Yuva Sai Sagar

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Month: October 2014

Warren Anderson of Union Carbide dead

Warren Anderson

For nearly 30 years, Warren Anderson’s was the face of the horrors that unbridled corporate greed had wreaked on their lives that night of December 3, 1984 when the Union Carbide pesticides factory in Bhopal leaked poisonous methyl-isocynate gas into the winter air.And now with his death, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy survivors’ hopes for getting justice have become remote. Anderson’s extradition to India had been one of the key demands of the Bhopal survivors. Anderson, they allege had been directly involved, as he had approved the design of the factory with its compromised safety measures.Shehzadi Bee, a survivor, is indignant: “Why did they not reveal the news of his death? Were they afraid of the reactions here?”Anderson, then CEO of Union Carbide, died on September 29 in Vero Beach, Florida, but news of his death went viral only on Friday when the New York Times reported it.In a release to the media circulated by various survivors’ organizations, Rashida Bee, president of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, said: “He faced grave criminal charges of homicide, grievous assault and killing and poisoning of animals and if convicted would have spent a lifetime in jail. Yet this man who killed more than 25,000 people and poisoned over half a million never spent a day in jail because the US government protected him to his dying day.””The Indian government took 11 years to send its first request for extradition of Anderson and then did nothing when the government of USA rejected that request on specious grounds. A second request still remains pending with the US state and justice departments and there has been no attempt by the Indian government to expedite matters in the last three years,” said Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogee Sangharsh Morcha.The survivors’ organisations gathered outside the abandoned Union Carbide factory to spit on a photograph of Anderson and garland him with chappals.They will also continue with their agitation for justice and more compensation. “On November 10, we plan to begin a fast in Delhi in support of our demand for more compensation,” said Shehzadi Bee. “All those affected by the leak have got Rs25,000 as compensation. We demand that the government pay every survivor a revised compensation of Rs 644,000 and also amend the figures of the dead and injured,” she added.

When it comes to labour reforms, Left, Right, Centre trade unions see red

In the RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Singh (BMS) office nothing much has changed– neither the portraits of Sangh trade union leader Dattopant Thengadi and social reformer BR Ambedkar on the wall– nor its agitational approach towards the government’s economic policies.Even as the Narendra Modi regime has put in place a coordination mechanism between the government and the RSS and its wings, the BMS, the trade union wing of the Sangh, does not want party affiliation to come in the way of trade union unity in protest actions. When trade unions of the Left– CITU and AITUC– and Congress- INTUC– take to the streets against the labour reforms of the Modi government, the BMS will also join them. The central trade unions will hold a dharna in the Capital as part of a country-wide agitation on December 5, at a time when Parliament would be holding its winter session. “Trade unions have been fighting government policies unitedly since 2010 when the UPA was in power. Our action is not against Modi regime but the attitude of ruling dispensations to issues concerning workers,” BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said. The decision to hold a protest action was taken after the Prime Minister unveiled labour reforms, including an end to inspector raj to make doing business in the country easier. While the steps were welcomed by the industry, trade unions dubbed it as anti-workers saying companies which were not implementing labour laws will stand to gain. “All trade unions cutting across party lines are against these labour reforms,” AITUC leader Gurudas Dasgupta said. Though trade union agitations have failed to alter the policy matrix of governments and pre-budget meetings with finance ministers have become mere rituals, Upadhyay said they were confident that concerns of the workers will be addressed. The trade unions, which had unitedly called for a nation-wide strike in 2011 and then in 2012, had managed to get the Manmohan Singh government to set up a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into their demands. When the BJP-led NDA government came to power, did not have any GoMs but the labour minister assured the trade unions that it will address their concerns. The trade unions had given a list of demands to finance minister Arun Jaitley on issues concerning labour, disinvestment of PSUs and price rise. Upadhyay said there was no response from the government so far. The trade unions will consider going on a strike if the government does not take any step after the protest action. The unions are also opposing FDI in sectors like defence, railways and insurance. “We are not against investment. The question is where it should come from and on what terms,” said Upadhyay.

Dear RSS, do write a saffron history, just make it a private project

Link: Dear RSS, do write a saffron history, just make it a private project

No hurry to decide Legislature Party leader in Maharashtra, Haryana: Congress

Congress is not in a hurry to decide its Legislature Party leader in Maharashtra and Haryana, where it had finished third in the just concluded Assembly polls. “In none of the states, we are going to get the Leader of the Opposition status and therefore why should we hurry?” remarked a senior leader when asked when the Legislature Party meetings in the two states are being convened.The first session of the newly elected Haryana Assembly is to start on November 3. Leaders other than Prithviraj Chavan and Bhupinder Signh Hooda are expected be appointed to the post as Congress refrains from reappointing defeated Chief Ministers, the leader said. Congress has been facing a string of defeats since its debacle in the Lok Sabha polls in May in which it got the lowest ever tally of 44.

Uddhav Thackeray’s presence during Maharashtra CM swearing-in ceremony ‘heartening’: BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday hailed Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s presence during the swearing-in ceremony of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, calling it a positive and heartening step. “We had Uddhav Thackeray, his wife and the whole family on the stage. I think it is a very positive and a heartening step taken by Thackeray to be present on the stage in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” BJP general secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy told the media. Rudy further termed Thackeray’s presence during the ceremony as a ‘good beginning’ for the politics of Maharashtra. “Thackeray’s presence was a momentous occasion for the people of Maharashtra. I think it is a good beginning for the state of Maharashtra and politics of Maharashtra,” Rudy said. Earlier on Friday, Devendra Fadnavis took oath as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in the presence of Prime Minister Modi and several other BJP stalwarts at a grand function at the Wankhede Stadium here. Thackeray, who had earlier decided to boycott the event, was also present during the swearing-in-ceremony.

Nita Ambani to celebrate birthday in Varanasi

Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani, along with friends and family members, will be in Varanasi on Saturday to celebrate his wife Nita’s birthday and to offer prayers in this temple town.Ambani and others will offer prayers at the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple here and will also attend the famous Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh ghat.

Sonia Gandhi not to attend Shahi Imam Bukhari’s son’s anointment ceremony

RNA Research & Archives
Congress President Sonia Gandhi will not attend the controversial anointment ceremony of the son of Jama Masjid Shahi Imam Syed Ahmed Bukhari in New Delhi next month. Asked if Gandhi had received the Imam’s invite, Congress sources said they were not aware if any such invitation had come. Prodded further about her possible attendance, a source only said, “the question does not arise”.The decision not to attend comes at a time when a controversy has erupted following the Imam’s decision not to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi even as he extended an invitation to Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharif. Bukhari had justified not inviting Modi claiming Muslims have not “forgiven” him for Gujarat riots and “he (Modi) does like us (Muslims) and we don’t like him”.Congress MP Husain Dalwai was critical of the Shahi Imam over the ceremony, saying there is no succession act in Islam and that it was not necessary that the son of the king should succeed him. He wondered why he should have called Pakistani Prime Minister. “Why he did not call prime ministers of other Muslim countries?” he asked.Bukhari had said that he had invited among others Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Harsh Vardhan, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Vijay Goel, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for his son’s anointment.

