sub-broker in the stock market here, Pramod Harlalka said, “Had the verdict come in the first few months of the blasts, then it would have acted as a deterrent. I think the judgement should have come earlier.” Terming the sentencing as “better late than never”, suburban passengers’ representative in WR, Rajiv Singal said, (all) these are those people who should not be getting less than capital punishment.”Divya Trivedi, another WR commuter questioned the “callous” approach of the government to deal with such terror acts and said, “Now time has come when government should come out with such a provision that it gives punishment to the traitors like this instantly. There is no point in hanging only a few conspirators while rest of them are let to live.” The 7/11 serial bombings that ripped through Mumbai trains had left 189 people dead and 829 injured after seven RDX bombs blew up as many peak hour suburban trains on the Western Railway in a span of 10 minutes in 2006.On Wednesday, nine years after the tragedy, a special MCOCA court sentenced five of the 12 convicted in the case to death while the remaining were awarded life imprisonment.

PM Modi’s barbs damaging country’s image: Maharashtra Congress

He recalled that when late Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, he requested the then opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee to lead the Indian delegation overseas on quite a few occasions.

PTI
Maharashtra Congress on Monday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for targeting it on foreign soil, saying his barbs were doing harm to the country’s image rather than the party.Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil said instead of speaking about the country’s views on foreign policy, the Prime Minister was targeting his country’s opposition.”It does harm to the country’s image rather than the Congress party. More than a year has passed…but looks like Modi is not yet out of the Lok Sabha election campaign mode,” Gadgil, also a AICC media panel committee member, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He recalled that when late Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, he requested the then opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee to lead the Indian delegation overseas on quite a few occasions.”The maturity shown by Rajivji (Rajiv Gandhi) and Vajpayeeji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) is not seen in Modi,” he added.Criticising Modi, the Congress leader said ,”Modi’s previous foreign trips have not resulted in anything concrete. Only positive outcome is that it is adding to his frequent flier miles.”Taking a swipe at the Congress President’s son-in-law Robert Vadra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said in the US that there were allegations of politicians and their families making crores of rupees while his government has no graft charge.”In our country it doesn’t take much for allegations to come up against politicians… Someone made 50 crores, someone’s son made 250 crores, (someone’s) daughter made 500 crores, (someone’s) damaad (son-in-law) made 1000 crores,” Modi said while addressing the Indian community at the SAP Centre in San Jose, California.

PM Modi should have credited Rajiv Gandhi for India’s IT revolution, say Tewari, Dikshit

Another Congress leader, Sandeep Dikshit, said nothing was wrong with the Prime Minister speaking about the development of information technology in the nation, but he should have given credit to Rajiv Gandhi.

Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital India reiteration made in San Jose, California, Congress leader Manish Tewari on Sunday said the current government is only reaping the benefits of the very solid foundations in the telecom arena, or in the entire mobile technology sector, which were laid by successive governments, especially Congress governments between 1991 and 1996.”If India has become a success in the field of telecom, the credit for that should go to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who actually laid the foundations of the entire information and technology revolution of this country. The credit should go to every government since 1996, which ensured that there would be a proliferation of mobile technologies across the country, whereby we will be able to offer the lowest cost for both voice and data to millions and millions of people,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another Congress leader, Sandeep Dikshit, said nothing was wrong with the Prime Minister speaking about the development of information technology in the nation, but he should have given credit to Rajiv Gandhi.”As far as the permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council is concerned, it will not be right to consider the UNSC beyond a level, because the UN’s role has not been the same as it was earlier,” said Dikshit.Both views from the Congress Party were expressed following Prime Minister Modi’s interactions with heads of IT magnets such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and Adobe to seek their support for realising the ‘Digital India’ dream.

Not so holy after all: Couple dragged out of guest house, thrashed in Haridwar

Haridwar: A young couple was allegedly dragged out of a guest house in Piran Kaliyar area in Haridwar and beaten by a mob, following which a case was registered against 12 people and two of them were arrested on Wednesday.

According to a report in Times of India, the couple were harassed and beaten up to “keep the reputation of the holy town of Piran Kaliyar in Haridwar district intact”.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The incident occurred on 16 September but police swung into action on Wednesday after a video of the incident went viral on social media sites on Tuesday.

Station in-charge, Piran Kaliyar police station, Rajiv Rauthan said that around 12 people, including Sanwar, Nafroz, Sajad and Mahroom have been booked in this connection.

Out of the 12, two have been arrested, an official at Roorkee Civil Lines police station said.

The police action is based on a video which went viral recently showing a mob attacking a young couple near the dargah, he said.

The video showed a young couple being dragged out of a guest house in Piran Kaliyar by a mob which abuses them and beats them up while they pleaded with it to let them go. The entire act was recorded and uploaded on the mobile messaging app, police said.

Meanwhile, locals alleged that some of the guest houses in the holy town are being misused by unwed couples. The couple was taught a lesson because of this, they added.

With inputs from PTI

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

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

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

Four more die of dengue in Delhi, death toll climbs to 20

New Delhi: Four more persons succumbed to dengue in the capital, taking the death toll to 20, prompting the Delhi government to approve nearly 800 additional beds in 48 private hospitals as the city’s health facilities crawled under heavy rush of patients affected by the disease.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Facing criticism for failing to control the situation, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reached out to the Opposition parties seeking their suggestion to deal with the crisis.

The latest victims of dengue included 11-year-old Mohammad and a 12-year-old girl Kiran Kumari.

Apart from them, 17-year-old Rishabh, a resident of New Seemapuri in north-east Delhi, died at Max Super-Speciality hospital in Ghaziabad on Thursday. His family alleged medical negligence and claimed they were charged exorbitant fees by the hospital.

Rishabh’s uncle said he was treated in three different hospitals and all of them charged hefty amount. He alleged the Max hospital, where he died, refused to hand over the mortal remains as they demanded payment of Rs 80,000 but settled at Rs 18,000 after knowing that media was aware of it.

The hospital, however, said, “On request of the family, a significant amount was waived in view of their economic condition.”

Mohammad, from Bijnor in Uttar Pradesh, Kiran, a resident of Nangloi in Outer Delhi, and Rahisha (37), from Dwarka, died of dengue at RML hospital yesterday.

Chief Minister Kejriwal inspected two East Delhi hospitals to take stock of dengue preparedness. He made rounds of Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital. He opened 200 beds at the latter as part of the government’s move to add 1,000 similar beds by Sunday.

“We are launching 200 beds at Rajiv Gandhi hospital today. For now, doctors and nurses from GTB Hospital will work here,” he said. The government had yesterday set up another 200-bedded facility at an upcoming hospital in north-west Delhi.

As the situation worsened, Delhi government decided to immediately increase 795 beds in 48 new private hospitals and nursing homes on a temporary basis by granting them provisional registration certificates for three months.

PTI

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

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

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

Ravi Shankar Prasad defends govt’s decision to discontinue Indira, Rajiv Gandhi stamps

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday defended its decision to discontinue stamps of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi under the definitive series saying that postage stamps should honour leading lights of the nation and not members of one family.

The stamps of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi. AgenciesThe stamps of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi. Agencies

The stamps of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi. Agencies

Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that on the advice of the Philatelic Advisory Committee, it has been decided to issue definitive series of stamps in the honour of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Shivaji, Maulana Azad, Bhagat Singh, Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohia, Vivekananda and Maharana Pratap.

“In the definitive stamp series, the focus was on one family…though other names were there. Mahatma Gandhi was there, Maulana Azad was there. Dr Ambedkar was there. Dr Bhabha was there.

“Here the entire definitive series is an inclusive series which seeks to encapsule the contribution of all the leading lights of the freedom movement including Jawaharlal Nehru. We have been most liberal and understanding in giving due recognition to people of different ideology and approaches.

All of them have contributed in a very significant way to make modern India,” the minister said.

On whether there was a proposal to remove the name of Indira Gandhi from inland letters, Prasad said the advisory committee has suggested Yoga and but no decision has yet been taken.

Congress on Tuesday criticised the government’s decision to discontinue postal stamps issued in memory of Indira and Rajiv saying it was a “sinister attempt to erase the memory of the two martyr Prime Ministers of the country”.

In addition to the use of postage stamps for regular use under the definitive series, the government also issues commemorative postage stamps.

