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Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao to conduct Rs 7 crore religious ritual, even as farmers suffer

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Barely 10 kilometres from the venue lies the Pirlapally village, where farmer Nalla Kishtaiah had lost his crop on two successive seasons and was unable to face debtors or his own family. Therefore, he committed suicide.

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao

Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao has created controversy by holding a religious ceremony costing Rs 7 crores, even as farmers in the state continue to suffer.According to an NDTV report, the chief minister has admitted that the cost of the yagna will come to Rs 7 crore, but claimed that the state government will not foot the bill.”Some relatives and friends have come forward and I am spending from my account,” he said. “Not a single paise from the government is being spent. Even for generators and RTC bus, we are paying.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five-day ritual is to be conducted near his farmhouse at Erravelli in Medak district. It will involve 108 yagna platforms and 1500 priests, says the report. What’s more, President Pranab Mukherjee and several other dignitaries will be part of the guest list, which numbers around 50,000 people.But some farmers are feeling terribly anguished at the actions of the CM.Barely 10 kilometres from the venue lies the Pirlapally village, where farmer Nalla Kishtaiah had lost his crop on two successive seasons and was unable to face debtors or his own family. Therefore, he committed suicide.His son, Raju, a student of Class 9, says he feels let down by the government.”As the chief minister, he should help families like us who are really suffering. Did he not promise homes and pensions? We have neither of that,” said the boy who has started working as a labourer to make the ends meet.”We live so close by. He must have come here so many times. He should come at least today and help us. Otherwise how will my children survive, how will I educate them?” said his mother Renuka. “Will he agree to see me if I go and tell him about the terrible situation in which I and my children are? Will they let me in?” she asks, in tears.

Did not invite PM Modi for convocation: AMU VC

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Vice Chancellor clarified that any invitation to the PM involved a large responsibility and before taking any such decision, he would not only have to consult various bodies of the university but also different organisations representing teachers and students

Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Lt Gen (Retd) Zameeruddin Shah on Tuesday said that his recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi was solely for the purpose of ensuring funds for different development projects of the university.Shah told PTI that reports suggesting that his meeting with the Prime Minister was to invite him for the university’s next convocation, is mere speculation and entirely baseless. “The question of inviting the PM was not even raised. Therefore, any media report suggesting that I had gone with the purpose of inviting the PM is entirely speculative.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I met the Prime Minister solely to apprise him about the inequitable funding for AMU, when compared to several other central universities,” he said. The Vice Chancellor clarified that any invitation to the PM involved a large responsibility and before taking any such decision, he would not only have to consult various bodies of the university but also different organisations representing teachers and students. He added that he was not interested in stoking any controversy at the campus by indulging in any divisive issues whatsoever.Ever since an AMU-based youth organisation aired a suggestion earlier this month for inviting the PM to the campus, speculation has been rife about Modi’s arrival here. Interestingly, only two PMs of the country have addressed convocation ceremonies at AMU. In 1948, the then PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and in 1964, PM Lal Bahadur Shastri delivered the convocation addresses at the university.On the shortage of funds for several projects in the campus, the AMU VC said that the university was falling short of funds for construction projects at its three off-campus centres in Kerala, West Bengal and Bihar.The VC said that the AMU had earlier been involved in some important environmental projects under Ganga cleaning programme and he had conveyed the enthusiasm of the university’s scientific community in environmental issues, solar energy and nanotechnology, to the PM. Shah claimed that the PM responded favourably to all issues raised by him.

Spotted: Digvijay Singh and wife Amrita Rai seen in public for first time after getting married

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh was seen in public for the first time with his wife Amrita Rai on Sunday in Indore. They were attending a function organised by the newly-elected MP Kantilal Bhuria in Indore.

Digvijay Singh with wife Amrita Rai. Image Courtesy: Dainik Jagran

Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh was seen in public for the first time with his wife Amrita Rai on Sunday in Indore. They were attending a function organised by the newly-elected MP Kantilal Bhuria in Indore. Digvijay and Amrita got married on September 6 this year in Chennai. The couple’s relationship came to limelight in 2014 when some of their private photographs were leaked. Digvijay Singh’s first wife Asha Singh passed away in 2013 after suffering from long illness. Amrita’s erstwhile husband had supported their decision to get married in 2014. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Amrita Rai’s husband supports her decision to marry Digvijaya Singh; says people should be open-minded and understandingAfter Digvijay Singh and Amrita married in September, Amrita had taken to Facebook to announce it.”I would like to share with my friends that I and Digvijaya Singh have married in a solemn ceremony, as per the Hindu rites. We have also later registered our marriage….I have married Digvijaya Singh for love. Therefore, I have already requested him to transfer all his property and belongings to his son and daughters. I only want to embark on this new journey with him, working towards a dignified, professional career.”

Intolerance debate: Navy maintains spirit of secularism, says Chief Admiral RK Dhowan

Amid raging debate on religious intolerance in the country, Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan on Thursday asserted that his force was “totally secular” and every ship of the Indian Navy was a microcosm of India.

File photo

Amid raging debate on religious intolerance in the country, Navy Chief Admiral R K Dhowan on Thursday asserted that his force was “totally secular” and every ship of the Indian Navy was a microcosm of India.Underlining that secularism starts from individual and the smallest unit, he said the Navy maintains the spirit of secularism.”I would like to talk about how it is in the Navy. Every ship of the Indian Navy is a microcosm of India, where we have personnel from every single state representing, including every religion as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Therefore Navy is totally secular in nature and it starts from our individual and smallest unit. That trend and that feeling, and that spirit is maintained in the…” he said.He was replying to a question on whether the issue of radicalisation, abetted by religious intolerance, is fast becoming a national and global threat.The reporter had cited the open letter written by former Navy chief Admiral Ramdass to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee besides the plan by a defence think tank to organise a talk on the threat of radicalisation.

Chhota Rajan’s remand proceedings to be conducted through video conferencing

The court’s order came after the CBI moved an application, saying due to serious threat perception to Rajan from his rivals, it would be “extremely unsafe” to produce him in the open court and requested for conducting the proceedings through video conferencing.
File Photo
PTI
Underworld don Chhota Rajan, who is lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody in an alleged fake passport case, will not be produced physically in the court for remand proceedings due to “serious” threat perception. Special CBI Judge Vinod Kumar said the remand proceedings in the case will be conducted through video conferencing from jail.The court’s order came after the CBI moved an application, saying due to serious threat perception to Rajan from his rivals, it would be “extremely unsafe” to produce him in the open court and requested for conducting the proceedings through video conferencing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The accused (Rajan) is required to be produced on December 3. Therefore, I direct that further judicial remand of accused, who is lodged in Tihar Jail, shall be granted through video conferencing facility and accused need not be produced physically in the court,” the ordered.”Copy of this application be sent to the concerned Jail Superintendent as well as to branch incharge of the computer branch, who is managing the court room having video conferencing facility,” the court said.Rajan was sent to high-security Tihar prison in judicial custody on November 19 in connection with the case. Deported after being on the run for 27 years, the 55-year-old gangster, whose real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, was remanded in judicial custody in connection with the fake passport case.Rajan, once a close aide of fugitive terrorist and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, has been brought to the country to face trial in over 70 cases of murder, extortion and drug smuggling in Delhi and Mumbai.After his arrest in Bali on October 25, India had pressed for his early deportation.

Madras HC directs authorities to implement dress code for devotees visiting temples

Disposing a petition filed by one Rasu seeking police protection and permission for “Adal Paadal programme” (dance and music) at Sri Shenbaga Vinayagar temple in Tiruchirappalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate”.
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dna Research & Archives
Madras High court on Tuesday directed Tamil Nadu Government and Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department to implement dress code for devotees coming to offer worship in temples to enhance spiritual ambiance.Disposing a petition filed by one Rasu seeking police protection and permission for “Adal Paadal programme” (dance and music) at Sri Shenbaga Vinayagar temple in Tiruchirappalli district, Justice S Vaidyanathan said “we should dress for public worship in a way that is generally considered appropriate”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Similarly, Islamic religion is very particular in following their dress code while entering mosque. Therefore prescribing dress code for devotees coming to worship in temples of Tamil Nadu was inevitable so as to enhance the spiritual ambiance among devotees.The judge said “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 said the dress code should be followed in temples from January 1, 2016 and the government is directed to take a decision on this issue as expeditiously as possible. The judge however said there was no bar for fire service personnel, police and security guards wearing their respective uniforms. He also made it clear that there were certain temples like in Tiruchendur, where men are prohibited to wear upper cloth, while entering the temple for worship.In such temples, the same procedure can be followed till a decision was arrived at by the government. The temples, which are not coming within the purview of the government, shall also strictly enforce their traditional dress code to create a righteous atmosphere for worshipping, the judge said.

Woman’s consent obtained by deceit amounts to rape: Delhi Court

The court, while holding a man guilty of raping a woman, said the consent given by the victim for cohabitation was not voluntary as the convict had falsely made her believe that he was unmarried and would marry her after she obtains divorce from her husband.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
A woman’s consent taken on the basis of deception and misconception is “no consent” in the eyes of law and the physical relations established between her and a man amounts to rape, a Delhi court has said.The court, while holding a man guilty of raping a woman, said the consent given by the victim for cohabitation was not voluntary as the convict had falsely made her believe that he was unmarried and would marry her after she obtains divorce from her husband.”The consent given by the prosecutrix to cohabitation with the accused can, by no means, said to be voluntary. It is clearly hit by section 90 (consent known to be given under fear or misconception) of the IPC and the said consent is no consent in the eyes of law as the same was obtained by the accused by practising deception and misconception. Therefore, acts of physical relations between the accused and prosecutrix tantamount to offence of rape as defined under section 375 of IPC. The accused is guilty of the offence of rape,”Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhat said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court said prosecution has been able to prove that Uttar Pradesh resident Naim Ahamed had deceived the woman causing her to falsely believe that he would marry her after she obtains divorce from her husband. She was thus made to cohabit with him whereas he had no intention to marry her as he was already happily married, it said. The court would pronounce its order on sentence later this week.According to the prosecution, the woman alleged that Naim, who was staying near her house, had befriended her six years ago and had concealed his marital status. The alleged that he persuaded her to divorce her husband, with whom she had three kids, and after assuring to marry her, he started having physical relations with her.When she got pregnant, he reiterating that he would marry her after she gives birth to their child but when she divorced her husband, Naim started ignoring her and later went missing. In 2012, when she went to his native place in his search, she got to know that the man was already married and had kids.Police said the woman was illiterate and had no means to maintain herself as well as the minor child and took shelter in a government shelter home. Feeling cheated and exploited, she lodged a complaint at Bindapur Police Station in south west Delhi this February. During trial, Naim had denied the allegations.

BJP expels Hari Om who had criticised alliance with PDP

Party had served a show cause notice on Hari Om who recently criticised the party’s actions, including alliance with PDP for forming government

Hari Om was expelled “gross indiscipline, anti-party activities and un-repentance for his misconduct”

BJP on Monday expelled senior leader Hari Om from the party’s primary membership for six years after he criticised the party’s actions, including forming the coalition government with PDP. BJP state president and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma expelled Hari Om for “gross indiscipline, anti-party activities and un-repentance for his misconduct” after receiving his reply to a show cause notice issued to him on November 5.”Having received your response to the show cause notice, pertaining to your acts of gross indiscipline and anti-party activities, issued on 05.11.2015 and received by you on the same date, your un-repentance for your misconduct is writ large in your reply,” Sharma said in a letter to Hari Om. “Therefore, keeping in view your anti-party conduct and totally unsatisfactorily explanation, you are hereby expelled from the primary membership of BJP for six years,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the party had served a show cause notice on Hari Om who recently criticised the party’s actions, including alliance with PDP for forming government in the state, saying it amounted to “gross indiscipline and misconduct”.

European Union can help India improve Ganga water quality: Union Minister

“It is imperative to keep in mind India’s growing populace and size of land being cultivated while looking for a solution to the problem.”

Ganga River

Getty Images
The European Union (EU) can help India improve water quality of Ganga and tackle water scarcity and river ecology issues in the country, Union Minister Sanwar Lal Jat said on Monday, as the Union expressed its interest in cooperating in the cleaning of the revered river.”Experience of EU members can help India in improving water quality of Ganga and other major rivers. Another important area of cooperation between India and European countries is water scarcity and ecological aspect of water management. Sharing and learning of experience from EU members will help us address water scarcity and ecological aspect,” Jat, the Minister of State for Water Resources, told the inaugural session of first Indo-European Water Forum here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He stressed that it is imperative to keep in mind India’s growing populace and size of land being cultivated while looking for a solution to the problem.Jat noted that India’s approach to water resources development since independence was mostly “project-centric” and “sources-based” without much emphasis on ecological and pollution aspects.”This has resulted in water over-use, water pollution and unhealthy competition amongst multiple sectors. Therefore, proper allocation management of demand and efficient measures for use are urgently needed,” he said.On a desk study report compiled by an EU expert comparing draft Indian water legislation and European Water Framework Directive, Jat said, “European countries are smaller compared to India and they, I think, have to manage water for smaller populace. These aspects need to be thought.” The inaugural session was attended by EU Ambassador to India Tomasz Kozlowski, Water Resources Ministry Secretary Shashi Shekhar, EuropeanCommission Director-General (environment) Daniel Calleja Crespo, National Water Mission MD Nikhilesh Jha and other senior officials and delegates from the countries concerned.