Narendra Modi calls all central government secretaries tomorrow for high tea

Five months into office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called all the Secretaries of the central government on Saturday for an interaction during which he is likely to enquire about the work done so far and the next steps. The top bureaucrats have been invited for high tea during which work is expected to be discussed, sources said.Modi had held a marathon two-and-a-half hour interaction with 79 Secretaries and other senior officials of various ministries and departments on June four, barely nine days after assuming office. At that meeting, Modi had asked bureaucrats to do away with “archaic” rules and procedures which hamper governance by creating “avoidable confusion”. Expressing full faith in the commitment and competence of bureaucrats to build a better future for the country, Modi had asked them to simplify and streamline administrative rules and procedures to make them people-friendly.Since then, the government has already identified over 1000 such laws and rules which are in the process of being scrapped. He had “encouraged the officers to take decisions and assured them that he would stand by them”. Promising to be accessible to all officers, he had also encouraged them to approach him with their “inputs and ideas”.

Madras High Court asks Centre about steps taken for protection of orphans

Representational Image

RNA Research & Archives
The Madras High Court on Friday sought to know from the Centre if orphans staying in homes run by NGOs were properly protected from child molesters from abroad under the guise of providing education and also about steps taken by the government to protect them.Hearing a petition filed by British national Jonathan Robinson, accused of sexually abusing children at an orphanage in Tirunelveli, Justice N Kirubakaran suo motu impleaded the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development while seeking the steps to protect the children.The judge ordered the ministry’s secretary to provide year-wise and state-wise details of cases that were brought to the notice of the government about the children abused by foreigners in various parts of the country.The bench here also sought a reply whether it was a fact that the foreigners were sexually abusing the children in the guise of giving good education and adoption. The judge also asked what steps were taken by the Union Government to prevent foreigners to have access to children taking advantage of their poverty.Earlier, Robinson had approached the court stating that he was patronizing an orphanage called Grail Trust at Valliyur in Tirunelveli district and was charged for physically abusing boys there from 2011 based on the complaint by Bangalore-based NGO Justice and Care.Valliyur Judicial Magistrate Court had issued non-bailablewarrant against him under Extradition Act. Further a “Red Corner Notice” was also issued against Jonathan based on the extradition treaty entered between India and Britain. Challenging the NBW and “Red Corner Notice”, Jonathan approached the High Court bench.

Allahabad HC stays execution of Nithari serial killer Surinder Koli till 25 Nov

More –  Allahabad HC stays execution of Nithari serial killer Surinder Koli till 25 Nov

Kiran Bedi proposes ‘6 P concept’ for women’s safety, emphasises role of all sections of society

Former cop and social activist Kiran Bedi on Friday advocated for a holistic approach towards ensuring women’s safety and security involving parents, teachers as well as state.”When we look at women’s security, its the six P concept. If we look at it with six P formula, we address it in all directions. Unless we address it in all directions, any aspect left unattended as a chain…women’s security will suffer,” she said while speaking at the launch of the 70th anniversary of the UN in India.The programme was organised by the United Nations Information Centre for India (UNIC) and Bhutan and Indian Federation of UN Associations with focus on Women’s security. Elaborating on the six P concept, Bedi said that the first P is the people. It is parents and how they bring up their boys and girls which constitutes it, she said.She also underlined the importance of teachers in the first P and said that if parents fail, teachers can take over. She said the second P was politicians who after the Nirbhaya incident had to come out with an ordinance. “They have a very vital role in enhancing or weakening respect of women,” she said.She attributed the third P to Police while the fourth to Prosecution – Judiciary, saying the latter has a crucial role in delivering a message as it has done in recent cases like the Dhaula Kuan case or Nirbhaya case.She said that the 5th P was prison which is a “dry cleaning” place where one has to send gender sensitivity messages as a part of reforms while the last P was the press which should pick up such programmes which are entertaining yet very educative.She urged UN to look into the six Ps concept and suggested them to present a composite and comprehensive message. She also appealed to the world body to create hubs which integrates the six Ps and suggested that the office of Lieutenant Governor in Delhi would be the best place to be a hub of such integration.She also launched theh [email protected] campaign conceptualised by UNIC which aims at educating and catalysing youth across India. A dynamo torch which will aid women’s security was also launched during the occasion.

Odisha chit fund scam: CBI books BJD MLA for links with Artha Tatwa group

Read this article:   Odisha chit fund scam: CBI books BJD MLA for links with Artha Tatwa group

Panel on Railways invites recommendations to Railways Bill

Link:   Panel on Railways invites recommendations to Railways Bill

Uttar Pradesh: Man faces charges of dowry harassment attacks wife inside court, seriously injures her

Representational Image

RNA Research & Archives
A man, facing charges of dowry harassment, on Friday attacked his wife with a knife inside a court, which was to hear the case, and inflicted serious injuries on her, police said. The incident happened on Friday afternoon when the Presiding officer was not present in the court.”The condition of the woman is was reported to be serious,” Dy SP Anil Yadav said. Prem Pal Singh, a resident of Nauserpur area of the district, had come to the court for hearing of dowry harassment and domestic violence case filed against him by his wife Laxmi Devi, a resident of Khair in Aligarh district.Laxmi had filed the suit against her husband six months ago in the court of Judicial Magistrate. Singh on Friday had some altercation with his wife over some issues inside the court, when they were waiting for the hearing.”He suddenly took out the knife and attacked his wife and tried to flee,” police said quoting an FIR filed by Gajraj Singh, woman’s brother. A case has been registered against Singh, under Section 324 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code, police said, adding the women was being operated upon.

NIA announces cash rewards for arrest of Burdwan blast accused

After gathering all the material from the Burdwan blast site in West Bengal, National Investigation Agency (NIA) today announced cash rewards for the arrest of 12 absconders who are wanted in connection with an alleged conspiracy to target installations in Bangladesh.NIA announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh each against five absconders and another Rs 5 lakh each for three accused with Rs 3 lakh being the reward declared for the remaining four. All of them are alleged to be associated with banned terror outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). NIA announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh for main accused Kausar, Nasirullah, Sajid (all believed to be Bangladesh nationals) and Talha Sheikh and Maulana Yusuf Sheikh (residents of West Bengal).It announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh on Amjad Ali Sheikh, Habibur Rahman Sheikh (residents of West Bengal) and Sahanur Alom (resident of Assam). For the remaining — Abdul Kalam, Burhan Sheikh, Rejaul Karim and Jahirul Shaikh (all residents of West Bengal), the NIA announced a cash reward of Rs 3 lakh. “Co-operation of the general public is solicited for apprehending them. Anyone can inform either on phone or on e-mail about their location and movement. It is stated that identity of the informer(s) shall be kept secret,” NIA said in a statement.Public can send emails on ‘[email protected]’ and ‘[email protected]’ besides contacting on the telephone nos. , 8285100100 in Delhi and 8336926666, 8336926633 in Kolkata. In the meantime, NIA, with the help of central security agencies, is drafting a dossier that would be sent to Bangladesh to help the country solve the case as it appears that JMB had plans to carry out a series of explosions in the neighbouring country.In keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s line of maintaining good relations with neighbouring countries, the sources said the dossier will include the interrogation report of the three accused who have been arrested by police in connection with the case.The interrogation reports of Razira Biwi, Alina Biwi and Badrul Aalam gave a graphic detail about the past activities of the terror outfit and their future plans, which mainly included carrying out strikes in Bangladesh and India. The three are said to have told interrogators that they were tasked with selecting many hideouts, fabricating Improvised Explosive Devices besides identifying, recruiting and indoctrinating possible cadres for the outfit from various madrasas (religious schools).The terror outfit’s network in West Bengal and Assam was set up with the purpose of building an Islamic state in Bangladesh as well as in the three West Bengal districts — Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda — through armed struggle, official sources said. Giving details about the plan, which failed after a blast took place inside a house in Burdwan earlier this month on October 2, the three accused are believed to have told their interrogators that IEDs were transported to Bangladesh by absconders Sheikh Kausar and Kadir for terror activities.Kausar is believed to be a mastermind in the case who managed to flee the area apparently due to the allegedly lackadaisical approach of West Bengal Police, sources said, adding that he was hiding in Birbhum till October 5 before also escaping from there.The arrested accused claimed that a Bangladeshi national, identified as Sajid, and wife Fatima were ‘lead trainers’ at Simulia where people were being trained in carrying out various terror activities. The arrested accused informed the interrogators that one of the accused Sajid has purchased a piece of land in Burdwan worth Rs 8.75 lakh to set up a new Madrassa. Kausar Sheikh had married an Indian girl named Jannat in 2007 and acquired Indian identity. He was lead IED maker and supplied explosives to Shakeel and Hassan. One of the motives of the JMB was to target young females from poor families to indoctrinate into jehadi ideology and eventually encourage them to marry Bangladeshi youth so that the men can gain residency in India and Indian identity.The JMB wanted to get ready some youth with arms and explosive training and take revenge against torture of Muslims by way or armed revolution. According to the confessional statement of arrested three, one of the accused Amjad Ali provided explosives to the unit run by Shakil and he could have visited Delhi after escaping from West Bengal after the Burdwan blast.

