Yuva Sai Sagar

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Month: November 2014

Indian Ocean tsunami: 10 years on

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Amit Shah halts speech for azan, says won’t give Mamata Banerjee leeway

BJP president Amit Shah on Sunday stopped midway in his speech while addressing a rally here as the muezzin’s call for prayers was sounded from a mosque close by and said he didn’t want to give West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee an excuse against him.”Let me stop for a while. Let it (the muezzin’s call for azan) be completed. We don’t want to give Mamata Banerjee an excuse against us,” Shah said midway of his 30-minute speech as the azan (prayers) started.When some BJP supporters started shouting slogans while the azan was going on, the party president raised his hands and asked them to remain silent, reiterating, “We should not give any excuse to Mamata’didi.” Shah’s jibe at Banerjee came in the wake of the uncertainty about conducting BJP rally at the city’s Esplanade area with the state administration and civic authorities initially denying permission and BJP knocking the doors of the High Court.

Congress may not revive under current leadership: Venkaiah Naidu

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said BJP will win majority of seats in states of Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir where Assembly elections are being held.He also targetted the Congress leadership saying the “defeated party” may not revive under them. “BJP will also emerge victorious in upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar and West Bengal. The party is also planning to penetrate into south and the northeast,” Naidu said addressing party workers after launching the BJP membership drive here.”BJP won majority of seats in almost all parts of north, central and western India in Lok Sabha elections, which shows that BJP has a strong presence in these regions. We will definitely win majority of seats in both Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand,” the senior leader said.Taking a swipe at Congress leadership without taking names, Naidu said, “the people have already thrown away Congress and that party may not revive under current leadership.” Naidu said people have huge hopes in Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that he will fulfill their aspirations.”Modi will definitely transform the nation as ‘Vishwa Guru’ (leader of world). In a short span of six months, Modi proved his talent at international conventions and became an important personality among world leaders,” the minister added. Union Minister of State for Skill Development, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and other senior leaders participated in the membership drive.

VIDEO: Gay Pride rally in New Delhi

Gay rights activists marched through central New Delhi on Sunday to demand an end to discrimination in India’s conservative society.

No breakthrough yet in over Rs 1 crore ATM heist in North Delhi

Image for representational purpose only

Delhi Police are yet to make any headway in the daring ATM heist in North Delhi in which a security guard was killed, even as investigations reveal glaring security lapses on part of the cash replenishment agency.Although police has so far questioned more than 100 people including the remaining staff of the cash van, locals and other employees of the cash replenishment agency but they have not achieved a breakthrough as yet. As many as 10 teams are working to crack the case, including the Special Cell and Crime Branch. Most of the CCTVs in the area could not capture the incident and the only footage available to the police are the one from the camera inside the Citibank ATM and the second which was shot by a student from his mobile phone.”The CCTV footage of inside the ATM shows lapse on part of custodians as they did not send out the two customers who were already inside the ATM. In the footage there are around five persons present inside the ATM including the guard,” a police official said. According to the police, there is a standard operating procedure (SOP) for carrying large amount of cash for ATM refilling which was not followed by the company Scientific Systems Management Services.”The biggest blunder was that two customers remained inside the ATM booth when the two custodians went in with the suitcase to refill the machine with cash. They were there when the loot actually took place. The shutter of the ATM has to be lowered while the cash is filled into it but this too was not followed,” the official added. Investigators are also trying to draw a parallel with a similar robbery that took place in Gurgaon few days back.”The modus operandi in that robbery was the same as the robbers had shot at the security guard. In fact, they had also used the same Pulsar 220 CC bike in that robbery which was used in yesterday’s incident. We are studying the CCTV footage of the Gurgaon heist to see if we can find any clues in it,” a senior official privy to the investigations said.he attackers had used .32 bore bullets which was recovered from the deceased guard’s body.According to the police, the incident took place near North Campus of Delhi University around 11 AM yesterday when two custodians of the cash van, belonging to a private cash replenishment company, were in the process of refilling money into a Citibank ATM machine at Bungalow Road.

Militants gun down sarpanch in Kashmir

In an audacious attack, militants on Sunday night shot dead sarpanch of the ruling National Conference in Shopian district of Kashmir near his residence.Mohammad Sultan Bhat was in his car when, about 500 metres from his residence in Nazneenpora in Shopian when the ultras stopped his vehicle and pumped bullets at him from close range at around 9.30 pm, police said. Bhat died on the spot while the assailants managed to escape, it said.Extending condolences to the sarpanch’s family, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Bhat’s death “will only spur us on to remain steadfast and committed to our mission of a peaceful, prosperous new Jammu & Kashmir.” “He joins the many hundreds of NC cadre killed for their political beliefs,” Omar tweeted. Omar said the National Conference will tomorrow formally request the Election Commission to review security in this area. “We are concerned about gaps in the security grid,” he said.”The EC code forbids me from any engagement with the security forces so the EC is now responsible for plugging any loopholes,” he said. The killing comes a day after a grenade attack in Srinagar in which eight people were injured. On November 28, ten people had lost their lives in militant attack in Arnia sector, while yesterday militants had also triggered a blast targeting an army vehicle near LoC in Poonch, but the troops escaped unhurt.

BJP fooling Shiv Sena by dragging on power sharing talks: Ramdas Kadam

Even as ruling BJP in Maharashtra has formally resumed talks with Shiv Sena on issue of joining the government, Sena leader Ramdas Kadam on Sunday accused the estranged ally of “fooling” his party by purposefully dragging on power sharing deliberations.He also alleged that BJP leader Eknath Khadse, who is the Revenue Minister, was trying hard to “topple” the Fadnavis government as he was not made the chief minister of the state. “BJP is only fooling us by constantly saying they want us (Shiv Sena) to be included in the state government. If that was the case, why did they keep doing inconclusive talks for one whole month?” Kadam said in Mumbai. Observing that Sena has made up its mind to sit in opposition, he said BJP is playing the tactics in a bid to shield itself from Sena’s wrath in the upcoming Winter Session of the state Legislature.”BJP is playing the talks game so that they can protect themselves against us when we rake up issues concerning Maharashtra. They (BJP) are only cheating us by talking about an alliance with us. Nobody trusts BJP now,” he said. Accusing BJP of lacking will power to join hands with Sena again, Kadam said, “Only they (BJP) can say what talks are they exactly conducting at ‘Matoshree’ (the residence of Thackeray family in suburban Bandra).”Training his guns on Khadse, whom Sena holds responsible for breaking up of the 25-year-old alliance ahead of the October Assembly elections, Kadam said, “Eknath Khadse has lost sense of what is right and what’s wrong. “He is now trying all possible means to topple the BJP government because he was not made the CM of Maharashtra,” he said.The talks between Sena and BJP are dragging on, apparently over Sena’s demand for the post of Deputy CM in Fadnavis-led dispensation and for key portfolios, including Home, whereas BJP is firm on not having a Deputy CM. However, Sena’s support of 63 MLAs is also crucial for BJP which has 121 MLA’s in 288-member House to cobble up the magic figure of 145 to have a simple majority.

PM Narendra Modi delighted at PV Sindhu’s victory at Macau Open

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday hailed shuttler P V Sindhu’s victory at the Macau Open as an accomplishment which will make the country proud.”I am delighted to hear about P V Sindhu’s victory at the Macau Open. Her accomplishments make our entire nation very proud,” the Prime Minister said in a statement. Two-time World Championship bronze medallist Sindhu today successfully defended the USD 120,000 Macau Grand Prix Gold title after beating Kim Hyo Min of Korea in the women’s singles finals.

Congress hits back at Arun Jaitley for ‘obstructionist’ remark

Hitting back Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for accusing it of being obstructionist in Parliament, Congress today said it exposes BJP’s “hypocricy and double standards” as the party had frequently “derailed” legislative business while it was in Opposition.Terming Jaitley’s charge as “misleading and unwarranted”, Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Congress leader Anand Sharma said that the credit for Parliament’s functioning and passage of bills during the current winter session goes to Congress as it respects the institution as a “responsible” Opposition. “The statement of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley accusing the Congress party of being obstructionist in Parliament is misleading and unwarranted. Finance Minister wants to be reminded that it was BJP which as Opposition party resorted to frequent disruptions in Parliament,” Sharma said.He accused the BJP of opposing the economic reforms and opening of FDI in many sectors, including Civil Aviation, Insurance and Multi-Brand Retail. “Arun Jaitley was the leader of Opposition when BJP derailed the legislative business in Parliament in furtherance of its partisan agenda. No business was transacted in many sessions. “It is ironic that the Finance Minister has now conveniently forgotten BJP’s role and the accusation against Congress speaks of BJP’s hypocrisy and double standards,” he said.Accusing Congress of following an obstructionist approach, Jaitley had on Saturday said the government was committed to going ahead with reforms measures to take India back to original potential of 8 per cent economic growth. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP government are busy promoting crony capitalism and have to yet address the structural issues of the economy,” Sharma said. Terming Jaitley’s claims of turning economy around and ensuring more capital inflows as “exaggerated and fallacious”, Sharma said that the BJP government “inherited” a healthy economy with both fiscal and current account deficit under control.

