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Gujarat Elections 2017: Hardik Patel puts blame on EVMs, vows to continue ‘struggle’

Young Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Monday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been able to win in Gujarat Assembly elections only because of money and EVM tampering.Talking to reporters as trends showed BJP’s win in the Assembly polls, the 24-year leader said, “There has been tampering in EVMs in Surat,Rajkot and Ahmedabad, hence the gap is very less wherever tampering happened. EVMs are hackable.”He also vowed to continue his “struggle” for the people of Gujarat.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Key candidates and their fateAs per the official trends provided by the Election Commission at 3:30 pm, the BJP has already bagged 46 seats while it is leading on 63 others. Congress has won in 42 Assembly constituencies while its candidates are leading on 35 other seats.Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor urged all opposition parties to take this concern against EVMs forward. Also readGujarat Election Results 2017 LIVE: Rajnath Singh takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi, says ‘sar mundwate hi ole pade’ “If ATMs can be hacked, why can’t the EVMs,” he repeated his earlier remarks. Patel also congratulated the BJP for the win in a sarcastic tone. “I congratulate the BJP which wins the elections by tampering with the EVMs,” he said. On Saturday, Patel had also questioned Supreme Court’s decision to reject Congress’ plea, seeking cross-verification of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails with votes cast with Electronic Voting Machines and asked why they were used in the Gujarat elections.He had also said if EVMs were not tampered with then the exit polls’ results, which showed BJPs’ victory, would be proven wrong.Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar quota agitation last year, had extened his support to the Congress and had extensively campaigned against the ruling BJP.

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Assembly elections 2017 results: Spectacular win for BJP, have proved PM Modi’s hard work, says Shivraj Singh Chouhan

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, on Monday expressed confidence on the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) sweeping Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, adding this would be a spectacular victory for the party.While speaking to media here, Chouhan said, “This country will progress towards development only because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The spectacular victory in Gujarat and the way Himachal Pradesh has been snatched away from the Congress party has proved our the prime minister’s hard work and dedication for the country.””Not forgetting Amit Shah, who is another idol in the BJP we all look up to. I would also like to thank him for his loyalty and for being an inspiration in the party,” he added.Further thanking the people for their trust, Chouhan said, “I promise we will never fail on our endeavours and continue ‘vikas’ (development) of the state.”The Election Commission official trends for Gujarat polls show BJP winning on 10 seats and leading on 83 seats while Congress has won 7 seats and is leading on 69, at the time of filing this report.The BJP is also leading in Himachal Pradesh as it has won on 3 seats and leads on 40 seats, while Congress has won on one seat and is leading on 20.The counting of votes for 68 Assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh and 182 constituencies in Gujarat began on Monday morning.The hill state went to polls on November 9 while elections were held in two phases in Gujarat on November 9 and 14 respectively.

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Himachal Pradesh Election Results 2017: BJP ahead in 45; Congress wins one seat

The BJP looks set to wrest power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh as it was leading in 40 seats while the ruling party bagged one seat and was leading in 21 others, according to Election Commission trends.Congress candidate Anirudh Singh won the Kasumpti seat by defeating BJP’s Vijay Jyoti by a margin of 9,397 votes.Congress veteran and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his son Vikramaditya Singh are leading from Arki and Shimla(Rural) respectively, according to trends available for 65 of the 68 seats. Independents are leading in two constituencies while the CPI(M) is ahead in one.Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Himachal Pradesh, was trailing behind Congress’s Rajinder Rana in Sujanpur, according to early trends.Main rivals BJP and Congress contested all the 68 seats at stake. The hill state witnessed a record 75.28% turnout.The Congress and the BJP had 36 and 26 seats respectively in the outgoing House.Himachal Pradesh has a tradition of change in government after every elections and going by the trend, this time it appears to be the turn of the BJP which is upbeat after the exit polls predicted a victory for the saffron party.Also readHimachal Pradesh Election Results 2017 LIVE: BJP leads in 45 seats, set for a sweepThe BJP ousted the Congress in 1990 and the Congress avenged defeat in 1993. The BJP formed the government with the help of Himachal Vikas Congress in 1998 and the Congress was back in power in 2003. The BJP made a comeback in 2007.

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Gujarat elections 2017: DEO Avantika Singh rubbishes EVM tampering claims

The DEO was talking to reporters about preparations for counting of votes when she made the comment in response to a question. "These are baseless allegations, and I don't think any clarification is needed. If a clarification has to be issued, it would be by Election Commission," she said. Singh said that preparations for counting of votes has been completed. "A three-tier security cordon will be in place for the counting of votes. The counting of votes in 21 counting halls in Ahmedabad will be webcast. A DCP-level officer has been deployed at each centre," she added.”
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Monday 18 December 2017 4:48 ISTMust readGujarat elections 2017: In electoral twist, Aladdin now battles corruption, GST10 free WiFi zones to come up in Ahmedabad<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>Ahmedabad District Election Officer (DEO) Avantika Singh rubbished allegations by Patidar reservation leader Hardik Patel about tampering of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) describing them as ‘baseless’.The DEO was talking to reporters about preparations for counting of votes when she made the comment in response to a question. “These are baseless allegations, and I don’t think any clarification is needed. If a clarification has to be issued, it would be by Election Commission,” she said. Singh said that preparations for counting of votes has been completed. “A three-tier security cordon will be in place for the counting of votes. The counting of votes in 21 counting halls in Ahmedabad will be webcast. A DCP-level officer has been deployed at each centre,” she added.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: EC withdraws notice to Rahul Gandhi over his TV interviews

The Election Commission of India on Sunday withdrew its notice to Congress President Rahul Gandhi which it had issued on December 13 for allegedly violating the provisions of the election law and the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by giving interviews to TV channels in Gujarat where the final phase of polls was due the next day. The ECI had asked Mr Gandhi to respond to the notice latest by December 18 evening. The EC had also directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Gujarat “to initiate necessary action by filing FIR against those who have violated the above mentioned provisions in phase two districts in Gujarat”.It had said that Gandhi, then Congress president-elect, talked about the Gujarat Assembly elections in which the polling for the second phase will be held tomorrow.Also readIf EC can send notice to Rahul Gandhi, why isn’t a notice being sent to the BJP: Congress questions ‘partisan’ moveSome local news channels in Gujarat had telecast Rahul Gandhi’s interview ahead of the second phase polling in the state on December 14.The BJP had complained to the poll panel about the interviews. Also readCongress cries foul over EC notice to Rahul for TV interviews, demands action against BJP leadersThe Commission also found that BJP’s election manifesto release on the eve of first phase of polling noting that there is no limit prescribed in the model code of conduct in this regard.The Congress had alleged that the BJP releasing its manifesto a day ahead of the first phase of polling in Gujarat on December 9 was also a violation of electoral laws. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrowThe poll body has also decided to set up a committee to draw new guidelines on the violations of MCC and the Section 126 of the Representation of the People, 1951, in the new digital age.The poll panel accepted that Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act does not take into account the revolution in communication technologies.”It appears imperative to revisit the provisions relating to the last 48 hours before completion of poll to appropriately address challenges unleashed by fast changing technologies in the context of multi-phase polls,” the EC said.It said it will soon consult political parties, media, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and other stakeholders to seek suggestions.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Over 70% voter turnout in re-polling at six booths

More than 70% voter turnout was recorded in the re-polling held today at six polling booths in four Assembly constituencies of Gujarat, said officials.Following the Election Commission’s (EC) directive yesterday, the polling was held at two booths each in Vadgam and Savli constituencies and one each in Viramgam and Daskroi constituencies.While the Chhaniyana-1 and 2 booths of the Vadgam seat clocked a 74 and 73 per cent voter turnout respectively, booth number 27 in Viramgam recorded an 83-per cent turnout, said Gujarat’s Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain.Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting from the Vadgam (SC) seat as an Independent candidate supported by the Congress.The Nava Naroda booth of the Daskroi seat registered a 73-per cent voter turnout, while the Nhara and Sankrada booths in Savli constituency registered a 71 and 75 per cent voter turnout respectively.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Wi-Fi service suspended at Surat college following complaint of EVM hackingThe re-polling was held from 8 am till 5 pm.The EC had yesterday ordered the re-polling after the second phase of voting in the Gujarat Assembly polls, covering 93 seats of central and north Gujarat, on December 14.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: All eyes on Modi’s home state as stage set for counting tomorrowHowever, the poll panel did not specify the reason for the fresh polling at these six booths.The EC had also directed that the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips of 10 booths in seven constituencies be taken into consideration during tomorrow’s counting of votes as the presiding officers of these booths had failed to wipe out the votes cast during the mock poll from the control units.In the first phase on December 9, polling was held for the 89 seats of Saurashtra, Kutch and south Gujarat.The counting of votes for all the 182 Assembly seats will be taken up tomorrow.

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Jaitley calls for radical reforms in judicial and education systems

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today called for radical reforms in the judicial and education systems of the country, saying they were long overdue.He also said the youth needed to be adequately trained so that they became the future leaders in all walks of life.”Radical reforms are needed in our judicial and educational systems. Reforms have been very belated in these two areas,” Jaitley said, speaking at the 14th convocation ceremony of Symbiosis International (Deemed University) here.Without elaborating on the kind of reforms needed, he said every effort must be made to ensure that the millions of youth in the country were trained well, so that they became the future leaders in all walks of life.Jaitley advised the graduating students to prepare and train themselves to be eligible to serve those countries which were facing a crisis by way of population de-growth.”This is the best way to utilise our demographic dividend,” he said, adding that the government alone could not create enough jobs.In this context, Jaitley said the private sector needed to do more to train people and make them skilled and added, “Otherwise, our demographic dividend can become a liability.” Jaitley was, in fact, responding to the criticism and concern expressed by Symbiosis chancellor S B Mujumdar over a recent Supreme Court order, asking the University Grants Commission (UGC) not to allow any private institute to market itself as a university.Also readFirst time in history, govt to overtake disinvestment target, says Arun Jaitley In an order passed in early November, the apex court had directed the UGC to restrain all the deemed universities from using the word “university” in their names.Pointing towards the economic reforms of 1991, that had lifted the economy to its current heights, Jaitley said putting curbs had never worked in any sector and would not work going forward.”If the survival of the fittest is the rule, it has never been so true as it is today,” he said and urged the students to identify their key strengths and become the leaders of tomorrow as there was enough space for everyone to excel.Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Constitutionally and financially ‘impossible’ to implement Congress manifesto, says Arun JaitleyIn his address, noted industrialist Rahul Bajaj, who was awarded an honorary D.Litt. degree by the institute, said there was a reason why industrialists and businessmen were hated by the public in general and the poor in particular.This was because the income inequalities had been on a steady rise, he said.The Bajaj group patriarch said this attitude was prevalent, despite the businessmen and industrialists being the highest taxpayers, creating wealth and generating jobs.He warned that if the inequalities were not looked at and arrested, “our country will not be far from the violent public protests seen elsewhere in the world”.”We should not continue to test the patience of the tens of millions of our poor people,” Bajaj said. Jaitley conferred doctoral, post-graduate and graduate degrees and diplomas to 3,450 students of 17 streams.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Re-polling on six polling stations underway

The re-polling at six polling stations of Gujarat commenced today.It is being conducted in Vadgam, Viramgam, Daskroi and Savli polling stations.The re-polling was ordered on Friday late night, citing technical reasons, where the Election Commission annulled the polling data that was present in the EVMs.Ahead of re-polling in the areas of Gujarat, security has been beefed up with polling agents, officers and police jawans prepared and stationed at their respective places for the elections.Elections were held in these six polling stations in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly polls on December 14.Apart from this, counting of votes will be done through counting of slips in VVPAT in 10 polling stations in Visnagar, Becharaji, Modasa, Vejalpur, Vatva, Jamalpur-Khadia, Savli and Sankheda as the presiding officers did not clear from the control unit the votes that were cast during mock poll, the poll commission added.The results of the Gujarat Assembly election will be announced on December 18.

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Shame! In India, 2 women harassed daily at workplace: National Commission for Women 2017 report

India may surpass first world nation in terms of economic growth, but when it comes to women empowerment, the Asian giant cuts a sorry figure.The latest numbers from the National Commission for Women report just proves the pathetic state of affairs.Sample this – two women were harassed at their workplace daily in 2017, with Uttar Pradesh topping the ‘shame list’.The women panel’s report for the year 2017 says that on an average, the NCW received 1.7 complaints per day, a Times of India report said on Sunday.The Commission got 539 complaints with maximum coming from UP, Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. But the panel feels that this is just a minuscule number, a tip of the proverbial iceberg as majority of victims still don’t report such matter either to the local police or to the Commission.In last four years, the Commission has received just 1,971 complaints. With #MeToo trending all this year in post Harvey Weinstein expose era, there has been a greater understanding among the women about this issue. Now, the stigma attached to such cases is giving way to women speaking openly about their horrifying experiences.The trend was also responsible for finally making the Indian Inc responsible towards the issue with the Corporate Ministry making it mandatory for all companies to make full disclosure on their compliance with the Sexual Harassment Act.It should be noted that this was a two-year-old demand by the Maneka Gandhi’s ministry, which was accepted only in 2017.