Whoever slaughters a cow violates the law: U’khand Governor Aziz Qureshi

Source:  Whoever slaughters a cow violates the law: U’khand Governor Aziz Qureshi

Tarun Gogoi alleges Narendra Modi government stopped many welfare schemes

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday alleged that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has stopped several welfare schemes for the poor even as the state government is committed to implementing such schemes.”The Assam Government is committed to implementing welfare schemes in the state. But the Modi government at the Centre is stopping several welfare schemes for the poor masses,” Gogoi claimed while addressing a public meeting here. “The central government yesterday stopped a number of employment generating schemes as an austerity drive. Is this the ‘acche din aane wale hai’ of Narendra Modi”, he questioned.Unveiling an austerity drive to trim fiscal deficit, the Centre had yesterday taken measures aimed at cutting non-plan spending by 10 per cent which includes a ban on filling of vacant posts to reduce fiscal deficit to a 7-year low of 4.1 per cent of GDP. “During the last few months that the BJP Government has been in power at the Centre, the welfare schemes of Assam have either been blocked or rendered non-functional,” Gogoi alleged while launching a special Indira Awas Yojana Scheme for the state here in Morigaon district on the occasion of the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.The state government had sent several welfare schemes for approval but no green signal has been given by the Centre so far, the chief minister said. Stating that construction of more than 50,000 dwelling houses for BPL families will begin from today in the district, Gogoi said the special IAYS to be launched across the state will provide a dwelling house per family at Rs 75,000 each to be constructed by the District Rural Development Agency.Addressing a Rashtriya Sankalpa Diwas programme in Guwahati on the occasion of the 30th death anniversary of the former prime minister organised by the APCC, Gogoi regretted that the Modi government chose not to commemorate the day to remember Indira Gandhi’s martyrdom. The Chief Minister criticised the central government for not recollecting Gandhi’s sacrifice of her life for integration of the country and her welfare measures such as nationalisation of banks, pro-poor development schemes.

Modi should’ve paid tribute to Indira Gandhi: ND Tiwari

Original link:   Modi should’ve paid tribute to Indira Gandhi: ND Tiwari

Foreign merchant vessel scraps INS Kora off Vishakhapatnam coast

Read this article:   Foreign merchant vessel scraps INS Kora off Vishakhapatnam coast

NCW to recommend legalising sex trade to Supreme Court-appointed panel

RNA Research & Archives
The National Commission for Women (NCW) is likely to pitch for legalising prostitution with its chief Lalitha Kumaramangalam favouring it to ensure better living conditions for sex workers in the country. The NCW will be making its recommendations on the issue before a Supreme Court-appointed panel on November 8. “Legalising sex trade can be helpful in providing better living conditions for sex workers. But there are multiple factors that need to be taken into consideration to define what could be legal and illegal in the trade,” Kumaramangalam said.The Supreme Court had constituted a panel on August 24, 2011 after a public interest litigation was filed in 2010 on rehabilitation of sex workers. “We will make certain recommendations on the issue of legalising sex trade, possible amendments in Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act (ITPA) and ensuring better living conditions for sex workers,” the NCW chief said when asked about the issue. Each state government was asked to undertake survey in collaboration with the central government as recommended by the panel to ascertain as to how many sex workers want rehabilitation and how many of them voluntarily want to continue profession.The court had also directed NCW to attend the panel’s meetings. Asked about the recommendations she is going to make, Kumarmangalam said, “There is no drafted proposal as such. It’s a consultation to deliberate upon existing provisions of ITPA 1956, loopholes, implementation of the law and impact of such implementation on sex workers. We will put forward our opinions.””The panel will make its recommendations on possible amendments in ITPA which can be helpful in ensuing conducive conditions for sex workers to live with dignity in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution,” she said. The ITPA was enacted to combat trafficking of women and sexual exploitation for commercial purposes.

Black money: Government appoints outgoing CBDT boss as SIT Advisor

Senior IRS officer and outgoing CBDT Chairman K V Chowdary was on Friday appointed by the Government as an Advisor to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that is probing black money cases. An expert on tax issues and financial investigations, Chowdary will take charge of the new post from Saturday on his retirement after serving over three decades in the Income Tax cadre of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).The 1978-batch officer retired on Friday as the Chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).”Both the SIT and government wanted the officer to continue as he has been dealing with blackmoney cases for a long time and has been a part of all the deliberations that have taken place on this subject in the last three years,” a senior Finance Ministry official said. The SIT is headed by retired Supreme Court Judge M B Shah with Vice-Chairman Justice (retd) Arijit Pasayat and heads of 11 different organisations or departments as members on the high-powered panel.SIT sources said Chowdary would be carrying out all important works of coordination between the agencies on this apex panel and he would also be meeting various national and international stakeholders in furtherance of the government’s aim to curb the menace of black money. “However, the terms of his mandate will be announced later by the Finance Ministry,” they said. An official order issued today evening by the Finance Ministry said Chowdary will keep drawing the same salary, allowances and facilities, except pension benefits during this new tenure, as allowed to him as the CBDT chief. His tenure, according to the order, will be for a period of six months and it could be extended further if need arises.Chowdary has had one of the longest stints in CBDT, the apex policy making authority of the Income Tax department, having held the charge of Member (Audit and Judicial) in the board before taking over charge of investigations. He has earlier worked as the Director General of I-T (Investigations) in the national capital where he headed a number of high-profile tax probes, including those relating to the 2G spectrum allocation case and the HSBC Geneva taxpayers list along with a number of cases dealing with black money and tax evasion.The officer is also credited with initiating a host of new steps to enhance and fine-tune the snooping capabilities and investigations of the Income Tax department. A number of high profile searches and raids were carried out by Delhi investigations unit of the department during his tenure. He has earlier served as the Chief Commissioner of I-T in Vishakhapatnam and Director (Investigations) in Nagpur.He was part of the Revenue Secretary-led delegation which recently met Swiss authorities in Berne in order to take bilateral talks forward on these issues and probe into the suspect illegal funds stashed abroad by Indians in the banks of the Alpine nation. Chowdary’s batchmate and CBDT Member Anita Kapur is slated to take over as the new CBDT Chairperson and sources said order for her appointment to the top post are expected to be out very soon. CBDT has six members apart from the Chairman and is the apex body for framing policy and administrative issues related to direct taxes and the Income Tax department.

