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Starting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu temples

“The department should consider implementing the dress code as follows: for men dhoti or pyjamas with upper cloth or formal pants and shirts and for women saree or half saree with blouse, churidhars with upper cloth, for children any fully covered dress,” the judge had said, adding, it should be followed in temples from January 1, 2016.

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Also ReadIndiaDMK chief slams Centre’s decision on LPG subsidyIndiaCensus 2011: Sikhs, Jains have the worst sex ratioIndiaCentre sanctions 4227 additional posts for Delhi PoliceIndiaStarting 2016, devotees can’t wear jeans, leggings, bermudas to Tamil Nadu templesIndiaWill finalise electoral strategy for Tamil Nadu assembly polls at appropriate time: JayalalithaaIndiaNepal’s KP Oli calls up PM Modi; discusses political situation in Nepal <!– /.block –>

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Coastal road clears major hurdle, Fadnavis thanks PM Modi

As first reported by dna, the 35.6-km coastal road project between Nariman Point and Kandivli has got a go-ahead from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests as it issued a notification to implement this big-ticket project.On Wednesday, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted, “Thank you @narendramodi ji & @PrakashJavdekar ji for issuing notification allowing Coastal Road construction. Its dream come true for Mumbaikars.”As per the notification issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change for amending Coastal Regulatory Zone Notification, 2011, reclamation may be permitted for “roads, mass rapid or multimodal transit system…”The project has been facing stiff opposition from environmentalists, resident groups and transport activists in Mumbai on various counts – right from damaging the environment, to the project being looked at as promoting ownership of private vehicles instead of diverting the same funds for improving public transportation systems in congested Mumbai.The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will implement the project, pegged at Rs9,000 crore. Funds for this is already being collected by the civic body through Fungible Floor Space Index (FSI).The project, when ready, will considerably save travel time. Presently, it takes above two hours to travel between Kandivli and Nariman Point, but on the Coastal Freeway it will be well within 45 minutes.dna had on April 7 reported about the state government’s plan to scrap chain of sea-links on the western coast of Mumbai for Coastal Road.Meanwhile, chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya informed dna that the proposal for the planned Navi Mumbai International Airport would also receive sanctions from Union as well as State governments in the month of January.He added that the Cabinet note for the airport project is also ready and since it involved permissions from Civil Aviation department, it has been sent to the Union government for necessary approvals. “We are hopeful that the airport project would be cleared in the month of January after which works on phase one would commence,” said Kshatriya. The first phase, which involves building a capacity of 10 million passengers, would be created in three years’ time. Later, the capacity would be augmented to 60 million passengers.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Jammu and Kashmir HC order to hoist state flag kicks up a row

“We are already respecting the state flag. If you see the house, vehicle or office of a cabinet minister, the state flag is already hoisted. The way it is being projected, that some different country has emerged, is wrong. This is something which has been given by the Constitution,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, political analyst to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and PDP spokesman.

dna Correspondent

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Also ReadIndiaNCR developers default on Rs 10,000 crore land paymentsIndiaCPCB, a look at the science behind the air quality indexIndiaGovernment to revamp Censor Board on global linesIndiaMaharashtra: Government launches artificial coral reef project in MalvanIndiaNarendra Modi asks ministers to connect with people in two LS constituencies a monthIndiaDoes separatist Syedah Asiya Andrabi have Islamic State links? <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Iranian Revolutionary Guards fired rockets near US warships in Gulf: US<!– /.block –>2,000 water samples test positive for pollutants in Thane<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Kerala CM hails Supreme Court verdict upholding liquor policy

With the new liquor policy, only 27 five-star hotels in Kerala would have liquor bars. Besides this, 33 clubs also have license to serve liquor.The policy also had proposed to close down 10 per cent of the IMFL retail outlets of Kerala State Beverages Corporation, which is the sole distributor of IMFL in the state. With this, 36 IMFL outlets would be shut down every year.

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India court upholds Kerala alcohol ban

India’s Supreme Court upholds the Kerala state government’s decision to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in bars.

Delhi government inquiry report on DDCA has no mention of FM Arun Jaitley

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that CBI had raided his office to check the files on DDCA.

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Barack Obama to deliver his last State of the Union Address on Jan 12 <!– /.block –>
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Western Ghats to lose 60% protected areas?

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States unhappy with Kasturirangan report, push for lesser prohibitions.

If the states have their way, nearly 60% of the eco-sensitive, protected area of the Western Ghats, also known as water tower of peninsular India, will be thrown open for development and commercial projects. Five states located along the Western Ghats – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Gujarat and Kerala – have recommended to retain only 20,000 sq km as eco-sensitive area (ESA) and release the rest 36,285 sq.km for development. Among the six Western Ghats states, Tamil Nadu is yet to submit its recommendations on ESA areas to the Centre.A Central government appointed committee led by K Kasturirangan had recommended 56,825 sq km as ESA, nearly three times more than what the states have stated. The Centre too had notified 56,825 sq.km area as ESA in a draft notification in September this year. Western Ghats is one of the eight biodiversity hotspots in the world and is also a UNESCO world heritage site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In their detailed reports on ESAs, the states have rejected most findings and recommendations of the Kasturirangan report, pushing for opening the Ghats to development and commercial activities. The state governments were unhappy with the Kasturirangan report and thus the Central government had allowed them to physically verify their ESAs.The Kasturirangan report had identified ESAs on the basis of natural landscape and cultural landscape. The natural landscape comprises of natural vegetation, forests, water bodies, hills and sacred groves while cultural landscape comprises of human dominated land use of settlements, agricultural land, horticulture and other plantations. For example, the report had identified 4,156 villages across six states as ESA, but the five state governments, in their recommendations, demarcated only 1,666 villages. Each state government has shot down prohibitions suggested in the Kasturirangan report on issues such as mining, township development and forest plantations. An analysis of the state reports by dna shows that broadly they have vouched for inclusion of only contiguous forests that are already notified along with non-forest private lands areas while excluding plantations, industrial zones and even non-cultivable agricultural land.Gujarat, however, is the only state to have increased its ESA area. The ground reality, the states’ reports claim, is that most villages across Ghats rejected the ESA tag, as they feared for loss of livelihood. The reports say that villagers were victims of misinformation campaigns. The villagers, reports said, termed the concept of ESAs as ‘government land grab’. Speaking on the state reports, veteran ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the first Central panel to have given a road-map for conservation of the Ghats, said, “The process states have followed to demarcate ESAs is more important than the area they have retained. It is a flawed process from several angles and most crucially, there is little people’s participation.”He added, “So called ground-truthing exercises involved gathering only select few groups of influential locals across villages. Also, I got first-hand reports of misinformation campaigns that were spread against the concept of ESAs.”While analysing the state reports, dna found each state government has used different approaches for giving ESA tag to villages. As per the Kasturirangan report, villages having more than 20% natural landscape were to be counted as ecologically sensitive. Maharashtra, which has the second largest ESA area has reduced the number of ESA villages from 2,154 to 1,254, reducing the protected area of Ghats to 6,719.3 sq.km. In Maharashtra, the government excluded a total of 879 villages for being isolated, distant from the contiguous, elevated range of the Ghats and for having less than 20% natural landscape. ESA villages that are home to industrial zones have been excluded without studying their pollution load on water resources. In Karnataka, the government thought it more ‘practical’ and ‘rational’ to count only those villages with 50% or more natural landscape and that already fall in the buffer zone of sanctuaries and national parks as ESAs. Karnataka has whittled down ESA villages to 153 from 1,553, shrinking the protected area to 2,020.01 sq.km. Once Tamil Nadu submits its report, MoEF&CC will deliberate on recommendations of all states and map ESA villages using satellite maps. The ministry is likely to meet representatives and MPs from each state before it takes a final call on how much area of the Ghats should be kept as ecologically sensitive. dna contacted Union minister for environment, forests and climate change Prakash Javadekar, who said the matter of finalising Western Ghats’ ESA is under process.

Family had contacted ISIS suspect Sultan, begged him to return: Police

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As per Majid, a few days before Ayaz left home, he had told his mother that he wanted to open a computer shop on rent nearby and wanted Rs 2 lakh for it.

Islamic State militant

Family of Ayaz Sultan, who, security agencies suspect, left the country to join terror outfit Islamic State, had contacted him on Wednesday afternoon. The family members said they had contacted Ayaz on at least three occasions since he disappeared, but he did not respond to them. According to his brother-in-law Majid Shaikh, “Ayaz was online on WhatsApp on Wednesday, his last seen was 12.42pm. He was also online last Friday. We dropped him several messages and WhatsApp calls on his number, but he didn’t get back to us. Though his phone is switched off, he has internet access. His mother too pleaded with him to come back as the family is facing a lot of trouble because of his disappearance. We hope he replies to us soon.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As per Majid, a few days before Ayaz left home, he had told his mother that he wanted to open a computer shop on rent nearby and wanted Rs 2 lakh for it. She gave him Rs1 lakh and told him to arrange for the remaining money. He added that after a few days Ayaz told his family that he would be giving a job interview to secure work in Kuwait-based company soon. “On October 30 around 5.30am, Ayaz kept all his luggage outside the house, he was trying to give the impression that he was going for a short trip. So he started to leave carrying just a backpack, that’s when his mother woke up and asked him where was going. Ayaz said he was going to Pune for the job interview. He has not returned since,” said Majid. When there was no word from Ayaz and his phone was switched off, the family contacted Ayaz’s sister in Kuwait. She told them that Ayaz had not come there. That’s when they started getting worried and lodged a missing complaint with the Malwani police. Ayaz used to regularly hang out with Wajid Shaikh, Mohsin Shaikh and one Moin from the same locality. The family then started making inquiries with Wajid and Mohsin. “Mohsin told me that Ayaz had taken Rs10,000 from him. Wajid too was unaware of Ayaz’s whereabouts. We later learnt that on December 15 Wajid, Mohsin and one Noor Mohammed have left their homes. Ayaz never told me what he did with Rs1 lakh his mother gave him,” said Majid. “Ayaz was the only well-educated person in the family, knowledgeable about computer… His family told the police that they had noticed change in his behaviour, he used to stay isolated and would mostly stay out of the house. At home too, he would spend most of his time on his mobile phone, which had an internet connection. We are not ruling out his chances of having left the country,” said an officer from Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad.

Maharashtra farmers junk ‘subsidised’ solar pumps policy

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The scheme was rolled out mainly in the perennially dry Vidarbha districts from where highest farmers’ suicide is being reported for last few years.

Representational Image
File Photo

Drought-hit farmers of Maharashtra have virtually rejected the “subsidised” solar pump policy brought by state and centre jointly in June this year. As per the information obtained from the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL), only 3,000 farmers have expressed their interest in taking the solar water pump as against 10,000 pumps allocated for the pilot phase. The scheme was rolled out mainly in the perennially dry Vidarbha districts from where highest farmers’ suicide is being reported for last few years. Investment of Rs25,000, which each farmer has to shell-out in order to get the subsidized pump — which otherwise costs Rs3.5-4Lakh — is believed to be the major reason behind the lukewarm response.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Around 85% cultivators in the state are marginal and dry-land farmers who are unable to pay for the pumps”, said sources. And government doesn’t intend to give the pumps for free. As per the provision, 60% of the pump’s cost is borne by MSEDCL (Mahavitaran), 30% by the government of India and 5% each by the state and end-user. Lack of confidence in the solar technology, apprehensions over its maintenance and repair have emerged as other major deterrents, said MSEDCL official adding that “farmers, who have electric pumps and are not paying power bills, are naturally against investing money for new technology”. Over 8,000 pumps have been allocated for Wardha, Washim, Yavatmal, Amravati, Buldhana and Akola districts, while 2,000 pumps are for Nagpur, Bhandara, Gondia, Beed and Gad Chiroli districts. Maharashtra-based Jain Irrigations and Gurgaon-based Claro Energy have been selected for the supply of pumps in June that too after changing the tender specifications thrice. Applications from farmers are being invited since September. Under pressure, energy department is now mulling over a different strategy to lure the farmers. District collectors and agriculture department have been directed to run awareness programs to make farmers aware about the benefits and efficiency of the pumps. An MSEDCL official said: “Considering the sensitivity of the drought-hit farmers, we have taken utmost care about this scheme so that it doesn’t flop because of inefficiency pumps. Field trials were held, stringent provisions have been incorporated in the contract with the suppliers including five year maintenance, attending complaints within 48 hours or else Rs500 fine per day for three days which would be Rs1,000 after three days. However, we now feel that a lot needs to be done on awareness side.” The poor response also raises doubt over the Devendra Fadnavis government’s ambitious programme to replace 5 lakh electric power pumps in the state with the solar pumps within a year and intends to replace all in due course of time. At present, the state has nearly 36 lakh agriculture electric pumps in use. The decisions to replace electric power pumps with solar power pumps is part of the endeavour to reduce the cross-subsidy burden of nearly Rs8,000 crore and thus lowering the power tariff for domestic, industrial and commercial sector users. Users from the agriculture sector, those below the poverty line are charged lower tariffs and this is compensated by higher tariffs imposed on other sectors which is called cross-subsidisation. “If electric pumps are replaced with solar-powered pumps, they will reduce this subsidy burden both on industry as well as state government. Since agricultural pumps are located in remote locations, they add to its distribution losses also, and if replaced by solar pumps, they will reduce our distribution losses, too,” said the official.

Arvind Kejriwal, Najeeb Jung, others pay tribute to constable killed in Karkardooma court firing

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The mortal remains of the deceased were kept in caskets draped in the national flag as the dignitaries paid tributes by laying wreaths over them.

Arvind Kejriwal

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Rajyavardhan Rathore and Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi on Thursday paid last tribute to Delhi Police Head constable Ram Kumar who was killed on Wednesday in Karkardooma court firing.The mortal remains of the deceased were kept in caskets draped in the national flag as the dignitaries paid tributes by laying wreaths over them, one by one.Kumar was killed when four armed assailants opened fire inside a courtroom at Karkardooma Court Complex in east Delhi on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The incident occurred around 11:15 am when a criminal, having more than 100 cases against him, was being produced at courtroom number 73. Those present in the courtroom, including the judge, had to run for cover as the assailants fired indiscriminately.A case of murder and attempt to murder has been registered at Farsh Bazar police station. Several teams have been formed to investigate and catch the culprits behind the daring attack.