PTI

Sonia said she married Rajiv Gandhi because he was a ‘handsome young man’: Pak ex-FM Khurshid Kasuri

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

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

Sonia Gandhi married Rajiv because he was a “handsome young man”, according to an account by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri who cites a light- hearted quip made by the Congress President. Kasuri meeting with Sonia in 2005 finds mention in his new book ‘Neither A Hawk Nor A Dove’ while talking about then President Pervez Musharraf’s 2005 visit to India. In the book, he remembers receiving Sonia, the Congress Party President, when she called on Musharraf. Sonia seemed rather reserved when she came for the meeting, Kasuri writes. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He says in the book that he received her in the waiting room prior to the meeting with the President. She was accompanied by Natwar Singh. “I thought I could cheer her up and mentioned that while I was at Cambridge, I remember strolling with Sohail Iftikhar (son of Mian Iftikhar-ud-Din, who had been a prominent Congress leader and a friend of both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru). “And seeing a handsome young man walk from the opposite direction on the Kings Parade. When I asked Sohail who this young man was, he whispered to me that his name was Rajiv and that he was the grandson of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” Kasuri writes. “The moment Sonia heard me refer to Rajiv as a handsome young man, she broke into a broad smile and said good humouredly, ‘That is why I married him’,” Kasuri says.Referring to another interesting event during the 2005 visit, the former foreign minister writes about the last one-day match between India and Pakistan in Delhi. He says that “when we arrived at the Ferozeshah Kotla Ground, Sonia Gandhi and Foreign Minister Natwar Singh were already present. A carnival atmosphere prevailed in the stadium, with a fair Pakistani presence loudly cheering Shahid Afridi in full swing. I had the odd feeling that his shots were aimed in our direction. Foreign Minister Singh light-heartedly commented, ‘Aap Afridi ko bhee apnay sath hee lai jaen’ (Take Afridi back home with you),” Kasuri writes.He says that unlike the cheering Pakistani crowd in the general stands, the Indians and Pakistanis in their enclosure were polite and restrained in their reactions. “As the match entered an interesting stage, President Pervez Musharraf expressed his desire to delay leaving the stadium for his meeting with Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh (who was sitting next to him). The President suggested to Prime Minister Singh that they should return to the stadium at the end of their scheduled meeting at Hyderabad House. Before long however, President Musharraf and I received chits informing us that the match had ended earlier than anticipated, with Pakistan not only winning the match hands down but also clinching the series,” Kasuri says.

24.8% rise in top salary offer at IIM Calcutta

The average salary for the eighth batch of Post Graduate Programme for Executives (PGPEX) also saw an upward graph climbing 21.6 % from the last year.

IIM Calcutta
File Photo

The campus placement for IIM Calcutta’s one-year residential programme for executives has witnessed a rise of 24.8 % in the top salary offered to the students, as compared to the last year.The highest annual salary package has been offered at Rs 33.7 lakh per annum. The average salary for the eighth batch of Post Graduate Programme for Executives (PGPEX) also saw an upward graph climbing 21.6 % from the last year to Rs 22.69 lakh per annum. In the batch of 50 students, a total of 54 offers were made to 44 candidates, out of which three joined their previous organisations while one opted out.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A total of 55 companies, including Accenture, Amazon, Dell, Microsoft, Google, Ford Motors (IT), Snapdeal, Atos Consulting, Deloitte Touche, Oracle, CESC, Omni Active and Micromax, participated in the placement hiring process for mid-management to senior management-level jobs. IT/consulting and IT products firms led hiring, with 12 and 10 offers each, followed by e-commerce companies that came up with eight offers. Other sectors that hired aggressively included Analytics, KPO, Power, BPO and real estate. The roles offered to students ranged from mid-management to senior-management level with designations like Assistant General Manager, Solution Architect Director, Senior Principal Consultant, DGM Finance among others. “Corporates seem to increasingly value the rigorous and best-in-class education obtained after excellent track record of work experience,” Chairperson, Career Development & Placement Office at IIM Prof Rajiv Kumar told PTI. “As the placement statistics show, industry seems to increasingly prize such talented and committed people. The senior roles that the students of graduating batch have bagged convey the confidence industry has posed in the ability of PGPEX students of IIM Calcutta to contribute toward organizational growth,” Kumar added. PGPEX with dual accreditation of AACSB and AMBA, has an international dimension in the form of a two weeks immersion in Europe/US to understand international economies, network and visit to notable companies, he said. AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) based in Tampa, Florida, with an Asia office in Singapore) and AMBA (Association of MBAs) based in London are the influential business school accreditation associations.

SDM order does not affect land leased to Rajiv Gandhi Trust

Asked about the order, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said the Trust “has explained itself very very clearly”. “It runs a self-help group system that is the largest in Uttar Pradesh. They have created SHGs for over 1.4 million women.

court

A revenue court on Wednesday ordered return of the land given on lease to a cycle company back to Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation (UPSIDC), an order that does not affect the lease being enjoyed by the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust.The order passed by sub-divisional magistrate, Gauriganj, Vandita Srivastava corrects certain errors in the land records entered fraudulently by some officials pertaining to the land given on lease to Samrat Cycles. The order would have the effect of preventing Samrat Cycles from disposing of the land in any way. The SDM’s order referred to an earlier high court order which had upheld the lease in favour of Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT) on Feb 27 this year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asked about the order, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said the Trust “has explained itself very very clearly”. “It runs a self-help group system that is the largest in Uttar Pradesh. They have created SHGs for over 1.4 million women. They have transformed lives of millions and millions of women there. So Mrs Irani should go into the details of what work they have done and exactly what they are doing before she says anything,” he told reporters in Jammu.Accusing the BJP of spreading “fake propaganda” and “falsehoods”, the Congress party said the SDM’s order has upheld the right of lease Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) and permission granted to it as also execution of lease deed in favour of RGCT on 27/02/2015″. “Correction of revenue record by SDM upholds the right of RGCT as a lessee of the land for remaining period of the 90 years lease”, party’s chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a statement in Delhi.Quoting from a copy of the order, he insisted that the SDM has also ordered correction of revenue record in favour of UPSIDC (Uttar Pradesh State Industrial Development Corporation) and it does not in any way meant return of the lease land with RGCT land to the UPSIDC. He said that as per directions of Delhi High Court, RGCT took possession of the land and assets on 26.08.2011.Delhi High Court proceeded to approve the transfer deed in favour of the RGCT only in 2015, whereupon, this land was registered in the name of the RGCT at the office of Sub Registrar, Gauriganj, District Amethi on 27.02.2015. “As the legal transfer has been effected only on 27.02.2015 i.e. recently and property was in a state of disuse, RGCT will proceed to undertake further activity in due course of time.””RGCT is only entitled to retain the property for the remaining period of 55 years and has effectively stepped into the shoes of the Company in terms of the auction conducted by Delhi High Court”, he said. Surjewala said that the “unquestionable facts prove the apparent falsehood of BJP’s allegations”. Two days back, Union HRD Minister, Smt. Smriti Irani levelled allegations in Amethi relating to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT), which were “as false as her claims to multiple educational degrees”, he said.

Gandhi family has done a lot for nation, says Hanumantha Rao

“Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life for country, even Rajiv ji,” he added.

Three generations of Gandhi family couldn’t fulfil aspirations of Amethi.

Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao on Sunday lashed out at Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani for her remarks on ‘Gandhi family’, saying that the family has done a lot for nation. “Every time she goes to Amethi, she wants to criticise Rahul Gandhi and Indira Gandhi family. I cannot understand why she is criticising….If it is Amit Shah or Narendra Modi, then we can reply… Earlier Sushma Swaraj used to criticise Gandhi family, now Amit Shah has given this work to Smriti Irani, it is not a new thing, we are ready to counter,” Rao said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This family has done a lot for this country, Indira Gandhi sacrificed her life for country, even Rajiv ji,” he added. Irani had earlier in the day lashed out at the Gandhi family for not fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Amethi. “The people were expecting railway line to Amethi, three generations of Gandhi family couldn’t fulfil it,” said Irani while addressing a rally in Amethi.

Rahul marks 71st birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi by giving away customised vehicles to disabled

Every year Rajiv Gandhi Foundation felicitates persons with disabilities.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today gave away 100 customised two-wheelers to persons with disabilities to mark the 71st birth anniversary of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was born on August 20.Rahul Gandhi handed over the key of vehicles to each of the 100 people, almost all of whom were in their 20s and 30s, and enquired about their well-being and future plans as organisers recalled his father’s vision to help persons with disabilities become self-dependent.During his interaction, he congratulated many of them on their impressive educational qualifications and applauded the courage of many others on their hard work despite their physically challenges.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Every year Rajiv Gandhi Foundation felicitates persons with disabilities. Rahul is a trustee of the foundation.