Congress MP voices concern over rise of AIMIM in Maharashtra; alleges understanding with BJP

A Congress MP has voiced concern over the rise of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in Maharashtra and alleged that the Hyderabad-based party has an understanding with BJP. AIMIM won two seats in the just-concluded Assembly polls in Maharashtra.Husain Dalwai, who is member of the Rajya Sabha, told reporters that the development was not good for the welfare of the Muslim community claiming it would strengthen the divisive politics of BJP.Appealing to the Muslim community to help strengthen the secular forces, Dalwai said that the community will have to agitate for the implementation of the recommendations of the Sachar Committee for its socio-economic development.Contesting its first election in Maharashtra, AIMIM achieved 0.9% votes from the total vote share of the state, which is significant in view of the 10.6% population of Muslims in the state. Reports had it that the support for AIMIM in the Assembly polls is much more than that garnered by Samajwadi Party. SP managed to get a meagre 0.2% vote share that comes to only 92,304 votes.

India hopeful that fishermen issue will be resolved

India on Friday said it has conveyed its “concern” to Sri Lanka over the death sentence given by a court there to five Indian fishermen and expressed confidence that the matter will be resolved satisfactorily. “Our High Commissioner today in Colombo has had detailed discussions with the lawyers. Their assessment is that there has been miscarriage of justice and they would like to appeal against that,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Syed Akabaruddin said.As of now, the lawyers are waiting for an authenticated or final judgement and based on that they will take next action, which will include appeal against the verdict. “There is a concern in our government on this judgement and this concern has been conveyed to the Sri Lankan government both here at the top most level of their representation as well as in Sri Lanka including Foreign Minister and Sri Lankan Defence Secretary…,” he said.The five Indians are among a group of eight people sentenced to death by Colombo High Court judge Preethi Padman Surasena for alleged involvement in heroin trafficking between India and Sri Lanka in 2011. The rest three are Sri Lankans.Government, which has been pursuing their case for the last four years, maintains that it has done due diligence and found them to be innocent. Expressing confidence that the matter will be resolved satisfactorily, the Spokesperson referred to a previous case wherein two Indians were given death sentence by a Sri Lankan court which was later commuted to life term by the Sri Lankan President under executive order.The two were shifted to India under a treaty for transfer of sentenced prisoners and one of them was out last year after completing his term while another was still in prison, he added. Reassuring that there was a legal architecture between the two countries to address such cases, the Spokesperson said people should allow the process to be completed and also that executive order can only be kicked-in after the legal process was completed.

Petrol price cut by Rs 2.41 per litre,diesel rate lowered by Rs 2.25

Petrol price on Friday was cut by Rs 2.41 a litre, the sixth reduction since August, and diesel by Rs 2.25 per litre on back of falling international oil rates.The reduction in rates of petrol and diesel, which was deregulated for the first time in more than a decade, will be effective from midnight tonight, Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, announced.The Rs 2.41 a litre price cut in petrol and Rs 2.25 in diesel was after accounting for a 10-15 paise increase in commission paid to petrol pump dealers. The reduction should have been higher by 10-15 paise if the dealer commission had not been increased.Petrol will cost Rs 64.25 a litre in Delhi from tomorrow as against Rs 66.65 currently. In Mumbai, the rate will be cut by Rs 2.55 a litre to Rs 71.91. Since August, petrol price has been cumulatively cut by Rs 9.36 per litre.Prices vary from state to state because of differential rate of local sales tax or VAT. Diesel rates have been cut for the second time this month. The nation’s most consumed fuel will now cost Rs 53.35 per litre in Delhi from tomorrow compared to Rs 55.60 a litre at present.In Mumbai, diesel price has been reduced by Rs 2.50 to Rs 61.04. The government had on October 18 freed diesel prices from its control, giving freedom to oil marketing companies to adjust rates in line with cost. On that day, rates were cut by Rs 3.37 per litre, the first reduction in price of diesel in over five years. The previous decline dates back to January 2009.Simultaneously, the price of non-subsidised cooking gas (LPG) was cut by Rs 18.5 to Rs 865 per 14.2-kg cylinder.Since August, this is the fourth reduction in rate of non-subsidised LPG which consumers buy after exhausting their quota of sub-market priced domestic cooking gas. Non-subsidised LPG in Delhi was priced at Rs 922.50 in July and rates have in every subsequent month been reduced.The only exception being October 23 when prices went up by a marginal Rs 3 per cylinder following government raising the commission paid to LPG dealers/distributors.”The price of petrol was last revised downwards with effect from October 15 by Rs 1.21 per litre (including state levies at Delhi) on the back of declining international oil prices,” IOC statement said.IOC said the government decided to make diesel prices market-determined for all consumers on October 18. “Subsequently, with effect from October 19, based on prevailing level of international prices and Rupee-USD exchange rate, the selling price of diesel in domestic market was reduced by Rs 3.37 per litre (including state levies at Delhi) with corresponding decrease in other states,” it said.Since then, the international prices of both petrol and diesel have continued to be on a downtrend. But foreign exchange rate has appreciated slightly. “The combined impact of both these factors warrant the said decrease in retail selling prices of petrol and diesel,” the statement said.IOC said it was “closely monitoring” prices in international oil market and Rupee-USD exchange rate and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes.

Gujarat CM Anandi Patel compares Narendra Modi to Sardar Vallabbhai Patel

On the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on Friday, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Patel performed the ground breaking ceremony of ‘Shreshtha Bharat Bhavan’ to be built at a cost of Rs 176 crore as part of the ‘Statue of Unity’ project near Kevadia in Narmada district.In her speech on the occasion, the CM thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for conceiving such a project in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, according to an official press release issued in Ahmedabad on Friday. She said that just like the people of India had put their trust in Sardar Patel in the past, people have also put their trust in Modi.She said that both Sardar Patel and Modi share similar personality traits, adding that Modi is surging ahead to realise Sardar’s dreams, the release said. In her speech, the CM said that the ‘Shreshtha Bharat Bhavan’ would not be a mere edifice of stone but a centre of research to study India’s freedom struggle.She claimed that the ‘Statue of Unity’ would attract tourists from all over the world and eventually create job opportunities for locals. She said that the project of Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue, would be completed within four years.The concept of ‘Shreshtha Bharat–Ek Bharat’ is a natural corollary to honour Sardar Patel and his contribution to keep India united at the time of Independence, she said. Earlier during the day, the Gujarat CM flagged off ‘Run for Unity’ near the Sabarmati riverfront here. Such events were also organised in all the major towns and cities of the state during the day.Later, she went to Sardar Patel’s ancestral village of Karamsad in Kheda district to inaugurate the ‘Sardar Smruti Shala’ memorial. The school in which Sardar received elementary education has been turned into his memorial at a cost of Rs 1.20 crore by the Gujarat government.

Congress decision to break alliance unfortunate, says Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Friday termed as “unfortunate” Congress’ decision to break alliance with JMM and asked BJP not to be in “illusion” of repeating Maharashtra and Haryana-like performances in Jharkhand.”Despite being in the ruling coalition for 14 months, some ambitious leaders are allowing BJP a ‘bypass (route)’ in the ensuing assembly elections,” Soren said without taking name of Congress, hours after Congress announced break-up of ties with the JMM.”But JMM will not allow BJP to come to power. We will contest all the 81 seats on our own and form a majority government after the polls,” Soren claimed. Terming as “illusion” the BJP’s claim of repeating Maharashtra and Haryana-like performances, Soren alleged that the BJP had “looted” the state and responsible for political instability in its nearly nine years rule.Blaming Congress for imposing President’s rule thrice in the state, he said, “What our government did in the past 14 months no other government has done. We have raised the performance bar and development will be visible within the next five years.”Highlighting his achievement during the short stint in power, Soren said his government took initiatives to address all sections of the society, adding the government had sanctioned road projects worth Rs 5000 crore.JMM has been heading the coalition with the support of Congress, RJD and other parties/independent MLAs.

