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With Pak visit, Modi’s foreign policy circle is complete

Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, he has been insisting on Foreign Policy and it has been on the top agenda. He has already visited almost 55 States but was criticised for not having visited Pakistan. In fact, in the earlier Indian government between 1998 to 2003, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Pakistan twice in 1999 and 2002, once before and after the Kargil war. He was the one who constituted the process of peace building with Pakistan. So it was expected that Modi would carry forward the same legacy.So Modi’s visit to Pakistan was not spontaneous, it was a well decided and pre-determined sort of move, but was obviously kept out of media glare as there was tremendous public pressure and in a way India had to break the ice.Another important reason we have to look at is that Modi first visited Russia followed by Afghanistan and then Pakistan. In the last six months, India has been growing close to the United States of America (US) and Russia is getting closer to Pakistan so that made India look at relations with Russia from a whole new perspective. India has a very crucial role to play in Afghanistan, which is being opposed by Pakistan and to avoid this, India has to normalise it’s relations with Pakistan. This will be necessary to maintain balance on regional and international issues.In the last one year, Modi may have realised that cutting off the peace process and breaking ties with Pakistan did not yield any result. On the contrary, it ultimately increased the importance of the military in Pakistan and not of the political executive.India’s policy to keep its neighbours in confidence cannot be completed until and unless it normalises its relations with Pakistan. The ultimate reality is that there is no alternative solution for resolving Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek issues which have been pending for decades. Initiating the talks is the only solution to find the remedy for all pending issues with Pakistan.Since Russia and China are getting closer to Pakistan the triangle that is emerging from their relations, if developed, can be disastrous to India. So it is important for India to neutralise that aspect also. Hence Modi’s visit was well-planned in the order it took place, that is, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. With this the foreign policy circle is completed, which had been left incomplete by the UPA government.One more important aspect to be considered in the Kashmir issue is that just talking to the political executive is not enough, but the army, that is, the top military generals have to be involved in it. India-Pakistan policy is not being decided and dictated by the political executive but by the army. Army plays a very crucial role in framing Indian, Pakistani, American and Israeli policy. So it is important to involve the army in talks and also to take it into confidence.The ice between the countries has been broken, a very positive development and the hope is that it will continue.-As told to dnaThe author is a foreign policy analyst<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Madh-Marve, Ulve top investment hot-spots, says Knight Frank India

Ravi Patil from the Mangalmurti Construction Group, which has projects in Ulwe, said Ulwe is top destination because of its proximity to proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport and Nava Sheva-Sewri trans-harbour link.

Despite slowdown in the property market, Mumbai remains the most lucrative investment destination in India, says Knight Frank advisory report, which was opened on Wednesday.And in Mumbai, Madh-Marve and Ulve are the preferred destinations for the investors where the property prices will witness a boom.Knight Frank – the global property research and brokerage firm – recommendation comes after evaluating the top residential destinations across five major cities, keeping in mind need of the homebuyer from an investment point of view over the next five years (2015–2020). The report also reviews the previously recommended destinations three years ago (in 2012).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In Mumbai, Madh–Marve and Ulwe are identified as the top destinations, with an expected price appreciation of 94 and 70 per cent respectively, thereby emerging as a promising asset class for the next five years. Majiwada–Kasarvadavali will also experience a price appreciation in future,” stated the report.Ravi Patil from the Mangalmurti Construction Group, which has projects in Ulwe, said Ulwe is top destination because of its proximity to proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport and Nava Sheva-Sewri trans-harbour link.”If the trans-harbour link, which has been pending for last 20 years happens, then one staying in Ulwe can reach Sewri in 30 minutes. The connectivity is the key and the same is the case with the Madh–Marve. Government should undertake these projects that will throw open huge chunk of the lands in affordable rates. These two locations have potentials to bring down the Mumbai city prices drastically,” said Patil.The new Airport Road, in Viman Nagar in Pune, is identified as a potential location, with an expected price appreciation of 63%, thus moving Pune’s ranking up to third place, while Vishrantwadi is to witness a 55% growth appreciation.While the Golf Course Extension Road and New Gurgaon emerged as a potential destinations for residential investment, NCR’s ranking has come down drastically compared to 2012 due to the overall real estate scenario bottoming out.However, the property experts said these are just predictions and need not come true always.”In fact, Ulve is an odd location with no proper drinking and other municipal facilities. A few years ago too they had come up with a similar prediction,” said an expert requesting anonymity. “The problem is people flock to invest. But when nothing changes on the ground, the frustrated investors will have to dispose it at the same price or even lower,” he added.Mudassir Zaidi, national director, Residential Agency said, “Real estate industry is cyclical in nature and we anticipate that we are at the end of the cycle of slowdown. The wave of positive sentiments is quite evident and the recovery is getting stronger.”Dr Samantak Das, chief economist & national director – research of Knight Frank India said the residential sector is reeling under tremendous pressure since the last couple of years, with price appreciation in most cities not even able to exceed the inflation rate.”We have identified 11 locations spread across Mumbai, NCR, Bengaluru, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad that will provide the maximum price appreciation in the range of 41% to 94% in the coming five years,” he added.

Raised issue of ‘plight of minorities’ in India with Modi, claims Imran Khan

Imran said there is no other option left for Pakistan and India but to resolve disputes through talks.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan on Sunday said he had raised with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the “plight of minorities in India” during his recent visit besides touching upon the Kashmir issue and cricket.The 63-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said the impact of the ‘plight’ was also felt in Pakistan, stressing that the Indian leadership give a clear message to end discrimination against minorities. Rejecting the ruling PML-N’s criticism that he did not raise Kashmir with Modi, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief said: “I had told the Indian prime minister that at one point of time, Pakistan and India had reached very close to resolving the Kashmir issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The issue can be resolved through talks,” he told reporters here on his return from the two-day visit as he also called for improving bilateral trade ties. Underlining that the only way forward and address poverty in both countries lies in resolving their outstanding issues through talks, Imran said: “There are people on both sides who continue hindering the peace process for their vested interests.” Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid had said Imran discussed “trivial matters” with Modi and ignored the Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachin issues.”Imran Khan should have talked with the Indian premier on all important issues but he ended up just talking about cricket. His visit to India is that of a sportsman and not of a politician,” Rashid had said. Responding to the allegations, Imran said: “I had also raised the issue of plight of minorities in India and told Mr Modi that its impact was also felt in Pakistan and stressed that the Indian leadership should give a clear message to end discrimination against minorities.”His remarks hinted at the cancellation of renowned Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in October due to protests by Shiv Sainiks. The same month also witnessed the infamous ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of Observer Research Foundation, again, by the Shiv Sainiks during the release of a book by former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.Imran said he also argued that Pakistan and India should continue playing cricket because it brought peoples on both sides closer and that would eventually help reduce tension between the two neighbours. “If there will be no contact between the people of both sides, how will they come closer?” he wondered.Imran said there is no other option left for Pakistan and India but to resolve disputes through talks. “The leaders of both countries should have bigger vision and earn dividends from peaceful and cordial relations for the betterment of their peoples. There is no solution in blaming each other for terrorism acts (in the two countries).

Park Street rape case: Special Public Prosecutor removed after not pressing for maximum punishment of convicts

Sharbani Ray has expressed her anguish over the state’s move.

Suzette Jordan

Hours after the Special Public Prosecutor Sharbani Ray did not press for maximum punishment for the three convicts – Nasir Khan, Ruman Khan and Sumit Bajaj, in the Park Street rape case, she was removed from the state’s panel of prosecutors.”We demanded maximum punishment for the convicts. The Public Prosecutors should have pressed for life sentence. We are removing Sharbani Ray from our state’s panel of Prosecutors,” Chandrima Bhattacharya, state law minister told Zee 24 Ghanta over a telephonic conversation.Ray expressed her anguish over the state’s move. “I am deeply saddened by what the state has done. It is saddening because the state’s representatives are talking about my removal on television, but nothing officially has been communicated to me,” said Ray, adding, “I never prayed for any position in the state’s panel of prosecutors. I was appointed by the Governor to play the role of Special Public Prosecutor in this case. Hence, the state is not in a position to remove or appoint me.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ray’s role was questioned minutes after the judge at the Sessions Court, Kolkata, Chiranjib Bhattacharya pronounced a sentence of ten years for the three convicts. The Special Public Prosecutor did not press for maximum punishment and said that the three convicts were ‘not directly involved’ in the case.Even after her removal, she stood by her words and maintained that the three convicts were ‘not directly involved’. “I need not consult anyone as far as my case is concerned. I am associated with the case right from the first day. The prime accused, Kader Khan and Md. Ali are still at large. The three behind bars were not directly involved. The crime was committed by one, Kader Khan. The three convicted did not sexually assault the victim. Hence, maximum punishment was not required,” Ray said.Also Read: All you need to know about the Park Street rape case

Park Street rape case: Public prosecutors did not press for maximum punishment for convicts

Public prosecutors in the Park street rape case did not press for maximum punishment, family unhappy with the quantum of punishment

File Photo
In a move that surprised everybody in the courtroom, the Public Prosecutors supervising the trial in the controversial Park Street rape case did not press for maximum punishment before the Kolkata Sessions Court was to pronounce the quantum of punishment. The Public Prosecutors, comprising the Special Public Prosecutor, Chief Public Prosecutor and Public Prosecutor, were pressing for maximum punishment—life imprisonment for the three accused Nasir Khan, Ruman Khan and Sumit Bajaj—when the court convicted them for the crime on Friday. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, on Friday, the Prosecutors reportedly were heard telling the magistrate that the accused were ‘not directly’ involved in the crime and did not press for maximum punishment. On Friday, the Sessions Court sentenced the three convicted for a term of 10 years along with a fine of Rs one lakh. The court in its order said that the fine would be given to the two daughters of the victim.Hours after the court pronounced minimum punishment, the family members expressed their anguish over the judgement. “We will continue to fight for justice. We will take our fight forward and make sure that justice is served to my daughter,” said father of Suzette, Peter Jordan.

UP minister Shivpal Yadav likens Azam Khan to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Yadav, while praising Azam for his efforts in stablishing the Jauhar varsity, said, “He (Azam) has followed the path of Sir Syed Ahmad who established Aligarh Muslim University and like him Azam’s name too would be remembered.”
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Uttar Pradesh Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav has equated his cabinet colleague Azam Khan to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, saying his name too would be remembered for his efforts in establishing the Jauhar University.Yadav, while praising Azam for his efforts in stablishing the Jauhar varsity, said, “He (Azam) has followed the path of Sir Syed Ahmad who established Aligarh Muslim University and like him Azam’s name too would be remembered.”Yadav, who was the chief guest at the Jauhar remembrance Day celebrations in Rampur on Thursday said, “We had followed (Azam) Khan Sahib’s all the directives and doing that at present and will continue to do that in future as well.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Azam Khan, the lifetime chancellor of the Jauhar University, on the occasion of ‘Yaad-e-Jauhar’ reminded the sacrifices of Muslims in the freedom struggle and claimed that in “Jalian-wala-Bagh massacre 40 % of the martyrs were Muslims and it were we (Muslims) who won the Kargil war.””We expect and deserve honorable status in society but how one shall feel when we are placed in the category of Dawood Ibrahim,” he said alluding to Shiv Sena’s recent allegation that Azam Khan was more dangerous than Dawood.He also criticised US President Barack Obama, “We (Muslims) shall always be feeling ashamed for Obama’s deleting Hussain from his name.””After oath taking ceremony Barack Hussain Obama became Barack Obama …Obama could not keep ‘Hussain’ intact with him which hurts Muslims immensely,” Azam said.

Park street rape case: Three convicted sentenced to 10 years in jail

However, the two main accused – Kader Khan and Mohammad Ali – are still absconding.