Dynasty Part III: Rare footage of Rajiv Gandhi’s entry into Indian politics

The video released by AP Archive shows rare glimpses of Rajiv, Sanjay and Indira Gandhi.

File Photo of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

Lok Sabha bypolls in 1981 was crucial for two reason for erstwhile prime minister Indira Gandhi; First, It was an ideal ground to estimate people’s reaction about her as it was the first election after she was re-elected a year ago, and second, this by-poll was to ascertain the fate of her political heir. Rajiv Gandhi was that heir who stepped in to contest from Amethi.News agency AP’s documentary starts with the victory of Rajiv Gandhi in the Amethi LS bypoll. This 12 minute-long-video has been released on You Tube on Friday that gives you rare glimpses of Indira, Rajiv and Sanjay Gandhi. You might struggle with the voiceover in the video at some places, but despite that it’s worth a watch.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the beginning of the documentary Rajiv Gandhi is seen being greeted by the people after his victory in Amethi. In 1980, it was his brother Sanjay Gandhi who people had elected and it was clear as water by then that Sanjay would carry on the legacy of Indira Gandhi. At that point of time Rajiv Gandhi, a professional pilot, had focused more on his family than politics. But things changed suddenly following the untimely death of Sanjay Gandhi in an air crash on June 23, 1980 after which Rajiv had to step in.This documentary also shows scenes of Sanjay Gandhi campaigning in Amethi. Sanjay was not only considered a natural successor of Indira but also the most trusted associate as well as advisor. Sanjay’s funeral procession and his last rituals are also a part of this video that also shows controversial guru Dheerendra Brahmchari, known to be very close to the Gandhi family.If you continue to watch the video, you will find Indira Gandhi campaigning for her son Rajiv. There is a small interview of Rajiv Gandhi in this video where he tells the interviewer his three main priorities for Amethi; road, irrigation and reclaiming wasteland. And before the video ends, you will also find a young Mulayam Singh Yadav delivering a furious speech from Amethi that didn’t really help him.

Rajiv Gandhi remembered by PM Narendra Modi and other leaders on Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders paid a tribute to Rajiv Gandhi on his 71st birth anniversary on Twitter.

File Photo of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

On the 71st birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee and other leaders took to micro-blogging website Twitter to pay their tributes to him.Rajiv Gandhi took office right after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984. In the following elections, the Congress under Rajiv swept to power winning 424 seats in the Lok Sabha.Initially considered a people’s leader, Gandhi faced many controversies during his tenure – most notably the Bhopal Gas tragedy, the Shah Bano case and the Bofors scandal. The Ram Janmabhoomi issue also began to rear its head during his tenure. Moreover, the anti-Sikh riots that began after Indira Gandhi’s assassination led to accusations against some Congress leaders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nevertheless, he was a youth icon during his time and is sometimes credited for the advent of the era of computerisation in India.Rajiv Gandhi’s decision to send IPKF to Sri Lanka as a peacekeeping force during its war with the LTTE caused significant controversy. He was assassinated in 1991, two years after leaving office.On his 71st birth anniversary, various high ranking politicians remembered him on Twitter. Twitterati in general also joined in paying homage.The National Students’ Union of India also remembered the former PM The Indian National Congress also paid their tributes to the former party president. Other State ministers and officials also posted their tributes on Twitter. The former PM was remembered by several other people on TwitterWhile a few remembered him in a different way

Parliament session ends on a bitter note

Congress says it will move a privilege motion against Sushma Swaraj for her remarks against late PM Rajiv Gandhi

The three-week Monsoon session of Parliament was lost in the logjams that ended on Thursday on a bitter note. The last day of Monsoon session saw demonstrations by both the ruling BJP and main opposition Congress.While no business transacted inside House, with both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha adjourning sine die at noon, the real action had shifted outside Parliament.The Lok Sabha witnessed the Congress members jumping into the well once again, protesting against Prime Minister Modi’s absence in Parliament and demanded the resignations of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and two other ministers. Congress, however, left the House after 25 minutes of the noisy scenes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress indicated, it will move a privilege motion against external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj for her remarks against late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Sushma tore into the Congress, saying it had helped Bofors accused Ottavio Quattrocchi and Bhopal gas leak accused Warren Anderson to flee from India.Congress spokesman and former union minister P Chidambaram reminded Sushma that Delhi High Court had absolved Rajiv Gandhi from all charges related to Bofors in 2004, during previous NDA tenure. He also challenged the government to release his three letters he had written to his UK counterpart, as finance minister in Lalit Modi case. “I deliberately didn’t ask for extradition, as that amounted to walking into a legal trap. It takes years to settle cases of extradition in British courts. I asked for deportation, which was an administrative matter,” he said.The Congress MPs of both the House later held a demonstration at noon in the Parliament House complex under Mahatma Gandhi’s statue to protest against Modi’s silence over their demands. An hour later, the BJP MPs and ministers, led by patriarch Lal Krishna Advani and home minister Rajnath Singh, held a “save democracy” march from Vijay Chowk on the Rajpath to Parliament House to condemn the Parliament blockade by the Congress.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi continued his tirade against the government outside Parliament. Wanting to know why the PM was ‘afraid’ to speak, he told reporters that “we now know that he doesn’t have the guts” and so the Congress will increase its assault on the PM running away from a debate. He challenged the PM that if he has guts, he should bring back Lalit Modi to India and clear all the black money scams in cricket. “This is a big opportunity for him,” Rahul said throwing an open challenge to Narendra Modi.

I-Day preparations: Unlike last year, PM Modi may stay inside bulletproof shield at Red Fort

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi surprised everyone on Independence Day when he gave his speech at the Red Fort without the usual bulletproof glass enclosure, which has been constantly used since the first time it was used for Rajiv Gandhi at the 1985 Republic Day parade.

PM Narendra Modi. Reuters

PM Narendra Modi. Reuters

However, after the Gurdaspur terror attack in Punjab, recent incidents of militancy in areas of Jammu and Kashmir like Pulwama, repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan and the hanging of 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memonh, the security establishment has strongly urged PM Modi to stay within the glass shield.

“This time, we want the bullet-resistant glass enclosure back in its place to ensure better security for the PM, who continues to face threats from terrorists and extremists. As of now, no final decision has been taken on its insertion but we continue to insist,” Hindustan Times quoted a home ministry official as saying.

The report added that last year, the glass enclosure had been removed hours before the PM’s speech on his request so that he could ‘directly connect’ with the audience. However, this year, PM Modi might have to make his speech inside the glass enclosure since “intelligence agencies have assessed Modi to be the most threatened PM after Rajiv Gandhi,” according to the HT report.

The situation indeed looks tense ahead of the 69th Independence Day as security has been tightened across Punjab, especially in border districts in the wake of Gurdaspur terror attack last month, besides Haryana and Chandigarh.

A massive security alert had also been sounded on Tuesday in four northeastern States after separatist rebels announced a boycott of Independence Day celebrations on 15 August.

On Monday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had warned that some terrorists groups are trying to destabilise peace in the state before Independence and had said she had received a detailed input from the Intelligence Bureau in this regard.

Talking to reporters at the state secretariat before leaving for New Delhi, Banerjee had said, “An alert has been sounded at airports, railway stations, important public places and all vital installations across the state.”

(With inputs from PTI)

Rajiv Gandhi allowed Warren Anderson to flee in a quid-pro-quo pact with US: Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj referred to then Madhya Pradesh chief minister late Arjun Singh’s autobiography in which he wrote about Rajiv Gandhi whispering in his ear to release Anderson and that what he was told will always remain secret and vanish with his death (Mere saath chita me bhasm ho jayega.) Sushma said the secret, however, fell out after six months.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday attributed the mysterious escape of Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson from India after the December 2, 1984 gas tragedy in his chemical factory in Bhopal to a quid-pro-quo by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to secure freedom to his childhood friend jailed in the U.S. for 35 years. Swaraj taunted Rahul Gandhi to ask his mother, “Mumma, Mumma, how my father released murderer of 15,000 people.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>But who was this childhood friend? Swaraj mentioned that Rajiv was keen to secure the release of his friend’s son Adil Shahryar who was serving 35 years in a US jail. She quoted Arjun Singh’s book, which claimed that Rajiv Gandhi had ordered him to make arrangements for Anderson’s safe passage to the US. Shahryar is the son of India’s former ambassador to Spain and long time chairman of the Trade Fair Authority of India Muhammad Yunus, relative of iconic leader Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, who though a leader of Congress stayed in Pakistan after partition. Shahryar was a boyhood friend of Rajiv Gandhi. Shahryar was arrested in August 1981 by Miami state authorities on charge of attempting to set fire to his room at the Sheraton Beach Hotel. He was soon remanded in custody of US authorities.Anderson was arrested in Bhopal on that fateful day, only to be bailed out, put on the State plane to fly to New Delhi from where he flew to the U.S. same evening, never to return to India to stand trial in the lethal gas leak from his factory that killed over 3,000 and maimed not less than 50,000 people.Sushma Swaraj referred to then Madhya Pradesh chief minister late Arjun Singh’s autobiography in which he wrote about Rajiv Gandhi whispering in his ear to release Anderson and that what he was told will always remain secret and vanish with his death (Mere saath chita me bhasm ho jayega.) Sushma said the secret, however, fell out after six months.Rajiv Gandhi had allowed Anderson to flee as a “quid-pro-quo” arrangement with the United States on giving Presidential pardon to Adil Shahryar. In Sushma’s word, Adil sentenced to 35 years for various crimes was given a Presidential pardon by US President Ronald Reagan on June 11, 1985, the day Rajiv Gandhi landed in the U.S. Rajiv Gandhi brought back Adil to India in exchange of Anderson, she added.