2G scam: Court exempts Dayalu from personal appearance while being charged

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Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cousin, Azam Khan’s wife on SP list for Rajya Sabha elections

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cousin Ram Gopal Yadav and wife of Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan are among six candidates named today by the party for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. Apart from Ram Gopal and Azam’s wife Tazeen Fatima, SP chief Mulayam also declared the names of Ravi Prakash Verma, Javed Ali, Chandra Pal Singh Yadav and Neeraj Shekhar — the son of former prime minister, the late Chandra Shekhar — for the elections to the Upper House.Elections for 10 Rajya Sabha seats in UP will be held on Nov. 20 and SP is certain to win six of those because of its numerical strength in the state Assembly. There was speculation that the party could renominate its former member Amar Singh, who is retiring from the Upper House, due to his personal equation with Mulayam. Reports had it that SP was also considering the name of RLD chief Ajit Singh for a berth in Rajya Sabha after the Jat leader’s party failed to win a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections.

By snubbing PM Modi, Delhi Imam has played right into the hands of Muslim-baiters

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Sahara chief Subrata Roy shells out Rs 31 lakh for Tihar’s special facilities

Sahara group has paid Rs 31 lakh to Tihar jail authorities as charges for stay of its chief Subrata Roy in an air-conditioned facility and using services like phone, internet and video conferencing for 57 days to negotiate sale of his luxury hotels abroad. Roy was allowed by the Supreme Court to use the jail’s conference room to negotiate sale of his hotels in order to collect Rs 10,000 crore for his bail.”The payment was made by the Sahara group a few days before the withdrawal of special services. An amount of Rs 31 lakh has been submitted to us that includes the expenses of security, electricity charges, food etc,” a senior jail official told PTI.Roy, 65, stayed in the special facility for a total period of 57 days with his two directors Ashok Roy Choudhary and Ravi Shankar Dubey from August 5 to September 30. In a letter to Tihar authorities recently, Roy had demanded restoration of the facilities saying that almost 80 per cent of the deal was fixed and that withdrawal of services may lead to its cancellation. He had also demanded enhanced security claiming threat to his life.Roy, who was sent to jail on March 4 this year for non-refund of over Rs 20,000 crore with interest to depositors, was asked by the court to pay Rs 10,000 crore to get bail, including Rs 5,000 crore in cash and rest of the amount in bank guarantee.

Will vote against BJP if no concrete offer is made: Shiv Sena

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According to sources, Shiv Sena has asked BJP to decide on alliance before trust vote. The party has said that it will vote against BJP if no concrete offer is made. Meanwhile, newly appointed Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will seek a vote of confidence in his government during a special session of the state Assembly beginning November 11, official sources said today.A formal announcement in this regard is likely to be made tomorrow after a meeting of the state Cabinet.A top official speaking on condition of anonymity said it would be a three-day session.Governor C Vidyasagar Rao has given Fadnavis 15 days from the day of his government being sworn in to prove its majority in the 288-member House.After the death of an MLA, BJP’s strength in the Assembly has come down to 121, but it has claimed support of all seven independents and some from smaller parties.NCP with 41 MLAs has declared outside support to the BJP government and said it will abstain from voting on the trust motion if 63-member Shiv Sena were to sit in the opposition, helping it sail through.Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray attended the swearing-in ceremony of the Fadnavis government earlier in the day, reviving hopes of a rapprochement between the two saffron parties. He also had a brief discussion with BJP president Amit Shah after the oath ceremony where he shook hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and exchanged pleasantries.If Sena comes on board, the BJP government will have no problem proving its majority in the House.

Eknath Khadse to Pankaja Munde: Here’s a look at Devendra Fadnavis’ cabinet

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Sexual assault on minors: Why Bangalore schools need to be made accountable

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Govt to set up ‘Ganga Guard Corps’ to keep river clean: Uma Bharati

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What does Maharashtra want from its new Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis?

Devendra Fadnavis is going to take oath today as the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra. A lot is expected from this young Chief Minister, known for his penchant for hard work and possessing a clean image.

Devendra Fadnavis

This is also the first BJP led government in Maharashtra and it is expected that Fadnavis will coordinate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to usher Maharashtra to a path of glory and prosperity.But with great power comes great responsibility, we invite you to tell us what CM Devendra Fadnavis should address on priority for Maharashtra.Loading…

Manohar Lal Khattar government accuses previous Congress regime for fiscal crisis

BJP-led Haryana government on Friday accused the previous Congress regime of leaving the state in “fiscal stress” by announcing “fund exhausting” decisions which put a huge financial burden on the state’s exchequer.Manohar Lal Khattar-led government also expressed concern over high revenue deficit and ballooning debt though it exuded confidence that it would bring the state out of “precarious” financial situation by focusing on transparency and accountability. “The present fiscal health of the state is in crisis, there is no doubt about it. Revenue deficit is very high, debt servicing has increased. The state’s plan expenditure is less while non-plan expenditure is growing,” Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu said in Chandigarh on Friday. The new Finance Minister held previous Congress government responsible for putting “heavy” financial burden on the state. “Announcements made by them (Hooda government) in this election year put heavy financial burden on the state’s exchequer,” he said. On being asked, he said he would present full detail pertaining financial burden after the State’s assembly session next week.On revenue collection, he said that state could achieve 15% growth in tax mobilization, though it would not be sufficient to meet the rising revenue expenditure. Haryana had projected revenue deficit of Rs 5,013 crore for 2014-15, thrice of what it was in 2011-12. As per Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management (FRBM) Act 2005, the existing revenue deficit should have been zero. Notably, Haryana remained a revenue surplus state for a period starting from 2005-06 till 2007-08. Significantly, Haryana’s debt burden grew by over 200 per cent to Rs 81,806 crore (Budget Estimates for (2014-15) since 2005-06.Abhimanyu, who has got a host of portfolios including of finance, Excise and Taxation, Revenue and Disaster Management, Forests and Environment, Industry and Commerce, said that the new government would put information pertaining to state’s fiscal health in public domain to let them know what the BJP government has got from the previous incumbent. “We will bring in the knowledge of every one about state’s fiscal health. We will tell them what is the actual position now and what we propose do to put fiscal situation in order,” he said. “Transparency and accountability will be our focus area,” he further said.The minister said that the new government would focus on manufacturing sector and fast track clearances to new projects proposals which would spur state’s industrial growth. He took a dig at the previous government for allegedly not implementing the single window clearance announced in the industrial policy 2007. “We will implement single window clearance. People are interested in setting up industrial projects in the state,” he said.”The offices will be made paperless and total computerization will be done to bring transparency in functioning,” he said, adding that Departments will be given time-bound targets to achieve the desired results. Referring to fiscal health of state-owned undertakings, the minister said that the Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) was facing huge debt of over Rs 5,000 crore. “About 10,000 acres of land is still in pipeline for acquisition. How HSIIDC will get funds for acquisition,” he said. HSIIDC is the nodal agency of Haryana Government to develop industrial and its support infrastructure in the state.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray meets Amit Shah after Devendra Fadnavis government takes oath

Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray, who on Friday attended the swearing-in ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis government following a last-minute call from Amit Shah, held talks with the BJP President after the event. It was not known what transpired at the brief meeting that took place in the Wankhede Stadium premises.Shah had reached out to a sulking Shiv Sena Chief a day after the party announced its decision to boycott the ceremony on account of “constant humiliation” by BJP over government formation.”Sena has missed the bus. I don’t know due to whom,” senior Sena leader and former Chief Minister Manohar Joshi said after the event. Uddhav also shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the proceedings got over but it was not yet clear if and when substantive talks between the two parties for thrashing out a mutually acceptable power-sharing arrangement will start.”Sena is our natural ally. If they come with us, they are welcome. They have to take the call,” senior BJP leader Om Prakash Mathur said. Former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, whose party NCP has declared unconditional outside support to the new government said, “We came here to wish the new CM our best. We will support the new government in all their pro-people decisions.”