The three convicted – Nasir Khan, Ruman Khan and Sumit Bajaj in the controversial Park street rape case were sentenced to a term of 10 years by the city sessions court, Kolkata on Friday.The judge, Chiranjib Bhattacharya pronounced the sentence in an in-camera announcement of the quantum of punishment.The three had been pronounced guilty by the court on Thursday. However, the two main accused – Kader Khan and Mohammad Ali – are still absconding.On February 5, 2012, Suzette Jordan was gangraped by five people in a moving car. On March 13, 2015, she died of meningoencephalitis in a hospital in Kolkata.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: All you need to know about the Park Street rape case

Mirwaiz Farooq welcomes decision to hold Indo-Pak talks

He said the Kashmir issue is accepted as a human and political issue at the international level

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Thursday welcomed the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan on all issues including Kashmir, saying dialogue is the “most effective way” of resolution of contending issues.”Hurriyat has always stood for meaningful talks between the two countries and believes that dialogue is the most effective way of resolution of the contending issues,” he said. Addressing a seminar organised by the Jammu Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA) on International Human Rights Day here, the Mirwaiz urged the leadership of both the countries to involve the Kashmiri leadership in talks so that “a just, long-lasting and dignified solution to Kashmir dispute is arrived at while keeping the wishes and aspirations of the people in mind”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the Kashmir issue is accepted as a human and political issue at the international level. “Kashmir has a strong case at the international level and the international community realizes that the resolution of Kashmir is essential for a long-lasting peace in South Asia,” he said.Terming Kashmir as the core issue between India and Pakistan which had kept the two countries in a confrontation mode for the past over six decades, the Mirwaiz said other issues like Siachen and Sir Creek were the derivatives of this basic issue. Breaking the logjam in their ties, India and Pakistan had yesterday announced that they have decided to engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue that will include peace and security and Jammu and Kashmir.

Park Street rape case: All five accused found guilty by Kolkata sessions court

While Indian laws forbid the disclosure of a rape victim’s identity, Jordan had chosen to not hide her name and came out strongly against her aggressors.

Suzette Jordan

A Kolkata sessions court has convicted all five accused in the Park Street gangrape case, report ANI and PTI. Suzette Jordan, the victim who was then 37 years old, however died in March this year.The court is now set to announce the quantum of punishment of the three behind bars— Nasir Khan, Ruman Khan and Sumit Bajaj. The two prime accused, Kadir Khan and Md Ali, are still absconding.On February 6, 2012, Jordan was allegedly gang-raped by five men in a moving car on Park Street. During the trial of the case and a year after the incident took place, in 2013, Jordan decided to reveal her identity to the world and spearhead gender-related issues and stand by rape victims. She even hit the streets to register her protest against rapes and murders in the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Indian laws forbid the disclosure of a rape victim’s identity, Jordan had chosen to not hide her name and came out strongly against her aggressors. “Why should I hide my identity when it was not even my fault? Why should I be ashamed of something that I did not give rise to? I was subjected to brutality, I was subjected to torture, and I was subjected to rape, and I am fighting and I will fight,” she had said when she decided reveal her identity.The rape case took a controversial turn, when the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the rape as a ‘sajano ghotona (fabricated incident)’ even before an inquiry was initiated.But the then Joint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Crime) Damayanti Sen, who spearheaded the investigations in the rape case, had maintained that the complainant was indeed raped. Two days after she cracked the case, Sen shunted out as the detective department’s chief and was asked to take over as the (DIG) at the Police Training School, considered to be a relatively low-profile posting.Suzette Jordan died of meningoencephalitis in a hospital in Kolkata on March 13, 2015.(With ANI and PTI inputs)

Park Street rape case: Sessions Court in Kolkata to announce verdict tomorrow

The rape case took a controversial turn, when the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the rape as a ‘sajano ghotona (fabricated incident)’ even before an inquiry was initiated.

File Photo
Nearly three years after taking the country by a storm, the Park Street Rape case will near its culmination on Thursday, where the Sessions Court in Kolkata will pass its verdict. However, 37-year-old rape victim Suzette Jordan will not be able to see justice delivered to her.On Thursday, the court will pass the verdict and announce the quantum of punishment of the three behind bars— Nasir Khan, Ruman Khan and Sumit Bajaj. The two prime accused, Kadir Khan and Md. Ali, are still absconding.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On February 6, 2012, Jordan was allegedly gang-raped by five men in a moving car on Park Street. During the trial of the case and a year after the incident took place, in 2013, Jordan decided to reveal her identity to the world and spearhead gender-related issues and stand by rape victims. She even hit the streets to register her protest against rapes and murders in the state.While Indian laws forbid the disclosure of a rape victim’s identity, Jordan had chosen to not hide her name and came out strongly against her aggressors. “Why should I hide my identity when it was not even my fault? Why should I be ashamed of something that I did not give rise to? I was subjected to brutality, I was subjected to torture, and I was subjected to rape, and I am fighting and I will fight,” she had said when she decided reveal her identity.The rape case took a controversial turn, when the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee termed the rape as a ‘sajano ghotona (fabricated incident)’ even before an inquiry was initiated.But, the then Joint Commissioner of Kolkata Police (Crime) Damayanti Sen, who spearheaded the investigations in the rape case, had maintained that the complainant was indeed raped. Two days after she cracked the case, Sen shunted out as the detective department’s chief and was asked to take over as the (DIG) at the Police Training School, considered to be a relatively low-profile posting.Suzette Jordan died of meningoencephalitis in a hospital in Kolkata on March 13, 2015.

NSA-level talks ‘pointless’ as Pak hell-bent on destroying India: Shiv Sena

“Shiv Sena has always been against any ties with Pakistan. Time and again we have had dialogues w and India has always bent its knees to them. Pakistan-sponsored terrorism never ends here and terrorism can’t exist in India without Pakistan’s support,” Raut said.

Condemning the India-Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks that took place in Bangkok on Sunday, the Shiv Sena on Monday said that having talks with the hostile neighbour was pointless as their main goal was to destroy India by sponsoring terrorism here and added that no amount of talks would solve the strained ties between the two nations.”Going to a third nation and discussing the problems between India and Pakistan shows the relationship between the nations. While their talks keep happening, Kashmir continues to get infiltrated and ceasefire violations are on the rise,” Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, he admitted his respect for Indian NSA Ajit Doval and said that he did not doubt his capabilities, but questioned the benefit of the dialogue with his Pakistan counterpart Nasir Janjua.”Shiv Sena has always been against any ties with Pakistan. Time and again we have had dialogues w and India has always bent its knees to them. Pakistan-sponsored terrorism never ends here and terrorism can’t exist in India without Pakistan’s support,” Raut said.He demanded to know why the talks were happening saying that the nation was waiting for an answer as well and added that the outcome of the NSA-level talks would vindicate the Shiv Sena’s stand.”Pakistan has always been hell-bent on destroying India and they have been against us from the start. While we share sweet words with them, here our soldiers and people are dying,” Raut added.Yesterday, in a surprising move, India-Pakistan has NSA-level talks in Bangkok on a wide range of issues including terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir, and border issues.Post the meeting, both nations released a joint statement saying that the discussions were held in a ‘candid, cordial and constructive atmosphere’.However, the Congress strongly opposed the meeting accusing the Centre of going back on its stand on Pakistan and said that they will raise the issue in the Parliament today.Congress Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala told ANI that, the Congress Party has always stood for peaceful resolution through mutual cooperation and mutual talks, but this (NDA) government did not take us into confidence about the talks in Bangkok.”The talks with Pakistan have gone through a series of flip-flops and the current talks do not inspire much expectation. Further, it raises the question of whether these talks are being used as a diversion by the Modi government from pivotal issues such as the economic, political or agrarian crisis,” he added.

Indo-Pak NSA talks: Congress dubs it a ‘grand betrayal’ by Modi govt; BJP hails meeting

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday.

PTI
Congress on Sunday termed the secret meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan in Bangkok as a “grand betrayal” of the Modi government and reflection of “flip-flops” over its Pakistan policy.”It’s a grand betrayal. It’s a betrayal of everything that this government has ostensibly, publicly espoused,” Congress leader Manish Tewari said. Asked about the meeting between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Pakistani counterpart Nasir Janjua in Bangkok, Tewari said this is absolutely “crowning glory” after two sides had engaged in mutual blame game earlier resulting in cancellation of talks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If you look at the track record of this government over the past 18 months, their Pakistan policy has been an extravaganza, a somersault, flip-flops and 180-degree U-turns and this is absolutely the crowning glory,” he said.After the verbal calisthenics that one witnessed between the foreign minister and the then NSA of Pakistan Sartaz Aziz, now suddenly without any provocation, without explaining to the country as to what has changed between September, 2015 and December 2015, the government decides to re-engage and that too in Bangkok, he said.Talks underway (PTI)Tewari said if the talks were so essential, government should have explained the rationale behind it and held it either in New Delhi or Islamabad. “If you felt that engagement with Pakistan is so essential, then the correct way to do it would be to stand up, explain the rationale and say that we have been making mistake after mistake in calling off the engagement with Pakistan and therefore, we are now going to persist with the broad spectrum engagement ,” he said.On its part, BJP supported the NSA talks saying that it was in the spirit of Ufa statement by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif. “The spirit of the Ufa statement is exactly what we are seeing in play here…we have seen that the last two opportunities have not been translated into direct talks. The first between the foreign secretaries and the second one being just after Ufa between the NSAs, that got cancelled out. So, I think we need to see it in that context,” BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said. Kohli said the talks were held in Bangkok to avoid the media attention and the excitement that Indo-Pak relationship generates. “Indo-Pak relationship is subject to an ultra-microscopic approach in terms of the excitement it generates within a whole segment, including the media so perhaps that may be a reason,” he said.Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah welcomed the talks, saying holding them away from media glare can lead to “quiet progress”. “Good to see India and Pakistan resume the dialogue process,” Omar wrote on microblogging site twitter. “Perhaps this is the way quiet progress will be made away from each other’s capitals and the glare of media driven expectations,” he tweeted.

Woman commuter harassed on train tweets incident, Suresh Prabhu provides immediate help

“@RailMinIndia plz plz help in train no 18030. One male passenger harassing me at Shegaon. I am in train and terrified,” she tweeted.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

A woman passenger travelling alone on an outstation train in Maharashtra was immediately attended to by authorities after she sought help through a tweet directed to the twitter handle of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, a senior Central Railway officer said on Saturday.The commuter, identified as Namrata Mahajan, had posted the tweet, which was directed to Prabhu’s handle @RailMinIndia, at 6.59 PM while she was passing through Shegaon railway station on Friday.”@RailMinIndia plz plz help in train no 18030. One male passenger harassing me at Shegaon. I am in train and terrified,” she tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Central Railway chief PRO, Narendra Patil said a senior officer, Ved Prakash, immediately noted the tweet and contacted him to do the needful to help the woman. “But she (Mahajan) has not given full details of the train she was travelling in. So a reply seeking details of her train and her berth position was sent to her twitter handle.She was also asked to contact security helpline number 182 which she did after sometime and also gave details about her position via twitter,” said Patil who had by then alerted DRM Bhusaval to get ready to address a passenger in distress. As the train reached Bhusaval railway station in 40 minutes, Mahajan was immediately attended by RPF jawans, he said.Relieved after getting the swift assistance, Mahajan thanked the minister. “@RailMinIndia sir help reached to me. Thanks a lot sir,” she tweeted.When asked why Mahajan felt distressed, Patil said, “the man had a wait-listed ticket and his behaviour and body language did not seem to be decent and since Mahajan was travelling alone, she felt terrified”.The male passenger was shifted to another coach as he had a valid ticket. Patil also appealed to passengers to dial the national security helpline number 182 in case of any emergency.

Russian woman acid attack: Accused held, victim shifted to Delhi

“I threw acid on her in a fit of rage as she was not willing to talk to me,” said the accused.