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: State can suspend and remit sentences on its own, Tamil Nadu tells SC

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the state governments can on their own decide to suspend or remit sentences of convicts and the statutory powers to grant mercy to them is not dependent on conditions. “We do not have to wait for any application. The state government can exercise the power under the CrPC if situation demands. Power to grant mercy cannot be based on conditions,” the counsel for Tamil Nadu told a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, representing Tamil Nadu, referred to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure to buttress the point that the state government is empowered to take a call in certain cases and Centre should not tread into its territory.

AFP image.AFP image.

AFP image.

“When any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence, the appropriate Government may, at any time, without conditions or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced,” one of the parts of Section 432 of CrPC reads.

Dwivedi, dealing with the relevant legal provisions, said that the state government may require the opinion of the presiding judge of the court which had confirmed the sentence of the convict before taking a decision on remission pleas.

The words — “may require” — make the conditions optional, the lawyer told the bench which also comprised Justices F M I Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and U U Lalit.

The bench is going into the maintainability of the Centre’s petition opposing Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case after remitting their life sentences

Besides the maintainability of the plea, the bench would also decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by the state government.

It would also decide whether life term meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission. Earlier, Tamil Nadu government had trashed accusations that its decision to release seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts was “political and arbitrary”.

Tamil Nadu had also asked why Congress governments at the Centre had delayed the decision on mercy pleas that led to commutation of their death sentence in the first place.

“Why UPA-I and UPA-II did not hang the killers of Rajiv Gandhi in ten years of its rule?” the counsel for the state had posed. The apex court had on June 28 rejected the curative petition of the Centre against the commutation of death penalty into life imprisonment of three convicts in the case.

The review pleas, challenging the commutation of death penalty to life term of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, were dismissed by the court in February last year on the ground of 11-year delay in deciding their mercy petitions.

The three convicts are lodged in a Vellore prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. The court would resume hearing tomorrow.

Earlier, the Centre had asserted that the killers of Gandhi did not deserve to be shown any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.

Among the seven convicts, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Robert Pious and Jaya Kumar are Sri Lankan nationals, while female convict Nalini, Ravichandran and Arivu are Indians.

The court, on a plea of the erstwhile UPA government, had on February 20 last year stayed the state government’s decision to release Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentences had been commuted to life term by it.

It had later also stayed the release of four other convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, noting there were procedural lapses on the part of the state government.

Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on 21 May, 1991.

PTI

Rajiv Gandhi assassination case: Tamil Nadu slams Congress-led UPA govts

Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said Tamil Nadu has been wrongly accused of taking a “political, arbitrary and whimsical” decision.

Rajiv Gandhi

File Photo
Trashing accusations that its decision to release seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts was “political and arbitrary”, Tamil Nadu on Tuesday wanted to know in the Supreme Court why Congress governments at the centre delayed the decision on their mercy pleas that led to commutation of their death sentence in the first place. “Why UPA-I and UPA-II did not hang the killers of Rajiv Gandhi in ten years of its rule?” the counsel for Tamil Nadu asked a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench, also comprising Justices F M I Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghosh, Abhay Manohar Sapre and U U Lalit, is going into the maintainability of the Centre’s petition opposing Tamil Nadu government’s decision to set free the convicts after remitting their life sentences in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said Tamil Nadu has been wrongly accused of taking a “political, arbitrary and whimsical” decision.”Politics is not the dirty world. All political parties said don’t hang them. People, all MLAs, opposition were against the hanging,” he said. “How could it be ignored that none from the opposition raised objection,” he said, adding that the Central government, which did not take a decision on their mercy pleas during 2000-2012, cannot accuse the state dispensation of arbitrariness. “You listen, consider the mercy pleas, and do not hang them. Then you are merciful. When we do this, then it becomes arbitrary and whimsical,” Dwivedi said. The apex court had on June 28 rejected the curative petition of the Centre against the commutation of death penalty into life imprisonment of three convicts in the case.The review pleas, challenging the commutation of death penalty to life term of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, were dismissed by the court in February last year on the ground of 11-year delay in deciding their mercy petitions. The three convicts are lodged in a Vellore prison. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.During the day-long hearing, Dwivedi said the state is empowered to consider changes in “factual and material circumstances” of the case and the convicts.

More peace, less militancy: What the historic Modi govt-NSCN (IM) pact means for NE India

Troubled lands of the North East seem to have enthralled Indian prime ministers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special interest in the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Issac-Muivah faction named after Isak Swu and T Muivah, which culminated in the Centre-NSCN (IM) accord on 3 August must be giving a déjà vu feel to Northeast-watchers as Rajiv Gandhi too had kept North East very high on his priority list and signed a historic accord with rebels from another northeastern state – Mizoram.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Interestingly, both Modi and Rajiv signed historic northeast-specific accords in the second year of their prime ministership. This is Modi’s moment in the sun as Rajiv Gandhi had his in 1986 when he had signed the Mizo peace accord with the then Mizo rebel leader Laldenga who soon thereafter went on to become the chief minister of Mizoram.

The Centre-NSCN(IM) accord, which had been eluding for over six decades and now puts an end to India’s longest running insurgency, is PM Modi’s first major foray into the cobweb of militancy in the North East. It has been made possible as a result of sustained work done PM Modi himself taking personal interest. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, aided by RN Ravi, Centre’s interlocutor for talks with NSCN (IM) and former Joint Director in-charge of the North East in Intelligence Bureau, played a pivotal role in the signing of this accord.

The prime minister gave an indication of his special interest over the issue in his remarks after witnessing the signing of the accord at his official residence 7, Race Course Road. He said: “Since becoming prime minister last year, peace, security and economic transformation of North East has been amongst my highest priorities. It is also at the heart of my foreign policy, especially the ‘Act East’ Policy. I have been deeply concerned about resolving the Naga issue. Soon after entering office, I appointed an interlocutor for talks with the Naga leaders, who not only understood the Naga people as also their aspirations and expectations, but has great affection and respect for them. Given the importance of this initiative, I asked my office to supervise these talks and I personally kept in touch with the progress.”

The historic Centre-NSCN(IM) accord will have many strategic fallouts.

One, the development will have a huge impact on the law and order situation in many northeastern states, not just Nagaland, where NSCN(IM) wield lot of influence. It means that insurgency in many parts of northeast will now come down substantially.

Two, it will isolate the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, known as NSCN(K), and will put more pressure on NSCN(K) to come around and accept India as their country and bring peace to the state.

Three, it will be an effective counter to the north-eastern militant outfits’ move of trying to put up a united front and emerge as a bigger body. Just about three months ago, a new umbrella group called United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) was formed with Khaplang as its head. UNFLW is an alliance formed by NSCN(K), United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa-Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit (NDFB-S) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

The major terror attack in Manipur in June this year, which triggered Indian military operation in Myanmar soon thereafter, was the handiwork of UNLFW. It was the first major operation of the UNLFW and declared the intent of the new outfit.

However, the biggest benefit of the Centre-NSCN(IM) accord will be with respect to China.

There have been reports that China is back to covertly aiding and abetting insurgent outfits in the northeast. The new outfit, UNLFW, is also known to have blessings of China.

Monday’s development will send a signal to China as well. Accord with NSCN(IM) will inevitably lead to better and real time intelligence which will keep China wary. This is especially because NSCN(IM) was the first north-eastern insurgent outfit which had established contact with China, a fact acknowledged by Muivah also in one of his many on-record interviews.

