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Almost 53% Delhiites feel okay with undergoing cosmetic surgery to improve looks

From smoothening the skin and erasing wrinkles to getting a sculpted physique or a slim waist, the desire to look like a magazine cover model is not just a teenage whim anymore.A recent study, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and Consciousness of Appearance Survey-2015, has revealed a growing aspiration amongst residents of Delhi-NCR across all age groups to look their sharpest. While 41% of the women surveyed believe that cosmetic surgery is the most effective way to reshape the body, the men were not behind as 37 % of them agreed it was so.Also, 47% of the women and 42 % of the men who took part in the survey believe that plastic surgery helps attract potential partners. As many as 52 % of the women respondents felt that plastic surgery helps increase professional opportunities while among men, 37 % believed so.The survey, which was conducted online from October 10 to 24, covered 709 people (193 men and 516 women) aged 25 years and older, including employed professionals, housewives, students and retired professionals.While 51.7 % of the respondents agreed or somewhat agreed that there has been a shift in the attitude of Indians towards plastic surgery, 50 % of them said that they would consider going for plastic surgery in the future.More than half of those who took part in the survey, 53 %, believe that spending money on improving one’s appearance is an investment. The report was released by the Department of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at Max Super Speciality Hospital here.”Cosmetic surgery has existed in India for more than four decades now, but Indians continued to refer to it in hush-hush tones. “53 % of the people surveyed view cosmetic surgery as an investment. This is definite proof that people are now looking at plastic surgery as a valid scientific means of improving appearance,” said Dr Sunil Choudhary, Director, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at the hospital, who had conducted the survey.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Modi in Russia: PM Modi takes a jibe at Opposition, says ‘some people always count problems’


Asserting that India is making attempts to resolve these problems, he said ,”results in this direction are now showing up”.

In an apparent swipe at his detractors back home, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said some people only cry about problems while his government was trying to resolve them. “Yes we also face problems but we are not those who will only cry about the problems. We are finding solutions to the problems we face. “There are some people who all the time are engaged in counting problems,” he said while addressing a ‘Friends of India’ event here. Asserting that India is making attempts to resolve these problems, he said ,”results in this direction are now showing up”. While Modi did not elaborate, he was apparently referring to problems being repeatedly highlighted by Opposition parties. His remarks to a gathering of about 3,000 against the backdrop of the NDA government’s attack on the opposition for stalling the crucial reforms legislations like the GST during the just concluded Parliament session. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Christmas 2015: Shopping destinations to look out for


Listing out the best Christmas markets, this article will take you around a merry trip across India.


With Christmas just around the corner, the various shoppers’ stops are decked with Christmas decoratives. Below is the list of some famous destinations in India, for Christmas shopping:1. Shops and Carnivals in Delhi :The various embassies in India like German, Australian etc. host Christmas markets in the capital of nation on Christmas. While old Delhi is filled with markets selling various Christmas decorations, others like Dilli Haat and malls in Saket and Connaught Place are no behind. You can also checkout carnivals in Rajouri Garden.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Who can forget Goa:It’s Christmas and what better place to shop, than Goa! From Anjuna Flea Market to Arpora & Margao, Tibetan and Calangute markets, there is a plethora of shops selling Christmas decorations and goodies. You just need to be a wise shopper.
3. Bangaluru is no way behind:The IT city is another shopping destination with so many markets flooded with Christmas trees and beautiful decorations. While you get the best Christmas trees at Chikpet and Vellara junction, others like Thippasandra, Commercial Street and Russell Market in Shivaji nagar also offer various Christmas decorative’s.
4. From hill road to Crawford, Mumbai has much more:Mumbai, amidst the noise, hosts an ocean of markets that offer the best of Christmas varieties. The famous suburb, Bandra, is decorated beautifully for Christmas. You can find Christmas trees, bells, decoratives, Santa hats, goodies, etc. on Hill road and Linking road. While the Abdul Rehman Street on Crawford market offers the best Christmas trees, others like IC Colony Borivali, Elphinstone College and Cuffe Parade etc. also offer the various Christmas treats. All these Christmas markets, organised by the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, offer an awesome street shopping experience wherein you can bargain and grab a decent deal.
5. Kolkata’s magnificent markets:The City of Joy also offers variety of shopping on Christmas. The famous markets in Kolkata are at the Mirza Ghalib Street, Park Street and New Market. You can surf in through these markets that are beautifully decorated and host some Christmas carols, carnivals etc. You can enjoy the mesmerising music with some good food post-shopping.
6. Kerala – A Shopper’s Paradise on Christmas:Christmas is in the air throughout God’s Own Country and shops are no less than paradise for the shopaholics. While the Broadway Market in Kerala, is one of the favourite destinations, you can find a range of shops on Bazaar Road, Jew Street around Fort Kochi and the ones that spread from Marine drive to Menaka.
7. European Style Markets in Pondicherry:If you want to check out some European flavoured markets on Christmas, then the Lycée français de Pondichéry​, is the place. You can also try out the Christmas markets on MG Road and Mission Street and feel a little European, while you do it.
8. The various bazaars of Shillong:The North-East part of Indian is not far behind when it comes to shopping destinations on Christmas. You can see the various famous streets of Shillong are buzzing on Christmas. You can find the various Christmas decorations at Barra Bazaar, Kyndailas, Police Bazaar and GSS Road. From markets stocked with Christmas decoratives to the Shillong Christmas Festival, Christmas in Shillong is indeed a grand affair.
So you can check out some of these awesome markets and make your Christmas merrier.

Open fire in Delhi court killing a constable and injuring main target

A gang of four persons were involved in an open firing in Delhi’s northeast district’s Karkardooma court injuring their main target — an undertrial named Chennu Pehelwan alias Irfan – and killing Ram Kumar Meena – the head constable who was accompanying Irfan on Wednesday. Irfan, originally from Meerut, is a history sheeter with more than 16 criminal cases lodged against him in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. He was brought to court on Thursday in a firing case that took place earlier this year. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to eyewitness accounts and police reports, at 11:15 am, Irfan’s matter – item no. 27, in the court had just concluded in criminal court number 73 in front of Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Gupta. The judge had asked the defence lawyer Saquib Qureshi to present the plaintiff in court after lunch the same day. As the group, including constable Meena, the plaintiff and the defence lawyer, was exiting, two persons fired around eight rounds in an attempt to kill Irfan. People inside the courtroom, numbering more than 30, started ducking and diving behind cupboards to escape the bullets. While Irfan sustained injuries, Meena was hit by five bullets to the chest and was killed in the crossfire. According to unconfirmed reports, a court clerk was also injured, whereas the bullets whizzed past the judge’s head narrowly missing him. While the two shooters were caught instantly, two others, who were lying in wait outside Gupta’s courtroom no. 73 immediately attempted to flee. Along the way they threw their weapons by the main staircase near the toilets to avoid getting caught. However, people from the crowd and a few brave lawyers gave a chase and captured the absconders. “The four suspects — all suspected to be minors — are in police custody and undergoing interrogation,”said B Gujar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East). One of the minors is also suspected to be a history sheeter with a murder case pending against him. Had the president promulgated the Juvenile Justice Act which was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, the four arrested would have been the first to be prosecuted under it. Meanwhile the Delhi government announced Rs1 crore compensation for the family of the constable who died in the firing.Bystanders present at the time recounted the events to this dna reporter as they unfolded. According to various sources inside the court, there were 62 matters before lunch in courtroom number 73 which mostly handles criminal matters. Hence, the court was filled with at least 20-25 people. “When the firing began, everybody started running helter-skelter. Some even barged in courtroom number 74 – which is exactly opposite the crime scene,” said a court clerk present at the time. “I was busy serving tea to four-five customer when I heard the shots echo, then immediately after, I saw a group of people charging down the stairs followed by police personnel,” says Chandan Pandey, a tea vendor who sits on the fourth floor. The firing took place on the fifth floor of the building. With the crime rate on the rise, and the question of juveniles and crime being a debated subject, the question of security is a matter of grave concern. When one visits the Karkardooma court, one must walk through a metal detector and get the bags scanned. Ironically, right next to the scanner, there is a huge signboard stating “No weapons or photography allowed inside the court premises.” Even the pat down and the frisking performed by security personnel at the main entrance is inept and ineffectual. According, to a police statement, the four suspects were able to sneak in their weapons since their entered from the gates closest to the lawyers parking lot, where the security is inadequate. The under trials brought to court – be it a petty offence, or a high risk prisoner like Irfan, constable merely escort them around by simply holding their hands. There are around 80 police personnel manning and securing the entire court premise where as on the fifth floor, one could count six CCTV cameras – one in the centre of the floor area while the rest were focused on the entrance at the main staircase. According to the police, Irfan and the four suspects belonged to rival gangs and the shootout was gang related.

Quota row: Baba Ramdev faces protest by Patel youths over alleged statement


Ramdev, who is in Surat since three days to take part in a mass yoga camp in Puna Gaam area, later held a press conference and claimed that the youths had been misled by a “false” media report

Baba ramdev

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Wednesday faced the wrath of Patel community youths who stormed the venue of his camp in Surat and protested against his alleged statement over the quota issue.Ramdev, who is in Surat since three days to take part in a mass yoga camp in Puna Gaam area, later held a press conference and claimed that the youths had been misled by a “false” media report. While addressing students at a function in the city two days ago, Ramdev had reportedly advised the Patel youths, who are agitating for reservations in OBC category, to think of the country first.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Every citizen, be it Patidar (Patel), Kshatriya or Brahmin, should first think about his country, not about himself,” he was quoted as saying in a media report. This morning, about 50 youths stormed the venue of the camp, shouted slogans and sought an apology from him.”These Patidar boys got angry because of a false media report. I met them afterwards and showed them CD of that program to clear the misunderstanding. I never spoke such words. I also said so from the dais when they were protesting. They are like my children,” said Ramdev. “After meeting me they were satisfied. There are no differences between me and the Patel community,” Ramdev said.

Here is how you can help 2,000 women displaced in Mumbai’s Kandivali fire


While food, clothes, water supply and even books for school children, as always a primary health aid for women – sanitarty napkin got ignored. An NGO working on the ground provided the pads for some time, but that did not prove to be enough.

The fire that engulfed Kandivali’s Damu Nagar and destroyed 2,000 homes has left the residents deprived of basic amenities. While the state government embarrassed itself by giving the victims a mere Rs 3,800, help from the public has come in droves. While food, clothes, water supply and even books for school children, as always a primary health aid for women – sanitary napkin got ignored. An NGO working on the ground provided the pads for some time, but that did not prove to be enough. Now, iamin.in along with Bridge India a Mumbai-based not-for-profit organisation have joined hands to raise funds to buy 4000 packets of sanitary pads which will help at least 2000 young girls and women. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read- Kandivali fire: Iamin raises funds for women and children of Damu Nagar slumThe sanitary napkins will be bought from social entrepreneurs who make them for the Damu Nagar slum community. Bridge India will distribute the napkins within the community while iamin.in will monitor, document and publish the utilisation of funds and distribution of aid and keep the contributors informed.Here is how you can chip in for the initiative.

Failure of government’s policies fuelling price rise: Opposition in Lok Sabha


Government on Tuesday came under attack from the opposition on the issue of price rise with members alleging failure of its macro-economic policies in controlling the spiralling prices particularly of pulses.Citing examples of onion, pulses and tomatoes, TMC MP Saugata Roy said although the government says that inflation has come down, but the prices of essential commodities have continued to rise.He said the government has not been able to pass on the benefit of declining global fuel prices to the consumer. “There is a problem with macro-management. Fuel prices have gone down, but rather than passing on the benefit to people, the Finance Minister sees fuel as a milch cow,” Roy said during a debate on price rise in the Lok Sabha.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On pulses, he said the government should ensure timely import of the commodity in order to keep the prices under control. “I think one major step would be import on time and that too from countries which are closer to ours, like Myanmar,” he said, adding that pulses prices are already very high and was expected to be the steepest this year. Roy asked the government to elaborate the steps taken to boost the production of pulses and edible oil in order to contain their prices in the domestic market, saying there was no proper mechanism for procurement of pulses in the country.Demanding implementation of recommendation of the M S Swaminathan committee for establishment of “pulses villages”, he said farmers were not growing more pulses because of the huge price fluctuation. He said the government has reduced expenditure on agriculture sector and unless it is increased and said steps should also be taken to increase production of edible oil. He suggested that the Centre ask states to undertake dehoarding drive vigorously and take quick policy decision “because next year also, there will be problems”.BJD leader B Mahtab too said price rise was due to domestic structural problems. While the average prices of vegetables earlier were less than Rs 10, it was now not going below Rs 30. Observing that the problem of high pulses prices was “more manmade than natural”, he said traders were buying pulses from other countries and hoarding them and waiting for the domestic prices to rise.To this, Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said there was truth in this and the government was concerned over it.Paswan also sought suggestions to deal with the issue.

Decoding the ISIS threat to India


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

ISIS militant
File Photo

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

Happy to make Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’: Subramanian Swamy


While taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’, he also claimed that court declined exemption from appearance. “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty,” he further stated.