Press Council issues notice to Organiser for ‘negative’ article about Kerala

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The notice was issued to the Organiser weekly, considered close to the RSS, on December 16 and it has been given 14 days time to respond from the date it is served.

The Press Council of India has issued a show-cause notice to Organiser weekly on a complaint alleging that its article related to Kerala showed the state in “poor light”.The notice was issued to the Organiser weekly, considered close to the RSS, on December 16 and it has been given 14 days time to respond from the date it is served. The complaint filed by one Nidheesh P, a resident of Delhi and a member of the Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishat, alleged that the article titled “Kerala; God’s own Country or Godless Country” defamed and demoralised the culture and civilisation of the citizens of Kerala.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It further alleged that the article is false with the intention of creating communal riots in the name of religion and food habits among peacefully living people in the state. The article had kicked up a furore in the state with parties across the political spectrum condemning it.

Maharashtra govt is not in favour of reopening dance bars: CM Fadnavis

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Fadnavis also told the House that the crime rate has dropped to some extent.

Stating that the state government is not in favour of reopening of dance bars, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis on Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that his government is framing new set of rules for these establishments. The 18 new rules for dance bars include disallowance of showering of currency notes on bar dancers and also a CCTV cover for every dance bar with the feed available at the police control room would be compulsory. Fadnavis also told the Assembly that there was a drastic drop in the crime rate in the state. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the members of the Opposition Congress and NCP staged a walkout earlier today protesting against the government’s failure of waiving farm loan and Fadnavis addressed the Assembly facing virtually empty benches. Replying to the ‘last week resolution’, Fadanvis said the government was seeking state Advocate General’s opinion in the issue of dance bars to appeal in the apex court. In October this year, the Supreme Court had stayed the operation of 2014 amendment in the Maharashtra Police Act that had banned dance performances at bars and some other places, paving the way for reopening of dance bars across the state. “A new set of 18 rules and regulations are being framed by the state to curb dance shows and also to keep a tight vigil on activities during the dance shows,” he said. “The entire show will be filmed on CCTV and the nearest police station will be given live feed to check any irregularities. Safe distance has to be maintained by the audience and no showering of currency notes on dancers,” he said.Fadnavis also told the House that the crime rate has dropped to some extent. “There has been a drop in one year period of BJP-Shiv Sena government as compared to what it was during the erstwhile Congress-NCP rule. There has been a significant rise in rate of conviction, which is 48 per cent now, whereas the previously it was just nine per cent,” he said. The Chief Minister admitted that due to enactment of new law after the gangrape and murder case in the national capital, awareness among women on the issue has grown and they are fearlessly coming forward to lodge complaints about sexual abuses. All police stations were working online and from January 1 and surprise checks would be carried out to ascertain whether it was working as per this decision or not.

No plan to accord minority status to more communities: Govt

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Naqvi said, the government has so far notified six communities — Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.

Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The government has no plan to accord minority status to more communities at present, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.”No madam,” Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a written reply. He was asked whether government proposes to accord the status of minority to some other communities also.Naqvi said, the government has so far notified six communities — Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains as minority communities under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said there is no specific function conferred under Section 9 of NCM Act to identify any community as a minority.

Ayodhya Ram Temple row: UP CM meets top officials, reviews situation

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Taking note of media reports in this regard, Yadav summoned top officials of Home and Police departments and directed them to take effective measures to maintain law and order in the state

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday held a meeting with top officials and reviewed the law and order situation in the backdrop of two stone-laden trucks arriving in Ayodhya on Sunday.Taking note of media reports in this regard, Yadav summoned top officials of Home and Police departments and directed them to take effective measures to maintain law and order in the state. “No one should be allowed to vitiate the law and order situation in the state. The matter of Ayodhya dispute is pending in the Supreme Court. The state government will follow the SC order in letter in spirit. No nuisance will be tolerated by anyone in the state,” Yadav said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”You (Police) should keep an eye on rumour mongers and anti-social elements and remain alert,” the Chief Minister said. He also directed to keep social media platforms under careful observation to prevent posting of “objectionable” content.The state government had on Monday sought a “confidential” report from Intelligence Department on two stone-laden trucks arriving in Ayodhya six months after the VHP announced a nationwide drive to collect stones for construction of Ram temple.

PM Modi, Sonia Gandhi express grief over BSF aircraft crash

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and distress over tragic aircraft crash and conveyed her condolences to bereaved families.

BSF Superking aircraft crash site in Dwarka

ANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed grief and distress at the loss of lives in the Border Security Force (BSF) plane crash in the national capital.”Pained by the loss of lives in the BSF plane crash in Delhi. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased,” Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and distress over tragic aircraft crash and conveyed her condolences to bereaved families.Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in a tweet, said, “Extremely sad to learn of the BSF plane crash near Delhi airport. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families.”In a tragic accident, all the ten passengers onboard were killed after a Ranchi-bound BSF Superking aircraft crashed at Bagdola village in Sector 8, Dwarka here in the national capital on Tuesday morning.Confirming the death toll, Minister of State for Culture and Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said, “This is a very sad incident. All the passengers including the pilot have died in the crash. Investigation will be done to find the cause of the accident.” Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also reached the site where the plane had crashed.So far, four bodies have been recovered from the crash site.

Studying Bombay HC verdict on Salman Khan hit-and-run case: CM Devendra Fadnavis

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Government is studying the verdict and the state will take a decion, Fadnavis told reporters on Monday, without indicating a time-frame by when the state will reach its conclusion on the matter.
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dna Research & Archives
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday said the state government is still studying the December 10 Bombay High Court verdict, that acquitted Bollywood superstar Salman Khan of all charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case, before deciding whether to challenge it or not.Government is studying the verdict and the state will take a decion, Fadnavis told reporters on Monday, without indicating a time-frame by when the state will reach its conclusion on the matter. The prosecution in the case is understood to have recommended that an appeal be filed in the Supreme court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 10, the Bombay High Court acquitted the 49-year-old star of all the charges in the 2002 hit-and-run case, holding that the prosecution had failed to prove he was driving the vehicle after having consumed alcohol.The judgement came on an appeal by Salman, seven months after he was pronounced guilty by the trial court of running over five people sleeping on a pavement outside a laundry in suburban Bandra with his Toyota Land Cruiser, killing one and injuring four others on October 28,2002.Sources in the prosecutor’s office had said its recommendation to challenge the HC’s acquittal order with the opinion that the case was fit for appeal was sent last week to the Maharashtra Home Department.

DDCA row: Government rules out Arun Jaitley’s resignation

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“No one will resign,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said as slogan-shouting Congress members demanded Jaitley’s resignation.

Arun Jaitley
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PTI
Government on Monday categorically ruled out resignation of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over allegations of corruption in Delhi cricket body DDCA which he headed till 2013, as Congress member disrupted proceedings of Rajya Sabha.”No one will resign,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said as slogan-shouting Congress members demanded Jaitley’s resignation. No one will resign over “false charges” levelled against them, he asserted. But Congress members continued to shout slogans, forcing two adjournments in the pre-noon session.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after listed papers were laid on the table, placard holding Congress members were up on their feet shouting slogans seeking Jaitley’s resignation. Jaitley said he was ready to reply to all charges and urged the Chair to ask Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad to raise a discussion immediately.”I am not going to live by any vague statements,” Jaitely said, adding “if they have a single statement, let him (Azad) make it right now. I will answer it right now.” He was responding to Azad’s statement that many big allegations including that of a Rs 150 crore fraud, 14 bogus companies being floated and conflict of interest at DDCA, have been in discussion for several days now.Demanding a discussion, Azad said “he (Jaitley) can’t remain on the position.”Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there is a procedure for levelling allegations against a member of the House or a minister and a prior notice to the concerned has to be given. He then went on to expunge all allegations against the Finance Minister.But Congress members were unrelenting and continued to raise slogans. They held placards that read: “First Resign, Then Discussion” and “Caesar’s Wife Should Be Above Suspicion.””Whey are you allowing all this noise. Ask him to start discussion right now. I will answer it right now,” Jaitley said.Kurien said the Leader of the House was ready for discussion and the Congress should give notice for discussion.”Sir, do I assume that they have nothing to say except raise slogans,” Jaitley remarked as Congress members continued to shout slogans. The slogan shouting intensified after Naqvi ruled out resignation, forcing Kurien to adjourn the House for 15 minutes.

Decoding the ISIS threat to India

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It is safe to say that the threat posed by ISIS today is real and requires due attention, as almost all nations in the world stand vulnerable to it.

ISIS militant
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During the annual meet of the Director General of Police and Inspectors General of Police in the arid yet spectacular Runn of Kutch in Gujarat, the Indian government has once again red flagged the growing global concerns on ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, Daesh etc).Home Minister Rajnath Singh highlighted the fact that influence of ISIS has witnessed an increase in India’s neighbourhood, particularly Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Prior to this, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had stated that India would be willing to participate in anti-ISIS operations if the same were to be conducted under the flag of the United Nations. While India’s External Affairs ministry distanced this stance by Parrikar, saying the minister was only talking about a hypothetical situation, the fact that only a day later US Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss a gateway UN resolution on talks to end the Syrian crisis was perhaps not so hypothetical, but a months long process by Washington and Moscow that India must have keenly followed via diplomatic channels (a detailed look at India’s stance on Syrian crisis is readable here). <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is safe to say that the threat posed by ISIS today is real and requires due attention as almost all nations in the world stand vulnerable to it. The reasons behind the ‘new’ nature of how ISIS works are witnessed in the manner with which the terror organization functions. As ISIS declared large swathes of territories in Iraq and Syria as part of its ‘Islamic State’ caliphate, the group has managed to create some of the most organized jihadist structures ever seen. How they have done this is a mixture of hierarchical discipline, experience of former Saddam regime Ba’athist generals in ISIS, organized economic traits such as black marketeering of oil, earning from local taxations, extortions from kidnappings and so on. The entire financial operation of ISIS today earns it an estimate $1.2 billion per year, providing teeth like no other terror organization has perhaps experienced before (UN is now moving to halt ISIS financial streams). Even though ISIS has managed to attract many foreign fighters, mainly from Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Europe, there have not been too many known cases as of yet of Indian citizens travelling to fight in Iraq or Syria. While the case of the youths from Kalyan, which included Areeb Majeed who returned and surrendered, remains the most high profile and significant such case, it is also important to note here that very little data is available whether any Indians already residing in various countries in West Asia have joined ISIS. India’s measures to both understand and counter ISIS both in influence and practicality are still in the blueprint phase. This is not unexpected, as gauging and quantifying the ISIS threat is not easy and has many layers that require different counter-measures. For India, however, ISIS’s biggest threat comes through its effective and planned use of media propaganda through the Internet. For example, even though the case is still under investigation, the recent arrest of an Indian Oil employee in Jaipur for ‘Islamic State links’ claimed that the man was in possession ISIS’s glossy, well-produced propaganda magazine Dabiq. Prior to this, one of the most pro-ISIS Twitter accounts over the past few years, known as @ShamiWitness, was found to be run by Indian engineer named Mehdi Masoor Biswas in Bengaluru. Other cases where Indian citizens were stopped from travelling over their intentions to join ISIS had history of online communications with ISIS sympathisers and recruiters. This is where India needs to increase its vigilance urgently. The case of Biswas being behind the most popular pro-ISIS propaganda handle was not picked up by Indian intelligence agencies, but Channel 4 of Britain did the unmasking of the case. In another case that followed much later, one Salman Mohiuddin was arrested from Hyderabad over his plans to travel to Turkey and eventually make his way to fight for ISIS in Syria. The Americans were also observing for his online pro-ISIS activities, but Mohiuddin, a middle-class educated engineer seemed to have escaped the eyes of Indian intelligence. ISIS’s strategy of effectively using online propaganda is in today’s world as dangerous as traditional geographical conflict involving states and borders. In fact, the ability to rally support purely based on the idea of a caliphate (not necessarily so much so on sharia or jihad) around the world to some successful effect is worrisome. While India is, by all means, not at any significant direct threat from ISIS, its neighbourhood is providing two case studies of effects worth noting. Afghanistan: A country with vast pockets of governance vacuums with factionalism between tribes, the Taliban, the state, Kabul is facing the first signs of ISIS footprints. Pictures and videos of alleged ISIS training camps in Afghanistan have surfaced in the recent past, and recent reports also suggest pro-ISIS radio stations have come up in the country’s eastern Nangarhar province. The said station broadcasts in Pashto under the ‘Voice of the Caliphate’ badge. Kabul has said it is looking to trace the station’s roots and shut it down. The political state of Afghanistan is bound by a fragile government, built on a compromise and a military that is being kept afloat by the US in every sense of the word. Bangladesh: ISIS footprints in Bangladesh have surfaced in a completely different manner than seen in any other place. The targeting murders of secular bloggers in the country over the recent past have come with an accompanying ISIS badge. Blogger Avijit Roy, who was hacked to death in front of his wife in Dhaka earlier this year, was murdered allegedly by an Islamist group called Ansarullah Bangla Team to avenge America’s war on ISIS. Other cases like those of Roy have taken place in the country against secularists, and again often accompanied by ISIS justification. Whether this justification reflects directly to ISIS hierarchy in Iraq and Syria is still up for debate. Keeping the two above cases in mind, direct ISIS threat to India is an unlikely outcome from its borders with Pakistan, but slightly more likely from Bangladesh albeit in limited capacity. On Pakistan, the country’s own furnished terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Haqqani Network may not allow a rise of ISIS in the region. However, complacency here should also not be preempted. Jihadi fighters often work like any other careerists, they move from faction to faction looking for better positions in hierarchy, more money and more influence. In such moves often ideology is not fundamental, and examples of this can be seen in both ISIS held territories and in Afghanistan. For India, the immediate jihadi threat remains from its neighbourhood, specifically Pakistan and its state-sponsored terror groups. However, ISIS is a rising, untraditional Islamist force that has taken modern technological routes to propagate its influence much faster than states have been able to install counter-measures. For India at the moment, the real challenge remains in trying to be one step ahead in intelligence. Much of ISIS threat to India can be contained with a robust, effective chain of intelligence gathering and sharing where it does need to learn from other foreign agencies about prevailing threats posed by ISIS within its own borders.