ISIS not fighting a holy war: Areeb Majeed confesses to NIA

Areeb Majeed, suspected member of terror outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has revealed the names of the local contacts, who allegedly provided him the logistics to join the group to take part in the battle in Iraq, NIA officials said on Sunday. Majeed also disclosed how he was completely sidelined by the terror group as he had been asked to carry out menial tasks like cleaning toilets or providing water to those on the battlefield, instead of being pushed into the warzone. “Majeed was today grilled for several hours when he revealed the names of the local contacts, who radicalized him and his three other friends here, and helped them fly to Iraq.We are verifying his claims and are trying to locate these local contacts,” a National Investigation Agency official said. However, the officer refused to divulge the names of the local supporters here saying it would derail the probe.Asked for how many months he participated in the battle on the ground, the 23-year-old ISIS ‘recruit’ said he was completely ignored and asked to clean the toilets and arrange water for those battling with the security forces. He told the investigators that despite his immediate supervisor’s request, the ISIS cadres did not allow him to participate in the battle. His resolve to take part in the war weakened after he was left unattended for his bullet injury for three days before being taken to a hospital, he told them.”Only after I begged them, I was taken to a hospital. I was treating myself, but the injury was worsening as there was no proper medication or food available in the camps,” Majeed told investigators. “There was neither a holy war nor any of the preachings in the holy book were followed. ISIS fighters raped many a woman there,” Majeed said while responding to one of the questions, an NIA official said. Admitting that he and his three friends from Kalyan underwent training on handling of sophisticated AK 47 and rocket launchers, Majeed claimed the Indians were considered to be physically weak.Majeed was arrested on Friday on his return to Mumbai after spending nearly six months in Iraq. He was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on charges of conspiring to commit a terrorist act and being a member of a banned foreign terror outfit, and under the stringent Section 125 of the IPC for “waging war against the nation”.

PM Narendra Modi says tourism necessary for development of Manipur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stressed the need to augment road connectivity and other infrastructure in Manipur so that tourism could flourish in the state and bring development along with it.Addressing a mammoth gathering at the concluding day of ‘Sangai Manipur Tourism Festival’ here this afternoon, Modi said the state needed road connectivity and other communication infrastructure system should be developed so that tourists were able to travel to the state.He said north eastern states was an ‘enchanting’ place and all efforts should be made to develop the region. Dwarka in Gujarat was liked by tourists not because of its religious connection but because it was developed, the Prime Minister said in his 15-minute speech. Likewise, the north eastern region, which is full of natural beauties, could be developed, said Modi, who was the chief guest of the ‘Sangai Manipur Tourism Festival’ here.’Sangai Manipur Tourism Festival’, the biggest tourism festival in the state, is named after ‘Sangai’, the brow -antlered deer, available only in Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur’s Bishenpur district.Besides tourism, the Prime Minister also mentioned the role of sports in the development of the state. Stating that a sports university would be set up in Manipur, he said the state’s youth has lots of talent in various sports. The Prime Minister arrived here from Assam and left for Nagaland after his brief speech.

Members and supporters of LGBT community participate in Delhi’s pride parade

Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community held a march in the national capital today demanding an end to the discrimination which is still being faced by them. The annual parade, in its seventh year, was held at Jantar Mantar here where around 300-400 people gathered and continued to garner support from people from different walks of life, especially students, who danced to drumbeats and whistles. The parade was held despite the Supreme Court reinstating a ban on gay sex in December last year.According to the police, the march was held amid adequate security to prevent any untoward incident. “Around 300-400 people participated in the event. Adequate security arrangements were there for the event to ensure that there is no untoward incident,” SBS Tyagi, Additional Commissioner of Police (New Delhi), said.Members of the community and their supporters were seen wearing vibgyor-colored wigs and colorful flags and holding posters to celebrate their sexual freedom and to ask others to understand. This year, however, the LGBT community marched for “freedom”, with many of the members coming out of closet and revealing their faces.Holding placards that read “If god hates gays, why are we so cute then”, “Gay rights are human rights” and “Different is no wrong,” the community protested the Supreme Court’s December 2013 judgment that upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that bans gay sex.The apex court decision had reversed the Delhi High Court’s 2009 order which said the IPC section violated the rights of LGBT people.

Arvind Kejriwal promises VAT rationalisation in Delhi; party nets Rs 50 lakhs

Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday promised to rationalise the Value Added Tax (VAT) in Delhi, if his party came to power.At a fundraising lunch organised the party’s traders wing at the national capital here, AAP collected Rs 50 lakh. Addressing traders, Kejriwal promised to rationalise VAT on products, which were higher in states, especially neighbouring ones, saying this will help consumers and traders, both of whom were unhappy with the arbitrary manner it was currently calculated without a proper rationale and proposed to initiate online payment of taxes.The party collected Rs 50 lakh from the event, while a similar event held in Mumbai last Thursday fetched Rs 91 lakh, taking the total to Rs 1.41 crore in just two such events. Entry fee for the event was Rs 20,000.AAP plans to hold similar high-cost meals in the national capital and Bangalore, and attempts are being made to hold one in Kolkata. The party has set a target of Rs 30 crore for the Assembly elections.Outlining the party’s vision for traders of Delhi, Kejriwal said his party wanted to make the national capital a trading powerhouse by creating a traders friendly environment.”AAP will abolish raids by VAT department inspectors which are carried in the name of sudden visits. Tax collection from traders cannot be coercive, since it is counter-productive and leads to more tax evasion.Traders have to be encouraged to pay taxes on time by providing incentives and the AAP government will abolish all coercive measures currently used against traders,” he said. Kejriwal added that his party will give priority to revive the wholesale business in Delhi and will make all possible efforts to turn the national capital into a retail hub. The party will soon unveil its plan to encourage the wholesale distributive character of the national capital.

Dalit killings: Devendra Fadnavis visits kin, Congress says its photo op

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday met family members of three dalits who were murdered in Javkheda village last month, drawing flak from opposition Congress which described the visit as a “photo op” and the fallout of “political compulsion”.Downplaying the assurance of a “speedy probe” given by Fadnavis during his visit to the village in Ahmednagar district, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said in Mumbai that had the BJP government been genuinely concerned about unravelling the case, it should have handed over the probe to CBI earlier. “The CM went to meet family members of the innocent Dalits though the trip was not on his schedule for the day. Why this impromptu visit? The chief minister was scared that people would have protested against him had he announced his plans beforehand,” Sawant told reporters.Fadnavis’ visit came amid protests by various political parties that have condemned the macabre killings and demanded a CBI probe. Apparently aware of the sensitivity of the case and the criticism he is facing for not visiting the family members so far, Fadnavis said in Javkheda, “I have been regularly taking briefings from the state DGP and the Intelligence department. “I have also made my point clear that we cannot give them (police) an indefinite time to conduct the probe. The answers must be revealed in a specific period of time,” he said.Fadnavis also said if police failed to solve the case within a specific period of time, the state government will have to think of transferring the case to CBI. He, however, did not specify the time-frame he has alloted to the police to solve the triple-murder case. Attacking Fadnavis for not ordering the CBI probe, Sawant said, “The chief minister, in spite of witnessing the tragedy first hand, did not call for a CBI probe into the issue, even though it has been over a month since the killings took place. Is the CM scared to order a CBI probe?” Fadnavis decided to meet the kin of the deceased only after receiving a barrage of criticism across the political spectrum, he alleged. “What took him (Fadnavis) so long to visit the village? It is only after receiving flak from political parties that he decided to pay them a visit. We (Congress) will keep demanding a CBI probe into the issue. We want justice to be served to the innocent family members. Merely giving verbal assurances won’t do any good,” Sawant said. Over the course of October 21 and 22, villagers of Javkheda had retrieved dismembered body parts of a mason, Sanjay Jadhav (42), his wife Jayashree (38) and their teenager son Sunil (19) from a well and strewn all around the land owned by Jadhav. State Governor C Vidyasagar Rao had recently directed the DGP to appoint a Special Task Force (STF) to probe the killings, after meeting a delegation led by RPI(A) President Ramdas Athawale at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai.

Gurgaon: Youth arrested for kidnapping two minor girls, attempting to rape them

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RNA Research & Archives
A youth was arrested on for allegedly kidnapping two minor girls and trying to rape one of them in Ghari village of the district.Gurgaon Police control room got an information on November 27 that two minor girls aged around 10 and 12 have been abducted in a car from Ghari village, located on Gurgaon-Pataudi road, a police spokesperson said.Police swung into action and formed a high-level team consisting Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ramesh Pal, Nodal Officer for Crime Against Women Usha Kundu, DCP (West) Women Cell in-charge Raj Bala, Station House Officer Jagdish Rai and advocate Anju Rawat. After tracing the registration number of the vehicle the police team nabbed the accused, Ram Niwas. His car was also seized.Niwas, who lives in Gurgaon’s adjoining Jhajjar district, has confessed to the crime. Police have registered an FIR against Ram Niwas under various sections of IPC and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.He will be produced before the Judicial Magistrate, Gurgaon on Monday for further proceeding, police said.

West Bengal: Two with JMB links held in Purulia

Two persons were arrested in Purulia district for their alleged links with the Jamat -ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the organisation suspected to be involved in the October 2 Burdwan blast. Purulia Superintendent of Police Nilkanta Sudhir Kumar said Toyeb Ansari and Kurban Ansari were arrested from Seiz village under Kashipur police station.”Ten handwritten leaflets of the JMB were found at Nimtala area under Hura police station in the district yesterday and the two are allegedly connected to those leaflets,” the police said. Local people had found the bunch of leaflets and informed the police that were investigating the matter and the two were arrested on Sunday, the SP said. The arrested were produced before the Purulia sub -divisional judicial magistrate’s court, which remanded them to judicial custody for ten days. The October 2 blast at Khagragarh locality of Burdwan town in West Bengal killed two suspected JMB workers. The NIA has been investigating the incident.