Maharashtra: 12-year-old boy, labelled mentally ‘deficient’ by govt, tops class

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Assam CM Tarun Gogoi alleges Narendra Modi government stopped many welfare schemes

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday alleged that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has stopped several welfare schemes for the poor even as the state government is committed to implementing such schemes.”The Assam Government is committed to implementing welfare schemes in the state. But the Modi government at the Centre is stopping several welfare schemes for the poor masses,” Gogoi claimed while addressing a public meeting in Bonpara.”The central government on Thursday stopped a number of employment generating schemes as an austerity drive. Is this the ‘acche din aane wale hai’ of Narendra Modi?”, he questioned.Unveiling an austerity drive to trim fiscal deficit, the Centre had on Thursday taken measures aimed at cutting non-plan spending by 10% which includes a ban on filling of vacant posts to reduce fiscal deficit to a 7-year low of 4.1% of GDP.”During the last few months that the BJP Government has been in power at the Centre, the welfare schemes of Assam have either been blocked or rendered non-functional,” Gogoi alleged while launching a special Indira Awas Yojana Scheme for the state here in Morigaon district on the occasion of the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.The state government had sent several welfare schemes for approval but no green signal has been given by the Centre so far, the chief minister said. Stating that construction of more than 50,000 dwelling houses for BPL families will begin from Friday in the district, Gogoi said the special IAYS to be launched across the state will provide a dwelling house per family at Rs 75,000 each to be constructed by the District Rural Development Agency.Addressing a Rashtriya Sankalpa Diwas programme in Guwahati on the occasion of the 30th death anniversary of the former prime minister organised by the APCC, Gogoi regretted that the Modi government chose not to commemorate the day to remember Indira Gandhi’s martyrdom.The Chief Minister criticised the central government for not recollecting Gandhi’s sacrifice of her life for integration of the country and her welfare measures such as nationalisation of banks, pro-poor development schemes.

Lanka downplays concern over death penalty to fishermen, says India ‘clearly aware’ of laws

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Twitter users show their creativity as #ScaryStoriesIn5Words trends

Twitter is a place where politics, sports, life philosophies, and real life pathos often get covered under a single hashtag. One such hashtag was used by enthusiastic Twitterati on Friday – Halloween – and #ScaryStoriesIn5Words has been the top trend on the micro-blogging website for the last few hours. Creative Twitter users have made fun of literally everybody under the sun. Here is a collage of the irreverent take of Twitter users on society and life in general using the #ScaryStoriesIn5Words hashtag:The dreaded weight question:The civil breakup line:How will we see Homeland then??The nosy neighbour or distant relative we all hate:The story of people who suffered in the hands of over enthusiastic parents:All people in the ‘marriageble’ age bracket have been bombarded with this question:Politically incorrect but true…No, infinity is not the right answer.Extremely scary line….Self explanatory:NSA on the other side of the phone….scary, scary thought!Strictly rhetorical question from affable tau-ji:Iss Tweet mein KICK hain:Nightmare at 9.00 pm.:Extremely dangerous lines, especially if you are near or in a high-end mall:We have all heard this line after the end of a disastrous interview:Some sports banter:Food problems:Mandatory unsolicited advice:Ohh the horror….Finally, some political banter:

Blackmoney: Modi govt appoints outgoing CBDT chief KV Chowdary as SIT advisor

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1984 riots accused should be punished, says Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal

Punjab government will build pressure on the NDA government to punish those involved in the killing of Sikhs during 1984 riots, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Friday.The Shiromani Akali Dal president said the government’s decision to give an additional compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the victims of 1984 anti-Sikh riots was “mere beginning of the procedure to balm their wounds”.”Along with compensation, the accused should be awarded strict punishment for which SAD will leave no stone unturned to pressurise the central government,” he said.On Thursday, the central government announced that it will provide Rs five lakh each to the next of kin of 3,325 victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots triggered after assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.Terming Rs 50 hike in the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of wheat as a “small measure”, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be approached to increase this hike by at least Rs 150 to Rs 200 per quintal.On the issue of black money stashed abroad, he said the Centre should make the list of account holders public so that every Indian could know about it.

Sikkim observes National Unity Day

Sikkim observed National Unity Day (Rashtriya Ekta Diwas) on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Rashtriya Sankalpa Diwas commemorating the death anniversary of former Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi in a united function, here at the Manan Kendra.Chief Secretary R Ongmu, administered the pledge of unity to the officers and staff of various departments within the Secretariat premises assembled in Manan Kendra to commemorate Sardar Patel`s 139th birth anniversary.Earlier, Secretary Protocol, Home Department S K Pradhan read out the quotes made by Indira Gandhi and also mentioned lines of her very last speech which she had delivered before a day of her assassination.Similarly the day was also observed in all the Government offices of the State capital, districts, and sub-divisions of the State. To mark the event, students from various schools participated in a rally holding placards with messages on unity and brotherhood.The rally took off at Guards Ground and culminated at Titanic Park, Gangtok.

Sexual assault on minors: Why Bangalore schools must be made accountable

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JD-U takes digs at the BJP over Patel birth anniv celebrations

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Bollywood pins hopes on new Maharashtra government to address tax issues

As Maharashtra witnesses a change of guard on Friday, Bollywood wants the new regime to address the issue of heavy burden of taxation that has stunted the growth of the film industry. Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Film and Television Producers Guild of India Ltd, said that archaic laws and heavy taxation are some of the key issues and challenges faced by the industry, which are not only detrimental to the growth of the film industry but will result in its inevitable breakdown.He said Mumbai has been the centre of the Indian entertainment industry since its inception and this industry provides employment directly or indirectly to almost 5 million people in the country. “However, serious implications caused by the various archaic laws and heavy burden of taxation on the Hindi film sector has stunted the growth of this industry and made several stalwarts displeased with the system,” he added.The high taxes imposed on the Hindi film industry in the state, like the Entertainment Tax on films, applicability of VAT on television production business, stamp duty and to keep local bodies taxes out of proposed GST, have cast a dark spell for the ‘Film Guild’, he said. The absence of single window mechanism has resulted in systematic harassment and malpractices over the years, and has increased costs for producers, thereby significantly discouraging them from shooting in the state.In addition to this, the lack of adequate cinema halls in Maharashtra (much lower than southern states) has hampered the growth of the film industry and directly resulted in increase in piracy and loss of revenues to the government, as well as the industry. Speaking about the various concerns weighing down the industry, Bhatt said, “Maharashtra has always been the home for the Hindi film industry. Sadly, we have been made to feel like an orphan in our own home state. Leave aside any support we are penalised for making films in a language which does not belong to any other state in the country including Maharashtra.Bhatt also said that impartial treatment is given to the Hindi film industry when it comes to the high tax structure, archaic laws and multiple complications, which restricts growth of the film industry in the state.”We are confident that the new BJP government in Maharashtra will address these pending issues and help the film industry achieve newer heights. “Mumbai has been the dream city for a lot of Bollywood actors, who have carved their space in the history of cinema and in the hearts of their fans over the years. Its time that the entertainment industry is rewarded for all these years of service to the people and required changes be made in the system, as they hinge their hope on the newly elected BJP government,” he said.