President Mukherjee begins his 14-day southern tour

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Governor ESL Narasimhana and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao along with some of his ministerial colleagues and senior officials received the President at Hakimpet Air Force base

Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee today arrived here for his 14-day southern sojourn upto December 31, at the Rashtrapati Nilayam.Governor ESL Narasimhana and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao along with some of his ministerial colleagues and senior officials received the President at Hakimpet Air Force base. During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release had said earlier. The President would attend the second convocation of the Central University of Karnataka on December 22 at Gulbarga in Karntaka. On the same day, he will inaugurate the Magneto Encephalography Equipment and renovated heritage building of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He will also dedicate NIMHANS to the nation as an institute of national importance. On December 23, the President will attend the 150th anniversary of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and lay the foundation stone of the State Cancer Institute at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru.On December 25, the President will inaugurate the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’s Veda-Patasala at Ai Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh. On December 27, Mukherjee would deliver the inaugural address at the Indian Economic Association’s Annual Conference at Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad. On the same day, he will also attend the ‘Purnahuthi’ of ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam’ being organised by the Telangana Chief Minister at Erravelli village in Medak in Telangana for ‘Lok Kalyanam’ (universal prosperity) and ‘Vishwa Shanthi’ (universal peace).ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will host a dinner in honour of the President on December 29. The President will host a reception for senior dignitaries of the state, Ministers, officials and others at the Rashtrapati Nalayam, Secunderabad on December 30. The Nilayam is one of the Presidential Retreats. It is customary for the President to visit the Nilayam at least once a year and conduct official business from there.

National Herald case: ‘Naturally’, I will appear in court tomorrow, says Sonia Gandhi

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday confirmed that she will appear in court tomorrow in connection with the hearing of the National Herald case. Replying to media, she said, “Naturally”.The National Herald newspaper was closely associated with India’s freedom struggle and the Indian National Congress till 2008. In January 2008, discussions about its closure began. On 1 April 2008, the paper’s editorial announced that it was temporarily suspending operations. Before its closure, the paper was being run by Associated Journals Limited (AJL).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed the case in a local court in 2012. The trial court then issued summons to the two leaders among others in June 2014, but they approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay. On Monday this week, the high court refused to stay the summons, and asked all of the accused to appear for a hearing on December 19. The accused face allegations that they illegally acquired property worth Rs. 5,000 crore belonging to the National Herald newspaper.Meanwhile, hitting out at the Congress Party for stalling parliament procedures, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the former was stalling the development works for their own personal interests.”We are still hopeful that the Rajya Sabha will function. It is true that there has been lot of loss; there are many important Bills which are being stalled without any reason. The Congress is hampering development work for its private interest,” Naqvi told ANI.

Chhatisgarh Assembly: Congress stages walkout over farmers suicides

All these things and the poor and anti-farmers policies of the government was compelling the farmers to take extreme steps,” Baghel said.

10 have reportedly committed suicide in Rajnandgaon district from where Chief Minister Raman Singh contested election: Congress

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Opposition Congress on Thursday staged a walkout from the Chhattisgarh Assembly to protest statements made by ruling BJP over farmers’ suicide in the state. Raising the issue of farmers’ suicide after the Question Hour, Leader of Opposition T S Singhdeo, Congress MLA and party’s state unit chief Bhupesh Baghel, senior Congress Satyanaryan Sharma and other opposition members sought a discussion on the issue. Speaker Gaurishankar Agrawal allowed the discussion from 3 PM onwards.Baghel said farmers are bearing the brunt of drought in the state and alleged that the government was neither fulfilling its promise to procure paddy at support price of Rs 2,100 nor providing bonus of Rs 300 to farmers. “Scarcity of relief work and no sanctioned work under MNREGA further added woes for farmers. All these things and the poor and anti-farmers policies of the government was compelling the farmers to take extreme steps,” Baghel said.Over 25 drought-hit farmers have so far committed suicide, of whom 10 have reportedly committed suicide in Rajnandgaon district from where Chief Minister Raman Singh contested election, he claimed. “According to a report, Chhattisgarh is the third highest in farmers’ suicides in the country,” Singhdeo said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Owing to the insensitiveness of the state government towards farmers and its poor policies, farmers are trapped under the burden of debt after shortfall in rains ruined their crops in the state, he alleged. Responding to it, state Revenue Minister Premprakash Pandey said that the state government had already initiated relief measures for farmers anticipating a drought-like scenario.

President Pranab Mukherjee on southern sojourn from tomorrow

During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release said on Thursday.
File Photo
PTI
President Pranab Mukherjee would be on a southern sojourn for 14 days starting from December 18 to 31 at the Rashtrapati Nilayam in Hyderabad.During the sojourn, the President will attend the convocation of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad on December 19, an official release said on Thursday.The President would attend the second convocation of the Central University of Karnataka on December 22 at Gulbarga in Karntaka. On the same day, he will inaugurate the Magneto Encephalography Equipment and renovated heritage building of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. He will also dedicate NIMHANS to the nation as an institute of national importance.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On December 23, the President will attend the 150th Anniversary of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School and lay the foundation stone of the State Cancer Institute at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore. On December 25, the President will inaugurate the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam’s Veda-Patasala at Ai Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh. On December 27, Mukherjee would deliver the inaugural address at the Indian Economic Association s Annual Conference at Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University, Hyderabad.On the same day, he will also attend the ‘Purnahuthi’ of ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam’ being organised by the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao at Erravelli village in Medak in Telangana for ‘Lok Kalyanam’ (universal prosperity) and ‘Vishwa Shanthi’ (universal peace).ESL Narasimhan, Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will host a dinner in honour of the President on December 29. The President will host a reception for senior dignitaries of the State, Ministers, officials and others at the Rashtrapati Nalayam, Secunderabad on December 30, 2015.The Nilayam at Secunderabad in Hyderabad is one of the Presidential Retreats. It is customary for the President to visit the Nilayam at least once a year and conduct official business from there.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar to set up five new medical colleges in the state

The medical colleges would be opened as per specifications of MCI (Medical Council of India) and all of them would have nursing colleges, Kumar said while reviewing the functioning of the state health department.
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PTI
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday announced that five new medical colleges will be set up in Bihar as he worked to overhaul and strengthen health care infrastructure in the state.The medical colleges would be opened as per specifications of MCI (Medical Council of India) and all of them would have nursing colleges, Kumar said while reviewing the functioning of the state health department, according to an official statement.The Bihar government, which has prioritised health sector in its agenda, gave necessary directions to further streamline functioning of government hospitals across the state. The review meeting was attended by minister Tej Pratap Yadav, chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and principal secretary R K Mahajan, among others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chief minister directed that free medicines should be provided to the needy without any interruption in government hospitals. He ordered to transform four bed intensive units in government hospitals into 10-bedded Intensive Care Units, the statement quoting principal secretary, health, R K Mahajan said. Kumar further instructed that additional primary health centres in all districts should have facility of radiology and pathology.In a bid to enforce punctuality among doctors, he asked to constitute a state-level team to monitor attendance of doctors and para-medical staffs. Those found absent from duty should be dealt with severely, he said. Kumar directed to open an de-addiction centres in every district, which was considered important as the CM has already committed to ban liquor in the state from April 1, 2016.The Chief Minister ordered that landline telephone should be functional in every primary health centres and in-charge of PHCs would be held responsible in case of landline telephone connection found not functioning. Mahajan said the CM instructed that patients suffering from Kalazar should be paid 30 days wage at the rate of minimum wage rate. Besides, attendant accompanying Kalazar patients be provided two days of wage loss.

Arunachal Pradesh: Nabam Tuki-led govt shown ‘no confidence’, rebel Congress MLA chosen as new CM

A day after they “impeached” Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall, the opposition and rebels Congress MLAs met at a conference hall of a hotel at Itanagar today as the Assembly premises have been sealed since Wednesday.

Nabam Tuki
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In another controversial day of proceedings marked by high drama, Opposition BJP and rebel Congress MLAs got together to show “no confidence” in the Nabam Tuki-led Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh and to “choose” a rebel Congress MLA as the new “chief minister”.A day after they “impeached” Speaker Nabam Rebia in a make-shift “Assembly” premises in a community hall, the opposition and rebels Congress MLAs met at a conference hall of a hotel at Itanagar today as the Assembly premises have been sealed since yesterday. On Thursday, a “no confidence” motion by 11 BJP MLAs and two Independent members was “adopted” with Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok, who is also a rebel Congressman, in the Chair.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A total 33 members of the 60-member house, including 20 dissident Congress MLAs, later “elected” another dissident Congressman Kalikho Pul as the new “chief minister” of the state. The Chief Minister Nabam Tuki and his 26 supporting MLAs boycotted the proceedings terming them as “illegal and unconstitutional”.Today’s “proceedings” were held a new venue as the make-shift premises where Speaker Nabam Rebia was ‘impeached’ last night was vandalised by miscreants and the MLAs opposing Tuki were not allowed to enter the Assembly premises by security forces. As per directive of the Speaker, the district administration has sealed the Assembly premises since yesterday.The MLAs then with “due consent” from Governor J P Rajkhowa shifted the venue to the conference hall of a in Naharlagun. The “session”, which was chaired by Deputy Speaker T Norbu Thongdok passed the motion by voice vote and signature consent by 33 members in the absence of 26 Congress MLAs including Tuki and his council of ministers.Thongdok announced Pul as the “new Leader of the House” and said that the “proceedings” would be sent to the Governor who would ask the new chief minister and his council of ministers to take the oath of office shortly.The Deputy Speaker said the “composite floor test” was introduced by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Kalyan Singh Vs Jagadambila Pal in the UP assembly, for the first time in the country where members could participate in a no-confidence motion against the government.”Since the current situation of the state is similar to that of Uttar Pradesh, the motion was brought in accordance to the apex court judgement on a special leave petition No 4498/1998,” Thongdok said.He added that only maximum six members are required to table such a motion as per laid down norms but in the current session 13 members moved it. Tabling the “motion”, Leader of the Opposition Tamiyo Taga (of BJP) alleged that since April this year the members of the Assembly have been experiencing lack of confidence in the council of ministers led by Tuki.”Because of his (Tuki’s) misgovernance and mismanagement, nepotism and corruption, members are gradually withdrawing their support from him. It is a Congress government with absolute majority of 47 members but looking at the situation we are compelled to bring this motion,” Taga said.The opposition leader further alleged that the financial position of the state deteriorated under Tuki while contractors payment, stipends, salaries were not paid.”The central fund under National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF) have been grossly misused by Tuki. There has been no annual operating plan (AOP) since Tuki took the rein of the state and all development funds have been siphoned off,” he pointed out. He said, the Tuki government has been reduced to a minority and it has no right to exist for even a single day.Terming Pul as a capable leader with his vast experience, Taga supported him as the next chief minister of the state. Seconding the motion, senior BJP member Japu Deru said the Nabam Tuki government had failed in all front, while another BJP MLA Laisam Simai echoed similar resentment. Independent MLA Paknga Bage also extended his support to Pul.The Deputy Speaker called for chief minister and ministers to participate in the discussion on the motion but they were absent. After the motion was adopted, Thongdok adjourned the house sine die. Earlier, the “house” also made obituary references to former President A P J Abdul Kalam. A two-minute silence was observed in respect to the departed soul.

Dogged Opposition: VK Singh booed in parliament by for his ‘dog remark’

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When he was again called to make a statement regarding status of implementation of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, BSP members joined their Congress counterparts to jeer at him. Some of them also shouted “V K Singh Murdabad” (down with V K Singh).

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Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, who has been at the centre of the ‘dog analogy’ controversy, was today jeered by some Opposition members in Rajya Sabha when he rose to lay the listed papers. Some Congress MPs booed him when he was called by Deputy Chairman P J Kurien to lay the papers listed against his name in the day’s list of business of the House. When he was again called to make a statement regarding status of implementation of the recommendations of the Standing Committee, BSP members joined their Congress counterparts to jeer at him. Some of them also shouted “V K Singh Murdabad” (down with V K Singh).Singh had kicked up a row when he reacted to the killing of two children from a Dalit family reportedly saying if someone throws stones at a dog, why blame the Govt for it. The opposition had targeted him over the remarks during the earlier part of the winter session, seeking his resignation. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh laid the statement regarding status of implementation of recommendations and observations contained in the 14th report of the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance on Demands for Grants (2015-16) pertaining to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. Singh is also a minister of state for statistics and programme implementation. Order was restored in the House once he sat down after laying the papers.

Make fresh MOP in consultation with CJI to appoint judges: Supreme Court to Centre

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to prepare fresh memorandum of procedure (MOP) in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for the appointment of judges for the apex court and high courts.Issuing a slew of guidelines to improve the collegium system and to make the procedure more transparent and accountable, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar also asked the government to look into five key aspects — eligibility criteria, transparency in appointment process, setting up of secretariat for management of selection process, mechanism to deal with complaints against those who are being considered for appointment and to look into the miscellaneous issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Narrating the reasons after examining thousands of suggestions from various quarters, the court said, “The Government of India may finalise the existing MOP by supplementing it in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The CJI will take a decision based on the unanimous view of the collegium comprising the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court,” the bench said.”The MOP may indicate the eligibility criteria, such as the minimum age, for the guidance of the collegium (both at the level of the High Court and the Supreme Court) for appointment of Judges, after inviting and taking into consideration the views of the State Government and the Government of India (as the case may be) from time to time,” it said.Ensuring transparency in the appointment process, the bench said the MoP for the appointment of judges ought to be made available on the website of the court concerned and on the website of the department of justice of the government of India.The bench also noted that the MOP may provide for an appropriate procedure for “minuting the discussions including recording the dissenting opinion of the judges in the collegium while making provision for the confidentiality of the minutes consistent with the requirement of transparency in the system of appointment of judges.”The bench said that for better management of the system, the MOP may provide for establishment of secretariat for each high courts and the apex court and prescribe its functions, duties and responsibilities. The court passed the order after noting the submission of attorney general Mukul Rohatgi that the MOP and introducing amendments therein, had always been prepared by the Government in consultation with the President of India and the CJI.The court also noted down the submissions of the AG who had noted that formulation of MOP was an administrative responsibility which fell in the executive domain and the apex court neither had expertise nor the wherewithal for proposing amendments in the existing MOP which was drawn on June 30, 1999 by the Government for improving the collegium system.