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy, petitioner in the National Herald case, said he did not oppose bail for Congress president Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi. He also dismissed Congress allegations that it was a case of personal vendetta against the Gandhis or other Congress leaders, saying he had never met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take any directions from him. “No one has told me anything to either slow down or pursue the National Herald case. I do not want any support from BJP or from anyone. I didn’t get support from my party during 2G scam also. I don’t need it,” he said. “I did not oppose bail today, only opposed exemption. Thus, the accused all produced bail for Rs 50 000. No exemption. No bail boast?” Swamy said in a tweet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While taking satisfaction that he ultimately made top Congress leaders ‘walk to the law’, he also claimed that court declined exemption from appearance. “My goal is not only to eliminate corruption but instill courage in ordinary citizen and fear in the high and mighty,” he further stated.”When Sonia and Rahul Gandhi came they were made to stand in a corner where the accused are supposed to be, they were not allowed to sit,” he further said. Later, in an interview to a TV channel, Swamy also hit out at suggestions that he has been accorded Z category security and government bungalow as a reward for pursuing the case. “Congress persons may be purchasable. I am a sanyasi. I don’t need houses,” he shot back.Responding to Congress’s criticism over the extension of ‘Z’ category security to him, Swamy said it was during former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao’s tenure that he was provided this protection, which was later curtailed by the UPA government.Speaking to reporters here, Swamy said that the Congress government led by Rao had provided ‘Z’ category security to him.That was later curtailed by the previous UPA government and made applicable only in a few states, he added.”When our (BJP) government came, they said this is injustice and again provided me the security that had been given to me during Rao’s tenure,” he said.”Now I don’t know if they (Congress) think Narasimha Rao was a BJP man,” he said.Swamy criticised the Congress for holding “processions and gatherings” ahead of Sonia and Rahul’s appearance in the court. “This taking out of processions, gathering of crowds… so many arrangements have to be made.With all this, a message would go out to the world that not all is equal in our country and democracy is not well-established.”I tell Congress, that is why your name is spoiled… you are losing this case, that is why you are doing all this. If you are winning, then go smiling to court,” Swamy said.—With agency inputs

Temperature drops to season’s lowest in Mumbai


“Mumbai is seeing clear skies, even as the night temperature is dipping further as the winds are turning from north easterly to northerly,” said VK Rajeev, forecasting director, IMD Mumbai.

Mumbai is finally shivering in chill. Friday was the coldest day this December, with minimum temperatures – from Santacruz – recording 14.1 degree Celcius. While weathermen claim that clear skies and northerly winds are responsible for the chill, the denizens are finding comfort in sweaters, shawls and windcheaters. On Friday, Colaba the maximum temperature of 31.2 degree Celcius while the minimum recorded was 19.3 degree Celcius, which was lower than that recorded on Thursday which was 20.5 degree. Meanwhile, the maximum temperatures recorded at Santacruz was 33.3 degree Celcius while the minimum recorded was 14.1 degree celcius lower than 15.6 degree celcius minimum recorded on Thursday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Mumbai is seeing clear skies, even as the night temperature is dipping further as the winds are turning from north easterly to northerly,” said VK Rajeev, forecasting director, IMD Mumbai. Weather officials had forecast that the temperatures were likely to dip this week, On Monday, Colaba recorded minimum of 23.0 degree Celsius while Santacruz saw the minimum temperature as 18.4 degree Celsius. Officials informed that in December 1949, temperatures had hit an all-time low of 10.6 degrees Celsius. Last December, the lowest recorded was 12 degrees Celsius.

BJP, RSS conspired to not allow Rahul Gandhi to enter Barpeta ?Satra: Tarun Gogoi

“While concluding the padyatra, Rahul entered the Satra to pay his respects and seek blessings…It was a conspiracy by RSS, who has infiltrated into Satras also,” Gogoi said

Rahul Gandhi in Assam

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday alleged that BJP and RSS had conspired to not allow Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to enter Barpeta Satra during his visit to the state.”They (BJP and RSS) had stationed a few women at the gate (to stop Gandhi) of the Satra yesterday,” he told newsmen here. Gandhi was on a two-day visit to Assam from December 11, which the chief minister described as a “grand success”.”We came to know about it in the morning itself and Rahul was also informed about this. We wanted to avoid a confrontation and so he did not pay a visit in the morning despite having women police with him. “While concluding the padyatra, Rahul entered the Satra to pay his respects and seek blessings…It was a conspiracy by RSS, who has infiltrated into Satras also,” Gogoi said, adding, an inquiry would be conducted into incident to find out who was responsible. He refuted allegations that land belonging to different Satras across the state are being encroached upon by illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Not a single Bangladeshi is on Satra land. If yes, I will resign. I have not received a single complaint from any Satradhikar. It is false propaganda by the BJP,” he added. To questions, Gogoi said his son and Lok Sabha member Gaurav would not be a candidate for the assembly polls scheduled for next year.”He (Gaurav) is not ready yet and he is not capable enough to become a chief minister. For that you need experience,” Gogoi told a press conference here.About Congress’ strategy for the polls, the chief minister said the party will contest alone and form the next government. “We will not go for any alliance. Our governance will be for rule of peace. We are also for a change, but change for development. We have done it in our tenure and this will be our thrust in the coming polls,” he added.

Not holding back: Virat Kohli hits out at ‘critics’ who have never played for the nation

Kohli is “hurt” that some of the former players, who have not even played for the country, give their opinion on international cricketers.

Virat Kohli

India’s Test captain Virat Kohli is unhappy that some of the former international cricketers have run down the team despite their comprehensive 3-0 win against South Africa in the recently concluded Test series.Kohli is “hurt” that some of the former players, who have not even played for the country, give their opinion on international cricketers. With Mohali and Nagpur Test matches on spin-friendly tracks ending inside three days, Kohli is certainly not amused with the kind of response he has got from former players, who have now become media pundits.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It obviously hurts when people who have played the game themselves make such comments. I am not saying all of them do it. Some of them understand the mindset of the players, having gone through similar situations in their careers. They lend you support, say the right thing and even help you with certain technicalities. But some people like to focus on the negatives. It feels bad as an Indian cricketer,” Kohli told ‘BCCI.TV’. He did pull back any punches while being critical of these former stars without naming anyone.”Growing up, you have looked up to these people and when you hear such comments from them you lose a bit of respect for them. It would be more respectful of them to come up and speak to a player individually if they feel there is some flaw that needs to be corrected,” the skipper was forthright with what he felt about the comments. While he still respects those who have played for the country, Kohli found it difficult to fathom as to how some former first-class cricketers who never played for the country made adverse remarks.”And someone who hasn’t played for the country has no right in anyway to comment on an international cricketer. I don’t think that has any kind of logic. You cannot sit there and say how you would have done something differently when you have not been in that situation yourself and don’t have the mindset of a cricketer,” Kohli, who won his second successive series as captain after the Sri Lanka triumph, said. As he has often repeated at media conferences, Kohli again expressed his displeasure at how the team has not been given their due credit despite such a handsome series win.”It is a pity. The series happened in our country and our own people are looking for weaknesses and areas of criticism, and not speaking enough about the kind of good cricket we played. They have been talking about the pitches and how that has been a factor,” Kohli said. “In this series, four of the top five run-getters were Indians. Top two wicket-takers were Indians. We have had no excuses, we played honest cricket and we got the results in our favour. We are proud of what we have done and how we have played,” he added.

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

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

Suzette Jordan

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

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu seeks global cooperation on rail security

He said there is a need to share information, ideas and best practices among countries to tackle the security issue.

Suresh Prabhu

Describing rail security as crucial and a much larger concern, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Wednesday said global cooperation is required to tackle the issue as railways is considered a soft target by terrorists.Speaking at a conference to discuss the issue of rail security, Prabhu said an attack on railways might be local but the motivation is global. “Whether the attack on trains and stations in Mumbai or at a bar in Paris, the motivation is same,” he said. The conference, organised by International Union of Railways (UIC), was attended by delegates from many countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that security threat to railways is a common problem, Prabhu said, “Railways is considered a soft target by terrorists. It is not possible to frisk everybody. If people want to target India, they will attack railways. Some countries may not like India to grow.”He said there is a need to share information, ideas and best practices among countries to tackle the security issue. Highlighting the importance of assessing threat perception and intelligence gathering, the Minister said, “With proper assessment, a strategy can be worked out. We need to gather security related information as it is crucial for dealing with it.”Prabhu said safety and security are two big priority issues for the railways.”While travelling, passengers expect good services as well as a safe and secure journey. So safety and security are important for railways. Both are very important globally. While safety is an inbuilt system for railway operation, security needs to be put in place,” he said.Referring to the ideology behind terror attacks, he said, “Security threat comes from misconceived ideology. What is happening is a global phenomenon. So we need to evolve holistic management to look at it.”UIC, established in 1922 for promoting rail transport worldwide, is on a mission to promote interoperability, standardisation of rail transport, increased cooperation and sharing of best practices, and to propose improved technical and environmental performance of rail transport among others.

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

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

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

300 persons prosecuted under Maharashtra’s beef ban law within 8 months

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
The state government on Saturday in its affidavit before the Bombay high court, provided the information that over 300 persons have been prosecuted under Maharashtra’s new beef ban law ever since March 2015, as reported by an English daily. The division bench consisting of Justices Abhay Oka and S C Gupte, was made aware about the conditions in the state right from when the law was brought into force to October, wherein 155 cases were lodged under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Act. While Amravati topped the list with 54 cases, Mumbai only registered two FIRs. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The cases registered were related to the sale or transport of bulls, bullock for slaughter as well as for possession of meat of a cow, bull or bullock. These charges are punishable with imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of Rs 10,000 and a jail term of one year and a fine of upto Rs 2,000 respectively. The High Court while hearing the petition, primarily focussed on section 5D, which criminalises possession of beef.While the petition filed by citizens of Mumbai stated that court needs to protect their rights, as they belong to “cultural minority”, who consume beef. Advocate general S G Aney and advocate Hiten Venegavkar, representing the state, said that, “India is a vast country and people have different cuisine as part of their daily food. Eating a particular food does not entitle the constitution of a minority… The state’s objective is not to impose a vegetarian regime.”The next hearing of this case has been scheduled for December 9.

Parliament panel dissatisfied at CSR fund spending

A parliamentary panel led by senior BJP MP Shanta Kumar, which expressed dissatisfaction at the current attitude of companies towards spending their mandatory 2% corporate social responsibility (CSR), believes that if all the 21,429 profit-making private companies in the country diligently contribute, the CSR kitty will add up to a whooping Rs 7-8 lakh crore annually.The 131 profit making public sector units (PSUs) alone last year have contributed Rs 3,683.73 crore.The panel, which also includes another senior BJP MP L K Advani, said in absence of an oversight and also lack of clarity within the Companies Act, the enterprises were frittering and at times, using this fund for marathons, sports activities and other publicity related gimmicks, rather in social programmes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When the government’s annual Plan spending is budgeted at Rs 4,65,277 crore, the addition of such large CSR amount will reduce poverty and raise lifestyles in geometric proportions, without even burdening the exchequer.“While many initiatives have been taken, the pattern of expenditure so far shows that it is not always targeted to the poorest or backward areas. We have, therefore, recommended that CSR should be clearly defined in the Act itself, to ensure allocations are spent for the specified activities,” said Shanta Kumar.The Companies Act of 2013 has made the CSR expenditure mandatory, but the second provision of Section 135 dilutes the spirit, saying if the company fails to spend specified amount, it can get away by just stating reasons for not spending the amount. If the funds are not spent in a year, they have been made lapsable for private companies while it remains non-lapsable for PSUs.The committee which scrutinized the CSR of PSUs also found 50% of allocations remaining unspent. In some cases, they spent them on their own employees and on their normal duties. For example, the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited spent CSR money on upgradation of passenger amenities, for which they have proper budget and is part of their duty. The panel has recommended that local masses and political representatives be involved to give feeling of ownership that would also solve problem of maintenance.The MPs further said that some 64 PSUs have been participating in PM Modi’s pet project Swachh Vidyalaya initiative, which has reported construction of 1.41 lakh toilets. But there is a lot of duplication and overlapping. Also, there is no foolproof mechanism of their maintenance, they said.

Sunil Paraskar gets relief in rape case; victim model says will move Bombay High Court

Paraskar, in July, 2015, had filed an application for discharge on the grounds that the allegations leveled against him were false and claimed that he had enough evidence to prove that the victim fabricated the case with an intention to implicate him and teach him a lesson.

Suspended police officer Sunil Paraskar was on Friday discharged from an alleged rape case which a 26-year-old model had slapped against him in May 2014. While the Dindoshi sessions court is yet to put out the detailed order copy, the victim said she would definitely approach the Bombay high court to seek justice. Paraskar, in July, 2015, had filed an application for discharge on the grounds that the allegations leveled against him were false and claimed that he had enough evidence to prove that the victim fabricated the case with an intention to implicate him and teach him a lesson.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Paraskar, who was represented by lawyers Rizwaan Merchant and B Jagtaap before the sessions court, in the discharge application asked, “Is it possible for a girl, who has been allegedly raped, to continue maintain a pally relationship with the accused and keep sending messages to him on a friendly note?” Stating that the entire case was false and fabricated, Advocate Jagtaap said, “We have evidence in the form of the video recording, produced by one of the lawyers who initially appeared on behalf of the victim, showing the victim – while discussing the case with the advocate – stating that she wants to fix the IPS officer permanently.” He further said the defence was quite clear while arguing the matter. “Our stand was that the evidence in the charge sheet is so weak that – even if the court proceeds with recording the evidence – the case would not culminate in conviction and proceeding with the case would be a waste of court’s precious time. The police had hurriedly registered the case without verifying the facts.” Meanwhile, the prosecution claimed that the entire act of balancing and evaluating the evidence would only come at the later state of trial. “Prima facie there was enough evidence. However, the decision of either approaching the higher authorities would be taken only after going through the detailed order copy,” the prosecution said. Paraskar had been charged with various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 376(2) (rape by a police officer), 376 C (intercourse by superintendent of jail, remand home, etc) and 354(D) (stalking), which the model had accused against the officer.

Chennai rains: Private carriers run rescue flights to Delhi, Bangalore

The Delhi-bound IndiGo flight (No 8002) landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at its domestic terminal early tonight.

