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PM Modi wants bureaucrats to give ideas for ‘transformative change’

The Secretaries will now interact among each other, in sub-groups over the next two weeks, after which they will present their ideas and suggestions to the Prime Minister, the statement said.
Ministers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari were also present at the interaction.

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Ram Madhav’s ‘Akhand Bharat’ remark personal, govt’s position needs no clarification: BJP

Though the interview was recorded earlier, its broadcast coincided with the surprise visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore to meet his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif.

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BSF plane crash: Grieving relatives confront Union Home Minister Rajanth Singh

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A small 20-year-old BSF plane ferrying the force’s technical personnel to Ranchi crashed in Dwarka area on Tuesday and burst into flames just outside IGI airport shortly after take-off.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh extend his condolences to the family members of BSF plane crash victims at Safdarjung airport in New Delhi on Wednesday.

PTI
Tearful relatives of the victims of the BSF plane crash here that killed all 10 occupants confronted Union Minister Rajnath Singh today with a slew of questions including why “old aircraft” were being used and lives of troops put at risk.As Singh and mourning relatives bid adieu to victims amid grief and anger, the Border Security Force(BSF) chief D K Pathak maintained that its crashed Beechcraft Super King was completely “airworthy” and flying “very well” and rejected allegations about any possible defect in the 11-seater aircraft. A small 20-year-old BSF plane ferrying the force’s technical personnel to Ranchi crashed in Dwarka area on Tuesday and burst into flames just outside IGI airport shortly after take-off.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Why are old aircraft being used and lives of troops put at risk?” was one of the questions faced by Singh. A distraught and agitated daughter of Sub-Inspector Rabinder Kumar, who was among the 10 personnel killed in yesterday’s crash, asked Singh and BSF Director General D K Pathak to “address” these issues so that soldiers on the line of duty are not killed in such mishaps. “Jawab dijiye (give me an answer). Why only soldiers get killed in such accidents and it never happens to VIPs,” she asked as soon as Singh began meeting the families after paying tributes and placing floral wreaths on mortal remains of the victims.A composed and moist-eyed Home Minister consoled the young woman and assured that their grievances would be looked into as he said he would review each and every aspect that they have underlined. The silence of the foggy and wintry morning at the airstrip was broken when the family members, one by one, started wailing, and their screams rent the sombre air. The next of kin of other personnel who had come to pay their respects to their near and dear ones at the BSF hangar at Safdarjung airport here had more or less the same grievances and stories to tell.”My son-in-law told me that the planes in the BSF air wing are getting old and new ones are expected in sometime. I don’t know when will these new aircraft come but surely he will not be there to see them,” said the father-in-law of the co-pilot Rajesh Shivrain. The family members of another personnel said they were being told that the BSF fleet is growing old and new acquisition is stuck in “red tape”.”This is worrying, for us and everyone who is associated with this wing. We just want that a soldier’s life should not be put at stake by using old machines,” a family member of Assistant SI D P Chauhan said. BSF Director General D K Pathak said the ill-fated aircraft was 20 years old and in the aviation (domain) an aircraft has life till 40-45 years.He said the main probe into the crash is being done by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and that it would be “premature” to speculate on the possible reasons for the mishap. The BSF Chief said the plane B-200, registered as VT-BSA, was flying about 3-4 days in a week. “As I said, this aircraft has been flying very well…it had been flying three to four days in a week and there was absolutely no problem. Whenever any kind of a snag is reported it is promptly attended to and aircraft is not made airborne until it is certified by the technicians that it is worthy to fly,” he said.

Indian culture inclusive, accommodative: Rajnath Singh

The Union Home Minister said the attacks on Churches in Delhi and elsewhere in the recent past were an aberration and he wondered why these series of attacks happened only around the election time.

Rajnath Singh
File Photo

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the Christian community of protection in the country and added that India has always welcomed all religions with open arms.Singh, who was addressing the gathering at the Christmas celebrations under the auspices of the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said that the nation will remain an inclusive and accommodative society. The Union Home Minister said the attacks on Churches in Delhi and elsewhere in the recent past were an aberration and he wondered why these series of attacks happened only around the election time.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Conveying the greeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said that the NDA government always stood by the side of the Christians in the country. Singh further went on to ask community leaders to contact him directly if they faced any injustice in the country.Christianity arrived in India almost the same time when it spread to Europe, he said.

With GST plans in peril, BJP all set to target Congress on corruption issues

The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.

As the Modi government started losing hopes of passage of its key reforms Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill amid the political chill in the ongoing winter session, the BJP is rolling up its sleeves to make the National Herald case and other “corruption” issues key in its offensive against the Congress.The BJP alleged that Congress was holding the country’s development “hostage” to its “selfish” political goal. The government will make efforts to reach out the Congress on GST but if the session ends in a washout, the party will take to the streets to protest against the Congress’s approach in Parliament, sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision was taken at a meeting attended by Union home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu and BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday.The BJP, which distributed booklets titled ‘National Herald Case — Family Greed and National Blackmail’ to party MPs at its parliamentary party meeting, is planning to aggressively take on the Congress inside and outside Parliament. The booklet, which begins with finance minister Arun Jaitley’s article “Why the Congress is Wrong”, is a compilation of editorials and articles in various newspapers.The GST bill was the focal point of the session, which could be a washout like the previous monsoon session. The Congress, which has been alleging political vendetta in the National Herald case, is now up in arms alleging that the governor of Arunachal Pradesh has summoned a special session from Wednesday without consulting the state government.Sources said that in a bid to Congress on board on GST, Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu will meet congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ghulam Nabi Azad.”The parliamentary party expressed its concern over the negative politics of Congress and its attempt to obstruct the country’s development…Congress should see to it that the case does not overshadow national interest,” minister of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.The government and party will celebrate former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birth day on December 25 as ‘good governance day’ during which a host of events will be held, Naqvi said.On January 12, the birth anniversary of Vivekananda, several programmes on empowering youth and skill development will be launched in Lok Sabha constituencies.The party MPs also decided to contribute Rs 10,000 each for Chennai flood relief, he said.Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar briefed MPs about the climate agreement in Paris and the members expressed their happiness over the outcome, Naqvi said.

Centre provides ease of online but makes going tough for NGOs

Earlier, the NGOs were required to file these details on an annual basis. The NGOs now would be required to place the annual returns and such data quarterly on their website or website as prescribed by the government.

After going on a spree of cancelling FCRA registration of more than 10,000 fake and non-compliant NGOs, the Centre has introduced new set of rules that have made it mandatory for NGOs to upload and file details of foreign contribution received and utilised every quarter.Earlier, the NGOs were required to file these details on an annual basis. The NGOs now would be required to place the annual returns and such data quarterly on their website or website as prescribed by the government.Moreover, the NGOs will be required to bring all FCRA designated bank accounts and utilisation accounts on the online platform of public finance management service (PFMS) of Controller General of Accounts, Ministry of Finance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The reduction in periodicity has been done to make the NGOs more accountable and introduce transparency, sources said.The amendment to the FCRA rules, 2015 would now require a fresh affirmation from the NGO under Form FC – 4 that foreign contribution is not likely to affect prejudicially the security, strategic, scientific or economic interest of the State.Sources said this has been added as a consequence to the secret IB report that gave adverse comments on several NGOs that had taken anti-mining and anti-nuclear power plant stand during the UPA-II regime.The new rules, however, have made access to all FCRA services much easier as everything would be done online now thereby reducing human interface to a minimum that often resulted in corruption.The revamped FCRA rules offers online filling up of all applications, uploading of documents and even payments of fees through dedicated website – fcraonline.nic.in.Not only applications for new registration, renewal of registration and annual returns would be accepted online now, the digitally signed registration certificates, prior permission sanctions, etc. will also be issued to the applicants through emails. Fee for various services will be paid through a dedicated payment gateway.The condition of applying for renewal one year before the expiry of existing registration certificate for associations implementing multi-year project has been removed in the new rules.The NGOs who do not receive or utilise foreign contribution in a financial year will not be required to submit certificate from Chartered Accountant and audited statement of accounts with annual return.Requirement of seeking prior permission for change of name, aims and objects, address of the association, change of bank/ account, change in governing body members, etc. has also been relaxed to only intimation through FCRA online service.Seeking details of functionaries of the association in annual return has been also been done away with. Secret IB report Sources said this has been added as a consequence to the secret IB report that gave adverse comments on several NGOs that had taken anti-mining and anti-nuclear power plant stand during the UPA-II regime. Launching the new FCRA portal, union home minister Rajnath Singh hoped that the new initiative will offer the genuine applicants seamless services of FCRA with adequate ease and facilitation.

Cooperative federalism crucial for India’s progress: Rajnath Singh

The minister told the participants that the government has been able to hold the meetings of all the Zonal Councils this year.

Rajnath Singh

PTI
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the forum of zonal council is one of the most significant means to achieve the goal of cooperative federalism which is crucial for the country’s progress.Singh, who inaugurated the 26th meeting of the Southern Zonal Council in Vijaywada, said the NDA government has attached utmost importance to strengthening the institutions of Zonal Council and Inter-State Council.”These institutions have immense potential to resolve a slew of nagging problems by active cooperation between Centre and States and among the States through a healthy debate,” an official release quoted Singh as saying in the closed-door meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister told the participants that the government has been able to hold the meetings of all the Zonal Councils this year. All meetings of Standing Committees of Zonal Councils had also been convened before the meetings of Zonal Councils.He said the government has also reconstituted the Inter-State Council recently which had been pending for a long time and that its meeting would also be convened soon. Singh said the country is facing serious challenges from left-wing extremism which needs to be countered effectively and collectively with the States.”Among other challenges, coastal security in southern states needs to be strengthened,” he said. Earlier, Singh expressed his deep condolences to the families of victims who lost their lives in the devastating floods in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry recently.He assured that the central government would continue to do every thing possible to relieve the sufferings of people affected by the floods and in providing relief and rehabilitation operations.The meeting was attended by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana Home Minister Nayini Narasimha Reddy, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara and Kerala Water Resources Minister P J Joseph and senior officials from the southern States.

Parrikar’s birthday bash; NCP demands inquiry into funding

Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said more than 50,000 people will be participating in the celebrations planned in Panaji and Parrikar would be felicitated by his colleagues Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari and Shripad Naik.

Manohar Parrikar
File Photo

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Friday demanded an inquiry into the funding of a reception planned to celebrate the birthday of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on December 13.The BJP, however, has said that the birthday will be a low-key affair and infact it’s the people of Goa, who are celebrating it as a token of love for their ex-Chief Minister. “We demand an inquiry into from where the money being spent on birthday celebrations of Parrikar is coming,” NCP Goa Spokesman Trajano D’Mello told reporters in Panaji on Friday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar has already said that government funds won’t be spent on Parrikar’s birthday bash. “Also, Parrikar has appealed to the people not to release any advertisement nor gift flowers on the occasion and instead contribute the money to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for Chennai flood victims. So now the question comes as to from where the funding for the birthday bash is coming,” D’Mello said.He said that it’s a “white lie” that the party is not funding the birthday celebrations. “We have come to know that even birthday advertisements are designed in the BJP local office,” the NCP leader alleged.The BJP, however, rubbished the allegations. “It is the people of Goa who want to celebrate birthday of their leader. We have already made it clear that there’s no spending from government. It is love of the people of Goa towards Parrikar that has resulted in this celebration,” BJP Goa chief Vinay Tendulkar said.Parrikar would be turning 60 on December 13. Earlier this week, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said more than 50,000 people will be participating in the celebrations planned in Panaji and Parrikar would be felicitated by his colleagues Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari and Shripad Naik.A 135-member committee has been formed to hold the function which is touted as one of the biggest birthday bash in Goa ever.

Centre has assured full cooperation to implement odd-even formula: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal

“Rajnath Singh has assured us full cooperation in the implementation of odd-even scheme,” Kejriwal added.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the issue of the scheme for plying of private vehicles. “Rajnath Singh has assured us full cooperation in the implementation of odd-even scheme,” Kejriwal added. He said that official vehicles will also be covered under odd-even number plate policy. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier recorded an audio message urging people to give the ‘odd-even’ restriction on plying of vehicles a chance while top officials met to work out its modalities even as the Delhi Police said that they have not yet been approached by the government seeking assistance in enforcement of the rule.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi Home Minister Satyender Jain, however, asserted that police is a part of government and “not the government”. It is police’s responsibility to implement the law enacted by the government, he said. In his message, which will be released tomorrow, Kejriwal sought support of people for the proposal’s success and has said it will be applicable to him and all the ministers as well, a senior government official said.

Chennai floods: City turns island, road, rail, air links disrupted

The death toll in the rains that have lashed the city and other parts of state has gone up to 197, officials said.

Chennai on Wednesday turned a virtual island and several coastal areas of Tamil Nadu were marooned by flood waters after unprecedented rains in 100 years pounded the city, its suburbs and neighbouring districts destroying crucial road and rail links, shutting the airport and rendering thousands homeless. Chennai, which received 49 cm of rain and Chembarambakkam, where the reservoir surplussed about 25,000 cusecs of water into Adyar river, received 47 cm of rains in the last 24 hours that flooded the city and the suburbs, uprooting people from their homes. Flood waters reached upto even the second floor of the Housing Board colonies on the banks of Adyar river as people reached roof tops looking for rescue and relief in several parts of the city and suburbs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The death toll in the rains that have lashed the city and other parts of state has gone up to 197, officials said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last night and promised all assistance, held discussions with his cabinet colleagues Rajnath Singh (Home), Arun Jaitley (Finance) and M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs) in the morning to take stock of the situation. The National Crisis Management Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha reviewed the situation and assured the state of all support from the centre.All modes of transport–air, road and rail services– remained suspended due to the unprecedented deluge, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the airport and various rail terminals. Suburban rail services also remained suspended. Adding to the worry of the citizens and administration, the weatherman has forecast rainfall over the next three days with the next 48 being very critical under the influence of a trough of low pressure and upper air circulation over the southwest Bay of Bengal and Sri Lankan coast. Thereafter, the state will see an anti-cyclone activity which will be associated with “heavy rains” at some places.”The phenomenon will continue for the next seven days, but the next 48 hours are very crucial. Neighbouring states will also see rainfall activity,” L S Rathore, Director General of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) told reporters in Delhi.