UP government stunned into silence

The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the appointment of the Lokayukta has delivered a devastating blow which has had the state government reeling under its impact.The judgment is unprecedented and has delivered a resounding rap on the knuckles to the Akhilesh Yadav regime which spent over two years dawdling over the matter despite the stern view of the apex court. On Wednesday, the government seemed to have been stunned into silence as no official reaction to the SC verdict was forthcoming till late evening.The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature. Opposition leaders have slammed the Akhilesh government for making a mockery of the Lokayukta institution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UP Governor Ram Naik seemed to put the government in the dock as he expressed displeasure over its role in (not) appointing a new Lokayukta. “There has been an undue delay (in appointment). Despite all my efforts, the government did not take any decisive action. The (apex court) order is a lesson (for the government),” he told reporters.”This is a slap on the face for the state government which should now realize how it has circumvented the law to keep its pet incumbent in the Lokayukta office to gloss over the corruption cases of ruling party leaders and bureaucrats close to the powers that be,” said BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak.Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh seemed to agree as he said: “The state government has made a mockery of the Lokayukta’s institution. They wanted to force their choice which the (Allahabad HC) Chief Justice (CJ) rightly resisted.”The criticism is not without basis. The SP government wanted its chosen judge Justice (retd.) Ravindra Singh Yadav as the new Lokayukta. Both HC CJ DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition SP Maurya opposed this. Both are members of the panel, besides the CM, authorized under the UP Lokayukta Act to choose the Lokayukta. The Akhilesh government even took the unseemly step of passing a Bill in the UP Assembly to divest the CJ of this power. However, the Governor had refused to sanction this Bill. The government finally dropped the idea after the Governor had returned Justice Yadav’s file a record four times.

Supreme Court appoints Justice Virendra Singh as UP Lokayukta

The bench regretted that its several orders have not been “heeded” by the constitutional functionaries — the chief minister, the leader of opposition and the chief justice of the Allahabad high court.

In an unusual order, the Supreme Court on Wednesday exercised its constitutional authority and appointed formed High Court judge, Justice Virendra Singh, as Lokayukta of Uttar Pradesh after the state government failed to comply with its directives.In an embarrassment for the SP government in Uttar Pradesh, the bench examined a list of nominees and ordered the appointment.”The failure of constitutional functionaries to comply with the orders of the highest court of the land is deeply regretted and astonishing,” a bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi said, adding, “We, therefore, proceed to exercise our right under Article 142 of the Constitution to remedy the situation by passing an appropriate order.” The court said that it appoints Justice Singh as Lokayukta and asked the state government to file a report by December 20 indicating compliance of its order.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench regretted that its several orders have not been “heeded” by the constitutional functionaries — the chief minister, the leader of opposition and the chief justice of the Allahabad high court.In the forenoon, the bench took strong note of the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the state government, that though it had shortlisted five names but no consensus has been arrived at on a specific person.The bench then asked Sibal to provide the names by 12.30 PM itself and said, “we know how to get our orders complied with”.The law provides that a high-powered committee of the chief minister, the leader of opposition and the chief justice of the concerned high court together appoints the chief of the state ombudsman.Earlier on December 14, the apex court had rapped the UP government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.The bench was hearing the pleas filed by Mahendra Kumar Jain and lawyer Radhakant Tripathi seeking a direction to the state to appoint the Lokayukta at the earliest in pursuance of the Supreme Court orders.

Indian rocket to land on moon in 2017; to launch solar mission

The Aditya L1 mission “is aimed at studying the sun from an orbit around the sun-earth lagrangian point (L-1) which is about 1.5 million km from earth. It will carry seven payloads including a coronagraph to observe the outermost layers of the sun, the corona. Aditya L1 will be launched during 2019-20 timeframe,” he said in his written response.

India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan II will land on moon in 2017 and the country’s first solar mission Aditya L1 is likely to be launched in 2019, Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.Chandrayaan II will land on the surface of moon in 2017 and this second lunar mission will help explore the possibilities of signs of extra-terrestrial life, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said during Question Hour responding to supplementaries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Aditya L1 mission “is aimed at studying the sun from an orbit around the sun-earth lagrangian point (L-1) which is about 1.5 million km from earth. It will carry seven payloads including a coronagraph to observe the outermost layers of the sun, the corona. Aditya L1 will be launched during 2019-20 timeframe,” he said in his written response.The “approved cost” of the solar mission is 378.53 crore.Responding to another question, Singh said India has entered the era of “space marketing” and the launch of six Singapore satellites today will earn India 26 million euros.So far, India has earned 15 million USD and 80 million euros by launching satellites of other countries, he said, adding that 5 million USD and 65 million euros are in the “pipeline”, while apparently referring to the launches proposed in the future.The minister said a budget of Rs 1420 crore has been approved by the government for realisation of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite (IRNSS) programme, including satellites and associated ground segment.

Let’s not obstruct CBI from doing its duty: Venkaiah Naidu

“The AAP functionary (Mr. Joshi) himself has filed this complaint. What do they have to say about this? Prashant Bhushan filed public interest litigation. The raid has not taken place in the CM’s personal office, it is about an officer, who is facing enquiry,” he said.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday urged the Aam Aadmi Party Government in Delhi not to create chaos and obstacles in the way of CBI’s investigation of a senior Delhi Government official for alleged corruption.”The CBI is doing its duty. Nobody should put obstacles in the way of the CBI conducting its duty and responsibility. Everyone must help in that. I would suggest that the case should not be influenced by making statements. You are weakening the fight against corruption by politicising the issue. Let us not obstruct the CBI from doing its duty,” Naidu told media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Further maintaining the Centre’s its stand, Naidu said the government has no role in the CBI raid.”The AAP functionary (Mr. Joshi) himself has filed this complaint. What do they have to say about this? Prashant Bhushan filed public interest litigation. The raid has not taken place in the CM’s personal office it is about an officer, who is facing enquiry,” he said.”The public prosecutor was pressurized and threatened. He has written to the Government saying that he wants to withdraw from the case. All this shows there is something serious happening. Let the enquiry be over,” he added.Mocking the opposition, Naidu asked whether the CBI should wait for an auspicious time to do its work.”The opposition should cooperate. If they are sincere to fight against corruption, they must all really appreciate the action taken by the CBI.”Echoing similar sentiments, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh condemned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s statement and called it ‘obnoxious’.”In day to day social behavior, the kind of resolution to be put into use, I think it is yet to be learnt by some of our friends,” Singh said.Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi alleged that the AAP and Arvind Kejriwal is fighting to defend corruption. “They should understand that being dishonest won?t help them bring success in politics. Probe is going on and truth will come out in the probe. Your chaos before the probe indicates there is something fishy,” he added.Meanwhile, Kejriwal continued his assault on the Centre and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over the raid by the CBI on his office yesterday and said that said that the documents that were seized from his office had absolutely no connection to the allegations that were being probed.”CBI kept reading DDCA file in my office. They wud hv seized it. But after my media briefing, they left it. Not clear if they took a copy,” Kejriwal tweeted.Attacking Jaitley for ‘rubbishing’ his allegations on the Centre, accusing them of being involved in the raid, Kejriwal said that the former was a liar and questioned his role over the DDCA scam.”FM lied in the Parliament yesterday. Why is Jaitley ji so scared of DDCA probe? What is his role in DDCA scam,” Kejriwal said in another tweet.

Emergency meeting to select a new UP Lokayukta inconclusive

The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.

The Akhilesh Yadav Government was rapped by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for not having elected a Lokayukta.
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The marathon meeting to appoint a new Lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh remained inconclusive on Tuesday as the selection committee failed to reach a consensus.The three-member selection committee comprising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya could not hammer out a name and will meet on Wednesday again, a senior official said. The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The emergency meeting was held a day after the apex court pulled up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.The present ombudsman Justice N K Mehtrotra has already spent nine years in office.Pulling up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions, a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said, “Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?””We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said, fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16.Earlier in the day, the Governor told reporters that the state will have a new ombudsman tonight as a meeting had been convened this evening to hammer out the issue. The last meeting of the selection committee held on September 27 to appointment new Lokayukta remained inconclusive with High Court Chief Justice questioning the validity of the process after a Bill was passed in the state assembly.HC Chief Justice Chandrachud was of the view that as a Bill was passed in the state assembly, deciding name of Lokayukta could amount to its contempt. He suggested to take a legal opinion for the same. The UP Assembly had passed the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend Lokayukta Act dropping Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee.The bill proposed that the committee be made a four-member body comprising the CM, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and a retired judge who would be selected in consultation with the CM and Speaker. Before this, the Supreme Court had on July 23 asked the government to suggest a name for new Lokayukta by August 23 after which the government finalised the name of former justice Raveendra Singh Yadav and sent it to the Raj Bhawan for the first time on August 5.The state government and the Governor have not been on the same page on Yadav’s nomination and the file recommending his name moved back and forth nearly half a dozen times between Raj Bhawan and the state government. The amendment was passed after the Governor refused to accept the appointment on the grounds that a proper meeting of the selection committee was not held and also the Allahabad HC Chief Justice had expressed reservations in view of Singh’s proximity to the ruling Samajwadi Party.The bill is still awaiting the Governor’s assent. With no consensus over his name, Yadav had opted out of the race for the key post by sending a letter to the chief minister.

Haryana Panchayat polls to be held in January in three phases

On December 10, the State Election Commission had said that it would soon set in motion the process for conduct of Panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new law in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.
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PTI
The much-awaited Panchayat polls in Haryana will be held next year in three phases on January 10, 17 and 24, State Election Commission said on Tuesday.Addressing a press conference in Panchkula, near Raipur on Tuesday evening, State Election Commissioner Rajiv Sharma said with the announcement of the elections, Model Code of Conduct has come into force in the area of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) where the polls will be conducted.The election process would be completed by February 15, 2016. He said that as the Supreme Court has upheld the new Panchayati Raj Amendment Act, 2015, now elections to the PRIs would be held as per the new Act.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sharma said that the candidates who have already filed nominations as per the amended Act need not to file fresh nominations, but have to file fresh declarations or affidavits along with the required documents before the Returning Officer concerned during the period specified for the same. He said that the poll to elect panches, sarpanches of gram panchayats and members of panchayat samitis would be held in three phases.”There are a total of 6,198 Gram Panchayats, 126 Panchayat Samitis and 21 Zila Parishads in the state. Polls would be conducted for 416 members of 21 Zila Parishads, 3001 posts of 126 Panchayat Samitis and 6,198 and 62,492 posts of sarpanches and panches respectively,” he said.On December 10, the State Election Commission had said that it would soon set in motion the process for conduct of Panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new law in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants. Earlier, the polls were to be held on October 4, 11 and 18.The model code was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition challenging the validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. The qualification for women (general) and Scheduled Caste candidates has been fixed at Class VIII.Meanwhile, Haryana’s main opposition INLD has challenged the ruling BJP to contest the upcoming Panchayat polls on party symbol.”The BJP had been claiming that it has done a lot for the people over the last year, then this is the right time they should test their popularity by contesting on party symbol,” INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said. However, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said that the BJP will not contest the upcoming polls on party symbol.”The Panchayat elections should be held with the spirit of brotherhood. Hence, the party has decided not to contest these polls on party symbol,” Khattar told reporters here on sidelines of a function.The Chief Minister urged people of the state to elect good representatives to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state in the upcoming elections so as to ensure better and transparent administration at village level. He said that the state government has implemented the new Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015, to enable educated and responsible people to enter into the system.In reply to another question, the Chief Minister said that voting is the fundamental right of every citizen and all should exercise their right to franchise for strengthening of democratic system. In reply to a question, State Election Commissioner Sharma said that three political parties – Bahujan Samaj Party, SAD and CPIM – have written to the Commission expressing their desire to contest elections on party symbols.Regarding educational qualifications of the contesting candidates, Sharma said that the list of recognised schools have been uploaded on the website of Board of School Education Haryana. Apart from this, Education Department has been asked to depute an officer in the Commission office to verify the certificates of contesting candidates.The State Election Commissioner said all preparations have been made to ensure the conduct of fair and peaceful polls. As many as 21,475 polling booths have been set up, of which 4,337 have been identified as hyper-sensitive and 4,159 as sensitive. Special arrangements would be made at these polling stations by the district administration concerned, he said. Sharma said that approval has also been given by the State Election Commission to conduct videography at hyper- sensitive polling booths.”Notification for the first phase of the elections would be issued on December 17, that of phase two would be issued on December 23 and of phase three would be issued on December 30, 2015,” he said.He also said that in the first phase, nominations could be filed from December 23 to December 29, 2015 and during the same period the affidavit or declarations would be furnished by the candidates to the concerned Returning Officers.Scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on December 30 and the last date of withdrawal would be January 1, 2016. Symbols to the contesting candidates would be allotted on January 1 and the list of contesting candidates would also be made public on the same day.Similarly, in the second phase, notification would be issued on December 23, 2015. Nominations could be filed from December 30 to January 4, 2016 and during the same period the affidavit or declarations would be furnished by the candidates to the concerned Returning Officers. Scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on January 5, 2016 and the last date of withdrawal would be January 7, 2016.Symbols to the contesting candidates would be allotted on January 7 and the list of contesting candidates would also be made public on the same day. In the third phase, notification would be issued on December 30. Nominations could be filed from January 5 to January 9 and during the same period the affidavit or declarations would be furnished by the candidates to the concerned Returning Officers.Scrutiny of nomination papers would be held on January 11, 2016 and the last date of withdrawal would be January 13, 2016.Symbols to the contesting candidates would be allotted on January 13 and the list of contesting candidates would also be made public on the same day. Sharma said while elections for sarpanch and members of Zila Parishad would be conducted through EVMs, ballot paper would be used for elections for panches and members of Panchayat Samitis. He added that it was for the first time that EVMs would be used for elections for members of Panchayat Samitis in districts Panchkula and Rewari.He said that counting of votes for the Panches and Sarpanches would be taken up on the same day at the polling stations itself, whereas, the counting of votes for election to the offices of Members Panchayat Samiti and Zila Parishad would be taken up on January 28, 2016 at the place specified by concerned District Election Officer.The casting of ballot would be conducted from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. Sharma said that 1,10,09,317 people are eligible to cast their ballot in these elections of which 59,04,696 are men and 51,04,621 are women.More than one lakh workers would be deputed for conduct of the election process.To ensure peaceful and secure conduct of elections in the state, requests have been sent to Director General of Police and Home Secretary to deploy personnel of Haryana Police, Haryana Armed Police and Home Guards. He also said that general and election expenditure supervisors would also be appointed.Officers of the level of senior Indian Administrative Services and Haryana Civil Services Officers would be appointed as general supervisors, and officers from the Excise and Taxation Department would be appointed as election expenditure supervisors. Giving information about election expenses of candidates, Sharma said that the Election Commission had increased the limit on election expenditure.The expenditure limit for panches has been increased to Rs 10,000, for Gram Panchayats with fewer than 15 members it has been increased to Rs 30,000 and for those with more than 15 members, it has been increased to Rs 50,000. Similarly, Rs one lakh has been set as the expenditure limit for members of Panchayat Samitis and expenditure limit of Rs two lakh has been set for members of Zila Parishads.