Moreover, NSCN(IM) used to procure weapons from China and thus obviously would be a treasure trove of intelligence in this context.

(The writer is Firstpost Consulting Editor and a strategic analyst who tweets @Kishkindha.)

More peace, less militancy: What historic Modi govt-NSCN (IM) pact means for NE India

Troubled lands of the North East seem to have enthralled Indian prime ministers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s special interest in the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), Issac-Muivah faction named after Isak Swu and T Muivah, which culminated in the Centre-NSCN (IM) accord on 3 August must be giving a déjà vu feel to Northeast-watchers as Rajiv Gandhi too had kept North East very high on his priority list and signed a historic accord with rebels from another northeastern state – Mizoram.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTIPrime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi witnessing the exchange of historic peace accord between government of India NSCN(IM) in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Interestingly, both Modi and Rajiv signed historic northeast-specific accords in the second year of their prime ministership. This is Modi’s moment in the sun as Rajiv Gandhi had his in 1986 when he had signed the Mizo peace accord with the then Mizo rebel leader Laldenga who soon thereafter went on to become the chief minister of Mizoram.

The Centre-NSCN(IM) accord, which had been eluding for over six decades and now puts an end to India’s longest running insurgency, is PM Modi’s first major foray into the cobweb of militancy in the North East. It has been made possible as a result of sustained work done PM Modi himself taking personal interest. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, aided by RN Ravi, Centre’s interlocutor for talks with NSCN (IM) and former Joint Director in-charge of the North East in Intelligence Bureau, played a pivotal role in the signing of this accord.

The prime minister gave an indication of his special interest over the issue in his remarks after witnessing the signing of the accord at his official residence 7, Race Course Road. He said: “Since becoming prime minister last year, peace, security and economic transformation of North East has been amongst my highest priorities. It is also at the heart of my foreign policy, especially the ‘Act East’ Policy. I have been deeply concerned about resolving the Naga issue. Soon after entering office, I appointed an interlocutor for talks with the Naga leaders, who not only understood the Naga people as also their aspirations and expectations, but has great affection and respect for them. Given the importance of this initiative, I asked my office to supervise these talks and I personally kept in touch with the progress.”

The historic Centre-NSCN(IM) accord will have many strategic fallouts.

One, the development will have a huge impact on the law and order situation in many northeastern states, not just Nagaland, where NSCN(IM) wield lot of influence. It means that insurgency in many parts of northeast will now come down substantially.

Two, it will isolate the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, known as NSCN(K), and will put more pressure on NSCN(K) to come around and accept India as their country and bring peace to the state.

Three, it will be an effective counter to the north-eastern militant outfits’ move of trying to put up a united front and emerge as a bigger body. Just about three months ago, a new umbrella group called United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) was formed with Khaplang as its head. UNFLW is an alliance formed by NSCN(K), United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa-Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Songbijit (NDFB-S) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

The major terror attack in Manipur in June this year, which triggered Indian military operation in Myanmar soon thereafter, was the handiwork of UNLFW. It was the first major operation of the UNLFW and declared the intent of the new outfit.

However, the biggest benefit of the Centre-NSCN(IM) accord will be with respect to China.

There have been reports that China is back to covertly aiding and abetting insurgent outfits in the northeast. The new outfit, UNLFW, is also known to have blessings of China.

Monday’s development will send a signal to China as well. Accord with NSCN(IM) will inevitably lead to better and real time intelligence which will keep China wary. This is especially because NSCN(IM) was the first north-eastern insurgent outfit which had established contact with China, a fact acknowledged by Muivah also in one of his many on-record interviews.

Moreover, NSCN(IM) used to procure weapons from China and thus obviously would be a treasure trove of intelligence in this context.

(The writer is Firstpost Consulting Editor and a strategic analyst who tweets @Kishkindha.)

Hindu terror remark: BJP polarising nation through religion, alleges Congress

Congress Party has always been against terrorism, be it Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, north eastern states or the states sharing borders with our neighbours. We have seen our sitting Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi martyred to terrorism. We have seen the death of Ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at the hands of terrorists. We have seen many leaders, MLAs, MPs, etc losing their lives to extremism and terrorism. But BJP does not need to lecture us, he added.

The Congress Party on Saturday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) allegations of coining the term Hindu terrorism, saying that Home Minister Rajnath Singh is quoting the ex-UPA home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s comment out of context and also alleged that the BJP Government was polarising the nation in the name of religion.The comment of the then Home Minister is being quoted out of context. It is a deliberate attempt on the part of the government, it is the deliberate attempt on the part of the BJP, it is the deliberate attempt on the part of Home Minister, for various reasons- to divide the country, to take up the debate between two religions, to divert the attention of the people from its failure to effectively counter the threat of terrorism, to abuse and to use the parliamentary forum, to abuse and defame its opponents, particularly the Congress Party, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad told the press conference.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress Party has always been against terrorism, be it Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, north eastern states or the states sharing borders with our neighbours. We have seen our sitting Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi martyred to terrorism. We have seen the death of Ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at the hands of terrorists. We have seen many leaders, MLAs, MPs, etc losing their lives to extremism and terrorism. But BJP does not need to lecture us, he added.The former Minister of Health and Family Welfare insisted, I would like to say that since this BJP Government has come into power, there is so much polarization in the country, across the country. Even in Jammu and Kashmir, there might have threat of terrorist, there might have been terrorism, but there was never a polarization. The moment BJP became art of the coalition government, the polarization in a big way has hit Jammu and Kashmir.Earlier, hitting out the Congress, the Home Minister said the term Hindu terrorism coined by the previous UPA government had weakened the fight against the scourge by diverting the direction of probe into the incidents of terrorism.

Try those who sympathised with Yakub Memon as enemy of the state, says Shiv Sena

Mumbai: Lashing out at those who sought leniency for Yakub Memon, the Shiv Sena on Friday demanded they should be “tried for being enemies of the country” and also asked the government to ensure that the 1993 serial blasts convict does not become a martyr in the eyes of people.

Saamna editor Sanjay Raut. Image courtesy- ibnliveSaamna editor Sanjay Raut. Image courtesy- ibnlive

Saamna editor Sanjay Raut. Image courtesy- ibnlive

The souls of all those affected by the 1993 bombings will be at peace only when its main conspirators and mastermind – Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim – are brought back to the country and sent to the gallows, the Sena said.

“Around 50 people had written letters asking for mercy to be shown towards Yakub Memon. These people had not lost anyone in the Mumbai attacks and were thus pleading for leniency. But, the President and the Supreme Court did not listen to them and dismissed their petitions keeping the sentiments of the country in mind,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

“All those who asked for mercy to be shown towards Memon should be tried for being enemies of the country,” it asserted. “Memon has been hanged, and now government should take firm steps to ensure that no efforts are made to project him as innocent or martyr before the people,” the Sena demanded.

The Mumbai serial blasts was an attack on the country by Pakistan, the Sena said and added that the neighbouring country has long been planning terror strikes against India.

“Dawood and Tiger are in Pakistan. Yakub too ran away to Pakistan and returned later. What is the point in showing mercy just because he came back to India? There was strong proof against him and his lawyer tried his best to save him,” the editorial said.

The ruling alliance partner also suggested a debate on the fate of the killers of ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.

“One point which (Asaduddin) Owaisi made is worth thinking about. The killers of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and ex-CM Beant Singh are living after being given death sentences because the respective state governments are against their killing,” it said.

“There can be a discussion on this and a legal battle can also be fought. But only on these grounds mercy cannot be granted to someone responsible for hundreds of deaths in the Mumbai bomb blasts,” the Sena said.

PTI

Jammu and Kashmir Independent MLA detained after rally against Yakub hanging

Rashid, along with his associates, were taken into preventive custody after they took out the protest march near the Clock Tower at the commercial hub of Lal Chowk here, officials said.

Police on Thursday detained Independent MLA from north Kashmir’s Langate constituency, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, after he took out a rally here to protest the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon and against the prevalence of capital punishment.Rashid, along with his associates, were taken into preventive custody after they took out the protest march near the Clock Tower at the commercial hub of Lal Chowk here, officials said.They said Rashid and others were taken to Kothi Bagh Police Station.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Raising slogans against the prevalence of capital punishment and the hanging of Memon, Rashid said, “We want that capital punishment be abolished all over the world. This black, blind and deaf law be abolished.”Criticising the Centre on Memon’s hanging, the MLA asked why the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh were not hanged.”I want to ask (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi as to why the killers of Rajiv Gandhi were not hanged? Or why there is no hanging for the killers of Beant Singh? We are not saying that they should be hanged. Kashmiris are against capital punishment. But you did not even handover the body of Afzal Guru (the Parliament attack convict who was hanged in 2013),” he said.