Please take back your awards, Rajnath’s olive branch to award-returnees

Rajnath Singh on Tuesday extended an olive branch to writers, filmmakers and intellectuals who have returned their awards in view of ‘rising intolerance’ in the country, requesting them to take back their awards.

During the debate on ‘intolerance’ in Lok Sabha, which went on for 7 hours, the Union home minister said he is willing to sit with anyone and sort out their misgivings on the functioning of the government while taking on board their apprehensions and suggestions.

Rajnath Singh. IbnliveRajnath Singh. Ibnlive

Rajnath Singh. Ibnlive

“I appeal to the artists, literary people, scientists and other eminent people who have returned the awards to kindly take their awards back,” the minister said during his speech in Lok Sabha.
“The doors of this government are open for any discussion over tolerance or intolerance with those who have misgivings about our functioning”, he added.

Ribbed by the Opposition, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on the issue of intolerance including Dadri killing, Singh put the ball in UP government’s court.

“When we found out about Dadri, I immediately issued an advisory and sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh government on the incident.

“The UP government report made no mention of any communal angle. Even the word beef was not mentioned,” the home minister told the Parliament.

He, however, announced that should the Akhilesh Yadav government recommend it, the home ministry is ready to “immediately launch a CBI probe into the killing of Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi so that truth is out in the open.”

Singh, during whose speech the Opposition staged a walkout, said: “I want to assure this House, on behalf of myself and the Prime Minister, that if anyone tries to harm the social and religious harmony, he will not be spared”.

Rahul Gandhi during his speech had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of silent acquiescence for not objecting to Union minister General VK Singh’s statement on Dalits and “carrying on as if nothing happened”.

“VK Singh sworn in as MP and was the General of Indian Army, he compared Dalit children to dogs; by doing this he directly challenged the Constitution but PM remained silent over the matter,” Rahul Gandhi said.

Rejecting his charges, Rajnath Singh said: “You ask why PM is silent on VK Singh. Every time something like this happened in the past, did the PM respond?”

“Home ministry is my portfolio. I’m responsible for what’s happening in the country. Whenever any incident happens that threatens to disturb the communal and social harmony, I immediately speak on it and if needed, take necessary action.

“On VK Singh’s remark, I released a statement saying we should be careful about what we say or say in such a manner so that it isn’t open to malicious interpretations”

“Gen VK Singh himself released a clarification, stating that his statement was twisted out of context,” the home minister told the Parliament. “Yes, our government is intolerant. We are intolerant towards corruption, unclean surroundings, terrorism, violence against women and such issues.”

On Monday, Rajnath Singh had demanded an apology in Lok Sabha from CPM MP Mohammad Salim, who had, during the debate on intolerance, cited a report in Outlook magazine that had quoted the Union home minister as making a communal statement.

After the controversy, during which Rajnath Singh said: “He had never felt so hurt as today in my political career”, Outlook issued a statement via Twitter, clarifying that the quote was wrongly attributed to Rajnath.

Intolerance was displayed during Partition, Emergency and 84 riots: Rajnath Singh in LS

The Union Home Minister addressed the raging topic of intolerance in Lok Sabha today.
File Photo
PTI
Speaking in Lok Sabha on Tuesday evening, Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressed country’s raging topic — intolerance row. He said that the biggest victim of intolerance was Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself.”Intolerance has been displayed only thrice — partition, during emergency and during 1984 riots. The biggest victim of intolerance has been PM Modi himself. I assure you that anyone trying to disturb the social fabric of the country will not be spared.”He further said that the Dadri reports that were submitted did not mention beef or communalism. “When we found out about Dadri we immediately asked UP Govt for a report, a report which had no mention of beef or communalism,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further said, “Yes, we are intolerant. We are intolerant towards corruption, unclean surroundings, terrorism, violence against women and such issues.” On Tuesday, speaking in the Lok Sabha Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi slammed Union Minister VK Singh for his dog analogy. Rahul said that VK Singh after being sworn as an MP and holding the post of General of Indian Army compared Dalit children to dogs. Reacting to this, Rajnath Singh said, “You ask why PM is silent on VK Singh. Tell me something, every time something like this happened in the past did the then PM respond? VK Singh himself gave a clarification, said that his statement was twisted.”Rahul also spoke about various personalities speaking about intolerance and facing severe backlash. He also added that Arun Shourie faced flak for being critical of PM Modi. “I would like to tell you that Arun Dhourie, who is BJP man, was trolled on Twitter because he criticised Modi,” said Gandhi.He spoke about Dadri saying, “A Muslim man is killed in cold blood. The man ultimately responsible for his protection, the PM, remained silent.”

Wanted to expose double speak: Mohammad Salim

Talking to DNA after the furore during a debate on intolerance, Salim said what prompted him to raise the issue was “the root cause of intolerance was the seeds of hatred being sowed.., I will continue to expose the BJP.”

CPM MP Mohammad Salim, who sparked off a storm in Lok Sabha when he targeted home minister Rajnath Singh by citing remarks attributed to him in a newspaper, said his aim was to expose the “double-speak” in the government. Talking to DNA after the furore during a debate on intolerance, Salim said what prompted him to raise the issue was “the root cause of intolerance was the seeds of hatred being sowed.., I will continue to expose the BJP.” Salim, the 58-year-old member from Raiganj in West Bengal, maintained that he had quoted a credible news magazine and that his purpose was to “expose the mindset of the government which believed that India was under servitude for more than 1200 years (an apparent reference to the Muslim rule).” So far, 200 years of British rule is seen as India’s darkest period of servitude.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> He said he wanted to bring to the notice of the nation the Prime minister’s reference to 1200 years of “Gulami” at Madison Square and in Lok Sabha. A Muslim Marxist MP, Salim said the Prime Minister was silent on comments made by “fringe elements” of the party and other Sangh Parivar outfits. “The Prime Minister should have spoken and government should have taken action against the fringe elements.” He said “for the government, dissent meant you are anti-national.”

BJP, Congress interpret Constitution on own terms; Rajnath Singh says India only country where all 72 sects of Islam exist

Initiating the debate, as part of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh pricked the Congress by raking up the 42nd amendment by Indira Gandhi in 1976 to insert the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in Preamble. Singh said Mrs Gandhi had defied the wish of Ambedkar that the Preamble shall be never tweaked as it is the soul of the Constitution.

TV screen grab.

The government as well as Opposition benches on Thursday used the first day of special debate in the Lok Sabha on ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’, an opportunity to claim legacy and attack each other on rising incidents of intolerance. Outside the parliament, Opposition Congress demanded incorporating “an inbuilt mechanism to protect the Constitution from the onslaught by the very people who are supposed to defend and preserve its integrity.”Initiating the debate, as part of 125th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar, Home Minister Rajnath Singh pricked the Congress by raking up the 42nd amendment by Indira Gandhi in 1976 to insert the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in Preamble. Singh said Mrs Gandhi had defied the wish of Ambedkar that the Preamble shall be never tweaked as it is the soul of the Constitution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh went on to assert that ‘secularism’ was wrongly dubbed as dharma nirpeksha (not bound by any religion) and asserted its real literal meaning is panth nirpeksha (free from faiths). “Its misuse should come to an end. Stop use of dharma nirpeksha. Stop misleading nation and society. Because of the rampant misuse of the word, there have been instances of tension in the society and in maintaining of social harmony.”He claimed it was because of the secular nature of Indians that the country cohabits all religions. He pointed out how Parsis and Jews felt the highest respect in India. As regards Muslims, he said Islam has 72 firke (sects) and it’s only in India that all of them exist. Referring to Ambedkar’s stress on social security to women, Singh announced the government’s decision for 33% reservation to women in police and paramilitary forces. “We’ve already sent an advisory to the states; this is our commitment,” he said, pointing out another commitment in the form of ‘beti bachao, beti padhao’ mission.Soon after Home Minister’s speech, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai stood up and demanded that all Indian languages be accorded status of official language. He said declaring Hindi alone as official language was against the federal character enshrined in the Constitution.The Congress counter-attack on Rajnath’s interpretation of Constitution was led by none other than Sonia Gandhi, who quoted from one of Ambedkar’s speech that “howsoever good the Constitution be, it would prove evil if those implementing are bad.”The Congress members shouted at the agitated BJP members claiming she was not levelling any charge but only quoting Babasaheb.Noisy scenes were witnessed again as Sonia went on to say: “What can be a bigger joke than those who have no trust in the Constitution nor any role in its making are trying to hijack its ownership by initiating this debate.”Giving full credit to the Congress for the Constitution India has, Sonia asserted that it was interlinked with the Congress history of the freedom struggle and again it was the Congress that made Ambedkar the chairman of the Constituent Assembly to draft the Constitution. “This is history,” she shouted over the din of uproar from the ruling benches.She said Ambedkar’s struggle for rights to Dalits and downtrodden was also interlinked with the Congress history of freedom struggle.Undeterred by the BJP protests, Sonia said she was both happy and sad – happy about the debate, and sad that it was taking place at a time when the ideals of the Constitution face dangers because of “deliberate attacks on its values in the last few months”.In the afternoon session, BJD member Tathagata Satpathy refuted Singh’s claim that Modi wielding a broom is new to India, pointed out that his late mother used to clean her room as then chief minister and the King of Puri cleaned Lord Jagannath’s passage.He also spoke of the Rajnath Singh’s comments on the word secular. “I do not speak Hindi so I do not know. But let’s not have a myopic view of secularism. Let’s not say that when translated into Hindi, a certain word becomes perverted.”During the break, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu defended Rajnath Singh’s contentions, saying he finds nothing said by Rajnath Singh as objectionable.“The whole nation knows who subverted the Constitution and who amended the Constitution, putting opposition leader behind bars,” he said, referring to the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi during her rein.The Rajya Sabha, which was also supposed to hold a simultaneous two-day debate on the Constitution, had to be adjourned for the day following the death of a sitting member.

Government to brazen it out in winter session, as Opposition plans ‘intolerance’ offensive

The meeting attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and ministers of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, was held at the residence of Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu.

Anticipating an Opposition onslaught in the winter session of Parliament on the “intolerance” issue, the government appears all set to brazen it out. Senior ministers, who met on Tuesday to discuss strategy for the session, were of the view that there was no reason for the government to go on the defensive, according to sources.The meeting attended by home minister Rajnath Singh, finance minister Arun Jaitley, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and ministers of state for parliamentary affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Rajiv Pratap Rudy, was held at the residence of Parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They discussed recent incidents like Dadri and Kalburgi killing, which have triggered a debate on “rising intolerance” with the Opposition targeting the BJP-led NDA government. In an indication that the government tactic would be aimed at turning the tables on Opposition parties, the ministers were of the view that such incidents were strictly in the domain of state governments, the sources said. The ministers said that the NDA government and BJP had nothing to do with it and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already responded in the matter.Further, they decided that if Opposition wanted to discuss the issue, government would agree despite these being state subjects. Government would also be willing to facilitate discussion on any matter of larger concern sought to be raised by opposition, the sources said. The meeting was held even as Aamir Khan’s intolerance comments had sparked off a political row.The strategy for passage of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Real Estate Regulation bills, which top the government agenda for the session, and other legislations, was also discussed at the meeting.A series of meetings will be held on Wednesday, a day before the Parliament session begins on November 26. While an all-party meeting has been convened by the government in the morning, meetings of the NDA floor leaders and BJP parliamentary party, to be chaired by the Prime Minister, will be held in the evening. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan will be meeting leaders of parties in Lok Sabha.The government is likely to fine tune its strategy for its counter-offensive after the Prime Minister returns from Singapore on Wednesday.

India steps up Islamic State threat quotient, issues advisory

The government has ordered stepped up protective measures at foreign missions, including that of the US and France, warning that the intent of IS was clearly to expand the area of terror.

Rajnath Singh

The 13/11 Paris terror attacks seem to have changed the mindset of Indian government towards IS as it is now being considered more than just a virtual threat even though not a potent threat.The government has ordered stepped up protective measures at foreign missions, including that of the US and France, warning that the intent of IS was clearly to expand the area of terror.In an advisory to the states, the union home ministry said, “Available inputs about IS activities should be immediately reviewed to identify plans, targets, areas vulnerable to attack and appropriate action taken to neutralise potential threat if any.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union home minister Rajnath Singh said, “India is alert about IS.”The advisory said, the recent multiple attacks in Paris clearly indicate the intention of the outfit to expand the area of terror beyond the core area of Iraq and Syria. “It is therefore necessary that security establishment is kept on high alert,” it said.Accordingly, suitable preventive measures may be taken at and around foreign missions and other establishments or symbolic sites including synagogues, ‘Chabad houses’, tourist spots and community facilities frequently visited by foreigners.”The security arrangements for the diplomatic establishments of France, US, UK, Germany, Russia, Australia, Turkey and Israel may be particularly reviewed and strengthened,” it said.