CBI chief Ranjit Sinha nods off during Narendra Modi’s speech

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha was on Sunday seen nodding off during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on the need for “smart policing” at a meeting of top police officers in Guwahati. Television cameras showed footage of Sinha apparently taking a nap, ironically at a time when the Prime Minister talked about the need for security personnel to stay alert and be accountable. CBI spokesperson declined to comment on the footage. This is the second consecutive day that the CBI chief has been clicked with his eyes shut, the first time on Saturday during the speech of Home Minister Rajnath Singh at the at the 49th annual conference of DGPs hosted by the Intelligence Bureau, which was addressed by Modi on Sunday.Interestingly, the Home Minister was telling the high-profile audience that even retired government officials, with their vast experience, can contribute towards ensuring India’s security. Sinha, who is due to retire on December 2, has been at the centre of a controversy over CBI’s probe in the 2G scam and Coalgate. Sinha has been accused of meeting several people connected with these scams.Earlier this month, the Supreme Court while hearing a petition levelling charges against Sinha, removed the CBI chief from the 2G probe.”By ‘SMART’ policing, I mean S for strict but sensitive, M for modern and mobile, A for alert and accountable, R for reliable and responsive and T for techno-savvy and trained”, Modi told the officers.The police force should inculcate these values to ensure best policing which will go a long way in bringing about a new awakening and consciousness, improve its image and work culture, he said.

Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi calls for unity among Dalits in state

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday called upon the Dalits to unite and strengthen their position in the society.Speaking at Darbhanga during his two-day inspection visit, Manjhi said, “We all Dalits belong to one family. We should not differentiate between one another. If Dalits, Mahadalits, backwards, extremely backwards and Pasmanda Muslims unite, it will strengthen their position in the society. Pasmanda Muslims are backward Muslims.Speaking while having lunch at the house of a Mahadalit at Rampatti Tola under Thalwara Panchayat in Hanuman Nagar block of Darbhanga, Manjhi asked people present there to quit drinking so that their families could develop.”My father used to drink and beat up my mother. As a result, I had to go without food at times. I requested him to quit drinking if he wanted that my brother and I would not work as labourers. He did that. I became CM and my brother became a police officer,” Manjhi was quoted as saying in an official release in Patna.The Chief Minister announced that Rampatti will be developed as a model village with all basic amenities. He also ordered removal of encroachment of SC hostel in the area. Conducting his inspection tour of Darbhanga division, Manjhi ordered renovation of Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital and arrange for proper hygiene and treatment facilities there.He also asked the officials to build Sadar Hospitals in Darbhanga and Samastipur, the release said. Several persons complained to Manjhi that they have not been given BPL cards at which he directed officials to include all eligible families. He said a survey would be conducted for including all left out families in the BPL list.He also announced that there will be toilets in each house by 2019, the release said. Ministers Shahid Ali Khan, Baidyanath Sahni and Ranju Geeta, several MLAs, and high officials accompanied the chief minister.

Annie Raja lauds Rohtak sisters for fighting back against eve-teasers

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RNA Research & Archives
Asserting that crime against women cannot be prevented until the law enforcing agencies and the people come together, National Federation of Indian Women general secretary Annie Raja on Sunday lauded the sisters from Rohtak for fighting back the eve-teasers. She said that it is the duty of every citizen to help the girls who are in trouble. “When the girls are in trouble, it is your responsibility as a citizen of this country to help those girls, but you are not doing it. This is not the first time people are behaving like this, this is the character of our society,” Raja told ANI. “I think first of all we must highlight the positive aspect of this incident that is the girls dared to challenge those who violate their rights. Congratulations to those girls for their courageous act,” she added. Meanwhile, social activist and senior advocate Abha Singh commenting on the incident said the culprits must be arrested immediately. “And the silent spectators, who did not help, must be hauled up,” she added. Earlier on Friday, two college-going sisters fought back three eve-teasers in a public bus in Rohtak, Haryana, even as the co-passengers remained mute spectators. The alleged eve-teasers used derogatory language and made obscene gestures before the girls retaliated. An amateur video footage shot by one of the co passengers travelling in the bus revealed the girls being pushed by the men after they protested against the obscene language and gestures. “We boarded the bus from Rohtak bus stand, this boy started teasing us by trying to give his phone number to us. When we protested, he called his friends and they started making obscene gestures. When I walked up to him asking not to make such gestures, he grabbed me by the neck while others held back my sister,” one of the victims told ANI today. To rescue her sister, who was being grabbed by the neck, the other sister said she took out her belt and attacked the eve teasers. The two sisters fought the eve teasers but the co-passengers did not seem to intervene. Finally, the girls were thrown out of the bus. “My sister then took out her belt and started hitting them. They left me and attacked my sister, then I went to save her. In the end they threw us both out of the bus,” she said. Meanwhile, the SHO of Rohtak police station Gajendra Singh said a complaint had been registered against the accused and added that the public must take a stand in such cases. “We have registered complaint against three accused persons, investigation is going on, the culprits will be arrested. It is regrettable that nobody came to help the girls, it is our duty to take a stand in such cases,” he added.

NC never compelled Congress to forge alliance, says Omar Abdullah

After six years of power-sharing, National Conference on Sunday said it did not compel Congress to forge an alliance with it to form government in Jammu and Kashmir and said its top brass was “belittling” the ruling party with “reckless and irresponsible” statements.”I have not compelled you (Congress) to forge alliance with us (NC) and accept me the Chief Minister of the state for six years,” JK Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told a public rally in Poonch on the last day of campaigning for second phase of JK polls on December 2. Omar and NC have been in the line of fire from the leadership of Congress including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Gulam Nabi Azad and JK Congress chief Saifuddin Soz.The chief minister criticised Congress leadership for making “reckless and irresponsible” statements to belittle the image and popularity of NC. “National Conference never forcibly asked Congress to ally with it. It was the decision of Congress party and its leadership,” he said. Omar said during over five-and-a-half year of coalition government, Congress leadership found no fault in NC or in the government led by it.Suddenly, during elections, they are putting all the blames on NC, he said.Omar alleged that when he took over the reigns of the state, the earlier government of Congress and PDP had left the state in dire condition. “It was my government which nurtured peace and gave development and transparency a new dimension, making people the masters and bringing the government functioning under the full public scan,” he said. Omar said,”False propaganda by vested interests cannot eclipse these achievements.” The NC leader also said that all “turncoats, corruption tainted persons and unscrupulous elements have camped in PDP to make fortunes” at the cost of the interests of people of Jammu and Kashmir. “PDP, Congress, BJP and other power thirsty parties imposed elections on the people of Jammu and Kashmir who were suffering from flood devastation and had lost their crops, properties, houses and other belongings in the floods. “In fact, these parties wanted their political rehabilitation rather than the rehabilitation of the flood sufferers,” he added. He said NC was the only political party which opposed the holding of elections at the time when total focus should have been on the rehabilitation of lakhs of flood-hit families. “NC had no choice but to accept the elections.

34 MDMK workers arrested trying to picket BJP leader’s house after he criticises Vaiko

Thirty four MDMK workers were arrested on Sunday in Karaikudi while they were on their way to picket the house of BJP leader H Raja in protest against his alleged remarks against their leader Vaiko.The protestors were led by the party’s Sivaganga District secretary Sivandhiappan.Raja had reportedly said that Vaiko should stop being critical of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

BJP compromising with its stand on Article 370, alleges Congress again

Senior Congress leader Sham Lal Sharma on Sunday alleged that the BJP leadership lacked political vision and was “compromising with its last sixty years’ stand on Article 370″ of the Constitution which accords special powers to Jammu and Kashmir.”The Jammu and Kashmir BJP leadership lacks any political vision. They are compromising with their last sixty years’ stand on Article 370 to even betray the people of Jammu region,” Sham, who is seeking re-election from the Akhnoor constituency, said addressing rallies.”BJP has indeed hijacked Hurriyat Conference’s political Agenda,” he said and accused BJP of talking in the language of Kashmiri separatists who “have ultimately been rejected by the people”.He assured the people of Jammu to fight for their cause and highlighted works done by him as their representative in the assembly for the past 12 years. “Development will remain my sole agenda,” he said.Sham promised to continue the development works taken up during his tenure like construction of roads and bridges, upgrading and opening of schools and degree colleges, and modernisation of medical and health facilities.Sharma said Akhnoor got several administrative units during his tenure as MLA. Sharma promised balanced and equitable development with the people’s active participation.He cautioned the people to remain vigilant against divisive elements such as BJP and RSS who, he said, “exploit the innocent masses on communal lines” and urged them to maintain Akhnoor’s historical fraternity and peaceful survival.

Islamic State recruit Areeb Majeed returns home: Should India buy his story?