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Pakistan’s ISI bid to honeytrap three Indian officials in Islamabad foiled: Report

Three officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were recalled from Pakistan, foiling the Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) bid to honeytrap them and extract information, reported Times of India.The officials, whose names are being withheld, are being questioned and were recalled earlier this week.Also readKulbhushan Jadhav case: Pakistan confirms wife and mother have received visas to visit himA report said that the bid was foiled before classified document could be passed on to ISI, as the officials approached senior Indian authorities for help.The officials worked with the language section and were responsible for the translation of official documents, said a report, adding that the government will decide in the next few days how to proceed in the matter.Also read43 Indian fishermen have been arrested by Pakistani authorities

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NIA goofs up, no Interpol RCN for Zakir Naik

In a setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Interpol has rejected the government’s request to issue a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, saying Indian agencies have failed to file a charge sheet against him.NIA Director YC Modi told DNA, “RCN was not issued against Naik so far. If Interpol has stopped now from issuing, it can be further pursued.” “The request for RCN against Zakir Naik was not accepted by Interpol as charge sheet had not been filed when the request was submitted to the Interpol Headquarters,” said sources in NIA.”Now NIA will submit a fresh request to Interpol as a charge sheet has already been filed in the concerned NIA court in Mumbai.” NIA had requested RCN against Naik on 19 May for ‘promoting enmity between two different religious groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, being a member of unlawful Association, etc’. The Indian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned Naik and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF). The NIA said that Indian youth, who joined the terrorist organisation ISIS, were highly influenced by his speeches.Within 10 days, the request was contested by Naik through London-based attorney Peter Binning of Corker Binning law firm on 29 May. The Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files heard Naik’s plea and in a letter dated 11 December to Binning, the Interpol said, “After a thorough examination, the commission found that the data challenged raised questions as to compliance with applicable roles. As a result, it considered that the retention of this data in the Interpol information system was not compliant with the Interpol’s rules and decided that it should be deleted.” The law firm had earlier written to Secretary General of Interpol, France, seeking for a refusal to issue RCH against Naik.After hearing the plea and also the Indian government arguments, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files observed on 26 October, 2017, “The commission considered that according to the Ministry of External Affairs, an extradition request for an accused /fugitive can be initiated after a charge sheet has been filed. Furthermore, it considered that in its list of documents required to be enclosed as part of the dossier to extradite a fugitive criminal from a foreign country to India, a copy of charge sheet, duly countersigned by the competent judicial authority is required.”The commission further pointed that the information published by the Ministry of External Affairs on its guidelines for extradition appears different from that provided by the National Central Bureau (NCB) of Interpol of India, concerning the requirement to include charge sheet for extradition.””Therefore, in light of all of the aforesaid circumstances, the commission finds that, at this stage of the proceedings, the issuance of RCN for the Applicant’s arrest with a view of his extradition is premature and that maintaining the data in Interpol’s files would not be appropriate,” the Commission said.Naik’s foundation issued a statement saying that the Interpol’s Commission found after thorough examination that the request from the Indian NCB was not compliant with Interpol’s rules. Furthermore, the Interpol general secretariat has informed all Interpol NCBs that it has deleted the information relating to Dr Zakir Naik and urged them to update their national databases accordingly.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | 4 Congress workers allowed to monitor CCTV in strong room

After Congress candidate from Amraiwadi approached the district administration apprehending discrepancies during counting of votes at the LD Engineering college on Monday, Ahmedabad collector has decided to allow four Congress workers to remain present at the Polytechnic where CCTVs would monitor the counting process.Congress’s Arvindbhai Chauhan was pitched against BJP’s Hasmukh Patel in Amraiwadi. He had approached the collector to allow them to remain present in the CCTV room at Polytechnic. The EVM’s have been kept at LD Engineering college as it is one of the centres for counting.Speaking about the same, Arvindbhai Chauhan, contesting from Amraiwadi, said, “We fear tampering and hence we just want to be extremely sure until the counting begins. This was the main reason that we met and requested the collector to allow our men accompany the monitoring team in the strong room. Thankfully, the permission has been given to four of our party workers who will now be present inside the strong room and monitor CCTV cameras 24×7.”Chauhan added, “We are also keeping a tab on which car enters the booth just to be sure from our side.”Just two days before the Election Commission counts the votes cast in the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Congress had approached the Supreme Court praying that the poll body be directed to tally 25 per cent of all ballots in Gujarat with voter slips printed by the Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines. The apex court, however, turned down the plea, refusing to interefere in the Gujart election.When DNA tried to contact Ahmedabad city collector Avantika Singh Aulakh, she was not reachable.Congress had earlier accused the Election Commission of being biased toward the BJP raising questions over Prime Minister Narendra Modi ‘doing a roadshow’ after casting vote on Thursday.BJP too had earlier objected to the airing of Rahul Gandhi’s interview to private news channels before the second phase of elections.

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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Counting to be held at 37 centres in Gujarat

The Election Commission has set up 37 counting centres across the state for counting of votes for the 2017 Assembly elections, senior officials said. The fate of 1,828 candidates, who contested from the 182 seats in the two-phase elections, would be known within hours of beginning of the counting at 8 am on Monday.Voting for 89 seats that went to polls in the first phase of the Assembly elections took place on December 9, while 93 seats went to polls in the second phase on December 14.The over 50,000 Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units used for polling have been kept in strongrooms across several places.Officials said that three counting centres have been set up in Ahmedabad, and two each in Surat and Anand, while the remaining 31 districts have one each.In Ahmedabad, counting of votes for Ghatlodia, Vejalpur, Vatva, Ellisbridge, Naranpura, Amraiwadi, Maninagar and Sabarmati seats will take place at LD Engineering College. Counting of votes for Naroda, Thakkarbapa Nagar, Bapunagar, Dariapur, Jamalpur-Khadia, Danilimda (SC) and Asarwa (SC) seats will take place at Gujarat College Campus, while those of Viramgam, Sanand, Nikol, Daskroi, Dholka and Dhandhuka will be at Government Polytechnic.Counting of votes for Dehgam, Gandhinagar South, Gandhinagar North, Mansa and Kalol seats will take place at Government Commerce and Arts College in Sector 15, Gandhinagar.

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Interpol cancels Red Corner Notice against Zakir Naik, deletes all data on him

The Interpol has cancelled the Red Corner Notice issued by it against Dr Zakir Naik and has deleted all data on the controversial Islamic peachier. The decision was taken by the Interpol’s Commission in its 102nd session held on 24-27 October 2017 and data on Naik was deleted from its database on November 9. This was conveyed by the Interpol to Naik’s London-based legal firmCorker Binning in a letter dated December 11, 2017. The Interpol contended that there was a severe lack of evidentiary basis, a failure by Indian authorities to follow due process of law, political and religious bias that formed the basis of such a notice, and lack of international interest.The Interpol’s Commission found after thorough examination that the request from the Indian NCB was not compliant with Interpol’s rules and thus decided the lndian government’s request for Red Corner notice should be cancelled. Furthermore, the Interpol general secretariat has informed all. Interpol NCB’s that it has deleted the information relating to Dr Zakir Naik and urged all NCB’s to update their national databases accordingly.The Interpol was listening to the request made by The National Central Bureau of Interpol of India made in May 2017 pertaining to Naik. The Indian NCB of Interpol had requested for Red Corner Notice of Dr Zakir Naik for “promoting enmity between two different religious groups ongrounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony, being a member of unlawful Association etc”.The Indian government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had banned Dr Zakir Naik and his organisation, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) in November last year. Following the ban, all the operations of IRF were stopped, and all the staff relieved of their duties. Dr Naik also lost his Islamic International School, a school that he had founded and developed over the Harvard pattern of academics. Despite protests, the School’s bank accounts were frozen by the Indian authorities following the ban. NIA has also charged him for radicalising youth. Naik, a 52-year-old medical doctor, has aroused controversy with his puritan brand of Islam – recommending the death penalty for homosexuals and those who abandon Islam as their faith, according to media reports. A Youtube video shows Naik saying that if Osama bin Laden “is terrorizing America the terrorist, the biggest terrorist, I am with him”. Bangladesh suspended Peace TV channel, which features Naik’s preachings, after some media reports claimed bombers of a Dhaka cafe that killed 22 people last year were admirers of him. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. He has taken residence in Malaysia. India is likely to make a formal request to Malaysia for his extradition.Dr Naik has repeatedly denied accusations of “running away” from investigations. A non-resident Indian (NRI), Dr Naik has been away from India since May 2016, much before the Dhaka incident of July that year. He has been managing IRF’s operations and delivering talks across several countries.

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Madras HC urges state and central governments to explore gadgets to combat sexual violence

Deprecating rising sex crimes against women and girl child, the Madras High Court has asked the central and Tamil Nadu governments to explore the possibility of providing gadgets to women to prevent sexual violence against them.Noting that crimes against women and girl child were shockingly rising every year, especially sex crimes, Justice N Kirubakaran batted for urgent measures to stop such heinous offences and asked the governments to explore giving gadgets to women.Dismissing the bail plea of a duo accused in the rape- and-murder of a 60-year-old mentally-challenged woman, he said, “Sexual assault is a violation of privacy, dignity, and honour, causing a permanent scar and continuous agony in the mind of the hapless victim.”The judge also raised several queries vis-a-vis rising sex crimes against women, to be answered by the central and state governments and the National Commission for Women (NCW).He impleaded the central government and the NCW in the case and directed them to file response to his queries.Such queries include whether the spurt in sexual violence against women was due to fall in sex ratio or due to “sex starvation” among Indian men in view of various cultural and moral curbs and if the violence was owing to alcoholism.Also, the court asked the central and state governments to spell out if the rise in sex crimes was due to easy accessibility of pornographic content through the Internet and smart phones.The judge said culprits in sexual violence could neither be termed as “human beings” nor as “animals”, as even animals were noble in their own way.Noting that sexual assaults on women continued unabated despite stringent laws brought in after the December 16 Delhi gangrape incident, he said the offences have to be analysed and examined on psychological and sociological angles.The judge sought the response of the governments on his queries by January 10, 2018.

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Five years of Nirbhaya case: DCW chief writes to PM on things remaining stagnant

Delhi Commission for Women Swati Maliwal on Friday expressed the need to increase the punishment of rape cases of children to death penalty within six months of the crime. Maliwal wrote a detailed letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which she also stressed on the need to increase resources for police and forensic labs across the country.Mariwal’s letter to the prime minister comes on the eve of the fifth anniversary of the December 16 Delhi case in which a physiotherapy student was gang raped and murdered by a group of six people onboard a bus. The victim was accompanied by a friend who was also beaten up. Both of them were thrown out of the bus on the roadside.Maliwal also tweeted on the victim late Friday. “At the time of the incident, the nation cried for change, but in all this time things remain the same,” she said, further alleging that the money from the Nirbhaya fund that was established has not been used properly.”A report in UK’s The Guardian said that 24,923 rapes reported nationwide, 3,035 occurred in the large cities. “The number of reported rapes elsewhere in the country was more than seven times higher (despite some cases arguably going unreported) than the number of those reported in the main cities. But the police seem to be selective about what they investigate,” the report added.So why are so few rape cases reported? Studies suggest that women report crimes if female police officers are present. In March this year, the government admitted a shortage of women in the force, saying that only 7% of the total police strength in India comprised women.Secondly, the Indian police is short-staffed. A 2013 Indian Express report said that the rural police in the country did not even meet the 1960 standard, while a revelation in the Lok Sabha in 2016 showed that India was short of half a million police officers across the country.