Rajnath Singh to visit China to boost security cooperation

Rajnath Singh will visit China this week, the first trip by an Indian home minister to the country in a decade during which the two nations will discuss ways to boost security ties especially on fighting cross border terror and smuggling of Chinese arms to militants in the northeast. Singh’s five-day visit from November 19, the first after the tour of then home minister Shivraj Patil in 2005, comes in the backdrop of steady improvement of relations between both the countries while streamlining mechanisms to address the vexed border dispute.During his visit, Singh, the second highest ranking Indian leader after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s to visit China in May this year, would spend three days in Beijing followed by a two-day stay in Shanghai. Besides holding talks with his counterparts in China’s political dispensation, Singh is also expected to call on high level Chinese leaders. His visit closely follows a rare visit by China’s topmost military official to India. Gen Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), visited India and Pakistan this week, also the first tour by China’s highest ranking military official to both the countries in a decade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both Indian and Chinese officials view Singh’s visit as an opportunity to consolidate efforts by both sides to build political trust initiated during the visits of President Xi Jinping to India last year followed by Modi’s trip here. While the issues relating to standoffs at the border between both the troops were being addressed by the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC), Singh’s visit is expected to firm up security cooperation in various fronts.China for its part has pressed huge number of security forces to crackdown on al-Qaeda-linked East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) militants in Xinjiang who had bases in Pakistan’s tribal areas. India too faces the constant threat of cross border terrorism emanating from Pakistan across the Line of Control. Indian officials stress that ironically both countries faced cross border terrorist threat from a “joint source” which happens to be Pakistan. Besides issues relating to terrorism, Singh’s talks here are expected to crystallise security cooperation between the two countries including more effective crackdown by China in limiting arms supplies to militant groups in India’s northeastern states.

After Bihar debacle, Arun Jaitley meets MM Joshi in bid to pacify BJP veterans

Jaitley called on Joshi, one of the four senior leaders including LK Advani who had issued a strongly-worded statement on Diwali eve.

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday met senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi, in an apparent bid to pacify party veterans, who have attacked the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah following the Bihar debacle.Jaitley called on Joshi, one of the four senior leaders including LK Advani who had issued a strongly-worded statement on Diwali eve, and spent some time at his residence. Details of their talks are not known, but the Finance Minister, once an Advani protege, is believed to have been tasked with the responsibility to defuse the situation.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting came a day after Jaitley’s ministerial colleague and former party president Nitin Gadkari put up a strong defence of Modi and Shah and even demanded action against those making “irresponsible” statements.Gadkari, along with two former presidents, Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, had issued a statement on the party’s behalf soon after the veterans launched their attack and demanded that responsibility be fixed for the Bihar loss, alleging that BJP had been “emasculated” in one year.The three former presidents insisted that the party practised collective accountability when Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had headed it and suffered losses.Party sources said Rajnath Singh is of the view that since Advani and Joshi have experience and contributed immensely to the growth of the BJP, the party should listen to them.The Home Minister is said to be in favour of examination and analysis of what the veterans have said and decisions taken for the overall good of the BJP. Such decisions should be acceptable to all, the sources said.Meanwhile, Prashant Kishor, who played a key role in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s successful campaign to retain power, met former Union minister Arun Shourie.Once a Modi supporter, Shourie has turned a bitter critic and is said to have played a role in drafting the veterans’ statement.

Rajnath Singh defends PM Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

Speaking a day after finance minister Arun Jaitley, Singh said that neither Mohan Bhagwat nor PM Modi can be held responsible for the Bihar debacle and instead held “certain social equations” responsible for the poor result.

Even as BJP’s main faces of Bihar campaign – party president Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi – have chosen to keep mum on electoral drubbing, union home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday came forward to speak on it and defended both PM Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.Speaking a day after finance minister Arun Jaitley, Singh said that neither Mohan Bhagwat nor PM Modi can be held responsible for the Bihar debacle and instead held “certain social equations” responsible for the poor result.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Some such social equation got formed because of which the balance got tilted in favour of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance)…Mohan Bhagwat never said anything, it was a damaging statement. He just said that everybody should get the benefits of reservation … Winning and losing is part of the game… one cannot pin the blame on the PM… He never said anything on NItish Kumar’s DNA,” said Rajnath Singh.During the media interaction Rajnath Singh strongly defended the BJP as the most secular party in the country and refused to take blame of not doing enough in incidents like Dadri.Incidentally, Rajnath was not so forthcoming in defending party president Amit Shah.Evading a question that even BJP’s ally Jitan Ram Manjhi has criticised Amit Shah’s statement that crackers will burst in Pakistan if BJP loses in Bihar, Singh said, “You better ask Manjhiji about this.”However, when asked that could Bihar results cost Amit Shah party president-ship, Rajnath said, Shah has six years left as he can get elected for two more terms, including the upcoming one in January.”The present tenure of Amit Shah is for an ad-hoc period…he is completing my left-over tenure of one-and-a-half years. He can be regular President for two more terms,”Rajnath said.Refusing to take the arrogance blame, the home minister said that “if it was so, we would have not won elections in Jharkhand, Ladakh, Maharashtra and Haryana…The party did quite well in Kerala too.”Singh said that the party did not discuss Shatrughan Sinha and RK Singh issues at Parliamentary board meeting. The two MPs from have blamed arrogance of some leaders and wrong ticket distribution to several undeserving muscleman candidates for BJP’s defeat in Bihar.

BJP veterans’ revolt: Singh, Gadkari and Naidu offer tepid defence

“They had set a healthy precedent of the Party collectively taking up responsibility for victories and defeats. The Party would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of our seniors in this regard,”

File Photo

Replying to LK Advani and company’s criticism after the devastating loss in Bihar, senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Venkatesh Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, issued a statement saying that the party would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of their seniors in this regard.Seeking to defend its leadership from the attack by its veterans, the BJP tonight tried to put the ball back in their court, saying the “healthy precedent” of collective responsibility for poll victories and defeats was set by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani himself. The BJP also said it would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of “our seniors”, shortly after Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Yashwant Sinha and Shanta Kumar raised a banner of revolt against the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah in the wake of Bihar poll debacle.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP response came by way of a joint statement issued by three Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, all former BJP Presidents. “The Party has been very fortunate to have been led by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Shri L.K. Advani for decades. They had set a healthy precedent of the Party collectively taking up responsibility for victories and defeats. The Party would certainly welcome any guidance and suggestion of our seniors in this regard,” the brief statement said. With inputs from PTI

Cyber crime has become a big threat: Rajnath Singh

Inaugurating an information security conference — ‘Ground Zero Summit-2015’ here, the Home Minister said the government was concerned about cyber security and steps have been taken in this regard. “Cyber crimes are a big threat and they are increasing.

Rajnath Singh

Cyber crime has become a big threat for the country as various disruptive forces are trying to lure and mislead young minds over the internet, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday.Inaugurating an information security conference — ‘Ground Zero Summit-2015’ here, the Home Minister said the government was concerned about cyber security and steps have been taken in this regard. “Cyber crimes are a big threat and they are increasing. Many forces in this domain are trying to lure young minds. We can’t be fully secure until we have good cyber security,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh said efforts must be made to ensure that the country’s systems and networks were updated properly. The Home Minister said the government will soon set up a cyber crime coordination centre following a suggestion of an expert committee in this regard. The Home Ministry had recently said a Rs 400 crore cybercrime control hub, to be called ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre’ (IC4), will be set up to check cyber crime, including child pornography and online abuse, as per the recommendations of the committee.One of the priorities of IC4 will be to check attempts by international gangs to penetrate Indian government’s official communication network and hack them. Key objectives of IC4 are to act as a nodal point in the fight against cyber crime and as an early warning system for law enforcement agencies with active cyber crime monitoring.It will also set up an open platform for victims to raise cyber crime complaints with the protocol for resolution such as online crime reporting, to support and coordinate electronic investigations of cyber crime and assist the law enforcement agencies in criminal investigation. IC4 would provide all necessary technical assistance to CBI and state police on all cyber crime related issues. The Home Minister has already directed speedy implementation of recommendations of the committee.

Chhota Rajan most likely to be kept in Ajmal Kasab’s cell in Mumbai: Sources

When Chhota Rajan, who was arrested in Bali on Sunday, is brought to India by the CBI officials, he will most likely be kept in the same cell in the crime branch lock up in Mumbai police headquarters where 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab was kept following his arrest in 2008, sources told NDTV. Officials are reportedly concerned for his security.

Absconding mafia don Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje alias Chhota Rajan, a former aide who later turned a foe of fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, was arrested in the Indonesian resort of Bali, the CBI said on Monday.

Chhota Rajan. ReutersChhota Rajan. Reuters

Chhota Rajan. Reuters

CBI director Anil Kumar Sinha said Chhota Rajan, who operated out of Mumbai and wanted in India for a series of serious crimes, was taken into custody on Sunday when he was travelling under a false identity — Mohan Kumar.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh thanked Interpol and the Indonesian government for their cooperation in arresting Chhota Rajan, who began life as a black marketer of movie tickets before embracing murders, extortion, kidnappings and more.

“India was active on this case… I want to thank Interpol and the Indonesian government for this. Post-verification, investigation will be taken forward,” Rajnath Singh told the media in New Delhi.

Chhota Rajan, 55, operated from Chembur and surroundings from the mid-1970s when he became a trusted henchman of Dawood, India’s most wanted don who is reportedly hiding in Pakistan.

Among many crimes to his credit, Chhota Rajan’s name figured prominently in the killing of Mumbai journalist J Dey in Mumbai on 11 June, 2011.

Dawood and Chhota Rajan fell out after the bloody March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts that Dawood ordered to avenge the communal riots in the city two months previously and the earlier Babri mosque razing.

Chhota Rajan, who opposed the Mumbai bombings, slipped out of India in 1995 and remained on the run till his arrest on Sunday. The CBI chief said the arrest was made by the Indonesian police following a request from India.

The Indonesia police acted following a tip from from their Australian counterparts, a Bali police official told the media. The Australian Federal Police had been keeping a track of Chhota Rajan.

Chhota Rajan began his life of crime as a black marketer of movie tickets over two decades ago. Slowly, he took to murders, extortion, kidnappings and other serious crimes once he joined the Mumbai underworld.

With inputs from IANS

Rajnath Singh asks writers, scientists to come meet PM Modi, give suggestions

On a day when writers and artistes vehemently denied that Congress and Leftists were behind the protest that has seen several of them return their state-conferred honours, Singh also said that “returning awards is not the right thing

Rajnath Singh

Amidst the row over claims of rising intolerance in the country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday asked artistes and intellectuals to come and meet Narendra Modi to suggest ways to resolve the crisis even as he wondered why the NDA government and the prime minister were being targeted over the issue.On a day when writers and artistes vehemently denied that Congress and Leftists were behind the protest that has seen several of them return their state-conferred honours, Singh also said that “returning awards is not the right thing”. Assuring that the government would take their suggestions seriously and will act upon them in the wake of their charge of “growing intolerance” in the country, he said “Returning awards is not the right thing, I request the writers and scientists to come and meet the prime minister and give their suggestions, the Union government will take concrete steps on those.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a function organised here by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyut Parishad, Singh also said it was “wrong” to target NDA government and the prime minister on the issue as law and order was a state subject and the Union government only extended assistance as and when needed. “It’s beyond my understanding, why they are targeting the (NDA) government and our prime minister on this issue,” he said, adding “it’s not right to target the government and PM”.Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the event, Singh also said that the NDA government will not function not on the basis of caste or religion but humanity and justice. Meanwhile, talking about the Bihar polls, he expressed confidence that the BJP-led NDA will form the government there. He claimed that even analysts had forecast victory for NDA in Bihar with a clear majority.At a “resistance” (Pratirodh) meet today in the national capital writers, artistes, thinkers and academics had gathered to protest what they termed an “attack on reason, democracy and composite culture”. They also took umbrage at Union Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks dubbing their protest as “manufactured rebellion”, questioning how he could make such a claim when the President, many business leaders as well as common people have joined in voicing concern over the “disturbing” trend.

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

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

Karthik Gowda

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

Chhota Rajan held in Bali, to be deported

Mumbai’s dreaded don of yesteryears expected to help in India’s efforts to nab Dawood

Dreaded underworld gangster of yesteryears in Mumbai, Chhota Rajan is expected to be deported to India soon after his arrest by Indonesian Police in Bali on a tip-off provided by the Australian Interpol. Rajan was travelling as Mohan Kumar on Indian passport number G 9273860 on Garuda Indonesia flight from Sydney to Denpasar, Bali, sources said. Bali police spokesman Heri Wiyanto said that police were questioning Rajan in Bali police headquarter in Denpasar, the provincial capital, and coordinating with Indian diplomats for a deportation process.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Confirming Rajan’s arrest, union home minister Rajnath Singh said, “We had issued a notice through Interpol. The process of verification and other details are on.” Once a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim, who fell apart after 1993 bombings and became his arch-rival, 55-year-old Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Mohan Kumar alias Chhota Rajan is wanted in several criminal cases that include extortion, murder, smuggling, drug trafficking and film finance. He is wanted in 17 murder cases and several cases of attempted murder. Rajan is expected to be brought to India in due course either through extradition that is expected to be signed between India and Indonesia during Vice President Hamid Ansari’s visit or simply by way of deportation, sources said. Though no longer a threat in any sense, after all his firewalls and businesses got finished in 2011, Rajan remains highly valuable for the Indian agencies, for being a key aide of Dawood for a long time and knowing his trade secrets and business interests. “If one wants to lay hands on Dawood, persons like Rajan could be of immense help as they know the key secrets of the don and his ways of operating,” said a source. India’s external espionage agency R&AW is believed to have helped Rajan escape an attack by Dawood’s key henchman Chhota Shakeel when he was staying in a hotel in Bangkok in 2000. It remains to be seen if Indian agencies also played a hand in Rajan’s arrest to get him away from the clutches of Dawood, who may have been keen to bump him off to avert his own downfall. Hiding in Pakistan, Dawood perhaps know too well that bringing him to justice is a top priority for the Modi government and they have a brilliant operative in national security advisor Ajit Doval, who is capable of bringing his end soon to Modi’s credit.