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IFFI gaffe video: DD anchor suicidal after getting ridiculed on social media

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Rohtak: Two sisters belt eve teasers in moving bus as others look on

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Land swapping deal with Bangladesh to stop infiltration: Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said all roads used for infiltration from Bangladesh to Assam will be plugged and the Centre will go ahead with the land swapping deal with the neighbouring country for a permanent solution to the long-pending problem.”I will make such arrangements after which all roads will be closed for Bangladeshis coming and destroying Assam daily. Believe my word that land swapping deal will be done for a permanent solution to this problem of Assam,” Modi told a party workers’ rally in Guwahati. He said “with full responsibility” that handing over of land (to Bangladesh) will be done only for security of people of Assam and the border and not for “any harm to Assam in future.”Assuring people that there will be no compromise on Assam’s security, Modi said he is aware of the sentiment of the people of the state regarding the land swapping agreement. “I know Assam’s problems… I assure you, we will move ahead (with the agreement) considering the country’s and Assam’s welfare. Assam will gain in long term even if it looks like losing in short term,” he said, adding the law will take its own course to punish all those creating problems in Assam.Referring to the ambitious Jan Dhan Yojna, the Prime Minister said, “BJP is working to bring the poor to the mainstream. The poor had never entered the banks (before). We have opened bank doors for them. “After coming to power, we have made the PSU banks work very hard now. Every week, one crore bank accounts are being opened. Earlier, one crore accounts were opened not even in one month, but in one year.” The Prime Minister said BJP has for the first time fought elections on the single issue of development and forced other parties to consider this prominently.”BJP government has only one motto and it is development. No party had the courage to fight elections on development issue. In Maharashtra, Haryana and now in Jharkhand, all parties are talking about development,” he said. Modi said people have seen almost all parties, including those run by families, in government and are now seeing the BJP rule at the Centre. “BJP doesn’t do politics on the basis of casteism, communalism or regionalism. We don’t accept that path. BJP always did politics of nationalism. We believe in development with all and for all,” he said. Modi also said his government has given priority to development and job generation in northeast so that the eight states in the region can progress at rapid pace.

CBI closes probe in over Rs 575-crore Akash missile contract citing lack of evidence

Citing lack of evidence, CBI has closed its probe into alleged irregularities in the award of over Rs 575-crore contract in the production of Akash missile system components by top officials of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) to a private power company.The agency had started the probe in May last year into the allegations of violation of rules. It was alleged that senior officials of BDL awarded contract worth Rs 575.51 crore for producing self-propelled launcher (ASPL) for the missile system to be supplied to two regiments of the army. CBI sources said the inquiry was started by the agency against the then Chief Managing Director Maj Gen (retd) Ravi Khetarpal, and other senior officials including the then Executive Director, Director, General Manager and others of BDL for allegedly committing irregularities in the contract.The preliminary inquiry number PE 0352013A0004, which was handled by the Hyderabad unit of CBI, has been closed as it could not find evidence of any alleged corruption against the officers, they said. The sources said the agency had recommended “suitable action” against the officials for alleged violation of rules but there was no evidence to proceed against them in the matter. Repeated attempts to seek reaction from BDL and Tata Power did not succeed.The Akash weapon system is an all-weather air-defence missile system which can target aircraft upto 30 kilometers away, at altitudes up to 18,000 metres. The automatic system is designed to target and neutralise multiple aerial targets coming from several directions simultaneously is in operational service with the army and the air force.

BJP hits out at Vaiko for remarks against PM Narendra Modi

BJP on Sunday took a swipe at its Tamil Nadu ally MDMK for party founder leader Vaiko’s reported critical remarks against the Prime Minister, saying they would not tolerate it. “We never deny MDMK’s democratic rights. But we won’t tolerate continuous attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” BJP National Secretary H Raja told reporters.He said Vaiko had a penchant for making such remarks, one of which was blaming the Centre over the death sentence awarded by a court in Sri Lanka to five fishermen, who were subsequently released. Another was saying that ‘imposition’ of Hindi in Tamil Nadu would lead to divisions in the state.Raja pointed out that the fishermen were granted pardon by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa after Modi spoke to him. His efforts in getting them released had been appreciated by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and also DMK chief M Karunanidhi.Vaiko had reportedly criticised Modi for greeting Rajapaksa at the recent SAARC summit in Nepal. Raja said the Centre had granted several schemes for Tamil Nadu. They had also announced that Thiruvalluvar day and poet Bharathiar’s birthday would be celebrated as national festival.He urged Tamil Nadu government to take appropriate action to check movements of Naxalites in the state, whose numbers were reportedly increasing.

Burdwan blast: Mamata Banerjee blocking NIA probe to save accused TMC leaders says Amit Shah

Accusing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of putting hurdles in the NIA probe into the Burdwan blast, BJP president Amit Shah today said this was being done to save the TMC leaders allegedly involved in the incident.Addressing a big rally here, he also alleged that Saradha chit fund money was used in the October 2 Burdwan blast.”Saradha Chit Fund money was used in the Burdwan blast. The NIA is not being allowed to probe the blast properly. Hurdles are being created. It is being done in order to save TMC leaders who are involved in the blast,” he said. Lashing out at Banerjee for daring to say that the CBI was being used in the Saradha scam to settle political scores, Shah dared her to declare that those arrested by the CBI in connection with the Saradha chit fund scandal were innocent.”If Mamata Banerjee has the guts then why is she not saying that those arrested by the CBI in the Saradha scam are innocent? Earlier it was only alleged, but now it is proved that TMC leaders are involved in the scam,” Shah said. Shah said Banerjee had tried to undermine national security for the sake of “votebank politics”. The BJP chief also expressed surprise over why the Shyamal Sen Commission was closed by the TMC regime.”I ask Mamata Banerjee to answer who brought her paintings. You should say if TMC leaders have taken benefits from the Saradha scam. Mamata Banerjee, who had fasted during the Singur land movement, is now trying to save the culprits in the Saradha scam,” Shah said. He also ridiculed the protest by TMC MPs outside Parliament over the issue of black Money, saying, “What do TMC and Mamata Banerjee have to say about the money siphoned off in the Saradha scam? Was that black money or white money”?Shah alleged that in order to pursue vote bank politics, TMC is giving shelter to Bangladeshi infiltrators. “Why are you trying to give shelter to Bangladeshi Infiltrators? You are the chief minister of Bengal because of the people of Bengal not for Bangadeshi infiltrators and anti-Indian elements,” said Shah. Shah questioned why the Bengal police did not take action against terrorist Shakeel Ahmed who was involved in the blast earlier

TMC dubs BJP rally in Kolkata as ‘grand flop show’

Ruling Trinamool Congress on Sunday refused to attach much importance to BJP chief Amit Shah’s rally in the city and described it as a “grand flop show” with poor attendance.”Such a meeting is organised by our block presidents,” TMC Secretary-General Partha Chatterjee said. Despite its attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BJP would not be successful in tarnishing her image and honesty. “The whole world knows about her honesty and there can’t be any doubt,” he said. Chatterjee, who is also the state’s Higher Education Minister, alleged that BJP was trying to disintegrate regional political parties by using power and police to maintain its political supremacy.”BJP is now eyeing civic poll followed by the Assembly poll in 2016, but it will fail to achieve its target. BJP should now concentrate in Delhi before focussing on Kolkata (civic poll) and then West Bengal,” Chatterjee said. Another senior TMC leader and state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said the rally was a “grand flop show” with poor attendance. “The BJP tried to bring many leaders from northern India, but failed to make it a success,” he said.Alleging that BJP was using CBI and NIA for political purposes, Mukherjee said, “Both the probe agencies have joined hands with the government in power at the Centre to help BJP maintain its supremacy.” “The BJP government should know that the Mamata Banerjee government initiated prompt action against the Saradha chit fund scam and arrested Saradha Group chief Sudipto Sen along with several others immediately. “We have already returned money to over five lakh poor investors,” he added.Read More: Burdwan blast: Mamata Banerjee blocking NIA probe to save accused TMC leaders says Amit Shah

Chhattisgarh: Five men awarded life imprisonment in dowry death case

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A local court sentenced a man and his four friends to life imprisonment for killing his wife and their infant daughter in a dowry case.Additional Session Judge (II) Garima Sharma sentenced Lalit Yadav (27), husband of the victim, his friends – Jayant Singh (22), Chandrashekhar (24), Kunj Gond (22) and Sharan Singh (24) to life term and slapped a fine of Rs 11,000 each.According to Additional Public Prosecutor A K Shrivastav, victim Pushpa (20), a teacher, was subjected to frequent torture by her husband and in-laws since her marriage in April 2009 for failing to meet the demand of a motorcycle as dowry.On November 13, 2010, Lalit and his friends strangulated Pushpa and his infant daughter to death following which a case was registered against nine persons, the prosecution had told the court.During hearing yesterday, the judge convicted Lalit and his friends while acquitted the victim’s father-in-law Ravindra Yadav (50), mother-in-law Bhogmati Bai (47), brother-in-law Mahesh (28) and sister-in-law Laxmi (24) in the case.The judge also sentenced the convicts to three years rigorous imprisonment on other charges which will run concurrently along with life imprisonment. In default of payment of fine, the convicts will further undergo additional imprisonment of 11 months each, Shrivastav said.