The accused in an alleged acid attack on a Russian national in Nand Nagar colony area, has been arrested here even as the victim was shifted to Delhi for better treatment. Siddharth Srivastava, who had fled to Allahabad after committing the crime, was nabbed yesterday when he came back to visit the 23-year-old victim in the hospital here, Varanasi SSP, Akash Kulhary said. Addressing a press conference here today, Kulhary clarified that the victim had dual citizenship of Russia and Bulgaria and was living with the accused as his friend, and not as a paying guest. A guilt-ridden Srivastav who was also present at the conference said, “I really feel shameful for my act, I don’t know whether I would ever be able to meet her in my life.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I threw acid on her in a fit of rage as she was not willing to talk to me. I was disappointed with her decision to go back to her nation. Though she had turned down my marriage proposal, I was fine with it, but I did not want her to go away,” he said.Meanwhile, the victim, who suffered 46 per cent burn injuries on her face and body in the attack, has been shifted to New Delhi for better treatment. “The foreign national, who was undergoing treatment at Sir Sunder Lal Hospital of BHU, has been shifted by an air ambulance from Varanasi airport this evening to Safdarjang Hospital in Delhi,” Varanasi District Magistrate Rajmani Yadav told PTI. He said her health condition is stated to be stable.The District Magistrate also said Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav sanctioned Rs 5 lakh from the CM Relief Fund for the woman’s treatment, adding that the state government was ready to support her financially. The woman was shifted after consultations between the Russian Embassy, the state government and the Centre to provide her better medical care, said Yadav.

Modi government tells scientific research organisations to find their own sources of funding

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ‘Chintan Shibir’ which unveiled the new policy was that representatives from Vigyan Bharati, an organisation affiliated to the RSS, were part of the meeting.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan

The Modi government has apparently told organisations involved in scientific research to start ‘self-financing’ projects send in monthly updates and ensure that research stays in sync with the Central government’s ‘social and economic objectives.’According to a report in the Hindu, the cash-strapped Ministry of Science and Technology, led by Harsh Vardhan, has asked the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to generate half of its funds and start sending report cards to the Centre. The report cards should describe how “each of the laboratory (is) focusing its resources on developing specific lines of inventions which would contribute to the social and economic objectives of the Narendra Modi government for the poor and the common man.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision was taken at the two-day ‘Chintan Shibhir’ in June in Dehradun. Here, all CSIR labs resolved to turn research projects into ‘for-profit’ ventures over the next two years, says the Hindu.According to the ‘Dehradun Declaration’, all laboratories signed up to develop a revenue model in a ‘business like manner’ with cost-benefit analysis.The research institutions will have to submit their short-term and long-term projects(between 1 and 3 years) to the Modi government.Funding for the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) — both under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the government — have not been affected, said a CSIR scientist to the Hindu.But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ‘Chintan Shibir’ was that representatives from Vigyan Bharati, an organisation affiliated to the RSS, were part of the meeting. “While DAE institutions are spared for the moment, institutes under the CSIR are badly hit by the government’s budget slash. Under the Dehradun Declaration, research institutions have been asked to raise part of their money for research through external funded projects and grants. While senior and established researchers can manage to secure grants, young researchers are having a tough time. This will affect the quality of research,” a senior scientist at CSIR told the Hindu.The report adds that CSIR labs are now required to show how their research contributes to ‘society outreach’. Apart from submitting report cards of their work, the organisation must now show what part of their work ‘gives back to society’.All this sparks fears of a fresh thrust on ‘indigenous science’. Of late, RSS as well as some BJP ministers have called for a revival of ancient Indian science. Home Minister Rajnath Singh in September even went so far as to say that India’s ‘dhoti wearing pandits’ had better knowledge of space science than America’s NASA scientists. At a student function in a Delhi college, Singh said, “USA’s NASA can make the prediction that after a month, solar and lunar eclipse will happen at this time… the media says America has such advanced technology, it is predicted one and-a-half years, two years ago. I can say with confidence that if you go to the dhoti-wearing pandit in the neighbourhood, he will pull out the ‘panchang’ and tell you when the lunar and solar eclipses happened 100 years ago and when they will happen 100 years later.”Moreover, apart from funds cut, the number of CSIR fellowships have also been reduced. The 2015 notification for Senior Research Fellowships (SRFs) granted by CSIR has not been issued so far. Last year fewer people have been granted SRFs.But Science and Technology is not the only ministry to experience budget cuts. The Health Ministry has also pulled the plug on 18 donor-funded projects and 14 operational research projects financed by the National AIDS Control Organisation, in March this year. Thus, funds for HIV/AIDS research have been significantly cut down.Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan told the Hindu that research in India needed to be commercialised, underplaying concerns. “The technology transfer is not happening and there is no harm in relying on industry to scale up or take forward the research projects under way. If the labs make more money, the research will be better utilised. We are not giving targets to research institutions. We just want them to be better coordinated and have more accountability,” he said.It is however, difficult to see how this could impact PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in a positive way.

No clash between Ayurveda, allopathy: Ramdev

Allopathy and Ayurveda can complement each other in many areas. he said.

I would appeal to doctors to take help of our ancient systems of medicine for completely curing patients, he said.

File Photo
Yoga guru Ramdev on Friday said there was “no clash” between allopathy and Ayurveda and that the two can complement each other in many areas to reduce human suffering. “Whether it is allopathy or Yoga, our motto should be to lessen human suffering around the world. There should be no controversies between different systems of medicine. “We should find the cause of disease and try to prevent it and cure it by any system of medicine subject to its benefit to the patient. Knowledge should not be restricted within boundaries but spread to all sections of society,” he said while delivering a talk at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In this regard, he said they have done experiments using giloy and aloe vera herbs on dengue patients for increasing the platelet count and found it useful. Like modern systems of medicine, we have started keeping scientific data and publishing our work, he said. “We have no clash with allopathy. In fact, we can complement each other in many areas. We are involving many diagnostic modalities of modern systems of medicine during treatment of patients at Patanjali Yoga Peeth. I would appeal to doctors to take help of our ancient systems of medicine for completely curing patients,” he added.He, meanwhile, said, “We are going to establish the world’s biggest Yoga research centre very soon. Yoga is for all sections of society, rich or poor, doctor or businessman.”

Indian-American couple gifts US $100 million to NYU’s college

The school will be renamed the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in recognition of the Tandons “generosity and their belief in the school’s mission and promise”.

Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon

Image Courtesy: Twitter
In one of the largest philanthropic gifts by a member of the Indian-American community, a couple has donated US $100 million to New York University’s engineering school, which will now be renamed after them in recognition of its gift. Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon’s gift to the New York University’s School of Engineering will principally support faculty hiring and academic programs and is intended to build on the engineering school’s existing practice of cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship, NYU President John Sexton and the school’s dean Katepalli R Sreenivasan said in a joint statement here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The school will be renamed the NYU Tandon School of Engineering in recognition of the Tandons “generosity and their belief in the school’s mission and promise,” the statement said. Chandrika is a member of the Board of Overseers of NYU’s business school, a member of the NYU Board of Trustees and leads the NYU President’s Global Council. Ranjan is an engineer by training and a graduate of the Harvard Business School. He is founder and chair of Libra Advisors, a hedge fund he founded in 1990 that is now a family office. The Tandons’ donation is believed to be the largest philanthropic gift by a member of the Indian-American community, the university said. “Getting to know the engineering school was truly electrifying. The imagination and inventiveness of the students and faculty as they worked together on real world problems, the cutting-edge work being done both within the school and collaboratively across schools in such diverse areas like the arts, medicine, education, incubators; the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades the place all this inspired us,” she said. Sreenivasan said the Tandons’ act of generosity is remarkable not only because of the size of the gift, but also because it recognises the importance of a school with which they had no prior affiliation. Funds from the gift will be used to further enhance programs, including wireless, cybersecurity, and digital education and gaming and enhance interdisciplinary programs such as financial engineering, technology management and innovation, and entrepreneurship in important areas such as clean energy. In 2010, Harvard Business School had received a gift of US $50 million from Tata Companies, the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and the Tata Education and Development Trust, philanthropic entities of the Tata Group. The gift was the largest from an international donor in the School’s 102-year history.

Indrani Mukerjea attempts suicide inside Byculla jail, condition critical but stable

Indrani Mukerjea

Former television honcho Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, allegedly attempted suicide by excessively consuming pills inside the Byculla women’s prison, according to doctors at Sir JJ hospital, where she was admitted on Friday afternoon.”Indrani was brought to the hospital at 2 pm. She was unconscious. We are treating her for poisoning,” said Dr TP Lahane, the dean of Sir JJ group of hospitals. He confirmed that Indrani was on anti-epileptic pills since September 11. “We are not sure if she had consumed all the pills together. The stomach wash has been sent to Kalina FSL for forensic analysis,” said Dr Lahane.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that Indrani is still unconscious and admitted in the critical care unit under the medicine department. “We have done her brain MRI, which is normal. Her vital parameters like body temperature, blood pressure, pulse (heart rate), and breathing rate (respiratory rate) are stable. She only has a problem in breathing. We are closely monitoring her condition,” said Dr Lahane.According to medical experts, over dosage of anti-epileptic drugs (20-30 tablets) can lead to cardiac complications and create an emergency situation. Indrani, who had been remanded to judicial custody in the first week of September, is lodged at the women’s prison in Byculla.Bipin Kumar Singh, Inspector General (Prisons), said: “On Friday afternoon, Indrani fainted and collapsed. She was rushed to the hospital and we are awaiting the reports from the hospital. There were some medicines that she was taking on the prescription of the doctors. But as per my knowledge, that medicine was stopped a few days back”. The jail authorities suspect that instead of taking her medicine daily, Indrani was hoarding them and finally had it at one go on Friday afternoon.A few days ago, Indrani’s mother, Durga Rani Bora, who was 82 years old, passed away in Guwahati. It is not known whether the news of her mother’s demise was communicated to Indrani. Durga Rani was bed-ridden for the past two years. Indrani’s father Upendra Kumar Bora is also ailing.Indrani was arrested in first week of September, along with her ex-husband Sanjeev Khanna and driver Shyam Rai, in connection with the murder of her own daughter Sheena Bora in 2012. Indrani, a former media mogul, was arrested after her driver Rai, who was arrested under the Arms Act, spilled the beans about the sensational murder. According to the Mumbai police, Sheena was allegedly kidnapped from National College in Khar (West) by Indrani, Khanna and Rai and was allegedly strangulated to death inside a car in 2012. The trio then allegedly dumped Sheena’s body at Pen and set it afire. Recently, the Maharashtra government transferred the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

dna Must Read at 11pm: Indrani Mukerjea unconscious, Indonesia plane missing, David Beckham & more

The following quick read will take you through stories that are making news right now. ​1) Indrani Mukerjea’s condition serious after she consumed pills: JJ Hospital DeanPrime accused in Sheena Bora murder case, Indrani Mukerjea has been unconscious since 2pm when she was rushed to JJ Hospital in Mumbai on Friday. After Indrani complained of chest pains, she was taken to the hospital on Friday afternoon. Read more details on this story here. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Search begins for missing aircraft carrying 10 people in IndonesiaIndonesian authorities launched a search on Friday for a Aviastar airline Twin Otter turboprop aircraft with 10 people on board that went missing on a domestic flight on Sulawesi island. Read our full report here.3) Why is ‘sabka saath-sabka vikas’ PM mum over Dadri murder? Opposition asks Narendra ModiOpposition parties on Friday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his “silence” on the killing of a man in Dadri over rumours of his family having eaten beef, saying he should have condemned the incident or at least offered his condolences. ​Read it here. 4) David Beckham to play under Sir Alex Ferguson again​David Beckham is set for a reunion with former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson. The Scot will manage a Great Britain and Ireland XI captained by Beckham in a charity match next month reported BBC Sport.​ Read the full story here. 5) Oregon shooting: Sheriff withholds gunman’s name, refuses to immortalise himThe Oregon sheriff investigating the mass shooting that killed nine people at a U.S. college campus took the unusual step of refusing to publicly identify the suspect, insisting on Friday he would do nothing to glorify the gunman or his cause.​ To get more details on this story, click here.