Terrorism cannot be tackled only through talks, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Ravi Shankar said that India has been suffering due to terrorism since long, but the Western countries were unable to accept it.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The problem of terrorism cannot be checked only through dialogue and the “pressure” of armed forces should be simultaneously exerted on terrorists to make them understand that everybody has the right to live, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said in Bhopal on Sunday. “Terrorists should be given invitation to hold talks, but this alone will not resolve the problem as they don’t want to understand that others also have a right to live. Therefore, there is a necessity to keep pressure of armed forces on them,” Ravi Shankar told reporters at the Central Press Club here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to a query, he said “narrow mindedness” was the reason behind terrorism. “It (terrorism) will not be able to survive if kids are educated on all religions,” he added. Ravi Shankar said that India has been suffering due to terrorism since long, but the Western countries were unable to accept it. “They used to say that it was a reaction to an action. But when Paris was attacked by terrorists, the entire Europe got shaken and all of them got united to fight against it. Only after the Paris attack they realised that India is badly affected by the menace,” he added.Against the backdrop of Opposition’s charge that “intolerance” is on the rise in the country, the spiritual guru said he did not find any atmosphere of intolerance. “There was no bridge between different communities and such problem normally occurs during polls only,” he said apparently referring to incidents of communal tension.On Dadri lynching, he said that nobody has the right to take away life and to take law into their hands. “The country has the necessary potential to become a world guru as it is very young, talented, has deep heritage and that diversity is honoured in the country,” the spiritual guru said.Ravi Shankar said a programme to mark completion of 35 years of the Art of Living will be organised in Delhi from March 11-13 in which delegates from 155 nations will take part. “Through this congregation, a Kumbh of sort, we will try to give the message against terrorism that world is a global village (‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam) and respect for all religions (‘Sarvadharma Sambhav’),” he added.

Shiv Sena violence: Engage in debate, not vandalism, says Arun Jaitley

Jaitley also confirmed that party chief Amit Shah had indeed met with several party MPs asking them not to make any controversial statements.

PTI
With President Pranab Mukherjee expressing his concern on rising incidents of intolerance in the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday hit out at NDA ally Shiv Sena and said that there was an extremely disturbing trend where ‘some people have resorted to vandalism as an instrument to convey their views.’Condemning the incidents of intolerance, Jaitley said that it is against the traditions of our culture.Indirectly referring to Shiv Sena’s attack on BCCI office and the ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, Jaitley said, “Past few days have seen extremely disturbing trends where some people resorted to vandalism as an instrument to convey their views. Hope we can conduct debates in public space in a more graceful manner.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further added, “Incidents of intolerance are condemnable. In democracy there could be differences, but restraint should be exercised and vandalism should be criticised. No place for violence in democracy.””In large country like India there may be divergent views, but we have had a tradition of civility in conveying those different opinions. Some of these issues are extremely serious, some can reflect on inter-community relations, others can reflect on sensitive areas such as J&K. Therefore, there has to be a proper civilised mode of discussing and debating these issues,” he said.Jaitley also confirmed that party chief Amit Shah had indeed met with several party MPs asking them not to make any controversial statements.”I don’t think anybody in the BJP has resorted to these methods(vandalism). Few made statements on sensitive issues. But party president (Amit Shah) has very strongly taken it up with them,” he said.A day ago, Shiv Sena attacked BCCI office, while last week smeared ink on BJP ideologue Sudheendra Kulkarni, for hosting the book launch of ex-Pakistan Foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri.President Pranab Mukherjee had on Monday expressed apprehension whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane and said that humanism and pluralism should not be abandoned under any circumstances.

Goa CM Parsekar says beef eaten by comunities part of cuisine, not to offend others

He also said that there can be no controversy created in Goa on the issue of beef consumption and that people in Goa are known to respect all kinds of religions.

Laxmikant Parsekar

The Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar on Friday said that in Goa beef was eaten by certain communities because it was part of their cuisine without intending to offend other people. Parsekar, during an interview, said, “I don’t feel the people of a community eat or use beef to hurt sentiments of others. It is part of their cuisine or preparation and we also accept the fact,” Indian Express reported. He also said that there can be no controversy created in Goa on the issue of beef consumption and that people in Goa are known to respect all kinds of religions. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parsekar’s comments came after Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that if Muslims want to stay in India they must stop eating beef. He also commented on Dadri killing and said that both sides committed mistakes in Dadri.Parsekar said, “This maybe a tiny state, but our speciality is that Hindus, Catholics and Muslims can live together in harmony and peace. We know the importance of respecting each others’ feelings. Therefore, such issues are never blown out of proportion as in other states, ” the report stated.

Gujarat: VHP puts up banners asking non-Hindus not to take part in garba

People who don’t believe in idol-worshiping must stay away, said VHP.

“This is in order to stop love jihad, in which a Muslim boys lures and marry Hindu girls,” he said.

With the Navratri festival starting on Tuesday, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has started putting up banners at the entrances of select garba venues across the state, asking non-Hindus not to participate in the dance programmes as it is restricted “only for Hindus”.According to Gujarat VHP leaders, the banners are being put up at over 100 garba venues across Gujarat, which are hosting commercial events during the nine-day festivity. “We put up our first such banner at the entrance gate of Rajpath Club on SG Highway here today. Gradually, we will cover all other venues in the city, which are hosting garba events. VHP will put up such banners at around 100 such commercial venues across the state,” state VHP media coordinator Jay Shah said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These posters carry a common text, which warns non-Hindus from entering the venue. “Navratri is a sacred Hindu festival… People who don’t believe in idol-worshiping must stay away..This festival is for Hindus only,” the banner says. Last week, general secretary of Gujarat VHP, Ranchhod Bharwad, had announced that his organisation would take all necessary steps to stop non-Hindus from entering the garba venues, including residential societies. The right-wing Hindu organisation justified the ban claiming that such steps are necessary to stop incidents of “love jihad, in which a Muslim boys lures and marry Hindu girls”. Apart from barring entry to non-Hindus, VHP is also advocating the extension of time for garba organised in residential societies. At present, the time limit set by city police is 12 am, which is applicable to all. “We demand that residential societies should be kept aside while implementing this rule. Societies organise garba in their own private place and do not disturb others. Therefore, VHP leaders will meet the city Police Commissioner today to demand that the time should be extended till 4 am,” Shah said.

Marathi writer Pradnya Pawar returns awards to protest ‘intolerance’

“Maharashtra has led intellectual movement in the country. I cannot understand why is there silence in the recent past,” she said.

Noted Marathi writer Pradnya Pawar on Tuesday said she was returning all her literary awards and prize money totaling Rs 1.13 lakh to the state government to protest the “culture of intolerance” in the country on Tuesday. Pawar cited Dadri lynching and killing of rationalists Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi as instances that show “growing intolerance”. “I have taken the decision to protest against the intolerant attitude and ‘dandelashahi’ (dictatorship) in the country in the last one, one-and-half years,” she told media. “Those returning the awards have started a movement. My gesture is to boost this movement. Maharashtra has led intellectual movement in the country. I cannot understand why is there silence in the recent past. More hands should come out in support of my stance,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pawar has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying, “We are living in an era of undeclared emergency.” Urdu novelist Rahman Abbas, who lives in Mira Road near Mumbai, yesterday returned the Maharashtra State Urdu Sahitya Academy Award as a mark of protest against the Dadri lynching incident. “After the Dadri lynching, the Urdu writing community has been quite unhappy. Therefore, I decided to return the award.There are some other Urdu writers who also want to join the protest. It is high time we stood up to the injustice surrounding us,” he said.Abbas had in 2011 won the award for his third novel ‘Khuda Ke Saaye Mein Aankh Micholi’ (Hide and Seek in the Shadow of God). Earlier, noted writers Nayantara Sahgal and poet Ashok Vajpeyi had returned their literary honours to protest what they termed as an “assault on right to freedom of both life and expression”. A 50-year-old man was on September 28 lynched by a mob in Dadri’s Bishada village near Delhi over rumours of eating beef, triggering a nationwide outrage.

CM Nitish Kumar pushing Bihar to communal politics: BJP

BJP on Wednesday accused Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and its other political rivals of pushing the assembly poll-bound state towards communal politics even though the people there want development.

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ANI
BJP on Wednesday accused Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and its other political rivals of pushing the assembly poll-bound state towards communal politics even though the people there want development.Launching a sharp attack on Kumar, BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said the chief minister should introspect why his popularity in poll surveys was declining as he chose to go for his “greed” for power and not public welfare.”Some of our adversaries are putting in all their might to push the Bihar poll towards communal side even if incidents have taken place outside Bihar. However, good governance and development will become a yardstick in the coming elections too. Therefore, our confidence grows,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said “Nitish Kumar should do introspection during the course of election as to why his popularity is declining. The reason is that Nitish’s greed for chair has increased and he has joined hands with the head of ‘Jungle Raj.’ Singh charged Kumar gave up good governance, which he had carried out during the rule he shared with BJP, and has taken Bihar towards communal thought and politics. He also said that those who should have protected JP’s legacy have now joined hands with those who have opposed JP.He also took a dig at the JD-U leader saying there is a difference between what he says and what he does and sought to recall Kumar’s claims made earlier that he will not seek votes from the people in 2015 till he electrified entire Bihar.He also gave figures saying only a few hundred villages had been electrified during the last few years against a target of over 2,000.

Delhi MLA’s pay hike: Panel rejects ‘misplaced reports’

We were a bit surprised to see reports about ‘highest salary’, a panel member said.

The panel has suggested Rs 50,000 as constituency allowance for Delhi’s lawmaker

The three-member committee of experts, which has recommended a substantial hike in the salary and allowances of Delhi MLAs, on Wednesday justified their proposal saying it was a product of “careful and thorough” examination and will not make city legislators the highest paid in the country. Member-Secretary of the Committee of Experts and Secretary, Prasanna Kumar Suryadevara, said the panel desisted from making any comparisons either with the Parliament or any of the state legislatures while making its recommendations.”The committee intends to elaborate on this since this widely publicised perception is misleading and misplaced,” Suryadevara said on the recommendations of salary hike and the subsequent uproar over it. He welcomed the debate over the issue terming it as a positive step and a “healthy sign” for the country’s democracy. “After a careful and thorough examination of all aspects, the committee completed its job in a professional manner and to the best of the ability of its members. “Since 2014, the basic salary of MLAs in Assam is Rs 60,000 per month. Therefore, we were a bit surprised to see reports about ‘highest salary’, since our recommendation is to raise the salary of Delhi MLAs to only Rs 50,000 per month,” his statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said as opposed to Goa, where constituency allowance is already Rs 90,000, the panel has suggested Rs 50,000 for Delhi’s lawmakers. The panel has recommended doing away with the current practice of reimbursing domestic electricity and water bills while insisting that MLAs produce receipt to get their office assistance fees of Rs 70,000 reimbursed. “In today’s reports, it is being projected that this amount also goes to the pocket of MLA. Minus this, the total amount that we recommended on account of salary, constituency allowance, transport allowance and communication allowance comes to Rs 1,40,000 only,” it said.

RSS organ calls for freeing PoK from Pakistan, says it’s ‘only solution’ to end issue

New Delhi: After Pakistan failed to elicit a response at UN on Kashmir, RSS organ ‘Organiser’ has said freeing Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir from its illegal occupation is the only solution to end this issue.

“That Pakistan is the epicentre of terrorism is a well known fact now. On the other hand Bharat is widely recognised as the power centre in global matrix. Therefore, ‘K’ word is no longer a currency in international politics.

IUnrest in PoK. Image courtesy: CNN-IBN

IUnrest in PoK. Image courtesy: CNN-IBN

“Now freeing the PoK (Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir) from the illegal occupation of Pakistan, ….. is the only solution to end this longstanding issue,” the editorial in ‘Organiser’ has said.

It said Pakistan has raised the bogey of Kashmir word with plebiscite in the UN General Assembly as a custom, but Nawaz Sharif could not garner international attention a earlier.

The RSS organ also said that to the contrary, videos showing Pakistan brutality and protests against Islamabad in the Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoK) are going viral and a leader from J&K Moulana Syed Athar Hussain Dehlavi after touring the areas has stated that people residing there want to be a part of India as they are impressed with governance here and are distressed with growing extremism in Pakistan.