Petrol prices slashed by 91 paise/litre, diesel by 84 paise

Read more: Petrol prices slashed by 91 paise/litre, diesel by 84 paise

‘Muffler Man’ no longer laughing matter, AAP gets a fund boost

It may have been ridiculed by many, but the ‘Muffler Man’ campaign on social media by Aam Aadmi Party volunteers has the party laughing all the way to the bank as it sees a “rise” in donations ahead of Delhi assembly election.The campaign, inspired by AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal who was often seen with a muffler during campaigning last year and while he was the Delhi Chief Minister for 49 days, took the social media by storm and has been trending on Twitter for the past eleven days. While Kejriwal’s “common man” attire became his trademark, he also faced some ridicule. Party sources said the AAP leader is prone to throat infection during the winter, which is why he prefers to guard his ears and neck with the muffler.AAP spokesperson Atishi Marlena said the party did not undertake this campaign but some of the volunteers started it. Party workers said the idea of Muffler Man initially came from a volunteer in Mumbai. “The response for this from our volunteers was so encouraging that it instantly became a hit. Then a volunteer from London made pictures which further made the campaign famous. “Volunteers across the globe started tweeting about this for the first three days after which it started trending,” said a party vounteer.”#Mufflerman is trending in top three since last 11 days. The word Muffler Man was used 3 lakh times on Twitter in three days. The purpose is to take the campaign to the people and we are succeeding in it,” the volunteer said.In another video campaign on women safety that has become viral on social media, three eve-teasers are waiting at the bus stop, while a girl arrives there. She is scared and stays away, but the boys tell her that she is safe. The campaign ends with one of the boys saying, “There is no place for people like us because Muffler man is coming to Delhi this winter.” The video has been reportedly made by party volunteers.Another poster based on Hollywood movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which has gone viral on Twitter, says, “Fear is Near? After 49 days of Glory, he is coming back to hunt corruption from every street of Delhi?The Muffler Man Return, the Corruption Hunter.” With the idea catching imagination of people, the party is working to use the “Muffler Man” image to strengthen its base. It has, however, clarified that the campaign on them social media has nothing to do with the party.”The party did not undertake this campaign. It was some of our volunteers who started the campaign and was instantly like by people,” said party spokesperson Atishi Marlena. The party has also seen a surge in donations.”After donating money, people are leaving messages that they were giving money to the muffler man and his clean politics,” said Arvind Jha from the fund raising team of the party. Since November 1, the party has collected over Rs 1 crore across the globe.

Bharatiya Mahila Bank confident of growing into a strong brand, says CMD Usha Ananthasubramanian

Bhartiya Mahila Bank

Asserting that Bharatiya Mahila Bank will emerge as a strong brand over time, its chairman and managing director Usha Ananthasubramanian has said the biggest challenge so far for the country’s first all-woman bank has been to establish itself.The Bharatiya Mahila Bank, inaugurated by the UPA government last year with a capital infusion of Rs 1,000 crore, completed a year this November.”The challenge has been to establish the brand. We are a new player and at every location you are a new face,” Ananthasubramanian said. Since the business involved dealing with other people’s money, individuals take time to warm up to a new player, she added.”Even a moneylender in a village enjoys more trust. Unless you become familiar or are introduced to the people over and over again, they will not trust you,” she said. “We had our own teething problems and now we are putting things in place one after the other…we are building it brick-by-brick. I am sure slowly, but surely we will grow,” she said.Stating that a performance comparison with other banks waas unfair, she said it was too early for anybody to comment on the success or failure of BMB.While infrastructure financier IDFC and micro lender Bandhan recently received in-principle approval for opening up a bank have been given 18 months for setting up the bank, BMB just had 55 days between the grant of licence and opening of the branch, Ananthasubramanian said.”We were provided a gestation period of 55 days to set up the bank in which we had to write our policies, design products, get people, technology in place,” she said, adding that setting up a bank is a different ball-game altogether.Talking about the business growth, she said the bank has set a deposit target of Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 800 crore for lending for the current fiscal. So far, its deposit stands at over Rs 300 crore and loans at Rs 500 crore. The bank is looking to increase its branch network to 80 by March-end, which will also include 20 rural branches, from 35 currently. It is also planning to roll out 50 offsite ATMs across the country by the end of this year, she said.Total employee strength of the bank stands at 300 and it will add another 120 by the end of this fiscal. It has one lakh customers, out of which 81% are women.

Raja row: Students’ Union accuses AMU VC of succumbing to pressure of BJP government

AMU students protesting against BJP

AMU’s decision to hold a seminar on Raja Mahendra Pratap has come under criticism from the student’s union which alleged that the Vice-Chancellor had succumbed to “pressure of BJP government” but he rejected the charge saying it is a “misconception”.Ending a stand-off, BJP on Saturday gave up its plans to organise the birth anniversary celebration of Raja Mahendra Pratap at the AMU campus after the Vice-Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah announced that the university will hold a seminar to mark his contribution. Last night, the AMU Students’ Union passed a resolution criticising the Vice-Chancellor’s decision to hold the seminar “under pressure of the BJP government at the centre”. “Some sections of the university community may harbour the misconception that I took this decision on Friday under pressure from the central government. This is patently false,” Vice-Chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah told PTI on Sunday.”My decision to hold the seminar springs entirely from my intent to highlight those heroes of India’s freedom movement whose contributions have been forgotten by us today,” Shah added. “The seminar will be be held at AMU at an early date despite some reservations on this move by some student leaders,” Shah said. Shah had earlier written to the centre saying there could be a communal flagration and student unrest after BJP leaders had planned to celebrate the birth anniversary of Pratap, a freedom fighter and one of the land donors to the AMU campus, in front of the main gate of the campus on December 1The students’ union resolution passed on Saturday criticised the BJP saying the planned celebrations were with an “intent of polarising society”. “Raja Mahendra Pratap is an illustrious alumni of our university and we greatly respect and honour him. However, we strongly feel that the decision of the Bhartiya Janta Party to suddenly appropriate this iconic freedom fighter stems from the intent of polarising society.” President AMU Students’ Union Abdullah Azzam said they were not opposed to the seminar, “but we feel, that the VC is succumbing to the pressures mounted by the ruling party at the centre.””We fear that the NDA government is trying to erode the autonomy of this institution. This is something which spells danger not only for the AMU, but for the entire educational system in the country,” Azzam said. Stressing that the decision to hold the seminar is purely an academic exercise, Shah said, “Even if the students’ union may have some reservations on the timing of my announcement, I will ensure that this seminar is held in a proper academic atmosphere.”

‘China dams on Brahmaputra’: PM Narendra Modi urged to take up issue

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday to raise with Beijing the reported construction of dams on Brahmaputra by China. “It is learnt that China is constructing some dams on the Brahmaputra river in the portion flowing through Tibet. This has created many apprehensions in the minds of the people.”We urge that the matter be taken up with the Government of China to ensure that the flow of water in the river Brahmaputra is not altered in any manner detrimental to Assam,” Gogoi said in a memorandum submitted to Modi who concluded his two-day visit to Assam today.The memorandum also cited the perennial flood problem of Assam and sought Central assistance in dealing with it. “There is a requirement of Rs 6,700 crore for strengthening of embankments and other protection measures, which will help us cope better with recurring floods in the long term. It is worth mentioning in this connection that all the embankments constructed immediately after great earthquake of 1950 have outlived their design life and need immediate strengthening,” it added.Gogoi also urged the Prime Minister for inclusion of erosion in the list of disasters under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). Regarding security and law and order issue, the state government put forward a number of suggestions like having specialised equipment and infrastructure for riverine battalion and police stations, upgrading the police training school in Assam to an academy and modernisation of the force.The Chief Minister also urged Modi for inclusion of Guwahati, Golaghat, Silchar, Jorhat, Tezpur, Tinsukia, Barpeta and Bongaigaon in the ‘Smart City’ scheme so that its benefits are available to these cities. PTI.

Pakistan violates ceasefire, objects to construction on Indian side

Pakistan rangers on Sunday opened fire on Indian border posts after objecting to construction by Border Security Force on the Indian side in Samba sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The Border Security Force retaliated to the ceasefire violations. No casualties have been reported so far.The Pakistani rangers fired around 25 rounds of small arms on Indian positions along the international border in Samba sector, a senior BSF officer told PTI. “The Pakistan rangers resorted to small arm fire at around 11:00 AM on Sunday and the firing lasted till 12:45 PM. We also retaliated. However, no causality has taken place,” the officer told PTI. Sunday’s ceasefire violation came after the Pakistani rangers objected to the ongoing construction work on the Indian side.To improve the living condition of BSF personnel deployed on the international border, the BSF has undertaken construction work to upgrade the bathrooms and other facilities for the personnel to which the Pakistani side has regularly been objecting. “We are constructing a boundary wall in the area inside our territory. This is part of the construction project to provide better living condition to our forces, to which Pakistani side has regularly raised objection,” a senior BSF official said.He said that a party of the Pakistani rangers asked the Indian side to stop the construction work to which the BSF refused. “At 10:30 they (Pakistani rangers) demanded that we stop construction work on our side, to which we refused. They threated to fire at us if we don’t stop the work. We categorically told them that we would retaliate if they fire. After they returned to their position, they fired at us at around 11 AM, to which our side retaliated,” the officer said.The officer said that the firing lasted for more than 90 minutes and has now stopped. “The latest ceasefire violation was meant to scare the construction workers. They (Pakistani side) have in the past also indulged in such violations to stop us from improving the living conditions of the BSF personnel,” the officer said. The incident comes on the heels of ceasefire violation on November 28 along the International Border in the Arnia sector.