PM Modi to address defence top brass on board INS Vikramaditya

Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in a public rally at Thrissur yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the BJP had suffered most in Kerala during the last 50 years, adding that scores of party workers were “murdered” in the state for political reasons.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will address a combined commanders’ conference on board the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the Kochi coast in Kerala.The Combined Commanders Conference is an annual three services event which is being held for the first time outside the national capital.Three service chiefs and other senior officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force will brief the Prime Minister about military issues and also put up suggestions in the one-day event.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Prime Minister will also unveil former chief minister R. Shankar’s statue at Kollam and pay floral tributes to Sree Narayana Guru Mahasamadhi at Sivagiri inVarkala before returning to Delhi.Addressing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in a public rally at Thrissur yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the BJP had suffered most in Kerala during the last 50 years, adding that scores of party workers were “murdered” in the state for political reasons.He also decried social untouchability in Kerala and said that several saints and Rishis had dedicated their lives to end social unsociability in the state and also lashed out at the Congress-led UnitedDemocratic Front (UDF) coalition and Communist Party of India (Marxist)-Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala and accused them of looting the state in turns.Prime Minister Modi arrived at Kochi Naval Base yesterday on a two-day trip to Kerala and was received by Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Crematorium near Taj: Supreme Court seeks ‘comprehensive plan’ from Uttar Pradesh government

The bench sought a response from the state government within six weeks on the issue after it informed the court that it has planned to promote the electric crematorium and make it’s use free from the next year for people to choose it over traditional method to lit funeral pyres.

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a comprehensive plan on reduction of carbon level near the Taj Mahal with the use of technology by modernising an 18th century crematorium near the world heritage site.A bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and C Nagappan took note of the submission of the state government that it would not be feasible to relocate the crematorium and rather asked the authorities to make people aware so that they use the electric crematorium.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench sought a response from the state government within six weeks on the issue after it informed the court that it has planned to promote the electric crematorium and make it’s use free from the next year for people to choose it over traditional method to lit funeral pyres.The court, meanwhile, gave permission to the state government to fell 281 trees for widening of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway after the state assured it that it will plant 2800 trees as compensatory plantation as mandated by rules.The bench was hearing the matter after taking it into account a letter written by an apex court judge, Justice Kurien Joseph, pointing out that the Taj was under threat from pollution due to smoke emanating from the crematorium.On November 16, the apex court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to consider shifting of the crematorium.It had noted that despite several previous orders to the Agra Nagar Nigam and Agra Development Authority, “nothing meaningful” has been done and the public crematorium continues to be at present location resulting in possible damage to the historic monument.Justice Joseph’s letter stated that he along with his family had visited the Taj in September. During his visit, he noted that the emissions arising from the cremation ground may damage the monument’s white marble.In his letter, Justice Joseph had also proposed that the authorities be directed to relocate the crematorium to some other place in order to protect the site.

PM Narendra Modi accuses UDF and CPI(M) of looting Kerala

Likening the third force to the ‘third eye’ of Lord Shiva in this temple town, where the famous Wadakunathar Temple for Shiva is located, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it would destroy the “evils” of the two fronts, an apparent reference to the Congress-led UDF and CPI(M)-led Left Front.

PTI
On his first visit to Kerala after assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a strong attack on the ruling Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M), accusing them of indulging in “loot” of the state by turns during their tenure in power and hiding their “sins”. Addressing a public meeting organised by the party, he referred to the BJP’s success in the local bodies election last month and asserted it has emerged as the “third force” in Kerala that will replace the two fronts in the next year’s Assembly elections and transform the state’s fortunes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Unfortunately, Kerala’s politics is such that two coalitions have been ruling the state and looting its people. One coalition comes to power and loots. People get angry every five years and throw it out and another coalition comes. This cycle has been continuing so far. Both the coalitions are busy hiding each other’s sins and then continue with their loot. Now the people of Kerala need not get angry any more. A third force has emerged in Kerala. It is like Lord Shiva’s third eye, which will destroy the sins and free the state from the evils and corruption. The emergence of the third force will change Kerala’s future and bring prosperity and peace in the state,” Modi said.Likening the third force to the ‘third eye’ of Lord Shiva in this temple town, where the famous Wadakunathar Temple for Shiva is located, he said it would destroy the “evils” of the two fronts, an apparent reference to the Congress-led UDF and CPI(M)-led Left Front.The Prime Minister, who was on his first visit to Kerala after assuming office, was addressing a public meeting organised by his party at the Thekkinkadu ground in front of the temple where the annual world-famous Pooram festival is conducted. Looking at the good crowd and its response, Modi said the gathering is an indication that Kerala has decided to bring a “change” by electing BJP to power in the next elections.Referring to the dominance of the two rival fronts in Kerala for decades, Modi said in a state where social reformers like Sree Narayana Guru had fought and removed social untouchability, a climate of political untouchability is still prevalent in Kerala.”This untouchability is carried to such lengths and those opposed to their political ideology are harassed and sometimes physically eliminated. Their (fronts’) thinking process is such,” he said.Modi said that at least over 200 BJP workers have been killed in the last 50 years just because of ideological differences.”If you see the political history of any state in India, Kerala is probably the only one where in the last 50 years BJP has suffered political vendetta and probably no other party has suffered that much like in Kerala,” he said.The Prime Minister the BJP worker in Kerala stands tall and is a shining example of commitment and perseverance to the party workers throughout the country.”I tell BJP men everywhere to look at the dedication of BJP workers in Kerala. There is no victory in sight, no power or positions in sight. But they have been fighting for the nationalist cause. After every election, the only review they used to undertake is to check whether they have retained their deposits, whether the defeat margin is bigger or smaller than the previous results,” he said.

Underage drivers and those without licences cause 1.62 lakh accidents across country

Accidents caused by drivers without licences during the period was 1.01 lakh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
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As many as 1.62 lakh road accidents were caused by underage drivers and those without licences between 2012 and 2014, the government said on Monday.Accidents caused by drivers without licences during the period was 1.01 lakh, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply. He said under-age drivers, below 18 years old, caused 0.60 lakh accidents in the three years.”Section 180 of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 provides for punishment of imprisonment or fine or both for the offence of a owner or persons in-charge of vehicle permitting an unlicensed person or under-aged person to drive it,” the minister said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Section 181 of the Act provides for punishment of imprisonment or fine or both for the offence of driving by an under-aged person, he added. He said though the enforcement of various provisions of the Act including driving by underage and unlicensed drivers come within the purview of the state governments, the ministry has been carrying out awareness campaigns on this issue through print and electronic media.India accounts for 5 lakh road accidents a year, one of the highest globally in which 1.5 lakh people lose their lives.

Government downplays Hafiz Saeed’s statement, says India capable of countering any threat

Downplaying the statement of Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the government on Monday asserted that India is capable of countering any threat or challenge to its territory or sovereignty, and added that his statement should not be given too much importance.

Image Courtesy: Twitter Video

Downplaying the statement of Jamat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed, the government on Monday asserted that India is capable of countering any threat or challenge to its territory or sovereignty, and added that his statement should not be given too much importance.”The related department and the officials are placing the proofs against Hafiz Saeed. India is capable of facing any threat. So, I don’t think these are issues to be discussed publicly. I think there is no reason to be disturbed about what somebody says, because India is capable by all means to face any kind of threat or challenge,” said Union Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Echoing similar sentiments, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affiars Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Hafiz Saeed is a criminal and he needs to be punished.”India has a zero tolerant attitude towards terrorism. There is no compromise in that. It’s not important what he says…it’s important what we say,” he added.The reaction from the government came after Hafiz Saeed dared India to prove his involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.According to a video posted on his Twitter account, Saeed is seen saying, “Our government remained silent, but let me respond to Sushma. It’s been seven years but they could not prove who was behind the Mumbai attacks and Insha Allah (if Allah wills it) they will never be able to prove it until eternity.””India has failed to provide any evidence of Mumbai attacks, while on the other hand Modi has confessed for worst terrorism of #1971.”Saeed’s statement also comes after India was assured of steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion of 26/11 Mumbai trial, after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Pakistan last week

Sikhs will never forgive Congress for 1984 riots, says Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal

Badal said besides “planning this genocide”, Congress has rubbed salt into the wounds of Sikhs by “shielding and honoring” the perpetrators of this barbaric incident with coveted positions.

RNA
The Sikh community will never forgive the Congress for “hatching” the conspiracy of 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Sunday said.”The wounds of 1984 Sikh carnage will remain afresh in the psyche of every Sikh, and the Sikh community will never forgive Congress for hatching the conspiracy of this dastardly act,” Badal said.After laying the foundation stone of a new police station building here, the Chief Minister said it was a well-known fact that the “heinous crime”, in which hundreds of innocent Sikhs were massacred, was “planned and executed” by the then Congress government at the Centre.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Badal said besides “planning this genocide”, Congress has rubbed salt into the wounds of Sikhs by “shielding and honoring” the perpetrators of this barbaric incident with coveted positions.The Chief Minister said Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), being the sole custodian of rights of Sikhs, had raised the issue of justice for victims of this genocide with the Government of India time and again, and this crusade will continue till exemplary punishment is not ensured to the guilty.Badal said he had also taken up this issue with the NDA government at the Centre, which has assured to give justice to the victims of this genocide”This issue has bruised the psyche of every Sikh and SAD is duty-bound to ensure that its perpetrators were brought to the book,” Badal said.Refuting the charges of political vendetta leveled by the opposition parties, the Chief Minister said not even a single case has been registered by police out of vendetta and such allegations are totally baseless.However, Badal said if anybody has any grievance regarding it, then they could directly approach him with facts.The Chief Minister said the state government was examining the allegations regarding fake encounters leveled by a former cop Parminder Singh Pinky.However, he said that the person who was levying these allegations was not having any credibility.The Chief Minister further said that the state government was laying special focus on maintaining law and order in the state for which special thrust was being laid on construction of police stations and modernization of police.He said under this scheme, new buildings of police station at Chohla Sahib would come up at a cost of Rs 1.56 crore and that at Tarn Taran would be constructed at cost of Rs 2 crore.Earlier, addressing the public gatherings during Sangat Darshan at village Tur, Khan Chabri and Kahlwan, the Chief Minister said the massive response to ‘Sadbhawna’ rallies in various districts of state have proved that the people of Punjab want peace and progress in the state and there was no space for divisive agenda in the state.He said peace and harmony were the basic ingredients of progress and prosperity of any country.He said peace and harmony were the basic ingredients of progress and prosperity of any country.Recalling the turbulent times of militancy, Badal said more than 21,000 innocent people lost their lives during those times and Punjabis paid a heavy price of that period as due to it, the state lagged behind in development.He said ‘Sadbhawna’ rallies were being organized not for any political purpose, but for promoting ethos of peace and communal harmony in the state.

Low-key birthday for Manohar Parrikar; Congress says BJP insensitive to flood victims

Prominent BJP leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished Parrikar on the occasion.

Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar being felicitated by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on the occasion of his 60th birthday at a function at Campal, Panaji on Sunday.

PTI
A public reception sans fanfare marked the 60th birthday of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar here today amid presence of senior ministers, even as the Congress accused top BJP brass of being “insensitive” towards the victims of Chennai floods. Congress had sought cancellation of the event in view of the Chennai deluge.Earlier in day, prominent BJP leaders led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished Parrikar on the occasion.”Wishing Manohar Parrikar & @drharshvardhan on their birthday. They are admired for their simplicity & hardwork. I pray for their long life,” the Prime Minister tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar’s cabinet colleagues including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman also took to twitter to wish Parrikar. Parrikar, former chief minister of Goa, celebrated the day with family and friends in morning at his private residence in Taleigao near here.In the evening, a reception was held at Campal Ground here where about 50,000 people turned up. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, AYUSH Minister Sripad Naik, state chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar were present on the dais.On the occasion, Parrikar remembered his wife Medha who passed away in 2001 following illness, a little before Parrikar became the Chief Minister of Goa for the first time.”Who was supposed to be 55 (this year), she (Medha) left me at 40,” Parrikar said while referring to the Hindi song ‘Jab tum hoge saath saal ke’ which was played ahead of the beginning of the formal reception. Parrikar said that people never allowed him to feel his wife’s absence. “I am at this position due to love given by people of Goa,” he added.Hailing Parrikar, Gadkari said the former was following politics as an “instrument for bringing socio-political reforms”. “He (Parrikar) has maintained the same profile in public life right from the day he entered politics till date,” said Gadkari.The birthday bash had run into controversy with the Congress accusing the state government of using public money to organise the event. The CM had refuted the charge. The event turned out to be simple one with only a pandal covering the ground to mark the programme. No cultural programme was held on the occasion.Addressing the gathering comprising the BJP leaders and workers, Parrikar hailed the role of defence forces during the Chennai deluge, saying the coordination between the Army and Air Force was commendable.”When Chennai was receiving unprecedented rains, I coordinated and made sure that Army and Air Force rush there. The coordination was commendable,” Parrikar said.Meanwhile, the Congress said the “grand” event shows the BJP’s “insensitivity” towards the victims of Chennai floods.”Despite of all our requests to the BJP leadership both at the state and national level including the PM, the grand birthday bash was held in the city today. This proves the insensitivity of BJP leaders towards Chennai flood victims and those bravehearts who lost their lives protecting the country,” said Congress’ state unit spokesman Sunil Kawathankar.”It seemed more like it was an desperate attempt of state BJP to reinstate the lost glory of their government and moreover to rebuild the loss of confidence amongst Goans in their leader Mr. Parrikar keeping in view the 2017 Assembly elections,” he added.