Private airlines have also joined the rescue operations in rain-battered Chennai, with some of the carriers on Friday flying out hundreds of people from here to Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. “Some of the private airlines have started running a few relief flights from here to Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. One such flight flew about 130 rescued civilians to Delhi this afternoon,” a defence official here said. “While two flights flew in the morning to Hyderabad and Bangalore routes, one came in the afternoon and another at night,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi-bound IndiGo flight (No 8002) landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at its domestic terminal early tonight. Arakkonam Naval Base or INS Rajali is about 70 kms west of Chennai, and is currently being used as a makeshift airport due to closure of the Chennai Airport. Private airlines today made their makeshift counters here, near the tarmac, to facilitate ferrying of people. As per the schedule of civil flights from here, a copy of which is available with PTI, seven such sorties have been listed in it, including the Delhi-bound IndiGo flight.”A TrueJet flight and a SpiceJet flight left for Hyderabad and Bangalore respectively this morning, before the Delhi-bound IndiGo one, which left at in the afternoon. Two Air India, another IndiGo and SpiceJet flights are also scheduled,” he added. The Delhi-bound IndiGo left Arrakonam at about 2:20 PM and flew to Delhi via Bangalore, where it stopped over for refueling and also picked up a few commercial passengers as the seats were left empty. “An 180-seater aircraft took the rescued people and a few defence officials from Arrakonam. At Bangalore about 30 passengers boarded the flight,” a member of the air crew onboard the IndiGo’s Flight No 8002 said.”While another IndiGo flight is on the schedule, the last update I had was that they are not able to get adequate number of passengers for it. However, some of our staff are there, so they have to get back, so I believe it will fly anyway, but no confirmation as such on it,” she added.About 130 rescued citizens and an old French couple flew in this aircraft which reached Delhi at about 7 PM, with passengers letting out a loud cheer as the plane touched down in the national capital. The rescued people, which included about 70 university students were said to be flown in a C-17 Globemaster, but sources said, it couldn’t do it for lack of adequate passengers. However, defence officials did not conform if that was the original plan. A C-17 had carried over 100 people to Hyderabad yesterday.21-year-old Dehradun-native Kopal Gupta, who was onboard the Delhi-bound flight said, “I was so excited at the prospect of travelling in a C-17, but it came as a surprise, this civil flight. Though, I thank the private airlines for carrying us out of here in times of distress.” The C-17 was seen parked at the Base here, and a source said that it was being used to ferry teams of NDRF for the rescue operations.

Chennai floods: Fuel supply takes a hit across rain-hit city

Supply of fuel in Chennai has taken a hit due to “logistic problems” faced by oil companies, even as availability of essential commodities like milk, water and vegetables remain affected across Tamil Nadu on Friday.

Supply of fuel in Chennai has taken a hit due to “logistic problems” faced by oil companies, even as availability of essential commodities like milk, water and vegetables remain affected across Tamil Nadu on Friday.Since most of the places across Chennai and its suburbs have been cut off due to heavy rain, oil tankers were unable to transport fuel, according to Indian Oil Corporation officials.Absence of tanker drivers has compounded the problem.”There are stocks available for supply of fuel, but tanker drivers have not reported for work as their families were affected by the floods. It is the logistics problem we are facing now,” an IOCL spokesperson told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Motorists were seen standing in large queues for several hours at some fuel outlets where there was supply. The fuel supply maybe restored soon as water level was receding in several areas, the official said.Essential commodities, however, remained in scarce supply. While supply of state-run Aavin-milk packets were totally hit, a packet of one litre milk sold by private suppliers was priced at Rs 90, whereas 1 kg tomato was available at Rs 80/90.

Amid GST uncertainty, government-Opposition relations sour

The Selja issue has left a bitter taste in the Congress and united the Opposition against the government. While a way out is likely to be foundon Thursday to end the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the issue had paralysed business in the House till 3.30 pm.

Opposition members protest in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday

After the government and opposition struck conciliatory notes raising hopes on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, relations between the two sides took an acrimonious turn on Thursday.In Rajya Sabha, the government’s attempts to counter Congress member Kumari Selja’s statement that she faced discrimination as a dalit in the Beyt Dwarka temple had infuriated the Opposition. Meanwhile, Union minister VK Singh unleashed a counter-attack through five tweets on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who had taken him on during his speech in Lok Sabha on intolerance on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With GST bill on top of its agenda, the government had reached out to Congress leadership last week with Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting his predecessor Manmohan Singh and the opposition party’s President Sonia Gandhi. Modi had reached out to Opposition underlining the importance of consensus while making speeches in both houses of Parliament.The Selja issue has left a bitter taste in the Congress and united the Opposition against the government. While a way out is likely to be foundon Thursday to end the deadlock in Rajya Sabha, the issue had paralysed business in the House till 3.30 pm.The same day, VK Singh retaliated to Rahul Gandhi, who demanded his removal for allegedly comparing dalit children with dogs. Singh refuted the allegation of playing divisive politics saying he served in the army for 42 years putting his and his men’s lives on the line to protect the socio-economic and cultural fabric of the country.”Intriguing that Rahul Gandhi questions my absence from the Parliament, wonder how someone who vanished for 57 days earlier this year and has one of the poorest track records when it comes to attending the Parliament (43% in 2013), does so with a straight face,” Singh said.The sparring comes at a time when the GST ball is in the Congress’s court. In fact, the Congress is expected to get back to the government after Sonia Gandhi returns from the US on December 5.The government, which had given utmost priority to its legislative agenda in the session, had also asked MPs not to get provoked by the Opposition remarks as it was the responsibility of the ruling side to run the House.

Real dirt of India lies not on the streets but in ‘our minds’, says President Pranab Mukherjee

“Every day, we see unprecedented violence all around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. While we invent new modes of combating this ever spiralling violence, we must not forget the power of non-violence, dialogue and reason,” said President Pranab Mukherjee.

The real dirt of India lies not on the streets but in “our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into them and us”, President Pranab Mukherjee said in Ahmedabad on Tuesday emphasising on cleansing minds of divisive thoughts.Speaking at a function in Sabarmati Ashram here, Mukherjee cited Gandhiji’s vision of India as an inclusive nation where every section of population lived in equality and enjoyed equal opportunity and said the essence of being human is “our trust of each other”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Every day, we see unprecedented violence all around us. At the heart of this violence is darkness, fear and mistrust. While we invent new modes of combating this ever spiralling violence, we must not forget the power of non-violence, dialogue and reason,” he said.Mukherjee has been speaking against intolerance after the Dadri lynching incident and subsequent events.He said Ahimsa (or non-violence) is not a negative force and “we must free our public discourse of all forms of violence, physical as well as verbal. Only a non-violent society can ensure the participation of all sections of the people, especially the marginalised and the dispossessed in our democratic process.”The President said Gandhiji gave us an object lesson in Ahimsa by taking the assassin’s bullets with the name of Rama on his lips.Inaugurating the Archives and Research Centre at the Ashram, he said the real dirt of India lies not in our streets but in our minds and in our unwillingness to let go of views that divide society into ‘them’ and ‘us’, ‘pure’ and ‘impure’.”We must make a success of the laudable and welcome Swatch Bharat Mission.However, this also must be seen as just the beginning of a much larger and intense effort to cleanse minds and fulfil Gandhiji’s vision in all its aspects,” said Mukherjee, who is on three-day maiden visit to Gujarat.He said, “So long as the dehumanising practice of carrying night soil persists, we cannot have real Swacch Bharat”.Mukherjee said Gandhiji is not just the “Father of our Nation’ but also the maker of our nation as he gave us the moral vector to guide our actions, a measure by which we are judged.”Gandhiji saw India as an inclusive nation where every section of our population lived in equality and enjoyed equal opportunity.He saw India as a country which would celebrate and constantly strengthen its vibrant diversity and commitment to pluralism.”Gandhiji wanted our people to move forward unitedly in ever widening thought and action.And most of all, he did not want us to convert the celebration of his life and message into a mere ritual,” the President said.The real essence of Gandhiji’s legacy and its continuing resonance lies in his injunction to us that all our actions must keep in mind the last person.The last person in India is often a woman, a Dalit or an Adivasi.”We must constantly ask ourselves, do our actions have meaning for them?, he asked.Mukherjee said we must empower the poorest of the poor.”Everyone must act as trustees of collective welfare and wealth. The essence of being human is our trust of each other.The damage we see to the environment all around us- reminds us of the need for trusteeship, the President said.”Only those who are confident of their conviction, secure in their faith and rooted in their culture can hope to live in an open house, an open society.If we close ourselves in, seek to be immune from other influences, it shows that we are prepared to live in a house that is devoid of fresh breeze,” Mukherjee said.Remembering Gandhiji’s favourite Bhajan, “Vaishnava Jana To” which was being sung this morning as he entered ‘Hriday Kunj’ in the Ashram, he said this immortal hymn of Narsinh Mehta says the true devotee is one who is compassionate and moved by empathy for others.”This capacity for compassion and empathy is the true foundation of our civilisation,” Mukherjee said.Gandhiji used a very special word for civilisation, Sudhar (improvement). Sudhar is not just the good path or the right path but also that which holds human civilisation together. Let us pledge to join hands and build an India that truly exemplifies this Sudhar,” he added.

This Winter Session may see lesser paper in Parliament.

While most members favoured the move, some said it should be implemented gradually as not all members were comfortable with accessing online.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced steps taking the House closer to the goal of a paperless Parliament. At an all-party convened by her, Mahajan launched a refurbished version of the Lok Sabha website and said unstarred questions, bulletin-I, private members bills and annual reports would be made available online and not be given to every member in hard copy form. While most members favoured the move, some said it should be implemented gradually as not all members were comfortable with accessing online. Mahajan has set the target of a paperless Parliament as one of her priorities and was trying to evolve a consensus among members of Parliament on giving up paper and going online. As of now, questions are written or typed and sent to the table office and chosen through a lottery.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the last session being a washout, Mahajan has asked members to ensure “maximum decorum” to ensure “maximum debate” While Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the dinner later, among those present in the meeting were Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena’s Anandrao Adsul, E Ahmed of the Muslim League and Sudip Bandopadhyay of the TMC were among others present for the meeting.

Tipu Sultan was ‘Aurangzeb’ of south, says pro-RSS mouthpiece

“He was the Aurangzeb of South, who converted lakhs of people forcibly and was responsible for bringing down a large number of temples,” said an article in pro-RSS publication ‘Panchjanya’.

While blaming the BJP as being communal and anti-secular, Siddaramaiah has not hesitated to use the name of Hindu deities to gain political mileage,” it said.

Image Credit: Wikicommons
Highly critical of Karnataka government’s decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti to “appease” minorities, an article in ‘Panchjanya’ described him as ‘Aurangzeb’ of South who “forcibly” converted lakhs of people.Citing an eminent sage’s advice, articles in ‘Organiser’ suggested that government should steer clear of birth anniversaries of controversial personalities like Tipu and instead celebrate jayantis of Muslim personalities like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Sir Mirza Ismail, who was the Dewan of princely Mysore (and later Jaipur and Hyderabad). “Tipu has been a controversial figure. The sole purpose of celebrating Tipu’s jayanti was to polarise Muslim votes. It has triggered heated debate between his sympathisers and those opposing him. “Hindu organisations claim that Tipu was not a secular, but an intolerant and tyrannical ruler. He was the Aurangzeb of South, who converted lakhs of people forcibly and was responsible for bringing down a large number of temples,” said an article in pro-RSS publication ‘Panchjanya’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is a clear political angle as to why the Siddaramaiah government sponsored Tipu Jayanti. It is plain even to the most obtuse mind that it was aimed at wooing the Muslims,” said an article ‘Creating false icons’ in ‘Organiser’, brought out by RSS sympathisers. It was also critical of Siddaramaiah, saying he came to power sidelining hardcore Congress leaders calling himself the champion of the minorities, backward classes and the dalits. “He is the Karnataka version of Mulayam Singh Yadav or Lalu Prasad Yadav. A newcomer to the Congress, he is more of a Janata Dal politician. While blaming the BJP as being communal and anti-secular, Siddaramaiah has not hesitated to use the name of Hindu deities to gain political mileage,” it said.Another article ‘Pseudo tolerance’ in another pro-RSS publication said, “Four precious lives including that of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader were lost in Karnataka, while scores injured as Karnataka Government went ahead with its ‘ambitious’ programme of appeasing the minority community.” It further said,”While people questioned the need to organise the Jayanti for a king known more for his bigotry than tolerance, more for barbarianism than development, the state government had only one agenda — to appease the minority community.”It also said, “Congress, which claims to ‘preach the mantra of tolerance’, failed to understand the pulse of tolerant majority. “The Hindus had requested the government for a holiday on Gowri festival which it rejected. However, the same government had no regrets for loss of lives as the Chief Minister openly defended the action.”The articles said after the violence in Kodagu, Karnataka government should heed the sage advice of the revered Sri Vishveshvara Thirthi Swamiji of Pejawar Math in Udupi that the Government should steer clear of the birth anniversaries of controversial personalities like Tipu. “He suggested that instead it could celebrate the jayantis of great personalities among Muslims such as Maulana Abu Kalam Azad and Sir Mirza Ismail, who was the Dewan of princely Mysore (and later Jaipur and Hyderabad) and is held in high esteem for developing all the three princely States,” it said.Another article said people in several districts of the state stand divided on the issue whether Tipu, 18th century self-styled Mysore Sultan was a “Muslim bigot or a secularist” “What has triggered the debate, which is so far in the hands of half-baked historians and even the unlettered, is the action of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress Government of the state officially sponsoring the 265th birth anniversary of Tipu (1750-1799). “The Government has itself to blame for provoking the people leading to violence in Kodagu District and also some unseemly controversies,” it said.The article suggested that it is better that in future, Karnataka government does not repeat this year’s mistake by celebrating the Jayantis of Tipu or any other personality regarded as a tyrant by the people at large, rather than go by the views of secular historians who are swayed by today’s vitiated politics in the country.

Centre issued advisory after Paris attacks: But seven years after 26/11, states are yet to take security seriously

By Sunil Raman

Speaking after last week’s Paris attacks, the Union Home ministry announced that states had been directed to stay alert to security threats from terror groups and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis expressed confidence in the state police’s ability to keep peace in a state where memories of the attacks in Mumbai in 2008 are still alive.

Confidence of political leaders does help in reinforcing a sense of comfort among people. But mere statements before TV cameras do not essentially reflect the reality of the existing security infrastructure, intelligence gathering and sharing, manpower and most importantly commitment of state governments to growing threat to national security from groups within and outside India.