ISRO to launch GSLV Mark III between Dec 15 and 20

Inching towards its human space programme, India would test a crew module recovery experiment even as it would study the vehicular performance of its latest Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV – Mark III) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre here between December 15 and 20. “ISRO would launch its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mark III (LVM 3 X mission) sometime between December 15 and 20. The rocket would also carry a crew module to test its re-entry characteristics,” MYS Prasad, Director, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, told reporters here.The launch intends to test the atmospheric characteristics and stability of the updated rocket on its way up and would study the crew module on its re-entry into the atmosphere. While the rocket would cost Rs 140 crore, the crew module would cost Rs 15 crore, he said.Elaborating on the updated GSLV Mark III, S Somanath, Project Director, GSLV Mark III, said, “The rocket can carry upto four tonne payload. This is the heaviest rocket India has ever launched. It is 630 tonne at lift off. We would test only the first two stages and not the cryogenic stage.” “The cryogenic engine is under development and it will take more two years to be ready,” said Prasad.Since Indian government has not officially approved sending humans into space so far, Prasad said the crew module would not carry any living being and it is only for study purposes. Explaining the process, Project Director of Crew Module, S Unnikrishnan Nair, said after getting separated from the rocket around 126 km, it would be stabilised by thrusters designed on board. “The three tonne weighing crew module would use four set of parachutes to safely land on the surface of the sea at 7 metre per second. It will land some 180 km from Indira Point of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. From the lift off to the crew module splashing into the sea, it will take around 20 minutes,” he said. The cup cake-shaped crew module is 2.5 metre tall and 3.5 metre in diameter, he said.The capsule, tentatively designed to carry three astronauts, would be recovered by Indian Coast Guard ships. A practice of the recovery was done on October 31 with Coast Guard ship ICGS Samudra Paheredar, he added.

Petrol price cut by 91 paise/litre, diesel by 84 paise

Petrol price was cut by 91 paise a litre on Sunday, the seventh reduction since August, and diesel by 84 paise per litre, the third straight cut, as international oil rates continued to slump.Petrol and diesel price reduction will be effective midnight tonight, Indian Oil Corp, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, announced here.In Delhi, petrol price will cost Rs 63.33 a litre as compared to Rs 64.24 per litre previously while in Mumbai the reduction will be 96 paise to Rs 70.95 per litre.Diesel will cost Rs 52.51 a litre in Delhi from Monday as against Rs 53.35 currently while in Mumbai the price will be cut by 93 paise to Rs 60.11 per litre. Rates differ from state to state due to differential local sales tax or VAT rates.The prices of petrol and diesel were last revised downwards on November 1 by Rs 2.41 a litre and Rs 2.25 per litre respectively (including state levies at Delhi) on the back of declining international oil prices.”Since the last price changes, the international prices of both petrol and diesel have continued to be on a downtrend. The Rupee-USD exchange rate has however appreciated since the last price change. The combined impact of both these factors warrant a decrease in retail selling prices of both petrol and diesel,” IOC said in the statement.This is the seventh consecutive reduction in petrol prices since August and third in diesel in rates since October. Prior to today’s reduction, petrol price has been cumulatively cut by Rs 9.36 per litre since August.Diesel price was cut for the first time in more than five years on October 19 by Rs 3.37 a litre when the government decided to deregulate the fuel. This was followed by another reduction on November 1.”The movement of prices in international oil market and Rupee-Dollar exchange rate shall continue to be closely monitored and developing trends of the market will be reflected in future price changes,” the statement said. Rates would have been cut by Rs 1.50 on November 16 but the government took away the gains by way of an excise duty increase.Excise duty on normal or unbranded petrol was hiked from Rs 1.20 per litre to Rs 2.70 per litre and unbranded diesel from Rs 1.46 a litre to Rs 2.96. The same on branded petrol was raised from Rs 2.35 a litre to Rs 3.85 and on branded diesel from Rs 3.75 to Rs 5.25 per litre.While the fall in global rates and the resultant cuts in retail prices have led to loss of revenue to the exchequer, particularly of state governments, there wasn’t any loss to the central government on account of reduction in petrol and diesel prices as excise duty on the two fuel is fixed and not ad valorem. The increase in excise duty would give the government of Rs 13,000 crore additional revenue annually.State-owned fuel retailers Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp (HPCL) follow the fortnightly review practice and change rates on 1st and 16th of every month.Oil firms revise rates of petrol, which was deregulated in June 2010, and diesel on 1st and 16th of every month based on average international oil price and rupee-US dollar exchange rate.

BJP wanted files on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose made public, now government says no

The BJP-led government has refused to make public nearly 39 classified files on the mysterious disappearance of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and related matters, in sharp contrast to the demands of disclosure raised by its senior leaders when in Opposition.In January when the Lok Sabha election campaign was at its peak, the then BJP president Rajnath Singh, during a visit to Cuttack – the birthplace of Netaji – on the occasion of his 117th birth anniversary, had demanded that the UPA government make public the records related to the freedom fighter. Singh is now the Home Minister.The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a recent RTI reply accepted that there were 41 files related to Bose, of which two had been declassified, but refused to disclose them taking a position similar to that of the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. “Disclosure of documents contained in these files would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries. As such, these files are exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(a) read with Section 8(2) of the Right to Information Act,” the PMO said in its reply to RTI activist Subhash Agrawal.Singh had claimed during the election campaign that there was larger public interest in the disclosure of the documents, but the PMO under Modi seems not to be in agreement as is evident from the reply which considered the larger public interest disclosure clause – section 8(2) – of the RTI Act but chose to withhold the documents. The section 8(2) says, “Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section(1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.” “The entire country is impatient to know as to how Netaji died and under what circumstances,” Singh had said, releasing a book on the eve of Netaji’s birth anniversary in Cuttack on January 22. The PMO said in its reply, “Yes this office has some files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. A list of files unclassified/classified/declassified with number and subject matter relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is enclosed.”The PMO gave a list of 41 files of which two related to INA treasure and appointment of a inquiry commission to go into circumstances of death have been declassified and sent to the National Archives of India. The office, in its response, admitted that there are 10 files which are unclassified but still invoked exemption clause of section 8(1) to withhold them from disclosure. Four ‘Top Secret’ files which are held by the PMO include miscellaneous correspondence with and about widow and daughter of Netaji, transfer of his ashes to India and two files on the Justice Mukherjee Commission of Inquiry looking into his death/disappearance, it said.There are 20 files classified as ‘Secret’ including one related to acquisition of Jankinath Bhavan – birth place of Netaji – by then Orissa government, five files of late sixties on the appointment of inquiry committee to go into the circumstances of “death” of Netaji, correspondence with and about his wife and daughter, another inquiry commission to look into treasure of INA, two references from Samar Guha, MP on his disappearance, Bharat Ratna award to Netaji and number of files on his death/disappearance among others.The rest of the files are categorised as ‘Classified’ which include issues related to mortal remains kept in Rankoji temple in Japan while on the rest no particular subject is mentioned. Commenting on the development, RTI applicant Agrawal said, “Public interest definitely overweighs the protected as several commissions/committees have been formed by the Union government to probe mystery in death of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.””The CPIO (Central Public Information Officer) did not even specify name of the country with which relations are likely to be prejudicially affected,” he said.

19-year-old student beaten to death for protesting eve-teasing

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A 19-year-old BCom second year student was beaten to death allegedly by his senior when the former objected to eve-teasing of a girl student at a private college here, police said.The accused, Satish Kodkar, allegedly hit the victim Harshavardhan Rao twice on his neck and chest after which he fell on the classroom bench and hit his head on the edge of the bench, a senior police officer said.Kodkar, who is a final-year student, is absconding since the incident, they said. “Kodkar hit twice on Rao’s neck and chest, after which he fell down even as his head hit an iron rod on the edge of a bench,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Sultan Bazar Division) Ravula Giridhar said.”Rao became unconscious and was shifted to a nearby hospital where he died while undergoing treatment,” he said. A murder case has been registered with Sultan Bazar Police Station against Satish. Police is on the hunt to nab the accused, he said adding that the matter is under investigation.An autopsy was conducted on the teenager’s body and it has been handed over to his family members on Sunday, he said. Kodkar had allegedly teased a girl who was Rao’s friend, and objected to the act. “A scuffle broke out during lunch hour on Saturday, when Kodkar went inside Rao’s classroom and argued with him over the matter before hitting him,” the ACP said.Sultan Bazar Police Station Inspector G Srinivas ruled out that the incident was a fallout of ragging.

The pathology of prejudice: True lies of counterrorism in India

Original link: The pathology of prejudice: True lies of counterrorism in India

No compromise on security of north-east: PM Narendra Modi

Asserting that his government would not compromise on the security of the north-east, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre works with the mantra of development. “We will fulfill our promises; there will be no compromise on the security of the north-east. I can say with confidence that the BJP government works with one issue, one mantra which is development,” he said. The Prime Minister further said it was the BJP workers who ensured the party’s splendid victory in the Lok Sabha polls. “The BJP contested elections on the issue of development, which made other people, talk about the issue too,” he said while addressing the BJP workers in Guwahati. Speaking about the party’s membership drive, the Prime Minister said: “Like you all, I am also a small worker of the BJP. Our national president has given us some work. The work is of the membership drive in which one has to give a missed call and become members of the BJP.”Addressing the conference of the Director Generals of Police in Guwahati earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi said that a strong intelligence network plays pivotal role in the country’s security. Focusing on the police force and intelligence agencies, the Prime Minister said that he wanted a force which takes care of the country’s law and order in an efficient manner.

Every village to have broadband connection, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Minister for Communications and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that seven and half lakh kilometres of cable is proposed to be laid over next three and a half years to provide broadband in every village of the country. Prasad, who was interacting with a few contributors of ideas for ‘Digital India’ project in the national capital last evening, added that this project aims at digital empowerment of people and will be a game changer. Prasad also pointed out that there is a need to sensitise people about the power of technology. He said various certificates as needed by the poor people can be reached to them in their villages itself. He added that India now has about 30 crore internet users and is crossing the number of internet users even in the United States which is the second largest internet users in the world now after China. Prasad said electronic manufacturing is also sought to be promoted in a big way in the country. He pointed out that while in urban India mobile connectivity is 146 percent, it is only about 46 percent in rural areas. Such an urban- rural divide is sought to be bridged now, he added. He complimented all the contributors of ideas towards various themes on MyGov, a cherished Internet-based platform for citizen engagement, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 26.