Vasundhara Raje should face CBI inquiry over graft charges: Ashok Gehlot

The former Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine and implement the “Vasundhara model” to fulfill his promise of bringing back black money.

Vasundhara Raje

Hitting out at Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje on the second anniversary of BJP government in the state, Congress leader Ashok Gehlot on Sunday said that she should step down from her post and face a CBI inquiry over the corruption charges levelled against her.The former Chief Minister also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to examine and implement the “Vasundhara model” to fulfill his promise of bringing back black money. “Corruption from top to bottom has become rampant in the state. Serious allegations have been made against Raje and she should come forward to face the charges and order a CBI inquiry. She has no moral right to continue as chief minister,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Raje showed that how black money could be brought and invested in her son’s company via Mauritius route. Now, the Centre should examine the ‘Vasundhara model’ to bring back black money because PM failed to fulfil the promise he had made,” Gehlot alleged at a press conference here. He claimed that the ‘Vasundhra model’ might prove fruitful for Modi government which is silent despite several scams in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and has not taken action against them.Gehlot also held Raje responsible for the death of former MLA Gurusharan Chhabra who died on November 3 during a dharna demanding a complete ban on liquor in the state. “The CM is the responsible for his death. She did not have a dialogue…to end his agitation which led to his death,” the former chief minister said.Gehlot also claimed that Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria has no control over his department and officers and also demanded that he should step down. “Crime-rate has increased in the state and common man is suffering. Minor girls are being raped, dreaded criminals escape from police custody but the home minister is boosting police’s morale instead…,” he said. On BJP President Amit Shah’s remark in today’s public rally that there was no corruption and scam in the last two years, Gehlot said, “It seems that Raje is misguiding and hiding scams from Shah and not showing a clear picture.” On Raje questioning the objections being raised on the second anniversary celebrations, Gehlot said, “Rajasthan is not her personal estate that no one will ask for an account of the hard earned money of common people…What right do they have to misuse people’s money?” Expressing confidence that BJP will not be in power the next time, he warned corrupt officials of strict action. “I have already said that officials must work impartially. If they do so, there will be no issue but if they work in biased manner then we will not spare them,” he said.The former chief minister said that performance of the BJP government in two years in the state could not be analysed as “the government has done nothing.” “Farmers are suffering for fodder and seeds, compensation of crop damage due to excessive rains and hailstorm are pending, Barmer oil refinery is delayed for last two years which could had given employment to two lakh people and no progress on Dungarpur-Banswara-Ratlam rain line project are some of the examples of government’s working,” he said.He also criticised the recently held Resurgent Rajasthan summit, terming it as “just a get-together of industrialists”.

In touch with ISIS supporters, J&K youths were questioned before PM Modi’s visit last month

The official said while the possibility of IS coming to Kashmir had not grown too much as on date, it was “a concern we must watch” as there were some attempts to connect with the Kashmiri youth through Internet.

Representational Image of ISIS fighters

Security agencies picked up some youths for questioning ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir last month as they had come in touch with supporters of global terror group Islamic State on Internet.However, the youths were released and handed over to their parents after being cautioned and counselled about the dangers of IS, a senior security official told PTI.The official, requesting anonymity, said that while Kashmiri youths have not shown much interest in IS, there were some incidents where few of them have come in contact with its supporters through social networking sites. “Yes these people are connecting (with IS) on the Internet. Some were rounded up before visit of the Prime Minister (on November 7). It happened around that time,” the security official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The youth who were detained were questioned by the police … something was there … they were cautioned, counselled and handed over to their parents. These were young boys who were visiting them (IS contacts) on the net. Many a time people get into discussions on the Internet without knowing who they are interacting with,” he added.Related Read: NIA seeks details of internet use, finances of arrested ISIS recruit Areeb Majeed from foreign countriesThe official said while the possibility of IS coming to Kashmir had not grown too much as on date, it was “a concern we must watch” as there were some attempts to connect with the Kashmiri youth through Internet. “At the present moment, we think it (Islamic State) is a very very nascent thing in terms of interest,” he said. The official ascribed the waving of flags in Kashmir during Friday protests to the publicity they are getting from the media.”Those guys who are waving the flags, which happens once in a while on Fridays, … earlier they used to get more publicity and there was more flag waving. Now the publicity is less, so the flag waving has also reduced,” he said.The official, while ruling out any physical presence of the IS in Kashmir, said such an event will be even opposed by outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen. “Distancing from Islamic State by Lashkar and Hizb was due to the fact that all the outfits are vying for the same people. They (militants) will either join the Lashkar or the IS,” he said.According to the official, intelligence agencies were monitoring the Internet traffic in Kashmir for any interest in the IS. “The intelligence agencies are monitoring this kind of activity,” he added.The LeT last month issued a statement distancing itself from IS. “Kashmiri people don’t want aid and support from an external group,” a LeT spokesperson had said. He also called the IS a “production of anti-Islamic Western countries”.

Would do anything to bring 2008 Mumbai attackers to justice: US

When told that Headley may provide a great deal of information about the attack, Kirby said, “I don’t have anything specific and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case like that anyway.”

File Photo

The US on Saturday said it wants to see the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attack brought to justice and will do anything to support India in this regard.”…we want to see the perpetrators of the Mumbai attack brought to justice and obviously continue to want to do anything we can to support Indian authorities in that task,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Friday when asked about David Headley turning approver after being pardoned by a Mumbai court. Headley is currently serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai terror attack.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When told that Headley may provide a great deal of information about the attack, Kirby said, “I don’t have anything specific and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing court case like that anyway.” “Again, we share an interest in seeing the Mumbai attackers being brought to justice a terrible, dastardly terrorist attack,” he said. Kirby said India is a very close friend and partner.”I think it’s self-evident in recent years that both our countries have fallen victim to terrorist attacks and continue to need to be on to be vigilant about terrorism perpetrated against our citizens, and so it makes perfect sense that we would look for ways to cooperate more closely and to improve the flow of information between our two countries,” he said.Asked if the State Department was playing any role in intelligence and information sharing on terrorists as mentioned by Indian defence minister Manohar Parikkar after his meeting with US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, he said, “I can’t speak for the Defence Department. As for the State Department, we have we maintain good, strong relations with our counterparts in the Indian Government.”I won’t speak about intelligence matters, but I can tell you that that relationship remains strong, remains vibrant, and the Secretary s interest is very clear in making sure that the relationship continues to strengthen and grow going forward across a wide range of issues, not just security issues,” he added.

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

Power distribution companies of Delhi, UP, Bihar, J&K persistent defaulters of Hydro CPSEs: CAG report

This is despite the fact that hydro power is sold much cheaper than thermal power as the latter requires continuous supply of coal.

A recent report from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has named power distribution companies of Delhi, among others from UP, Bihar and J&K, as persistent defaulters of Hydro Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE). The report, likely to be presented in the parliament in the next few days, comes after a draft CAG report in August had indicted three power discoms of Delhi of inflating dues worth Rs 8,000 crore.The report, a copy of which is with dna, states that the Delhi discoms BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) along with Uttar Pradesh Power Company Limited, Power Distribution Department, J&K and Bihar State Electricity Board have failed to clear dues of National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVN)and Tehri Hydro Power Complex (THDC), which has compounded to a whopping Rs 4112.49 crore in 2014-15, as against Rs 397.95 crore in 2009-10.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is despite the fact that hydro power is sold much cheaper than thermal power as the latter requires continuous supply of coal. The average market price of hydro power is Rs 2.25 to Rs2.50 per unit as against the average price of thermal power which ranges from Rs 3.80 to Rs 4.50 or even more.The CAG report also states that Delhi’s three discoms namely BRPL, BYPL and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) had not executed fresh agreements with hydropower CPSEs like NHPC, SJVN and THDC (only for BYPL) even though Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission had allocated the power generated from them to the discoms.The report warns that the power supply situation in the capital could take a serious hit if the Hydro CPSEs execute the provisions of Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Regulations of Power Supply), 2010, which empowers them to reduce the power drawing schedule of defaulting beneficiaries in the light of the dues to be recovered from discoms/State Electricity Boards.Defending their stance, a spokesperson from BSES said they are owed Rs 10,000 crore by both its discoms which the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) had also admitted in its affidavit to the Supreme Court.”With the true-up for FY 14 and FY15, total money owed to BSES discoms is around Rs. 20,000 crore. When these amounts are cleared, dues to power utilities will be paid appropriately,” the spokesperson said.Talking about the delay in execution of fresh agreements with the hydro CPSEs, the spokesperson informed that some Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have recently expired, hence and that the BSES discoms are in discussions for their renewal on terms and conditions that would be beneficial for the Delhi consumers. “As per regulation, DERC approval is required for extension of PPAs on merit,” the spokesperson said.Similarly, a statement from TPDDL stated, “TPDDL continues to procure power from the stations of SJVNL and NHPC on the same terms and conditions as were present in the PPAs signed by erstwhile DVB/DTL. TPDDL has been pursuing SJVNL/NHPC for signing of supplementary agreement on same terms and conditions and their response/ signing of PPA is still awaited.”In the last few years, the cumulative dues of all the three Delhi discoms have compounded to nearly 30,000 crore. They suffered a big blow in September when the DERC in September refusing to hike power tariff rates till March 2016.In financial year 2014-15, the revenue gap for BRPL stands at Rs1,507crore, while in 2013-14, it stood at Rs837 crore. For BYPL, the revenue gap amount for 2014-15 stands at Rs1,020 crore and for 2013-14, it was Rs1,126 crore.According to industry experts on power, Delhi gets nearly 100% of its power from Central and State power generating stations like NTPC, which turns out to be more expensive as compared to other cities.“The cost of buying power for Delhi’s discoms has increased by around 300% while around 85% of the total discom cost is for purchasing power. After their privatisation, the discoms are unable to buy power at a lower rate, because of the long-term PPAs with power generators. Even DERC has not increased power tariff resulting in increased regulatory assets for the discoms,” a power expert said.Sources said the only option that can be availed by the debt-ridden discoms is the latest UDAY scheme announced by the central government that is aimed at easing the financial crunch faced discoms all over the country.Former power secretary Anil Razdan said it is important for discoms to carry out 100 per cent metering and reduce AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses to decrease their revenue losses.

Gujarat model has failed, Modi can only give speeches: Rahul Gandhi

File Photo
PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi can only give speeches, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Friday, while asserting that the former’s Gujarat model of development has failed, as proven by the victory of his party in the state’s local poll.”Modi can only give speeches…like a balloon which only bounces. The Gujarat model has failed. Congress was victorious in the (local) elections there,” Gandhi said addressing a meeting of block and district level party leaders here, in the run-up to the 2016 Assam Assembly election. “It is because Narendra Modi’s model has failed that a big agitation has been launched by a community (Patels) in Gujarat,” he asserted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”India thought ‘acche din’ (good days) will come as promised by Modi before the elections, but after losing the Bihar poll, he does not mention a word about it,” Gandhi observed. The Congress leader said that during Modi’s poll campaign in Bihar, the Prime Minister had called Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar ‘bewakuf’ (foolish), Rahul reminded those present at the meeting and wondered “are we bewakufs too?” The Gandhi scion also accused Modi of removing the Special Category State status given by the earlier Congress central government to Assam, whereby 90 per cent of central funds were given as grants and rest 10 per cent state funds.”Bihar will be repeated in Assam,” he asserted, saying Tarun Gogoi and Congress had worked real hard. The leader also had an interaction with the women representatives of Self Help Groups (SHGs) in Assam, listening to their problems and assuring them that their issues would be taken up with the government.”The SHGs is a fantastic programme. It empowers women in Assam. I am satisfied with the action taken by Tarun Gogoi,” Gandhi added.

Terrorists of all shades must be tackled without any differentiation: Parrikar tells US Defence Sec Carter

The two leaders discussed a range of regional security issues, including the threat posed by the Islamic State and entities such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, the Haqqani Network and other regional terror groups, according the joint statement

Carter-Parrikar

PTI
India has told the US that terrorists of all shades must be tackled without any differentiation as the Defence Ministers of the two nations discussed threats posed by groups like the Islamic State and Pakistan-based entities LeT and D Company.”The issue of terrorism was a key topic discussion in all engagements terrorism has become a global phenomenon and requires a comprehensive response,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters at a joint press conference with his US counterpart Ashton Carter after their meeting on Thursday. “Terrorists of all shades and affiliations must be countered without any differentiation,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two leaders discussed a range of regional security issues, including the threat posed by the Islamic State and entities such as Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company, the Haqqani Network and other regional terror groups, according the joint statement. Carter said terrorism of all kinds in South Asia has been and remains a serious problem. India, he said, has been attacked and is continuously threatened with attack from terrorists.In the wake of the latest incident of terrorism in the US by a Pakistani-origin couple who gunned down 14 people, Carter said at the joint press event that the US had regular conversations with India about the issue.”We have regular conversations with India both about counterterrorism and about regional security issues,” he said. “And with respect to India, I’ll just say that counterterrorism clearly is a key common interest,” Carter said. “We work a lot together on that.””And then we have a wide range of geopolitical, strategic and technology areas of cooperation as well. So it’s a very wide-ranging relationship. In today’s world, you can’t leave out terrorism,” Carter said.Meanwhile, India ruled out any enhancement of its role in the Middle East in view of the emergence of deadly Islamic State in Syria and Libya.Parrikar said there has been no change in India’s policy on participating only in UN approved peacekeeping missions. But India is and has been sharing intelligence with the US on issues related to terrorism, he said.

Hit-and-run case: Bombay High Court acquits Salman Khan; then, who killed Nurulla Sharif?

Justice AR Joshi of the HC, too, rejected these arguments. But it didn’t go against the actor as he pronounced that “the prosecution had failed in proving that he (Khan) was guilty”.