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Supreme Court won’t interfere in Gujarat counting

The Supreme Court rejected on Friday a Congress petition that had sought directions to the Election Commission to match 25 per cent of all EVM ballots with voter slips printed by Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines used in the Gujarat Assembly elections. Counting of votes will be taken up in the state on Monday.A bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra found no merit in the plea by Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal who represented the Congress.The bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, observed that it could not interfere with the poll panel’s exercise of power. Electoral process in a democracy is of utmost importance and could not be interfered with to simply allay apprehensions of a party, the bench noted.Singhvi said that plea was not against EVMs per se. “…but now that you have VVPAT with all machines, we want the sampling of voting on EVMs with the VVPAt trail be done in at least 10-15% cases if not 25%.”The top court’s move comes a day after the Congress accused the poll panel of being the “puppet” of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). A day before the final phase of polling in Gujarat, the Election Commission cracked the whip on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and certain television channels on Wednesday. They had aired his interviews even after the end of campaigning.The BJP and the Congress traded charges against each other for trying to influence the voters in the mandatory no-campaign period.Within hours of the filing of three complaints by the BJP, the EC served a showcase notice to Rahul and ordered FIR against certain Gujarati television channels.The EC asked Rahul to explain by December 18 why he violated the poll code of no campaign within 48 hours of the conclusion of the final day of polling.The EC also instructed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to stop the display of such matter in districts going to the polls on December 14.Following the EC’s step, the Congress reacted sharply and called it partisan. The party demanded from the EC that an FIR be filed against BJP leaders. At the EC’s doorstep, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described it as an attempt to strangle the press.”In 2014 Mr Modi had given a television interview just a day before the polling, and on the day of polling, he had even displayed the BJP symbol, but EC did not act then. On December 8, a day before the first phase, the BJP finance minister released the manifesto but EC did not issue a show cause,” he said.In his first interview, Rahul said the “BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of Gujarat.””In the last three months, I have just raised the voice of Gujarat. They are not scared of me. They are scared of the voice of Gujarat. This election is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. This is about the voice of Gujarat,” Rahul told TV channels.He also accused the BJP of distorting his image by putting huge money.”There was no (image) makeover. BJP workers used money to distort the reality of Rahul Gandhi… a lot of money was put into this,” said Rahul.

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Cabinet approves landmark bill to set up National Medical Commission to replace Medical Council of India

On Friday, the Cabinet approved a landmark bill – the National Medical Commission, Bill 2017 – which will replace the Medical Council 1956 Act. Earlier, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said cabinet approved a bill to set up the National Medical Commission. The bill will seek to replace the Medical Council of India and will seek reforms in the field of medical education, move towards outcome-based regulation of medical education, create accountable and transparent procedures for maintaining standards in medical education and create a forward-looking approach towards ensuring sufficient health workforce in India.Sources told DNA that provisions in the ball will end heavy regulatory control over medical education institutions and help facilitate a shift towards outcome-based monitoring. It’s also expected to introduce a national degree examination, the first time such a provision with be added in higher education, similar to NEET and common counselling for undergrads.The bill also seeks to regulate up undergrad and postgrad seats which will ensure that at least 40% seats are reserved for meritorious students irrespective of their financial status.The draft bill provides for the constitution of four autonomous boards entrusted with conducting undergraduate and postgraduate education, assessment and accreditation of medical institutions and registration of practitioners under the National Medical Commission, a senior government functionary said.According to the draft bill, the commission will have government nominated chairman and members, and the board members will be selected by a search committee under the Cabinet Secretary.There will five elected and 12 ex-officio members in the commission.The draft bill also proposes a common entrance exam and licentiate exam which all medical graduates will have to clear to get practicing licences, the official said.As per the provisions of the draft bill, no permission would be needed to add new seats or to start postgraduate courses.The deterrence for non-compliance with maintenance of standards is in terms of monetary penalty.The draft bill is aimed at bringing reforms in the medical education sector which has been under scrutiny for corruption and unethical practices, the official said. With inputs from PTI

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Fee hike: Delhi CM warns schools of stern action

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday warned private schools of the “strongest action” for allegedly harassing parents by arbitrarily increasing fees to comply with the recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.The warning came after reports suggested that private schools substantially increased their fees to comply with the seventh central pay commission (CPC) recommendations.In October, the Delhi government had allowed recognised unaided private schools on Delhi Development Authority (DDA) land to increase their fees by 15 per cent as an “interim” measure to comply with the CPC recommendations, which include a nearly 25 per cent increase in salaries of school teachers.”Parents from all over Delhi have met me in last few days wi complaints that schools r demanding v high fee including arrears to implement 7th Pay Commission. This must stop. I have directed Edu Dept to review the whole situation n to take immediate steps to stop this (sic),” Kejriwal said on Twitter.

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Gujarat elections 2017: 1,517 EVMs, VVPATs replaced during elections

As the second and final phase in Gujarat assembly polls ended on Thursday, as many as 1517 Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail units were replaced, following complaints and technical glitches. Votes were cast in Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Dahod, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur districts from 8 am to 5 pm.Out of total 27561 ballot units (EVMs) deployed, 369 were reported with glitches. As many as 322 out of 25,575 control units and 826 VVPATs out of 25,575 units were found having glitches and were replaced by the Election Commission. The Commission kept in reserve 5,204 BUs, 4,252 CUs and 6,928 VVPATs,to be used in case complaints were received. Although there were several complaints alleging EVMs being manipulated through BlueTooth in Mehsana, Ghatlodia, Vadgam and Dhokla, technical teams found there was no truth in the allegations.

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Gujarat elections 2017 | BJP to form govt with record-breaking number: Vijay Rupani

Exit poll trends, predicting a clear win for Bharatiya Janata Party, led to celebratory mood in BJP camp. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and state BJP president claimed BJP was on course to break many records in the state.Rupani said people of Gujarat had celebrated the festival of democracy with great enthusiasm. “All the exit polls have showed that BJP is forming the government. Gujarat has shown path to entire nation and has always preferred value-based politics. The BJP never followed nepotism or vote-bank politics. The BJP will win with the maximum seats in Gujarat by creating a history,” he said.”The Congress has conceded defeat and therefore they desperately made complaints before Election Commission. They did this as a part of face saving exercise for Rahul Gandhi. This is the chariot of victory that has passed through Gujarat after other states like UP and now this will proceed towards other seats,” Rupani further said.Gujarat BJP chief Jitu Vaghani said, “I thank all Gujarati voters for showing continuous support in BJP as the party is forming government in Gujarat for sixth consecutive time. This is a start of new era and these moments will be written in golden words in pages of political history of Gujarat. People have rejected casteism and nepotism, but embraced development. People have shown faith in PM Modi who is the pride of Gujarat. I should also acknowledge that our leader Amit Shah guided entire organisation in great manner.”CM CONFIDENTAll the exit polls have showed that BJP is forming the government. Gujarat has shown path to entire nation and always preferred value-based politics. BJP never followed nepotism or vote-bank politics, CM said.

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Gujarat Elections 2017: Exit polls predict BJP win for sixth time in a row

What was predicted to be a real keen contest between BJP and Congress in Gujarat, may actually have ended up as a virtual rerun of 2012, if the exit polls are to be believed. Most of the polls predict BJP winning around 110 seats, touch short of 115 it won in the last assembly polls. Today’s Chanakya though has predicted a two-third mandate for BJP predicting that the party will win 135 seats. Here’s what the exit polls of the major agencies predicted:Also readAs Gujarat campaign progressed, we saw complete bankruptcy in BJP: Rahul Gandhi in Kerala Agency BJP Congress Others Today’s Chanakya 135 47 0 Times Now-VMR 113 66 3 ABP-CSDS 117 64 1 NewsX 110-120 65-75 2-4 Sahara Samay-CNX 110-120 65-75 C Voter 108 74 News Nation 124-128 52-56 1-3 India Today-Axis 99-113 68-82 1-4 So all 8 exit polls predict a clear win for BJP, though most predict Congress to do better in terms of vote share than 2012. But their seats aren’t really increasing and that would be a major cause of concern for Congress President-elect Rahul Gandhi if these results turn out to be correct. Today’s Chanakya has the most lavish prediction for BJP and expect them to win 135. The Axis survey actually shows BJP trailing Congress in Saurashtra and North Gujarat. They also have the most conservative estimate for BJP, with lower range of 99. The election result will be published on 18th Gujarat, and we will know soon if the polls got it right. Gujarat recorded an estimated 68.70 per cent voter turnout in the second and final phase of polling for 93 Assembly seats today, the Election Commission said. The figure is likely to go up as details are still being worked out, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here. The 93 seats are spread across north and central Gujarat.Around 2.22 crore people were eligible to exercise their franchise to choose their representatives from among 851 candidates in the fray. With PTI inputs

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You loved it when same EC declared Ahmed Patel a winner: BJP slams Congress over ‘puppet’ comment

The BJP today lashed out at the Congress after it accused the Election Commission of acting like a “puppet” of the government, and said the opposition party was looking for excuses before its impending defeat in the Gujarat polls.A party delegation, which included Cabinet ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi among others, also met the Election Commission to refute the charges levelled by the Congress against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders.Though the delegation members did not speak to media on record, sources said they submitted a memorandum to the EC where they accused the opposition party of misleading the poll watchdog and called the attack on it “unfortunate”. Also readGujarat Elections 2017: Congress files anticipatory complaint with EC against PM Modi’s ‘roadshow’BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimhra Rao launched a sharp attack on the Congress, saying its “dynastic arrogance” was on display in its attack on the EC.The party should find better excuses for its “impending defeat”, he said and deprecated “verbal abuse” by the Congress.The Congress was upset because the EC dared to serve notice to “King Rahul”, Rao claimed.Also readGujarat elections 2017: ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and 500-metre walk – When PM Narendra Modi stood in queue to cast his vote “Sheer pettiness of the Congress to call the EC names is glaring. You loved it when the same EC declared Ahmed Patel a winner in the Rajya Sabha poll. Why are you taking out your anger now on it for the (people) spontaneous support to the PM?”Isn’t it too much to expect the EC to act as Parivar’s Darbaris (courtiers of the family)?” he tweeted.Also readGujarat elections 2017: PM Modi’s mother Heeraben casts her vote in GandhinagarThe Congress today said the Election Commission was a BJP “puppet” as the party criticsed it for not acting against Modi after he hed a “roadshow” in Gujarat. After casting his vote at Sabarmati in Ahmedabad district, the prime minister was seen walking some distance and greeting people standing on both sides of the road outside the polling booth. Later, he stood on the foot-board of his car and waved to the crowd.

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Gujarat elections 2017: ‘Modi, Modi’ chants and 500-metre walk – When PM Narendra Modi stood in queue to cast his vote

Amid loud cheers and ‘Modi, Modi’ chants, it was a grand homecoming for Prime Minister Narendra as he visited Sabarmati’s Ranip to cast his vote in the second phase of the Gujarat Assembly Elections on Thursday.Hundreds of voters lined up on both sides of the roads leading up to the booth number 115 in Ranip area to catch a glimpse of the Prime Minister.Smiling and waving to the crowd, PM Modi stood in the queue to cast his vote. Later, he walked around 500 metre right outside the polling booth to his cavalcade showing his inked finger to the loud cheers. Many were seen clicking photos of the Prime Minister.The Congress has termed the walk as a ‘roadshow’ and called it a breach of the poll codes. Addressing the media, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala slammed the Prime Minister. Another party leader Ashok Gehlot said that ‘the Election Commission it seems is working under pressure from PM and PMO.”There are reports that the poll panel will look into the allegations made by the Congress. Earlier in the day, senior-most BJP leaders were seen casting their votes in the second phase of Gujarat elections.The biggies include BJP president Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and LK Advani.After an acrimonious campaign, voting for the second and final phase of the Gujarat assembly elections is under way today in 93 seats in North and Central Gujarat.Around 2.22 crore voters are eligible to exercise franchise today to choose between the two main contenders, the BJP and the Congress.A total of 851 candidates are in the fray for the second phase.The first phase of voting, held on December 9, covered 89 seats of the 182-member House.The election is being seen as a “prestige battle” for Prime Minister Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi.In the 2012 Assembly polls, the BJP won 115 seats while the Congress bagged 61. The votes will be counted on December 18.

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If EC can send notice to Rahul Gandhi, why isn’t a notice being sent to the BJP: Congress questions ‘partisan’ move

The Congress late Wednesday responded to the Election Commission’s (EC) to its president-elect Rahul Gandhi, saying that the commission should ideally issue a notice to the BJP.“Congress delegation submitted a memorandum to ECI demanding immediate registration of FIR against BJP leaders in the context of them violating the model code of conduct. If FIR can be registered against news channels for telecasting Rahul ji’s interview, then why not against BJP?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted with two documents on Thursday. The document added that the Congress was ‘shocked and anguished’ at the EC’s notice. “Such a decision, if taken, is discriminatory and does not take into account the conduct of the ruling party,” the document added.The Election Commission had cracked the whip on Rahul Gandhi and certain television channels that aired his interviews even after the end of campaigning.The BJP and the Congress traded charges against each other for trying to influence the voters in the mandatory no-campaign period.Within hours of the filing of three complaints by the BJP, the EC served a showcase notice to Rahul on Wednesday and ordered FIR against certain Gujarati television channels.The EC asked Rahul to explain by December 18 why he violated the poll code of no campaign within 48 hours of the conclusion of the final day of polling.The EC also instructed the Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to stop the display of such matter in districts going to the polls on December 14.Following the EC’s step, the Congress reacted sharply and called it partisan. The party demanded from the EC that an FIR be filed against BJP leaders. At the EC’s doorstep, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala described it as an attempt to strangle the press.”In 2014 Mr Modi had given a television interview just a day before the polling, and on the day of polling, he had even displayed the BJP symbol, but EC did not act then. On December 8, a day before the first phase, the BJP finance minister released the manifesto but EC did not issue a show cause,” he said.In his first interview, Rahul said the “BJP is not scared of him but of the voice of Gujarat.””In the last three months, I have just raised the voice of Gujarat. They are not scared of me. They are scared of the voice of Gujarat. This election is not about Rahul Gandhi or Narendra Modi. This is about the voice of Gujarat,” Rahul told TV channels.