India-assisted northern Lanka railways trial run successful

India on Friday announced the successful completion of trail run on a key railway track in Tamil-majority northern Sri Lanka, a region that suffered heavily during the three decade-long civil war.The trial took place along the renovated Madhu Road- Thiruketheeswaram line. “The trial run evoked considerable enthusiasm among the local populace and many people were seen spontaneously cheering the train as it passed by”, a press release issued by the Indian High Commission here said.It comes close on the heels of the inauguration of Pallai-Jaffna reconstructed railway track and signal system by President Mahinda Rajapaksa early this month. Both the projects were undertaken by IRCON International (IRCON), a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Railways of India.The 26 km-long Madhu Road-Thiruketheeswaram reconstructed track is part of the 252 km prestigious Northern Railway Line Project, being implemented by IRCON under a concessional credit line amounting to about USD 800 million provided by the Government of India .The completion of the railway line up to Talaimnannar would pave way for the resumption of ferry service between Talaimannar and Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. The development, in turn, would make it possible for Sri Lankan citizens to travel by train from Hambantota and Matara Sri Lanka to any part of India.

Assam: Bandh disrupts normal life, over 70 detained

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Subrata Roy shelled out Rs 31 lakh to use special facilities in jail

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Protests continue in Tamil Nadu over death penalty given to Indian fishermen

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From Sibal to Azharuddin: MPs who refused to leave govt houses easily

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BJP, JD-U exchange barbs on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary

Accusing BJP of trying to appropriate the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by organising functions sponsored by the central government on the occasion of his birth anniversary, ruling JD(U) on Friday said it should instead “remember Muzaffarnagar and Trilokpuri riots”.In messages posted on social media, JD(U) has blamed BJP for trying to kindle communal tension in Bihar in the name of events like ‘Anti-Terrorism Day’ and asked the people to be cautious about ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’, which is being celebrated today on the occasion of the 139th birth anniversary of Patel, the country’s first home minister. Communal violence had broken out in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzzafarnagar in September last year while group clashes in Delhi’s Trilokpuri area took place during Diwali this year.”BJP repeated Muzaffarnagar riots in Trilokpuri… It is spreading fear of riots in many cities during this festive season. Be cautions as BJP is celebrating Rashtriya Ekta Diwas,” JD(U) alleges in its messages. Reacting sharply, BJP state president Mangal Pandey lambasted the ruling party and its senior leader, Nitish Kumar. “This is an insult to Patel by JD(U) and Kumar. Instead of celebrating his birth anniversary, they are opposing events organised on the occasion. They have forgotten the great leader’s contribution towards national integration,” Pandey said.He accused the ruling JD(U) of not organising the ‘Run for Unity’ or observing Rashtriya Ekta Diwas on the occasion of Patel’s anniversary despite directives in this regard by the central government.”And what riots they are talking about? JD(U) should know better about them as its leader Nitish Kumar was campaigning with Mulayam Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party (for the UP assembly elections) during whose tenure over two dozen riots have happened in UP. This also shows the double character of Nitish Kumar,” said Pandey.He further alleged that the central government directive for all states to celebrate Patel’s anniversary were not followed in Bihar upon orders from Kumar himself.

Azam Khan’s wife turns down SP’s Rajya Sabha offer

The wife of Uttar Pradesh minister Azam Khan on Friday turned down the offer by Samjwadi Party to nominate her for the Rajya Sabha polls scheduled next month.The ruling party of Uttar Pradesh today announced six names including that of Tanzeem Fatima for the polls of Upper House. According to the spokesperson of the minister, Shanu,” Tanzeem Fatima has not accepted the offer of the party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav to send her to Rajya Sabha.” “You may please select a more competent person for the Upper House,” she said in her communication to the SP chief.”Thanks for your offer, but as far as my entering into Rajya Sabha is concerned I and my entire family attach more importance to be treated as your family members,” Tanzeem said.”Hum shana ba shana aapke sath hamesha se rehe hain aur hamesha rahenge (We have always been with you shoulder to shoulder and we shall do that in future as well),” according to the communique.

Sri Lanka downplays India’s concerns on death sentences to fishermen

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Sri Lanka on Friday downplayed India’s concerns over the death sentences handed down to five Indian fishermen for alleged drug trafficking, saying India is “clearly aware” of legal systems in the country. Responding to a question, Keheliya Rambukwella, Sri Lankan Minister for Information, said India understands Sri Lanka’s prevalent laws.He said India’s concerns raised on Thursday’s verdict should not present Sri Lanka with any problems. The five fishermen, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were apprehended in 2011 by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of smuggling of drugs in the seas off northern Jaffna’s Delft islet.”India is clearly aware of another country’s legal systems, treaties signed, convicts exchange agreements,” Rambukwella said adding that Sri Lanka need not make any interpretation of Indian concerns. Rambukwella was asked about Sri Lankan government’s reaction to India’s reported bid to appeal against the Sri Lankan High Court death sentence against the Indian fishermen.The court ruling drew a sharp reaction from India which took up the matter with Sri Lanka and said it would appeal to a higher court against the judgement within 14 days.India on Thursday said the five Indian fishermen – Emerson, P Augustus, R Wilson, K Prasath and J Langlet – who were apprehended on November 28, 2011 by the Sri Lankan Navy on charges of narcotics smuggling, have always maintained their innocence. The Indian government through its High Commission in Colombo and the Consulate General of India in Jaffna has been extending all possible consular assistance to them, Ministry of External Affairs spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin said.”Government of India is fully committed to continue providing all assistance to the Indian fishermen. The lawyers of the Indian fishermen will file an appeal to the next court of appeal within the prescribed 14 days,” the spokesman said.The court ruling had triggered violent protests in parts of Tamil Nadu on Thursday. Sporadic violence broke out in and around Rameswaram island as a large number of people staged protests against the Sri Lankan court’s verdict. The issue of fishermen is a very emotive matter for both Sri Lanka and India, where Tamil Nadu-based parties including AIADMK and DMK have been regularly pressing the Centre to take up the matter with the Lankan authorities seriously and have often resented high-profile visits from the island nation.Sri Lanka has been alleging that Indian fishermen regularly stray into its waters depriving local fishermen of their livelihood. The two countries are separated by the narrow Palk Strait which is also a rich fishing ground.

Delhi court records witnesses’ statements in case against Irom Sharmila

A Delhi court on Friday recorded statements of three witnesses in a case in which rights activist Irom Sharmila has been facing trial for allegedly trying to commit suicide during her fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar here in 2006.Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain recorded depositions of the prosecution witnesses and fixed the case for March 2 and March 3, 2015 for further proceedings. The court had on Friday also recorded the testimonies of four witnesses– retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) G L Mehta, Dr Prashant Sinha, who had medically examined Sharmila after she was admitted to AIIMS, and two other officials of Delhi Police in the case.41-year-old Sharmila is presently under judicial custody in another case lodged against her at Manipur. A case was lodged against her in 2006 for allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar on October 6, 2006.Sharmila, who is on a fast for over 13 years in Manipur demanding repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), had earlier told the court that she was very much eager to eat if she got the assurance that the “draconian” Act will be revoked. She had claimed that widespread discrimination was being done with the people from North East.She had told the court that she never intended to commit suicide and it was just a protest against AFSPA. On March 4, last year, the court had put Sharmila on trial after she had refused to plead guilty for the offence of attempting to commit suicide (section 309 of IPC).If convicted, Sharmila, who is out on bail in this case, faces a maximum jail term of one year. Popularly known as the ‘Iron Lady’, Sharmila, who has been on fast since 2000 and is fed through a nasal tube, had earlier told the court that her protest was non-violent.She had also rejected the charge that she had attempted suicide in 2006. Her counsel had earlier told the court that Sharmila has already spent one year in judicial custody, which is the maximum sentence for the offence under section 309 of IPC.