Cannot get away saying statement was misinterpreted, says Rajnath Singh on VK Singh’s dog analogy

Commenting on the incident of Dalit children being burnt to death, VK Singh on Thursday said that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’ while Rijiju endorsed a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians ‘enjoy’ breaking rules.

Hitting out at Minister of State (MoS) VK Singh and Kiren Rijiju for making a controversial statement, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that party leaders need to be careful while putting out their views.Commenting on the incident of Dalit children being burnt to death, VK Singh on Thursday said that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’ while Rijiju endorsed a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians ‘enjoy’ breaking rules.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to the media, Rajnath Singh said, “Both Gen VK Singh and Kiren Rijiju have already given clarification on their statements. But I feel as leaders of ruling party, we all must be extra cautious before making any statement and should also ensure that there is no possibility of our statement to be interpreted in the wrong sense.””We cannot get away by saying that statement was misinterpreted. We need to be careful while putting our views,” he added.Rajnath Singh also said that he has spoken to Haryana CM, “He (Khattar) has taken cognizance of that and taking all appropriate measures,” he added.Also read: VK Singh defends remark, says he didn’t intend to draw analogy between Dalit kids and dogArguing that the government is not responsible if ‘someone throws stones at a dog’, VK Singh had on Thursday said, “It was feud between the families, don’t connect it with the government, local administration failed. If someone throws stones at a dog, the government can’t be held responsible.” Vaibhav, a two-and-a-half years old, and his sister, 11-month-old Divya were burnt alive after some persons from an upper caste set their house afire while they were sleeping. Their mother Rekha suffered 70% burns and has been referred to a Delhi hospital for treatment.However, as the Opposition parties attacked VK Singh, he apologised clarifying that somebody was deliberately trying to mix his two different remarks and create confusion. Also read: VK Singh’s statement reflects Modi government’s ‘anti-Dalit’ mindset: CongressKiren Rijiju also sought to downplay his endorsement of a former Delhi LG’s statement that north Indians “enjoy” breaking rules and said it was not directed at one section but was applicable to the entire society. He said attempts to “politicise” his statement were wrong and added that if there were wrongs happening in the society everyone was responsible for it.Demanding VK Singh’s immediate sacking, Congress spokesman Randeep Surjewala said, “It is condemnable, it is shocking, it is inhumane to say the least. General VK Singh has insulted not only the entire Dalit community of this country but all Indians. It reflects the mindset of the Modi government which insults Dalits, which insults the minorities and looks down upon the people who are poor and downtrodden.”He also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi sack him and tender an apology on Singh’s behalf. Surjewala said a criminal case should be registered against the minister under Prevention of Atrocities on Schedule Castes Act.

DCW chief Swati Maliwal meets Rajnath Singh, flags concern on women safety

During the 20-minute long meeting, the DCW chief also raised the issue of fixing accountability of police.
File Photo
PTI
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal on Thursday met Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh and said there is an absence of synergy between Central Government, Delhi Government and Police and hence a coordinated response towards women safety is lacking.”I had sought an appointment with the Home Minister because rapes are increasing in the national capital regularly. The way minor girls are being harassed is very wrong. I have raised few appeals with few minister and he has given me positive response,” Maliwal told reporters after the meeting.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Firstly, I believe there is no synergy or coordination between the Centre, state and Delhi Police and therefore there is lack of a coordinated response in dealing with issue of women safety. I suggested that a forum should be set up in which LG, Minister Home Affairs, Delhi Chief Minister and DCW should atleast meet twice a month. They should review whatever steps are measures are being taken,” she added.During the 20-minute long meeting, the DCW chief also raised the issue of fixing accountability of police.”We have got certain statistics. For instance, only 13 out of 4000 complaints received by police through himmat application were acted upon. Similarly, charge sheets are filed only in one-third cases and rest remain pending. Hence, there needs to be a mechanism to fix accountability of police,” she said.”As Rajnath Singh is the political head of Delhi Police, I raised all these issues with him and urged him to dedicate one day every week to women security issues,” she added.

It’s now paramilitary’s turn for OROP agitation

The All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AICPFEWA) has asked the Modi government either to implement OROP and give benefits at par with the Army as they are recognised as ‘Armed Forces’ under Article 246 of the Constitution or else they would start an agitation.

After Modi government managed to brazen out the first tide of ex-servicemen demanding One Rank One Pension (OROP), the second tide, of ex-paramilitary personnel, is steadily gathering mass to demand the same.The All India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AICPFEWA) has asked the Modi government either to implement OROP and give benefits at par with the Army as they are recognised as ‘Armed Forces’ under Article 246 of the Constitution or else they would start an agitation.The association has sought appointments from the Prime Minister, Union home minister to parliamentary affairs minister to remind the government of an agitation from November 2 at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. So far, it has not received a reply from the government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To show their strength, the association plans to bring about 10,000 ex-paramilitary personnel for the sit-in. The association had sent a 10-point memorandum to Prime Minister Modi on September 26 and last week sought appointments with Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh besides Venkaiah Naidu.There are more than 50 such associations of former employees from BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, SSB and Assam Rifles that come under an umbrella of National Coordination Committee (NCC) of ex-paramilitary forces personnel welfare associations.Though the NCC is neither in favour nor has approved any dharna or strike by Ex-CPMFs personnel association at any place on OROP, the Kerala-based association wants to go ahead.However, in private, many serving paramilitary personnel, including senior officers, concede that they have been not been taken seriously by the government for not being vocal like the defence forces personnel.”There is no difference between the Army and paramilitary forces. Rather we bear more brunt throughout the year in counter-insurgency ops in J&K, Northeast and Naxal areas. There are hardly any peace postings for us like the Army. Why we should not be considered Armed forces,”said a senior BSF official.The para-military officials also claim that their name was changed from central paramilitary forces (CPMFs) to central armed police forces (CAPFs) under a well thought out design to show them inferior to the Army and they should be renamed as CPMFs.”We will resolve the issue peacefully. It is a just demand and possible for the government,” said association’s general secretary, P S Nair.The BJP government that has already agreed to OROP for three wings of defence forces maintains that the rationale of early retirement applicable for ex-servicemen is not correct for paramilitary personnel as till the rank of commandant they can retire at 57 years of age and from DIG onward, at 60 years.But the paramilitary forces personnel consider this argument bogus as according to Nair, “Over 35,000 paramilitary personnel have quit the forces between 2010 and June 2013 due to this discrimination. Unlike Army personnel, they only get minimum pension. The attrition rate is only expected to go up if such double standards prevail.”Besides OROP, the Association wants an “Ex-Servicemen status”, CSD Canteen facilities at par with the Defence personnel, a Paramilitary Welfare Board on lines of the Sainik Welfare Board and exemption from New Pension Scheme of 2004 which is contributory scheme. 10-point memorandum to PMTo show their strength, the association plans to bring about 10,000 ex-paramilitary personnel for the sit-in. The association had sent a 10-point memorandum to Prime Minister Modi on September 26 and last week sought appointments with Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh besides Venkaiah Naidu.There are more than 50 such associations of former employees from BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, SSB and Assam Rifles that come under an umbrella of National Coordination Committee (NCC) of ex-paramilitary forces personnel welfare associations.

Tolerance, plurality must be kept in mind: President Mukherjee in the wake of Dadri lynching

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said the core values of diversity, tolerance and plurality of Indian civilisation must be kept in mind and cannot be allowed to be wasted, in remarks that come against the backdrop of the Dadri lynching over rumours of beef eating.

“I firmly believe that we cannot allow the core values of our civilisation to be wasted and the core values are what over the years the civilisation celebrated diversity, promoted and advocated tolerance, endurance and plurality.

“These core civilisation values have kept us together over centuries. Many ancient civilisations have fallen. But Indian civilization has survived aggression after aggression and long foreign rule, because of its core civilisational values and we must keep that in mind. And if we keep those core values in mind, nothing can prevent our democracy from moving forward,” he said.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

The President’s remarks come in the wake of lynching of a 50-year-old muslim man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh by an enraged mob over rumours that he had stored and consumed beef, which has sparked an outrage across the country.

The President was handed over a coffee-table book on him at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi. The book written by Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director of New Indian Express, was released by Vice President Hamid Ansari.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, fromer Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah and MPs were also present at the function.

In his brief 15-minute address, Mukherjee said being a political leader all along he felt shy speaking at such an occasion where a book on him was written.

He said the country has made tremendous progress in many sectors and there is no limit to doing more.

“There is no limit. We will have to do much more,” he said.

He added that there is no end to work in the President’s office which is considered stricly Constitutional and recalled how his friends jokingly commented that he would not have anything much to do in the post.

“I in my own way am making my contribution to make the country more important… After three years of coming here, I recognise that much more is to be done. There is no end to working in the President’s office, which is considered strictly constitutional,” he said.

Lauding the strength of democracy in the country, the President said its electorate decisively decided to put an end to the era of coalition and gave a single party government.

“Despite their diversity and despite having a long period of absence of single party majority, the Indian electorate decisively decided to make an end of that. Many of us thought that perhaps an era of coaltion has reached and that no single party would ever come (to power).

“In true sense, the marvel of Indian democracy has its own strength and we must celebrate that,” he said.

He said he has closely seen many important events in the country happen before him right from the first election when people wondered how an election covering 350 million people can take place smoothly, to the last one.

He also recalled his days when he entered Parliament as a member of the Rajya Sabha during a “turbulent period” when Congress faced a major crisis over bank nationalisation and eventually split.

The President also recalled his mother telling him to go to school, a 10 km walk, everyday, which influence his mind to strive hard when there was “no option”.

He lauded the work of Prabhu Chawla, who along with his team put the book together, describing it as a “gift” from his friends and near and dear ones.

Ansari said the book is a small tribute to an eminent personality, who has a range of experience and depth of understanding of issues.

Praising the book, Rajnath Singh said to put Mukherjee’s life in a book is difficult to do so for such a personality who has not been in politics only to be in power and one who had strived successfully to bring about consensus in Parliament on many issues.

“He played the most important role in bringing about consensus,” the Home Minister said.

PTI

Rajnath Singh calls up SSP Varanasi, asks him to ensure peace in the temple town

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday night spoke to SSP of Varanasi and took stock of the situation arising out of violence and asked him to ensure peace in the temple town.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

During the telephonic conversation with Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari, Singh took a detailed briefing about the violence that broke out during march by some seers and the steps taken to check it.

Singh asked the police officer to ensure that no more violence takes place in the city and peace was restored as early as possible, sources said.

Violence erupted in Varanasi today with protestors indulging in stone-pelting on police and setting ablaze a police picket and a number of vehicles.

The violence broke out when some people in the crowd resorted to stone-pelting during a march by seers and some other locals, police sources said.

The mob also indulged in arson, setting afire a police picket, a police jeep, a motorbike and some shops in Godowlia area under Dashashwamedh police station.

Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

PTI

RSS never seeks report card, says Rajnath Singh

Rejecting opposition charge that RSS was holding the reins of the government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the Sangh never asks for the report card on the government’s functioning.

Rajnath Singh

Rejecting opposition charge that RSS was holding the reins of the government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the Sangh never asks for the report card on the government’s functioning.The senior BJP leader said, “We are and will remain RSS volunteers. The organisation never permits creating differences on the basis of caste and religion.”When we sit, we share with them as they have more experience, they never ask for the report card on our functioning,” he said on opposition criticism that RSS was indirectly running the government. After controversy over a recent three-day Sangh-government meet in New Delhi, the Home Minister had said that he and PM Narendra Modi are swayamsevaks and that is a “well-known” fact. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Pakistan is waging proxy terror war against India, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh

Lucknow: Home Minister Rajnath Singh blamed Pakistan for waging a proxy terror war against India and regularly violating the ceasefire agreement on Saturday.

He also noted that India’s borders with Pakistan and China are “very sensitive” and said security arrangements have to be ensured keeping the situation in mind.

File photo of Rajnath Singh. AFPFile photo of Rajnath Singh. AFP

File photo of Rajnath Singh. AFP

Speaking on India’s security scenario at a conclave organised by Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd here, he said, “Pakistan has been regularly violating ceasefire agreements, but India has given a befitting reply”.

“Pakistan is also waging a proxy terror war against India,” he said.

The Home Minister said the Modi government went whole hog against the infiltrators as a result of which 130 terrorists were killed while sneaking into Indian territory since 2014, compared to 110 in 2013 and 67 in 2012.

Singh said that since the NDA government came to power in 2014, infiltration cases have dropped to 15 this year from 52 in 2014, 264 in 2012 and 277 in 2013.

The Minister said increasing defence power of India was not going down well with anti-national elements.

On China, he said the border dispute with that country persists and attempts were being made to resolve it.

Singh said though the boundary with Nepal and Bhutan was peaceful and there was no problem, the borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar were “active”.

To a question, he said ISIS will fail to set up any network in India.

Singh also said Left Wing Extremism was a big challenge as 10 states and 125 districts were affected.

The Home Minister said another area of concern was growing cases of cyber crime.

To a query relating to RSS, the senior BJP leader said, “We are and will remain RSS volunteers. The organisation never permits creating differences on the basis of caste and religion.”

On opposition criticism that RSS was indirectly running the government, he said the Sangh never sought a report card from the government on its functioning.