Science in India not dealing with national priorities: YS Chowdary

The Minister of state for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences lamented that there is a gap between the common man and the scientific community, which “needs to be bridged at the earliest”.
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dna Research & Archives
Science in India is more “scientists centric” rather than “dealing with national priorities” and if the scientific community does not act swiftly, it will “lose trust of people”, Union Minister Y S Chowdary said on Saturday.The Minister of state for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences lamented that there is a gap between the common man and the scientific community, which “needs to be bridged at the earliest”.”I am coming across a public opinion, increasingly and more frequently, that India’s science is scientists centric by choice and not by national priorities. And also, the gap between the scientific fraternity and common man, who is at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid, is widening,” Chowdary said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister was speaking at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Foundation Day. Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan, ISRO chairman and Department of Space secretary A S Kiran Kumar, CSIR Director General Girish Sahani were also present at the event. Chowdary said Science and Technology (S&T) should be used to address the problems concerning India, especially the rural areas, where majority of its population lives.Noting that resources were not a concern, the Union Minister said major reforms are required in the science administration and also the research as the existing “status quo is not going to deliver”.”Let us attempt big reforms. Reforms need not be restricted to economic development. They must encompass science administration and the way we do science in India,” he said.Chowdhary pitched for an overhaul in the approach so that the “people dont lose the trust” in the institution.”A stitch in time saves nine. We need an overhaul in the manner of research which is carried out. Act swiftly because if we delay, we will lose trust of people. People, including me, will lose an opportunity forever of making changes,” he asserted. He added that the scientific community should prioritise research that can generate spin off companies.”‘Start up India and Stand up India’ cannot be imagined without innovations, etc,” he said.Harsh Vardhan noted that there was a need for an integrated approach as different laboratories under different departments/ ministries do same kind of research without any coordination amongst themselves.

Netaji wanted to speak over radio, reveals declassified files of Subhash Chandra Bose

Kolkata: “For the last one month a rather strange broadcast is being heard over the radio…The broadcast only says ‘Neta Subhas Chandra transmitter…wanted to speak,” this was written by Netaji’s nephew Amiya Nath Bose in a letter to his brother in 1949 as revealed by one of the secret files on the leader declassified by the West Bengal government.

The letter by Amiya Nath Bose, addressed to his brother Sisir Kumar Bose, based at that time in London, on November 18, 1949, said, “We are getting this broadcast on the shortwave near 16mm. The broadcast only says Neta Subhas Chandra Bose transmitter… wanted to speak. This sentence is repeated for hours. We do not quite know where it is coming from because that is not announced”.

A file photo of Netaji with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. AFPA file photo of Netaji with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. AFP

A file photo of Netaji with Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. AFP

The letter was intercepted by Kolkata Police’s intelligence bureau following a government order, according to the declassified files. A secret report submitted by the central intelligence office, Calcutta to deputy inspector general of police, IB, West Bengal on 25.1.1949 stated, “Sarat Chandra Bose (elder brother of Netaji) inclined to believe from information gathered during his European tour that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was alive and that he is now somewhere in China controlled by the Communist army of China”.

Netaji had gone missing in 1945 and some of his family members have rejected the theory that he had died in a plane crash in Taihoku airport in Taiwan on August 18 that year. The secret files also revealed how snooping was done on Netaji’s family members including Sarat Chandra Bose even after independence by the then government.

A secret report sent by deputy commissioner, special branch (1) CID, Bombay to DCP (II), SB, Calcutta in 1949 said, “Mr Sarat Chandra Bose arrived in Bombay on May 11 and flew to Geneva on May 13. He holds passport no 3915/1949”.

The file showed that even a letter written by a travel company to Sarat Chandra Bose confirming seats in Air India for travelling to Geneva was intercepted. Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Bose, when asked whether Netaji died in 1945 in a plane crash, has replied, “A communication from CID Howrah quoting the US and the British intelligence stated that he did not die in a plane crash.”

Netaji’s family members demanded that the Centre take a cue from the state government and declassify the secret files on Netaji in its own possession. One of the declassified files referred to a document which spoke of a correspondence between Sisir Bose and a professor in Japan over a “very important subject”.

Yet another file referred to Sisir Bose writing to a journalist of a Japanese News agency enquiring about whether news about the alleged Taihoku plane crash on August 18, 1945 was published in any newspaper in Japan.

The files also threw light on how Amiya Bose and Sisir Bose were shadowed by IB officials. Details of their foreign visits and any foreigner visiting them had been recorded in those files.

PTI

Declassified files show Netaji’s family was being spied on

A declassified file contained a letter written by Netaji’s nephew Sisir Kumar Bose to his father and Netaji’s elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose in 1949 that he had information on Netaji going on the air on a radio channel.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Sixty four files running into nearly 13,000 pages relating Netaji Subash Chandra Bose files were declassified on Friday which shows some of his family members were spied on in independent India but there was no clarity whether he died in an air crash in 1945 as is widely believed.Tucked away in police and government lockers for decades, the files containing 12,744 pages were declassified by West Bengal government here in the presence of Bose’s family members, who have been demanding that information on Netaji who went missing mysteriously 70 years ago be made public. The files are kept in glass cascades in Kolkata Police Museum before they are made accessible to public from Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A declassified file contained a letter written by Netaji’s nephew Sisir Kumar Bose to his father and Netaji’s elder brother Sarat Chandra Bose in 1949 that he had information on Netaji going on the air on a radio channel.”Peking Radio announced that Subhas Chandra Bose would broadcast. The radio also gave details regarding the time and wavelength of the broadcast. The Hongkong office tried to listen in according to the details but nothing could be heard. I have asked the guard to let me have further details if possible,” he had written to his father from London on December 12, 1949.The letter was intercepted by Kolkata Police’s intelligence bureau following a government order, according to the declassified files. Netaji’s grand nephew Chandra Bose said they have seen in the files that 14 IB officers were tasked to spy on his father Amiya Nath Bose.”Even Congress leaders close to Netaji and officials of the Indian National Army (INA) were tracked. We have found it from the files,” he claimed.”Why did the Indian government keep our family members, who were reputed citizens and well-known personalities, under surveillance? We demand an inquiry into this from the central government,” he said.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the Police Museum, said that the Netaji files declassified by her government today have letters showing he might have been alive after 1945 when he mysteriously disappeared.”There are letters in the files where some people had said that Netaji might have been alive after 1945 (when he reportedly died in a plane crash),” Banerjee told reporters.”I did not get much time to go through the files. I have seen a bit of it and I have seen letters which were intercepted even after 1945 and documents which indicated that Netaji’s family was snooped upon,” she said. She demanded that the Centre declassify files relating to the nationalist leader and said it is unfortunate that the mystery regarding Netaji’s disappearance has remained unresolved for 70 years.”We do not know what happened (to Netaji). It is unfortunate. How long you can keep it under secrecy ?” Banerjee said.”This (declassification of Netaji files by her government) is the beginning of the future. The people should know the truth. Let the Central government also declassify the files on Netaji. Asked to comment on the perception that India’s relations with some countries might be affected if files on Netaji with the Centre were declassified, the chief minister said “now we have got independence. There is no harm in honouring those leaders who got us independence. We should salute them. Before declassifying the files, we have seen that internationally nothing will happen. If we have bilateral relation with a country, it is necessary to review it.”On whether there might be law and order problem after the declassification, she said, “I don’t think there will be any. It is a mere excuse. If there is any law and order problem, we are there to tackle it.”Netaji had gone missing in 1945 and some of his family members have rejected the theory that he had died in a plane crash in Taihoku airport in Taiwan on August 18 that year.

Pressure on Mufti government to bring ordinance to override beef ban

Leading the charge is main opposition party National Conference (NC) which has called upon the government to explore ordinance route to make amendments to Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) ahead of the approaching Eid-ul-Azha.

Pressure is mounting on Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-BJP government to promulgate the ordinance to bypass the Jammu and Kashmir high court order banning the sale of beef in the restive state. Leading the charge is main opposition party National Conference (NC) which has called upon the government to explore ordinance route to make amendments to Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) ahead of the approaching Eid-ul-Azha. The party has also decided to bring a bill in the coming assembly session to amend the RPC in a bid to override the ban on beef.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Mufti Sahab should get the ordinance passed by his Cabinet and send it to the Governor as soon as possible to prevent an explosive situation on Eid-ul-Azha where traditionally cow sacrifices are commonplace all across the state”, said Abdul Rahim Rather, senior NC leader and former finance minister. Under section 298A Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), killing or slaughtering of a cow or similar animal (including ox and buffalo) is non-bailable offence which carries punishment of 10 years imprisonment and fine. Under section 298B, possessing of meat of such an animal is a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine.. Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Jammu and Kashmir high court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal on Wednesday had directed the director general of police to enforce the ban on the sale of beef in the state. “The ordinance is a moral obligation of the Mufti government towards the people of this state whose religious beliefs could be impinged on by the implementation of the ban on cow slaughter, as directed by the Honorable High Court”, said Nasir Aslam Wani, NC provincial president. NC’s demand for ordinance has evoked a sharp reaction from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and BJP. “It (ordinance) is not possible. Let us wait for the assembly session”, Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP, told dna. BJP however lambasted National Conference calling its demand for ordinance as insult to the judiciary. “It is a shameful statement to target the judiciary. Our judiciary is the most independent and transparent in the entire world. NC is trying to create wedge between the Hindus and Muslims”, Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowshera and president of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, J&K, told dna.

Kamal Haasan attends Global Skills Summit, Nirmala Sitharaman talks about movies

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International Literacy Day: Here are some of the greatest Indian educators

September 8 is celebrated as International Literacy Day every year since 1965, when it was first proclaimed by UNESCO.

September 8 is celebrated as International Literacy Day every year since 1965, when it was first proclaimed by UNESCO. There were several pioneers who strove to make bring quality education in the country. Let’s take a look at some of the greatest educators in India.Sir Syed Ahmad KhanIt may be blasphemy in today’s times to name Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as one of India’s greatest educators, but one cannot ignore his contribution to the education of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. The Aligarh Muslim University, founded by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan is ranked among the top universities in India. Khan saw the need of modern education amongst Muslims, and started a movement to create awareness about education amongst fellow Islamists. He first started a school in Muradabad and then followed it up with many more. Muhammedan Anglo Oriental College was founded in 1875 in Aligarh, and Sir Syed Ahmad Khan wanted it to become a Muslim university on par with Cambridge. He literally started a movement called the Aligarh Movement and stirred up an educational revolution amongst Muslims.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karmaveer Bhaurao PatilWhile Mahatma Jyotirao Phule and his wife Savitribai can be credited for the spread of mass education in Maharashtra, Bhaurao Patil took this legacy forward by setting up schools and colleges throughout the state from 1920 onwards. He was the pioneer of the ‘earn while you learn’ system in Maharashtra and set up numerous hostels and boarding houses for needy kids. Patil’s contribution seems larger when we consider the caste system predominant in Maharashtra and he insisted that his institutions will be open to all. His wife Laxmibai was equally supportive in his cause and reportedly offered him all her ornaments, including her mangalsutra, to ensure there was no paucity of funds for his schools. Patil turned the Rayat Shikshan Sanstha into a mass movement as he sought contributions as little as a few paise from the rayat i.e. the common people.Savitribai PhuleIt may be a sweet dilemma – is her contribution to women’s education greater than her husband Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, who was one of the greatest social reformers in Maharashtra? Savitribai followed up with every cause that her husband took up and surpassed him. While Jyotirao took up the women’s cause, she made him open schools for girls, unheard of in the middle of the 19th century. People threw cow dung at them in conservative Pune, as the couple opened the first school for women. Jyotirao supported widow remarriage, adopted a boy from a widowed Brahmin lady who was going to commit suicide and opened a care home for orphans. Savitribai took care of the kids like her own. Her death too was in tune with her life. As she took bubonic plague victims from Pune to her son’s clinic, she contracted the disease herself and died. Today, Pune University is named after her.Dr RM Alagappa ChettiarBorn in Kottaiyur in the Sivaganga district, Dr RM Alagappa Chettiyar was a model teacher who was friends with Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the former President of India. He strongly believed in education and donated generously for the cause. Dr RM Alagappa Chettiyar is said to have revolutionised education in Karaikaudi. The Alagappa Arts College was started at Karaikudi thanks to his donation in 1947 and 11 educational institutions were built subsequently in the Alagappa name thanks to his foundation and donations. These include the Alagappa College of Technology Campus (Anna University) and Alagappa Chettiar Government College of Engineering & Technology (ACCET), Karaikudi. Dr Mrs YG ParthasarathyIn 1958, a group of housewives, including a former journalist Mrs YG Parthasarathy from the Nungambakkam Ladies Recreation Club, came together to set up the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan School (PSBB) in Nungambakan, Chennai. Today, the group of institutions headed by Padmashri Awardee Dr Mrs YGP (as she is popularly known) has branches in Chennai, Coimbatore, Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The PSBB Group schools were ranked first in the south zone in the Day Schools category by a survey conducted by Education World in 2011. 90-year-old Mrs YGP still looks after the schools.Dr Tonse Madhav Ananth PaiManipal in Karnataka flourished into a university city thanks to educationist and banker Padma Shri Dr Tonse Madhav Ananth Pai or Dr TMA Pai. Born in 1898, Dr TMA Pai was the first person in India to start a private, self-financing medical college that offered the MBBS course. Before he passed away in 1979, DR TMA Pai went on to set up numerous other institutions in Manipal like Kasturba Medical College (1953), Manipal Institute of Technology (1957), Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal College of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore. K KamarajThis politician from Tamil Nadu was hailed as a ‘kingmaker’. In 1954, Kamaraj became Chief Minister and made significant changes to the education system in the state. He removed the family vocation-based Hereditary Education Policy and opened new schools in rural areas to provide access to education for students there.As Chief Minister, he made sure every village and panchayat had at least one school and introduced free and compulsory education till 11th standard. The Midday Meal Scheme that provides one meal a day to students in government schools in Tamil Nadu today, was introduced by him. Education in the state rose from 7% to 37% post the education reforms he introduced. A lesser known fact is that it was thanks to his efforts and that of Governor Medhi, that IIT Madras was established in 1959.