Salman Khan coming out of the Bombay HC after the verdict on Thursday.
dna photo

The Bombay High Court (HC) didn’t exactly answer that. Strictly speaking, it was not bound to as the case related only to whether Salman was at the wheel or not on the day of the accident. The whodunnit can only be answered by the Supreme Court now – if the Maharashtra government goes on appeal. All that was clear on Thursday were these: Salman was not drinking and driving, and he is not guilty. Salman’s lawyers had argued in the lower court that Nurulla Sharif died when the damaged car fell on him after slipping from a crane called in by the police to tow it away. The actor’s family driver, Ashok Singh, had claimed that he was driving the car.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Justice AR Joshi of the HC, too, rejected these arguments. But it didn’t go against the actor as he pronounced that “the prosecution had failed in proving that he (Khan) was guilty”. On May 6, the lower court had convicted the actor and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment. On Thursday, the HC quashed the order, saying, “The trial court had erred in accepting the prosecution evidence.” As to Salman running away from the scene and whether he would be punishable under the Motor Vehicles Act for not offering medical aid to the person injured by the car in which he was seated, the HC observed: “The mob gathered after the accident was in a furious mood. Some were even carrying rods and other things in their hands. In the considered view of this court, the charge cannot be attracted, considering the then circumstances.” In any case, since the case was only against Khan, the HC cannot now order the arrest of Singh or carry out further investigations. The case, naturally, had drawn a lot of public attention and many believed that the actor was indeed guilty. Justice Joshi had a few words on this public perception. “Law does not have any place for general public opinion. It cannot be swayed away by any popular belief that a particular accused, because of his standing in society, could have committed the offence…,” he said adding “Mere suspicion cannot be an accepted material to hold a person guilty.” Justice Joshi also said that the probe into the case had various flaws. He said not recording evidences of appropriate witnesses and omissions in injured witnesses’ testimony would definitely create a doubt about the involvement of Salman. “The entire evidence was circumstantial in nature,” he said. With these words, he acquitted Salman of all charges in the case. Salman, meanwhile, was called to appear before the HC on Thursday to hear the judgment. He looked drowsy and non-emotional. Pronounced free, Salman broke down in tears. His brother-in-law Ayush Sharma and sister Alvira Agnihotri were beside him. Later, he composed himself and smiled at his lawyers. The actor later tweeted: “I accept the decision of the judiciary with humility. I thank my family, friends and fans for their support and prayers.” For Khan, it means an end to a 13-year ordeal. But all is not over yet. There’s still the black buck case. What’s the hit-and-run case?On September 28, 2002, Salman Khan is alleged to have been in an inebriated state and driving and ran over five persons, who were sleeping outside a laundry in Bandra. One person – Nurulla Sharif – succumbed to his injuries. The other four suffered injuries. What’s the state stand?Minister of state for home Ram Shinde told mediapersons that the state government would decide whether to approach the SC or not on Monday or Tuesday. He said that since the HC verdict came only on Thursday, the government is yet to receive a copy of the judgment. After receiving it, the state would send it to law department for advice and take a call. What’s the black buck case?

Happiness should not be sadistic: CJI Thakur

The CJI dwelled upon history of evolution of fundamental and human rights in the world and said that most civilised countries now recognise them even in the absence of a written Constitution at some places and said the right to life has been interpreted in the “most expansive” manner by the Supreme Court and all rights have been recognised on juristic basis.

CJI TS Thakur

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Thursday indirectly touched upon the debate on intolerance by saying that every person has right to eat a particular kind of food for “happiness”, but that should not be for “sadistic” purpose.”I want to eat a particular kind of food. If you allow me to eat, it gives me happiness. Anything that makes me happy is the companion of my human rights, but happiness should not be sadistic. It does not incite violence and anything that is harmless and gives happiness should be treated as human rights,” the CJI said on the occasion of the Human Rights Day here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He made the remarks while referring to the expression — the Right to Equality of Opportunities in Pursuit of Happiness — used in the US Constitution and said, “it embraces all human rights”. “I want to have a right to education. I want to have a right opportunity. I want to profess a religion, a particular faith, if you guarantee the right, I am happy. That gives me the happiness. I want to eat a particular kind of food, if you allow me, it gives me happiness,” he said.The CJI dwelled upon history of evolution of fundamental and human rights in the world and said that most civilised countries now recognise them even in the absence of a written Constitution at some places and said the right to life has been interpreted in the “most expansive” manner by the Supreme Court and all rights have been recognised on juristic basis.Sharing his views that judiciary has not lagged behind in enforcing the fundamental and human rights, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “India has robust human rights protection mechanism” and where the Constitution is silent on any matter and legislatures have not framed law, the Supreme Court has played its role by declaring that international covenants, to which India is signatory, would be applicable.The Minister said that there was a need for reform in criminal justice system to prevent arbitrary arrests and encounter and custodial killings. He stressed that the role of Parliamentarians was crucial to achieve the concept of universal human rights. “Our actions should not violate human rights, we have to very careful…judiciary, executive and legislatures have to converge in tandem. All must come together. We have done a lot, but we desire much for the right to dignity and right for all,” Rijiju said.

Central forces will be deployed in all booths in West Bengal elections: EC

On the law and order situation in the state, Zaidi said, “We came here to assess the situation. We have already directed our election machinery to take note of, record and document any incident with political overtones.”

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in Kolkata

The Election Commission on Thursday said it is their endeavour to hold the next year’s Assembly polls in West Bengal in free, fair and peaceful manner and deploy central forces and IT-enabled efficient and smart observers for smooth conduct of election process.”The Election Commission will perform its constitutional obligations and ensure that the Assembly elections in West Bengal are held in free, fair and peaceful manner,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told a press conference here after a series of meetings with officials and political parties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There will be 100 per cent availability of central paramilitary forces in all the polling stations. They will be available well in advance and be used for area domination and confidence-building measures,” he said.”The Election Commission-appointed observers will be looking into the boothwise, areawise deployment of the central forces and the observers will be from outside the state,” he said.Asked how the EC will ensure free and fair polls as there are allegations from opposition parties of violence during the Lok Sabha poll, Zaidi said, “As Lok Sabha elections are held throughout the country, the availability of central forces was less. But this time central paramilitary forces will be deployed at every booth. The CPFs will be deployed and supervised directly by the ECI.”On the law and order situation in the state, Zaidi said, “We came here to assess the situation. We have already directed our election machinery to take note of, record and document any incident with political overtones.” Asked how the EC plans to hold a violence-free election as previous polls in Bengal were marred by violence, the CEC said, “As I mentioned, everytime the Election commission has raised the bar and this time also it will be our endeavour to make the election peaceful in the state”. Zaidi said “it has to be seen that no voter is denied the basic right to vote. This responsibility lies with district election officials, DMs and SPs”. He said the commission would continue to assess performance of district election officials and other officials who are likely to be attached with the EC. Depending on the assessment and requirement, the commission would take appropriate action at an appropriate time.”The commission will deploy IT-enabled efficient and smart observers,” he said, adding if required, the number of observers will be enhanced. Asked how many phases the election will have, Zaidi said,” It is too early to say”.Earlier in the day, opposition parties in the state had urged Zaidi to ensure a free and fair poll which should have five to seven phases. The full bench of the poll panel, led by the CEC, held a series of meetings with all political parties, senior government officials and district administrations.Zaidi said around 31 lakh applications for new voters were received, out of which 26 lakh were enrolled. He said three IT-related initiatives have been taken up.”One is “Subidha” which is a single-window system where permissions for holding rallies will be given in 24 hours.” “The second one is “Samadhan”, which is a grievance redressal system such as electoral roll and other problems. The third one is regarding the hiring of transport machinery. The portal will be called “Sugam” which will address issues related to transport operators from whom vehicles are requisitioned,” he said.Stating that the final electoral roll would be released on January 5, 2016, the CEC said “It is, however, subject to continuous updation.” “Similarly in case of wrong deletion there is a system of its redressal,” Zaidi said, adding that the entire matter would be handled effectively.Even as the state has a total of about 77,000 polling booths, the number could be enhanced if required, Zaidi said adding, “The poll panel gives lot of emphasis on providing with basic facilities for the voters and polling personnel in all polling booths.”The CEC also directed all officials in the state, who would be involved with the polling process, to be neutral, fair and impartial in discharging their election duties. Number of polling and expenditure observers could also be increased, if required, he said adding that special observers could also be sent to entirely oversee the law and order situation in the state.”We heard all stake-holders and now we are assessing the situation before initiating appropriate measures,” Zaidi said adding that we have assured the political parties of an effective machinery of the poll panel to ensure a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election in the state. The CEC further said that steps have also been taken to put the persons with criminal antecedents behind the bar well ahead of the polling schedule and take precautionary measures to avoid any untoward incidents during the polling process.

Haryana: SC upholds minimum qualification criterion for Panchayat polls; EC starts preparation for elections

The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls.

Supreme Court

The State Election Commission on Thursday said it will soon set in motion the process for conduct of panchayat polls after the Supreme Court upheld a new in Haryana mandating minimum educational qualifications as a prerequisite for the contestants.”We will send a proposal to the state government immediately after we get the operative part of the Supreme Court judgement. “After getting the nod from the government, the process of holding the (panchayat) polls, which had been put on hold in view of the apex court hearing the petition, will be set in motion once again,” Haryana State Election Commissioner Rajeev Sharma said over telephone. The Model Code of Conduct was put on hold from September 24 in view of the Supreme Court hearing the petition pertaining to the validity of the educational qualifications for the candidates contesting panchayat polls in Haryana.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Thursday upheld the validity of recent amendments in a Haryana law which fixes various criteria including minimum educational qualification for candidates contesting panchayat polls. The petition had challenged validity of Haryana’s Panchayati Raj (amendment) Act 2015 which fixes matriculation as essential qualification for general candidates contesting panchayat polls. As the matter was pending before the Supreme Court, the SEC had decided to put on hold all the activities in pursuant to Commission’s notification dated September 8 and all other notifications/orders issued subsequently, Sharma said.The Commission had on September 8 issued the programme for the conduct of elections to Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. According to the programme, the panchayat polls were to be conducted in three phases – October 4, 11 and 18. Meanwhile, ruling BJP in the state has hailed the Supreme Court verdict.”The Supreme Court verdict on the panchayat poll issue has proved that Haryana Government’s thought and direction of work are correct,” State Health Minister Anil Vij tweeted. When asked to comment on the judgement, senior Congress leader and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said, “I am yet to go through the verdict. I don’t know on what ground the writ petition has been dismissed.” Hooda had earlier said that before fixing minimum educational criteria for contestants of panchayat polls, the BJP government in the state and at the Centre should do the same for MPs and MLAs. State’s principal opposition party INLD, which had slammed the Khattar government alleging that it showed haste in fixing the education criteria, today said their views remain the same.”Everyone has to abide by the Supreme Court ruling, but our reservation was with the government. The BJP government should not have shown hurry in fixing minimum qualification criteria as it will debar nearly 70 per cent candidates from contesting. “The government should have first sought people’s view on this before moving ahead,” party’s state unit president Ashok Arora said.However, 33-year-old Sunil Jaglan, the man behind ‘Selfie with Daughter’ campaign and the Sarpanch of village Bibipur, termed it as a “historic” verdict. “It’s a historic verdict. Having educated elected representatives at the grassroot level of our system means that communication gap between government and public will be bridged. “Educated sarpanches will not be at the mercy of bureaucrats and effectively implement government schemes,” Jaglan said.

300 people living with HIV to march for their rights in Mumbai

More than 300 people living with HIV in Mumbai will be marching from Churchgate station to Azad Maidan on the occasion of International Human Rights Day to highlight unmet needs in the current National Aids Control Programme.According to activists and the HIV+, the problems include delayed funding to community-based organisations (CBOs) to implement prevention programmes, disrupted supply of needles, syringes and condoms, unavailability of gold standard test, like routine viral load for treatment, monitoring and shortage of HIV medicines and tools in Maharashtra.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“This year, till now, most organisations have just received grants for only two months since April because of the change in routing of funds from the Centre to the state treasury instead of the State Aids Control Society. The delays in disbursing the funds has affected the targeted intervention programmes in the last two years,” said Eldred Tellis, spokesperson of Mumbai Aids Forum and director of Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust.The CBOs have time and again expressed concern about the situation as failing to provide funds and other resources might increase the number of new cases, particularly among the young.“Last year on World Aids Day, we had organised the march highlighting the “high levels” of stock-outs and shortages of HIV medicines and tools in Maharashtra. Nothing has changed… Even this year we came across several incidents of shortage in medicines and kits and delay in switching to second line medicines,” said Ramesh Bhandari, spokesperson for HIV+ support group.Mumbai alone has over 50,000 people living with HIV, who depend on these government-run centres for their antiretroviral therapy (ART). However, the regular shortage is either forcing them to return frequently, is interrupting their treatment or pushing them to buy from the private market at much higher prices.As far as the treatment is concerned, second line ART is only available at JJ hospital. CBOs demand the decentralisation of second line antiretrovirals to make the treatment accessible to more. People living with HIV need a baseline Viral Load, a tool essential for identifying those who are failing treatment and need to be switched to different drugs.Tellis informed that an RTI application filed in June revealed that not a single viral load test was done from July 2014 to February 2015 due to non-availability of kits. In April 2015, again there were no kits available for conducting the test and the next month only one kit was available.“The current apathy of the Centre and the state with regard to health represents a major threat to the right to health of the HIV+. This is the reason we are marching on International Human Rights Day,” said Dr Anitha Chettiar, resident project officer at Eduljee Framjee Allbless Niramay Niketan.Officials from Maharashtra State Aids Control Society and Mumbai Districts Aids Control Society accept that funds are a problem but add that they are in the process of streamlining everything and have spoken to the higher-ups.