Yakub Memon hanged: Four lessons India can learn from the execution

The clinical execution early on Thursday of Yakub Memon, one of the masterminds of the 1993 Mumbai blasts which left 257 dead, brings out the hidden strengths of the Indian state. The judiciary stood like a rock behind its judgments and decisions in Memon’s case, including his final petition on Wednesday (29 July) that was probably intended to delay the inevitable. The executive handled the sensitive issue sensibly and cleanly. The lawyers of Memon fought tooth-and-nail to save their client, and the Maharashtra government and Nagpur jail authorities did their duty with firmness and care.

Unlike the UPA, which failed to follow basic courtesies like informing the family in the case of Afzal Guru’s hanging, the NDA government in Maharashtra did not act in a cowardly fashion and has allowed Memon’s family to claim the body and conduct the last rites in Mumbai, subject to some conditions deemed necessary to maintain public order (minimal ceremony, no photographs of Memon’s body for public display, no processions, etc).

Image courtesy: IBNLiveImage courtesy: IBNLive

Image courtesy: IBNLive

Nobody can claim Yakub Memon was hanged unfairly. The Supreme Court heard his pleas repeatedly, including late into the night yesterday; the President heard his mercy petitions twice, and the Maharashtra Governor once – and all this, mind you, after Memon was convicted.

However, the real test for Indian democracy begins now. It is important for politicians to stop milking this event for their own purposes. The BJP leadership should warn ministers, and especially the Sangh affiliates and its fringe MPs, to avoid gloating over the execution. The Muslim parties and so-called “secular” ones should stop playing the victim card just to mobilise minority votes.

The media too should introspect on whether its jingoism in dealing with the verdict and execution is making politics more vicious. Without media oxygen, it is impossible for politicians to fan the flames of sectarianism.

However, our past record shows that none of this will happen. We are not going to change overnight.

But some lessons can still be learned by all actors in this democracy.

First, the Indian state – executive and judiciary – needs to strengthen the law and institutions rather than just forget about all the issues the Yakub case raked up. If law and institutions are not above individuals and groups, justice will never seem to be done even as it is actually done.

The reason why Muslim parties were able to rake up Memon’s religion as a factor in his execution is because in three other cases – two Sikh assassins, and three Tamil ones – political support was a crucial factor is delaying their mercy petitions, and execution. The UPA allowed a delay of 11 years in deciding the mercy petitions of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, helping them escape the noose. The NDA government did not allow that to happen with Memon, but its spine will be tested when, and if, one of its own Hindu constituency convicts comes up for such a decision.

Second, the real test for law and order lies ahead, as Pakistan’s ISI and jihadi elements in India and abroad use the Memon hanging incident to recruit more jihadis. One should expect an increase in terrorist incidents across India, and especially in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The governments and police must be on guard, and ensure both public order and fair investigations when such incidents occur. Police reform now brooks no delay, for you cannot have fair investigation and efficient policing if the police force is subservient to the whims of politicians.

Third, the police and all armed personnel need to have clear SOPs – standard operating procedures – when it comes to giving information to the media whenever terrorist incidents occur or when handling developments like a hanging in which there is huge public interest. Official briefings and go-no-go areas have to be part of the media education package, and the media needs to be briefed regularly on what is going on, and what they can report and what they cannot. These briefings should be done even before things happen so that there is built-in restraint in media when covering terrorism or other such incidents. The Indian media currently follows almost no norms while handing sensitive stories, and this needs to be remedied.

Fourth, the time to hold political and media debates on the death penalty is not when someone is going to be executed. This makes the debate partisan and polarising. The time for a debate is when no actual execution is in the pipeline. Parliament should debate the idea now rather than when the next terrorist comes up for execution. Personally, I would want the death penalty to stay – but the occasions when it can be enforced should be clearly defined. “Rarest or rare” cases should include terrorism, extreme cases of premeditated murder, extreme cases of depravity and cruelty, and some such things. That is what needs a debate.

Yakub Memon’s tragic hanging would have served a higher purpose if we as a nation can rise above partisanship and get some things done right. A strong state needs to emerge from the crumbling edifice of a weak state.

Yakub Memon hanged: Four lessons India can learn from this episode

The clinical execution early on Thursday of Yakub Memon, one of the masterminds of the 1993 Mumbai blasts which left 257 dead, brings out the hidden strengths of the Indian state. The judiciary stood like a rock behind its judgments and decisions in Memon’s case, including his final petition on Wednesday (29 July) intended to delay the inevitable. The executive handled the sensitive issue sensibly and cleanly. The lawyers of Memon fought tooth-and-nail to save their client, and the Maharashtra government and Nagpur jail authorities did their duty with firmness and care.

Unlike the UPA, which failed to follow basic courtesies like informing the family in the case of Afzal Guru’s hanging, the NDA government in Maharashtra did not act in a cowardly fashion and is allowing Memon’s family to do the last rites subject to some conditions deemed necessary to maintain public order (minimal ceremony, no photographs of Memon’s body for public display, no processions, etc).

Image courtesy: IBNLiveImage courtesy: IBNLive

Image courtesy: IBNLive

However, the real test for Indian democracy begins now. It is important for politicians to stop milking this event for their own purposes. The BJP leadership should warn ministers, and especially the Sangh affiliates and its fringe MPs, to avoid gloating over the execution. The Muslim parties and so-called “secular” ones should stop playing the victim card just to mobilise minority votes.

The media too should introspect on whether its jingoism in dealing with the verdict and execution is making politics more vicious. Without media oxygen, it is impossible for politicians to fan the flames of sectarianism.

However, our past record shows that none of this will happen. We are not going to change overnight.

But some lessons can still be learned by all actors in this democracy.

First, the Indian state – executive and judiciary – need to strengthen the law and institutions rather than just forget about all the issues the Yakub case raked up. If law and institutions are not above individuals and groups, justice will never seem to be done even as it is actually done.

The reason why Muslim parties were able to rake up Memon’s religion as a factor in his execution is because in three other cases – two Sikh assassins, and three Tamil ones – political support was a crucial factor is delaying their mercy petitions, and execution. The UPA allowed a delay of 11 years in deciding the mercy petitions of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, helping them escape the noose. The NDA government did not allow that to happen with Memon, but its spine will be tested when, and if, one of its own Hindu constituency convicts comes up for such a decision.

Second, the real test for law and order lies ahead, as Pakistan’s ISI and jihadi elements in India and abroad use the Memon hanging incident to recruit more jihadis. One should expect an increase in terrorist incidents across India, and especially in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The governments and police must be on guard, and ensure both public order and fair investigations when such incidents occur. Police reform now brooks no delay, for you cannot have fair investigation and efficient policing if the police force is subservient to the whims of politicians.

Third, the police and all armed personnel need to have clear SOPs – standard operating procedures – when it comes to giving information to the media when terrorist incidents occur or when handling developments like a hanging in which there is huge public interest. Official briefings and go-no-go areas have to be part of the package, and media need to be briefed regularly on what is going on, and what they can report and what they cannot. These briefings should done regularly so that there in built-in restraint in media when covering such incidents. Indian media follows almost no norms while handing sensitive stories, and this needs to be remedied.

Fourth, the time to hold political and media debates on the death penalty is not when someone is going to be executed. This makes the debate partisan and polarising. The time for a debate is when no actual execution is in the pipeline. Parliament should debate the idea now rather than when the next terrorist comes up for execution. Personally, I would want the death penalty to stay – but the occasions when it can be enforced should be clearly defined. “Rarest or rare” cases should include terrorism, extreme cases of premeditated murder, extreme cases of depravity and cruelty, and some such things. That is what needs a debate.

Yakub Memon’s tragic hanging would have served a higher purpose if we as a nation can rise above partisanship and get some things done right. A strong state needs to emerge from the crumbling edifice of a weak state.