PTI

Bihar elections 2015: PM Narendra Modi to lead a band of 40 star campaigners

The entire gamut of party’s union ministers and senior leaders from Bihar as well as those who have been handling the state’s affairs are among the star campaigners.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the lead, the BJP’s brigade of 40 star campaigners for the Bihar battle has political heavyweights, party mentors and a glamour quotient. The list submitted to the election commission includes BJP veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi, both of whom are members of the Marg Darshak Mandal. Actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha also figures in the list despite his persistent controversial remarks and tweets which have often left the party red-faced. Apart from him, another Bollywood star Hema Malini who is now a BJP MP will also campaign in the state. Former cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu’s name also figures in the list.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides senior union ministers– Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari–and BJP chief Amit Shah, human resource development minister Smriti Irani, a television star turned politician, will also hold rallies in the state. Only two chief ministers– Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raghubar Das– will be campaigning in Bihar, where the first phase of elections will be held on October 12. The entire gamut of party’s union ministers and senior leaders from Bihar as well as those who have been handling the state’s affairs are among the star campaigners.Sinha, a BJP MP, has openly expressed his views against the party decision to put up a collective leadership instead of projecting a face ahead of the elections. The BJP wanted to leave the leadership open-ended to avoid disappointing any section, sources said. However, it appears that the strategy to create a confusion on who could be the chief minister if NDA won, is now weakening as none of the senior leaders who appeared to be in the race, are fighting the election.PM to hold 20 rallies According to sources, Narendra Modi is likely to hold around 20 rallies in the state in the run up to the election, in which the BJP-led NDA has not projected any chief ministerial candidate. In the absence of a face in the state, it is turning out to be battle of Modi versus Nitish Kumar, who is the chief ministerial candidate of the Mahagatbandhan of JD-U and RJD.

BJP holds Central Election Committee meet for Bihar elections

Second list of candidates for Bihar Assembly polls is expected to be announced after the meeting.

BJP is contesting on 160 seats in upcoming Bihar Assembly elections.

The Bharati Janata Party (BJP) Central Election Committee meeting is underway at the party headquarters here. The meeting among others is being attended by party president Amit Shah, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, JP Nadda and Nitin Gadkari, Bihar election in charge Anant Kumar, and state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also joined the meeting.Second list of candidates for Bihar Assembly polls is expected to be announced after the meeting. BJP is contesting on 160 seats in upcoming Bihar Assembly elections. Party had already released the first list of 43 candidates.

Government to set up national body to tackle cyber crimes

The idea of NCTC, an overarching body to counter all kinds of terror, money laundering and cyber crimes, was shelved by the UPA government following opposition from several states.

dna
A high-level five member Expert Group led by National Cyber Security Coordinator, Dr Gulshan Rai has proposed measures required to control cyber crime including legal and technical measures that includes creation of a national body Indian cyber crime coordination centre or I-4 C. Though little is known about the concept of I-4C, its construction and purpose seems to be somewhat on the lines of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) minus the legal powers to carryout operations and arrests.The idea of NCTC, an overarching body to counter all kinds of terror, money laundering and cyber crimes, was shelved by the UPA government following opposition from several states.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Besides having a national centre, the I-4C will also have branches in states and UTs and will be synced with the national intelligence grid (NATGRID) and crime and criminal tracking network system (CCTNS) to pick up and gather information of cyber crimes and analyse and predict future trends, sources said.The I-4C will remain under the overall supervision of the union home ministry.The government also plans to create an advance application for social media analytics that will involve organs of union home ministry, department of electronics and information technology (DEITY), ministry of external affairs, ministry of I&B and ministry of defence.To keep check on the inflow and outflow of potentially dangerous information, the government also plans to route all internet gateways through a single gateway under its command.”This may take time as it would involve extensive talks with the service providers on various issues,” sources added.The meeting was attended by union home minister Rajnath Singh home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, secretary (internal security) Ashok Prasad, and members of the Expert Group Dr. Rajat Moona, DG, C-DAC, Pune, Prof Krishnan, IIS-Bengaluru, Dr. Manindra Aggarwal, IIT, Kanpur, Dr D. Dass, IIIT, Bengaluru.The home minister directed the officials to come up with concrete proposals regarding infrastructure, research, people friendly interface so that the matter could be considered at the highest level in a well defined timeframe.

Rajnath Singh postpones visit to forward areas along Pakistan, China borders

Singh, who was planning to visit Samba along Indo-Pak border and Chumar in eastern Ladakh for three days beginning Tuesday, postponed the visit and may tour both the areas later this month.

Rajnath Singh

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was scheduled to visit forward areas along the borders with Pakistan and China, has postponed the tour citing a key BJP meeting on Bihar.Singh, who was planning to visit Samba along Indo-Pak border and Chumar in eastern Ladakh for three days beginning Tuesday, postponed the visit and may tour both the areas later this month. “A meeting of the BJP Parliamentary Board has been called on Tuesday and it is important for the Home Minister, who is a senior party leader, to attend it.”Hence the visit is rescheduled and he is likely to visit the border areas later this month,” a Home Ministry spokesperson said. The BJP meeting is expected to discuss party strategy for the coming Bihar Assembly polls scheduled next month.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian and Chinese troops recently had a face-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the same area where People’s Liberation Army had pitched camps in April 2013 that had led to a three-week-long stalemate. According to officials in the know of developments, the Chinese troops had built a temporary hut in Burtse, north of Ladakh, which was demolished by ITBP and army jawans on Saturday.The Home Minister was planning to visit Chumar area, which saw a fortnight-long stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops a year ago. The Samba sector along the Indo-Pak border, the other area which the Home Minister was supposed to visit, has often witnessed firing from across the border in recent times.

India is more Islamic than Pakistan, says Rajnath Singh

India can be called “more Islamic than Pakistan” as more Muslims live here than that country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the chief of Pakistan Rangers on Friday who called on him to discuss ways to keep the border peaceful.

Rajnath Singh

PTI photo
India can be called “more Islamic than Pakistan” as more Muslims live here than that country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the chief of Pakistan Rangers on Friday who called on him to discuss ways to keep the border peaceful.During the interaction, Singh said India wants peace with all neighbours, including Pakistan, and will not fire the first bullet but asked the Rangers to ensure no infiltration takes place from their side.In his response, Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki, the head of Pakistan Rangers’ delegation, told Singh that he was the “mere DG of a force and not the leadership” like the Home Minister and could not give any commitment in this regard. He said he would convey Singh’s message to the Pakistani leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Burki said his country also wanted peace along the border and cordial relations with India and that there could have been some incidents at the border where firing took place due to misunderstanding or by mistake.Singh said that “Like India, Pakistan, too, is a victim of terrorism” and both countries must unite against the menace.The Home Minister noted that India is home to all the 72 ‘firkas’ (sects) of Muslims, which no other country has.”India has more Muslim population than Pakistan. India can be called as more Islamic than Pakistan,” he said. Burki, who is here for talks with BSF DG DK Pathak, responded, “Your country is very big and vast. It is a great nation. We also want to have very good relations with India.” He also mentioned that both sides hope to defuse the situation along the Indo-Pak border in future amicably.Singh said India wants friendly relations with all its neighbours and that was the reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited all heads of neighbouring countries when he took charge and even met his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Ufa in Russia.”India will not fire the first bullet towards Pakistan along the border,” Singh told Pakistan Rangers. The Home Minister further told the Pakistan Rangers it should ensure that no infiltration takes place from Pakistan to India.

Women to get 33% reservation in all paramilitary forces

Hyderabad: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday announced 33 percent reservations would be provided for women in all paramilitary forces, including Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).

CISF women personnel. AFP

“In all para-military forces, women will be recruited by providing 33 percent reservations,” he said at the passing-out parade here at National Industrial Security Academy (NISA), a premier training centre of the CISF.

Noting that women share in the force stood at just 5.04 percent, he stressed on the need to increase the number of women personnel up to one-third of the overall strength of the force.

Rajnath Singh asked the CISF, which is actively involved in the developmental activities at the areas affected by left-wing extremism, to also improve its core competence in newer areas of crime such as dealing with cyber crimes.

He also said that initiatives had been launched to take the head count of the force from the present 1.36 lakh to an estimated two lakh.

CISF Director General Surender Singh wanted the officers to be geared up and ever-ready to combat different types of challenges. He said there were constant efforts to make NISA a world-class training provider.

IANS

Ahmedabad: Centre rushes army in after Narendra Modi reviews situation on Patel quota agitation

Wary of the situation, Modi himself came to appeal on camera to the people of his home state. Speaking in Gujarati and invoking Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Modi just stopped short of putting the blame.

Image courtesy: ANI
As the situation remains tense in the Patidar reservation-riot hit Gujarat that has left 7 people dead and ravaged property worth crores, Centre on Wednesday rushed 5,000 paramilitary personnel and five columns of army to carry out flag march in Ahmedabad after reviewing the situation at the top level.Wary of the situation, Modi himself came to appeal on camera to the people of his home state. Speaking in Gujarati and invoking Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Modi just stopped short of putting the blame.”Since yesterday, the type of atmosphere that is building up in the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, the manner in which violence is being used as a tool… we all know that violence serves no purpose,” said Modi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have always believed that the development of the state is possible only if we all walk together and stay united. It is my appeal to my brothers and sisters that the occasion calls for a single mantra – “peace”. Each and every issue can be resolved through talks,” said Modi.Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel on Wednesday morning and then again in the evening, and assured her full Central help to tackle the situation.”The home ministry is in constant touch with the Gujarat government and additional forces have been rushed as requested by the state government. We do not want to take any chance as call was given for a state-wide bandh,” a senior official said.The prompt Central government action came considering that Gujarat has witnessed many communal clashes in the past and situation can turn serious, the official said.

PM Modi shares credit for Naga peace accord with previous governments

New Delhi: Acknowledging the role of previous governments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday sought to share credit with them for the “successful talks” with NSCN (I-M) and hoped it will lead to development of not only Nagaland but the entire northeast region.

“Every government has made some effort. At times there have been improvement, at times obstacles. This cycle continued. Everybody has contributed to this process.

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“The credit does not go to any particular government, nor should it be taken. Everyone contributed to doing good. It is the result (of these efforts) that today in Nagaland there has been a successful dialogue with those people (NSCN(I-M) leaders). The result is that now we have had successful talks with those people in Nagaland,” he said.

The Prime Minister was apparently referring to the recent framework agreement reached between the Centre and the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) in Delhi when he was addressing birth centenary celebrations of Naga spiritual leader and freedom fighter Rani Gaidinliu, popularly known as “Rani maa”.

He said everybody has seen the dream of development and joining the mainstream in not only Nagaland, but the entire northeast and the country.

“I am confident that the journey that has begun of walking together will bear best of results and the country will achieve greater heights,” he said in an obvious reference to the Naga accord.

Modi said the push of his government has been on the development of infrastructure of the northeast region.

He said if the issue of connectivity is resolved then development would not be a problem. He said efforts were on to provide railway connectivity to state capitals in the region.

Referring to pineapples grown in the region and chillies in Nagaland, he said the northeast can become the “organic capital” of the country.

The development of the region was vital for the country’s growth, he said.

The function was also attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Nagaland Governor P B Acharya and Chief Ministers of Nagaland and Manipur T R Zeliang and O Ibobi Singh respectively.

While Rajnath Singh said the Naga accord would usher in peace, Jaitley said the Land Border Agreement with Bangladesh and the Naga peace initiative were two key initiatives taken by the prime minister.

PTI

NSA-level talks: ‘Swaraj’ moment stands out in crisis, foreign minister saves India from diplomatic fiasco

The apprehension within the Indian diplomatic community was that once Aziz comes to India for the NSA-level talks, he would try to bring back international focus on Kashmir by riding high on the Hurriyat bogey, leaving the Indian side high and dry in the absence to extract something tangible from Pakistan on terrorism and ceasefire violations.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
“Phew! She saved us from a diplomatic fiasco!” That must have been the remark on the lips of the top brass of the government who were in the thick of a muddle, when external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, in a craftily conducted press briefing, managed to send the ball back in Pakistani National Security Advisor (NSA) Sartaj Aziz’s court with a cracking forehand return.According to official sources, the decision to bring Swaraj to respond to Aziz’s clever presser on Saturday afternoon, where he almost served an ace by “urging Mr Modi to ponder over the most important part of the Ufa statement”, was taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, after consulting Union home minister Rajnath Singh and NSA Ajit Doval. As per established norm, the presser should have been addressed by Aziz’s counterpart Ajit Doval.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apprehension within the Indian diplomatic community was that once Aziz comes to India for the NSA-level talks, he would try to bring back international focus on Kashmir by riding high on the Hurriyat bogey, leaving the Indian side high and dry in the absence to extract something tangible from Pakistan on terrorism and ceasefire violations.The apprehension became more pronounced when Aziz made it clear that Pakistan is not yielding any ground on the two conditions set by India – that talks will be held only on terrorism and ceasefire violations and Kashmir and Hurriyat will be kept out.”On my part, I am still prepared to go to New Delhi for NSA talks without any preconditions,” said the seasoned diplomat Aziz at his Islamabad presser.For seasoned experts like former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat and also former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha, India, on its part, failed to do the homework properly before fixing the NSA-level talks.According to them, India should have made its position clear about the agenda of the talks at least a month in advance, as double caution is a prerequisite while engaging with Pakistan.”It was a close shave. Nevertheless, the political acumen of Swaraj, though a little rustic in diplomatic parlance, saved us from embarrassment,” said a senior bureaucrat.The clincher that put the ball back in Pakistan’s court and thus gave India an honourable exit route was when Swaraj said: “If they are willing to come, we welcome them, but we want an assurance that talks will only be on terror and the NSA will not meet the Hurriyat.””It was a Swaraj moment for India. She may get better assignments now to suit her profile in her ministry that is dominated by the PMO,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Sanskrit is the most useful language for science, technology, claims Rajnath Singh

Advocating the promotion of Sanskrit, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said even foreign scholars have considered it to be one of the most scientific of languages.