“This transformation is a sign that the discourse on Jammu and Kashmir is set to change forever,” it said.

The editorial “Forget about K, talk about POK” said people of Jammu and Kashmir have time and again voted for the Assembly and Parliamentary elections in India ….., which Pakistan funded fringe elements such as Hurriyat always try to sabotage.

On the other hand, it claimed, demography on the other side of J&K was ‘forcefully changed’ and basic rights as equality before law and right to freedom of association or formation of political parties have been denied to the people, which Pakistan courts have also accepted.

“The region did not get any democratic representation… People of this occupied region always live under the shadow of violence, as POK is the main centre for terrorist training camps. The protests in Mirpur-Muzaffarabad have just started getting the limelight, Gilgit Baltistan is still in dark as there is no media coverage of atrocities and aspirations of these neglected regions,” it said.

PTI

Rain Gods were kinder to previous governments, says FM Arun Jaitley

“I am told monsoon has returned somewhat in the past few days to narrow the gap between normal and below normal,” the Finance Minister said at a summit of international investors here.

Concerned over low rate of growth in the agriculture sector, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said “the rain Gods have not been as kind” to this government as they were to the earlier ones.He said weak agriculture sector is posing a challenge, but the government is committed to improving its performance while better results from other areas of economy can still ensure the growth rate improves further.”We have 55% of our population dependent on agriculture, and rain Gods have not been as kind to this government in the last two years as they were to the earlier governments. Therefore, the agriculture growth was flat last fiscal and this year,” Jaitley said while talking about the adversities on the path of India growth story.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We started with a much better June and July, but ended up with a disappointing August and the earlier part of September on monsoon.”I am told monsoon has returned somewhat in the past few days to narrow the gap between normal and below normal,” the Finance Minister said at a summit of international investors here.About 15 per cent of the country’s total GDP comes from agriculture and a lot more people would need to move to manufacturing and services sectors, he noted.In this regard, Jaitley said the plans include building a lot more cities, smart cities and suburban townships for which infrastructure is required.At the same time, the government is also strengthening the rural areas in terms of irrigation and rural infrastructure and by providing urban-like facilities. “These are the priorities as far as this government is concerned,” he added.

Drunken driving: RTO department cancels Janhavi Gadkar’s driving license permanently

Drunken driving accused Janhavi Gadkar’s driving licence has been terminated by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) at Wadala. Therefore, she will not be able to drive any vehicle for the rest of her life.

Janhavi Gadkar

Drunken driving accused Janhavi Gadkar’s driving licence has been terminated by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) at Wadala. Therefore, she will not be able to drive any vehicle for the rest of her life.In mid-June, Gadkar was issued a show cause notice by the RTO, asking why her driving licence should not be revoked. “She initially sought more time to respond to our notice, which we extended by 14 days,” said BI Ajari, RTO, Wadala. The initial duration of the notice was seven days.Her response stated that – as the accident case is sub-judice and the show cause notice has been sent on the basis of first information report (FIR) with the RCF Police Station, thus, her driving licence should not be revoked.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She also went on record stating that she has been holding the licence and driving for 15 years and there has not been any law violated by her. However, her claims were rejected by the RTO, on the grounds that they have sufficient data to rely on that she was behind the wheels when the accident occurred on the intervening night of June 8 and 9. One of the evidences that was taken into account was forensic data, that is part of the criminal case against her.Her driving licences stands to be revoked starting from Tuesday (September 15) and was served the letter informing about cancellation on Wednesday.In case, if she applies for a driving licence from any of the RTOs, she will have to declare in the application form, if there is or has been any criminal case against her involving violation of driving rules. If she fails to disclose, it may result in cancellation of the driving licence.As per the case registered against her, Gadkar had allegedly consumed alcohol in Hotel Marine Plaza at Marine Drive and later at Irish House, Kala Ghoda, she then drove on the Epxressway. Her vehicle, an Audi Q3, dashed into an approaching taxi, ferrying a Null Bazaar- based family. Sixty-year-old cabbie Mohammad Hussain Mustafa Miyan and Salim Saboowala, 50, were killed in the accident.

It takes eight years to finalise major corruption case: CVC

The three-member committee which conducted the study said there are no reports which give the information sector-wise or as pertaining to Chief Vigilance Officers, who act as the distant arm of the CVC, for determining the delay at each stage of a case in totality.

An exceedingly protracted eight years is how long it takes on an average to finalise a major corruption case against any government employee, says a recent study by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on prolonged disciplinary cases.The anti-corruption watchdog tenders advice — First Stage Advice (FSA) on the investigation report and Second Stage Advice (SSA) before a final decision is taken at the conclusion of the proceedings — on approximately 5,000 vigilance cases every year.”On an average, it takes more than eight years for finalising a major vigilance case from the date of occurrence of irregularity, whereas detection of irregularity takes on an average more than two years,” the study said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There is a delay on an average of about two years in conducting and finalising the preliminary investigation for the FSA, it said.Further, it is a matter of concern that implementation of FSA, appointment of Inquiry Officer, finalising of its report and sending the departmental comments for SSA altogether takes more than 2.6 years, the study said.There is an average delay of about five months in implementation or non-implementation (that is, final decision by the department) of the Commission’s advice, which further takes more than five months on an average in intimating the same to the Commission, it said.”Findings also reveal that the average delay on part of Inquiry Officers is significant and to the tune of about 1.3 years and, if this delay is clubbed with investigation at first stage, it goes up to 3.4 years. That clearly requires suitable interventions at the level of investigation both at first and second stage,” the study has pointed out.The three-member committee which conducted the study said there are no reports which give the information sector-wise or as pertaining to Chief Vigilance Officers, who act as the distant arm of the CVC, for determining the delay at each stage of a case in totality.”Therefore, there is a need to create additional report formats to study delays in cases,” it said.The committee also called for the timely disposal of disciplinary cases. “Disciplinary matters, perhaps, are among the most litigated branches in India. It is very important to emphasise the disposal of disciplinary cases in a timely manner so that neither an innocent official is penalised nor a guilty official allowed to go scot-free. Due to pendency and continuous delay in disciplinary action, cases remain undecided. This requires urgent attention,” the report said.It is felt that one of the factors responsible for the delay may be deployment of limited dedicated manpower, it said.By and large, the findings provide quantitative assessment with relative magnitude of the delay in vigilance proceedings at various stages and are expected to serve as a valuable input for aligning the existing intervention strategies by focusing more on areas requiring attention.Since the areas of concern have been identified, interventions can be more precise, the study added.

Govt implements OROP, but deadlock remains: Veterans to continue agitation for five demands

In a landmark decision, the Narendra Modi government on Saturday decided to implement the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. Addressing a section of the media on Saturday afternoon, Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “The Government of India respects its defence forces. They display courage and bravery in difficult circumstances. The issue of OROP has been pending for over four decades and the Prime Minister has on many occasions reiterated this government’s commitment to implement OROP.” Parrikar added that the previous government had estimated that implementation of the scheme would cost Rs 500 crore, however the “reality is that OROP scheme would cost 8,000 crore to the exchequer. Therefore, the government has decided to implement the OROP scheme despite huge financial burden.”

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Veterans demanding the implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme met the defence minister on Saturday. “OROP will be implemented from 1 July, 2014 and the base year for calculating the arrears has been fixed at 2013. Personnel who opt for voluntary retirement will not be covered under the OROP scheme,” Parrikar told the media. “The pension will be re-fixed every five years. A one-member judicial committee will be constituted, and the panel will give reports in six months. Expenditure on arrears alone would be Rs 10,000-12,000 crore.”

Since there are many cases of veterans of the same rank earning different pensions, the government proposed to take the average of the maximum and minimum pensions paid per rank, while protecting those who earn above average pensions in their rank. “All widows, including war widows, will be paid arrears in one installment. Further enhancement in the rate of pensions will be automatically passed to past pensioners, bridging the gap between current and past pensioners,” Parrikar said.

Earlier in the day, Major-General Satbir Singh (retd), who is leading the OROP campaign, had said that the government has agreed to implementing the OROP scheme, however according to him there is still a deadlock on the issue of pension revision period, which is five years. However, after Parrikar’s announcement, General Singh spoke to the media and said that the protesting-servicemen were not happy with government’s proposal. “We will continue to protest. We are not fully satisfied. Out of the six demands that we made, the government has only agreed with one. We want clarification on the premature retirement point in the OROP from the government. We want a clarification on the VRS issue, if they still don’t accept it, then it is a big blow to the forces.”

Speaking to mediapersons at Jantar Mantar, the venue of the protest, Singh, however, indicated a softening of position towards the government, saying the hunger strike would be called off but the veterans would continue their agitation till all their major demands were met, Firstpost’s Akshaya Mishra said.

Singh said they welcomed the government’s decision but observed that the base year and five-year period to revise the pension still remained contentious issues. They also rejected the proposal on VRS and the announced shape of the one-man judicial committee. “Revision of pension after every five years will not be in the spirit of One Rank, One Pension, it will be One Rank, Five Pensions,” said Singh addressing the striking veterans.

Explaining how, he observed, “Many serving men in uniform will retire in the five year period and they will continue to get pension more than what their seniors, who retired in the same rank earlier, are drawing. Therefore, we urge the government to rethink it.”

Rejecting the announcement of the government to constitute a one-man committee headed by a retired Supreme Court justice to suggest the government a mechanism for equalisation of salaries being drawn by senior and junior ex-servicemen, he added, “We will not accept the proposed one-man commission. It should comprise three military veterans and an official from the Ministry of Defence. We will recommend three names who will represent us. The defence minister can pick any officer of his choice from his ministry.”

He also rejected to accept the government’s decision to exclude those who have taken pre-mature retirement from the benefits of OROP. “We have reiterated time and again that there is no concept of VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) in defense forces. Those who take pre-mature retirement already draw pension and that is why, they are entitled to OROP,” he argued. If the government accepts these demands, then only they would call off the strike, he said.

The veterans have announced a mega rally at the Jantar Mantar where ex-servicemen from across the country will be called in a show of strength. They have also decided to intensify their agitation and take it throughout the country. “If the government does not listen to our demands, we might consider sending three lakh veterans to the poll-bound Bihar to campaign against the BJP,” he told Firstpost.

Asked why does not he accept what the government had promised to implement, he replied, “The definition of OROP has already been approved by two successive Parliaments and the apex court as well. The government is not doing charity, it is our right.”

General VK Chaturvedi told Firstpost, “In defense services, there is no concept of VRS. We have pre-mature retirement system and those who go for it should also be given OROP because they have services the defence forces and are drawing pension. They are relieved with the consent of the ministry. If it rejects their application, they cannot leave the service. Therefore, OROP becomes their legitimate right.”

The veterans are also unhappy with the government’s decision to set up one man judicial commission to evolve a mechanism for equalisation of the pension being drawn by senior and junior ex-servicemen. “The judicial commission should have representatives of the veterans as well as serving men,” said Col Bhatiya, who retired from Indian Navy.

He said the promised time to submit the committee’s report is also not ‘justified’. “One month is sufficient to give the committee’s recommendations,” he added.

It is understood that a draft proposal on OROP was circulated at a RSS meeting on Friday which envisaged commencement of the scheme from 1 July, 2014, besides the revision of pensions every five years. According to the draft, the basis for the implementation of the scheme will be 2013, and arrears are to be paid in four instalments.

Satbir-Singh2_OROPSatbir-Singh2_OROP

Major-General Satbir Singh, who is leading the campaign.

The veterans and the government have been negotiating for months now. The Prime Minister’s Office stepped in last month after the protests escalated into a hunger-strike and a few veterans were taken critically sick.

Soldiers were brought, alongside other Central government employees, under the ambit of the Pay Commission in 1983. The following year, a 17-member committee headed by minister of state for defence Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo submitted a proposal that is credited with carrying the first reference to OROP.

Unfortunately, there has been no movement by the government on the issue since.

Close to 26 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.

Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.

With inputs from Tarique Anwar and agencies

Dismay as Muslim law board sticks to regressive instant ‘Talaq’ over a 3-month process

‘Ridiculous’, ‘unjust ‘ and ‘draconian’ – these are the words a section of Muslim scholars and activists summons to describe the practice of uttering triple talaq in a single sitting in the community.

Muslim-woman_reuters_380Muslim-woman_reuters_380

Representational image. Reuters.

Predictably, the decision of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) to reject the suggestion that the talaq process should be made a three-month affair, allowing the person involved enough time to re-think the decision , has not gone down well in this section.

“At a time when most Muslim nations have abolished the practice of triple talaq, it is strange and ridiculous that India is still following the age-old system,” Naved Hamid, chairman of People’s Integration Council, told Firstpost. This form of talaq is a recognised form of divorce in the contemporary legal regime in India or Muslim Law as administered in the country.