Most TV channels pegged their discussions post-Paris attacks on similarities that the pattern of attacks had with Mumbai in 2008. A few others used the news development to yet again focus on Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in India and the failure of US and Western powers to “rein in” Pakistani military establishment. Little has been said or discussed about the preparedness of states to pre-empt or tackle any kind of security threat. Have we learnt anything from 2008? Are we better prepared today?

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

After all it is the state governments that are eventually responsible for ensuring that their local security agencies are alert; there is effective inter-agency information sharing and co-ordination besides getting physical infrastructure and human resources in place.

Maritime security: A look at what has happened since 2008 Mumbai attacks reveals a sense of complacency both at Central, but largely at state levels. A draft Piracy Bill placed by the UPA government in 2012 lapsed as the Parliament did not take it up for discussion and passage; an essential piece of legislation that would demarcate legal territory for Navy and Coast Guard in the Coastal Security Bill that was drafted in 2013 has still not been tabled in either House of Parliament.

In response to a question on funds spent on coastal security since 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Rajya Sabha was informed in December last year that Rs 570 crore have been spent on coastal security in six years. While the Coast Guard secures waters off coastlines up to 200 nautical miles, beyond that is the responsibility of the Navy. The idea behind raising a maritime police force was to keep track of communities, people and any activity taking place along the coastline.

But states like Maharashtra with a 720 km-long-coastline over five districts continue to show a lethargic response to secure the area inspite of huge central funding. The Congress-NCP government and now BJP government seem preoccupied with politics to give such an important issue adequate attention. There are marine patrol boats which are rusting, there are inadequate number of marine police stations, inadequately trained staff, huge number of vacant posts and frankly, lack of government determination to safeguard coastline, according to a CAG Report released a few months ago.

In 2008, armed terrorists from Pakistan after hitting the coastline had unhindered access to hotels, train station and cafes in Mumbai. Later the central government took a number of decisions and initiated setting up of Coastal Command, funded 13 coastal states and union territories and set up radars to get real time intelligence on movement of ships.

Tamil Nadu, in turn, has done well but experts say everyday, thousands of small boats leave Rameswaram and it is near impossible to monitor them in the waters between Tamil Nadu coast and Sri Lankan waters.

There are around 75 small ports in different states with no basic security infrastructure yet. Small boats land there but no one is scanned. No one knows who comes and who goes.

Seven years later we still do not have an up-to-date databank of names of residents in coastal areas; the national register of citizens is far from complete.

If marine security initiatives have been slow to take root because state governments fail to appreciate and understand larger security issues, some other significant areas have also not got enough attention. Most of them treat security issues as ordinary policing activity and address individual incidents from narrow political interests. Every security incident has a larger impact and wider connection that needs to be addressed not by making political points though. At the end of the day, state governments have an important role in the implementation of national security strategy.

Policing: It remains bogged down in most states by local politics, staff shortage, diversion of cops for VIP duty and failure to use new technological solutions. For every one lakh people, India, on an average, has 106 policemen. If there are fewer men on ground then the failure to upskill them and use new technology has added to the challenge for tackling any kind of terrorist activity.

CCTV coverage: Most state governments including Delhi have invested little resources to provide CCTV coverage alongwith the ability to interpret real time data. Most cities faced with a terror threat have a robust CCTV coverage that helps police keep an eye on vulnerable areas. The extensive CCTV surveillance system in London has been operational for years with real-time interpretation of footage underway at a state of the art control room in Soho district. Facial recognition technology has also been put into use in several European cities now. In the seven years since the Mumbai attacks, state governments have not invested in technology or empowered counter-terrorism forces.

Evacuation procedure: In cities like Delhi, Gurgaon or Bangalore there are no evacuation procedures in place. In Gurgaon’s Cyber City, where many leading international companies have offices, there is little evidence of public-private partnership on sensitisation and education of procedures to evacuate buildings during a security threat.

Security in non-metros and state capitals: Barring areas where VIPs live, most other residential areas are left to the mercy of vigilant residents. Basic security infrastructure is absent and local police rely on informers and traditional methods for surveillance. Awareness of security challenges and mitigation are poor.

These glaring gaps need to be looked into and bridged by state governments who believe that the Central government is responsible for security issues. Over the years, the Central government held meetings with states to sensitise them about changing security environment and challenges posed by new terror groups, but a large number of states have not much to show even after seven years. While central agencies can share intelligence and provide financial assistance, states cannot shirk their responsibility. The Paris attacks should not just remain a topic of discussion on TV channels; they should galvanise state governments to review security preparedness and tighten loose ends.

The writer is a former BBC journalist

Ola to the rescue: Cab company offers boat service in flood-hit Chennai

Chennai: Taxi operator Ola has deployed boats along with professional rowers to rescue people in the waterlogged areas to safer places.

“Ola deployed boats in waterlogged and partially
submerged areas on the basis of information from the Fire and
Rescue department”, Ola officials said in a statement. The boats were manned by professional ro

Ola launches boat service in Chennai during the torrential rains. Photo courtesy: Sai Shyam G./TwitterOla launches boat service in Chennai during the torrential rains. Photo courtesy: Sai Shyam G./Twitter

Ola launches boat service in Chennai during the torrential rains. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@SaiShyamG

wers and also fishermen to rescue people and to provide food and drinking water free-of-cost.

The boats are equipped with two rowers, sufficient umbrellas and can ferry between five to nine people in a trip. “While we are addressing the increased demand for transportation in city, we are working closely with local stakeholders to help ferry those stranded in water-logged areas.”, said Ravi Teja, Ola, Business Head (Tamil Nadu). The boat service would be available for next three days and will be extended if water-logging continues, it added.


Poaching case: Hearing against Salman Khan’s conviction begins in Rajasthan HC

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate had sentenced Khan for one year on February 17, 2006

Salman Khan

Ten years after actor Salman Khan was sentenced by a lower court in two cases of killing chinkaras, hearing on his appeal against the sentence in one of these cases started in Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur on Monday. While opening the hearing, Khan’s counsel Mahesh Bora questioned the two inspections of the gypsy, allegedly used by Khan for poaching. The lawyer questioned the “difference” in the reports of both of these inspections carried out at a gap of five days. The first inspection was done by the forest officer and the second by the police, a day after filing of the FIR.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”While the first report mentioned some faded blood-like stains in the gypsy, the second report mentioned finding of hair strands and six pellets in the same gypsy, which was interestingly in possession of the forest department then,” Bora argued. He also raised question about the theory of the use of arms by Khan in the poaching and claimed that the arms in question were not with the actor. The actor’s lawyer alleged that the arms were later brought from Mumbai.”When no weapon was used in the alleged poaching, how could they be connected with the poaching,” Bora questioned. The hearing will continue tomorrow. The actor was booked for poaching of two chinkaras in Bhawad area of Jodhpur on September 26-27, 1998 during the shooting of his movie ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’. There were eight accused in this case. Leaving Khan and Satish Shah rest were locals.The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate had sentenced Khan for one year on February 17, 2006. All the remaining accused were acquitted. The actor appealed against the order in the Sessions court while the state government appealed simultaneously in the High Court for the enhancement of the sentence and challenging the acquittal of other accused.”The appeal of Khan was later shifted to the High Court considering the two other appeals by the state in the High Court so that the hearing of all the appeals could progress together,” said one of the government counsels Mahipal Bishnoi. Another appeal of the actor, against his conviction for five years in the second case of chinkara killing, is also pending before the High Court.

Amitabh Bachchan speaks up on ‘growing intolerance’, says Indian films taught to banish communal prejudices

“The Indian cinema from its beginning has taught us the lessons of finding love, justice and social unity. And most importantly the banishment of communal prejudices and hatred,” Bachchan said.

Amitabh Bachchan on Saturday recalled the contribution of Indian cinema in fostering social unity, communal amity and love at a time when “cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world”. “The Indian cinema from its beginning has taught us the lessons of finding love, justice and social unity. And most importantly the banishment of communal prejudices and hatred,” Bachchan said during his inaugural speech at the 21st Kolkata International Film Festival. “It is essential to recall the lessons of equality and cultural diversity taught by Rabindranath Tagore at a time when cultures are being questioned and prejudices against communities are dividing the world.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 73-year-old star said that Bengal’s strength always has been its intellectual integrity and open-mindedness that both writers and filmmakers have highlighted on the screen. “These age-old values are once again being highlighted in Indian cinema. These values constantly emphasise deep belief in equality and social justice,” the actor said. Quoting from Tagore’s poetry, Bachchan said the Bard’s lines should be remembered for “signifying Mother India’s unconditional love for all children and are relevant in holding together India’s diversity and the spirit of equality.” Bachchan’s comments come amid the ongoing debate on intolerance in the country which has led to several writers, filmmakers and eminent personalities returning their awards.The actor said he feels truly blessed to be born in a country which has always believed in cultural diversity and pluralism. While lauding the contributions of Bengali cinema and its various stalwarts, he said their movies uphold tolerance of diversities. “Cinema with Bengali background have always put up pan India character based on our time-tested values, the source of our core strength as a society and our tolerance of diversities. That is essential for a common mosaic of various ethnic communities and sects.”

Maharashtra may allow private varsities with campuses across cities

For representation purpose only

Maharashtra may soon see private universities with multiple campuses across cities rather than stand-alone institutions in one city as existing rules stipulate. The state government seeks to amend the Self-Financed University Act, 2013, for relaxing several land and infrastructure requirement. Last month, a committee, under the chairmanship of former chief secretary Arun Bongirwar, was set up to look into the norms afresh. While rules require a contiguous land parcel of a minimum 10 acres in cities for setting up a private university, the government had received proposals from educational trusts, seeking consideration of land and infrastructure available with them at multiple campuses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Somiaya group, a leading educational trust based in Mumbai, is one of them,” a higher and technical education department official told dna. Private players also want relaxation of a few other provisions on land and assets, which they feel are “too stringent”.In the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the minimum requirement to set up a self-financed university is 10 acres of contiguous land. It is 25 acres in divisional headquarters, and 50 acres in district headquarters and rural belts. “If any trust has two institutions in different parts of the city and if it thus meets the norm, it must be allowed to bring both under one private university,” said a trustee of a leading group. Guidelines also say that if any private university is dissolved before completing 25 years, the land and assets of the institution will go to the government. If a university is found indulging in malpractices and violating rules, there is a provision that gives the government the power to appoint an administrator till the issues are resolved. Dr Sanjay Chahande, secretary of the department, confirmed that the revision of certain norms is under consideration. However, he refused to comment further, saying, “The committee had just held one meeting till now. They need some time to come up with recommendations.” The policy, allowing private universities in Maharashtra, was initiated by the Congress- NCP regime in 2013. The Somaiya group has planned to shift all unaided courses under the umbrella of a private university. It has over 39 institutions and 50,000 students at present. While its main campus is in Vidyavihar, near Ghatkopar, some are at Sion. There is also a school in Dahanu under the trust. The trust seeks to establish an agriculture college on this land parcel and combine all their unaided institutions under one private university by restructuring its operations, if the government gives the go-ahead. Says a senior official from the group: “We wish to establish separate schools for different subjects, like school of mathematics, school of languages, school of management and school of liberal arts. We plan to offer specialised inter-disciplinary courses like foreign universities. Students will study all subjects with different weightage of credits depending upon the programme.” Senior government officials confirmed that about 19 more proposals for self-financed private universities were under various stages of consideration. The state has opted not to grant approvals to such proposals until amendments are made in the Act. During the previous regime, legislative approvals were granted to Amity University (Panvel), Ajeenkya DY Patil University, Spicer-Adventist University, and Flame University (all in Pune).

Bihar polls: 60% polling in final phase, 56.80% overall

Deputy Election Commisioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here that the entire poll process in the state in all the 243 seats was conducted in a peaceful manner without any major untoward incident.

“This is the highest in assembly polls in the state,” EC official said (PTI)

File Photo
60% of the electorate on Thursday exercised their franchise in the final round of five-phased polling in Bihar Assembly elections, helping the state register an overall figure of 56.80%– the highest in assembly election in the state’s history.Deputy Election Commisioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here that the entire poll process in the state in all the 243 seats was conducted in a peaceful manner without any major untoward incident. “While the total poll percentage for the fifth phase of polls is 60 percent, the overall figures for all the five phases in Bihar has been calculated at 56.80 percent,” he said adding “this is the highest in assembly polls in the state.” 57 constituencies spread over nine districts went to polls today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The staggered Bihar Assembly polls for the 243-seat Assembly began on October 12 while counting of votes will take place on November 8 (Sunday). The poll panel said this year’s assembly poll in all the five rounds saw women outnumbering men in turnout–59.92 per cent against 54.07 per cent. Polling in the final phase today also saw women’s turnout ahead of men–63.60 per cent against 56.05 per cent.

Who’s afraid of Asaduddin Owaisi?

As Bihar got closer to election in 57 seats of the crucial fifth phase in the Seemanchal and Kosi belts, which have a high concentration of Muslims, political parties started shifting the focus of their campaign dialect from caste to creed.