No death for Rajiv Gandhi killers, Supreme Court dismisses curative petition

Among the seven convicts, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Robert Pious and Jaya Kumar were Sri Lankan nationals while female convict Nalini, Ravichandran and Arivu are Indians.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the curative petition of the Central Government upholding the commutation of death sentence of three convicts involved in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.The apex Court had earlier said that it was essential for the convicts to suffer and realize the victim’s pain through ‘ slow poison’ and asked the Centre if a governor can take a decision over the mercy plea of any convict whose petition has been declined by the President.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Centre had asserted in the Supreme Court that the killers of Rajiv Gandhi did nor deserve any mercy as the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving foreign nationals.”Our former Prime Minister was killed by these people. There was a conspiracy to kill him in which foreign nationals were also involved. What mercy is to be seen or shown? This is to be looked by you (apex court). Their mercy plea was rejected by the President and also by the Governor (of Tamil Nadu). So what mercy is being argued?” Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar had told a bench a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu.Among the seven convicts, V Sriharan alias Murugan, Santhan, Robert Pious and Jaya Kumar were Sri Lankan nationals while female convict Nalini, Ravichandran and Arivu are Indians.The apex court had on February 20 last year stayed the state government’s decision to release three convicts – Murugan, Santhan and Arivu, whose death sentence was commuted to life term by it two days before. It had later also stayed the release of four other convicts — Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran, saying there were procedural lapses on part of the state government.Santhan, Murugan and Arivu are currently lodged in the Central Prison, Vellore. The other four are also undergoing life sentence for their role in Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.

Telangana declares holiday on Tuesday as a mark of respect for former president Kalam

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has declared a holiday on Tuesday as a mark of respect to former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who died on Monday.

Image courtesy PIBImage courtesy PIB

Image courtesy PIB

Chief Minister K.Chandrasekhar Rao directed Chief Secretary Rajiv Sharma to issue the order declaring Tuesday a holiday.

All government offices, educational institutions in Hyderabad and nine other districts of Telangana will remained closed.

The managements of private schools and colleges also declared a holiday as a mark of respect to the former president.

IANS

Petition by eminent personalities urges President to pardon Yakub Memon

In the 15-page petition, the signatories have cited varioius legal points and international committments to argue that Memon should not be hanged.
File Photo
AFP photo
Leaders of various parties including BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha and its expelled MP Ram Jethmalani, eminent jurists and persons from different walks of life on Sunday submitted a fresh petition to President Pranab Mukherjee requesting him to waive off the death sentence of Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon.In the new petition urging stay against imminent execution of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon, the signatories claimed that there are “substantive and fresh grounds” that can be considered on merits.Memon is scheduled to be executed on July 30 as per the execution warrant issued by TADA Court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The petition has come at a time when there is a huge political controversy over Memon’s hanging and the BJP has condemned the remarks by parties against the hanging of Memon saying such a defence is happening due to “petty politics”.BJP MP Sinha, who had a day before met and praised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has once again gone against the party’s stand on the Memon issue.In the 15-page petition, the signatories have cited varioius legal points and international committments to argue that Memon should not be hanged.”We most humbly request your Excellency to consider the case of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon and spare him from the noose of death for a crime that was master-minded by someone else to communally divide the country. Grant of mercy in this case will send out a message that while this country will not tolerate acts of terrorism, as a nation we are committed to equal application of the power of mercy and values of forgiveness, and justice. Blood letting and human sacrifice will not make this country a safer place; it will, however, degrade us all,” the signatories said.Besides Sinha and Jethmalani, those, who have signed the petition include MPs like Mani Shankar Aiyar (Congress), Majeed Memon (NCP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), D Raja (CPI), K T S Tulsi and H K Dua (nominated) and T Siva (DMK), former CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat, CPI(ML)-Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Brinda Karat (CPI-M) and filmmakers and actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Mahesh Bhatt, M K Raina and Tushar Gandhi.It also included various academicians, members of the legal fraternity, activists and retired judges – Justice Panachand Jain, Justice H S Bedi, Justice P B Sawant, Justice H Suresh, Justice K P Siva Subramaniam, Justice S N Bhargava, Justice (retd) K Chandru, and Justice Nagmohan Das, noted lawyer Indira Jaising.Others include academicians like Irfan Habib, Arjun Dev, D N Jha, and social activists Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze and John Dayal.They cited that India is a signatory to an international commitment to abolish death penalty and hence death penalty cannot be imposed in India.”Yakub Memon was not given advance notice of the death warrant hearing and as a result of which he and his lawyers could not participate and contest the issuance of the death warrant. Lack of hearing makes the present death warrant void,” they said, citing a Supreme Court decision in the May 2015 Shabnam versus Union of India and Others case.They said that there are some very “disturbing” aspects of this case which make the award of death sentence to Yakub Memon as “grossly unfair, arbitrary and excessive”.”Yakub Memon has served more than 20 years in prison since his arrest. His trial took 14 years to complete. While the Supreme Court used this long period of incarceration as a mitigating circumstance to commute the death sentences of the other 10 co-accused persons, it applied a different yardstick to Yakub. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that lengthy incarceration during pendency of appeal in death cases is a significant mitigating circumstance which ought to be considered in determination of sentence. In the interests of justice we request you to give due importance to this,” they said.They also argued that Memon is mentally unfit for execution as he has been suffering from schizophrenia for the last 20 years.”His mental condition has been certified by jail doctors. Schizophrenia as a mental illness has been held by the Supreme Court to render a convict unfit for execution,” they said.They have also cited that commutation of death sentences of convicts in other terror cases like late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.”It is also worthwhile to note that death sentences imposed on the aides of Veerappan (convicted and sentenced to death under TADA), Rajiv Gandhi killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar have been commuted recently by Supreme Court. While the mercy petitions of Verappan’s aides, Rajiv Gandhi’s three killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar were decided belatedly by the President, thereby giving them the claim of delay jurisprudence, the Home Ministry has moved swiftly to reject Yakub Abdul Razak Memon’s mercy’s petition,” they alleged.The petitioners said that it seemed that “subjective factors” were the basis of decisions which lead to arbitrary actions. They also argued that the death sentence has been awarded under TADA which was repealed.”Memon has been tried and sentenced to death under TADA, a special law which was repealed by Parliament on account of it having been used to target minorities,” they said and referred to a Supreme Court judgement, which according to them doubted the legality of prosecutions pursued after the repeal of TADA.”Given the highly compromised rule of law credentials of TADA, executing Yakub Memon will perpetuate the dark legacy of this law,” they said.

Hanging Yakub Memon will be a travesty of justice: Pakistan’s ISI may have the last laugh

It would be a national tragedy of epic proportions and a significant miscarriage of justice if Yakub Memon hangs for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Only one final decision by the Maharashtra Governor, on Memon’s mercy petition, and a third appeal in the Supreme Court now stand between him and the hangman.

Facts now emerging (or re-emerging) in the public domain show how badly the legal system has failed in Memon’s case. A letter written by B Raman, a former intelligence involved in Memon’s return and now published posthumously by Rediff.com, and a 2007 report by journalist Maseeh Rahman about how the Memons led by Yakub returned to India after the bombings, make it amply clear that most of the Memon family may have participated only passively in enabling the bombings.

Yakub Memon. IBN Live.Yakub Memon. IBN Live.

Yakub Memon. IBN Live.

There is good reason to believe that after the initial anger over the Mumbai communal riots of 1992 evaporated, most of them did not want to stay prisoners of Pakistan’s ISI, which helped mastermind the blasts. The Memons who deserve to be hanged are Tiger and Ayub (still in Pakistan as ISI protectees). They were at the core of the conspiracy to bomb several public places in 1993, which left 257 people dead. It is their hands that dripped with blood; Yakub was possibly the gullible brother who got splashed in red when the thundering caravan of public anger passed by him. This is not to say he was blameless, but he certainly was not the man who deserved the maximum punishment for the sufferings of those who died in the 1993 blasts.

Both Raman and Maseeh Rahman are clear (read their full stories here and here) that the Memons who returned in three batches to India in 1994 came back largely voluntarily (barring Yakub, who may have been caught through luck or a negotiated surrender). The families’ return was aided by the Indian CBI. Prima facie this establishes the fact that even if anger and fear may have prompted the Memons to aid (or passively support) the bombings which later led them all to flee to Pakistan, they had hoped that Indian law would treat them with fairness.

Raman and Rahman’s writings suggest that Yakub provided crucial evidence to link his brothers’ evil deeds with Pakistan, but, surprisingly, neither he nor his family got the benefit of becoming approvers in the case which could have led to lighter sentences for their roles in the blasts.

This is yet another classic case where a weak state has chosen to show strength against the weak by indirectly winking at injustice. Strong states do not let public emotions and political posturing get in the way of delivering real justice. In the Indian case, the political need to satiate public anger against the Memons made the “weak” Narasimha Rao government ignore the real reasons why the Memons came back and decided to treat Yakub and some other Memons as key villains deserving no leniency. (Even if they came back only to save their property, the fact is they came back to face Indian law.)

This is known is psychology as displaced aggression. If you can’t hit back at the person who wronged you, you hit out at those who are easily available.