There is discontent, he claimed, even in the AIMPLB on the issue. “It’s women members want a debate on triple talaq but they want to discuss it within the board. And therefore, there is no unanimity among them. This strengthens the stand of those who favour triple talaq in one sitting,” he said.

He added: “It is amusing that a section of the AIMPLB is raising an illegitimate demand that mutawallis (caretakers) be empowered to sell wakf properties in dispute, but is speaking against the legitimate proposal of abolishing the torturous custom of divorce which is largely being used to victimise women through a process that is devoid ethics, and allows little room arbitration and reconciliation”.

Patna-based rights activist Arshad Ajmal feels that triple talaq is playing “havoc” in the society and those who are associated with jurisprudence “must think it over before it is too late”. “If they (the clergies) continue to follow the unjust path, they will become irrelevant,” he warned.

Known as Talaq-ul-Ahsan, this practice is followed by Ahl-e-Hadith as well. Shias are also of the same opinion, with an addition though. They require two witnesses for the declaration of the divorce and the option of reunion and remarriage remains available even after the expiry of iddah. Triple talaq, also known as Talaq-ul- Biddat, is valid in Sunni schools of jurisprudence only.

Noted activist Zakia Soman, co-founder of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a women’s group with presence across 11 states, describes the AIMPLB’s position on triple talaq “absolutely regressive” and “not in tune with the religious tenets and Quranic principle of justice where women are equal citizen”.

“The self-proclaimed leadership of the Muslim community is highly questionable. If you go by the laws to deal with marriage and divorce across the world, you will find a majority of the Muslim nations have abolished triple talaq. Our clergies who favour this un-Islamic way of divorce follow the medieval mindset and pass it on in the name of religion. They are the biggest danger because they present a distorted picture of our religion to the rest of the world,” she told Firstpost.

Referring to a study conducted by her organisation on Muslim women, she says with disappointment that a “majority of ‘religious leaders’ are resistant to any change and this is the reason that nothing much has changed after the Shah Bano case (which was decided in 1985)”.

Her all-India survey – Seeking Justice Within Family – National Study on Muslim Women’s Views on Reforms in Muslim Personal Law – conducted on 4,700 Muslim women reveals that a whopping 92 percent of the women want a total ban on oral/unilateral triple talaq, 93 percent favour mandatory arbitration before divorce and 91.7 percent don’t want their husbands to have another wife in the subsistence of first marriage.

Interestingly, 95.5 percent (4,499) women have not heard of the AIMPLB, which presents itself as the leader of Muslim opinion in India.

Such opposition has not changed the minds of advocates of orthodoxy though.

Strongly backing AIMPLB, Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, general secretary of Imarat-e-Shariah for Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha, said Quran and Hadith have given detailed direction about marriage, divorce and inheritance and therefore, Islamic laws cannot be amended to satisfy the collective conscience of the society.

“Like a judge of a court of law cannot say three dismils (a unit used to measure land) is equal to one, the utterance of talaq thrice cannot be considered one. There is a general consensus among all major founders – Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad bin Hambal and Imam Shafai – of four schools of Islamic jurisprudence on the validity of triple talaq. It means when a person pronounces talaq thrice at one go, the divorce will take place. The wife of the man will become haram (totally prohibited) for him. He cannot remarry her unless she marries another person and that person divorces her on valid grounds or she becomes a widow. No husband can be prevented from adopting a valid course,” argued Qasmi, who is also an executive member of AIMPLB.

He further said Islamic law gives equal rights to men and women. That notion that women have been oppressed in Islamic laws is “baseless” and only a “propaganda”.

Asked does not he feel any need for this shariah law to be debated or amended to prevent its abuse, he said, “First, any debate on the rules framed by Quran and Hadith is un-Islamic and condemnable. Even if it needs a revision or debate, it will only be done by ulemas (religious scholars), not by any Tom, Dick and Harry.”

But he preferred to ignore the fact that Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal had later refused to accept the validity of triple divorce after an-depth research of the Quranic position. He came to the conclusion that the utterance of the Arabic word talaq thrice will be treated as one only. Each of the three pronouncements of talaq will be followed by a waiting period of one month or one menstruation period, which is called iddah, so that the couple try to reconcile with the help of mediators from both the sides. If the couple reconciles before the third and final talaq, they can live together. If they fail to do so, then only the divorce will take place.

How did the concept of triple talaq come into existence?

Though Muslim jurists perceive it as a novel innovation in Sharia law, it was not there in the initial two years of the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad, the first Caliph Abu Bakr and also during the early period of second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab.

“Triple talaq is the most disapproved of and draconian form of dissolution of Muslim marriage. It was allowed exclusively in some special circumstances. When Arabs had conquered Egypt, Iraq and Syria etc, they found that women of these countries were beautiful and they decided to marry them.

“But these women of Egypt and Syria insisted that they divorce their existing wives with immediate effect by pronouncing talaq in one sitting so that the marriage can take place immediately. The Arabs readily accepted this condition because they knew that in Islam, talaq is pronounced twice between the period of tuhr (purity or the menstruation period) and its repetition at the same time is against Islam. Therefore, it would be void and ineffective,” explained Dr Nafees Ahmad, assistant professor, faculty of legal studies, South Asian University, New Delhi.

“This nefarious design was brought to the notice of Caliph Umar. He ruled that pronouncing talaq thrice in one sitting would result in irrevocable dissolution of marriage. But it was an administrative measure to meet an emergency and not meant to be institutionalised as permanent law. Unfortunately, Hanafi (a school of thought in Islamic jurisprudence) jurists declared this ephemeral arrangement of administrative nature as lawful.

Consequently, this form of divorce is continued to enjoy spiritual and temporal legitimacy at one hand and judicial recognition on the other hand in India,” Ahmad added.

Referring to the Shamim Ara vs. State of UP (2002) case, Ahmad said the Supreme Court also holds that the Holy Quran stipulates that talaq must be pronounced on cogent plausible and reasonable grounds and prior to thereof spouses must appoint two arbitrators, who would make all efforts for reconciliation and resolution. All efforts having failed, talaq shall come into effect.

“Therefore, it can be rightly inferred that the apex court of the land has duly rejected the triple talaq. Some of the legal provisions with respect to marriage and divorce compiled by the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) sharply violate the spirit —and word — of the Quran, he said.

OROP row: Can’t have annual pension revision, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

Jaitley said the government was committed to OROP but the “only difficulty” is the “arithmetical translation”.

Annul revision in pensions do not happen anywhere in the world, said Arun Jaitley.
File Photo
AFP photo
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday virtually ruled out annual revision of pension as demanded by agitating ex-servicemen under ‘One rank, One pension’ but said government will safeguard interests of soldiers retiring at an early age through higher pensions. Annul revision in pensions do not happen anywhere in the world, he said.Jaitley said the government was committed to OROP but the “only difficulty” is the “arithmetical translation”.”I have my own formula on what OROP means. Somebody else may have their own formula on OROP but it has to be within reasonable and rational criteria. You can’t have an OROP where pensions are revised every month or every year,” he said. He said that recommendations of 7th Pay Commission for government employees was coming shortly.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have been very vigilant about fiscal prudence and therefore my job is really that of a housewife in the sense that you must measure every rupee that the house spends so that you don’t overspend and then borrow and if you start borrowing beyond a point and indulge in fiscal indiscipline,” Jaitley told ET NOW.Ex-servicemen have been agitating for 78 days at Jantar Mantar in the national capital demanding implementation of One Rank, One Pension, including annual revision of pension.”We accept the principle (of OROP). We will implement the principle but then let us not create incidence which are going to set (precedent for) other segments of the society to also start demanding (the same),” Jaitley said. He, however, said, “we would like to safeguard the interest of those soldiers who retire at age of 35 or 38 years and the society must protect them… and therefore some higher pension on a special formulation is understandable but then it can’t be revised every year.”Stating that the Indian political thought process that thinks rationally will not make “unreasonable concessions” merely on emotions, he said such a move can set precedent for others to seek similar benefits.”Can the BSF do it? Can the CRPF do it? Obviously the thinking India will say it’s not the right step to take. You can’t create a liability that the future generations will have to pay. Therefore on a rational criteria OROP, we should certainly be able to implement,” he said.

PM Modi’s decision to not re-promulgate land ordinance is for farmers’ welfare: Arun Jaitley

The Centre had earlier issued an order to include 13 Central acts like the National Highway and Railways Acts in the Land Law to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to not re-promulgate the land ordinance had been taken so that the farmers would not have to face heavy financial losses.”Even though the ordinance is lapsing, the 13 exempted laws, which were meant to provide direct financial benefit to the farmers, are being brought under the rules effective from today so that the farmers do not face financial losses,” Jaitley said.The Centre had earlier issued an order to include 13 Central acts like the National Highway and Railways Acts in the Land Law to extend benefits to those whose land is acquired.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Parliament has not been prorogued as yet. Therefore it is necessary before August 31, that the compensation programme, relief and rehabilitation programme of the 2013 laws be made exempted to the 13 exempted acts. This is what the government has done and it is entirely in the interest of the farmers,” he added.Talking further on reforms on land laws, he said, “the present ordinance was introduced at the behest of the chief ministers. States including the Congress ruled states had requested flexibility in land laws. Therefore the ordinance was issued on their insistence. The then Congress ruled states like Maharashtra and Haryana were in the forefront of this request. After the ordinance was issued, some of the parties started making it a political issue. Since they started playing politics, there was a stalemate in the parliament.””As a result two things happened. Firstly, the bill to replace the ordinance was before the standing committee. The Niti Ayog said to the Prime Minister that since he cannot bring amendments due to the stalemate in parliament, land law being a concurrent subject should be left to the state. Tamil Nadu is one state which has already been working in that direction. Thus the flexibility of the law remains with the states,” The Finance Minister added.Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his 11th address to the nation ‘ Mann Ki Baat’ today said that the Ordinance will not be renewed.”I have decided. The ordinance lapses tomorrow and we will not renew it. It means the situation (Land Act of 2013) before my government taking over has been restored,” Modi said.

NSA talks: Things are unravelling due to no preparation from both sides, alleges Mani Shankar Aiyar

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday alleged that things are unravelling ahead of NSA level talks because adequate preparations have been nil from India and Pakistan, adding that the talks may not be taking place at all.

Mani Shankar Aiyar

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Friday alleged that things are unravelling ahead of NSA level talks because adequate preparations have been nil from India and Pakistan, adding that the talks may not be taking place at all.”The biggest mistake you can make in democracy in diplomacy is to hold a summit meeting without making adequate preparations,” Aiyar told ANI.” Without any preparation at all, Modi met with Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, they cobbled together something and then put it out. Now they are facing all the consequences both in India as well as Pakistan of a document that has been prepared without being thought out,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiyar recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had put a restriction in August last year that India would not talk to Pakistan if they continued their contacts with the Hurriyat.”How did he say he would resume discussions with Pakistan without pressing his own personal condition”, he asked.”Therefore, from our side the preparation has been nil and it would appear that from Pakistani side as well the prep has been nil. Which is why the whole thing is unravelling”, he added. He said, ” Even if the talks take place, in such an atmosphere, I don’t think any constructive progress can be made. But it would appear to me this morning that it is unlikely the talks will take place at all and it is certain even if it does, they will not succeed.”The NSA-level talks will be held on August 23 and 24.

Delhi Court to consider NIA’s charge sheet of suspected terrorist Sayyed Liyaqat Shah on September 21

Sayyed Liyaqat Shah was arrested in 2013 by Delhi Police who claimed that he was a terrorist and was planning attacks in New Delhi. National Investigation Agency now intends to give him a clean chit.

File photo of Sayyed Liyaqat Shah, who was arrested by Delhi police on suspicion of being a terrorist.

A Delhi court on Thursday fixed September 21 to consider National Investigation Agency’s charge sheet giving clean chit to Sayyed Liyaqat Shah, arrested in 2013 by Delhi Police which had claimed he was a terrorist of banned outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and was planning attacks in New Delhi.The matter came up for hearing before court of District Judge Amar Nath where NIA supplied the copy of its charge sheet and documents to Liyaqat’s counsel. The court allowed Liyaqat’ plea and exempted him from personal appearance till further orders.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the hearing, advocate Asim Ali, who appeared for Liyaqat, moved an application seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance for his client saying he was a very poor person and cannot spend huge amount of money in journey from Kupwara in Kashmir to Delhi for attending the hearing. “The applicant is a very poor man and earning livelihood by doing labour work and has five family members to support. Therefore, the applicant is unable to take long journey from Jammu and Kashmir to New Delhi and spend huge amount on travel and other expenses to appear before the court on each and every date of hearing,” the lawyer said.In its charge sheet, NIA has named absconder Sabir Khan Pathan as the main accused who had allegedly planted weapons on Liyaqat to project him as a terrorist. The agency, while absolving Liyaqat of terror charges in its charge sheet, had submitted its report to Home Ministry seeking permission to investigate some Delhi Police officials for allegedly “conspiring” to target Liyaqat.Liyaqat was arrested by the Special Cell of the police on March 20, 2013 when he was returning from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to the Kashmir Valley via Nepal at Saunali border with his wife and children.