On the road from Sheohar to Muzaffarpur, almost every hundred metres vehicles passed through Moharram processions of people with ash-smeared faces holding bamboo poles in their hands and chanting. Each time an elderly man in the group would nudge the mourners to move aside and stand between the vehicle and procession to allow the vehicle to pass.”You see there is no problem between communities…. It is politicians who vitiate the atmosphere,” said Alam, a taxi driver.As Bihar got closer to election in 57 seats of the crucial fifth phase in the Seemanchal and Kosi belts, which have a high concentration of Muslims, political parties started shifting the focus of their campaign dialect from caste to creed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At the centre of the rhetoric of polarisation is All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi, whose fiery oratory revolves around Muslim identity politics. Interestingly, the performance of the BJP, which is raising its pitch on diametrically opposite side of the ideological aisle, is linked to the extent to which Owaisi, besides Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party, dent the votes of the Nitish Kumar-Lalu Prasad Yadav mahagathbandhan.Owaisi’s party is contesting in six seats and Yadav has put up candidates in 64 seats.It is on Kochadaman, where former MLA from the seat and state party chief Akhtarul Iman has been fielded, that the AIMIM is pinning its hopes to open its account in Bihar. But, the Hindus are worried that the oratory of the firebrand candidate and Owaisi’s brother Akbaruddin Owaisi, against whom an FIR was filed for inflammatory speech, could draw the Muslims to the AIMIM candidate.”We will vote for Nitish’s candidate. There is fear that if the votes get split, Owaisi’s candidate may win,” said Mohan Singh, a Rajput from Kochadaman. The Muslim vote was expected to get split between Iman and JD-U candidate Master Mujahid Alam, the sitting MLA. Going by Singh’s argument, the Hindu vote was consolidating in favour of JD-U in a tactical bid against Owaisi’s candidate. The BJP has also fielded a Muslim candidate, Abdul Rehman, who was banking on the Hindu vote in Kochadaman in Kishanganj district which has around 70 per cent Muslim population.In Kishanganj Sadar, Owaisi’s candidate appeared to have only a few takers.Besides, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate, Triloki Jain, who has traction among the locals, has added a fourth dimension to the contest. But, most people said a larger chunk of the Muslim vote will go to the Congress candidate Mohammad Jawaid.”Owaisi’s candidate Taseeruddin is an outsider… You cannot just come, see and conquer,” said Abdul Rashid, a fruit seller, in the Muslim- dominated Churri Patti area.Yasir, a youth running a printing press, said the Congress MLA “disappeared” after winning elections. “Owaisi is connecting with the youth. He is talking of Muslim empowerment is liking the issues Owaisi is raising,” he said.In Ghardappa Chowk village, falling on the Bihar-West Bengal border, MD Tariq Anwar, who runs a medicine shop, said it looked like Congress had an edge. “But, I will go for Owaisi’s public meetingtonight.”Half the village falls in Bihar and the rest in West Bengal. While there is no power in the Bihar side, there is electricity on the West Bengal side.In Purnea district’s Baisi, which has a 85 per cent Muslim population, Owaisi as well as Pappu Yadav have put up candidates. While both are seen as outsiders, the RJD candidate and MLA Haji Subhan appeared to have an edge over RLSP’s Azizur Rahman.Besides Kishanganj and Purnea, the Seemanchal region comprises Araria, and Katihar. The Kosi belt includes Darbhanga, Madhubani, Saharsa, Supaul and Madhepura.In the direct battle of the Titans — NDA and Mahagathbandhan — both Owaisi and Pappu Yadav may find it difficult to make an impact.Once the elections are over, the rabble rousing may quieten down, but whichever alliance it helps, will the emotions it may have stirred in vulnerable minds fade out?

Waitlisted passengers will now get confirmed berth under new railways scheme

Known as Viklap, the alternative train accommodation scheme will take off in trains running on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors from November 1, on a pilot basis.

Indian Railways

Getty Images
Railways is launching a new scheme tomorrow under which waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in next alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets online.Known as Viklap, the alternative train accommodation scheme will take off in trains running on Delhi-Lucknow and Delhi-Jammu sectors from November 1, on a pilot basis.Initially, Vikalp scheme will be available only for the tickets booked through internet for six months and option will be limited to mail and express trains on the two selected routes, said a senior Railway Ministry official. As per the scheme, waitlisted passengers of a train would be given option of getting confirmed accommodation in the next train running on the route.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Railway aims to achieve the twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme. While there is a huge demand for train berths in certain sector round the year, some routes witness increased rush during festive season.Describing the scheme as a “passenger friendly” move to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers in alternative trains, the official said, the scheme will be extended to reservation booking counters and also on other routes after getting the feedback.Passenger, if opts for the Vikalp scheme while booking tickets online, will get SMS alert on their mobile phone about getting confirmed accommodation in alternative train. As per the scheme, there would be no extra charges taken from the passenger or any refund provided for the difference of fare.The name of passenger who have been provided accommodation in the alternative train will not figure in the waitlisted charts of their original train, the official said, adding a separate list of passengers transferred in alternative train will be pasted along with the confirmed and waitlist charts.

Chhattisgarh: Naxalites kill two, torch 29 vehicles

As per reports, 60-70 armed Naxalites cordoned off at Chargaon mines and set ablaze the vehicles, including three JCBs, two tippers and trucks.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
Naxalites killed two people and set ablaze as many as 29 vehicles in separate incidents in Chhattisgarh on Friday.In Rajnandgaon district, Maoists killed two villagers, whom they had abducted from from inter-state border with Maharashtra while they were returning to their native Kherketta village. While at Chargaon mines in Kanker District, Naxalites on Thursday night set ablaze 29 vehicles and fired several rounds of gunshots at security forces.As per reports, 60-70 armed Naxalites cordoned off at Chargaon mines and set ablaze the vehicles, including three JCBs, two tippers and trucks. As per reports, panic-gripped villagers fled from their houses.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maoists have stepped up violence during the last one month in Chhattisgarh, setting ablaze vehicles in tribal Bastar region. On Thursday night, the rebels poured petrol and set ablaze five vehicles at Gumda village where the work on double line of railways was in progress.In another incident, Maoists set ablaze a passenger bus on National Highway near Bhopalpattanam in Bijapur district. Earlier, Maoists had caused extensive damage to 36 vehicles engaged in road construction work on the national highway. Maoists have been using this tactics to unleash terror and to stall the ongoing road construction activities and other development works in the region.

Kolkata: Beef party to protest intolerance turns out to be a damp squib

While the samity had sent out invites for the gathering to many, cutting across party lines, few turned up.

Left-leaning body Bhasha Chetna Samity’s decision to hold a ‘beef party’ in the heart of the city ended in a whimper on Friday. The organisation’s secretary, Emmanuel Haque, former mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, poet Subodh Sarkar besides others, gathered in front of Statesman House on Chowringhee and raised slogans against the recent controversy over the consumption of beef. While the samity had sent out invites for the gathering to many, cutting across party lines, few turned up. The ‘beef party’, which started around 2pm had to be wind up within half an hour with low turnout. People, who had gathered at the venue consumed beef in public and registered their protest against a variety of issues ranging from the killing of a Muslim man in Dadri and Dalit children in Haryana, the murder of Kalburgi to the recent raid at Kerala House. They even treated the locals gathered with beef delicacies for free. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Our organisation is a platform for free thinkers. The RSS and other Hindu-nationalist parties are trying to create pressure by preventing people from consuming beef. They have even gone to the extent of imposing a ban on sale and consumption of beef in several parts of the country. Our nation comprises people belonging to several religions and all of them should be respected. No government or a political party can impose a ban on what people would eat,” said Haque.

Beef ban: Defence Ministry asks Indian army to stop buffalo slaughter ritual

The ministry accepted that the practice was traditional but said that ‘laws have now changed’.


Getty Images
The Defence Ministry of the Modi government under Manohar Parrikar has asked the Indian army to stop buffalo slaughter, reports an English daily.The ministry has asked the army to ensure that none of its units indulge in the ritual slaughtering of buffaloes, which is an age-old tradition. Instructions have been issued to put an end to the practice of certain army units to behead a male buffalo during Dussehra, that is attributed mostly to Gurkha tradition. The ministry accepted that the practice was traditional but said that ‘laws have now changed’, reports the daily. Interestingly, the government is using the ‘animal cruelty’ angle combined with the fact that buffalo slaughter is illegal by law, to push for this ban.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is understood that there may be some who wish to carry out this tradition but rules should not be bent. If there is such a need, rules can be followed and the animal can be taken to government authorized slaughter houses as per the law,” said a top defence ministry source to the English daily.The reaction to this diktat has been mixed. While some in the army welcomed the order, others have opposed the move.Related Read: Now, I&B ministry blocks film on beef-eating practices in Mumbai

Bihar polls: After tantrik jibe, PM Modi says ‘Lalu virus’ has hit Nitish’s computer

While mocking the Nitish-Lalu combine, Modi said that Nitish has promised to give out computers, but how will they run if there is no electricity, adding, “the Lalu virus is already there in those computer.”

As Bihar gears up for the final three phases of polling, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dared the pair of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Yadav and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to go ahead with their entire ammunition of abuses and extensive plotting against him because ‘more the mudslinging, more the lotus will bloom’.Addressing a rally in Bihar’s Buxar district, Modi trained his guns on Lalu and Nitish, and said that their only agenda was to bring him down instead of Bihars’s development.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While taking on the Congress ,Modi said the grand old party is contesting 40 Assembly seats, but it is not visible anywhere. “There will be no contest in these 40 seats and all will be won by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).”“Madam Sonia ji, the Congress ruled Bihar for 35 years and the party must tell people what development work was done during that period,” PM Modi exhorted.While mocking the Nitish-Lalu combine, Modi said that Nitish has promised to give out computers, but how will they run if there is no electricity, adding, “the Lalu virus is already there in those computer.”A day ago, Modi called Lalu a “tantrik” (occultist) and his party “Rashtriya Jadu Tona Party” as he reached out to the youth and weaker sections, promising a six-point programme for the state’s development.Amid indications that the caste and reservation debate dominating the polls scenario here could be detrimental to NDA’s prospects, the Prime Minister raised the development pitch promising “bijli-paani sadak” (electricity, road and water) and “kamai, padhai, and dawai” (earning, education and medicines) for each family in the state.Blaming “Bade bhaai (Lalu) and Chhote Bhaai (Nitish Kumar) for problems plaguing the state, Modi insisted that the only plank NDA has is of “development”.Hitting back at the grand alliance’s “Bihari versus Bahari (Bihari versus outsider)” barb to attack BJP, which is fighting the polls under the leadership of Modi and Amit Shah, the Prime Minister took up the issues of migration and unemployment among youths.Modi said that Bihar will celebrate real Diwali on November 8 and that this election would bring double joy to the entire nation.

Kolkata: Massive fire breaks out at the Dum Dum substation of CESC

As many as 10 fire tenders have been pressed into service.

Representational image

A massive fire broke out at the Dum Dum substation of Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) on Friday. CESC is the sole power generation and distribution unit in Kolkata.The fire broke out around 11.30 am and is fast spreading to the adjoining buildings. While three transformers have been gutted in the massive fire, the remaining two transformers may catch fire any moment.Next to the substation lies an Indian Oil petrol pump. Senior officials have evacuated residential buildings in the area.As many as 10 fire tenders have been pressed into service.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal dons the hat of a delivery boy

A few days into the Big Billion Days sale, Flipkart’s co-founder Sachin Bansal tweets about personally delivering products to his customers in Bengaluru today.

Binny and Sachin Bansal, founders of Flipkart.com
File Photo
It is has just been 2 days that e-commerce giant Flipkart began its Big Billion Day sale. While heavy discounts are bringing in the moolah for co-founder Sanchin Bansal, the millionaire is not shy of donning another hat. Today he is already in the driving seat of a delivery van and is getting ready to wriggle his way out of Bengaluru traffic. Why? Bansal, the owner of India’s biggest e-commerce company plans to deliver products to his customers personally.This morning he took to micro-blogging site twitter to announce his plan for the day. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: Flipkart’s ‘Big Billion Sale’: Portal sells half a million handsets in last 10 hoursWhether the businessman meets his target for the day or not, he is definitely creating some waves on Social Media. Good Luck Sachin Bansal! Related Read: E-commerce firms Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal get mega sale right this year

Congress leader Ahmed Patel accuses Centre of "sleeping over" increasing Dal price

Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Thursday said the Centre is sleeping over the increasing prices of Dal.

Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Thursday said the Centre is sleeping over the increasing prices of Dal.”Government was sleeping while Dal price rose. In March, crop estimate report showed huge decline in Dal production but they waited till Jun to act?,” he said in a tweet.”While price continued to rise, Government wasted a crucial month as it insisted on a particular tendering technique unavailable with agriculture minister,” he added.With retail pulses prices shooting up to Rs 187 per kg, the government on Wednesday said it’s trying hard to contain prices by increasing availability via imports and urged consumers to wait for some time to see results.Retail prices of tur dal yesterday rose up to Rs. 181 per kg as against Rs 85 per kg in the year-ago period, as per the data maintained by the consumer affairs ministry.Similarly, urad dal prices have increased up to Rs 187 per kg from Rs 99 per kg in the said period. Much of the increase was seen in these two dals, while the increase in prices of moong dal and gram were moderate.

FTII row: Pune court denies bail plea of 12 students

The students were out on anticipatory bail since August 19.

File Photo of midnight arrest of FTII students

Twelve students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), who were booked in August for forcefully confining institute director Prashant Pathrabe to his office for several hours, were produced in magisterial court on Monday where they applied for a bail.A magisterial court on Monday denied bail to twelve students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) who were arrested for forcefully gheraoing director Prashant Pathrabe have been denied bail. The students were out on anticipatory bail since August 19. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 50 students were booked by police after Pathrabe filed an FIR against them. While arrests warrant were issued against 15, five were taken by the cops that night.The five students were released on bail by a magisterial court, and 12 others who had approached the court had got anticipatory bail. But the bail period exhausted, after which they were produced before the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) Rajesh Tiwari where they applied for a bail.

Tamil Nadu: Nearly 40,000 pharmacies to be shut on October 14

Pharmacies are against the sale of drugs online.

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The All India Organisation of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) has organised a strike on October 14. As a result, Tamil Nadu will see nearly 40,000 pharmacies shut on Wednesday. The strike has been called because the AIOCD wants a ban on sale of medicines online.According to a report in Deccan Chronicle, the AIOCD said that selling drugs online would be harmful to people’s health and safety and that the quality of medicines would go unchecked. T Natarajan, General Secretary of Chennai District Chemists and Druggists Association, told the daily, “While booking medicines on the net, one is not sure whether all rules are followed in keeping these medicines in cold storage as mandated under the Act.” In the reports he also claimed that some websites were selling drugs in violation of the provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules, 1940.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The online sales of medicines will affect eight lakh chemists across India. AIOCD has stated that fake drugs could also enter the market as a result of online sales and that it was dangerous to sell medicines without a prescription.

Govind Pansare murder: No permission for accused Sameer Gaikwad’s brain mapping

The lawyer representing the Pansare family said the test can be conducted after his health improved, but Gaikwad declined.