Rajnath Singh

Advocating the promotion of Sanskrit, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said even foreign scholars have considered it to be one of the most scientific of languages.”There is no other language which provides answers to complex philosophical questions like epics written in Sanskrit. Be it art, literature, science or technology, people are admitting Sanskrit is most useful,” Singh said addressing the launch of a ‘Mahaabhiyan’ to take Sanskrit to every house which is being led by an educational institution here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that even NASA, while building a super computer, had said that Sanskrit was the most suitable language for it.”But the irony is that we are getting away from it in India,” he said. Singh said that Sanskrit does not have a problem of spelling like other languages, such as English, and was pronounced in a similar manner everywhere. Unlike other languages, where pronunciation varies from region to region, Sanskrit does not have this problem as it is based on sound science, he added.”Even youths in the US and UK are reading Sanskrit,” he said. Singh said that as during his stint as the education minister in Uttar Pradesh government, he had introduced two chapters on Vedic mathematics in the school curriculum which, however, were later removed by the subsequent governments.He said that if there was the will, knowledge of Sanskrit could be taken to each and every house.

Could not achieve economic boom due to washout of monsoon session of Parliament: Rajnath Singh

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday termed as “painful” washout of monsoon session of Parliament and said due to which important legislations could not be passed and expected boom in economy could not be achieved.

Rajnath Singh

PTI photo
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday termed as “painful” washout of monsoon session of Parliament and said due to which important legislations could not be passed and expected boom in economy could not be achieved.”When we came into power economic situation was not very good and global recession was one the major reasons, but after coming to power we took a number of steps,” Singh said while addressing an event here.He said due to these steps reputed rating agencies had said that growth rate of Gross Domestic Product of the country would reach 8.5 per cent.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I accept that boom which was expected in the economy did not happened. Due to disruption in Parliament, GST bill which we wanted to get passed, could not get through,” he said.The Home Minister said that the day GST would get passed, the jump in the economy would be visible with in a few days, it was so important. “There are number of policy decisions due to which people will witness boom in the economy. We are confident about it.We are not saying that only on the basis of heavy industries or big projects, but also keeping in view the economy of villages and skill development of youths,” he said. Referring to devaluation of its currency by China, Singh said, at times there were decisions which affect the neighbouring countries.”When China sensed that its export was declining it devaluated Yvan, but we are optimistic about the economy as far as India is concerned,” he said.The union minister said earlier when domestic investors were not ready to invest, the situation has taken a turn so much so that now even foreign investors were willing to invest, adding that several MoUs have already been signed.”Parliament could not function this time was painful situation. Whatever the issue was, whether it’s right or wrong, if the treasury bench is ready for debate, then its the responsibility of opposition must discuss it and if some fact emerge then action should be demanded,” he said.He said that it was an irony that mindset has not charged even after so many years of independence. Singh said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a number of important decisions like Jan Dhan Yojna and pension to all scheme.

We face a terrorism problem due to our neighbouring country: Rajnath Singh on Pakistan

Rajnath Singh said Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to say and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also of the view that India should maintain good relationship with its neighbours.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said terrorism was a major concern not only for India alone, but for the entire international community.”I don’t think that there are two different views on this issue. As far as terrorism is concerned, I think it is not only India which is concerned on the issue, the entire international community is concerned,” Singh said at an event in Lucknow.”We have not been able to control terrorism. I am talking about the international community, cannot control it. We have more problems due to our neighbouring country,” he said. Singh said Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to say and Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also of the view that India should maintain good relationship with its neighbours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We made our intentions clear by inviting premiers of all the neighbouring countries,” he said while referring to oath ceremony of Modi government. He said the amount of ceasefire violation by Pakistan was done which a matter of serious concern for the government.”After I took over the responsibility, there was ceasefire violation every now and then. I told our Border Security Force personnel not to fire a bullet first, but if there is violation of ceasefire, we should not count our bullets and it has given results,” he said.Regarding Naxal menace, Singh said as far as internal security was concerned even those, who study it from time to time, have accepted the fact that there has been a decline of 30 per cent to 40 per cent within a year. He said the government was heading towards controlling the menace, but also want to carry out development works in areas affected by naxalism and maoism. The union minister said the government has also been successful in checking smuggling of cows on Indo-Bangladesh border.”More than 20 lakh cows were smuggled across the border every year. I immediately visited the border and told jawans and officers to take it as a challenge. I am happy to inform you that this number has declined to three lakh only in six to seven months,” he said. He congratulated the security jawans for protecting the borders and fighting against terrorism.

19 poems which depict Narendra Modi’s inner thoughts, nationalist feelings and social philosophy

In these lines taken from one of the verses in Saakshi Bhav, a book of poems in Hindi released in the capital on Monday, Narendra Modi could well have been writing about his current predicament a year since he took over as prime minister when the doubters and critics have all been silenced and the swell of expectations has risen high.

Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh release Modi’s book
BB Yadav
dna
“The subject of my new responsibilities/ That had led to a storm in the outside world/ Has almost died down./ Everyone’s surprise, questions, etc are now coming to an end/ Now the expectations will begin/ The extent and severity of the expectations will be great/ The creation of my new self is also at an end now.”In these lines taken from one of the verses in Saakshi Bhav, a book of poems in Hindi released in the capital on Monday, Narendra Modi could well have been writing about his current predicament a year since he took over as prime minister when the doubters and critics have all been silenced and the swell of expectations has risen high. But, no, these are lines refer to an earlier transformation, a no less momentous change in the life of the “common man” PM – when in December 1986, the RSS pracharak in Gujarat was deputed to its political arm, the BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Narendra wrote the poems in Saakshi Bhav as a form of diary, addressed to the goddess, in which he confided his inner thoughts, nationalist feelings, and social philosophy. But he did not want to reveal them to the world, and so he burnt them. Thankfully, some senior RSS functionaries saved some, and they have been compiled in this book,” said BJP president Amit Shah at the release function. Saakshi Bhav, which has 19 poems, was published in the original Gujarat in 2014.Three other books were also released by Shah, and home minister Rajnath Singh. Two of them Jyoti Punj, short biographies of RSS pracharaks, and Social Harmony, a compilation of his thoughts on the subject, are English translations of books that the prime minister had written in his native Gujarati some years ago, while the third, Modi: Common Man’s PM, is a biography by Gujarati journalist Kishore Makwana. All four have been published by well-known Hindi publisher, Prabhat Prakashan, which has published books by several BJP and RSS leaders – VD Savarkar, Nanaji Deshmukh, Atal Behari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Dr Harshvardhan, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Bhairon Singh Sekhawat, et al. A book by Union urban development minister Nitin Gadkari on “India in the Future” is also due for release this Friday.For Singh and Shah, the occasion was one to reaffirm the image of the man who had led the BJP to a stupendous win, and its first-ever single party majority in Parliament, as not just a politician but a man of letters, and vision. “I came to know Modiji well only after becoming BJP president and when he became prime ministerial candidate but I realised quickly that he had everything — words, a sensitive mind, style and a message – that made him not just a good leader but also a man of literature,” said Singh.

Government, Congress spar over ‘Hindu terror’; war of words makes possibility of breaking parliamentary logjam bleak

There is hope that the new set of war of words will break the parliamentary logjam

The Parliament house in New Delhi on Saturday

PTI
A new set of war of words has broken out between the government and the Congress making the prospects of breaking parliamentary logjam further bleak. Even as the Congress on Saturday flayed Home Minister Rajnath Singh for accusing ex-UPA home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde coining the term “Hindu terrorism,” the BJP stood by its Home Minister, saying the Congress had weakened India’s resolve against terrorism by coining a new term of “Hindu terrorism.” Union minister and BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad pulled out a foreign newspaper report to assert that even Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had talked of “Hindu terrorism” as more dangerous than Islamic terrorism during a chat with the American ambassador during a reception in 2010.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The comment of the then Home Minister (Shinde) is being quoted out of context. It is a deliberate attempt for various reasons to divide the country to seeking debate on two religions and thus divert the people’s attention from its failure to effectively counter the threat of terrorism,” said senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad at a Press conference at the AICC headquarters here. He was reacting to Rajnath Singh’s outburst in the Lok Sabha on Friday without any provocation to assert that the term “Hindu terrorism” coined during the previous UPA government had weakened the fight against the scourge by diverting the direction of probe into the incidents of terrorism. Azad asserted that the BJP has a reason to be worried that the NIA (National Investigation Agency) has come to conclusion in its investigation in the Malegaon blast, Mecca Masjid blast, Samjhauta Express blast and Ajmer blast that those involved in every case had some direct or indirect association with the ruling party or RSS. “The BJP is worried as to where that trail will lead to. That is why the NIA has been directed to go slow as divulged by the NIA’s own lawyer. Should not the Media make this an issue? Should not the Supreme Court take notice of this,” Azad asked. Nailing Rajnath Singh’s “lie” that Shinde referred to “Hindu terrorism” in the Lok Sabha, he said the former HM was being quoted “out of context” on his speech in the party forum on secularism in Jaipur where he tried to explain to the Congress workers that those involved in some of the blasts were not Muslims to dub it an “Islamic terrorism.” Azad quoted Shinde then say: “Will you call it Hindu terrorism? We should not call it Islamic terrorism, Muslim terrorism, Christian terrorism, Sikh terrorism, nor Hindu terrorism.” He said the Home Minister can not run away abusing the Congress and pretend to be ready to debate terrorism in Parliament in the context of the Gurdaspur terror attack. “We would like to have a comprehensive debate and not just pick up one issue for debate as it won’t serve purpose. We would like to go into the genesis of the whole problem since the BJP came to power to know what concrete steps they have taken to see that terrorism ends,” he said. Azad said Prime Minister Modi has to be part of the debate as he alone can answer questions on his meetings with the heads of the neighbouring countries’ governments regarding the foreign-aided and abetted terrorism which the Home Minister alone may not be competent to answer. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, insisted that the Congress looked at terrorism from the angle of religion and that weakened fight against terrorism. He insisted that the BJP never dubbed the Muslims as terrorists. “Our Prime Minister has clearly said that Muslims are patriots. Talks of Hindu terror and saffron terror weakens country’s resolve against terrorism,” he said. Prasad asserted that talks of Hindu terror and saffron terror weakens the resolve against terrorism. He said not only Shinde had expressed concern over “Hindu terror,” but another senior Congress leader P Chidambaram had also spoken about “saffron terror” during his tenure as the union home minister. Congress leader and former home minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram asserted that the BJP was resorting to “a completely diversionary argument.” He said Shinde didn’t use the phrase “Hindu terror” in the manner Rajnath Singh quoted. “Better to call them the right-wing extremist groups, some of whom have been charged in several bomb blast cases,” he added.

High-level meeting held to discuss IS threat

It was decided in the meeting to expand the Maharashtra and Telangana models already in place for dealing with IS-related cases, to other states.

Rajnath Singh

Union home secretary LC Goyal chaired a high-level meeting of director generals of police and home secretaries of states that are seen as vulnerable catchment areas for terrorist organisations like Islamic State in an attempt to sensitise state governments and chalk out plans to tackle the threat. It was decided in the meeting to expand the Maharashtra and Telangana models already in place for dealing with IS-related cases, to other states. The two states’ model includes monitoring of social media, community outreach through religious leaders and eminent people of the society to counter the radicalization of youth. Efforts would also be made to gain the confidence of the Muslim community, said sources.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The meeting was held to streamline the institutional mechanisms for sharing information and to adequately meet the threats from terrorism. It was decided to strengthen the capacity building of the police officers in States through training programmes, to be organized by central intelligence and security agencies. Instances of radicalisation of youth in some states were also discussed including counseling of such youth and their families. Appropriate measures on counter radicalisation were also discussed. 25 Indian youth have so far fallen prey to the IS fold raising alarm bells in the country’s security establishment. Saturday’s meeting that had been scheduled earlier factored the large assemblage at Yakub memon’s funeral in Mumbai on Thursday, sources said.

Don’t call it Hindu terror: Rajnath Singh ko gussa kyon aaya?

He may be bland and boring but in the fire and brimstone culture of Sangh Parivar swarming with rabble-rousers, Rajnath Singh comes across as a sober figure with a cool head. Calm, unruffled, civil. The sort of person who, even if someone were to plant a smouldering firecracker under his seat, is likely to continue to stand there pretending that he is only warming his feet— and drone on.

Unlike many of his colleagues,who can’t open their mouth without putting their foot into it, he is always extremely measured in his utterances and likes to avoid controversies. But how long can a chip of the old (Parivar) block, hold his horses? So, on Friday, the mask slipped.

Singh turned up in the Lok Sabha in an uncharacteristically confrontational mood — all fired up as if on instructions from HQ, prompting a Hindi TV channel to ask: Rajnathkogussakyonaaya?

Well, he was upset, to put it mildly, over the description of acts of terrorism allegedly involving Hindus as “Hindu terrorism”. It was a term, he said, invented by the wily Congress to ingratiate itself with Muslims and give Hindus a bad name. It had damaged India’s image, “weakened” its fight against terror, and helped terrorists from across the border.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFPHome Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AFP

Wagging his finger at Congress benches, a visibly agitated Singh accused former home minister Sushil Kumar Shindeof “coining” the derogatory term which, he suggested, effectively tarred the entire Hindu community –indeed Hinduism itself.
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“Terrorism has no religion , caste or colour.In this House in 2013, the then Home Minister had coined the new terminology ‘Hindu terrorism’ in order to change the direction of probe (into incidents of terrorism). It weakened our fight. As a consequence, Hafiz Sayeed (LeT founder) of Pakistan had congratulated the then Home Minister.Whatever is happening now is the result of the UPA’s policies. Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again,”he thundered as his party colleagues thumped their desks in approval.

Singh’s outburst, which followed a statement he made on the Gurdaspur incident, was completely unprovoked as his statement had been heard with “rapt’’ attention by Congress members, as ANI news agency reported pointing out that its MPs who had been protesting earlier “suspended their protests and return to their seats” to hear the minister.