Know your onions: Prices touch Rs 80 per kg, and it’s going to be worse

If what Nansahaeb Patil, chairman of APMC, Lasalgaon, told dna is any indication, there’s going to be no respite. In fact, a month on, the situation will only worsen, he warns.

It’s lachrymose. Onion prices at Lasalgoan, Asia’s largest wholesale market, touched a record high on Tuesday. The highest price was Rs 46 per kg while the average was Rs 43 per kg at the Lasalgaon Agriculture Product Market Committee. Consequently, retail prices soared to Rs 80 per kg.If what Nansahaeb Patil, chairman of APMC, Lasalgaon, told dna is any indication, there’s going to be no respite. In fact, a month on, the situation will only worsen, he warns.”Currently, we get 5,000-6,000 quintals each day, when the demand is 14,000-15,000 quintals (1 quintal is 100 kg). Hailstorms and unseasonal rainfalls are the main villains. Because of that, the March crop is not sustainable and is easily perishable,” he says.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Imports are the next option. However, the experience on that front is also far from encouraging.”The upper of layer of Pakistani onions has become blackened and they cannot be imported,” said Patil. Then, there’s Egypt. “Recently, traders from Mumbai called for two containers of onions from Egypt. But they could not pass the quality test and the containers had to be returned,” Patil said.There’s a third option. Look at what happened there. The National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) issued tenders to import 10,000 tonnes of onions. Guess what? No one even bothered to fill up the tender forms.”The onion market is volatile. Therefore, traders are wary of participating in the tender process,” said a NAFED source.Tukaram Desale, a farmer from Dhule, said that monsoon this year has not been satisfactory and plantation has decreased significantly. “There is no sign that there will be good rainfall.” Nashik, Nagar, Dhule and Jalgaon, the main onion belt, has been badly affected.”Forget about onion plantations, we are worried how to survive this crisis,” says Desale.So, is there no solution in sight? “The government has decided to reissue the import tender for 10,000 tonnes of onions. We are hoping that this time there will be good trader participation. And that can salvage the situation,” the NAFED source said.

Ahead of two-day visit, PM Modi says India wants UAE as top partner in trade, counter-terrorism

Noting that both India and UAE have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism, the Prime Minister said he is keen to foster a strategic partnership, particularly in the security, energy and investment sectors, with the fastest growing Arab economy and its visionary and pragmatic leadership.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday left for the UAE on a two-day visit packed with a string of engagements high on substance and symbolism, including talks with the country’s leadership and an address to the Indian diaspora.Ahead of his talks with the Emirati leadership, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests and he wants to see the UAE as the foremost partner in trade and countering terrorism.Noting that both India and UAE have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism, the Prime Minister said he is keen to foster a strategic partnership, particularly in the security, energy and investment sectors, with the fastest growing Arab economy and its visionary and pragmatic leadership.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit UAE in 34 years, will have talks with Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and Prime Minister of UAE, a day after his arrival here.”We have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism. So India and the UAE have everything to be a top priority for each other. This is the way I look at the UAE. The Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests,” Modi said in an interview to Khaleej Times newspaper.Noting that he has begun his regional engagement with the UAE which reflects the importance that he attaches to the country, Modi said he would like to see a truly comprehensive strategic partnership evolve between the two countries.”I want to see the UAE as our foremost trade and investment partner. We would build regular and effective cooperation in a full range of security challenges. Our armed forces would engage with each other more. We will work together more closely in international forums and in addressing regional challenges. There are no limits to our relationship,” Modi said.Asserting that terrorism poses a grave danger to humanity, he said all those countries who believe in humanity, must stand together without delay as it was extremely necessary to challenge the forces of terrorism.”As far as the Indian community is concerned, the languages that are spoken in India, are all spoken in the UAE! In a manner of speaking, the UAE is a ‘Mini India’. The way the two communities work together represents a special bond,” the Prime Minister said.He said the Indian community was not only contributing to the progress and development of the host country, but also participating in the economic development of India through their remittances.”I have no doubt that with the overall economic reform programme in progress, they will find India an attractive, stable and secure destination for their investment and savings,” Modi added.There are about 2.6 million Indians, who constitute nearly 30 per cent of the population of this country.Observing that globally, between countries, it is governments which first forge close relationships, and development of people-to-people contacts follows, he said, however, in the case of the UAE, while India has close people- to-people contacts, there was a certain distance between the governments.”I think this was a mismatch. From a diplomatic viewpoint, this just does not seem right. This must change. I am confident that my visit will be successful, and I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Rulers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai for extending this kind invitation to me,” Modi said.Asked what role India, which has good relations with all the countries in Gulf and Middle East, can play given the built up tension in the region, Modi said though India was “saddened and worried” to see violence and instability in the region it believes in principle of non-interference and he strongly believes that the problems in this region can only be addressed by the collective efforts and constructive engagement of all countries.”India is uniquely blessed to have good relations with all countries in the region. Therefore, we are saddened and worried to see violence and instability in the region. I have always believed that regional or bilateral problems are best solved by the countries involved.”We have often seen the consequences of outside interference. India has always abided by the principle of non-interference in other countries and has consistently supported dialogue as a means to resolve all issues.”I strongly believe that the problems in this region can only be addressed by the collective efforts and constructive engagement of all countries. Regional peace and stability is in the interest of all.”I always advocate this approach to every country in this region and others who have stakes here. When we have such serious problems of terrorism and extremism as we see in the region, it is incumbent upon all nations in the region to work together to address this common threat to regional stability, peace and prosperity,” he added.He also hoped that the Iran nuclear agreement will not be a cause of instability in the region, but will start a process of consultation and cooperation in the region that will enhance mutual trust and confidence, and lead to durable peace and stability in the region.

Sania Mirza issued with challan for violating traffic rules in Hyderabad

A fine of Rs.200 has been imposed on Mirza.

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Tennis star and ambassador of Telangana, Sania Mirza, was issued an e-ticket on Monday for violating traffic rules.Police sources told a newspaper daily that the number plate of her car was not in the proper format prescribed by the police.A police official told the daily that the vehicle, Toyota Fortuner had numbers dispalyed in a fancy manner on the number plate, which is not allowed. Therefore, a fine of Rs.200 has been imposed on Mirza. The Hyderabad police discovered the violation during checking of vehicles in the posh Jubilee Hills area of the city. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Pakistan’s Tariq Khosa who had admitted country’s role in 26/11, now backtracks

Khosa had said that Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani and that all the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) attackers of the 2008 attacks were trained there. He had also said that the dinghy and the engine was bought in Pakistan.

2008 Mumbai attack

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Former Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) head Tariq Khosa who had earlier written that the deadly 26/11 terror attack was indeed ‘planned and launched’ from Pakistan has now reportedly backtracked from his admission. He has made the new claim to a Pakistani daily.Khosa had also said that terrorist Ajmal Kasab was a Pakistani and that all the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) attackers of the 2008 attacks were trained there. He had also said that the dinghy and the engine was bought in Pakistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming that the Indian media had twisted and misconstrued his article, Khosa now says that all the 26/11 terrorists were non-state actors. He added that the Pakistan government had already shared all necessary details with the Indian government. In an article written for Dawn, Khosa had said that the entire Pakistan security apparatus must ensure that the perpetrators and masterminds of the ghastly terror attacks were brought to justice. “The case has lingered on for far too long. Dilatory tactics by the defendants, frequent change of trial judges, and assassination of the case prosecutor as well as retracting from original testimony by some key witnesses have been serious setbacks for the prosecutors. However, cognisance was taken by the Islamabad High Court, which directed the trial to be concluded within two months,” he said. Khosa had also cheered the Ufa meet attended by both Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and PM Narendra Modi in July. Both PMs were “prepared to discuss all outstanding issues,” and both leaders “condemned terrorism in all its forms” and agreed to co-operate with each other “to eliminate this menace from South Asia”. “Therefore, we in Pakistan should welcome this development wholeheartedly,” he had written.

DCW hands over case against AAP leader Kumar Vishwas to Delhi police

The complainant had alleged that her life was ruined as Kumar Vishwas was not rebutting “rumours” about their alleged illicit relationship.
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Delhi Commission for Women has closed proceedings against AAP leader Kumar Vishwas on a complaint of party volunteer after he failed to appear before it and has handed over the matter to police to probe and take “action as per law”, the Delhi High Court was informed on Friday. The complainant had alleged that her life was ruined as Vishwas was not rebutting “rumours” about their alleged illicit relationship. Former DCW chairperson Barkha Singh’s counsel told Justice V P Vaish that even though the file of the complainant was closed by it, the Delhi police was given instruction to further probe and take “action as per law”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On June 23, 2015 none appeared except the respondent no.3 (the woman complainant) who pressed from the respondent no.1 and 2 (DCW and the then Chairperson). Singh on finding that the petitioner (Vishwas) and his wife intentionally avoided to join the proceedings of the DCW, closed the file of the respondent no. 3 with the instruction to the Delhi police for further investigation and action as per law,” advocate Rahul Kumar, appearing for Singh informed the court. He also stated that “she acted on the complaint filed by the woman before the DCW”.”The allegation in the complaint and the relief sought for and the material produced in the support of the complaint was sufficient enough to issue summons against Vishwas. Therefore, the present writ petition filed by Vishwas is without any basis and abuse of process of law and court,” Singh’s counsel said, adding that she has already retired from the DCW and the petition now becomes infructuous.The court, which was hearing a plea by Vishwas seeking stay on the summons issued to him by DCW, however, fixed the matter for further consideration on December 14. Meanwhile, the woman complainant, who was also present in the court in pursuance to court’s earlier order, submitted her response through advocate Inder Singh seeking dismissal of Vishwas’ petition. The woman’s counsel informed the court that they have given a separate complaint to the police, in which serious allegations have been made against Vishwas.On May 22, the high court had refused to stay the DCW’s summons to Vishwas and issued notices to its then chairperson and the woman Aam Aadmi Party volunteer on the party leader’s plea. The court, while declining Vishwas’ prayer to stay the summons, had said let the respondents reply to his plea.On May 15 too, the court had refused to give any interim relief to Vishwas on his plea challenging the summons issued to him by the DCW. He had questioned the authority of DCW to issue such summons claiming it had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter raised by the complainant. Vishwas had also sought that the woman be restrained from making any public statement. The Commission had first asked Vishwas, his wife and two others to appear before it on May 4 and later issued fresh summons for May 6 after they failed to appear.Acting on the woman’s complaint, the Commission had said that the volunteer had worked for the party for a year in Amethi and now it was a matter of her respect and honour. So Kumar Vishwas should turn up and give his clarification.The woman had said she had campaigned alongside Vishwas, who was pitted against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in Amethi during 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Demanding that Vishwas’ wife should come forward and give an explanation, the woman had said she had filed a complaint at Nand Nagri Police Station here on March 29. However, the police did not pay heed to her complaint, she had claimed.

Maharashtra government to bring in law on property attachment to punish its corrupt officials

Speaking in the state legislative council, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said they had issued a GR asking government officers to declare and submit details of their assets.

To curb rampant corruption, the Maharashtra government has decided to bring a Bill on the lines of what the Bihar government has, wherein property of those accused in criminal cases and of corrupt officers will be confiscated and attached to the government.Speaking in the state legislative council, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said they had issued a GR asking government officers to declare and submit details of their assets. “However, response to this decision has been lukewarm. Government employees are reluctant to declare their assets. Also, most officials indulge in corrupt practices, and the existing law is not effective to punish the guilty. Therefore, on the lines of Bihar, we have decided to table a bill in the next winter session. Our Home department is already in the process of preparing the draft bill,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Presently, government officers booked for corruption or disproportionate assets continue to hold on to their ill-gotten wealth even as a long trial goes on in court. The court may just fine the corrupt public servant on conviction, besides giving him/her a jail sentence. “But under the proposed law, investigating agencies can get property of the accused attached, pending trial, and the same can be ‘forfeited’ to the government if the court convicts the guilty,” said an official.”We want to make a stringent law in order to bring down the number of corruption cases. We want a law that acts as a deterrent,” Fadnavis added.He also said that while investigating such cases the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will take the help of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). “The ED has expertise in financially complex cases; it can help the ACB make cases against corrupt officials watertight.”Fadnavis said that in the last seven months, the ACB had conducted 636 raids and arrested 820 people. “We have registered 21 cases of ill-gotten wealth. Compared with 2014, in 2015, the conviction rate has gone up by 6%. We have created a mobile app and a Facebook page to help people lodge complaints against corrupt officials easily. We have also started a toll-free number — 1064 — on which people can call and register complaints.We have instructed all government offices to instal CCTV cameras on their premises and also told officials not to charge any taxes or government fees in the form of cash but accept the same only in the form of cheque,” the CM said, adding that his government is putting emphasis on reducing human interference to reduce corruption. The law in BiharThe Bihar government’s law empowers its ACB to attach property, even during the course of the investigation, against an accused. The property can be returned only if the accused is acquitted of all charges. Under this law, it had recently confiscated the property of a corrupt IAS officer after raids and converted the seized palatial bungalows into government schools.