Gaikwad, a member of right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested on September 16 in the case.

A magistrate’s court on Friday extended the judicial custody of Samir Gaikwad, arrested in the Govind Pansare murder case, till October 23, while denying the permission to subject him to brain-mapping test. During the proceedings, Gaikwad told the court that he was not willing to undergo brain-mapping because his “mental health” wasn’t good.The lawyer representing the Pansare family said the test can be conducted after his health improved, but Gaikwad remained firm on his stand. As such tests cannot be conducted without the person’s consent, the court rejected police’s application seeking permission for his brain mapping. The court also dismissed police’s request for his fresh custody for identification parade.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gaikwad, a member of right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested on September 16 in the case. Pansare, a veteran CPI leader, and his wife were shot by two unidentified motorcycle-borne persons in Kolhapur in February. While his wife survived, Pansare died at a Mumbai hospital.

French TV station fails in attempt to make a point on feminism; but India is no better

Advertisements centred around women’s empowerment are very much in vogue, and not just in India.

However, much like in India, some end up scoring a self-goal on the patriarchy front. One such feminism disaster happened in France recently, when a French TV station pulled down an advertisement aimed at highlighting its feminist credentials, but instead earned ridicule for being inherently sexist.

A screenshot from France-3 advertisementA screenshot from France-3 advertisement

A screenshot from the France 3 advertisement

The advertisement was designed to highlight the station’s positive record on female employment, with the tagline “The majority of our presenters are women presenters,” AFP reported. However, the TV station chose a rather dubious way of making the point, by showing household chores that had gone wrong because the woman of the house was, well, not in the house, but working at the TV station — France 3.

So, a meal is left overheating in an oven, a bedroom is in disarray and an iron is left smouldering over clothes, while a song on the soundtrack asks ‘Where are the women?’ Soon enough, the question is answered emphatically: “They are at France 3”. The channel goes on to proclaim that it is ‘more different, more modern and more feminine’. France’s minister for women’s rights, Pascale Boistard, however, was not convinced and tweeted that ‘it did not seem like the best way to promote equal rights.’ The TV station later pulled down the advertisement.

Evidently, while creative heads for advertisements are convinced that showing equality at the workplace is a good way to showcase a brand, they are not as enthusiastic about shared responsibility on the home front.

Not long ago, an advertisement for Airtel in India sparked a debate for its depiction of working women. The advertisement shows a woman taking her husband to task as her boss in office, while cooking up a meal for him at home. While one could say that the commercial was better than the ones showing wives washing clothes for their high-flying husbands, it perhaps got flak precisely because it claimed to send out a different message, but ended up reinforcing it instead.

Not to be left behind, Fair & Lovely too, had come up with a commercial claiming to root for gender equality. However, that advertisement ended up showing a young woman’s marriage prospects, as also her self-confidence while standing up to her father, to be linked to the colour of her skin. This, of course, was not much of a surprise considering that the product itself is based on the premise that the colour of a woman’s skin is a deciding factor in her success in life.

So, along comes an advertisement from another part of the world which does not exactly do a good job of depicting gender equality either. However, in this case, the French minister for women’s rights’ remarks was followed by the commercial being pulled off the air by the TV station. In India, on the other hand, Minister for Culture Mahesh Sharma has been quoted as saying that girls wanting a night out is not a part of Indian culture (see report by The Times of India here). This is something to think about before we gloat about the French TV channel’s failed attempt at feminism.

With inputs from AFP

Ghulam Ali concert cancelled: 4 other times Pakistan made Shiv Sena go green with anger

This isn’t the first time that a Pakistani has made the Shiv Sena become extra-nationalistic.

File Photo

If there’s one song that the Shiv Sena loves singing, it’s asking people from Pakistan to get lost (as opposed to others who prefer Indians of different persuasions to go to Pakistan). The most recent victim is acclaimed Ghazal singer Ustad Ghulam Ali who is facing the brunt. The Shiv Sena’s cine wing has already met Shanmukhanand hall authorities in Matunga in Mumbai to cancel the show.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chitrapat Sena’s general secretary Akshay Badrapurkar was quoted saying, “We are against any form of cultural association with Pakistan. We cannot have ties with a country that kills our soldiers. They are against us, why should we let their singers perform here”. Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also a fan of the Pakistani ghazal singer who had performed earlier in Varanasi. While the state government promised protection, the concert was eventually cancelled. While a lot has changed about the Sena since it fared below par in the Maharashtra elections, particularly the passive-aggressive relationship it shares with BJP (with whom it has grudgingly formed the state government), its hatred for Pakistan hasn’t. Here are some earlier instances of Shiv Sena freaking out about Pakistani people in India: Sena activists dig up Wankhede pitch and the war on cricket (1991)In 1991, erstwhile Shiv Sena activist Shishir Shinde along with some others dug up the pitch at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Apart from digging the pitch, the activists also poured engine oil to ensure that the pitch wouldn’t be re-laid easily just to stop Pakistan from playing there.Incidentally, Shishir Shinde was close to Bal Thackeray’s nephew Raj Thackeray and followed him and joined MNS. Sena members also dug up pitches in Delhi in 1999 and Agra in 2005. Even in 2012, Bal Thackeray had said that the India vs Pakistan matches in 2012, was a matter of national shame. The Sena also demanded that no Pakistani plays in the IPL which led to the next row. Sena-SRK battle (2010)In the 2010 IPL auction, none of the franchises picked up any Pakistani players. This led Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan to comment: “I think it’s actually humiliating to me as a KKR owner that this has happened. We are known to be good, we are known to invite everyone, and we should have. And if there were any issues, they should have been put out earlier so that everything could happen respectfully.”This led to massive protests across the state as they attacked theatres which were screening SRK’s My Name is Khan. The erstwhile Maharashtra government – Congress-NCP – deployed 21,000 police officers to guard over 63 cinemas screening the film.Quite unlike other Bollywood actors, SRK refused to bow down and apologise. “I request everybody to leave the film alone and deal with what I have said as an individual. I have no idea what I am supposed to apologise for. If I am in wrong I would like to apologise but someone needs to explain to me what is wrong,” he told reporters in London.”So many people’s futures rely on (My Name is Khan). I just request everybody to leave the film alone and deal with what I have said as an individual.”No hockey please (2013)Cricket isn’t the only sport that the Shiv Sena has opposed. In 2013, the Sena protested on Sunday at Mumbai Hockey Association’s stadium for the participation of four Pakistani players in Mumbai Magicians. Due to the Sena’s protest, the Mumbai Magicians team had to shift base to Delhi. Eventually, all the nine Pakistani players who were playing in the league had to return home. No show for Atif Aslam (2015) This isn’t the first time that the Shiv Sena has got a concert cancelled. In April they got singer Atif Aslam’s concert cancelled.Sanjay Sathe, the organiser of the event told NDTV: “We are from the field of arts, we wanted to do it, but then the intention behind the cancellation is totally appropriate. So we shall always remain patriotic. As Balasaheb has said ‘Be patriotic and put the nation first’, and thereby, at the larger level we had to cancel the show.”

Delhi MLA salary hike: What CM Arvind Kejriwal had said about pay raise

In March 2012, he tweeted saying that while political parties fail to come to agreement Lokpal, they would unanimously accept a pay hike.

Kejriwal govt is now called “khaas aadmi ki sarkar”

File Photo
The recommendations of a committee constituted by the Delhi Assembly Speaker to allow a whopping two-and-half fold increase in the salaries of Delhi MLAs, were panned by the BJP and Congress who accused the AAP government of being “khaas aadmi ki sarkar”. Not only that the Twitterati was up in arms against Kejriwal who had taunted politicians during the Jan Lokpal bill movement that they readily accept a pay hike but have difficulty in agreeing to the Lokpal bill.In March 2012, he tweeted saying that while political parties fail to come to agreement Lokpal, they would unanimously accept a pay hike.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He founded the Aam Aadmi Party in the end of 2012. While Kejriwal has not reacted to the recommendations, AAP senior party member reacted on Twitter.The three-member committee chaired by former Secretary General of Lok Sabha PDT Achary, in its report submitted to Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel, has favored a 400 per cent hike in basic salary of MLAs from Rs 12,000 to Rs 50,000 per month. Overall, the hike recommended has been 138 per cent. In July, a group of AAP legislators had demanded a significant hike in salary, arguing their earnings were not enough to run their family and offices.

Rustomjee gets a huge lead in Abhyudaya Nagar project

19 societies out of 48 back it; Developer needs 25 societies to win the mammoth project

One of the Abhudaya Nagar society buildings
Abhinav P Kocharekarl
The Abhyudaya Nagar redevelopment project, worth Rs 5,000 crore, in Kalachowkie, is turning out to be a battle ground for top city developers, who are using all tricks in the book to grab the project.Abhyudaya Nagar, which sits on 33 acres of prime land in central Mumbai, consists of 48 buildings and 3,238 residential tenements. When the project comes up for redevelopment, it will be one of the biggest cluster redevelopment project in the city’s history.In the bidding, four developers – Dynamix (DB) Realty, Keystone (Rustomjee), Ornate Housing Private Ltd-Tata Housing consortium and Omkar Developers – were short-listed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 48 buildings started the process of the choosing the developer individually in their respective society meetings, and 21 have zeroed in on their choice. While 19 societies have chosen Keystone (Rustomjee), only two have selected Ornate.To get the entire project, a developer needs the support of at least 25 societies.Ornate had opposed Keystone, saying that its candidature was rejected in the pre-bidding stage as its conditional bidding violated the bidding/tender document norms.Keystone had promised 530 sq ft of carpet area and additional 50 sq ft, if Mhada approves its plan. The tender document says that developers should not submit pre-condition bids.The project management consultant appointed by the Abhyudaya Nagar Grihanirman Sansthan had also rejected Keystone and wanted only the other three to be considered.But the Abhyudaya Nagar management committee decided to back Keystone, arguing that residents will be deprived of all options before them if Keystone were to be left out. Boman Irani, Rustomjee chairman, said that they have not done anything wrong, and, above all, people preferred them. “We are very much in the race and we are confident of winning the project,” Irani said.As far as Ornate is considered, industry insiders say that there was an instance of cheque-bouncing in one of their earlier projects. While redeveloping a small society – Allhad Housing Society — in Prabhadevi, rent cheques worth Rs 40,000 given to society members by Ornate are said to have bounced. “If this is the case, how will Ornate be able to undertake and complete this mammoth project of 33 acres? To undertake such a project, the developer should be financially sound,” said an industry insider.Vijay Machindar, director, Ornate Housing Pvt Ltd, said as long as Tata is on board with them, no one should worry about liquidity. “We want every process to be done in a legal and transparent manner,” he said.

Take strict action against those disturbing communal harmony: Centre tells states after Dadri incident

New Delhi: Concerned over communal incidents in Dadri and other places, the Centre on Monday asked all states to take strictest action against those who attempt to weaken the secular fabric by exploiting religious emotions.

In a statement, the Home Ministry said it was concerned over various incidents with communal overtones across the country including the recent “unfortunate” incident at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh where one person was lynched over rumours of eating beef.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“While law and order is basically a state subject, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been concerned over various incidents with communal overtones across the country including the recent unfortunate incident at Dadri, UP.

“Consequently, the Home Ministry today issued an advisory to state governments stating that there is zero tolerance for any attempt to weaken the secular fabric of the nation and exploiting religious emotions or sentiments. MHA has called on the states to take strictest action as per law against such elements without any exception whatsoever,” the statement said.

On 1 October, the Home Ministry had sought a report on the Dadri incident from Uttar Pradesh government and advised the state government to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

However, the state government is yet to respond to the Home Ministry’s communication, forcing it to send a reminder today to send the report detailing the incident of lynching of a 50-year-old man and the steps taken to find the guilty and punish them.

Iqlakh was beaten to death and his 22-year-old son Danish critically injured by a 200-strong mob which barged into their house at Dadri in Greater Noida on September 26 following rumours that the family had consumed beef. Cow slaughter is banned in Uttar Pradesh.

A total of 51 people were killed in various parts of the country in communal incidents this year till June, of whom 14 people lost their lives in poll-bound Bihar.

Of the 330 communal incidents recorded across the country in the first six months of 2015, UP recorded the highest number at 68.

There were 252 communal incidents in the first six months of 2014 across the country.


Malala Yousafzai wants Pakistan to ‘always’ win against India in cricket

While speaking to an Indian news channel, the teenage human rights activist said that she always hoped for India and Pakistan to have good relations, but in cricket she wanted Pakistan to win, the Express Tribune reported.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai has expressed her desire that peace should be there between India and Pakistan, but when it comes to cricket all she wants is Pakistan to win.While speaking to an Indian news channel, the teenage human rights activist said that she always hoped for India and Pakistan to have good relations, but in cricket she wanted Pakistan to win, the Express Tribune reported.Expressing her desire to visit Pakistan again in the near future, she said she wanted to return to her motherland and serve her people.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Malala, who was surprised with the love and affection that the Indian people have showered upon her, said she wished to pay a visit to India, especially Delhi and Mumbai, to inspire young girls there.The youngest-ever Nobel laureate maintained that her father was her source of inspiration but also revealed that it was her mother who encouraged both of them as she always believed in speaking the truth.

Bihar election: Election Commission bans exit polls from October 12

The Commission has also banned the publication of results of any opinion polls 48 hours before polling in respective areas.

The Election Commission has banned the publication and dissemination of exit polls of any kind from October 12, the first phase of Bihar Assembly election, till November 5 when the last phase of the polling ends. The Commission said the exit polls will be “prohibited” from 7.00 am on October 12 when polling in the first phase starts till 5.30 PM on November 5 when the polling in the fifth and last phase ends. Using its powers under the Representation of the People Act, an EC notification said, “Conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicising by means of the print or electronic media or dissemination in any manner, whatsoever, the result of any exit poll…shall be prohibited.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Commission has also banned the publication of results of any opinion polls 48 hours before polling in respective areas. The poll panel had proposed that there should be a prohibition on publication and broadcast of the results of opinion polls starting from the date of notification of elections till the completion of the last phase of polls to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies. While the government asked the EC to use its powers to do the needful, the Commission insisted that the Representation of the People Act be amended by Parliament for the purpose. The matter is still pending.Existing law allows EC to ban opinion polls 48 hours prior to voting. Bihar Assembly polls will be held in five phases on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Human rights violations in PoK: NGO report had raised red flag over torture, repression in 2006

Even as Pakistan accuses India of large-scale rights violations and repression in Jammu and Kashmir, a recent news report has highlighted ‘massive human rights violations’ in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. CNN-IBN has reported that the Pakistani establishment is using ‘brute force’ to suppress rebellion in the region.