Hear what Raman had to say about Yakub: “The cooperation of Yakub with the investigating agencies after he was picked up informally in Kathmandu and his role in persuading some other members of the family to come out of Pakistan and surrender constitute, in my view, a strong mitigating circumstance to be taken into consideration while considering whether the death penalty should be implemented.”

Maseeh Rahman wrote that Tiger Memon’s father actually “thrashed” him when he heard his son has used the services of Pakistan to plant the bombs in Mumbai.

The law has let the Memons who returned down. Weak-kneed politicians and the legal system have used a voluntary surrender to pretend they had caught dreaded terrorists to show they mean business.

There are three tragedies inherent in the Yakub story.

First, there is the inability of the political and legal system to deliver real justice and focusing instead on what is easy to do. Yakub was an easy target and he is being shown no mercy just to prove that the state means business when it comes to dealing with terrorism. Actually, it proves the opposite. It testifies to the impotence of the state which cannot bring the real culprits, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, to justice and is instead happy to send someone else to the gallows. The only message being sent is that the next time one should not trust the Indian legal system to help those who surrender voluntarily and seek to nail the real criminals.

Second, if Memon is hanged despite the facts that are now re-emerging, it will prove yet again that political support is the key to getting convicts an easier sentence. We know that political support in Punjab and Tamil Nadu helped both Balwant Singh Rajaona (convicted for the assassination of Punjab CM Beant Singh) and the three convicts facing death sentences for the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. If Yakub Memon is hanged for lesser offences that what Rajaona and Rajiv’s assassins have been convicted for, it would make this assessment obvious.

Third, the final tragedy would be to establish religion as the central issue in tackling terrorism. Politicians are happy to mouth the truism that terror has no religion, but that is not how they behave. It would be a real tragedy if the only politician batting for Yakub Memon is a Muslim politician like Asaduddin Owaisi of MIM. All the so-called “secular” parties are staying mum for reasons of political cowardice.

The BJP and Narendra Modi‘s government, which have no reason to guard their Right flanks against charges of appeasement of Muslims, should use this as an opportunity to show they are not blind to issues of justice involving the minority community.

Without in any way reducing the culpability of various members of the Memon family for aiding or abetting the Mumbai blasts, the hanging of Yakub Memon, if it finally comes to that, would be a triple disaster for the country. Giving the victims of the blasts a sense of closure does not mean denying a fair deal to the Memons who came back to face Indian law.

Hanging Yakub would also mean Tiger Memon was right in advising him not to return. Maseeh Rahman’s report quotes Tiger Memon of warning Yakub: Tum Gandhiwadi ban ke ja rahe ho, lekin wahan atankwadi qarar kiye jaoge” (You are going as a Gandhian, but over there you will be labelled a terrorist).

If Yakub hangs, it would prove Tiger Memon right. Pakistan’s ISI will have the last laugh. It could not prevent Yakub’s surrender. Now India is doing its job of killing off someone who didn’t kowtow to the ISI. Is that what secular India wants?

Hanging Yakub Memon will be a travesty of justice: Pak ISI may have last laugh

It would be a national tragedy of epic proportions and a significant miscarriage of justice if Yakub Memon hangs for his role in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Only one final decision by the Maharashtra Governor, on Memon’s mercy petition, and a third appeal in the Supreme Court now stand between him and the hangman.

Facts now emerging (or re-emerging) in the public domain show how badly the legal system has failed in Memon’s case. A letter written by B Raman, a former intelligence involved in Memon’s return and now published posthumously by Rediff.com, and a 2007 report by journalist Maseeh Rahman about how the Memons led by Yakub returned to India after the bombings, make it amply clear that most of the Memon family may have participated only passively in enabling the bombings.

Yakub Memon. IBN Live.Yakub Memon. IBN Live.

Yakub Memon. IBN Live.

There is good reason to believe that after the initial anger over the Mumbai communal riots of 1992 evaporated, most of them did not want to stay prisoners of Pakistan’s ISI, which helped mastermind the blasts. The Memons who deserve to be hanged are Tiger and Ayub (still in Pakistan as ISI protectees). They were at the core of the conspiracy to bomb several public places in 1993, which left 257 people dead. It is their hands that dripped with blood; Yakub was possibly the gullible brother who got splashed in red when the thundering caravan of public anger passed by him. This is not to say he was blameless, but he certainly was not the man who deserved the maximum punishment for the sufferings of those who died in the 1993 blasts.

Both Raman and Maseeh Rahman are clear (read their full stories here and here) that the Memons who returned in three batches to India in 1994 came back largely voluntarily (barring Yakub, who may have been caught through luck or a negotiated surrender). The families’ return was aided by the Indian CBI. Prima facie this establishes the fact that even if anger and fear may have prompted the Memons to aid (or passively support) the bombings which later led them all to flee to Pakistan, they had hoped that Indian law would treat them with fairness.

Raman and Rahman’s writings suggest that Yakub provided crucial evidence to link his brothers’ evil deeds with Pakistan, but, surprisingly, neither he nor his family got the benefit of becoming approvers in the case which could have led to lighter sentences for their roles in the blasts.

This is yet another classic case where a weak state has chosen to show strength against the weak by indirectly winking at injustice. Strong states do not let public emotions and political posturing get in the way of delivering real justice. In the Indian case, the political need to satiate public anger against the Memons made the “weak” Narasimha Rao government ignore the real reasons why the Memons came back and decided to treat Yakub and some other Memons as key villains deserving no leniency. (Even if they came back only to save their property, the fact is they came back to face Indian law.)

This is known is psychology as displaced aggression. If you can’t hit back at the person who wronged you, you hit out at those who are easily available.

Hear what Raman had to say about Yakub: “The cooperation of Yakub with the investigating agencies after he was picked up informally in Kathmandu and his role in persuading some other members of the family to come out of Pakistan and surrender constitute, in my view, a strong mitigating circumstance to be taken into consideration while considering whether the death penalty should be implemented.”

Maseeh Rahman wrote that Tiger Memon’s father actually “thrashed” him when he heard his son has used the services of Pakistan to plant the bombs in Mumbai.

The law has let the Memons who returned down. Weak-kneed politicians and the legal system have used a voluntary surrender to pretend they had caught dreaded terrorists to show they mean business.

There are three tragedies inherent in the Yakub story.

First, there is the inability of the political and legal system to deliver real justice and focusing instead on what is easy to do. Yakub was an easy target and he is being shown no mercy just to prove that the state means business when it comes to dealing with terrorism. Actually, it proves the opposite. It testifies to the impotence of the state which cannot bring the real culprits, Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon, to justice and is instead happy to send someone else to the gallows. The only message being sent is that the next time one should not trust the Indian legal system to help those who surrender voluntarily and seek to nail the real criminals.

Second, if Memon is hanged despite the facts that are now re-emerging, it will prove yet again that political support is the key to getting convicts an easier sentence. We know that political support in Punjab and Tamil Nadu helped both Balwant Singh Rajaona (convicted for the assassination of Punjab CM Beant Singh) and the three convicts facing death sentences for the Rajiv Gandhi assassination. If Yakub Memon is hanged for lesser offences that what Rajaona and Rajiv’s assassins have been convicted for, it would make this assessment obvious.

Third, the final tragedy would be to establish religion as the central issue in tackling terrorism. Politicians are happy to mouth the truism that terror has no religion, but that is not how they behave. It would be a real tragedy if the only politician batting for Yakub Memon is a Muslim politician like Asaduddin Owaisi of MIM. All the so-called “secular” parties are staying mum for reasons of political cowardice.

The BJP and Narendra Modi‘s government, which have no reason to guard their Right flanks against charges of appeasement of Muslims, should use this as an opportunity to show they are not blind to issues of justice involving the minority community.

Without in any way reducing the culpability of various members of the Memon family for aiding or abetting the Mumbai blasts, the hanging of Yakub Memon, if it finally comes to that, would be a triple disaster for the country. Giving the victims of the blasts a sense of closure does not mean denying a fair deal to the Memons who came back to face Indian law.

Hanging Yakub would also mean Tiger Memon was right in advising him not to return. Maseeh Rahman’s report quotes Tiger Memon of warning Yakub: Tum Gandhiwadi ban ke ja rahe ho, lekin wahan atankwadi qarar kiye jaoge” (You are going as a Gandhian, but over there you will be labelled a terrorist).

If Yakub hangs, it would prove Tiger Memon right. Pakistan’s ISI will have the last laugh. It could not prevent Yakub’s surrender. Now India is doing its job of killing off someone who didn’t kowtow to the ISI. Is that what secular India wants?

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