Anna Hazare joins ex-servicemen’s protest over One Rank One Pension in Delhi

The 78-year-old Gandhian activist has already announced launching an indefinite fast on October 2 in Delhi over the Land Bill and to press for OROP.

Social activist Anna Hazare on Sunday joined ex-servicemen protesting against the Centre over non-implementation of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi.Hazare had already expressed his support to the long-pending OROP scheme, saying it is a “fair demand”. The 78-year-old Gandhian activist has already announced launching an indefinite fast on October 2 in Delhi over the Land Bill and to press for OROP.In the letter to Modi, Hazare had said, “We have to take care of our soldiers and farmers. Making hollow announcements for their welfare and actually implementing them are different things.” “In a democracy, the government should listen to woes of the people and redress them”, he had said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I wish to reiterate that my agitation is not political,” the anti-corruption crusader’s letter stated. Meanwhile, this evening Hazare left for the national capital from the Pune airport. The Modi government has said it is committed to OROP, a key promise made during the Lok Sabha polls. It has, however, not implemented it till now. Also, there has been no official word on why the scheme is getting delayed.Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. Therefore, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.

Women having child by surrogacy entitled to maternity leave: Delhi HC

The court arrived at this ruling while partially agreeing with the Centre’s argument that the word maternity can be attributed to only those female employee.

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A woman who is in government service and has a child through surrogacy, is also entitled to maternity leave, the Delhi High Court ruled on Friday holding that denial of leave would be detrimental to both mother and child. Justice Rajiv Shakdher said that confining maternity leave to only where a female employee herself carries a child, “would be turning a blind eye to the advancement that science has made”. The court also said that the word ”maternity” would also cover a situation where a female employee engages services of another woman to conceive a child with or without the genetic material being supplied by her and/or her male partner.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The court arrived at this ruling while partially agreeing with the Centre’s argument that the word maternity can be attributed to only those female employees, who conceive and carry the child during pregnancy. “In my view, the argument is partially correct, for the reason that the word maternity pertains to the character, condition, relation or state of a mother. In my opinion, where a surrogacy arrangement is in place, the commissioning mother continues to remain the legal mother of the child, both during and after the pregnancy. “Therefore, according to me, maternity is established vis-a-vis the commissioning mother, once the child is conceived, albeit in a womb, other than that of the commissioning mother,” the judge said. “It follows thus, to my mind, that the commissioning mother”s entitlement to maternity leave cannot be denied only on the ground that she did not bear the child. “This is dehors (other than) the fact that a commissioning mother may require to be at the bedside of the surrogate mother, in a given situation, even at the pre-natal stage,” he added.

Rajasthan govt demolished temples for development work: Raje tries to pacify angry RSS

The RSS is all for preserving what they term ‘Hindu culture’ and propagating Hinduism. So when the Rajasthan government decided to demolish some temples to make way for development projects, the saffron outfit was not too happy about it.

Hindu outfits backed by RSS had staged a two-hour road blockade on 9 July to press for restoration of temples razed for construction of Metro and threatened to launch an agitation if their demands are not met within a week.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Hence, to keep things under control, the Vasundhara Raje government has tried to pacify the RSS and has tried to explain the state’s need for development.

The Indian Express reports, “The Vasundhara Raje government has been trying to show the Sangh that the move was made for development projects. The government has also offered to reconstruct the temples wherever possible.”

Mandir Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, the organisation steering the protest, had warned the Vasundhara Raje government of fresh agitation if their demands, including re-establishment or relocation of temples, are not met.

But even as the Raje government pacified the RSS, they were quick to blame the previous Congress government saying they only demolished temples, but not Muslim shrines.

A senior government official told The Indian Express, “Around 32 temples were demolished during the previous Ashok Gehlot government while the Raje government brought down 65 temples and eight Muslim shrines that came in the way of development projects such as the Ring Road, Jaipur Metro, road widening and beautification of the city. These were necessary, more so because all these religious structures were encroachments and did not have legal land holding. The Gehlot government, however, did not demolish any Muslim shrine ever.”

According to the report, 43 temples had been demolished and the government has already started reconstructing 33 temples.

Earlier during the protest BJP leaders said because of the demolitions people’s sentiments had been hurt.

“People agree with the demands. There is resentment among people against demolition and shifting of ancient temples. Therefore people supported the call,” Narpat Singh Rajvi, who represents Vidhyadhar Nagar constituency in Jaipur, told PTI.

With PTI inputs

PDP puts its own chief minister to test, asks for release of prisoners and withdrawing cases against stone pelters

Bhat said PDP has struggled hard for healing touch policy as an alternative to the sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Masarat Alam fiasco notwithstanding, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has put its own government in the dock by calling for the release of political prisoners and withdrawal of the cases against the stone-throwers before Eid-ul-Fitr.”PDP hopes that the government will actively consider release of political prisoners on the eve of Eid ul Fitr. Party also hopes that any request for parole from under trials and other jail inmates if pending with the home department will also be accorded compassionate consideration”, said Nizamudin Bhat, general secretary of PDP.Bhat said PDP has struggled hard for healing touch policy as an alternative to the sufferings of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is in this context that the attention towards families of incarcerated people should gain priority with the government. Anyone who is involved in minor offenses deserves amnesty. Pending cases against the stone pelters should also be withdrawn”, he said.Without naming any party, Bhat said that there are many forces who are causing hurdles in the implementation of liberal policies of PDP.”Therefore on a festival like Eid ul Fitr, the government should be firm in its approach to uphold the PDP’s policies”, he said.PDP’s demand has come months after the government put an embargo on the release of political detainees following the controversy over the release of Hurriyat hardliner and face of 2010 agitation Masarat Alam.Alam was released on March 7, seven days after Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took oath as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. It sparked the national outrage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing the anguish.However, Alam’s freedom was short-lived as the government rearrested him and slapped the charges of sedition and waging war against the state on him for holding a massive Pro Pakistan rally in Srinagar in April.Main opposition National Conference however has lampooned the PDP for demanding the release of political prisoners calling it a worst form of theatrics.”On one hand PDP is assuring people of releasing detainees and on the other the same government is sending 14 year olds to jail over their protest on the administration’s inaction to recover the body of a youth who had drowned in Shopian,” said Junaid Mattu, NC spokesman.

Students slam Kolkata college diktat on dress code: Scottish Church College bans short skirts, round-neck t-shirts

Kolkata: Recommending students to come in “unostentatious dress”, Kolkata’s Scottish Church College has proscribed round-neck t-shirts and short and slit skirts, sparking off condemnation from students and academicians.

“Clothing worn to the college should reflect the seriousness and importance of the learning environment. Therefore, students’ attire is expected to be based on modesty, neatness and safety on the campus,” reads a notice put up by the college authorities which has drawn immediate protests.

Image courtesy: http://www.scottishchurch.ac.in/Image courtesy: http://www.scottishchurch.ac.in/

Image courtesy: http://www.scottishchurch.ac.in/

Besides banning captions/writings on t-shirts or tops, the notice says only full-length trousers and “skirts well below knee length without slits” should be worn to college.

“Salwar kameez and sarees should be worn properly,” reads the notice which also bans round-neck t-shirts and prohibits boys from sporting earrings or studs.

Claiming that the dress code has been imposed on them without any kind of consultation, a section of students said they will launch an agitation on Monday.

Educationists and activists too have slammed the decision.

“This is clear infringement of the students’ liberty. Such a diktat reflects the college’s authoritarian attitude,” said educationist Pabitra Sarkar.

“In this age, issuing a diktat on college students about their attire is uncalled for,” said activist Miratun Nahar.

IANS

Can’t be allowed to re-appear in exam on ground of being SC/ST: Delhi HC

The appellant had reappeared in the failed papers of first year and second year but could not clear them and hence failed to secure minimum credits for promotion to third year.

Delhi high court
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The Delhi High Court has upheld cancellation of admission of a student to third year of an under-graduation course at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU), saying there is no question of giving him another chance only on the ground of being a Scheduled Caste.”In the instant case, since the appellant was found ineligible after second academic break, his admission stood automatically cancelled. Therefore, there is no question of any further chance only on the ground of being an SC/ST,” a division bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and V P Vaish said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dismissing the plea of Gourav Joshiya, who was pursuing Bachelor of Technology from Amity School of Engineering and Technology, the bench said he was ineligible for admission to third year as he could not clear the previous four semesters.It upheld the single judge order refusing another chance to the student for clearing the exams and said the opportunity would have been given to him if he had been able to satisfy the necessary eligibility criteria.”To attain an egalitarian society, we have to urgently remove socio-economic inequalities. Therefore, in order to promote these weaker sections of the society an educational institution must take all endeavours by providing any form of additional assistance in order to bring them up at par with general category students.”The appeal of the appellant may have been allowed on this ground alone, if he would have been able to satisfy necessary eligibility criteria for continuance of his admission with the respondents,” it said.Gourav had challenged a single judge order of May 25, 2015 denying him a chance to re-appear in the examinations to get admitted to the third year.In his appeal, the student, who got admitted to the college in 2010, had claimed he had sent a mercy application to the university’s committee concerned in October 2014, but through a notification on November 7, 2014, it was rejected and his admission was also cancelled.He had contended that the single judge has misconceived that he had to appear in 10 papers in May-June 2015, whereas he had to appear in five.The university, however, said there was delay in filing the writ petition by the student as he filed it in April 2015, but the admission was cancelled in November 2014.It also told the court that during academic year 2012-13 and 2013-14, the appellant had reappeared in the failed papers of first year and second year but could not clear them and hence failed to secure minimum credits for promotion to third year. Also Read: Exam irregularities: Supreme Court reserves verdict on re-conduct of AIPMT

One Rank One Pension will certainly be implemented: VK Singh

Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh on Thursday asserted that one-rank one-pension (OROP) scheme would certainly be implemented.

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Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh on Thursday asserted that one-rank one-pension (OROP) scheme would certainly be implemented.”The Prime Minister has made a promise regarding OROP. It would be implemented. There was some delay because calculations are going on. Therefore it is taking time. Let’s not lose heart. I have full faith in the Prime Minister. It would be implemented exactly as wanted by the retired Armymen,” Singh said.Several retired army officers have expressed resentment over the delay in introduction of the OROP scheme. Singh was speaking on the sidelines of a convention on Yoga.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked by reporters about senior BJP leader LK Advani’s warning that emergency-like situation may recur, Singh evaded a direct reply and said, “Go to Advani-ji and ask him in what context he said that.”

AAP government has failed to curb rise in prices of food items and medicines: Delhi BJP

Alleging that people of Delhi were suffering due to the AAP government’s failure to check rising prices, he demanded that a special task force of ministers and bureaucrats be constituted to curb inflation in a timely manner.
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Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta on Sunday accused the AAP government of failing to take steps to curb rise in prices of food items, medicines as well as power and water tariff in the city.Alleging that people of Delhi were suffering due to the AAP government’s failure to check rising prices, he demanded that a special task force of ministers and bureaucrats be constituted to curb inflation in a timely manner.He further accused Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his cabinet and AAP MLAs of being “busy saving their errant ministers and MLAs”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This government has nothing to do with issues of public good. It has formulated a strategy to blame the central government for all its failures and shortcomings from the very beginning. As a consequence, instead of working in bonhomie with the central government it is looking for reasons to come in direct confrontation with the Centre,” he alleged.”They are well aware of the fact that the 50 promises they made before the elections, based on which the public voted for them, are impossible to fulfill. Therefore, to save face it is deflecting attention from the core issues of public interest,” he contended in a statement.On the issue of rising prices, Gupta said, “On one hand the Delhi government cannot stop blowing its own trumpet of completing 100 days, while on the other hand, the people of Delhi are reeling under pressure of inflation, increase in the power and water tariff and fundamental problems in the city.”The prices of food items, medicines, school fees, clothing items, cosmetics, stationery, medical tests, construction items and so on are touching sky high,” he said.Gupta said, “Till now, Kejriwal government has failed to take any concrete steps to relieve the common masses from the burden of the rising prices.”The BJP leader claimed that as per a survey, “in the past 30 days, the price of pulses has escalated by 50 to 70 per cent, of oils by 35 per cent and of tea, sugar, wheat, rice, and spices by 30 to 35 per cent.” “Similarly, cost of stationary and books has gone up by 20 per cent, clothing items by 30 per cent, cosmetics by 20 per cent and construction items by 20 to 30 per cent.” Gupta said Kejriwal “should take stringent measures to put an end to the black marketing of wheat, pulses, oils and other food items.””The government must take strict action against those involved in hoarding of essential food materials and confiscate the material being hoarded in godowns to bring down the prices,” he said.