VIDEO: Kapoor sculpture vandalised again

A sculpture by Sir Anish Kapoor on show at France’s Palace of Versailles has been vandalised and covered with slogans, some of which are anti-Semitic.

Aurangzeb Road renaming will open a can of worms, say academicians

Renaming Aurangzeb Road after former President APJ Abdul Kalam, a move that many even felt “belittles the stature” of the celebrated scientist.

Issues like renaming of Aurangzeb Road arise because people don’t have a sense of history, say academicians

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A section of historians and scholars have criticised the rechristening of Aurangzeb Road in Lutyens’ Delhi, saying it is a result of a “slanted view” of history and cautioned that such renaming exercises will “open a can of worms”. On August 28, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) gave its nod to a proposal to rename the historic stretch in the heart of the national capital after former President APJ Abdul Kalam, a move that many even felt “belittles the stature” of the celebrated scientist. Noted historian Narayani Gupta says issues like these arise because people don’t have a sense of history. “Aurangzeb Road, alongside a cluster of others named after Mughal rulers like Akbar and Shahjehan, were given by the British when they designed the new imperial capital of New Delhi. “This and Ashoka Road and Firozshah Road, besides King George V and Queen Mary and Hardinge and Wellesley were suggested by noted historian Percival Spear, who was teaching history at St Stephen’s College then. “So, just removing a historic name doesn’t augur well. More so, when it has history behind the naming. And, a true tribute to Kalam would have been a science museum for children, and not some renamed signpost,” Gupta said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>New Delhi was designed by British architect Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens along with Sir Herbert Baker from 1911-1931. Post-independence, after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination and later after Jawaharlal Nehru’s death, a series of renaming exercises began across the country, including in the national capital, where British names were rechristened after Indian leaders.Delhi’s famed chronicler and author RV Smith, who grew up in Agra, says, “One Drummond Road, a long stretch in Agra, named after its district magistrate was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi Road soon after independence.”In Delhi also, the historic names were changed like Kingsway (Rajpath) and Queensway (Janpath) and Hardinge Avenue (Tilak Marg), but history is not something to be corrected. We must learn to respect the history and with this Aurangzeb Road renaming, we are allowing a dangerous trend to be started. People who want his name removed have either no understanding or skewed view of history. “He ruled for nearly 50 years from Central Asia to Rangoon, and every emperor has had good or bad qualities. But, it is wrong to judge him from a contemporary prism,” Smith said.Smith, author of Delhi That No one Knows and Capital Vignettes says, by renaming the British-era places and landmarks in Delhi, history has been “destroyed”, and future generations would grow up with a “slanted view of history”. “They renamed the historic Willingdon Crescent, Willingdon Hospital, and, then there was the Victoria Memorial Zenana Hospital in Old Delhi, which was rechristened as Kasturba Gandhi Hospital by the municipal corporation. Why can’t we make new roads and new institutions and give them the names of our leaders and heroes and people whom we love. Renaming old places is not just an insult to history, but also to the people they are being renamed after,” he said.Conservation architect A G K Menon, also convener of INTACH’s Delhi Chapter, terms the renaming of Aurangzeb Road as “unfortunate” and said it will start a trend that the country would find hard to contain. “First we purged our cities of British rulers names and now the Moghuls. I mean how far back do we go then? And, was this renaming needed at all? Now Wheelers Island has been renamed, and voices are being raised in Maharashtra to rename the entire city of Aurangabad…. This is a bad trend, and it will open a whole can of worms,” Menon said.UK-based scholar Saleem Khan, who did his MA thesis on Portrayal of Aurangzeb in Modern history Writing at the University of London, says, Aurangzeb has been “much-maligned” over time without an impartial understanding of his life and times. “He was a great Mughal emperor, which cannot be ruled out, and even though the British fought him, they chose to name a street after him. As per notions surrounding him that he was cruel and anti-Hindu, well Aurangzeb employed more Hindus in absolute and percentage terms than any other emperor.””We can have an informed debate over his character but erasing him out like this is unfair,” Khan said.Historian Gupta says, after the renaming spree in 60s and 70s, “There was a committee in the late 1970s under the Delhi Archives, of which I was a member, which passed a resolution that roads should

We are a nuclear-armed country, know how to defend ourselves: Pak NSA Sartaj Aziz

Islamabad: Holding that as a nuclear-armed country, Pakistan knew how to defend itself, Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s advisor on foreign affairs and national security, has accused India of acting like a regional superpower, a media report said on Monday.

“(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s India acts as if they are a regional superpower; we are a nuclear-armed country and we know how to defend ourselves,” Dawn on Monday quoted Aziz saying a day earlier.

“We also have evidence of Indian agency RAW’s involvement in fuelling terrorism in Pakistan,” Aziz said, adding that while Pakistan has evidence of Indian involvement in terrorism, India on the other hand only has propaganda against Pakistan.

“Propaganda against Pakistan is more important for the Indians, rather than giving us evidence,” the adviser stated.

Image courtesy: AFPImage courtesy: AFP

Image courtesy: AFP

Aziz also said that India wants normalization on its own terms; it would like to talk about trade and connectivity but not much else.

“If Kashmir is not an issue for India, why have stationed 700,000 troops in Kashmir?” he asked. Aziz also stated that India should hold a referendum in Kashmir, and the people would decide their own fate.

“India should realise after the current episode that their tactics are not working, and they need to be sincere about dialogue with Pakistan,” added Aziz.

On Sunday, the Pakistan government decided to cancel the planned meeting of national security advisors with India, citing New Delhi’s refusal to allow an expanded agenda and a meeting with Kashmiri leaders.

The Indian external affairs ministry immediately termed the decision “unfortunate” and tried to wash its hands of the controversy that led to the cancellation of the meeting by saying that it “did not set any preconditions”.

The decision was announced after Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj virtually set a deadline for Pakistan to decide by midnight if it was ready to go ahead with the talks by agreeing not to meet the Kashmiri leaders and restricting the discussion to terrorism.

Besides a discussion on terrorism, Pakistan had sought inclusion of two additional points in the agenda — a review of the progress on decisions taken in Ufa regarding release of fishermen, facilitating religious tourism and restoring peace along the Line of Control; and exploration of the modalities for discussions on other outstanding issues, including Kashmir, Sir Creek and Siachen.

The meeting between the two countries’ security advisers was supposed to signal the resumption of talks between India and Pakistan.

IANS

When in Delhi, do it the Ufa way, says India… and Pakistan calls off talks

The talks were scheduled to have been held in New Delhi on Sunday and Monday.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign secretary S Jaishankar addressing a news conference in New Delhi on Saturday
B B Yadav
dna
In a fast-flying war of words on the interpretation of Ufa declaration, Pakistan late on Saturday night called off the National Security Advisor (NSA)- level talks saying that they “would not serve any purpose if conducted on the basis of the two conditions laid down by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj.”This means India will have to start afresh to bring Pakistan to the talking table to settle issues of immediate urgency – ceasefire violations and terrorism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The talks were scheduled to have been held in New Delhi on Sunday and Monday.Swaraj made it clear that the talks would not happen if Pakistan insists on discussing Kashmir and meeting Hurriyat leaders. She then set a midnight deadline for Pakistan to respond.India’s response came soon after Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz reiterated in a press conference that he was still prepared for the talks, but without preconditions.Aziz not only blamed India for “virtually cancelling” the first-ever official talks between the NSAs on the pretext of his scheduled meeting with three or four Hurriyat leaders but also claimed that Kashmir was part of the three-point agenda agreed at Ufa. Ufa is the Russian city where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in July and laid a framework for talks on terrorism and ceasefire violations.Differentiating between composite dialogue and NSA-level talks and blaming Aziz for not looking at Ufa agreement’s spirit and operative part, Swaraj said: “It was decided at Ufa that talks will be held at the levels of NSA, DG of Border Security Force and Army Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) on terrorism, peace at border and ceasefire violations only. Kashmir was not a part of the agenda. It can be discussed as part of the composite dialogue process, but, to start that, we first need to have a conducive atmosphere, free from terror and violence.”Reacting to Swaraj’s statement that differentiated between composite dialogue and NSA-level talks, Pakistan’s foreign affairs ministry said: “She unilaterally restricts the agenda to only two items: creating an atmosphere free from terrorism and tranquility on the LoC…considering that many terror “incidents” blamed initially by India on Pakistan eventually turned out to be fake, it is not improbable that India can delay the Resumed Dialogue indefinitely by concocting one or two incidents and keeping the LoC hot.””If the only purpose of NSA-level talks is to discuss terrorism, then instead of improving the prospects for peace, it will only intensify the blame game and further vitiate the atmosphere. That is why Pakistan had suggested that apart from discussion on terrorism-related issues, the two sides should also discuss modalities, and, if possible, a time schedule, for discussions on all outstanding issues including Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, in keeping with the understanding of the Ufa statement”Rebutting India’s condition not to bring in Hurriyat as it would be against the Shimla Agreement, where the two countries had decided not to have any third party mediation on Kashmir, Pakistan said: “It has been pointed out repeatedly that it has been a long-standing practice during the past twenty years.. It would be inappropriate for India to now impose the condition of changing this longstanding practice.”However, what took the situation beyond the tipping point, according to MEA sources, was Aziz’s sermonic remark: “Is it conceivable that a country like India will cancel the first ministerial interaction between the two countries since Mr Modi’s take over, on such flimsy grounds, especially when the main purpose of the meeting was to reduce tensions on the Line of Control and restore trust by addressing each other’s concerns regarding terrorist activities sitting across the table rather than through the media?”Trying to explain that the Modi government gave a long rope to Pakistan, Swaraj said: “India wanted talks to happen despite 99 ceasefire violations by Pakistan, since the Ufa statement and the terrorist incidents in Gurdaspur of Punjab and Udhampur in J&K, because it believed that talks are a necessary option to bring Pakistan to an understanding.”Asserting that India was not running away from talks, but it’s the other way, Swaraj said: “Had he (Sartaj Aziz) come to India, we would have presented a live terrorist, Naved (who was involved in the Udhampur attack on a BSF convoy), in front of them. That is why they do not want to come. They will give a dossier, we will give a live terrorist.”