Will soon strengthen strategy to check cyber crime: Rajnath Singh

Faced with rising cases of cyber crime, the government has decided to tighten the mechanism for preventing such attacks and tracing the perpetrators.”The Home Ministry is taking all steps necessary for the prevention of cyber crime and very soon we will further strengthen the cyber crime prevention strategy,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said here today.Addressing the 66th passing out parade of trainee officers of the Indian Police Service at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Singh said that it is not necessary for a cyber criminal to reside in a particular town or country as these are crimes that can be committed sitting in any corner of the world.”It can hit anyone, anywhere and any time,” he said. On the occasion of the 139th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, India’s first home minister, Singh said he had singlehandedly achieved the merger of 562 princely states into the Indian Union with “minimum violence and maximum willingness”.”Especially, the merger of princely states like Junagarh and Hyderabad are inspiring instances in the annals of the country’s post-independence history. It is for this reason that our government has decided to observe this day as ‘National Unity Day’,” he said.Congratulating the trainee officers, Singh stressed that the role of the police has to change in keeping with the changing times.”Police are the most visible representatives of the state and they are the most meaningful media of change in society,” he said.He said that a police station should be the temple of justice and police officials should experiment with new practices to develop harmony and confidence in society. In view of the rise in crime and its ever newer dimensions, the modernisation of police training and police organisation is highly imperative, said Singh.Of the 43 trainee officers at the function, 28 are women while 15 officers belong to friendly foreign countries who received training at NPA.Abhishek Tiwari of Madhya Pradesh cadre won the Prime Minister’s baton and Home Ministry’s revolver for the best all-round officer trainee.

Kolkata most polluted metro in India, has highest pollution level among eight countries: Study

Kolkata is the most polluted metropolis in the country with its pollution levels recorded highest among eight tropical Asian countries, according to study.The study, on distribution and identification of source of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) was conducted in eight countries – Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India and Japan.According to the study, India has highest PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a carcinogenic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) as compared to cities of other countries, the research paper published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, an international scientific journal, said.Among major metropolis in India, Kolkata was found to be the most polluted city with its pollution levels recorded highest among the eight tropical Asian countries, the research paper added. The research was undertaken by Indian scientist Dr Mahua Saha at Japan-based Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology.”In urban areas, the highest PAHs were found in India with an average of 11300 nano grams per gram and the lowest in Malaysia which was 206 nano grams per gram,” it said.According to the researcher, results were alarming for a country like India as its pollution levels were high compared to other tropical Asian countries.POPs are organic compounds that are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes.”Public concern about contamination by POPs exists due to the multitude of evidence showing the negative effects of POPs on human health and the environment.Several compounds have been identified as hormone disruptors which can alter normal function of endocrine and reproductive systems in humans and wildlife. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes have also been linked to POPs,” she said.

BJP might have got majority if Shiv Sena pact had ended early: Rajnath Singh

In the wake of BJP forming a minority government in Maharashtra, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that if their alliance with the Shiv Sena would have ended atleast a fortnight before the actual demise of the combine, then his party might have won clear majority in the assembly polls.”We did not want to break the alliance with Shiv Sena as it was our very old ally. When it broke, people said that the BJP would get around 70-75 seats, but results were there for everyone to see. If the pact would have broken 10-15 more days earlier, then BJP might have got a majority on its own,” the Home Minister said addressing Karyakarta Sankalp Adhiveshan.The former BJP President said that merely after five months after the Lok Sabha polls, people have again reposed faith in the BJP by bringing it to power for the first time in Haryana and Maharashtra in a historic manner.”I am confident that in the coming elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand also, BJP will come to power with full majority,” he said. The Home Minister said that the contribution of present BJP-ruled states to the country’s GDP stands at 38-40%.If the party comes to power in four-five more states then it would reach 55-60% which would be quite significant for the country’s economy, he said.Singh also recalled great contribution of country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the occasion of his birth anniversary on Friday and added that the credit for nation’s current geography entirely goes to him as he ensured merger of all princely states into India within 70 days.

Normalcy slowly returning to Trilokpuri

Arijit Sen

Eight days after an alleged fight between inebriated youngsters escalated into clashes, Trilokpuri largely offers a sight of reassurance with signs of normalcy, barring fleeting moments of disquiet and suspicion. During the day as prohibitory orders are relaxed in the East Delhi locality, a steady stream of buyers throng the mobile stalls set up by Delhi government selling essential items including vegetables and dairy products. Local grocery, garment and pharmacy shops are also gradually opening shutters.In front of one such mobile stall, Meena, a resident of Block 20 asks, “Aloo aur tomato kitne ke de rahe ho bhai? (How much are the potatoes and tomatoes for?)” and a group of women adds voice, almost in unison. The vendor says that the demand is quite high pointing towards a van which was emptied during the day. “We are selling tomatoes for Rs 16/Kg and potatoes for Rs 27/Kg and around 10 vehicles have been deputed to different blocks throughout the locality.”At the pharmacy of Pradip Kumar Roy, known as ‘Bangali doctor’ among the locals, people wait patiently as he attends to a patient. “Although I was not present during the violence I can assure you that the locality will soon be back to complete normalcy. I know the residents quite well and as you can see amity has already returned,” says Roy.But with curfew-like restrictions reinstated as evening descends, roads become largely deserted and a deathly silence looms over the neighbourhood. Every few moments, patrol cars of the Delhi Police zip past flashing their customary red and blue lights, almost blinding in the darkness. Around that time, a string of devotees, largely composed of women, gather in front of a place of worship and offer prayers to the deity with few policemen loitering around.Few blocks away, in Block 15, 14-year-old Abdul Majid is trying to make sense of the fast paced developments around him which have left him with a broken hand and landed his father Mohammed Akhtar in Tihar Jail. “On Saturday afternoon, a group of policemen and men in blue uniform (presumably RAF) dragged my father away and when I tried to stop them they pushed me,” says Majid as his mother shows around their tiny two room settlement.Residents say that Block 15 was one of the worst affected. Arun Kumar, standing at the entrance of Block 15, says they are at “the mercy of God”. Tarsem Singh, 60, who stays in the area accuses the media of being biased. “They come and go one after another but no one raises voice for us so there is no point in talking to the media. Will you write that even gun shots were fired?” he asks.C Adhikeshavan, a lawyer and a member of the Peace Committee, was hurriedly pacing up and down the lanes, assuring the residents of safety.Offering a “balanced” assessment of the situation, he says that while the immediate trigger might have been the drunken brawl involving few teenagers, there were other reasons also. Notwithstanding the volley of allegations and counter-allegations, Trilokpuri is slowly but surely limping back to life. The area is also grappling with huge dumps of garbage. In fact all of the garbage dumps in the locality are full and the streets are littered with garbage and of course, strewn with large pieces of stones, another telltale sign of the violence.

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