Those who fear India’s new posture have started reacting: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

News agency ANI quoted Parrikar as saying that the offensive by India against insurgents has led to a “change in mindset. So much so, that people who fear India’s new posture are also reacting.”

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A day after Indian Army carried out the surgical strike inside Myanmar territory killing 38 insurgents, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the action against insurgency led to change in mindset.News agency ANI quoted Parrikar as saying that the offensive by India against insurgents has led to a “change in mindset. So much so, that people who fear India’s new posture are also reacting.””Therefore, a change in mindset dictates change in any field,” said Parrikar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar was refferring to Pakistan, which has warned India of befitting response to any misadventure.Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Wednesday warned India that the Islamic Republic is not Myanmar, adding that those who were considering any kind of ‘adventure’ in the country will get a ‘befitting’ response.Whereas, a formation commanders’ conference chaired by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif​ said, “It is highly regrettable that Indian politicians not only indulge in actions that are in violation of the United Nations’ charter but also take pride in claiming their interference in the internal affairs of other states.”The army on Tuesday engaged two separate groups of militants along the Indo-Myanmar border, inflicting significant casualties on them.A crack team of about 70 commandos from 21 Para of the Indian Army carried out the surgical strike inside Myanmar territory in the thick of the night that killed 38 insurgents belonging to NSCN(K) and KYKL militant groups yesterday.The commandos, equipped with assault rifles, rocket launchers, grenades and night vision goggles, were divided into two groups after they slithered down from Dhruv helicopters just inside the Indian territory near the border with Myanmar.The actual operation (hitting the camp and destroying it) took about 40 minutes. Not only did the commandos kill those present at the camps in gun fight, during which rocket launchers were also used, one of the camp was also set afire.A statement from the Ministry of Defence said that the operations were necessary in light of intelligence reports, which warned of militants planning attacks on Indian soil. The statement further appreciated the cooperation shared between the armies of India and Myanmar, assuring that any security threat to the nation will be met with a ‘firm response’.(with agency inputs)

JD(U) and RJD marriage heading towards separation, says BJP

An engagement which leads to separation and then divorce, I am sure nobody wants a divorce alliance to run their government, says BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh.

BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh
File Photo

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that the alliance between the Janata Dal (United) (JD (U)) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was like a marriage heading towards separation, adding that the people of Bihar do not want a ‘divorce alliance’ to run their government.”It is certainly a matter between JD (U) and RJD, but what it goes to show is that the alliance which had spoken a lot. And what we are seeing is that the alliance has not come through, the marriage is not taking place. Immediately after the engagement, the separation talks have started and it is leading towards a divorce, that is the fate of JD (U), RJD alliance,” BJP national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh told ANI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Therefore, the people of Bihar if they vote together for RJD and JD (U), they must realize what they are going to get in return. An engagement which leads to separation and then divorce, I am sure nobody wants a divorce alliance to run their government,” he added.The war of words between the JD (U) and RJD has escalated over the chief ministerial choice for the upcoming Bihar Assembly polls.The JD (U) has made it clear to the RJD that the issue of projecting Nitish Kumar as the chief ministerial choice was non-negotiable and there was no scope of even discussing this.RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh later declared that projecting Nitish for the top post would be suicidal for any alliance.Nitish has, however, so far maintained silence on the issue.

Being Maoist not a crime, says Kerala High Court

“… If the individual or organisation abhors and resorts to physical violence, law agency can prevent or take action against individuals or organisations,” Justice A Muhamed Mustaque said in his judgement in a case relating to the arrest of Syam Balakrishnan by Kerala Police’s special squad, suspecting that he is a Maoist.

In a significant ruling, the Kerala High Court today said that being a Maoist is not a crime and police cannot detain a person merely because he is a Maoist.”Being a Maoist is of no crime, though the political ideology of Maoists would not synchronise with our constitutional polity. It is a basic human right to think in terms of human aspirations,” it said.”… If the individual or organisation abhors and resorts to physical violence, law agency can prevent or take action against individuals or organisations,” Justice A Muhamed Mustaque said in his judgement in a case relating to the arrest of Syam Balakrishnan by Kerala Police’s special squad, suspecting that he is a Maoist.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is only when private thoughts or ideas become repugnant to public values as envisaged under law that the private activities become unlawful,” the court ruled.Noting that it is the Constitution which sets the boundary through legitimate procedure of ordinary law on arrest, the court said, “Therefore, police cannot detain a person merely because he is a Maoist, unless police form a reasonable opinion that his activities are unlawful.” Disposing the case, the court ordered payment of Rs 1 lakh compensation to Balakrishnan within two months. The state has also been directed to pay the litigation cost of Rs 10,000 along with the compensation quantified.However, the court declined the petitioner’s prayer to initiate departmental action against the police officers.Noting that the only reason on which the petitioner was arrested was that he was a suspected Maoist, the court said police had violated his liberty by taking him into custody without satisfying that he was involved in any cognisable offence punishable under law.Dismissing the police version, the court also said the general diary and other action of police in searching the petitioner’s house would clearly indicate he was taken into custody of being a suspected Maoist.Observing that the state instrumentalities and machinery function through individuals and any institution manned by human beings is bound to commit errors, the court said it is unfortunate that a responsible government has shrugged to call it a mistake on their part and render apology.”The state stridently defended the police action as part of its duty to combat Maoists. The liberty of the individual, however small or high, has to be protected. The police has to display sensitiveness and appeal to the intelligence while exercising the power bestowed on them.””Any aberration on this exercise resulting in deprivation even by mistake has to be owned up with responsibility to create a sense of accountability to honour a citizen,” it ruled.

Gandhian philosophy can tackle terrorism, global warming: PM Narendra Modi

The Prime Minister, on the third and last day of his China visit, invoked Mahatma Gandhi and said solutions to the major crises of the present world — terrorism and global warming — lie in his teachings.

Modi interacting with students at Fudan University

Pitching for cooperation between India and China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the two should together touch new heights of progress to eliminate poverty which will benefit the entire world as one-third of global population lives in the two countries.Launching the Centre for Gandhian & Indian Studies at Fudan University here, he said India and China have historical and civilizational ties and they can together create a world that serves the humanity.The Prime Minister, on the third and last day of his China visit, invoked Mahatma Gandhi and said solutions to the major crises of the present world — terrorism and global warming — lie in his teachings.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is said that 21st century belongs to Asia. One-third of the world population belongs to these two countries. So if India and China work together to eliminate poverty, one-third of the global population will be rid of this problem which will be beneficial for the entire world,” Modi said addressing the students and faculty of the University in Hindi.”Therefore, India and China should together touch new heights of progress involving sensitivity towards humanity and philosophy of Lord Buddha and experiments of Mahatma Gandhi so that we can give to the world a system which is dedicated to welfare of humanity,” he said.Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said, “The world today is going through two major crises — global warming and terrorism. Solutions to both lie in Gandhi’s teachings. Gandhi still relevant.””Mahatma Gandhi may have been born in a corner of India but he was a global citizen,” Modi said, adding that the apostle of peace could have shown the way out of the crises that the world is going through today.

Defamation laws: SC seeks opinions of Centre, others on PIL

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre and the Delhi government on a plea challenging the constitutional validity of penal provisions relating to defamation and the city government’s recent circular on the issue.

A bench of justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant issued notice to the Ministry of Law and Justice and Delhi government on the plea of a Thane-based former judge and advocate.

AFPAFP

AFP

Vijay Pandurang Patil has also sought setting aside of the 6 May circular issued by the Delhi government on filing of defamation cases against media houses for any news that causes damage to its reputation or that of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his council of ministers.

The apex court, however, has already stayed the circular on an application filed by senior advocate Amit Sibal and asked the city government to explain why it was issued.

The bench tagged the matter with other pending bunch of petitions on the matter and listed it for hearing on 8 July.

Patil, a former Judicial Officer, has sought directions to declare sections 499 (defamation) and 500 (punishment for defamation) of the IPC as “unconstitutional” saying it violates fundamental rights of the citizens.

These penal provisions are threat to the freedom of speech and expression, which disentitles citizens from expressing their views or opinions on the various important public issues, he said.

Patil has submitted that since he has “vast” legal experience, he is often called by various news channels for participating in discussions on social, cultural, administrative, governance and legal issues.

“Therefore, there is an immediate apprehension to the petitioner that if he will express any of his opinion or view or criticise any state action, policy, decision or state official then he will be prosecuted under Section 499 and 500 of IPC for defamation,” the plea filed through advocate Sachin Patil said.

PTI

Bombay HC upholds jail term for 9 men who married off minors in 1994

The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction of nine people who acted like members of a “Khap Panchayat” in a village of adjoining Raigad district and forcibly married off a boy and a girl, both minors, against wishes of their parents in 1994.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction of nine people who acted like members of a “Khap Panchayat” in a village of adjoining Raigad district and forcibly married off a boy and a girl, both minors, against wishes of their parents in 1994.”Every person has a right to choose his/her partner. In a child marriage, on decision taken by a Panchayat, such right to choose is violated if it (marriage) is performed,” said Justice Mridula Bhatkar in a judgement on April 29.The court was hearing the appeal of the nine people who had challenged their conviction. They had been sentenced to different jail terms under Child Marriage (Restraint) Act and IPC for kidnapping the boy and the girl.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to prosecution, the accused had objected to the boy and the girl meeting quite often in the village and asked their mothers to get them married. However, the parents refused because the two were minors. VillagePanchayat members then forcibly took away the girl and the boy from the custody of their parents and got them married on January 9, 1994. Not just this, the mothers of the two were also fined Rs 750 each by the Panchayat members. Hence, the men were also found guilty of extortion apart from kidnapping.Upset with the wedding, the girl’s mother lodged a complaint with the police which probed the case and filed a charge sheet. The case was tried in a Sessions Court which sentenced the accused to jail terms ranging from 15 days to 2 years on various charges.”The accused unfortunately believed that meeting by young persons of opposite sex and talking with each other or having an affair is immoral and harmful to the society. Therefore, they could not digest the friendship and openness between the girl and the boy, and compelled them to marry,” observed Justice Bhatkar.However, the Judge reduced the quantum of sentence awarded to them by the trial court to up to one month only.”Though it is a case of kidnapping and extortion, it is also (reflection) of regressive and orthodox social norms existing at that time in the village,” she noted. The defence lawyer, S Malik, argued that proof of age submitted by the girl was doubtful. He also said the Sessions Court had no jurisdiction to try a child marriage case, which should have been heard only by a Magistrate.The lawyer argued that it was only an engagement since the marriage was not performed as per Hindu rites. However, the HC observed that “even if the function was an engagement, the submissions were not convincing.”

What if Mukesh Singh raped his wife? Marital rape reveals our gross double standard on sexual violence

by Gaurav Pandhi

Two months ago, we were busy debating if the documentary by BBC on the Delhi gang rape of 2012 should be banned or not. In my view, as I also wrote it here, there was a call for it to be banned because we didn’t want to accept that a rapist – that was being given airtime – thinks exactly like most in our society.

India was not ready to come to terms with the fact that a rape can be justified by our society.

Where Mukesh Singh, the convicted rapist, had a justification for one kind of rape, the government now has a justification for a different variety: ie.marital rape.

Our government of the people, for the people, by the people.

Reuters image.Reuters image.

Reuters image.

“Rape” is defined as “the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse or any other form of sexual penetration with the offender against their will”. The government, however, obstinately insists on giving immunity to the man if his victim is his wife.

Minister (MoS Home Affairs), Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, suggests that due to factors such as level of education/ illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs etc., marriage is a sacrament, etc. in India. Therefore, marital rape cannot be criminalised. In short, marriage is a license for the man to rape his wife.

The justification offered by the Honorable minister – much as the justifications offered by Mukesh Singh – vindicates my view that in our society, rape is acceptable. There is certainly a distinction made with regard to circumstances, but the collective conscience of our nation validates rapes.

Today, while we have effective safeguards for married women to protect them from physical abuse and dowry, it is mind-boggling that we refuse to save them from sexual abuse. ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme has been initiated by the present government to save the girl child and provide education. But what does it mean to educate our girls before marriage, and yet leave them powerless to save themselves from being raped after marriage.

The reasons suggested by the government in defense of the marital rapes are the same as those parroted by the khap Panchayats to support their horrific unconstitutional decrees. And the arguments given by those accused of honor killings. And yet the latter inspire outrage while marital rape evokes, at best, ambivalence.

We are outraged at the increasing number of rapes across the country, yet remain quiet or complacent when it occurs within marriage.