“We all welcomed, clapped (over Singh’s statement)…because the country is one and there is no compromise on terrorism and unity and integrity of the country,” MallikarjunKharge, leader of the Congress in the House, said expressing his surprise over Singh’s attack.

Lest anyone missed the point of Singh’s overblown rhetoric, here’s a deconstruction. It was a classic case of setting up a strawman argument and then striking it down in order to score cheap political points. Nobody had suggested that terrorism has religion, caste or colour; nor indeed was there any mention of Hindu terrorism on this particular occasion.

So, what was it all about? Clearly, he was trying to milk the occasion to politicise a sensitive issue by digging up an old comment and quoting it out of context. His ill-tempered speech came from that old, time-tested playbook of right-wing Hindu nationalism: namely portraying the BJP as the sole custodian of national interests(“Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again”) and dismissing its liberal critics—in this case the Congress– as “anti-national” .

Singh’s rant (for that’s what it ultimately sounded like as he randomly brought in other issues like the Sharm-el-Sheikh statement on relations with Pakistan and the 1962 India-China war) was typical of the party’s double standards, its self-righteousness and its divisive agenda portraying Hindus as “victims” in the same way that the Muslim Right remains permanently in a grievance mode.

Which tempts me to ask him a question. Assuming that he genuinely believes that terrorism should not be equated with religion, why has he or his party never protested that the mad acts of some followers of Islam shouldn’t be called “Muslim” or ” Islamic”‘terrorism? Or that the sins of a few should not be visited on the entire community? How is that a party which gets so prickly at the mention of Hindu or saffron terrorism happily uses religious labels to describe acts of extremism committed by members of other communities?

Forget Muslims, what about Sikhs? Remember the Hindu Right’s angry denunciation of “Sikh terrorism” even though Sikhs themselves were suffering at the hands of Khalistani militants, just as Muslims are now suffering at the hands of Muslim extremists? And why didn’t the BJP object to LTTE’s violence being dubbed “Tamil terror” ?

Moreover, can Singh deny that Hindus –and individuals with RSS links—have been involved in terrorist activities? Their alleged role in the Samjhauta Express bomb blasts (initially pinned on Muslims as a default reaction) and terror incidents at Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid and the Malegaon mosque are a matter of record.

It was in the context of these incidents that while addressing an AICC session in 2013, Shinde referred to “Hindu terrorism’’ accusing Hindu extremist organisations of running terror training camps. Faced with the joint fury of the RSS and the BJP (RSS leader Manmohan Vaidya publicly accused the Congress of protecting Muslim terrorists while BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi darkly warned of “serious consequences” if Sonia Gandhi did not apologise for her minister’s remarks!) Shinde said he meant to call it “saffron” terrorism.

I hold no brief for Shinde. He was an utterly incompetent home minister and like some of Singh’s mates he also can’t help putting his foot in his mouth. But were his remarks off the wall? No. Because however much the BJP might protest, it cannot get away from the charge of Hindu terrorism.

The biggest act of terrorism its supporters committed in the name of “protecting” Hinduism was what they did in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 when in full public view and in the presence of some of the party’s tallest leaders they brought down Babri Masjid after giving solemn assurance to the Supreme Court that it would not be touched.

Can Singh deny the bloody consequences and legacy of what self-avowed Hindu nationalists did that day in the name of their religion? Was it not a case of “Hindu terrorism” in the same way that acts of violence committed in the name of Islam are termed “Muslim terrorism”?

BJP’s eternal problem is that, for it, “hell is (always) other people”, as Sartre put it; and its sense of self-righteousness causes even otherwise sensible people like Rajnath Singh to protest too much. As he did on Friday.

War of decibels in Lok Sabha

It was the ninth day of the monsoon session when Parliament failed to take up any legislative business. The productivity so far is nine per cent, according PRS data.

It took less than 24 hours for parliamentarians to put aside Speaker Sumitra Mahajan’s pleas to stick to the rule book in the House. Opposition members neither gave up holding placards nor entering the well of Lok Sabha on Friday.Like most other days, the visitors’ galleries were full of school children who had come to witness Parliament proceedings. In the House, Opposition members entered the well of the House holding placards and continued to shout slogans against the government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the Chair persisted with conducting business during the question hour and zero hour.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was the ninth day of the monsoon session when Parliament failed to take up any legislative business. The productivity so far is nine per cent, according PRS data.Mahajan had apparently changed tack, determined not to adjourn the House, while the Opposition raised the pitch of its sloganeering, trying to overpower the voices of those speaking from the ruling side. It was only after the question hour, a statement by home minister Rajnath Singh on the Gurdaspur attack and tabling of parliamentary panel reports, that she adjourned the House, half an hour before lunch time. When the House met at 2 pm, Opposition members, including Congress and Trinamool Congress, took on Singh for making a political speech after making a statement on Gurdaspur terror attack.The Opposition had taken a break from its protests to hear the statement. After the statement, Singh said he wanted to add something. “Terrorism is the biggest challenge facing the country. Neither Parliament nor the country should appear divided on this… On the one hand, our jawans making the supreme sacrifice while fighting against terror, on the other we have this noise and disruption. How can the country accept this,” he said. The Opposition started protesting. Singh said “in this House in 2013, the then Home Minister (P Chidambaram) had coined the new terminology ‘Hindu terrorism’ to change the direction of probe. It weakened our fight. As a consequence, Hafiz Sayeed (LeT founder) of Pakistan had congratulated the then Home Minister. Our government will never allow such a shameful situation again.” Later, Kharge said Singh’s statement was aimed at defaming the UPA government. “This should not be politicized. You should not make political… You are playing politics; and we will not tolerate it… Therefore, Sir, I would request you that whatever extra he had said apart from his suo motu , should be expunged and it should not be made part of the proceedings,” he said. TMC’s Saugata Roy said Singh had gone “into a rampaging speech where he accused people of having raised Hindu terrorism, where he raised the question of Sharm-el-Sheikh. Now when the House is totally united on the matter of rooting out terrorism from the country, this statement by the Home Minister was against the rule because it was not circulated and it brought a division in the House… I would like you to examine the Home Minister’s speech and it is out of the prepared statement. What he said was not circulated to us.” But, deputy speaker M Thambidurai continued with zero hour mentions. Opposition members, including Congress and Left, entered the well of the House and resumed their protest. The treasury benches, including some ministers, watched hoping that the protestors will tire out. As their throats seemed to be going dry with slogan-shouting, Congress leaders were seen giving their members some throat soothing doses. Some slogans like “56 inch kya hua” directly targeted the Prime Minister. Among those in the well were Ranjita, wife of Pappu Yadav, who was sitting in one of middle rows and even made a zero hour mention against the law and order situation in Bihar under the Nitish Kumar government. Congress President Sonia Gandhi was present in the House all through the protest. BJP leader LK Advani, left the House after a while. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor stood behind the protestors, poring over some papers, but refrained from entering the well or shouting slogans.

Where is home minister? asks Opposition

The news of attack in Gurdaspur had broken out in the early hours of Monday when the home minister was still in the national capital but he preferred to take the flight to attend the 27th raising day of CRPF at Neemuch ignoring the gunbattle raging between the security forces and the terrorists.

Policemen take positions during the gunfight with terrorists

PTI
Many in corridors of power as well as in Opposition on Monday were wondering about the absence of home minister Rajnath Singh from the action, who instead of staying in the capital in the wake of terrorist attacks in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, chose to fly to Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh on a pre-scheduled trip.Not only the Congress criticised Rajnath Singh for not treating the attack as an emergency, sources here said even Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reportedly conveyed his “unhappiness” over phone to him for not attending a meeting called by him to have a clear picture on the attack during the day. Singh later met Modi in the evening and briefed him about the terrorist attack in Gurdaspur that left 13 dead and many wounded. Singh will make a statement in Parliament on Tuesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The news of attack in Gurdaspur had broken out in the early hours of Monday when the home minister was still in the national capital but he preferred to take the flight to attend the 27th raising day of CRPF at Neemuch ignoring the gunbattle raging between the security forces and the terrorists. He was supposed to leave for Madhya Pradesh at 8:30 am, but he actually about one hour late at 9:30 am after talking to Punjab chief minister, national security adviser and the director general of Border Security Force, the home ministry sources said.Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu was not aware that Rajnath Singh has left for Madhya Pradesh. He even told the Lok Sabha that the home minister will make a statement. A quick decision was taken to field MoS Home Kiren Rijiju but a decision was conveyed that Rajnath Singh will make the statement. His absence from Delhi was covered up by Venkaiah Naidu, saying the battle is still raging and so the statement will come only after the security forces have captured the terrorists or eliminated them.Congress spokesman Singhvi said his party stands resolutely behind the security forces battling on the spot and also stands behind the government in this hour of crisis for the country. The nation always stands together on the terrorism issues and the Congress is confident that the perpetrators of the terror attack are booked.He said the Congress, however, cannot resist itself as the main opposition party from expressing concern over the unfortunate developments on the security front in the last 12-14 months since the BJP government came to power. He pointed out that there has been 13 ceasefire violations by Pakistan during this month alone which is still not over while there were shockingly 800 such violations in the last 14 months which are eight times similar 96 violations in 2013-14.Singhvi said there have been instances of the Khalistani flag flown in Punjab and Pakistani flag unfurled in Jammu and Kashmir in the past few days that should be a matter of concern since it is the responsibility of the Centre and the state governments to prevent such incidents. He pointed out that the BJP is a partner in the coalition governments in both the states and so it should not escape the responsibility of playing with the national security.He saw a link between the Khalistani flags and the Punjab Government’s recent demand to release all dreaded Sikh terrorists or shift them to Punjab.

Terror grips Dinanagar for 11 hrs; all 3 terrorists killed

7 people, including 3 civilians killed; LeT role suspected; Punjab police refuse to hand over control to army, special forces; On July 24, there was intel warning of a possible LeT attack

1. People evacuate a hospital adjoining the police station that was attacked by militants
2. Two Punjab police personnel who were injured in the attack
3. Policemen take position next to the police station during the gunfight

PTI, Reuters
Three militants suspected to be from Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) killed seven people and injured several others (uncounted at the time of going to press) before being gunned down by Punjab police commandos in Dinanagar town in Gurdaspur district on Monday.It took over 11 hours for state police commandos, supported by the army, National Security Guards (NSG) and Special Security Group (SSG) commandos to kill the three militants, who, according to official sources, had infiltrated from Pakistan’s Bamiyal sector, an international border just 20 km away from the city’s bus stand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Among those killed were Gurdaspur SP (investigation) Baljit Singh, three home guards and four civilians. Eyewitnesses said two of the civilians were patients undergoing treatment at a hospital adjacent to a police station the terrorists took control of.”The patients, by mistake, opened the windows of their room to see what was happening and were shot dead,” said a police officer.The militants dressed in army fatigues first attacked the driver of a Maruti 800 around 5:30 am on the Taragarh-Dinanagar road behind the bus stand and hijacked the car. While driving away, they fired indiscriminately on a Jammu-bound bus, carrying 70 passengers.However, alert bus driver Nanak Chand drove the bus faster to a safer place and saved many lives. They then entered the two-storey police building, which was in a dilapidated state, and injured SHO Mukhtiar Singh before taking the building into their custody. They also hurled half a dozen grenades at security forces. Nobody was injured.After a high alert was sounded, city deputy commissioner Abhinav Trikha called the army and NSG and SSG commandos. Policemen from the nearby districts of Pathankot and Batala were also pressed into service within two hours.Punjab police head constable Sham Sunder, who was trapped in his residential quarter just 20 metres away, said the militants possessed sophisticated weapons, including telescopic guns. “They were trained sharp shooters as they hardly missed their targets.”Around noon, confusion prevailed in the chain of command to be followed by the securitymen as the the army wanted to take control of the operation, but the Punjab police was not ready to budge. But rumours that there were 10 terrorists and not four, one of them being a woman and the militants had ammunition around them to turn into human bombs made the Punjab police change their strategy.The Punjab police’s SWAT team, supervised by DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, did the final assault and flashed the message “Mission accomplished” around 4.45 pm.According to the Punjab police, the attack was a result of intelligence failure. A senior officer admitted: “We could have averted the incident had we acted on the intelligence inputs that were received in the recent days about the attack.” He said the militants had planned to take some Amarnath pilgrims as hostage from Dinanagar, but due to some reasons, not clear as of now, they changed their plans and targeted the police station.Intelligence inputs on July 24 had warned that a team of 10 LeT terrorists, headed by commander Maqbool Khan, are trying to infiltrate from Dudhiniyal, Jammu, to carry out attacks in India with the help of Pakistan Rangers and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). In Delhi, the warmth of the Ufa meet between India and Pakistan turned cold over the terror attack. The Centre decided early in the day to send NSG and Special Forces to neutralise terrorists but they were kept on standby. Union home minister Rajnath Singh chaired a high-level meeting with defence minister Manohar Parikkar, NSA Ajit Doval, BSF DG D K Pathak and chief of intelligence agencies in the evening to review the situation and decide what should be India’s response.In the meeting, Doval is understood to have strongly favoured a tough stand towards Pakistan. Sources said that BSF has been asked to retaliate with a higher degree of force in each case of infiltration attempt and increase its vigil at the border to an all-time high.After the meeting, Rajnath Singh was to have met PM Narendra Modi to decide on the Indian response,but the meeting got postponed because of the sudden demise of former President APJ Abdul Kalam.Debunking the bModi government’s Pak policy as fool-hardy approach and nothing better than the previous Manmohan Singh government, security analyst Ajai Sahni said: “Ufa talks were a false step, undertaken without realising the ground situation and understanding Pakistan. This government that came on the promise that it will not tolerate Pakistani aggression has bent over backwards to have talks with Pakistan, thus giving legitimacy to a state that is recognised as rogue the world over.”