PM Modi wishes Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on birthday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished Arvind Kejriwal on his birthday and the Delhi Chief Minister immediately responded with thanks and desired to meet him to discuss the situation in the national capital.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday wished Arvind Kejriwal on his birthday and the Delhi Chief Minister immediately responded with thanks and desired to meet him to discuss the situation in the national capital.”Spoke to Delhi CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal & wished him on his birthday. My prayers for his long life and good health,” the Prime Minister tweeted.The Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for the wishes.”@narendramodi Thank u so much sir for your wishes. I am touched. I look forward to meeting u soon to brief u on Delhi’s situation,” Kejriwal said.The exchange came amid a standoff between the Centre and Delhi government over struggle of power in the national capital and other issues.

Independence Day Special: Three ways the British still continue to rule us

It’s been 69 years since the British left us to our fate and the sad bit is that even though it’s been so long, we still haven’t gotten over our colonial hangover.

It’s been 69 years since the British left us to our fate and the sad bit is that even though it’s been so long, we still haven’t gotten over our colonial hangover. Here are some archaic British notions which we continue to embrace, even though the British and all developed nations have moved on.Colonial Hangover Number 1: Victorian Morality AKA ‘Traditional Indian Values’During their two century stay, the British managed to instil in us the prudish, parochial and patriarchal values of Victorian morality which we have successfully adopted as traditional Indian values. This includes using nonsensical British euphemisms like ‘outraging the modesty of a woman’ or ‘indecent behaviour in public’ in our law.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Of course, euphemisms are the least of the problems since we also have a lot of trouble as a society which can’t comprehend a woman’s right to own her sexuality, the concept of consent, homophobia and the need for sex education.We’ve the world’s largest growing population, which is obviously a huge load on the resources, but the lack of sex education is particularly daunting because it leaves a major part of the population absolutely clueless about various aspects of sex including the proper use of contraceptives, the concept of consent and what constitutes sexual harassment. In the absence of sex ed, we get our garbled info from Bollywood movies, porn sites (with the government giving us 857 sites to visit) and literature. None of these are a sturdy replacement for proper sex education. Misinformation on the other hand leads to a lifetime of insecurity and ignorance and we’re denying our children a fundamental right.Our alienation of people who belong to the LGBT community also draws its inspiration from Britain’s homophobia which actually resulted in them prosecuting thousands of men for homosexuality including luminaries like Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing. The law commonly known as Labouchere Amendment, made ‘gross indecency’ a crime, even though Victorian morality prevented the definition of gross indecency; quite similar to the ‘indecent behaviour in public’ bit which varies from custodian to custodian.This law was repealed in 1967, but not before thousands were prosecuted for making their own rightful choices. Sec 377 on the other hand, still continues to exist as a reminder of this particular colonial hangover.Colonial Hangover Number 2: Divide and Rule Lord Elphinstone had reportedly said to a commission investigating the 1857 riots: “”Divide et impera (divide and rule) was the old Roman motto, and it should be ours”.In Political Thinkers of Modern India: Lala Lajpat Rai, Volume 15 By Verinder Grover, Sir John Maynard, a retired Senior Member of the Executive Council of Punjab says: “It is, of course, true that British authority could not have established and now could not now maintain itself but for a fissiparous tendency, of which the Hindu-Muslim antagonism is one manifestation. It’s also the true that the mass rivalry of the two communities began under British rule. Persecuting rulers made their appearance from time to time in the pre-British era, levying tribute on unbelievers or punishing with masses — before they had eaten of the tree of knowledge and became religion-conscious — worshipped peacefully side by side at the same shrines.”For centuries, Hindus and Muslims had lived in peace, but the British made sure that the two communities would continue to be at loggerheads. They ensured the enmity would continue with the partition of the nation and creation of Pakistan and led to such excessive violence as does Kashmir. On the other hand, our leaders, politicians and religious leaders, continue to stoke this flame of discontent, telling each community that they are their only saviour. It’s time our leaders stopped using the carrot-and-stick treatment of turning communities against one another, irrespective of their religious orientation.Colonial Hangover Number 3: The Class System The class-system is so entrenched in Britain that if you pick up any thriller written by British authors like Forsyth, Archer or Le Carre and will know who’s the hero or villain based on their support of the class system, irrespective of their own upbringing. It’s a cliché so common that in action movie The Kingsman, Colin Firth’s character is shown explaining: “Being a gentleman has nothing to do with one’s birth. It’s about being at ease in one’s own skin. True nobility isn’t being superior to your fellow man. It’s being superior to your former self.”The class system exists to such an extend in modern day Britain that British Members of Parliament concluded that prospects of almost half of the children born in the UK can be almost linked to the circumstances of their parenthood.The same problem continues to exist in India where we still have the notion of ‘Us and Them’. We’ve managed to add Britain’s class system to our already older caste system to create so many social hurdles that it’d make Rabindranath Tagore head spin. It’s very apparent in the way we treat or talk to people based on their professions. For example, the way most ‘upper-class’ Indians treat those who they consider beneath them like waiters, drivers, servants and security guards, and this exists without even considering the age-old problems of untouchability.We’ve modified the art of skilful discrimination as we form biases based on people’s skin, economic status, colour, gender, educational qualifications, the circumstances of their birth, ability to speak in English, food choices and every other definable quality under the sun.It’s time we moved past these meaningless characteristics and embrace the land that Rabindra Nath Tagore dreamt off, specifically ‘where the world has not been broken up into fragments, by narrow domestic walls’, into that heaven my father, let my country awake.

Modi government plans to adopt new sand mining policy for forest areas

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday the Centre plans to adopt a new policy to allow sand mining in forest areas to stop flood waters from flowing into forests.

Prakash Javadekar

Union Minister for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday the Centre plans to adopt a new policy to allow sand mining in forest areas to stop flood waters from flowing into forests.Javadekar made the announcement here while referring to recent deaths of 10 Asiatic lions and other wild animals due to floods in Amreli district in June. He said that sand mining in rivers passing through protected forest land has been banned by the Supreme Court.”Due to floods in Amreli recently, 10 lions and other wild animals died. As per Supreme Court order, you cannot excavate silt gathered in rivers passing from the forest area. As a result, large amount of silt has gathered in such rivers across the country,” Javadekar said at a press conference here today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As a result, river beds have become shallow and flood waters eventually flow into nearby forests. If we don’t remove this silt, forests will eventually vanish and flood will keep happening. Thus, there is a need to remove this silt,” he said.”Therefore, we have prepared a ‘sustainable sand mining policy’ to allow sand mining in forest areas for this purpose. We will also inform the court about it to seek its permission,” Javadekar said.The minister also claimed that his ministry cleared at least 35 projects in Gujarat, which had not been given clearance.”When the Congress was in power at the Centre, they stalled many projects in Gujarat. During the last 15 months, we cleared 35 such projects of the Gujarat government. Many of these projects were stuck in this ministry since 2007,” Javadekar said.Some of these projects which received environmental clearances include the 800 MW extension at Vanakbori thermal power station, drilling of 103 wells in Vadodara by the ONGC, development of Dholera SIR and a limestone mining project in Rangpur village of Junagadh, Javadekar said.

Hizbul Mujahideen sleeper cell busted in Kashmir: Police arrest UK-based physiotherapist

A Special Investigating Team of Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested a physiotherapist minutes before he was going to board a flight to London via Delhi. According to the police, 33-year-old Mohammad Shaheen Baba, a resident of Charar-e-Shareef in Budgam district in central Kashmir, has been running a sleeper cell for the militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.

Baba has been living in London for the past ten years and is married to an American citizen of Pakistani origin. Apart from Shaheen Baba, the SIT arrested seven others with alleged militant links in Kashmir.

Representative image. PTIRepresentative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

“Mohammad Shaheen Baba was working in UK as a physiotherapist and has been living in London since 2006. He married an American citizen of Pakistani origin. He visited Pakistan, where he got in touch with HM Commanders and on their directions established the sleeper cell,” a police statement on Sunday said. “During preliminary investigation, it surfaced that they (the arrested persons including the doctor) had planned to carry out sensational acts of terror by way of IED blasts.”

Shaheen Baba came to Kashmir three months back for his younger sister’s wedding and was leaving for London on Sunday afternoon when the police intercepted and arrested him.

Police sources also revealed that the physiotherapist had provided sim cards and Rs 10 lakh in cash to activate the sleeper cells for carrying out attacks in the valley.

The police said, “One Chinese pistol with magazine, 25 live rounds, incriminating documents and a mobile phone was recovered from the cell members.”    The police further claimed that Shaheen was in Pakistan where he met Hizb commanders and on their orders established the sleeper cell. “The group was planning to carry out IED blasts in the valley especially in Srinagar city,” the official added.

The police have identified other members of the group as Mudasir Ahmad Baba, Basharat Hussain Baba, Uqab Ahmad Wazir and Manzoor Ahmad. According to a senior police official as many as 20 youths, mostly in their mid-20s, have been detained for questioning.

Further investigations are going on.

India state funeral for Abdul Kalam

Former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam is given a full state funeral in his native town in south India.

Former UK PM Margaret Thatcher wanted to prosecute Sikh accused of inciting Indira Gandhi’s killing

Image courtesy: en.wikipedia.org
Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wanted to take legal action against a UK-based Sikh separatist leader accused of inciting Indira Gandhi’s assassination but failed to comply with India’s request to deport him due to British law towards Commonwealth citizens, newly declassified documents released today said.Jagjit Singh Chauhan, the founder of the Khalistan movement, had moved to Britain in 1971 to carry on his campaign for an independent Sikh state in India. He is believed to be the chief instigator behind the assassination of the former Indian Prime Minister on October 31, 1984, predicting months before in a BBC interview her death at the hands of her Sikh bodyguard that she and her family would be “beheaded” as a revenge for ‘Operation Blue Star’, the raid on Golden Temple to flush out terrorists.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Now documents released under the 30-year declassification rule by the UK’s National Archives in Kew, south-west London, highlight the Thatcher government’s failed attempts at curbing his activities. Her private secretary Charles Powell wrote to the UK Home Office: “She (Thatcher) does not see how Chauhan can evade the charge of inciting to violence simply by saying he is not doing so… The Prime Minister is of the view that the Law Officers might with advantage study the papers once more.””The Indians formally requested the deportation of Chauhan on 4 March 1976 on the grounds of anti-Indian activities… we could not comply with the request because it ran counter to British law and policies towards Commonwealth citizens,” Sir Geoffrey Howe, foreign secretary in Thatcher’s Cabinet, wrote in apparent explanation over her concerns of Chauhan’s continued presence in the UK.”In theory, Chauhan could also be excluded or deported at the discretion of the Home Secretary… but this action could only be taken if, amongst other factors, there was concrete evidence that he had engaged in very serious criminal activities,” he added.Chauhan had received an official warning that his outbursts must remain within the bounds of the law but the UK government failed to take legal action due to lack of any “concrete evidence”.The documents released today include a personal intervention by Thatcher to demand that the BBC be wary of giving Chauhan unrestricted air-time.”The Home Office has already had occasion to draw to your attention the Government’s concern about the platform which the BBC has provided for a small minority of Sikh extremists in this country,” she wrote to then BBC director-general Stuart Young in the lead up to Gandhi’s funeral in New Delhi.”We now have specific advice from our High Commissioner that this is not only damaging our relations with India, but endangering the security of British citizens in India, and more specifically the threat to Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne and others going to Delhi for Mrs Gandhi’s funeral,” she wrote.Young responded curtly as being “fully aware of its responsibilities in the most difficult and delicate situation which exists in the wake of Mrs Gandhi’s assassination”.Many of the documents made public are letters from Sir Robert Wade-Gery, the British High Commissioner in India during the period, to Thatcher’s office in the aftermath of the assassination, warning of Chauhan posing a threat to her son Rajiv Gandhi.”If this happens while we are still tolerating Chauhan, the effect on all our interests here could be catastrophic. Lives and property could be lost as well as contracts and influence,” he warned in a letter dated November, 1984.In earlier documents, it has been revealed that Thatcher had backed Gandhi over Operation Blue Star in June, 1984.”These have been anxious weeks for you, involving difficult decisions. I have followed closely your efforts to restore calm there, and I very much hope that the ‘healing touch’ for which you have called will open the way to a peaceful and prosperous future in that troubled region,” Thatcher wrote to Gandhi on June 30, 1984.Chauhan later returned to India in 2001 and died aged 79 in April, 2007.Thatcher served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and died in 2013 aged 87.