Most of the rapes go unreported and the actual number could be far more alarming. But how about this bloodcurdling fact: according to the latest National Family Health Survey, husbands commit the majority of the acts of sexual violence in India. Out of the total number of rapes reported to NFHS, 97.7 percent were committed by spouses of the victim.

Sexual consent is the right of every woman – married or unmarried – as much as of men, and nonconsensual sex should be treated exactly the same, regardless of the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim. The absence of a law to safeguard the same is a human right violation and unjust towards women in the world’s biggest democracy.

Reyhaneh Jabbari was recently hanged in Iran for killing a man who tried to sexually abuse her. In India, Reyhaneh would have been hailed as a hero for fighting back. But how many of us would be as eager to celebrate her if she was married and the offender was her husband?

If the above analogy immediately triggered in your mind, even for a nano-second, an instant rejection because “the circumstances” are different”, you should know there’s a problem with your mindset. Somewhere inside, you believe that a husband raping his wife is “different.”

Every woman has the right to retaliate against nonconsensual sex and it doesn’t matter who the offender is.

We never accept the idea of women marrying their rapist — a practice we condemn as belonging to the Middle Ages. Right? Then how can we accept that the law expected women to live with their rapists and get raped again and again? Why is the response different? It shows the diffusion of patriarchal customs and mindset in our society – in both men and women.You’ll find that inner khap panchayat in us all.

PMK wants Tamil Nadu to investigate into Chittoor encounter

This probe panel should comprise police officers, advocates and human rights activists among others, party founder S Ramadoss said.

S Ramadoss

PMK on Friday asked the Tamil Nadu government to hold a detailed investigation into the status of those people who left the state to work as daily wage labourers in Andhra Pradesh against the backdrop of Andhra Pradesh police gunning down 20 woodcutters alleged to be red sanders smugglers.This probe panel should comprise police officers, advocates and human rights activists among others, party founder S Ramadoss said in a statement here. He said relatives of those who had gone to Andhra Pradesh to work in the construction industry from Villupuram and Dharmapuri districts had complained that their whereabouts were not known even as there were allegations that the red sanders mafia had held many of them as bonded labourers.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Therefore, Tamil Nadu government should hold a detailedinvestigation into the status of those who left Tamil Nadu to work as daily wage labourers in Andhra Pradesh. The government should prepare a list of such persons and find out if they arelodged in prison or held as bonded labourers by red sanderssmugglers or had been killed,” he said.Expressing concern over the gunning down of the 20 people by Andhra Pradesh police, he slammed the police personnel for their ‘brutality’ and criticised the state government for backing them.He also alleged that the victims were tortured before and after their death, referring to burn marks and other injuries on their bodies.

Alphonso mangoes now back in Europe after one-year ban

The King of the Konkan – the Alphonso mango – is back in Europe after the European Union (EU) lifted the one-year ban on the fruit. The United Kingdom (UK) and New Zealand remain major importers of the fruit

Following the lift of the European Union (EU) ban on Indian mangoes earlier this year, exporters are all set for business with the onset of mango season.Sanjay Pansare, director at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), told dna that the organisation is now exporting three tonnes of Alphonso (haapus) mangoes to Europe.”The ban was imposed when flies were detected. That damaged business, and farmers were unable to get good prices for their produce. Most Indians abroad buy the Alphonso.The Gulf is a major importer,” he said.Pansare said the best lots sell for Rs400-800 a dozen. “There is a short supply and rates are high, as hail storms and unseasonal rainfall destroyed mango orchards, particularly in Konkan. The supply will dry up by May, so those who love haapus should start eating it now itself,” he added.Europe had imposed a ban on Indian mangoes last year after fruit flies were found in some consignments.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dinesh Patil, a farmer from Konkan, said that Konkan mangoes are fruit fly-free. “We grow mangoes in a healthy atmosphere and don’t use excessive pesticides and chemicals. There are also no other vegetable or pesticide-absorbing crops grown near mango orchards. Therefore, the quality of Konkan mangoes is better than those in other regions,” said Patil, adding that the image of the Alphonso got sullied because exporters mix other mango types with Konkan mangoes.Navi Mumbai resident Sanjay Kamble told dna he had not yet had any mangoes this year.”The prices are high and the quality is not. Besides, vendors have not even started selling the fruit. We have to either go to the main market or APMC to buy them,” he said.

Pakistan evacuates 11 Indians along with 148 Pakistanis from Yemen

Pakistan on Saturday said it has evacuated 11 Indians along with 148 Pakistani citizens from strife-torn Yemen’s southeastern city of Mokallah, which is now almost entirely under control of al-Qaeda militants.

Pakistan on Saturday said it has evacuated 11 Indians along with 148 Pakistani citizens from strife-torn Yemen’s southeastern city of Mokallah, which is now almost entirely under control of al-Qaeda militants.The PNS Aslat has set off for Pakistan after successfully evacuating 148 citizens and 35 foreigners, including 11 Indians, from Mokallah, the Foreign Office said. The PNS Aslat, despatched earlier, arrived in Mokallah yesterday. The roads leading to the port had been closed.”Therefore, through a discreetly planned exercise, the operation was switched to nearby Ash Shihr port and 148 Pakistanis have been safely evacuated, earlier today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”35 other foreign nationals also requiring emergency evacuation are also on board. These include 8 Chinese, 11 Indians and 4 British citizens. The ship will arrive at Karachi on April 7,” the FO said in a statement. Mokallah, the capital of Yemen’s south-eastern Hadramawt province, was now almost entirely under control of militants of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), after they stormed a jail and freed 300 inmates a day earlier.

WHO recommends annual vaccination as most effective solution to combat swine flu

Kolkata: Annual vaccination is the most effective solution for combating seasonal influenza infections such as swine flu, which has killed more than 1,200 people this year in India, the World Health Organisation has said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“It is recommended that people get a flu vaccine even during seasons when drifted viruses are circulating. It’s because vaccination can prevent some infections and can reduce serious ailments that can lead to hospitalisation and death,” stated the Geneva-based agency.

The flu vaccine has been designed to protect against three or four influenza viruses and some of these viruses may circulate later in the season, the WHO said in a report.

On the growing number of influenza cases around the world, WHO said, “This season (2014-15), influenza appears to be widespread and relatively severe in many parts of the world mainly because of an antigenic drift in influenza A (H3N2) viruses in the community leading to a mismatch between the Influenza A virus (antigen) in the current northern hemisphere flu vaccine and those circulating in the community.

“As a consequence, the northern hemisphere seasonal flu vaccines are slightly less effective than in previous years. The problem is emphasised in North America and parts of Europe, where predominantly the A influenza virus is circulating this season.”

In India, the predominant influenza virus circulating this season is not the A (H3N2) but the A (H1N1) pdm09 or swine flu, WHO stated. Fresh casualties have driven the swine flu toll past the 1,200-mark while more than 23,000 cases of the disease have been reported in the country.

The nationwide toll from swine flu stands at 1,239 while the state-wise data shows Gujarat to be the worst affected with more than 300 casualties.

According to the Union Health Ministry, as on 4 March, the number of those who have contracted the disease has reached 23,153.

“Respiratory viruses, including influenza, commonly occur in the winter with the potential to cause large epidemics, even pandemics crossing the globe. The H1N1 virus that caused the pandemic in 2009 is now a regular human flu virus and continues to circulate seasonally worldwide,” added WHO.

Seasonal influenza viruses can cause mild to severe illness and even death, particularly in some high-risk individuals, including pregnant women, the very young and very old, immune-compromised people and people with chronic underlying medical conditions.

According to WHO, healthcare providers and workers need to ensure that all persons with symptoms of respiratory infection adhere to respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette and hand hygiene throughout the duration of their visit to healthcare facilities.

Physicians also need to know and watch out for emergency warning signs – like difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, coughing of coloured sputum, severe or persistent vomiting, altered level of consciousness, confusion – as these require immediate medical attention.

“We have been continuously advocating augmenting of influenza surveillance, outbreak preparedness and response as well as recommending influenza vaccination among high-risk groups,” WHO said.

States must continue their surveillance for influenza-like illnesses as well as acute respiratory infections and carefully review any unusual patterns, WHO recommended.

“Seasonal influenza viruses evolve continuously, which means that people can get infected multiple times throughout their lives. Therefore, the components of seasonal influenza vaccines are reviewed frequently (currently biannually) and updated periodically to ensure continued effectiveness of the vaccines,” it said.

PTI

352 Indian prisoners lodged in Pakistani jails: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: The number of Indian prisoners, including fishermen, in Pakistani jails as on date is 352, the government said on Wednesday.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Lok Sabha that as per Agreement on Consular Access between India and Pakistan, 2008, both the countries have exchanged on 1 January, this year lists related to prisoners.

In a written reply, she said that as per the list given by Pakistan on 1 January, 2015, there were 50 civil prisoners and 476 fishermen believed to be Indian in Pakistani custody.

As per the list handed over to Pakistan, there are 253 Pakistani civil prisoners and 132 Pakistani fishermen in India’s custody, she said.

“In addition to the above, one civil prisoner and 172 Indian fishermen were released by Pakistan on 16 February, 2015. One prisoner mentioned in the Pakistani list of 1 January, 2015 was initially believed to be India, but was later found to be from Nepal. Therefore, the number of Indian prisoners, including fishermen, in Pakistani jail as on date is 352,” Swaraj said.

As per details shared by the Minister, in 2014, Pakistan had released 185 Indian fishermen and six civil prisoners. The number of Pakistani civil prisoners released by India in 2014 was 26 in addition to 74 Pakistani fishermen, who were also released.

PTI

‘Women should be empowered on economic and political front’, says Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday emphasised on the need to empower women on economic and political fronts to realise the goal of social development.”Today, we have forgotten what social development is.If we cannot develop the society, we cannot expect the country to develop. We have to keep our focus on bringing in reforms for society.”When we concentrate on uplifting women, society will automatically develop. Only giving political power to women will not suffice. We have already done that. Women continue to have reservation in Parliament. Giving economic power to women is the need of the hour,” he said.The minister was addressing a gathering of students here on the 64th Annual Convocation of SNDT college.Prabhu noted that for overall development of women, they need to be given economic as well as political empowerment.”No husband in the country will dare raise his hands on a woman who has money in her hands. Therefore, it is necessary that women get basic and higher education, which will enable them to earn and become independent,” he said.The Railway Minister said that only education can make us realize how ignorant we are of our surroundings.”The more you learn, the more you realize how ignorant you were. There is no stipulated time for learning new things.Our endeavor should be to keep learning as long as we live,” he said.”People think a magic wand will solve all their problems. But this is not true, there is no magic. It is only education that is the solution to problems,” he said.”South East Asia is ranked almost at the bottom of Human Development Index of United Nations. But see the irony, the United States of America, which is among the top nations of the world is yet to see a woman President. While countries like India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have all had women ruling their respective countries. This shows women can go out and make a difference if they wish to,” he added. Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidaysagar Rao and State Education minister Vinod Tawde were also present at the event.

US keen that money given to Pakistan is rightly spent, say experts

Major General (retd.) S.R. Sinho on Monday said that US Secretary of State John Kerry is visiting Pakistan because Washington is providing aid to Islamabad and they want to ensure that the money is rightly spent. “Definitely John Kerry’s coming to Pakistan is planned because firstly the U.S.A. Government is providing aid to Pakistan. They want to ensure that the money is rightly spent. Second thing is that the terrorist groups are creating a lot of trouble inside Pakistan. They are being held by the Pakistan Government as well,” said Major General (retd.) Sinho. “The U.S.A. has realised the long-term strategy that these terrorist groups inside Pakistan will also become uncontrollable and they will become the biggest headache for the United States Government and also for Afghanistan. Therefore, to sort out the matter he is coming to Pakistan in this connection,” he added. Major General (retd.) Sinho further said the United States must know that Pakistan is not feeding the correct information to them. “Therefore, he wants to discuss with the Pakistan Government and make it very clear that they will only come if Pakistan assures that they will take suitable action against these terrorist groups,” he added. Security expert Qamar Agha echoing similar sentiments said that Kerry is one leader who has been supporting Pakistan in military establishment for quite some time. “Kerry is one leader who has been supporting Pakistan in military establishment for quite some time. And the Pakistan military is involved in some operations against those militants who have turned against the Americans, in Waziristan area,” said Agha. He also said that Pakistan is presently having a selective approach. “They are involved in operations against those terrorists who have challenged the Pakistan Army or turned against the Americans but allowing other militant organisations to carry on their operations against India in Kashmir or other countries,” he added. The security expert also made it clear that there is no change in Pakistan’s basic policy of strategic depth in which Islamabad is using militancy to gain influence in Central Asia, Afghanistan or in Kashmir. “Pakistan is also continuing with the policy of ‘Bleed India’ and waging proxy war with the help of these militants. They may have some operations conducted against militants who are against Americans. They are paid for it,” he added. Kerry is scheduled to visit Pakistan later this month to hold the strategic dialogue in Islamabad.