Court frames charges against Jagdish Tytler in fake letter case

Special Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna framed charges against both the accused observing that it was evident that Tytler had full knowledge of the nature and purpose of transaction being entered into between Verma and officials of M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd

Jagdish Tytler

Congress leader Jagdish Tytler and businessman Abhishek Verma were on Wednesday put on trial by a Delhi court which said they had prima facie dishonestly used a fake letter addressed to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by then Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken in 2009 to obtain illegal gratification from a private firm.Special Judge Anju Bajaj Chandna framed charges against both the accused observing that it was evident that Tytler had full knowledge of the nature and purpose of transaction being entered into between Verma and officials of M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd. The court framed charges against Tytler, who is out on bail, for alleged offences under various sections of IPC including 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and under section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act dealing with taking gratification by corrupt or illegal means to influence public servant.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Verma, who is in judicial custody in various cases lodged against him, was put on trial for alleged offences under sections 120-B read with 420, 471, 511 (attempt to commit an offence) of IPC and under section 8 of the PC Act. The court said prima facie, both the accused had tried to cheat the officials of ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd on the basis of forged letter and Verma had demanded bribe of Rs 50 lakh to sort out the visa issue of their employees.”….Accused Jagdish Tytler also had shown forged letter of Ajay Maken, then Home Minister for State, addressed to Prime Minister in the presence of your co accused Abhishek Verma to the officials of M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd to make them believe that visa problem was being sorted out through them and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 120 B read with section 8 of PC Act, 471 IPC and 420 IPC and within my cognizance,” the judge said.”Secondly, that you (Tytler) with your co accused Abhishek Verma… in pursuance to the aforesaid criminal conspiracy dishonestly and fraudulently used as genuine fake and forged letter addressed to Prime Minister from Ajay Maken purported to be issued by Ajay Maken, which you both knew at the time you used it to be a forged document in order to obtain illegal gratification from M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd…,” the court said.After framing of charges against them, both Tytler and Verma pleaded not guilty and claimed trial before the court which posted the matter for March 8 next year for recording of prosecution evidence.During the arguments earlier, both the accused had denied the allegations levelled against them by CBI.(More) PTI ABA SKVRegarding Verma, the court said, “….in pursuance to the said criminal conspiracy you, accused Abhishek Verma, during the aforesaid period and place, attempted to cheat M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd by dishonestly inducing its officials to deliver amount of Rs 50 lakh on the basis of fake and forged letter addressed to Prime Minister purported to be issued by Ajay Maken by getting the agreement forwarded through C Edmonds Allen of M/s Ganton USA…”CBI had chargesheeted both the accused alleging that M/s ZTE Telecom India Pvt Ltd was adversely affected by the order in which it was said that all foreigners, who were already in India on business visa and engaged in executing projects or contracts, should leave the country on expiry of their existing visas or by October 31, 2009 which ever was earlier. It had alleged that firm’s official had in October 2009 contacted Verma who said there would be cost implications to sort out this problem with government and further a formal request be made to then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and the Maken.CBI further claimed that a meeting took place at Tytler’s residence where Verma and firm’s official were present and during another meeting, the purported forged letter of Maken addressed to the Prime Minister was shown to make them believe that visa problem was being sorted out through them.CBI said that probe has revealed that letter purportedly written by Maken was not a genuine letter and there was no dispatch number or office correspondence number.While framing charges, the judge said, “on examining the facts of the case with respect to role played by A 2 (Tytler), I find that conspiracy is clear with two circumstances and it can conveniently be inferred that A 2 had the knowledge and consent to the nature of transaction proposed by A 1 (Verma).”

Congress leader explains why he was holding slippers for Rahul Gandhi

On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi toured flood-hit regions of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

V Narayanasamy- Rahul Gandhi

After videos and images of him holding slippers to enable Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi wear them went viral, former Union Minister V Narayanasamy on Wednesday said he did that out of courtesy to help his party top leader wade through a flooded street in Puducherry.On Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi toured flood-hit regions of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. During his visit to the Union Territory, regional Congress leaders, including Narayanasamy had accompanied him. Among Rahul’s tour pictures and videos was one showing Narayanasamy — slightly bent — and holding a pair of slippers for his leader to wear and it went viral.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A section of the media claimed that the former Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office during UPA-II was holding Rahul Gandhi’s slippers. Asked about it, Narayanasamy said,”it was not Rahul Gandhi’s slippers, it was mine and I was holding it for him to wear out of courtesy so that he could walk through a flooded neighbourhood.””Rahulji was wearing shoes and he had to remove it as the street was flooded. As he got ready to walk barefoot, I offered mine as the flooded street had thorns and rough stones,” he told PTI. “I followed Rahulji by wearing another pair of slippers given to me by a party worker,” he said.A former Member of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Narayanasamy is a prominent Congress leader in Puducherry.

Dog remark: Delhi Court notice to police’s plea to dismiss criminal complaint against VK Singh

The magisterial court had on December 7 dismissed his plea observing that no criminal offence was “ex-facie” made out against the former Army chief.

A court on Wednesday issued notice to Delhi Police on a revision petition challenging an order dismissing a criminal complaint seeking registration of FIR against Union Minister VK Singh for his alleged “dog” remarks in the aftermath of burning of two Dalit children in Haryana. Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Gupta admitted the revision petition filed by an advocate and fixed the matter for final arguments on December 16. The court has also called for trial court record in the matter.The revision petition was filed yesterday by complainant, advocate Satya Prakash Gautam, who has challenged the trial court’s order alleging that magistrate “has only desperately tried to shield the proposed accused under various pretexts including those not even on record, like the intention of the proposed accused while making impugned statements which were the basis of filing the present complaint.” “It is clear…that the Metropolitan Magistrate has tried to step into the shoes of the counsel of the proposed accused to defend him. Thus, the impugned order deserves to be set aside on this ground alone,” he has alleged. The magisterial court had on December 7 dismissed his plea observing that no criminal offence was “ex-facie” made out against the former Army chief.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court had said that for no reason Singh’s statement can be seen as a remark made to demean any caste or creed and it does not see the comment as an “analogy drawn between the dog (as an animal) and humans (of a caste or creed)”. The complainant had alleged that Singh, the Minister of State for External Affairs, had hurt the sentiments of the Dalit community with such remarks. Singh had kicked up a storm with his alleged remarks in connection with the Faridabad incident, that the government cannot be blamed if anyone throws a stone at a dog.The court had on October 29 directed the police to file an action taken report (ATR) on the complaint seeking lodging of FIR against Singh under provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Information Technology Act and IPC. The police, in its ATR, had earlier told the court that Singh had not made any “specific derogatory and humiliating statement” warranting his prosecution on the complaint for his alleged “dog” remark. The report had said that no cognisable offence was made out against Singh for his alleged remarks on October 21.

National Herald case – Prove your charges against PMO: BJP to Rahul Gandhi

“He should come and give an explanation in the House, and should give the proof of what he is talking outside the House,” he added.

Taking strong exception to allegations levelled by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is oppressing the judiciary, Union Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy on Wednesday asked Gandhi to ‘prove his claims’. “We would ask Rahul Gandhi, if he has courage enough; if he has a standing as a leader of his political party, he should come to Parliament and give the proof of the allegations that he has made against the judiciary, the government, and the PMO,” Rudy told the media.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He should come and give an explanation in the House, and should give the proof of what he is talking outside the House,” he added.Criticising the Congress vice president for being ‘instrumental in disrupting the House’, Rudy said, “After the court has taken some cognisance against him and Sonia Gandhi, they are trying to become heroes out of their charge against them.””At the same time, they don’t have enough courage to come inside the House and say what they are speaking to the television media,” he added. “The friends of the Congress Party haven’t mustered enough courage to go down and speak in Parliament to place the issues,” he added. The Congress vice president termed the National Herald Case proceedings ‘political vendetta’. This is pure political vendetta coming out of the PMO. It is their way of doing politics… I have full faith in the legal system.”

BJP aiming to create law and order problem, impose President’s rule: CM Tarun Gogoi

Gogoi said RSS, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena and other Hindutva elements were working under the guidance of a senior BJP leader to create law and order problem in the state so that grounds could be cleared for imposition of the President’s Rule.

Coming down heavily on BJP’s ‘Dispur Gherao’ protest, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said it was aimed at creating law and order problem so that President’s Rule could be imposed in the state. “BJP’s Dispur Gherao protest today was just to cover up Modi government’s failure in fulfilling the promises… BJP is trying to create a law and order problem in the state at any cost and wants to impose President’s Rule here,” Gogoi told a press conference here. “BJP is trying to foment communal clashes and we have got intelligence inputs about this and attempts are being made to put beef inside temples. They are trying this in sensitive places like Silchar and Dhubri… They are also encouraging extremists, including both insurgents and jehadis, in Assam,” he alleged.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gogoi said RSS, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena and other Hindutva elements were working under the guidance of a senior BJP leader to create law and order problem in the state so that grounds could be cleared for imposition of the President’s Rule. The BJP, he said, does not want to contest the forthcoming Assembly polls as “they know that if the Congress government remains, it will do more good work in the remaining few months”.The Narendra Modi government at the Centre has failed on its promises such as bringing back black money, controlling inflation, deporting illegal immigrants, job creation and not constructing big dams among others, he added. “There is no match in their words and deeds. Digital India, Make in India — these are just to divert the attention from main issues,” Gogoi said. The BJP’s state unit today organised a march to Dispur to protest against the alleged corrupt rule of the Congress government.Many BJP leaders and supporters have been detained after it turned violent and police fired rubber bullets in the air, lobbed tear gas shells and used water cannons to control the mob.

No significant increase in communal violence: Govt tells Rajya Sabha

The Minister said a total of 644 communal incidents were reported in 2014 across the country in which 95 people were killed and 1,921 others received injuries.

There has been no significant increase in incidents of hate crimes against minority communities over the years, Rajya Sabha was informed on . “No significant increase in such crimes has been reported by the state government, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said when asked whether it was a fact that incidents of hate crimes against minority communities have increased. Replying to another written question, Rijiju said there is actually a decline in the number of communal incidents that took place in 2014 and 2015.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Minister said a total of 644 communal incidents were reported in 2014 across the country in which 95 people were killed and 1,921 others received injuries. In 2015, till October, there were 650 incidents of communal violence in which 84 people lost their lives and 1,979 others were injured, he said.Replying another question on lynching of a man in Dadri, Rijiju said as per a report received from Uttar Pradesh government on October 5, 2015, some members of a particular community entered the house of a person on the intervening night of September 28-29 and beat him and his son on the allegation of slaughtering a banned animal. One of the persons later succumbed to his injuries. The state government had informed that a criminal case was registered against 10 persons, he said.

Who will finally be Delhi University’s Vice-Chancellor?

Mathematician Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor of Delhi University, is to be be replaced by a right wing ideologue from the field science or information technology. The search committee for appointment of Delhi University Vice Chancellor has shortlisted 10 candidates for the post, all of whom are known to have affiliations with the Rashtriya Swayasevak Sangh or its associated bodies.The front-runners in the race include Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Vice Chancellor GC Tripathi, professor Yogesh Singh currently the director at Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT), professor Susham Yadav, pro Vice Chancellor at Indira Gandhi National Open University and professor Girishwar Misra of Delhi University.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tripathi who openly speaks about his ideological affiliations was chosen from Allahabad University to head BHU. He took over as BHU VC in December last year. Tripathi’s affinity with the ministry and the government is also evident from the fact that HRD ministry cleared his name for the post of Chairman of BHU-IIT after setting aside the recommendations of the IIT Board of Directors.Professor Yogesh Singh of NSIT, who is from the department of computer science has held several important positions in the Gujarat government. He has previously served as VC of Maharaja Sayajirao University ofBaroda. Singh also holds the position of independent director of Gujarat State Petronet Limited and Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Limited. He is known to enjoy close proximity with PM NarendraModi and the Gujarat government. Singh also happens to be the youngest candidate in the race.Girishwar Misra, current VC of Mahatma Gandhi Antarashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha,, who has also served as a professor of psychology in Delhi University and has held office at ICSSR, is also in the race of the DU vice chancellorship.Others aspiring for the post include Sushma Yadav of IGNOU and professor CS Dubey of the geology department of Delhi University. “Dubey was also in the race for vice chancellorship of Rajasthan University. But could not make it then,” informed a senior functionary of the HRD ministry.Sources also informed that Professor Amitabh Mattoo, who is currently serving as the advisor to the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and has also served as VC of Jammu University, could also be on the list.The search committee headed by UGC chairman Ved Prakash had received 280 recommendations for the post. “From these 30 were shortlisted in the first round and then a final list of 10 names was prepared,” saida source. The committee will be holding an interview on December 13 to finalise three names to be submitted to the ministry. The ministry then sends the recommendations to the President of India for the finalisation of one name. President, who is the Visitor of the central universities, gives the final approval.

Chennai Rains: These pictures of Indian Army’s rescue efforts will make you extremely proud

The army began the rescue and relief work on a war footing.

The Indian Army has been deployed in Chennai since non-stop torrential rains had started pounding the state since this month. The army began the rescue and relief work on a war footing. Here is what happened when the army when into actionThe rains that have virtually broken a 100-year-old record with one day’s rainfall covering a month’s average also flooded areas in Vadapalani, Valasaravakkam and Nandamvakkam as nearby lakes overflowed into the city.

VK Singh’s alleged dog remark: Advocate challenges court order dismising his complaint

Challenging the trial court’s order, he has alleged that the magistrate “has only desperately tried to shield the proposed accused under various pretexts including those not even on record, like the intention of the proposed accused while making impugned statements which were the basis of filing the present complaint.”
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
An advocate on Monday moved a sessions court challenging the order dismissing his criminal complaint seeking registration of FIR against Union Minister V K Singh for his alleged “dog” remarks in the aftermath of burning of two Dalit children in Haryana. The complainant, advocate Satya Prakash Gautam, filed the revision petition before District Judge T R Naval who has fixed the matter for Wednesday.Challenging the trial court’s order, he has alleged that the magistrate “has only desperately tried to shield the proposed accused under various pretexts including those not even on record, like the intention of the proposed accused while making impugned statements which were the basis of filing the present complaint.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is clear…that the Metropolitan Magistrate has tried to step into the shoes of the counsel of the proposed accused to defend him. Thus, the impugned order deserves to be set aside on this ground alone,” he alleged.The magisterial court had on Monday dismissed his plea observing that no criminal offence was “ex-facie” made out against the former Army chief. The court had said that for no reason Singh’s statement can be seen as a remark made to demean any caste or creed and it does not see the comment as an “analogy drawn between the dog (as an animal) and humans (of a caste or creed)”.The complainant had alleged that the Minister of State for External Affairs had hurt the sentiments of the Dalit community with such remarks. Singh had kicked up a storm with his alleged remarks in connection with the Faridabad incident, that the government cannot be blamed if anyone throws a stone at a dog.The police, in its action taken report, had earlier told the court that Singh had not made any “specific derogatory and humiliating statement” warranting his prosecution on the complaint for his alleged “dog” remark. The report had said that no cognisable offence was made out against Singh for his alleged remarks on October 21.The court had on October 29 directed the police to file an ATR on the complaint seeking lodging of FIR against Singh under provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Information Technology Act and IPC.

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