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Gujarat elections 2017: Video shows BJP workers gifting sarees, ‘buying’ votes

A day before the second phase of polls in the state, a video of unconfirmed BJP workers influencing people by giving them sarees and snacks have gone viral. There is no one to authenticate as to who shot the video.A few videos of several politicians have gone viral on social media over the last couple of days. In the latest video that was shot in a rural area shows a group of angry women, alleging BJP party workers for bribing them.The one-minute-and-nineteen-second video seems to be shot on a mobile phone. Another woman is saying that after the meeting they give us snacks worth Rs50 and gave Saree worth Rs100 and asked us to vote for BJP.On Tuesday, a video has been viral of BJP’s Jamalpur Khadia candidate Bhushan Bhatt in which he is seen asking people to come for a public meeting of Narendra Modi and he doesn’t care about Election Commission’s code of conduct. He, in that video is saying to mass that he will give a token for the fuel so that a large number of people can be reached to the public meeting.VIDEO GOES VIRALThe one-minute-and-nineteen-second video seems to be shot on a mobile phone. Another woman is saying that after the meeting they give us snacks worth Rs50 and gave Saree worth Rs100 and asked us to vote for BJP.

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Electoral education made mandatory in schools

The south zone education department has asked all their zonal schools and colleges to start an ‘Electoral Literacy Club’ (ELC). The suggestion, made by the Election Commission of India, wants the club started in schools and colleges and covered under formal education to engage new voters through extracurricular interventions with the aim to create awareness among students about elections in India.The circular to form the ELC was issued on Wednesday and states that the ELC should be established in schools and colleges for students from IX to XII including colleges and universities, and educational institutions including professional and technical educational institutions. Students will be encouraged to run the ELC through an elected body of the executive committee with elected representatives from each of the sections.Teachers, preferably from the humanities department, will act as the nodal officers and mentors for the ELC and teachers with election duty experience should be given preference for this work.The club will make the members aware of the registration and electoral process by engaging them through well designed attractive resources in hands-on experience. The members will also be educated about EVMs.Anil Valvi, Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra, said, “By January 25, 2018, on National Voters’ Day, all the schools and colleges have to form ELCs. The Electoral Literacy committee which will consist of a chief electoral officer, principals, NGO’s NSS and NCC heads will help in creating awareness.”

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Kejriwal govt to act tough against Delhi schools hiking fees

The Delhi government has toughened its stand against private schools hiking fees citing implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission and called a meeting of all the MLAs and education department officials.Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia met at the Delhi Secretariat today following complaints from parents that schools have increased their fees and are asking for arrears.”The chief minister and his deputy discussed the issue and a meeting of all the MLAs and education department officials has been called tomorrow,” a senior govt official said.”The MLAs will get data regarding complaints against private schools in their area which have increased the fees,” the official added.The Directorate of Education (DoE) had also written to schools recently asking them to refrain from any “unjustified” hike in school fees in the name of implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations.

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Arunachal Pradesh copies Pakistan civil services paper

In all matters Arunachal Pradesh, worries pertaining to intrusion of any kind emanate from the neighbouring China. An intrusion of a different kind, however, has been reported from our other contentious neighbour, Pakistan.In the recently concluded civil services exam, conducted by the Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC), several questions were lifted from a forum for aspirants of the Pakistan civil services examination.Aspirants in Arunachal Pradesh alleged that majority of the questions were lifted from the site ‘www.cssforum.com.pk’. To add to their woes, in the public administration question paper, 50 questions were a repeat of the Union Public Services Exam’s (UPSC) 2008 question paper. Also, stickers for the form numbers were manually written and papers were handed out unsealed in some cases.Nearly 90 per cent of the sociology questions were lifted from an article on the Mandal Commission judgment, written by Shelly Shan in the early 1990s, listed on the website ‘www.sociologydiscussion.com’. Besides, there were so many spelling mistakes and errors in the veterinary sciences paper that the Arunachal Veterinary Doctors’ Unemployed Association was prompted to write a letter to APPSC secretary Madhu K Garg.”The papers were peppered with hundreds of errors — letters were missing, words were misspelled, and several papers had questions that were outside the syllabus prescribed on the APPSC website,” aspirant Bengia Taja said.She added that students have now informally come together to protest against the slip-ups.”This is a complete disregard to the hard work that so many of us put in year after year. The BJP government has always spoken against Pakistan. Why is it quiet on this matter now?” asked Taja.”Pakistan is not a part of our syllabus. In our syllabus of public administration, we study about the US, USSR, UK, and France,” he added.The state’s ruling People’s Party is in alliance with the BJP currently.Dr Nani Bath, professor at the political science department of the Rajiv Gandhi University at Rono Hills, a few kilometres away from state capital Itanagar, said the mistakes in this year’s question papers had not happened for the first time. “This has happened earlier as well. To make light of the fates of so many hard-working aspirants is nothing short of criminal. The state officials must take responsibility,” he said. Prof Bath added that the state has now constituted a committee and has set a deadline for the APPSC to conduct the preliminary exams again within the next three months.Meanwhile, calls and messages to the secretary went unanswered.In 2015, the APPSC’s papers for the preliminary exams were leaked, leading to the dismissal of four employees. The fiasco came barely a month after the leak of an Assam Public Service Commission paper, in exchange for cash, which led to the ouster of 25 officials, including chairperson Rakesh Kumar Paul.Lifted & copiedAspirants alleged that majority of the questions were lifted from the site ‘www.cssforum.com.pk’. Additionally, 50 questions were a repeat of the UPSC 2008 question paper

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Govt to set up 12 special courts to fast-track pending criminal cases against lawmakers

The Narendra Modi-led government on Tuesday told Supreme Court that it will set up 12 special courts in a year to fast-track the pending criminal cases against MPs and MLAs.These special courts will decide the pending 1,581 criminal cases against lawmakers and trial will be completed in a year. The document, filed through Reeta Vasishta, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Law and Justice, said that as per the scheme, “12 special courts for a period of one year” shall be set up to dispose of cases against politicians.The government’s affidavit said that the figure of 1,581 cases has been obtained from an NGO but the data as to in which courts these cases are pending is not available.”It is difficult to gather the facts and figures required for the purpose of answering the queries mentioned in the order of the court.”Since the states in which these cases are pending is available, the ministry has initiated action by seeking to collect the requisite details from the respective state governments,” the affidavit said.The Centre informed the apex court that the special courts will be set up at the an expenditure of Rs 7.8 crore and the financial ministry have already approved the funds.The Supreme Court had also asked the Centre to set up an elaborative plan for speedy disposal of cases.In November, the apex court gave the government six weeks time to submit a plan to set up the special courts.The top court was hearing a petition from Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and a member of the BJP, who urged for a lifetime ban on convicted lawmakers. The present law imposes 6 years ban on politicians involved in criminal cases.The petition had also sought a direction to the Centre and the EC to fix minimum educational qualification and a maximum age limit for persons contesting polls. The Election Commission had supported the lifetime ban and said it is a necessary step to decriminalise politics and politicians. EC also said said they have already made recommendations on this to the Centre.The political career of RJD chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and VK Sasikala who is in jail on corruption charges will be over if the court decides on a life-time ban.(With inputs from PTI)

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Western Railway move can promote solar energy in Mumbai: Experts

Even as experts on solar power cheered the move by Western Railways of going for solar rooftops by setting up solar panels on top of the platform sheds, they also said that this move could also end up becoming the biggest promotion for solar rooftops in Mumbai.”The solar rooftops at Lower Parel station are being viewed by lakhs of commuters daily and it will atleast provoke them to think or get more information about solar energy. Infact we would suggest that every station going for solar rooftop should display information on benefits of solar power,” said a senior official working with Government of India to promote solar rooftops.Infact officials as well as environmentalists who have been promoting solar energy said that despite so much awareness and having the facility of Net-metering’ ,which enables to send the unused or excess electricity generated by solar plant back into the grid of the energy supply and even earn credits still there was not much demand for solar rooftops and only very limited buildings or societies were coming forward.”There will have to be a policy making it mandatory for a building or a commercial space of a particular area and depending on their electricity usage pattern to compulsorily have solar rooftop installed and only then the rise in solar rooftops will see an increase,” said another solar expert working with a solar energy provider firm.Infact environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal who has been promoting solar rooftops said that it was strange that while Mumbaikars actively speak about reducing carbon footprints and search for means of reducing their electricity consumption yet there was not a sharp rise as expected in solar rooftops in the city. “BMC or the The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) needs to study what was the factor that was stopping people from going for solar rooftopsA study initiated in 2015 to assess the solar rooftop potential of Greater Mumbai had shown that Mumbai has a potential of generating 1720 megawatt (MW) of solar energy across rooftops including residences, educational institutions, government buildings and industry. Infact one of the key highlights of the study was that it provided a ready database of the solar capacity that can be generated on rooftops to BMC or any other Government organisation. The study listed out structures with good rooftop potential and it includes hospitals, commercial buildings, Government offices, railway stations and even industries. The rooftop solar generation was also presented wardwise.Unfortunately experts claim that BMC and government offices themselves are yet to go for solar rooftops despite being obligated to do so and those who have already done it were not bothered promoting it amongst those visiting these offices.WHAT IS NET-METERING:Under net-metering, customers who generate their own electricity using solar power can send the unused or excess electricity generated by their solar plant, back into the grid of the energy supply provider and even get compensated for it. However the compensation is not directally monetary but the energy provider simply reduces the units of power send to the grid, which helps reduce the energy costs. Net-metering was approved by the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC) in 2016

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From helpline to WhatsApp number: Steps taken to help women in distress in Jammu and Kashmir

Waking up to the rising incidence of violence against women, Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women (SCW) has started one-stop-crisis-centre to help the women in distress at their doorsteps.SCW has started a helpline where the women can lodge a complaint over the phone and without walking into the office of the SCW. SCW has opened an exclusive phone line where women in distress can call or text or even WhatsApp to lodge a complaint. Officials of the SCW can immediately reach out to the women and help her to redress their grievances.“Please circulate this number among all for lodging complaint regarding any issue or problem any woman is facing at home or office..J&K state commission for women has kept this number exclusively for women to text, WhatsApp, message or give miss call. The commission will contact you soon”, tweeted Nayeema Ahmad Mehjoor, chairperson of SCW.Official figures reveal that the SCW has received 3000 complaints of domestic violence and harassment at the workplace in the last three to four years.Also readJammu and Kashmir women’s commission chief bats for introduction of Women’s Reservation Bill“People have no direct access. They have to come to our office and lodge complaint then we will see and call them. But the phone line gives them immediate and instant access to the commission. I am seeing since yesterday there are so many calls. I think people have problems particularly women. If this type of instant access is provided to them they will come and find a solution to their problems”, Mehjoor told DNA.The helpline will act as the one-stop crisis centre where SCW officials can seek help from police and other agencies to help the women in the distress. “We can help in many ways. If she needs the support of police we can call the concerned police station, If she needs health-related help we can call the health centre. If there is domestic violence, we can intervene and send our team. There are different channels working”, she said.Police figures reveal 2,920 cases of crime against women were reported in 2016. These include 805 cases of kidnapping, 275 cases of rape, 157 cases of eve-teasing and 1,233 cases of molestation in 2016.