Image courtesy:CNN-IBN screengrabImage courtesy:CNN-IBN screengrab

Image courtesy:CNN-IBN screengrab

This is not the first time that such allegations have come to the fore. A report by the NGO Human Rights Watch in 2006 had detailed widespread torture, tight controls of freedom of expression and dominance of the Pakistani army in governing the area. The report had been written in the context of the massive earthquake to hit PoK in October 2005, which brought the attention of the international community to the region.

“While Jammu and Kashmir state had known considerable tourist traffic prior to the beginning of the insurgency there, the areas of Kashmir on the other side of the LoC had seen little external interest or presence after the end of the British colonial era in 1947 — a situation used by Pakistan to exercise absolute control over the territory,” the report said.

The HRW report, while referring to ‘Azad Kashmir’ as a ‘legal anomaly’, says that the Pakistani establishment, in practice, controls all aspects of political life. The report raises a red flag over issues of “strict curbs on political pluralism, a “muzzled press” and arbitrary arrest, detention and torture” by the Pakistani military.

The report calls for  the Pakistani government to release those imprisoned for their political views, repeal curbs on freedom of expression and prosecute those involved in rights violations.

According to an ANI report in March, exiled leaders from PoK had raised concerns over human rights violations and extra-judicial killings at a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Reacting to the recent reports on protests in PoK, the Indian PMO said that they were an “eye-opener” about the situation in the region. Pakistan, however, has claimed that the video showing the protests was doctored.

Man in Dadri killed for allegedly eating beef: Twitter reacts to horrific incident

While some called the incident barbaric others wondered how such an incident could take place in Mahatma Gandhi’s land.

File Photo

In a horrific incident in Dadri, Gautam Budh Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh, a 50-year-old man, Mohammad Akhlaq was beaten to death for allegedly eating and storing beef. His 22-year-old son was also severely beaten. The attack apparently took place after announcement was made in a local temple that the family. District magistrate NP Singh said: “Some locals spread rumours that Akhlaq had cow meat at his home and engaged in cow-slaughtering. Following the rumours, tension ignited and some locals attacked his home in Bisara village.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mohammad’s daughter Sajida was quoted saying by Indian Express: “They accused us of keeping cow meat, broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother. My father was dragged outside the house and beaten with bricks. We came to know later that an announcement had been made from the temple about us eating beef.”While a case or rioting and murder has been registered against 10 people, what was truly farcical was the fact that the police collected meat samples from his house and sent it to the forensic department for examination. Here’s how Twitter reacted to the incident: In Pakistan, alleged desecration of the book can often lead to violence. The author of Curfewed Night and script-writer of Haider had his say. Former Justice Katju was at his combative best. Seriously, why was the meat taken for testing? Even if it was beef, does it in anyway justify what happened? Shruti Seth has faced abuse from online trolls before but that doesn’t seem be stopping her.

Nashik detour for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train ‘not feasible’

The much-hyped but slow-moving Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project has hit a new problem. While chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told dna that he wants Nashik to be part of the high speed train route, officials overseeing the project said a Nashik detour for the bullet train was not feasible. In a reply to a query from dna, chief minister Fadnavis said, ” I have requested now to make it (Nashik) part of the Mumbai-Ahmadabad corridor, although the alignment is already finalised. But still I have requested the rail minister and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> But SC Agnihotri, chairman-cum-managing director of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd, the railway PSU that is in charge of building the bullet train corridor, told dna: “It is not feasible to have Nashik as part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor.” City-based railway officials are surprised at CM Fadnavis’ late move on the project though the route was under study by Western Railway’s construction department and the JICA since mid-2010. While the project report made by JICA was submitted to the railway ministry in July and is currently under consideration of the Railway Board, officials said the alignment suggested in the report appears the most feasible. They said that the bullet train will, as per current understanding, move from Bandra-Kurla Complex to Thane then to Virar and run parallel to the existing Mumbai-Ahmedabad conventional line. “Bringing in Nashik as a new destination at this moment means the project almost certainly going back to the drawing board. That is because the Mumbai-Nashik route has a very steep ghat section and new technologies will have to be tried out if the bullet train has to have a Nashik leg. The current cost – pegged at Rs 90,000 crore — will also take a huge surge of almost 50%. It, in fact, has the potential to derail the project,” said a top railway official. Railway officials pointed out that the Pune-Mumbai leg of the bullet train was dropped for the same reason. “The cost of constructing and running a high-speed rail in the ghat section isn’t easy. So, the Pune-Mumbai leg was dropped,” said an official. Vinoo Mathur, former member, Railway Board and consultant to JICA on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, told dna that Nashik could be a destination in the Mumbai-Nagpur bullet train route currently being studied by the railways. “I am not aware of any proposal of routing the Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSR via Nasik,” the bullet train expert said.

CPI(M) welcomes Manohar Parrikar’s ‘support’ to navy women on permanent commission

Parrikar gave the assurance during a meeting here today with a delegation of woman officers led by CPI (M) politburo member Brinda Karat.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has assured his support to a Delhi High Court order allowing permanent commission to women navy officers and said he would take all steps to ensure that it is not challenged before the Supreme Court, the CPI(M) today claimed. Parrikar gave the assurance during a meeting here today with a delegation of woman officers led by CPI (M) politburo member Brinda Karat, the Left party said as it welcomed the stand taken by the Defence Minister on the issue. “Parrikar gave a categorical assurance to the delegation that he fully supports the High Court judgment for their immediate reinstatement as permanent commission officers. “He told the delegation he would also take appropriate measures to see that there was no appeal against the judgment by the navy,” CPI (M) said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Welcoming Parrikar’s stand on the issue, Karat said his statement, if implemented, will go a long way in addressing the long-standing grievances of women in the services. “We had a very good meeting with the Minister. This will go a long way in addressing the long-standing grievances of women in the service regarding their recruitment,” Karat, who met Parrikar along with navy officers.In a major relief for women naval officers, Delhi HC on September 4 had allowed a bunch of pleas seeking permanent commission for them in the force, saying “sexist bias and service bias” would not be allowed to block progress of women. While the Army and Air Force allow permanent commission for women, the Navy has limited women officers only to short service commission of 14 years.Karat also submitted a memorandum to Parrikar in which she raised concerns over the Navy’s reported move to appeal against the High Court’s order. The ex-MP stated it was “extremely unfortunate” that at a time when government is declaring its commitment to women’s empowerment, the defence services, with the exception of the Air Force, should take a “retrograde” approach to its women officers, all of them in non-combat posts. She also appealed to Parrikar to ensure the HC judgment for reinstatement of the petitioners is implemented in full by the Navy and that no appeal is made against the judgment. “I also request you to persuade the Army to withdraw its appeal in the Supreme Court where it has taken a position against gender justice,” she said in the memorandum.The September 4 order had come on the plea of several naval women officers, both retired and serving, from the logistics, education and air traffic control departments of the Navy.

From urinating to wedding cards, the Sanatan Sanstha outlines how a ‘Hindu’ should live

If you are trying to be a true Hindu, you must follow the guidelines set by Sanatan Sanstha – or so they say.

Sanatan Sanstha logo

If you are trying to be a true Hindu, you must follow the guidelines set by Sanatan Sanstha – or so they say.The Sanatan Sanstha, which is accused of the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare, has laid out explicit rules and guidelines which governs each aspect of a believing Hindu’s life. From what clothes one should wear, to how one should bathe and defecate, to the right way of urinating, the Sanatan Sanstha has all the answers.1) Urinating: The Sanatan Sanstha states on its website that Hindus must not urinate from a standing position. This is because because it “causes a flow of accumulated Raja-Tama predominant energy towards the feet. As the negative energy gets concentrated there, the distressing vibrations emitting from Hell can very quickly enter the body through the feet.” It also “activates the flow of black energy associated with the ground, charging the entire body of the individual with Raja-Tama components”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2) Defecating: While defecating, one must not use toilet paper as it does not ‘destroy the Raja-Tama particles’ in the feaces. This is because toilet paper is not ‘sattvik’.The rules for urinating and defecating apparently are scientific. The Sanstha claims that a French scientist has come to this conclusion, though it does not state his name.3) Wearing clothes: Apparently, clothes are not meant only to protect us from the weather or to hide certain organs. The Sanatan Sanstha claims on its website that “Wearing clothes amounts to taking the support of Maya to attain a level of Brahman-realized state,”.It further goes on say that, “Clothes worn by men and women as prescribed in Hindu Dharma are designed by Deities and are those that manifest the Shiva and Shakti Principles.” Using this definition, only a nine-yard saree is perfectly ‘sattvik’ and all other forms of clothes are less so. For men, the dhoti is prescribed. Sanstha claims that this knowledge comes from ‘God’.4) Washing clothes: The Sanstha has a full article on wearing washed and unwashed clothes. It says, “In case of washed used clothes there is sweating due to the Tej waves arising from the cloth. An unwashed used garment will give an experience of heat in the body due to gross appearing sagun. A higher proportion of dirt in unwashed clothes causes greater hindrance to the flow of sattvik waves that are attracted towards it and as a result, the extent of black covering on it is higher.”.Silk clothes are better than cotton clothes, but the best ones are made from the the bark of a tree. Some unknown person is cited as the authority for this knowledge, which also ‘comes from God’.5) Religious marriage v/s registered marriage: The Sanstha argues that a religious marriage is more spiritual than a registered marriage. It creates a glow on the faces of those marrying. The religious rituals increase ‘sattvikta’ in the groom and bride’s bodies, and reduce the impact of ‘Raja-Tama vibrations’.Not to be outdone by fairness cream advertisements, the Sanstha’s website then shows a picture of a woman before and after her marriage. While Photoshop may be suspected, the picture on the right is regarded as happier and more sattvik.Moreover, we are told how to prepare a wedding invitation card. Apparently, none of the content should be in English, and the art work should be ‘sattvik’. A full picture of Ganesha must be present in a seated position. Some propaganda matter about spreading ‘Hindu Dharma’ is a necessity.6) Bathing: The Sanathan Sanstha informs us how we should bathe, in what position, and with what utensils. Incredibly, one cannot be nude in the privacy of one’s own bathroom while bathing Sanatan-style. One must wear undergarments. One must sit in a cross-legged posture, and chant some shlokas (prayers), which are fortunately not defined. Only a brass tumbler should be used for bathing. “Clean all nine orifices of the body,” is the Sanstha directive. The Sanstha provides a ‘scientific’ reason for sitting in a cross-legged posture while bathing. When sitting in a cross-legged posture, the body shape becomes triangular, thus it becoming possible for a protective sheath to be easily generated during a bath,” it says.Interestingly, in December 2014, the Sanatan Sanstha had blasted the RSS for ‘defaming’ the organisation. Apparently, two families who were members of RSS did not allow their daughters to join the Sanatan Sanstha. This inflamed passions among the Sanstha faithful who condemned the RSS.A few days ago, it had been reported in the media that the Sanstha had published guidelines on what hair oil to use, and the length of hair that men and women must keep.The Sanathan Sanstha website focuses exclusively on such bizarrely detailed guidelines for the most mundane, every day things people do in life.If you are a Sanstha fan, more power to you. If not, you may be doomed for all eternity.

We can’t stop at Shershah Suri’s roads…we have to move further: Prakash Javadekar

Even as the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEF&CC) states the importance of conserving wildlife corridors, it has cleared several road and infrastructure projects in critical habitats. In an exclusive interview with dna, MoEF&CC minister Prakash Javadekar feels that his ministry is doing the needful for both development and environment. Javadekar also spoke on the issues on which the ministry plans to amend CRZ notification, 2011.
Excerpts from the interview:

The Shailesh Nayak committee gave its report on CRZ notification earlier this year. What are the broad contours regarding easing of CRZ norms?Basically, Shailesh Nayak committee has given suggestions on CRZ I to IV, including islands where people are staying. So, coastal development has to be taken into account along with the vulnerability of people living near coasts. We have to build resilience in coastal areas keeping in mind extreme weather events and increasing population on coasts. The committee’s report is under consideration, and a small group of the ministry is studying it. We are also looking at the global best practices for coastal development, regulation, protection and even tourism development. We need to use our coastline to the best advantage of maintaining ecology as well as allowing development and tourism.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Talking specifically of Mumbai which has unique infrastructure and environment issues, is the ministry looking at specific amendments to the CRZ notification?We will definitely do so. In Mumbai, either the rich or the poor are living near the coastline. You cannot allow people to submerge one day. Redevelopment of coastal colonies is an issue and another big issue is of the dilapidated buildings. The rules were frozen, FSI and other things, since 1991. So, while the rules in the city (non-CRZ areas) have changed, the rules of construction in coastal zones have not changed. These are the problems we are addressing. This being an important policy decision, we will take guidance of the Prime Minister and take opinion of the cabinet colleagues. We are doing our home-work. This week, I am going to see the presentation of our own ministry on the issue. We may present a cabinet note if required after due diligence. Also, we will definitely put the (Nayak) committee’s report in public domain. Devendra Fadnavis had announced that a new chemical zone is proposed in Konkan, Western Ghats, even as one already exists in Parshuram-Lote which has polluted Vashihstri River. Will red category industries not pollute the Ghats more?We have mandated 24×7 online pollution monitoring in the all industrial zones. This (chemical zone) will not be situated in the eco-sensitive zone of the Ghats. Your ministry is also clearing and supporting projects fragmenting critical wildlife corridors and protected areas in the country in the case of NH7, Karnala sanctuary, Ken-Betwa River Link etc. How do justify the decisions while saying that these corridors are important?No, that is not true. Karnala is not a tiger reserve. While expanding the road through Karnala, we are adopting mitigation measures. Shershah Suri (the founder of the Sur Empire in North India) built roads, you cannot stop at that and have to move further. In Karnala or other places, there is honking, pollution and accidents on many such roads. But we are coming up with an eco-duct to aide wildlife crossing, it is one of the world’s best mitigation measures suggested by Wildlife Institute of India. It is a classic example of balancing environment and development. It is true that NHAI has agreed to build wildlife crossings while expanding NH7, it is also a fact that they did so after a long legal battle in NGTUnlike the earlier government we are listening to sane voices. We sat together and we solved the matter. But it is the NGT who asked your ministry and NHAI about NH7’s wildlife clearance and mitigation measure and directed both to arrive at mitigation measuresThe earlier government (Congress-NCP) had not given wildlife clearances. Either you reject it or give it. You cannot keep all projects in limbo. We have decided to take decisions. Regarding the Ken-Betwa river link project, do you think the concept of linking is viable?Though the matter is sub judice, I believe that we can protect both forests and wildlife. We have only 2.5% of world’s landmass and 17% of world’s population. I can’t say that I have to keep everything open and not allow human development. Linking Godavari to Krishna has succeeded. For Ken-Betwa, both Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have agreed. We have to ensure that while linking the two, there is no damage to a major wildlife habitat, and there will be a way out. But this project does go through the Panna tiger reserve?But because this is in court, and I have to file an affidavit, I will not like to talk. The ministry has also issued guidelines on opening up 40% of ‘degraded’ forests to private enterprises for their management, can you elaborate?We want to involve private players on a transparent basis. We are giving access to only those who are importing wood, because they are also creating jobs. The framework we have in mind, is to make available ‘degraded’ forests for afforestation. Non-forestry activities won’t be allowed. Ten per cent of the area will have plants or trees of traditional species bearing fruits, flower wood, that is useful for birds and animals. These trees won’t be harvested for commercial use. The remaining 90% will be offered on rent plus revenue sharing and they can harvest wood for commercial utilisation. So the intention is to create forests in areas where there is no forest, giving us revenue and also generating employment. While you say that 10% will be traditional trees on these land parcels, aren’t you encouraging monoculture on the other 90% for trade?But today, there is nothing on these parcels. Most of these land parcels to be considered are either encroached or barren. They are forests only on paper.

Eight cops hurt in clash with locals; 26 held for rioting in Delhi following triple murder

New Delhi: A protest by locals alleging police inaction in the probe into a triple murder case in the Raghuvir Nagar area turned violent, leading to injuries to eight policemen while two police vehicles were also damaged in the incident following which 26 persons have been arrested.

According to police, the clash last night took place hours after post-mortem was conducted on the three victims – a 27-year-old woman and her two children – who were found murdered at their residence in the west Delhi locality.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The clash occurred at around 10 PM, by when scores of protesters had gathered in the area. The protesters blocked Najafgarh road, police said, adding that the protest suddenly turned violent and police teams in the area had to resort to mild force to bring the situation under control.

Police said the locals pelted stones at the police personnel, leaving eight of them injured while two police vans were also damaged.

The injured personnel were taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital and Guru Govind Singh hospital from where they were discharged later, said the official. A case was later registered of rioting and around 26 persons have been arrested in this connection, he added.

Meanwhile, police on Tuesday put three neighbours of the victims, including their landlord, to intensive questioning which went on for hours. However, nobody has been arrested in connection with the murder of the woman and her two minor children.

“We are probing the case from all possible angles. Complaints about the deceased woman being teased by one of the suspects in the past have been taken into consideration. We have several leads and investigation is underway,” said a senior official.

The 27-year-old woman, identified as Shabnam, and her two children – Khushi (6) and Imran (8) – were found murdered at their residence on Monday. While Shabnam was attacked with a sharp object, as suggested by a mark on her throat, the children were strangled to death, said a police official.

Three of Shabnam’s other children – two daughters aged 2 and 4, and a nine-month-old son – were found sleeping peacefully in the same room. One of them later told police that about three persons had entered the apartment and had a scuffle with their mother.

Shabnam’s husband, Zafar, was away in Jaipur when the incident took place.

Returning home at around 6.15 AM on Monday, he found the main door of the one-room apartment bolted from outside. Entering the apartment he found his wife and two of his children lying on the floor.

Police have not been able to trace the murder weapon yet.


Double whammy: After Devendra Fadnavis slams Rajdeep Sardesai in open letter, Twitter mocks senior journo

While this could be the first time a major politician replied civilly to criticism, Twitteratis, majority of those supporting the BJP took the opportunity to bash Sardesai.

Days after senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote a open letter to CM Devendra Fadnavis criticising the recent meat ban and transfer of Mumbai CP Rakesh Maria, the BJP politician replied to him slamming his ‘biased’ views. While this could be the first time a major politician replied civilly to criticism, Twitteratis, majority of those supporting the BJP took the opportunity to bash Sardesai and led the hashtag ​#DevendraSlapsRajdeep totrend.Another senior journalist rightly explained the latest buzz on the micro-blogging site.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP on the other hand had a hearty laugh trolling Sardesai.The rest were having a day going after SardesaiDespite the Twitter jibe, Sardesai had a few supporters, handful of them

Dengue menace: Indian Medical Association clears out dengue myths

While people are told not to panic, IMA still cautions everyone as it is possible for a former dengue patient to be infected again.

Indian Medical Association creates awareness of the myths and facts about dengue

AFP photo
Given the large-scale panic that the increasing incidence of dengue has created, it is essential that awareness is raised about the myths and facts of the disease. Clearing common misconceptions Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President HCFI & Honorary Secretary General Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, “Dengue incidence will continue to exist in the coming one month and instead of creating unnecessary chaos and panic, it is essential that awareness is created about prevention and timely steps are taken towards disease management. One must remember that only 1% of the dengue cases are life-threatening. Most dengue cases can be handled on an outpatient basis and do not require hospitalisation”.Some of the myths cleared out by IMA are:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Myth: We are facing a dengue epidemic.Fact: Delhi is at present going through a dengue outbreak, and it has not yet become an epidemic, said IMA.Myth: That all dengue cases are the same and must be dealt with in the same manner.Fact: Dengue can be classified as dengue fever and severe dengue. A person is said to be suffering from severe dengue when there is capillary leakage. But patients who have dengue fever do not have capillary leakage. Four types of dengue have been identified to exist in the country out of which type II and type IV dengue are more likely to cause capillary leakage and so have to be treated differently.Myth: Everyone suffering from dengue must be hospitalised.Fact: Dengue fever can be managed on an outpatient basis and patients who do not have severe abdominal pain or tenderness, persistent vomiting, abnormal mental status or extreme weakness, do not need hospitalisation. Only patients suffering from severe dengue need hospitalisation. While they can also be hospitalised on discretion of their consulting doctor. One must always remember that 70% of the dengue fever cases can be cured just through the proper administration of oral fluids. Patients must be given 100-150 ml of safe water every hour, and it must be ensured that they must pass urine every 4-6 hours.Myth: Dengue can never re-occur if you have had it once in the past.Fact: There are four types of dengue infections, which exist in our country. While dengue from the same type cannot re-occur, that from a different type can. A second occurrence dengue (secondary) is more serious than first infection (primary). In the primary infection, IgM or NS1 will be positive and in secondary infection IgG will also be positive.Myth: This is the worst outbreak of dengue that Delhi has ever witnessed.Fact: The present outbreak of dengue in the national capital is that of dengue IV. The reason for a large number of cases is that dengue four has spread in the capital for the first time. The outbreak of dengue II in 2013 was more dangerous than the present dengue four outbreak.Myth: Platelet transfusion is the primary treatment option for people suffering from dengue fever.Fact: Platelet transfusion is only needed in cases where the patient’s counts are less than 10,000, and there is active bleeding. Unnecessary platelet transfusion can cause more harm than good. The best treatment for dengue is to administer large amounts of oral fluids to patients. For patients who are unable to take oral fluids, intravenous administration may be necessary.Myth: Machine platelet count is accurate.Fact: Machine platelet count reading may be less than the actual platelet count, and a difference of about 30,000 can occur.Myth: Testing platelet levels alone accounts for complete and effective management of dengueFact: A complete blood count (especially hematocrit) is needed to monitor prognosis and increased capillary permeability, which is the starting point of all complications. Falling platelet counts with rising hematocrit levels are most important.

This time, Narendra Modi’s UNGA visit to focus on digital seat for India

During his two-day stay in San Jose, the tech-savvy Prime Minister is scheduled to have back-to-back engagements, mostly with the Who’s Who of Silicon Valley. Modi’s focus, while connecting with technology leaders, is likely to underline the message to choose India as a destination and reach out to industry to help boost Digital India.

Unlike in the past when heads of states’ September visits to the US revolved around the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), this time Prime Minister Narendra Modi is zooming in on the West Coast to push for India’s technology-driven development plans. During his two-day stay in San Jose, the tech-savvy Prime Minister is scheduled to have back-to-back engagements, mostly with the Who’s Who of Silicon Valley. Modi’s focus, while connecting with technology leaders, is likely to underline the message to choose India as a destination and reach out to industry to help boost Digital India. While he presents what India has to offer, the meetings would also help by giving an opportunity for the tech brass to meet the PM face-to-face, according to sources closely involved in Modi’s US visit beginning September 23.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The first visit of an Indian PM to California in over three decades, Modi is also departing from the convention of addressing the UNGA and instead will make a speech at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. So far only external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s name figures on the list of speakers from India at the UNGA. While there have been instances of the external affairs minister addressing the UNGA in the past, it has happened only when the Prime Minister was not visiting, ministry sources said. Foreign ministers of other countries will also be addressing the UNGA. Modi, however, has been making attempts to push for a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council during bilateral meetings with world leaders. Former ambassador to the US, Naresh Chandra, recalled how in the previous NDA regime, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee cancelled plans to visit the West Coast at the last minute because of his knee problem and he requested Jaswant Singh, who was external affairs minister, to go there to interact with Indian IT professionals and entrepreneurs. “Its good that Modi is going to Silicon Valley. And he is meeting not just the Indians community representatives but also other top tech leaders. The important thing is that he might get to hear their views on the ease of doing business in India,” he said. As far as the UN was concerned, Chandra said it was a regular annual feature where India is one among a crowd of around 160 nations. “The new dimension is the West Coast,” he said. Among the engagements lined up are a townhall at Facebook office and an interaction with its founder Mark Zuckerberg, a meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook, visit to the Tesla Motors headquarters and a meeting with its CEO Elon Musk. According to sources, the effort from the Indian side would be to convey that India should not be seen just as a market for companies like Apple, but also as a manufacturing hub. “Our development plans for India in the next few years will be technology-driven. So there is enormous scope for tech companies. Cultivating techology leaders is a key aspect of the visit. The engagements would help in understanding what India can offer and what they feel,” said BJP general secretary Ram Madhav. Besides a round-table on renewable energy, one on disruptive digital technologies is also under consideration, sources said adding that India was looking at lifestyle changing start-ups. Modi will be addressing the Indian diaspora in an auditorium with a capacity of 20,000 at San Jose. Modi is expected to meet US President Barack Obama on September 28 when he returns to New York after his West Coast tour. He will also attend a dinner where leaders of Fortune 500 companies will be present.

BMC bans sale of meat for four days during Jain fasting season, Congress dubs move anti-democratic

Mumbai: Following demands made by BJP legislators and Jain organisations, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has banned meat in Mumbai for four days during the Jain fasting season of Paryushan. The Jain community will observe Paryushan from 11 September to 18 September. The BMC’s ban comes days after the BJP-ruled Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation banned meat sale for eight days during the fasting season.

Atul Bhatkhalkar, general secretary of BJP, other BJP leaders and several Jain organizations had written to the BMC demanding an eight-day meat ban. While the BMC usually restricts slaughter and sale of meat for two days during Paryushan, this year it enforced the four-day ban — 10, 13, 17 and 18 September — across Mumbai.  The decision to enforce the ban was taken by BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

“On these days, BMC slaughter houses will be shut and sale of meat will also be prohibited. The civic body’s market department has been asked to enforce the ban and ensure no animal is slaughtered and no meat is sold anywhere in the city,” said a senior civic official adding that if the ban is violated, stern action will be taken. However, the official added that the ban will not affect sale of fish and other sea food.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

Officials explained that the decision to ban sale of meat has been taken based on corporation resolutions passed in 1964 and 1994 and the state government’s 2004 resolution on the issue. “As per the two corporation resolutions, we can ban sale of meet for two days. Apart from this, the state government, in its 2004 resolution, has directed us to ban the sale for two days. So, while taking the decision on banning the sale of meet during Paryushan, we use our discretion to decide the number of days for banning the meat. This year, we decided to ban it for four days,” said the official.

Another official said that the BMC, ruled by Sena-BJP combine, was under pressure to impose a ban for at least four days following the decision taken by Mira Bhaynder Municipal Corporation.

BJP has welcomed the civic body’s decision. “We had asked the BMC to put an eight day ban during Paryushan. We also had held a meeting with the Municipal Commissioner on the issue. It is a victory for us that the BMC has approved a four-day ban. This does not hurt the sentiments of the Jain community,” said a senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

This is not the first time that the BJP has asked for ban on sale of meat in Mumbai during the Paryushan period. While party leaders have been demanding it for the last couple of years, their demand was met with stiff opposition from its partner the Shiv Sena and other political parties earlier.

However, the Congress has slammed the BJP and has termed the decision as ‘anti-democratic’. “The ban is anti-democratic. The BMC has buckled under pressure from the BJP. The government should not take any decision to please a particular religious community and should function as per constitution,” said Sanjay Nirupam, former MP and president of Mumbai Congress unit.

Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has also hit out at the BJP over the issue. MNS’s group leader Sandeep Deshpande has called the BJP as ‘Bharatiya Jain Party’ for getting the meat ban enforced.

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