Rajnath Singh says he is ‘confident’ about anti-terror operation in Gurdaspur, BSF to step up vigil

Bhopal: Union home minister Rajnath Singh on Monday expressed confidence about the ongoing operation against a group of terrorists in Gurdaspur district of Punjab and said that the situation is under control.

Screengrab from CNN IBNScreengrab from CNN IBN

Screengrab from CNN IBN

“I am confident about the operation which is underway and the situation is under control,” the home minister told reporters at the airport here before heading for Neemuch to attend the CRPF Raising Day Function.

Singh said he had spoken to Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, the National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Director General of BSF and Union Home Secretary L C Goyal. The home minister, however, refused to give details of casualties.

“I have also instructed the Border Security Force to enhance vigil along the entire international border,” he said, before leaving for Neemuch with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

When asked by a reporter whether the attack could be a reaction to the capital punishment awarded to Yakub Memon in 1993 Mumbai blasts case or whether it was a case of cross-border terrorism, Singh refused to comment. “The operation is going on and I won’t say anything more than this at present,” he said.

Four heavily armed terrorists wearing army uniforms went on a rampage on Monday in Gurdaspur district, attacking a bus, a health centre and a police station leaving five persons, including a policeman dead, and several injured.

The army has launched an operation against the militants who are holed up in Dinanagar police station complex.

PTI

Congress denounces Modi government’s gag order against journalists

Hitting out at the BJP government Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “the innocuous circular gives the message that the King will give only that information which he chooses to give and those wanting it should wait like beggars….At the mercy of the royalty.”

Abhishek Singhvi

The Congress on Friday dubbed the “gag order’ against journalists issued by the union home ministry as dictatorial approach by Narendra Modi government.Hitting out at the BJP government Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, “the innocuous circular gives the message that the King will give only that information which he chooses to give and those wanting it should wait like beggars….At the mercy of the royalty.”Such “one way” communication does not help in providing good governance and transparency in administration but such philosophy is not surprising from the Modi administration, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is yet another example of the dictatorial, over centralised approach of the government that goes against the basic principles of the republic, said Singhvi adding that such an approach cannot work in a diverse and vibrant democracy like India.The union home ministry’s circular issued to all the officials on July 23 orders that no official other than the spokesperson, designated as Additional Director General (Media), can speak with journalists.Issued by joint secretary (administration) on behalf of the union home secretary, L C Goyal, the circular is marked for “strict compliance” by all “officers/sections/desks” of the ministry and said, “ADG (Media) will be the single point for dissemination of all publicity material to the media including clarifications sought by the media.”Until now journalists accredited by the government had access to senior officials of the home ministry by way of appointment and request.Despite widespread criticism, union home ministry Rajnath Singh did not seem to bother as he tried to belittle the whole issue and tried to dodge questions when asked about the circular outside the parliament.

It’s clouds again over India-Pakistan talks

A villager shows parts of mortar shells fired from the Pakistan side at Raipur Sazdian village in Jammu on Thursday

PTI
Doors for talks between India and Pakistan that opened with silken smoothness at Ufa last week surprising many seemed to be closing down again with Pakistan resorting to unprovoked cross- border firing.After a brain-storming review meeting between Union home minister Rajnath Singh, defence minister Manohar Parrikar and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday evening, India re-calibrated its approach signalling that it will act tough if Pakistan continues with its misadventures but at the same time seemed to have kept the room open for talks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Foreign secretary S Jaishankar made it clear that India will retaliate if Pakistani forces continued unprovoked firing cross the Line of Control (LoC) and did not stop infiltration of terrorists.India is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility in the region but will give a befitting reply to Pakistan if it does not stop unprovoked firing and on the border.Earlier in the day, Pakistan summoned India’s high commissioner TCA Raghavan to the Foreign Office in Islamabad and lodged strong protest over “air space violation” by the “spy” drone near the LoC and “ceasefire violation”.Rebutting Pakistan’s charge of India using drone to spy, Jaishankar said, “the drone appears to be of Chinese design and is commercially available. Photograph of the drone in question shows it is not of Indian design or it is available in the inventory of the Indian Armed forces.”Yet keeping the doors open for talks, Jaishankar reiterated that India is committed to the spirit of Ufa and the various level talks that were decided there.”Dates of NSA-level talks have not been finalised yet, so the question of it being postponed does not arise,” Jaishankar pointed out on being asked if the recent tension would lead to postponement of talks.Commenting on Pakistan’s statement that firing on the LoC was initiated by India, Jaishankar said, “NSA inquired why conversations were not initiated by Pakistan if firing was started by the Indian side.”

Insurgency has affected criminal justice in Northeast: Rajnath Singh

“The people of the region have suffered the trauma of insurgency for long. Now they must reap the dividend of peace. Insurgency has adversely impacted the criminal justice system,” he said.

Rajnath Singh

PTI
Prolonged insurgency has affected the criminal justice system in North East with the rate of prosecution of criminals just five per cent in some states in the region as compared to the national figure of over 85 per cent, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said today “…Now the time has come when apart from insurgency- centric security, we must think, plan and deliver on people-centric security,” he told a security meeting of all north east Chief Ministers here. “The people of the region have suffered the trauma of insurgency for long. Now they must reap the dividend of peace. Insurgency has adversely impacted the criminal justice system,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It has severely undermined common man’s access to justice. In some N-E states, ratio of prosecution of criminals in cases of serious crimes is disturbingly low, as low as five per cent as against all-India figure of over 85 per cent. In cases of kidnapping for ransom, this data is negligible in NER,” Singh said. However, there has been a marked increase in low-visibility yet high-impact violent crimes like kidnapping for ransom and extortions in Assam and Meghalaya, he noted.When aggrieved people do not get justice from states, not only does their confidence in the system gets eroded but they also become prone to alternative course for justice and it further vitiates the environment, he said. “The state police must pay greater attention to registration and investigation of crimes and pursue the cases diligently in the courts for punishing the criminals, who commit heinous crimes in these states. The larger criminal justice system must deliver,” Singh said.To bring back confidence in the rule of law, the Home Minister urged the Chief Ministers to pay attention to it in their respective states.

Vyapam deaths: Rajnath speaks to Shivraj Chouhan, wants thorough investigation

New Delhi: Concerned over the death of a TV journalist covering the Vyapam scam, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and asked him to conduct a thorough investigation into the death.

During their 10-minute telephonic conversation, Singh asked Chouhan to order a thorough investigation into the death of TV journalist Akshay Singh in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district.

Rajnath Singh. ReutersRajnath Singh. Reuters

Rajnath Singh. Reuters

Official sources said the Chief Minister briefed the Home Minister about the incident and the steps being taken to know the details on the circumstances leading to the death of the journalist.

The Home Minister also asked the Chief Minister to ensure the security of all people connected with the case.

TV journalist Singh died soon after having interviewed the parents of Namrata Damor, an accused in the scam, whose body had been found under near railway tracks in Ujjain district on January 7, 2012.

38-year-old Singh, who started frothing at the mouth, was rushed to civil hospital and later to a private facility, but doctors failed to revive him. He was then taken to another hospital in nearby Dahod in Gujarat, where he was declared brought dead.

Within hours after Singh’s death, Arun Sharma, Dean of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Medical College, Jabalpur, who was said to be probing irregularities in admissions to his college in connection with the scam, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at a Delhi hotel this morning.

At least 25 accused and witnesses have died so far in the Vyapam scam, a massive admission and recruitment racket involving several bureaucrats and politicians.

PTI

Any cross-border infiltrations will be dealt with, assures Lt General KH Singh

On Wednesday, Union Minister Rajnath Singh had held a review meeting on security provisions for the yatra. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had also reviewed the arrangements made for the pilgrims in the state’s Baltal area.

Image Courtesy: ANI
General Officer Commanding of Nagrota-based 16 Corps, Lieutenant General KH Singh on Saturday warned that militants are trying to cross the Line of Control (LoC) to create problems during the Amarnath Yatra, and assured that any such intentions of infiltration will be dealt with. “We are aware that militants are trying to cross the border to create problems during the Amarnath Yatra. Let me assure you that their intentions of infiltration or trying to create trouble will be dealt with. There are approximately 36 launch pads and the training camps are also acting. We are trying to carry out more people friendly operations,” said Lt Gen Singh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “According to our inputs, ISIS has not yet taken off on the other side in PoK, but they are trying to gain a foothold. They are trying to re-energize their activities,” he added. On Wednesday, Union Minister Rajnath Singh had held a review meeting on security provisions for the yatra. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had also reviewed the arrangements made for the pilgrims in the state’s Baltal area. Elaborate security arrangements have been made to ensure a safe and secure yatra for the pilgrims. This year’s Amarnath Yatra will commence from today and end on August 29. The registration for this year’s Yatra, via selected bank branches, began in March.

PM Modi has promised to help Lalit Modi, alleges Congress

He also said that the Prime Minister does ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme but does not answer the basic questions, which have emerged in the last 15 days ever since the case of Lalit Modi has come to the fore. The Congress leader also said that the BJP only talks of morality and accountability but does not practice them.

Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh on Sunday alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised to help former IPL chairman Lalit Modi in all cases registered against him by the Enforcement Directorate.”I make this charge with full responsibility that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is helping Lalit Modi. My charge is that he has promised Lalit Modi, that he will be bailed out of all the cases in which he is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. Let Narendra Modi come out clean on this. The Congress Party has raised these questions repeatedly but the BJP has no answer,” he said while addressing a press conference in Hyderabad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said that the Prime Minister does ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme but does not answer the basic questions, which have emerged in the last 15 days ever since the case of Lalit Modi has come to the fore. The Congress leader also said that the BJP only talks of morality and accountability but does not practice them.”They talk of morality, they talk of accountability but when it comes to morality and accountability to be practiced by the BJP they say that what we say is the absolute truth and all others are lying,” he added.He further lashed out at Union Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh over his ‘arrogant’ assertion that none of the NDA ministers would resign.”And the arrogance of Rajnath Singh to say that only ministers in UPA resigned the NDA ministers no matter what they do shall not resign. This is the arrogance which is related to a fascist character. This is the face of fascism which the BJP stands for,” he said.A day ago, what seemed to be an attempt to appease the Centre, Lalit Modi heaped praises Prime Minister Narendra Modi by calling him the most savvy man.

Yoga will help terrorist channelise their ‘gyaan’ better: Rajnath Singh

“Knowledge is very dangerous. Those who are involved in terrorist activities, they are also ‘gyaani’. They do not lack knowledge. There are many people in terrorism, they have knowledge too. But knowledge should be used in such a way that it becomes helpful to the society, not disastrous. Yoga will do the work of controlling that knowledge,”

Rajnath Singh

PTI
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said terrorists do not lack knowledge and they are also “gyaani” (learned) and suggested that they should do yoga in order to channelise their knowledge towards constructive work in the society.Speaking at a function organised here to share benefits of yoga, Singh said it helps in comprehensive and integrated development of human personality.”Knowledge is very dangerous. Those who are involved in terrorist activities, they are also ‘gyaani’. They do not lack knowledge. There are many people in terrorism, they have knowledge too. But knowledge should be used in such a way that it becomes helpful to the society, not disastrous. Yoga will do the work of controlling that knowledge,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh, whose Ministry is entrusted with the job of ensuring internal security, also asked political parties not to create controversy over International Yoga Day, to be celebrated across the country and abroad tomorrow.”Yoga connects, not divides. I do not understand why people want to create controversy over yoga. I ask political parties not to do so,” he said.Singh said yoga connects people to people, religion with religion and culture with culture. “Those who oppose it. They should be politely told about yoga. There is no reason to fight with them,” the Home Minister said.Singh said yoga generates harmony with nature and not conflict with nature. “Yoga is our culture. We should be proud of it. Our saints have been doing and propagating it for ages. It is our culture and our culture can’t be communal,” he said.About 40,000 people are expected to be part of the International Yoga Day celebrations at Rajpath here on Sunday.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his address to the UN General Assembly last year appealed to the international community to choose a day that could be observed as International Yoga Day.Following Modi’s strong pitch, the UN declared June 21 as International Yoga Day.

Read the rule book first: Rajnath Singh to CM Arvind Kejriwal

Union home minister Rajnath Singh virtually threw rule book at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal when he came to meet him along with his deputy Manish Sisodia to sort out growing conflict with the Centre on issues of appointments and control over the Anti- Corruption Branch (ACB).

Union home minister Rajnath Singh virtually threw rule book at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal when he came to meet him along with his deputy Manish Sisodia to sort out growing conflict with the Centre on issues of appointments and control over the Anti- Corruption Branch (ACB).Sources said Rajnath Singh also asked Kejriwal to stop using arm twisting techniques and give up confrontational attitude of writing terse letters on every issue if he wants amiable relations with the Centre and the LG and run the government.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the hour long meeting, the duo had demanded that being an elected government they should be allowed to function smoothly which they are unable to do because of an aggressive Lieutenant Governor in Najeeb Jung.The home minister told Kejriwal to resolve all issues with the Centre and the LG amicably through cooperation as government in Delhi can function only through rules, regulations and cooperation and such situation will work in everybody’s favour, home ministry sources said.“There was no concrete outcome of the meeting besides the fact that Delhi CM was clearly told that the breakthrough to the jinx relationship can come only through their quarters as they have created such a situation,” said an official.Sisodia also conceded that they raised all issues concerning Delhi but there was no outcome.The tussle between AAP run Delhi government and BJP ruled Central government had started soon after the former locked horns with the LG on the appointment of senior IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary.Later it enveloped Delhi’s ACB also with Centre issuing a notification and reducing its areas of operation to Delhi government officials only.Last week, Delhi’s AAP government had reasserted itself furthermore by effecting a major bureaucratic reshuffle involving as many as 25 senior officials.

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