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Outrage in Hisar as 5-yr-old Dalit raped, brutalised with stick, killed

A five-year-old Dalit girl was abducted, raped, brutalised with a wooden stick and killed in Haryana’s Hisar district, sparking outrage in the area, in a chilling reminder of Nirbhaya’s gang-rape and murder in Delhi five years ago.The mother said she, along with her daughter, went to sleep in her house at Uklana village, about 160 km from Delhi, on Friday night. When she woke up on the next morning, the child was not there, she said. She searched for her in the neighbourhood. Later the body was found in the village.Forensics and sniffer dog squads visited the crime scene. Rape will be confirmed only after the post-mortem report is in, the police said. “It prima facie looks like a case of sexual assault,” Hisar DSP Jitender Kumar, however, said.Autopsy said that the stick had perforated her uterus and intestines. The parents, who work as labourers, agreed to cremate the body on Sunday after the police promised to arrest the accused within 48 hours.”She had been brutalised with a wooden stick. There was blood everywhere… blood was coming out of her mouth, too,” the victim’s uncle said. An FIR has been filed and a Special Investigation Team formed for a thorough investigation. Raids are being conducted to nab the accused.The police are rounding up local criminals, drug addicts and history-sheeters.The horrifying crime comes a week ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Nirbhaya case, a watershed moment for India’s approach to sexual crimes, which had sparked widespread protests and drew international attention to violence against women.As Opposition parties and locals protested in the area, the administration announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, a BPL card, a house and jobs for two family members of the victim.The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) condemned the crime and said that it was coordinating with the state police to arrest the culprits.For the third year in a row, Haryana has recorded the highest rate of gang-rape per one lakh population in the country, according to the recent report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of 2016.

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Minor actor molestation: NCW issues notice to Air Vistara; DCW seeks full report of incident

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Sunday condemned the alleged on board harassment of and took suo moto cognisance of the matter.Speaking to ANI, the acting chairperson of NCW, Rekha Sharma, said, “Air Vistara hasn’t sensitised their crew to take action against men torturing women on flight. I am taking suo moto cognisance of this and giving a notice to Air Vistara.””I would like to ask Air Vistara if they have zero tolerance towards such behaviour, why they have not named this person till now. Naming them is very important. We would like to tell the victim that we are there to help her out in any way we can,” she added.She also said, “I just saw the video on Instagram and my heart goes out to her. I am really horrified the way this incident happened and after that the crew didn’t help this girl. That was very shocking.”Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), also condemned the incident.”The flight was from Delhi to Mumbai, this is subjected to our jurisdiction. We have even issued a notice to Air Vistara and asked for details of that man,” said Maliwal.The DCW had also written to Air Vistaara seeking details of the incident. The women commission had asked the flight authorities to submit the following information by December 16:a. Were the crew members of Vistaara aware of the molestation incident with the minor actor during her flight? If yes, please inform the action taken by them in the matter along with details of the help and support provided to the girl.b. List of authorities to whom the matter was reported by Vistaara Airlines along with date and time of reporting.c. Whether CCTVs were installed in the flight? If yes, please provide the footage of the entire flight journey.d. Details of SOPs followed by Vistaara airlines for dealing with matters of sexual harassment on flight.e. Whether any case of molestation has occurred on Vistaara flight in India in the past one year? If yes, please provide details of the same and action taken by Vistaara in the matter.f. Copies of guidelines (if any) issued by Ministry of Aviation, GOI regarding dealing with sexual harassment cases on flight.The incident came to light when the actor shared the ordeal she had to go through en route Mumbai in the flight in an Instagram story.She said she had called out to the cabin crew for help but it was of no use.In the video, she can be seen fighting her tears and saying, “This is not done, I am disturbed. Is this how you’re going to take care of girls?”The Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have also sought details from Air Vistara over the incident. Taking note of the incident, the airline have ordered a detailed investigation into the incident.In a statement, the airline also apologised, adding the minor actress started yelling at the accused passenger only during the descent of the flight, due to which the cabin crew couldn’t move because it’s mandatory to have no movement during the final phase of the flight as seat belts are on.

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Maharashtra RERA trashes home buyer’s complaint over ‘forum shopping’, says can’t ‘ride two horses’

A home buyer cannot do a forum shopping in regards to his complaint, he has to choose between MahaRERA or the the consumer forum.The MahaRERA held this view while dismissing a complaint of a home buyer who had filed a complaint at MahaRERA and also at consumer disputes redressal commission.The complainant a home buyer Deepak Tejwani, had filed a complaint with Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority, contending therein that he had booked a flat no. 506 in C-2, Siddhi project of the developer situated at Shahad, Kalyan.It is the grievance of the complainant that the developer Anil Chabria has not executed the agreement for sale of the said flat and register it. The respondent has also failed to inform him about the status of the construction.The developer then brought to the notice of MahaRERA, that the home buyer had filed CC no. 870 of 2017 before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra State, Mumbai on 14.06.2017 in respect of same flat against the developer and one of the prayers of the said complaint is also regarding the execution and registration of the agreement for sale.”The complainant wants to ride on two horses at a time which is not permissible in view of Section 71 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016. The complainant is at liberty to proceed with only one case, either the case before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or MahaRERA.”When the complainant has been asked to choose one, he submits that if MahaRERA grants his relief in this complaint then he shall withdraw the complaint filed before the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. I find that the complainant cannot do a forum shopping, hence, this complaint is dismissed,” read the order passed by MahaRERA member BD Kapadnis.

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Centre may amend act to give seat to judiciary

The Centre on Friday submitted that it might look into the possibility of amending the Finance Act to include a nominee for the Chief Justice of India on the selection and disciplinary committee for administrative members in the tribunals.According to the provisions of the Finance Act, 2017 that was passed earlier this year, the judiciary will no longer play a role in the selection of chairpersons on tribunals that are largely made up of retired judges from the higher judiciary.The act, which the Lok Sabha passed as a money bill, scrapped eight of the 19 tribunals and merged the rest with existing ones.Attorney General KK Venugopal made this submission when the Supreme Court expressed its concern over the rising vacancies in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).Venugopal added that the Centre was also willing to look into suggestions made by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on fixing the tenure of judicial members of a tribunal for five years.The apex court bench that also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud advised the Centre to consider, as a temporary measure, extending the tenure of judicial members of CAT and National Consumer Commission for the next three months.To this, Venugopal responded that he would seek instructions on the suggestion and reply by December 11.The top court was hearing a batch of pleas that challenged the constitutional validity of the Finance Act, specifically pertaining to the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (qualifications, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017’.Senior advocate PS Patwalia submitted that the NCDRC and the CAT, which were already functioning with depleted strength, would be further weakened when members retired by the end of January, 2018.The Court went on to record the same before ordering, “In view of the nature of function of the tribunals, we enquired from the learned Attorney General whether it will be in the fitness of things to allow the adjudicator who are continuing in these two tribunals for a period of three months so that things can be brought under control. Learned Attorney General prays for time till 11th December, 2017, to obtain instruction for the said purpose. Be it noted, our suggestion is only in respect of NCDRC and CAT and nothing more.”

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Hardik Patel booked by Surat Police on direction of EC after his rally breaches conditions

On Friday, Patidar leader was booked, on direction of Election Commission, by the Sarthana police under sections 36, sections 134 and 72(2) for breach of conditions under which his Jankranti Maharally was granted permission.Earlier in the day, Hardik Patel had mocked the BJP for not releasing its manifesto, which was recently released. He had posted a tweet in Hindi claiming the BJP was so busy ‘making’ sex CDs that it forgot to formulate and release the manifesto.Three days ahead of the first phase of voting for Gujarat state elections, five more videos of a Hardik lookalike had gone viral.Also readMore Hardik Patel videos surfaceThese videos have come at a time when Hardik is drawing huge crowds in Saurashtra and Surat and could upset the BJP’s apple-cart, which is aiming over 150 seats in the 182-seat Legislative Assembly. Hardik has allied with the Congress, after the latter proposed a formula to give Patidars reservation in education and jobs. The alliance has changed the course of the campaign in what previously considered to be a landslide victory for the BJP.Also readHardik Patel case: NCW team to meet aggrieved girlYoung Patidars, including women, have been rallying behind Hardik, who has taken the BJP government in the state head on.PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhaniya said the videos are a “conspiracy of the BJP” to discredit Hardik. Similar videos were released on YouTube, but were later pulled down. At the time, Hardik had denied he was in the video.Also readGujarat Elections 2017 | Patidar youth rally behind Hardik Patel, seniors still with BJPPatel has been campaigning across the State but mostly in Patidar-dominated pockets to create an anti-BJP atmosphere before the voting. Earlier, he had told the press that the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had accepted the quota formula prepared by the Congress, which intends to give quota to the Patidars after it is voted to power.The first phase of the Gujarat election is tomorrow and the second phase on December 14. The results will be announced on December 18.With inputs from agencies

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DU college accused of bias in top post selection

Faculty members of Delhi University’s Deshbandhu College have written to the Vice Chancellor over the discrepancies in the appointment for the post of Principal. The applicants have requested the V-C to look into the matter.According to the complainants, the names of 18 candidates have been “arbitrarily” removed from the list of qualified people released on Monday, despite having more than the required API (Academic Performance Indicator) score.”My name was there in the list of applicants released after a scrutiny on September 10 and my API score was also mentioned in that list. However, the recent list does not have my name but the names of candidates having lesser API than mine,” said an associate professor at Deshbandhu, College who wished to remain anonymous.As per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines for recruitment on a principal’s post, the candidate needs to be an associated professor or professor with a PhD and 15 years of teaching experience. The candidate should also have minimum 400 API score and published research papers/books.Alleging that the college’s Governing Body, that looks after the entire selection process, has followed “arbitrary” guidelines in violation of the UGC’s norm, another candidate alleged, “There is immense favouritism in the selection process for the top post at Deshbandhu College. Even after having above 1,300 API score, which is much more than the minimum required criteria, my name has been removed from the final list.””We have recently written to the Vice Chancellor and requested him to look into the matter,” he said.
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Gujarat elections 2017: Election Commission says keep strict vigil on flow of liquor

The Election Commission (EC) has announced ‘dry day’ in Gujarat from 5 pm on Thursday to midnight of December 9, till first phase of polls are over. The dry day will also be implemented in two union territories and the border districts of three states neighbouring Gujarat.The dry day will be implemented from 5 pm on December 12 to midnight of December 14 ending the second phase of polls, and on December 18, the day of results.Mohan Jha, Additional Director General of Police (administration), said, “The dry day will be implemented across Gujarat and licensed liquor shops will remain closed on these days. We have issued a notification for the same aiming at a free and fair poll procedure so that voters can exercise their franchise without any fear.”“We have seized liquor worth Rs 40 crore so far,” Jha added.Around 12 lakh first-time voters and 90,000 Divyang voters have been registered in the electoral role. The EC has raised 24,689 polling stations across all polling areas. As many as 1.11 lakh male, 1.01 lakh female and 247 transgender voters will cast their votes on December 9.Chief Electoral Officer in Gujarat BB Swain said: “The EC has distributed voter slips to almost 95% of the total registered voters. When they carry this slip no other document will be required to prove their identity. Special arrangements have been made for Divyang and senior citizen voters for the polling process so that they do not face any difficulty while voting.”“The EC also ran an exercise to sensitise voters for fair voting. Our returning officers have got the petition signed by voters in which they agree to follow the fair practices of voting. The commission has also sent 93 lakh bulk messages to voters on their registered mobile numbers for the same,” added Swain.DIVYANG VOTERSAround 12 lakh first-time voters and 90,000 Divyang voters have been registered in the electoral role. The EC has set up 24,689 polling stations across all polling areas
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Gujarat Elections 2017: Population of topi and dadhiwalas need to be reduced, says Dabhoi BJP candidate

BJP contestant from Dabhoi Assembly seat in Gujarat, Shailesh Sotta today courted controversy by allegedly saying that the population of “topi and dadhiwalas”, an apparent reference to Muslims, should be “reduced”.He also said that he came to Dabhoi to “instill fear” and that if sporadic communal clashes were not stopped a “befitting reply” would be given. “If any ‘topi, daadhiwala’ (anybody wearing a cap and sporting beard) is sitting here (in the crowd), then pardon me, but there is a need to reduce their population. Many leaders asked me not to say this, as it may go against me, but if 90 per cent of people are supporting me, then why shall I stop speaking about the 10 per cent people?” Sotta purportedly said at what appeared to be a small gathering in Dabhoi town in Vadodara district.The video of the speech he made in Gujarati has gone viral.”(They say) don’t talk about the community in which you are born (Hindu), and if you want to talk about that (the community), then don’t contest election. But I will fight election for the religion in which I am born,” Sotta purportedly said. Sotta, a Vadodara councillor who is contesting Assembly polls for the first time, said they (Muslims) will have to stop sporadic clashes (communal incidents) or they will get ‘eent ka jawab pathhar se (tit for tat response). Dabhoi is going to polls in the second phase on December 14.Also readPeople see through this game: Arun Jaitley on Mani Shankar Aiyar’s suspension from Congress”There was a meeting of a peace committee in which a ‘tadipaar’ (externed criminal) said that he is scared of the BJP candidate (Sotta). There is nothing wrong in this,” he said. He said he came to Dabhoi to “scare people” and not the other way round. “I came here to scare people. I am here not to get frightened, but to make others frightened. And if anti-social elements remain scared, then it is required for this place,” he said. He is pitted against senior Congress leader Siddharth Patel. After Sotta’s video was aired by some news channels, Ahmedabad-based social worker Nishant Varma filed a complaint with the State Election Commission against Sotta over his “highly communal and instigating” comments against the Muslim community and for “violating the poll code”. “He (Sotta) is clearly heard saying that Muslim population must be reduced in the area, and that Muslims will face ‘eent ka jawab pathhar se’. He is saying all this to appease 90 per cent (Hindu) voters and not the rest 10 per cent,” Varma said in his complaint.Also readAfter ‘neech aadmi’ jibe at PM Modi, Mani Shankar Aiyar suspended from Congress “He (Sotta) is referring to Muslims as ‘topi and daadhiwala’ which is completely unacceptable and a clear violation of the model code of conduct as well as various provisions of the CrPC and IPC,” he said.
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RK Nagar Bypoll: 59 candidates in the fray for Jaya’s vacated seat