Pakistan violates ceasefire in Kashmir; BSF retaliates

Excerpt from:  Pakistan violates ceasefire in Kashmir; BSF retaliates

Amit Shah launches scathing attack on Mamata Banerjee, says TMC leaders involved in Burdwan blast

BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday launched a vitriolic attack against West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata.Adressing a rally in heart of Kolkata, broaching the topic of Burdwan blast, Amit Shah said that Mamata Banerjee is not helping the probe by blaming CBI. He said that local TMC leaders were involved in the blast. He also questioned about how people with criminal records manged to continue their ‘operation’ without inviting attention of people. He also attacked the state government and ruling government by mentioning Saradha scam. He said that TMC leaders have most favoured from Saradha scam, thus it is unfair to blame CBI for doing vendetta agains the ruling party of West Bengal. Amit Shah said that while India is gradually embarking on the path of development under PM Narendra Modi, Bengal is gradually slipping on all parameters.He said that industries are gradually shutting down, health amenities are down, the infrastructure is also in a shambles. Amit Shah said that people of Bengal had offered chance to both Left and TMC but none of them could deliver any good. He said that hence it is the time for BJP to be given a chance to ensure that the state is on course to become numero uno in the country within next five years. Expressing firm confidence that BJP will sweep the coming round of assembly elections in different states, Amit Shah said that the real challenge for the party is to come to power in Bengal in 2016. He said that BJP’s goal is to ensure TMC mukht Bengal. Listing achievements of the central government, BJP President also said that the central government has ensured inflation has been tamed in the last six months, while during Mamata’s stint in UPA prices didn’t come down. Virtually sounding the poll bugle, Amit Shah said that he hopes electorate of Kolkata gives mandate to BJP in the upcoming Kolkata Municipal Elections. He said that it will be a start for a massive change in political climate of the state. Raising the pitch he said that as a common worker of BJP, he wants TMC to be uprooted from West Bengal.The state government and the local municipal authorities didn’t wanted to to initially grant permission to Amit Shah’s rally. BJP could only get the permission after they went to the court. and judiciary intervened Thus obviously the mood was surcharged and Amit Shah left no chances to try to cash on to that atmosphere. Earlier BJP MP Babul Supriyo also took to stage to attack Mamata Banerjee and call for change of power in next elections.According to Zee 24 Ghanta, there have been sporadic reports of attack on BJP workers who were coming to attend the rally. TMC workers are alleged to be behind most of these attacks.

Delhi-Amritsar National Highway to complete by May

Delhi-Amritsar National Highway 1 will be completed by May next year as the contractor has started construction work on the remaining portion of the highway, an NHAI official said.The 470 km long Amritsar-Delhi national highway would be completed by May 15 next year except for a 20 km stretch which would be finished by March 2016, Member Finance, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Satish Chandra said.Chandra is on a two-day visit to monitor the progress of work on the 20 km stretch of NH-1 from Bidhipur Railway crossing to Dhilwan and Amritsar-Pathankot National highway.Speaking about the National Highways network in Punjab, Chandra said construction work on the Dera Bassi flyover has started and is expected to cost Rs 130 crore. He said the work on six km stretch of Ludhiana–Ferozepur road has also been initiated and the remaining 6 km stretch between Ludhiana- Chandigarh would be completed by February 15 next year.Replying to a question about the four-laning work of Ludhiana-Moga-Ferozepur national highway which had been abandoned by a private construction company, Chandra said the company has agreed to restore work on it soon.He said the network of National Highways in Punjab would be complete with the conclusion of four-laning works of Amrtisar–Ferozepur and Amritsar-Bathinda national highways next year.He said each district in the country would be connected to National Highways with three roads and added that the state governments have been asked to submit their plans of declaring the three roads to be connected to national highways and NHAI would bear all construction charges.On the rising toll plaza charges, Chandra said the rates would decline to forty per cent in 2023 as the contractors would realise cost of construction by then and afterwards toll rates would remain at 40 per cent for the maintenance of the highways in the country.He said the National Highway Authority had recently taken a decision that no contractor would be allowed to impose toll taxes on the highways till the completion of its construction work.Chandra said 8000 km of national highways would be completed by March 2015 and the remaining 12,000 km would be completed by 2017.

Let’s create a HIV-free society: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam

On the eve of World AIDS day, Tamil Nadu’s chief minister Panneerselvam has urged people to support those affected by HIV-AIDS

On the eve of World AIDS Day, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam today urged the people to pledge their support to those affected with HIV in the state.”Let us support those with HIV/AIDS. Let’s take care of them. Let us create an AIDS-free society,” he said, while listing out the various schemes offered by the state government for welfare of HIV patients.The CM said the state government was taking efforts to create awareness among people on HIV/AIDS through Tamil Nadu AIDS Control Society and 2,458 Red Ribbon Societies in schools and colleges across the country.He also underlined government schemes to the HIV affected such as free bus passes, Rs 1,000 pension for farmers, age relaxation for elders and young widows.It was in Chennai where HIV was first diagnosed among female sex workers, after which the communicable disease was known to the country.Tamil Nadu later became a role model to other states in controlling the menace of spreading HIV through numerous awareness programmes and health campaigns.

Raja’s anniversary at AMU: Making him a saffron icon shows sheer BJP chutzpah

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ISIS recruit Areeb Majeed returns home: Should India buy his story?

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IFFI gaffe video: Doordarshan anchor suicidal after social media ridicule

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PM Modi has a new idea to improve intelligence network: What is ‘SMART’ policing?

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Repeal law dealing with arbitration, enact new one: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi

Amid the government’s keenness to attract more foreign investments, the country’s top law officer has suggested scrapping of an act which deals with business disputes and replacing it with one that is in tune with the current global practices.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has suggested that the existing Arbitration Act could be hampering investments as it is not seen positively by the business community, particularly the foreign ones.Long delays in the arbitration proceedings and high costs are some of the aspects which have been highlighted as impediments by Rohatgi, sources said.While suggesting repeal of the 1996 Act, he has said the new law should ensure timely settlement of business disputes and penalty for unnecessary delays by arbitrators.The AG had been approached for suggestions by the Law Ministry which wanted to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.Rohatgi has said that instead of amendments, the law should be scrapped altogether and replaced with a new one that is in tune with the global practices.This assumes significance since the Narendra Modi government is keen on attracting foreign investments and is opening various sectors to FDI.The government seeks to remove burden from courts on issues relating to commercial or business disputes by strengthening the arbitration mechanism in the country.He suggested that a “strict” time limit should be fixed for giving arbitration award (order), say six months.The AG has also suggested penalty for arbitrators who delay matters either because of personal benefit or otherwise.He said they should be debarred from taking up fresh arbitrations, say for a period of three years, from the time of the default.The new law, the AG said, must provide for a ceiling of fees and expenses of arbitrators and arbitration itself. The fees can be graded into two or three levels depending on the type of dispute settlement they are presiding.Rohatgi has also suggested that if a court entertains objections against an award, a stay should be granted after hearing both the parties involved.In August, the Law Commission had also come out with its recommendations to amend the Arbitration Act by proposing minimal interference by courts, time limit to complete proceedings and recommending a structural fee schedule for arbitrators.The Commission said the Act has been in force for almost two decades in the country. But “in this period of time, although arbitration has fast emerged as a frequently chosen alternative to litigation, it has come to be afflicted with various problems including those of high costs and delays, making it no better than either the earlier regime which it was intended to replace or to litigation to which it intends to provide an alternative”.The Commission has encouraged the culture of institutional arbitration in India which it said will go a long way to redress the institutional and systemic malaise that has seriously affected the growth of arbitration.It hoped high courts and the Supreme Court, while acting in the exercise of their jurisdiction of the Act, will take steps to encourage the parties to refer their disputes to institutionalised arbitration.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi asks Railways to help in locating runaway children

Women and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi has sought Railways’ help to rescue runaway children

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The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has found a new route to tackle the problem of runaway children, most of whom take trains to end up in big cities, and has sought Railways’ support in this regard.WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi said travelling ticket examiners (TTEs) have to be more vigilant as these children leave homes and take trains to reach major cities like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.”After all, these children are mostly above eight years and they come by trains. How is it possible that the TTEs do not notice a ticket-less traveller, a child roaming around the coach? After all, a child is not a luggage nor does he hide under the seat?” she asked.Referring to a recent report which states that as many as 700 runaway children lands in Delhi stations every month, she said, adding “this is an epidemic”.The minister has, in a recent meeting, asked the Railway authorities to set up public call offices (PCOs) at railway stations so that these children can contact child helpline number 1098 in time of distress.”We have requested the Railways to set up PCOs as there is none left at stations now. So, even when a child wants to call on the helpline number 1098, he is helpless. Posters containing the helpline number are all there at railway stations,” she said.Gandhi said her ministry will also deploy its own teams to track down such children. Though there are non-governmental organisations working on the field, a large number of children remains untraceable.”These children run away from homes at slightest provocations. They take trains to go to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Once they reach these major cities they are at high risk of abuse like drug addictions, sexual abuse, thefts and odd jobs. They also get trafficked,” the minister said.At least 70,000-120,000 children arrive in 50 main railway stations across the country every year, according to the book ‘Rescuing Railway Children: Reuniting families from India’s railway platforms’, released in June.According to the National Crime Records Bureau, almost 60,000 children were reported missing in 2011. A report by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) says nearly 11 children go missing every hour, and at least four of them are never found.According to BBA, the number of missing children could be as high as 90,000 per year.