Centre, UP govt to distribute 13 lakh LED bulbs in Varanasi: Power ministry

New Delhi: The Centre and Uttar Pradesh government in association with Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) will distribute 13 lakh LED bulbs to 2,28,496 consumers and replace 36,077 conventional street lights with LEDs in Varanasi, the government has said.

Power minister Piyush Goyal. PIB

Power minister Piyush Goyal. PIB

In a major initiative aimed at promoting energy efficiency in Varanasi, Power and Coal Minister Piyush launched domestic efficient lighting programme and LED-based Smart Street Light programmes in Varanasi late evening yesterday, the Power Ministry said in a statement.

The government is looking to cut down energy usage by 10,000 MW during peak hours by promoting LED lights across the nation.

Goyal said, “With energy-efficient LED lights, demand of electricity in Varanasi will be down by 45 MW and lead to savings to the tune of Rs 68 crore. The innovative business model of conversion of conventional streetlights with energy-efficient LED street lights has the potential of replication as it obviates the need for any capital investment by Municipal bodies.

“There will be considerable savings on the street lights as well as in the domestic sector in due course. This should help ensure 24×7 supply to every household,” Yassir Shah, Minister of Energy, UP said during the occasion.

EESL, a public sector entity under Ministry of Power, will replace the estimated 36,077 conventional street lights with energy efficient and smart LED lights across the city at its own cost. Over the course of five-seven years, municipalities will use part of the savings in energy and maintenance cost to repay EESL, the statement said.

Goyal had last month said that the government plans to fast-track rollout of LED bulbs which will result in reduction of 27,000 MW peak load.

“All bulbs will be replaced with LEDs over next three years, resulting in huge savings in power bills for consumers while proposed amendments in Electricity Act will allow consumers to chose and change power supplier, with competition improving affordability and service,” he had said.

PTI

Aruna Shanbaug’s case is rare in medical history: Doctors

Dr Jayesh Lele, IMA president elect, Maharashtra, said, “Shanbaug’s case was exceptional because she was in hospital and nurses took utmost care of her. Had it been any other hospital, this would have never been possible.” He further said that Shanbaug’s case should also be a wake-up call for the authorities to consider euthanasia as an option for patients who are in a vegetative state.

The case of Aruna Shanbaug, who was under treatment for 42 years at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Parel, shall go down as a historic case in the annals of medical records anywhere across the world, say doctors.For a period of 42 years, an entire hospital became the custodian and guardian of the patient and took care of her for the whole period. So much was their involvement that when the Supreme Court was petitioned to consider administering euthanasia to her, the hospital vehemently opposed it and informed the court that they would take care of her as long as she was alive.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr Jayesh Lele, IMA president elect, Maharashtra, said, “Shanbaug’s case was exceptional because she was in hospital and nurses took utmost care of her. Had it been any other hospital, this would have never been possible.” He further said that Shanbaug’s case should also be a wake-up call for the authorities to consider euthanasia as an option for patients who are in a vegetative state.Dr Jalil Parkar, chest physician, Lilavati Hospital, said, “Doctors have different opinions with regard to this case — while some say her doctors did their best and kept her alive for 42 years, there were others who were against the life her doctors gave her. Her brain was damaged making her unable to state how she felt.” He added that there was a need to introspect and see both sides of the story. “While some deemed her existence to be torturous, others defended her right to live,” Parkar said.”Every person has the right to live. This is a unique case which necessitates looking at different points of view. Her steel will power helped her fight and stay alive for 42 years. It is rare for such patients to survive this long. There is a medical book where we mention such cases. The staff has truly done a commendable job,” said Dr TP Lahane, dean, Sir JJ group of hospitals.Senior neurologist Dr Nirmal Surya, Bombay Hospital, said, “I have seen cases where such patients survive for five years. This is a contrasting case wherein the care taken was amazing. The love and affection helped Aruna survive this long.”In January 2011, the Supreme Court took up a euthanasia petition filed on Shanbaug’s behalf by celebrity author and journalist Pinki Virani in December 2010. Though the apex court turned down Virani’s petition in March 2011, in a landmark judgment it permitted ‘passive euthanasia’ by following guidelines framed bye the apex court.

Pakistan win final test to clinch series | Reuters

DHAKA Pakistan crushed Bangladesh by 328 runs on Saturday to win their final test with a day to spare and clinch the two-match series 1-0.

It was a triumphant end to a disappointing tour for Pakistan after they were beaten by Bangladesh in each of their three one-day internationals and the one-off Twenty20 International.

The tourists were held to a draw in the opening test in Khulna but dominated the second test from the outset in Dhaka, wrapping up a lopsided victory before tea on day four.

Needing to bat out the last two days to force a draw, Bangladesh collapsed quickly on Saturday and were bowled our for just 221.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah (4-73) triggered Bangladesh’s second innings destruction, while paceman Imran Khan claimed 2-56 for Pakistan.

“It was a much-needed win for us and I think the team really showed some character,” Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said at the presentation ceremony.

“The way Azhar Ali and Younus Khan played (in a 250-run first innings stand), that was the base for our victory in this match and then the bowlers performed really well.”

Shahadat Hossain, who twisted his knee bowling the first over of the match and took virtually no part in the test, did not bat in the second innings, leaving Pakistan needing to capture just eight more wickets to win on Saturday after the home side resumed on 63-1.

Bangladesh lost four wickets in the morning session to hurtle towards a comprehensive defeat. Mominul Haque topscored with a defiant 68, becoming the fifth batsman to register 50-plus scores in 11 or more successive tests.

Down the order, Shuvagata Hom threw his bat at everything to score 39 but that was more in desperation than with any real hope of altering the course of the match.

“We did a great job in the first test but could not capitalise on the second test,” Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim.

“We were down on the first day because we had two wickets but they (turned out to be) no-balls and also we were one bowler down in the first over.

“Nothing went right on the first day. They are the number three test side, we expected them to come hard on us.”

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Julian Linden)

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

Bravehearts

Rare photographs chronicling the lives of Indian soldiers during World War One.

India, Mauritius to curb ‘abuse’ of double tax avoidance treaty

India and Mauritius have agreed to push forward their negotiations for a long pending revision of Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT), asserting that their objective is to prevent the “abuse” of the convention.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Mauritian counterpart Sir Anerood Jugnauth expressed this resolve during their talks in Port Louis on Wednesday night even as India offered $500 million concessional line of credit to this island nation for key infrastructure projects.

Negotiations to amend the bilateral tax treaty have been hanging fire for a long time amid India’s apprehensions that it is being misused to route unaccounted money and evade taxes.

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The two countries also signed five agreements, including one on developing ocean economy, after talks between Modi and Sir Anerood on the first day of his two-day visit to Mauritius on the second leg of this three-nation tour that will also take him to Sri Lanka on Friday.

On other key bilateral economic issues, Modi said the two countries should resume their discussions on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

In his response, Sir Anerood said the Preferential Trade Agreement signed in August 2006 to further enhance market access should be reviewed and that the two countries have agreed on the way forward.

Addressing a joint news conference with Modi, Sir Anerood said he had raised with the Indian Prime Minister issues related to the Mauritius-India Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

“We appreciate that already India postponed the consideration of the GAAR until 2017. However, we have stressed on the initiatives taken by Mauritius to build substance within our offshore jurisdiction. I have requested PM Modi to give his full support on the DTAA as it is of prime importance for our global business sector,” he said.

Modi in his response said the two sides agreed to continue negotiations for a revised treaty based on shared objectives to prevent the “abuse” of the convention.

PTI

India, Mauritius to curb ‘abuse’ of double tax avoidance pact

India and Mauritius have agreed to push forward their negotiations for a long pending revision of Double Taxation Avoidance Treaty (DTAT), asserting that their objective is to prevent the “abuse” of the convention.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Mauritian counterpart Sir Anerood Jugnauth expressed this resolve during their talks in Port Louis on Wednesday night even as India offered $500 million concessional line of credit to this island nation for key infrastructure projects.

Negotiations to amend the bilateral tax treaty have been hanging fire for a long time amid India’s apprehensions that it is being misused to route unaccounted money and evade taxes.

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The two countries also signed five agreements, including one on developing ocean economy, after talks between Modi and Sir Anerood on the first day of his two-day visit to Mauritius on the second leg of this three-nation tour that will also take him to Sri Lanka on Friday.

On other key bilateral economic issues, Modi said the two countries should resume their discussions on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.

In his response, Sir Anerood said the Preferential Trade Agreement signed in August 2006 to further enhance market access should be reviewed and that the two countries have agreed on the way forward.

Addressing a joint news conference with Modi, Sir Anerood said he had raised with the Indian Prime Minister issues related to the Mauritius-India Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

“We appreciate that already India postponed the consideration of the GAAR until 2017. However, we have stressed on the initiatives taken by Mauritius to build substance within our offshore jurisdiction. I have requested PM Modi to give his full support on the DTAA as it is of prime importance for our global business sector,” he said.

Modi in his response said the two sides agreed to continue negotiations for a revised treaty based on shared objectives to prevent the “abuse” of the convention.

PTI

BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain proposes a Prophet Muhammad museum in India

Dubai: Senior BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain has proposed that a museum on the life and times of Prophet Muhammad be built in India, home to the second largest Muslim population in the world.

BJP's Shahnawaz Hussain proposed a museum on the life of Prophet Muhammad in India. AFP

BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain proposed a museum on the life and times of Prophet Muhammad in India. AFP

Hussain, during a recent official trip to Saudi Arabia, visited an exhibition-cum-museum on the life and times of the Prophet in Mecca, and invited Nasir Al-Zahrani, general supervisor of the ‘Assalamu Alaika Ayyuha Annabiyyu’ project to open a branch of the museum in India.

The museum, which already has a branch in Dubai, is planning to open 20 branches across the world, the Saudi Gazette reported on Monday.

“You have done a great service to the Muslim Ummah through your research on the life and times of the Prophet. I invite you to open a branch of this museum in India, which has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia,” Hussain was quoted as saying by the paper.

The leader visited Saudi Arabia as chairman of the long-term pilgrim accommodation selection committee.

Al-Zahrani, who has written a 500-volume encyclopaedia on the Prophet, said he would love to have a branch of the museum in India and pointed out that he has drawn inspiration from many Indian Muslim scholars during his seven-year research.

The museum offers a unique experience to visitors as it uses modern technology to throw light on the life and times of the Prophet.

During the visit, Hussain also met Deputy Minister of Haj Hussein Al-Sharief and requested an increase in quota for Indian pilgrims.

Over 136,000 Indians will perform Haj this year with the quota for the country remaining unchanged since last year due to the ongoing expansion work at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

PTI

Flying high: How Syeda Fatima defied the odds to get a pilot’s licence

New Delhi: Syed Ashfaq Ahmed, a daily wage bakery worker in Hyderabad, had never imagined his 26-year-old daughter would become a pilot. But thanks to her determination and will power, Syeda Salva Fatima is now Captain Syeda Salva Fatima, and effectively one of the few Muslim women in India to hold the commercial pilot’s licence.

Fatima never allowed her abject poverty to come an obstacle on her way to success and the story of how she accomplished this feat can serve as an example for many.

While in school, Fatima would collect articles published in newspapers about aviation and pore over photos of aircrafts for hours. After completing pre-university, she took admission in an institute which offered free coaching for the Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET). At the inaugural ceremony of the batch, the instructor of the institute asked Fatima, “What do you like to become?”

Fatima says she's still hopeful of funding her training.Fatima says she's still hopeful of funding her training.

Fatima says she’s still hopeful of funding her training.

Her prompt reply surprised everyone, including chief guest Zahid Ali Khan – the editor of Urdu daily Siasat: “Pilot.” An impressed Khan asked to meet him later.

“After listening to my story, Zahid Ali Khan sir offered me financial support to undergo the pilot training. I could not believe my ears; it was like a dream come true. I fall short of words to thank him,” Fatima told Firstpost over the telephone.