A fierce contest is on the cards for the December 21 RK Nagar bypoll with 59 candidates, including those of ruling AIADMK, DMK and BJP besides sidelined leader TTV Dhinakaran, left in the fray at close of withdrawal of nominations today.According to the final list posted on the website of the Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, a total of 72 nominations were accepted and out of it 13 nominees withdrew, leaving 59 candidates, including a woman, in the contest.Election authorities notifying free symbols for independents announced ‘pressure cooker’ symbol for Dhinakaran.Also readA year after Jayalalithaa’s death, AIADMK suffers without a strong leaderThe seat has fallen vacant due to the death of sitting member and then chief minister Jayalalithaa on December 5 last year.Out of the total 145 nomination papers received, as many as 73, including those of Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar and actor Vishal Krishna’s had been rejected.Also readBypoll in Jayalalithaa’s RK Nagar constituency on Dec 21, to test popularity of EPS govtThe first election to be held after the demise of the the AIADMK supremo, the bypoll is seen as a litmus test for the ruling party which is facing a barrage of opposition accusations including alleged corruption.The key contestants in the bypoll are ruling party’s E Madusudanan, an old party warhorse and a former Minister, and DMK’s up and coming leader N Marudhu Ganesh.Also readHope justice prevails: Actor Vishal to PM Modi after EC rejects nomination for RK Nagar bypollRival AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, touted as a formidable leader and having the following of party cadres by his camp, is fighting the bypoll as an independent.BJP’s Karu Nagararjan, a state-level functionary known for taking up the cudgels on behalf of his party in TV debates, is also seeking to test his fortunes.On the symbol for Dhinakaran, who has sought ‘hat’, Returning Officer K Velusamy told PTI earlier that “free symbol is being allotted.”Dhinkaran had unsuccessfully moved the Delhi High Court seeking allotment of the ‘hat’ symbol, which was given to him in the rescinded April 12 bypoll to the constituency as the then candidate of V K Sasikala led faction.Freezing the AIADMK’s “two leaves” symbol after then rebel leader and now deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam staked claim to it, the Election Commission had then alloted free symbols to the two groups.However, after the merger of factions led by chief minister K Palaniswami, which dumped Sasikala-Dhinakaran later, and Panneerselvam in August this year, the Election Commission alloted the ‘two leaves’ to them.Counting of votes will be held on December 24 and the result is expected in a matter of few hours on that day.R K Nagar has an electorate of 2,28,234 comprising 1,10,903 men, 1,17,232 women and 99 transgenders.Jayalalithaa was elected from the constituency in May 2016 general election to the state assembly.She had earlier also got elected from there in a bypoll.
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Gujarat elections 2017: 45% polling booths in Gujarat sensitive

Of the 50,128 polling booths across the state, more than 45 per cent of the polling stations have been identified as ‘sensitive’ or ‘vulnerable’— a 15 per cent rise when compared to the 2012 polls. The assessment was the result of the detailed reports submitted by the district authorities ahead of the hotly-anticipated state elections.Against the 44,500 polling stations in the 2012 elections, 30 per cent were identified as sensitive, while this time, the number is up to 45 per cent, even as the Gujarat government is facing pressure due to the ongoing agitation, sources said. Polls in Gujarat will be held in two phases — on December 9 and 14 — while the results will be announced on December 18.Sources in government said, “All the district authorities have submitted the details on sensitive or vulnerable polling stations, and out of around 50,000 booths, 23,500 booths have been categorised under the sensitive and vulnerable category. The categorisation further divides into very sensitive, sensitive and less sensitive booths, with the majority of them falling under the very sensitive booths category. If we look at the areas, very sensitive and vulnerable booths fall in the districts where the agitations by different communities like Patel, Thakor and Dalit was at their peak in the last few years.”Another source said, “The steep rivalry between two parties — BJP and Congress — along with the heavyweight candidates from both the parties fighting for the same seats has been a factor for the increase in the number of sensitive and vulnerable booths. The Election Commission has strictly directed to not reveal the details on sensitive or vulnerable booths in Gujarat polls so as no one can unduly benefit from the prevailing situation,” added the sources.The EC has also taken an extra precautionary measures of having procured additional security forces to be deployed to maintain the law and order situation.Sources from the EC said, “Besides local police forces, the CRPF and other paramilitary forces, and security forces from neighbouring states will be deployed to maintain the law and order condition in Gujarat polls.””There will be multi-level monitoring of all the booths, in which the sensitive booths will be monitored by the election commission directly through webcasting. The video recording, micro observers and security forces will act as other covers on the polling station to avoid any kind of consequences that affect the peaceful polling procedure,” added the sources.Chief Electoral Officer, BB Swain, said, “We are getting information from different district authorities and that is why there is no detail available on number of sensitive booths. The Election Commission is committed towards fair and free polls in Gujarat.”
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Minorities Commission forms committee over demands of minority status to Hindus in 8 states

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Wednesday formed a three-member Committee to study the matter regarding demands seeking minority status to Hindus in eight states where their population is less than 50%. On Sunday, the commission had sought the the Law Commission’s opinion on the issue.Last month, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court stating that Hindus in these eight states have been denied their basic rights. The petition filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), sought minority status for Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Lakshdweep, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.”According to the 2011 Census, Hindus are in monitory in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5 %), Mizoram (2.75 %), Nagaland (8.75 %), Meghalaya (11.53 %), J&K (28.44 %), Arunachal Pradesh (29 %), Manipur (31.39 %), and Punjab (38.40 %). “But, their minority rights are being siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily to the majority population because neither the Central nor the state governments have notified Hindus as a minority under Section 2 (c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act,” the petition stated.As per a 1993 notification by the Centre, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis were granted minority status in India, and Jains were added to the list in 2014.The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has called for the abolition of the minority status in the country altogether. “The Supreme Court has observed in a case pertaining to the status of Jains as minority that minoritism must be done away with. In India, we must have equal rights according to our Constitutional status as citizens. We warn the Minority Commission that nothing like this must happen, or we shall campaign for the commission to be scrapped. The Congress is trying to divide the Indian society once more,” VHP’s international joint general secretary Surendra Jain said last month. With agency inputs
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Will fight to save democracy, says Sharad Yadav after RS ouster

Reacting to his ouster from the Rajya Sabha, rebel Janata Dal United (JDU) leader Sharad Yadav on Tuesday said that it was a well planned conspiracy and he will continue to fight to save the democracy.Yadav was disqualified from the membership of the Rajya Sabha along with another rebel colleague Ali Anwar Ansari on Monday by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. The decision came nearly a fortnight after the Election Commission recognised the Nitish-led JDU faction as the real party and entitled it to use the reserved arrow symbol.Sticking to his defiance, Yadav said his removal from the Upper House of Parliament was the price he was paying for questioning the undemocratic style of his party’s functioning.Yadav was referring to party chief Nitish Kumar’s decision to break from the “grand alliance” with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress and join the BJP-led NDA.Yadav claimed the decision was taken unilaterally by Nitish when he refused to buckle under pressure and remained loyal to the principal of saving secularism, on which the Grand Alliance was formed.He said that breaking away from the Grand Alliance amounted to “betrayal” of the people in Bihar who voted it to power to keep the BJP away.Following Yadav’s open criticism of the alliance with BJP, the JDU decided to remove him as the parliamentary party leader.Thereafter he fought a critical battle with the JDU faction led by Nitish over the control of the party’s symbol in the Election Commission. After hearing both sides, the Commission recognised Nitish’s faction as the real JDU and gave it the symbol.SHOWN THE DOORYadav was disqualified from the membership of the Rajya Sabha along with another rebel colleague Ali Anwar Ansari on Monday by Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. The decision came nearly a fortnight after the EC recognised the Nitish-led JDU faction as the real party and entitled it to use the reserved arrow symbol.
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Uniform Civil Code not possible, says Law Commission Chairman

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is almost impossible to implement and personal laws cannot be scrapped as it will violate the constitution, Law Commission Chairman Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan said on Tuesday.“Personal laws can never be done away with as they have constitutional protection,” Justice Chauhan said according to a News18 report.“UCC is not possible. We will try to recommend religion-wise amendments in family laws. It would be the piecemeal way to suggest what are the changes required in Hindu law, Muslim law, Christian law, Parsi law, etc. We will target the problems of each religion and deal with them accordingly. We cannot take the whole UCC, as we cannot go outside the constitution,”Justice Chauhan said.Also readLaw Commission to go slow on report on uniform civil code; await SC verdict on triple talaqJustice Chauhan also said that all traditions and customs of the various sections are protected by the constitution so UCC is not possible to be implemented. Since personal laws are part of the constitution under Article 25, it cannot be scrapped. Justice Chauhan also said that the constitution already guarantees many exemptions to various sections of the society so UCC is “not a solution and there cannot be a composite act”.Also readTriple Talaq, Uniform Civil Code, and the way aheadEarlier, the Narendra Modi-govt had asked the Law Commission to examine the implementation of the ‘one law, one nation’ issue. The BJP has been pushing for the Uniform Civil Code and it has been a long standing electoral promise by them. The Uniform Civil Code has been one of the contentious issue ever since the triple talaq issue became a highly publicised debate.The UCC means implementation of one law on issues like marriage, divorce/separation and inheritance, which will be uniformly be applicable for all Indians irrespective of religion, caste, and community. The UCC is to ensure that the citizens are all governed by a single law. India being a diverse country consisting of various communities that have different personal laws based on many beliefs, the idea of UCC was to ensure implementation of one law irrespective of any section of the society.
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RK Nagar bypoll: Actor Vishal, Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar out of race as EC rejects their nomination

The Election Commission on Tuesday rejected the nominations of Tamil actor Vishal and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa Jayakumar for the RK Nagar by-election. Deepa’s nomination was rejected by the poll body after several discrepancies were found in her form, ANI reported. The nomination of Vishal was also rejected. No reason was given for the rejection of his papers. Vishal, the president of Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council, had filed his nomination as an independent candidate for R K Nagar Assembly in Chennai on Monday. “I want to be the people’s representative to do good for them and fulfill all their requests and wishes,” he said after filling his nomination.Also readJayalalithaa death anniversary: Scores of people pay tribute to their ‘Amma’The nominations for the bypoll in Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency, necessitated by the death of Jayalalithaa, who was the sitting MLA, last year began on November 27, with December 4 being the last date. Scrutiny of nominations is taking place on December 5 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations will be on December 7. Polling will take place on December 21 and counting of votes and declaration of results will take place on December 24. Also readRK Nagar bypoll: No interim relief from Madras HC to Dhinakaran faction for using ‘hat’ symbol Sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, who lost the battle for the party’s ‘two leaves’ symbol when the Election Commission awarded it to the camp led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam, has also filed his papers.AIADMK presidium chairman and party’s nominee E Madhusudhanan and DMK’s M Maruthuganesh have also filed their nominations with election officials here for the bypoll.
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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Enough done for VVPAT awareness: Gujarat High Court

Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected public interest litigation claiming enough awareness among voters about the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) has not been carried out by the Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer.Advocate KR Koshti had moved a PIL claiming VVPAT system has been introduced for the first time by the EC and people at large are little aware about VVPAT functioning. The petitioner contended that it can affect voting and transparency.The first division bench of Chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi after hearing the submission of the respondent observed that enough measures to create awareness have been carried out by the EC.Earlier, the court had asked the Chief Electoral Officer to file a reply. Commission advocate Sahil Shah and counsel Megha Jani submitted that enough awareness campaign was run by the commission.Even the block officers were visiting the voters for voter-list verification and also explaining about the VVPAT and electronic voting machine (EVM) system to them.EC advocates also submitted that even documentaries have been made and are being shown to public besides submission of leaflets. Taking EC’s submission, court rejected the petition.
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Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress releases manifesto five days ahead of polls