India becoming vulnerable to terror attacks; ISIS, Al-Qaeda serious security challenges, says IB director Asif Ibrahim

Describing ISIS and Al Qaeda as serious security challenges for India, Director of Intelligence Bureau Asif Ibrahim on Sunday said the Indian diaspora has become increasingly vulnerable to elements having allegiance to terror groups.Addressing a conference of DGPs and IGPs, Ibrahim said al Qaeda and ISIS pose serious security challenges for the country if they were not dealt with on priority.”The rapid territorial gain and the influence of caliphate on one hand glamorises the image of the group (ISIS), while on the other it enhances its capability,” he said at the conference attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and several Chief Ministers.The Director of the IB said vulnerable groups and fringe elements from over 80 countries have gone to the region (Iraq-Syria) to participate in the conflict. Ibrahim said a splinter group of the Indian Mujahideen operating in the Af-Pak region has announced its support to the ISIS and to bolster its flagging image, al Qaeda has announced the formation of its Indian sub continent wing specifically targeting India.”We have deliberated the serious issue yesterday and felt that the threat is likely to accentuate as the situation unfolds further in future. Indian diaspora has become increasingly vulnerable in the days to come,” he said.Ibrahim said there is also an imminent danger of Indian youths moving to the conflict zone, emerging as a role model and stressed that such developments, may directly or indirectly, pose a threat to India.”The threat potential is accentuated with some lower rung elements returning from conflict zone,” he said.A youth from Mumbai suburb Kalyan, Arif Majeed, who until now was believed to have been killed while fighting for militant group ISIS in Syria, was arrested on Friday hours after he landed in the metropolis.In May this year, four youths from Kalyan – Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel, besides Arif – had left India to visit holy places in the West Asia, but they disappeared thereafter and since then were suspected to have joined the Sunni extremist group.The Director of the IB said despite India having a sizeable Muslim population, the global jehadi activities have no impact, except a few stray incidents.”Unlike many western countries, local interventions and timely counselling have proved adequate deterrence for penitential recruits. Prominent Muslim sections, organisations, seminaries and clerics in India have not only rejected the declaration of caliphate and ISIS, they have also declared these activities as un-Islamic,” he said.Ibrahim said the Internet has become a tool for radicalisation of Indian youths and there was a need for community and collective response to it.”Involvement of community leaders in counter- radicalisation initiatives and the need to articulate against jehadi propaganda was highlighted in the deliberation yesterday,” he said.The Director of the IB said in the hinterland of the country, effort of Pakistan and Pakistan-sponsored groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and SIMI to organise violent attacks on India has been ongoing on.He said the detection of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) in West Bengal’s Burdwan has reflected the first brazen attempt by the group to establish a base in India.Ibrahim also said in the last couple years security forces have been successful in neutralising a series of Indian Mujahideen modules in the country with the arrests of several of its leaders.

PM Narendra Modi switching to capitalist economy, says DMK leader MK Stalin

Taking a swipe at the economic policy of the Narendra Modi government, DMK leader MK Stalin on sunday said the country is moving away from a mixed to a capitalist economy with corporate honchos appearing set to get a “bonanza of sorts” and the poor a “pittance”.”It appears that the path towards capitalist economy is being refurbished, switching from a mixed economy under the Modi government,” DMK Treasurer and former Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister Stalin told PTI in an interview here.”We see indications of the poor being handed out a pittance and corporate honchos and huge investors appearing all set to receive a bonanza of sorts,” he said answering a question on his assessment of Modi government. “In six months since Modi assumed office, he has spoken a lot, and so many announcements have been made,” he said adding the mark of the RSS like “Hindu Rashtra and Sanskrit,” have also begun to rear its head.Asked if a generational change can be expected in the DMK similar to BJP which worked in Saffron party’s favour, he said, “it is not possible to categorically say if Modi’s success is due to a generational change, a jump over and above generations or a generational gap.”In DMK, Stalin’s father Karunanidhi continues to be the party president though Stalin is the next in command.”As regards DMK, past, present and future generations join hands and work towards the goal unitedly,” he said indicating that Karunanidhi will continue to lead the party.”I don’t think the BJP’s formula (of a generational change) will work in Tamil Nadu,” he said.Asked about the chances of the return of those who had either quit or were expelled from DMK, he said, “The party is always ready to embrace those who repent.” “All those who had quit or expelled were part of a huge family that is the DMK.”While Stalin’s elder brother and former Union Minister M K Alagiri, and his supporters were expelled from the party in January this year, actress Kushboo quit the party in June and joined the Congress a few days ago.On the possibility of an alliance with national parties like the BJP and Congress in the 2016 Assembly elections, Stalin said, “It is not possible to say that now, it is too early, the time is yet to ripen.”Asked if he would single-handedly lead the poll campaign like Modi, he said, “This comparison does not seem to be appropriate and our campaign will be guided by our party president Karunanidhi.”Stalin, who virtually led the party’s campaign in the Lok Sabha polls, in which it drew a blank, said the “strategies for the 2016 polls were being forumlated in a phased manner.” The 61 year-old leader, who is touring the state meeting DMK workers to strengthen the party ahead of polls, said “the partymen are in an upbeat mood.”The DMK lost power in 2011 and could not even win a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections. However, DMK continues to have a strong say in the political discourse in Tamil Nadu with the main opposition DMDK led by actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth nowhere in the picture.Asked if it was possible to take on the might of the ruling AIADMK with opposition parties “fragmented,” and the PMK desiring to lead a separate front, he said “it is true that opposition parties are separated.””I believe a compulsion will arise to sew an alliance on the lines of one put together by Anna (former Chief Minister C N Annadurai) for the 1967 polls.”In a first, DMK founder Annadurai put together a rainbow alliance in 1967 by bringing all anti-Congress parties in one front. Left parties, Muslim League and Swatantra Party led by C Rajagopalachari, the first Indian Governor General of free India were all part of it. DMK stormed to power and the alliance scored a huge success.”A stage will come when opposition parties will look into the perceptible (political) probabilities,” he said indicating that an alliance will shape up ahead of 2016 polls.On his assessment of Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, he said, “he cannot escape sobriquets like a doll Chief Minister till such time he showed robustness in action.”

HC permission a victory of masses, says Amit Shah ahead of Kolkata rally

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Permission by Calcutta High Court a victory of masses, says BJP president Amit Shah

BJP national president Amit Shah on Sunday said the permission given by Calcutta High Court for his rally here is a victory of the masses.”After several hurdles and obstacles by the state government, I will address a public rally in Kolkata today.The permission given by the High Court is the victory of masses,” Shah said in a Facebook post after arriving here.Shah’s rally was given the green signal on Saturday by the city municipal corporation and the fire department.The Calcutta High Court had on Friday appointed two special officers to ensure compliance of fire services and municipal rules in the public meeting, observing that the government should not be rigid in the compliance of these rules while granting permission.

Tourism New Zealand offers free visas to Indians for ICC World Cup 2015

Expecting a windfall in tourist traffic from the country for the forthcoming Cricket World Cup early next year, Tourism New Zealand has said it would offer free visas-on-arrival to Indians flying down to watch the tournament if they hold Australian visas.”We will offer free visas-on-arrival to Indians travelling down to our country if they hold Australian visas,” Tourism New Zealand country Manager for India Neha Bhola said here over the weekend, while announcing a tie-up with the Centrum Group to process visas for the World Cup as cricket fever has catches up in the sub-continent.Centrum Group, a leading integrated financial and travel services provider, through its travel subsidiary Club 7 Holidays, has been appointed as one of the official visa processing agencies for the World Cop period, Bhola said.Other agencies appointed include Thomas Cook as well as Cox & Kings.To promote travel, Tourism New Zealand has also entered into a co-operative campaign initiative with Centrum, targeting a large number of high net-worth individuals and corporate clients.Accordingly, Centrum has already held road shows in Bangalore earlier this month and in Mumbai over the weekend.”We have been in the business of creating wealth for our clients and managing and through our travel entities, offering them some interesting options to spend money wisely and rejuvenate. Our cooperation with Tourism New Zealand works well as it is in line with their market objectives as well,” Centrum Group Managing Director Rajnish Bahl told PTI.New Zealand is co-hosting the World Cup with Australia beginning next February and March. The event is expected to give a major fillip to the tourist influx to these countries from India where cricket is a religion.From September 2013 to September 2014, New Zealand recorded 35,000 Indian arrivals, up 17 per cent.Earlier this month, Tourism New Zealand general manager for Asia David Craig had told PTI he expected a 33 per cent jump in Indians visiting his country for ICC Cup.”Last year (July 2013-June 2014) we had about 30,000 Indian visitors and we expect about 40,000 visitors this fiscal ending June next,” Craig said.”The World Cup will improve our profile as a tourism destination. For the tournament, we expect 5,000-10,000 if India does well”.The Centrum Group offers integrated financial and travel-related services, and has subsidiaries for broking, wealth management, foreign exchange, infra and reality and travel.

ISIS recruit Kalyan boy Majeed returns home: Should India buy his story?

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