She underwent five years of  rigorous training at Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy and got her Commercial Pilot’s License, Private Pilot’s License and Flight Radio Telephone Operator License. She has logged 200 hours of flying on a Cessna 152 and 172, including 123 hours of solo flight.

But she still has to cross one more milestone to achieve her dream. She is required to undergo Type Rating, an additional training apart from the initial licence and aircraft class training, on a specific aircraft like a Boeing or Airbus to be able to fly any aircraft. The training costs around Rs 30-32 lakh, which she cannot even think of paying for.

However, she has not given up and has written to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju for help.

“I am awaiting for the minister’s response. Let’s hope for the best,” she added.

When asked what inspired her to choose the male-dominated aviation sector, she replied, “I wanted to do something different and entering this industry was my passion.”

Asked if she had ever imagined that she would reach this far, Fatima said, “It was my dream but I had never thought that it would come true because of my financial condition. My father has to struggle to make two ends meet.”

Zahid Ali Khan, who encouraged Fatima to go ahead and extended financial help, told Firstpost, “I was duty bound to help the ambitious girl as she had selected a sector in which Muslim representation is almost negligible. Muslim men and women are far less educationally accomplished than their non-Muslim counterparts.”

“Less than 41 percent of the country’s 67 million Muslim females were literate, compared to 46 percent of India’s 430 million non-Muslim women. Given the disheartening figures, if someone gathers courage to do something exemplary, he or she must be backed with open heart,” he said

Sahara’s Grosvenor House put on sale by Bank of China; may fetch Rs 5,000 cr

London/New Delhi: In fresh troubles for crisis-hit Sahara, its over Rs 5,000-crore worth Grosvenor House hotel has been put on sale by the lender Bank of China after a default, which the group attributed to certain “technical breaches”.

Grosvenor-HouseGrosvenor-HouseSahara Group, which has been trying to raise funds to secure release of its chief Subrata Roy, said it is working on a refinancing transaction to repay the loans to Bank of China and regain control of the iconic property.

Sahara said that the London hotel is being “treated under default” because Bank of China has declared “an event of default” on the US loans due to some “technical breaches” in the financial covenants.

The loan on Sahara’s three hotels — Grosvenor House in the UK and two other prime hotels (The Plaza and Dream Downtown) in New York — from Bank of China is “cross collateralised and cross guaranteed”.

Bank of China put Grosvenor House under “administration” last night for recovery of its loans, while Deloitte and realty consultant JLL have been mandated to find a buyer.

Sahara, which has been trying to raise funds to secure release of its chief Subrata Roy from jail, further said that the debt servicing for the UK and US loans “has always been completely proper and timely”.

The three overseas hotels have been at the centre of these fund-raising plans.

According to sources, Sahara group’s fresh refinancing arrangements involve getting a fresh loan from the three properties. A part of the proceeds would be given to Bank of China for release of Grosvenor House from “administration”, while the remainder could be deposited with Sebi to secure release of Roy and two other top officials from Tihar Jail, where they have been lodged for a full year now.

Grosvenor House, a landmark property on Park Lane here that was designed by acclaimed architect Sir Edwin Luytens of New Delhi, was purchased by Saharas in 2010. The two hotels in the US were purchased later.

All the three hotels were acquired between 2010-2012 at an estimated valuation of $1.55 billion. Market experts peg their current valuation at upwards of $2.2 billion, after taking into account the appreciation in their values.

The group has been engaged in a legal battle with Indian markets regulator Sebi for a long time over repayment of investor dues totalling over Rs 20,000 crore. Sahara, however, claims it has already repaid 95 per cent of the investors directly.

PTI

Congress braces for tough Rajya Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir

While PDP and BJP decided to contest on two seats each so as to avoid any contest between themselves, the NC-Congress after months of mudslinging on each other especially during the 2014 assembly polls, jointly fielded candidates for three vacancies.

Congress is working overtime to woo independents in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, to seek re-election of Ghulam Nabi Azad, its leader of opposition in the Upper House.Party’s deputy leader Anand Sharma on Tuesday conceded that it was a difficult election, but expressed confidence that Azad will sail through with the help of the National Conference (NC), the CPI (M) and few independents. After Muri Deora’s demise, Congress realises that its numbers will come down, as there was no chance to get a Congress nominee elected on Deora’s seat from Maharashtra. “We want Azad in Parliament. Besides, we cannot be losing numbers in RS,” he saidWhile PDP and BJP decided to contest on two seats each so as to avoid any contest between themselves, the NC-Congress after months of mudslinging on each other especially during the 2014 assembly polls, jointly fielded candidates for three vacancies.The State assembly with 87 members forms the electoral college of the Rajya Sabha. Though, election is being conducted for four seats that have fallen vacant, situation has become more complicated as the Election Commission has issued three different notifications, thus making them three separate elections. Therefore, electors will have to vote thrice – twice for one candidate each and once for two of the one candidate.Given the fractured verdict, no party is in a position to claim victory. The largest party PDP has 28 seats followed by the BJP 25, NC 15 and Congress 12. Remaining seven seats are shared by smaller parties and independents.
The NC and Congress together with 27 votes, need five more to send the Leader of Opposition back to Rajya Sabha. Two candidates Fayaz Ahmad Mir of PDP and NCs Sajjad A Kitchloo are in fray for the first notification. They require 44 votes. Here Mir’s victory with the help of BJP seems a reality. For the second notification NCs Nasir Aslam Wani is pitted against the BJPs Shamsheer Singh Manhas. Apparently, Manhas also appears on safe wicket with the support of PDP, as he also requires 44 votes to sail through.But the trickiest elections is for the third notification for which polling has to take place to elect two members. Those in fray are Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Chander Mohan Sharma (BJP) and Nazir Ahmad Laway (PDP).
While CPI (M) has announced, it will vote against the PDP-BJP candidates, the Congress is still looking to manage three independents. Engineer Rashid, Hakim Yasin and Pawan Gupta, The party received a setback when other independent from Zanskar constituency of Ladakh Syed Baqir Rizvi announced support for the PDP-BJP.The election will decide the political future of Azad, former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader. Worries for Congress are that Azad’s absence in Rajya Sabha will send floor management haywire. Ironically, the NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah had described Azad an “opportunist”, during the poll campaign. When contacted, Azad now says, both the Congress and NC were on the same page in respect to their ideology and principles and that is why they had been working together.

Photography for the visually impaired

A group of visually-impaired people has proved their mettle by making photography a hobby and a habit

Kaustubh Tapal was born blind with a little light perception. A failed surgery took away his light perception too at the age of 8 years. But he found a new vision through photography when he was introduced to Partho Bhowmick in 2010, who is the founder of Beyond Sight Foundation that trains visually-challenged people with photography. Currently, doing his masters in political science, Tapal is a regular at the monthly meetings of ‘Blind with camera’ where he is joined by other members.Around 10 regular members of the group gather at photogenic places along with their trainer Bhowmick and click away. Passionate about photography, Bhowmick has trained over 500 people across India and it all began when he stumbled across a photo magazine in 2004 where he read an article on a successful blind photographer Evgen Bavkar from Paris. After initial research he began with workshops in 2006 with his first blind student Mahesh Umrania.29-year-old Umrania lost his vision to glaucoma when he was 16 years old. When he was at the Victoria Memorial school for the blind at Tardeo, he came to know about Bhowmick in 2007 through a friend.
“Sir just handed me a camera and explained the hardware specifics and told me to click. Since then we have been meeting regularly. We pick places like the beach, museums and sir explains us their space and beauty. We depend upon our hearing, touch or memory of past experiences. You can feel the temperature which tells you if the area is lit or in a shadow. A sighted person sees what he wants to click and clicks it. We take everything around the subject as well but you cannot compare with vision. I cant touch a rainbow, so sir will describe it for me,” said Umrania who is a professional Sitar player.He added that their photography is still in the nascent stage. “We have conducted various exhibitions in India and abroad and want to take it forward but the softwares available to us in India are limited. There are softwares that can describe colours and spaces but we don’t have that. The progress we have made has slowed and because of that we need more technical help to make blind photographer more independent,” he said. For him, the biggest challenge right now is clicking expressions which he is trying to improve upon by himself.Bhowmick has introduced blindfold workshops where he asks people with sight to tie a blindfold and click pictures with training from blind photographers. “We generate revenue from those workshops and mostly it is with corporate companies. With this, we also get our message across to them that blind people are at par with people with sight and that creates employment opportunities. The sale of photos through exhibition also helps the photographers with an incentive and motivates them. We are trying to promote non-retinal art culture in India,” said Bhowmick, who is also coming up with a book, ‘See as no other’, later this year.Bhowmick said that photography creates a little inhibition for women who are visually challenged because there’s the element of touch involved. Nidhi Goyal is a 29-year-old independent photographer, disability and gender activist and former journalist. She learned photography from a media school before graduating from London School of Economics. She lost her vision to a progressive degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa and was a little skeptical about clicking photos with vision impairment.”I didn’t directly start clicking. Photography is known as a visual art and with us it’s more about other senses telling you to click it. When I interacted with the group, I learned how everyone perceives pictures differently. Each individual has a different way of experiencing the world. When it comes to being a woman with visual impairment and clicking photos, I have not faced much of an issue. As a professional, if I had to go to a public space then it may be difficult safety is already an issue for women,” she said.”I have friendly relations with all group members and we go out on our own sometimes to click pictures. The contradiction lies in a blind person with a camera but my perspective has now changed. I take help from the voice and touch of people; I love photography. It’s my hobby,” said Tapal who is one of the recent members. www.blindwithcamera.orgfor blindfold workshops call Partho Bhowmick: 9821474731

Delhi records first death due to swine flu, 9 cases reported

The national capital on Wednesday reported the first swine flu death of the year with a 42-year-old woman from Uttam Nagar succumbing to the H1N1 virus at a private hospital here.”The woman had died yesterday evening while undergoing treatment at a private hospital but her death was reported today,” said Charan Singh, Additional Director in-charge of Public Health, Health department.Also, nine fresh cases of swine flu that included a woman doctor from the Lady Hardinge hospital admitted at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, were reported today taking the total figure to 23 so far this year.”The patient who is a senior pathologist at Lady Hardinge hospital was admitted to Sir Ganga Ram hospital on January 2.She tested positive of H1N1 virus and is under observation in the ICU,” said a doctor at Ganga Ram Hospital.Also, NCR recorded a second death due to swine flu with a 39-year-old man from Faridabad succumbing yesterday night.Earlier, a 51-yr-old woman had died of the virus on December 26 at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.Three women, aged 66 (Madangir), 33 (Sangam Vihar) and 23 (Greater Kailash I) along with five men aged 48 (JNU campus), 71 (Laxmi Nagar), 57 (Rajouri Garden), 62 (Masjid Moth of South Delhi) and 24 (Chhattarpur) have tested positive for H1N1 (swine flu) virus, said Singh.The 33-year old woman and the 24-year old man were found to be positive for H1N1 virus after tests were conducted at the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and are undergoing treatment at Safdarjung hospital.The remaining six were tested in private labs and are being treated in private hospitals.With 14 cases reported this year, the total figure has gone up to 66 since last year.Apart from that, first case of swine flu was reported in Gurgaon as a 32-year-old woman, a resident of Faridabad has been found positive for the disease and is admitted to a government-run civil hospital.According to health experts, number of swine flu cases may rise as the disease spreads through the air and not via a vector, as in dengue.”Elderly people, diabetics, those with kidney problems, cancer patients and pregnant women are at risk and thus should get themselves vaccinated and take common precautions like washing hands properly, avoiding crowded places and wearing masks,” a health department official said.”H1N1 influenza spreads from person to person through coughing, sneezing or through touch. The medicine generally prescribed for the disease is Tamiflu, which must be taken only after doctor’s prescription,” the official said.Meanwhile, Health Department Secretary has started an orientation programme for the staff of all the 22 designated hospitals including five private hospitals on alert and directed them to follow the Health Ministry guidelines for treatment of swine flu.NCDC also held a meeting with the health department to review the situation.

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