Abolition of contract system and fixed wages, pension for Dalit artists
Strict implementation of Reservation Policy, backlog to be filled
SIT for all Atrocity cases, stringent implemenation of Atrocity Act
Allocation of unutilised land to landless SC families

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JNU VC urges Centre to install Army tank on campus as ‘symbol of patriotism’
Former ISRO chief UR Rao, man behind India’s 1st satellite Aryabhatta, passes away
US biologists discover three new toad species

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–><!–end of breadcrumbx–>Gujarat Elections 2017 | Congress releases manifesto five days ahead of polls Bharatsinh Solanki
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<!–end of artlbotbor–><!–end of artlsocl–>Written Bydna Correspondent <!–end of artlbotbor–>Tuesday 5 December 2017 6:55 ISTMust readCyclone Ockhi: Schools to remain closed on Tuesday, Mumbai University and all its affiliated colleges to remain open Don’t know anyone by name of Shehzad Poonawalla: Tehseen disowns his own brother<!–end of artlmustredbx–><!–end of articllftpbx–>The Congress, out of power for 22 years, made a string of announcements in its election manifesto to woo youths, women, farmers and other sections of the society, on Monday. The party said that the manifesto, which was in the making for last seven months, represents popular demands of various sections. Here are a few highlights about what the manifesto contains:FarmersRemunerative MSP pricing Loan waiver 16-hour electricity during daytime Free water for irrigation, effective crop insurance YouthsRs32,000 crore finance for self employment schemes Unemployment allowance of up to Rs4,000 a month 200 sq mt plots with 0% down-payment and 5 years moratorium in GDIC for self employed Withdrawal of contractual, outsourcing and fixed salary structure, and filling of vacancies in govt WomenHouse for every woman from all communities One stop crisis centre in each district, 24-hour toll-free helpline 100% free education for girls from primary to higher education Loans to start small businesses StudentsScholarship for students from poor and middle class families for affordable and quality education Self-financed courses in govt/aided institutions to be converted into grant in-aid courses reducing fee burden by 80% All self-financed colleges / schools to be brought under Fee Regulation Act to make them affordable Free laptops / smartphones for high school / college students InflationPetrol, diesel prices to be brought down by up to Rs10 per litre by reducing taxes 50% reduction in property tax for small shopkeepers, service units in urban areas Up to 50% reduction in electricity rates Tariff of Rs2 per unit for households consuming up to 200 units of power in a month Women EmpowermentFree education from pre-primary to higher education, free bicycles Laptop/smartphone for those who get admission in higher education Increase in health budget, 24×7 PHC for pregnant women Housing for rural, landless women, hostels for working women Fast Track courts for serious offences, special women police officers Industry, Infra, FisheriesIndustries Policy in four months, Special ministry for trade Review of FDI to protect interest of small traders, Real Estate Promotion Plan, uninterrupted electricity Special plans for textile, IT, food sector, fisheries Electricity and ConsumerElectricity rates to be reduced upto 50%, tax cut for small industries, unorganised sector Fixed Rs 2 per unit upto 200 units for households Monthly bills to reduce bill amount in rural areas Minorities, Social WelfareFormation of Minorities Commission, implement Sachar Committee recommendations Schools upto Secondary level to be set up in Urdu, Marathi, Sindhi, Telugu medium Restart scholarships for minorities and EBCs Measures to stop communal fights GSTSimplify GST, reduce tax rates, job work to be exempted raise exemption limit to Rs 1.5 crore of annual turnover Peak rate to be capped at 18% Petrol, Diesel to be included Financial ManagementPetrol, Diesel prices to be reduced by reducing state taxes, as it contributes to inflation Workers with monthly income upto Rs 15,000 to be exempted from professional tax Commission to be formed to provide inputs for businesses at internationally competitive rates Correct development imbalance between agriculture, industry, services EBCBill to be introduced to provide reservation to EBC (Patidaar effect) Unprivileged sections to get benefit equivalent to OBCs Formation of EBC Commission for the deprived in upper castes Identify communities to be included in special category Citizen servicesMaking public transport cheaper, citizen friendly, reduce travel time Public bus stations for private operators as well Make PDS effective, Indira canteens with food for all at Rs 10 Plantation drive, community halls, foot overbridges Housing25 lakh houses in five years in urban, rural areas Rehabilitation of slums, subsidy based on income levels Land Reform Commission, land policy in six months Married son a separate family, special accommodation for widow Agri, Rural DevelopmentDebt write off for farmers, Talati to be delinked from Sarpanch meetings Advance MSP announcement, bonus for important food crops Narmada canal network to be completed, 16 hours of electricity supply Crop Insurance to be handled by govt agencies SC, STAbolition of contract system and fixed wages, pension for Dalit artists Strict implementation of Reservation Policy, backlog to be filled SIT for all Atrocity cases, stringent implemenation of Atrocity Act Allocation of unutilised land to landless SC families
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Babri mosque: The build-up to a demolition that shook India

Hindu mobs tore down the 16th Century Babri mosque in the holy city of Ayodhya on 6 December 1992.

RK Nagar bypoll: No interim relief from Madras HC to Dhinakaran faction for using ‘hat’ symbol

The Delhi High Court today declined to grant any interim relief to V K Sasikala-TTV Dhinakaran faction of the AIADMK by dismissing their plea to use the ‘hat’ symbol in the upcoming by-poll to the R K Nagar assembly constituency.While dismissing the interim application of Sasikala and Dhinakaran for allotment of the ‘hat’ symbol, Justice Indermeet Kaur directed the Returning Officer (RO) to give a finding on their plea, independent of the poll panel’s November 23 order. The Election Commission of India by its November 23 order had allotted the ‘two leaves’ symbol to the faction of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam and set aside its own interim order granting ‘hat’ symbol to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group.During arguments, the court was of the view that the RO may not take a decision which went against the EC’s November 23 order. The court had reserved its order after hearing arguments on behalf of the EC and the two factions of the AIADMK. Towards the fag end of the arguments, the poll panel told the court that its RO can be directed to take a decision independent of the EC order.Subsequently, the court said in its order, “interim application dismissed. This court is not inclined to grant any interim relief.Also readWill win RK Nagar bypoll and take back ‘two leaves’ symbol: TTV Dhinakaran”The RO, however, is directed to return a finding on the petitioners’ application for nomination along with their application seeking grant of ‘hat’ independently, dehors any observations made by EC in terms of its order of November 23,” the court said in its interim order. The court also issued notice to the Election Commission of India, O Panneerselvam, Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami seeking their replies to Sasikala and Dhinakaran’s pleas challenging the poll panel’s November 23 order allotting the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to the Panneerselvam-Palaniswami faction.It sought the response of Madhusudhanan, AIADMK’s candidate for the December 21 by-poll and MLA Semmalai, who are also respondents in the pleas by Sasikala and Dhinakaran.The main petition will be heard on February 12, the court said. During arguments, the poll panel, Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and others opposed the grant of ‘hat’ symbol to Sasikala-Dhinakaran group by the court, saying the RO alone had the power to do so.Also readPoes Garden raids ‘betrayal to Amma’s soul,’ an attempt to destroy our family, alleges TTV Dhinakaran They said if the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group do not get the ‘hat’ symbol, then some other free symbol could be granted to them by the RO. The court did not appear to agree with the contentions, saying the RO being subordinate to the poll panel, will not go against the EC’s November 23 order by which the grant of ‘hat’ symbol to Sasikala-Dhinakaran group was set aside. It expressed the view that if the ‘hat’ symbol was not granted to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group, then the other side may “win by default”.”Elections have to be free and fair. You (Panneerselvam- Palaniswami) should not get a vote by default,” it said. The hat symbol was given to the Sasikala-Dhinakaran group by the EC in March this year when it had frozen the use of the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to which the group led by Palaniswami and Panneerselvam had also laid claim. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction had at the same time been granted the ‘electric pole’ symbol.However, on November 23, the poll panel had ruled in favour of Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction by allotting the ‘two-leaves’ symbol to them for the upcoming by-poll. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam group and the poll panel argued that ‘hat’ was a free symbol and cannot be reserved for an individual or independent candidate.The EC told the court that after its November 23 order, Sasikala and Dhinakaran were not part of any group but were independent candidates. The Sasikala-Dhinakaran group, on the other hand, claimed that in March this year, they were allotted the ‘hat’ symbol by the EC and since then they have been campaigning under it. They said that not granting the ‘hat’ symbol would prejudice their chances in the by-poll as the people of R K Nagar constituency associate them with the ‘hat’.Sasikala and Dhinakaran have in their pleas sought the quashing of the EC’s November 23 order, alleging it was bad in law and needed to be set aside. The issue has been lingering since April in the aftermath of the announcement of by-poll to Radha Krishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu following the death of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December last year. Sasikala and Dhinakaran’s pleas have sought directions for initiating appropriate proceedings against Madhusudhanan, Palaniswami, Panneerselvam and Semmalai for their acts. They have also sought calling of records and files relating to the dispute over the symbol.”The decision-making process of the ECI is contrary to the settled legal principles. The EC has treated fabricated and untested material as genuine which has resulted in the hearing being unfair and consequently contrary to the principle of natural justice and therefore the proceedings and the order are void,” the pleas have alleged. The order of the Commission came as a setback to deposed party leader Sasikala, who is currently serving a four-year sentence in a Bengaluru jail in a disproportionate assets case, and her nephew Dhinakaran.Earlier, rival factions led by Sasikala and Panneerselvam had staked claim over the symbol. Palaniswami was then in the Sasikala camp. Later, a large number of legislators led by Palaniswami revolted against Sasikala and announced the merger of the two factions. The Palaniswami-Panneerselvam camp then submitted affidavits before the EC staking claim over the party name and symbol, which was contested by the Sasikala-Dhinakaran faction.
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Mother of Indian engineer, who sneaked into Pakistan to meet a girl, appeals for clemency

The mother of an Indian engineer, who was sentenced after he sneaked into Pakistan from Afghanistan to meet a girl he had befriended on the internet, has appealed to President Mamnoon Hussain to remit the remaining period of her son’s prison term.In a letter to Hussain, the mother of Hamid Ansari said: “Mohtaram Sadar – your government has shown clemency to foreign nationals who have committed far graver offences than Hamid Ansari.”The country’s credit for listening to humanitarian calls will go up and the chances of relief for Pakistani citizens in Indian prisons might improve if you could remit the remaining period of Hamid’s prison term.”She said the period of Ansari’s detention (three years) before conviction may be counted as sentence served, that he may he be released on humanitarian grounds, and that he and that he may be allowed to talk to his family on the phone.The Indian national was tried in a military court and was awarded three years’ vigorous imprisonment that started from December 15, 2015 and will end on December 14 next year.Ansari, a Mumbai resident, suffered injuries after he was attacked by inmates in the Peshawar Central prison last year.According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Ansari, an assistant professor at an Indian management institute, became friendly with a girl belonging to Kohat (in Kyber Pakhtaunkhawa province of Pakistan) through Facebook.”When she feared the denial of her rights, he decided to come to her rescue. He could not get a Pakistan visa but was able to fly to Afghanistan and enter Pakistan, though without valid papers. He was arrested from a hotel in Kohat on November 14, 2012.”Thus, for five years he has been in the custody of the Pakistani authorities. Charged with espionage and not with illegal entry into Pakistan, he was sentenced to three years? imprisonment by a military court,” says known rights activist I A Rehman.”There is no doubt that Hamid Ansari committed an offence but his motives, love or a desire to help a woman in distress, are strong mitigating circumstances. He has already suffered enough for his naivete,” he said and demanded his immediate release.On the other hand, a Pakistani woman journalist who was allegedly kidnapped while pursuing the case of Ansari two years ago, has gone missing again two months after her return.President of the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances Justice (retd.) Javed Iqbal had said Shahzadi had been recovered from an area on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border on Thursday night.”Non-state actors and anti-state agencies had abducted her and she has been recovered from their custody,” Iqbal said.Rehman said Shahzadi has gone missing again. “Missing of Shahzadi two months after her return from two-year captivity is alarming.”He says Shahzadi, a young and poor journalist without any clout, had dreams of helping her fellow human beings.”When she learnt that an Indian named Hamid Ansari was in trouble for trying to help a Pakistani girl, she thought this was a case that could help her establish herself as a bold human rights defender and a skilful journalist.”She persuaded Ansari’s mother to grant her authority/ permission to pursue the matter before the Peshawar High Court. She also met the Indian high commissioner at a public meeting, probably to seek his help in the case,” he said.The 26-year-old local reporter of Daily Nai Khaber and Metro News TV channel had gone missing on August 19, 2015, when some unknown men allegedly kidnapped her while she was en route to her office in an auto-rickshaw from her home in a populated locality of Lahore.On her return in this October she was not allowed to speak to anyone. Later, her family reported she has gone missing again.
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Law on EVs must change

The Electricity Act 2003 needs to be amended before electric vehicles can be manufactured in large scale. This is what the transport, power experts and incumbent and former government officials were of the view at a closed door meeting held on December 1 in Mumbai. The need has arose as the existing charging stations meant for electric vehicles (EVs) are levying around Rs 14 per unit which these experts feel that it should ideally be Rs 6-7 per unit. This comes at a time when air pollution has become a big issue — Delhi is the perfect example of what air pollution has done to the city. Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) has introduced four electric buses which are operational in its fleet since November 11. On Friday, a closed door meeting to study the future of EVs took place at Ruia College in Matunga. “There is a need to create a new slab in the tariff structure especially for charging EVs. At present commercial rates are being charged, which is proving costly. The rates can easily be around Rs 6-7 per unit. For this amendment in the Electricity Act is needed and being thought about,” said V Sonavane, former Member, Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission.
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Court summons DCP after arms dealers accuse cops of framing

Raising suspicion over the arrest of two alleged arms distributors, whom a team of Delhi Police arrested from east Delhi last year, a Delhi court has asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police, East, to be present in the court on the date of the next hearing with a status report.The directions were given by the Metropolitan Magistrate Mahima Rai on November 30, after the court termed the report submitted by the Investigating Officer (IO) as “highly unsatisfactory”.”The said report (status report) is highly unsatisfactory in nature and is silent on the main complaint filed by the complainant,” the court said, adding that it is necessary that DCP concerned be present in person with a reply to the complaint.The arrested duo — Mursalin Malik and Asif — who claim to have been running a scrap shop in Old Seelampur, were arrested in November 2016. Police had registered two FIRs against them, one under various sections of the Arms Act and the other under Section 379 (Punishment for theft) and 411 (Dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).The court’s direction came following Malik’s complaint under 156 (3) of the CrPC after police refused to lodge a complaint against the police officers.According to the complaint filed by the duo in the court, they had been falsely implicated by the police officers. They claimed that on November 7, 2016, five to six people in civil dress, who claimed that they were officials of the Special Staff of the police station in Anand Vihar, arrested them without any “just and sufficient reason.”Following this, the duo were granted bail on production of CCTV footage which showed the officers coming to the shop and making the arrest. Malik’s brother, Mehraj made a complaint to the Commissioner of police and National Human Rights Commission but no action was taken.The police, however, in their complaint had stated that Mursalin and Asif were apprehended at Purana Seelampur Ganda Nala with a motorcycle, a country made pistol and one live cartridge following a tip-off.After the complaint by the accused, the court had called for a status report from the IO. However, when the report was submitted the court said that “it was silent on the main complaint and there was no mention about the CCTV footage provided by the complainant”.The court has fixed the next date of hearing for December 19.
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Secret file that could unravel mystery of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s death ‘closed’ for 100 years: Report

Even after seven decades, the ‘mystery’ surrounding the death of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose refuses to die.Now, a noted French historian has claimed that the a secret file that could have solved the mystery has been ‘closed for 100 years’.According to a Times of India report, historian JBP More tried to access the said file at the French National Archives. However, the authorities denied him the access and said that the file has been ‘closed for 100 years’.’The letter of the French authorities not to allow me to consult a lone file pertaining to the INA and Bose in Saigon has come as a great surprise to me. This goes to affirm my conviction that Bose’s life ended in Saigon sometime in September 1945. That is why this file has been classified as out of reach for consultation for 100 years,’ More was quoted as saying by the Times of India.The historian, who teaches at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Commerciales, Paris, also said that India must now approach the French authorities for the secret file.Also readWas Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose India’s first Prime Minister? Family says soEarlier in July, More had claimed that Netaji didn’t die in 1945 Taipei crash. He had based his findings on a French secret report.”It is not stated in the document that Subhas Chandra Bose died in the air crash in Taiwan. Instead, it is reported that Bose’s present whereabouts were unknown as late as December 1947, which again implies that the French did not buy the theory that Bose died in the air-crash on August 18, 1945,” More had said at that time.Also readInstead of imposing, inspire youth to adopt Vande Mataram: Netaji’s grandnephew CK BoseIndia, however, has maintained that the Azad Hind Fauj founder died in 1945.The Indian government had appointed three commissions to determine the cause of Bose’s death. The Shah Nawaz Committee (1956) and Khosla Commission (1970) said that Bose died in an air crash on August 18, 1945 at Taihoku airport in Japanese-occupied Taipei, while the Mukherjee Commission (1999) concluded that he did not die in an air-crash. The government, however, rejected the findings of the Mukherjee Commission.
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Three Pakistani nationals will be given medical visa: Sushma Swaraj

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said three Pakistani nationals, including a nine-year-old girl, would be given visa for their medical treatment in India.Responding to a request by Danish Memon for a visa to his nine-year-old daughter Maria for treatment of thalassemia here last night, she asked the Indian High Commission in Islamabad to issue the travel document immediately.”Maria Danish – I am asking Indian High Commission in Pakistan to issue your visa immediately,” Swaraj tweeted.Replying to another request by one Mariam Asim for medical visa for her father, she said India would issue the visa.”Pls contact Indian High Commission in Pakistan with your papers. We will issue the visa,” Swaraj tweeted.The external affairs minister also assured another Pakistani woman, Fariha Usman, of granting visa after she requested her for it.Pakistan earlier accused India of “politicising” humanitarian issues.On Thursday, Pakistan had accused India of selectively issuing medical visa to its citizens and that it was not a gesture of compassion but “cold blooded politicking”.

Trai net neutrality recommendations today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the net neutrality issue in the US gains momentum with telecom regulator Federal Communications Commission (FCC) taking back the 2015 net neutrality rules, Indian telecom regulator TRAI said that it will issue recommendations on the matter on Tuesday.Speaking at an open house to discuss in-flight connectivity, TRAI chairman RS Sharma said, “We will issue recommendations on net neutrality tomorrow.” Sharma was however, quick to add that the developments in the US will not affect India.The net neutrality recommendations will try to resolve issues surrounding the over-the-top (OTT) players and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) calls, said Sharma. OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber, etc., have been under attack from telecom operators who want them to come under the ambit of regularisation as they have eaten into their profits. Internet service providers have, however, opposed this demand.As per the principle of net neutrality, no platform should offer discriminatory services. This means that any service, which is found on a particular platform for a certain price, should not be available for free in another.India has been in the midst of the net neutrality debate in 2015, with protests from pro-neutrality supporters ensuring that discriminatory services such as Facebook’s Internet.org, Free Basics and Airtel Zero were not allowed to continue in India. Campaigners from across the country collected millions of signatures to pledge their support for net neutrality. IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had, at that point of time, pledged his support for a non-discriminatory internet.Last week, while speaking at the Global Conference on Cybersecurity, Prasad reiterated his view. He said that the right to access to the internet was “non-negotiable”, and that no single body will have any monopoly over internet services.Pro equalityIndia has been in the midst of this debate with protests from pro-neutrality supporters ensuring that discriminatory services were not allowed to continue in the country

NK Singh will head Finance Commission

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The central government appointed former expenditure and revenue secretary NK Singh as head of the 15th Finance Commission and former secretary of department of economic affairs Shaktikanta Das as India’s G20 Sherpa till December 2018 on Monday. Normally, the deputy chairperson of erstwhile Planning Commission represents the country at the G20 Summit. Das has also been appointed as a member of the Finance Commission to work with Singh.In a notification issued on Monday, the government said Singh, as head of the Finance Commission, will decide on the devolution of tax revenue between the Centre and the state governments. Other members will include Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Anoop Singh, Non-Executive Chairman at Bandhan Bank Ashok Lahiri and Niti Aayog Member Ramesh Chand. Arvind Mehta will be the Secretary to the commission. The Commission is set up every five years and reviews finances, deficit and debt levels of the Centre and the states.The panel also suggests devolution of taxes between the states and the Centre.The government has already set aside an amount of Rs 10 crore in the current financial year for the constitution of the Finance Commission. The 14th Finance Commission was set up on January 2, 2013. Its recommendations covered the period from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2020. “Normally, it takes two years for the Finance Commission to give its recommendations,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said after the Union Cabinet approved setting of the Commission on November 22. He said the 15th Finance Commission recommendation will be applicable by 2020.NK Singh was also a member of the Planning Commission as well as Secretary to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was also elected to the Rajya Sabha as the member of JD(U) in 2008, but he quit the party and joined the BJP in the run up to 2014 Lok Sabha elections when JD(U) decided to contest separately.Earlier, he headed a committee to suggest a future fiscal roadmap by reviewing the fiscal discipline rules. He had recommended enacting a new Debt and Fiscal Responsibility Act after repealing the existing Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act, and creating a fiscal council.As per Article 280(1) of the Constitution, the government is obligated to form the Finance Commission after every five years, or at an earlier time as the President deems necessary. The Commission is required to make recommendations on distribution of the net proceeds of taxes between the Centre and the states. The recommendations by the newly formed 15th Finance Commission are supposed to be in place before April 1, 2020.The 15th Finance Commission will also have to factor in the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which was rolled out earlier this year on July 1, on the resources of the central as well state governments when it furnishes its recommendations for allocating tax resources.

Govt plans to protect kids from sex abuse

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of growing incidents of sexual abuse against children in schools, the Union HRD Ministry has started work on a preventive strategy.It is part of an action plan discussed at a high-level meeting of various stakeholders, including officials from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Officials are in talks with NGOs and groups that work on children’s issues to work on the strategy.Officials plan to counsel children beyond the good touch, bad touch lessons. “Most schools already have counsellors, but children are not comfortable sharing their problems with them. Therefore we are also going to increase the role of parent-teacher associations,” said a senior official.Among the major initiatives discussed earlier by the high-level committee are establishing POCSO booths in each school equipped with the Childline helpline number (1098). A child can lodge complaints of any deviant sexual activity or any form of sexual harassment.CHILDREN’S SAFETYOfficials plan to counsel children beyond the good touch, bad touch lessons
Establishing POCSO booths in each school

Delhi police employ less than 4% minority members: Report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Despite having a strength of around 80,000 personnel, the Delhi Police employs less than four per cent of members from minority communities in its ranks, according to a report by the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC).The annual report, released by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday, also shows that Muslims, the largest minority group in Delhi, form less than two per cent of the police force in the Capital.The report said the force has 1,388 Muslim personnel and 697 Christian personnel. It added that the Delhi Police employs just 856 Sikh personnel. “The Delhi Police has 1.79 per cent personnel from the Muslim community. In total, it has 3,035 personnel from minority communities who form 3.91 per cent of the total strength of the force,” the commission said in its report.In the report, the DMC has identified twelve departments and corporations of which members of the minority communities are a part. Apart from the police, the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) has a total of 26 members from minority communities which is the lowest among 12 departments and corporations.The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) employs 283 members from minority communities. However, the Directorate of Training tops the list at 13.33 per cent, followed by the Public Grievance Commission at 7.69 per cent and the Directorate General of Home Guards at 5.22 per cent.The report further flagged the scarcity of graveyards and cemeteries in the city due to the lack of availability of land. As per the report, at present, there are just 131 graveyards while at one point of time there were over 650 graveyards.With an increase in population, the problem has increased with graveyards being overtaken by buildings and other structures.According to the Census 2011, the Muslim Population in Delhi is 21,58,684, while the Christian population is 1,46,093.

Fortis and Medanta: 2 cases that show India’s crumbling private healthcare system

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shock and anger swept the country on Monday when it emerged that the parents of seven-year-old girl Adya, who died of dengue at Gurugram’s Fortis hospital, were billed Rs 16 lakh for 15 days of treatment. The bill also included the costs of over a thousand gloves and 660 syringes. The father alleged that the hospital even refused an ambulance after her death, and went on to charge for the gown on her body. As the media flashed images of the cherubic child, the family also alleged that it was made to purchase the costliest brands of medicines.As the Central government was writing to states on Thursday to warn them of action for such cases, reports poured in that Gurugram’s Medanta Hospital billed an insurance agent Rs 15.88 lakh for his seven-year-old son’s 22-day dengue treatment. The father said he mortgaged his house to pay the bill but did not have money for further treatment. He shifted his son, Saurya Pratap, to the Central government’s Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital in Delhi where the child died on Wednesday.The two cases have brought the spotlight back to private hospitals who milk families in a country where millions continue to grapple with a crumbling and corrupt public healthcare system. As if losing a loved one is not enough, every item — even hand sanitisers, hair oil or wet wipes — is charged most exorbitantly by private hospitals.A 14-year fightOctogenarian BR Saini recounts his 14-year struggle to seek justice for his eldest son, who died due to the alleged medical negligence of Lions Hospital & Research Centre in South Delhi’s New Friends Colony. On November 19, 2001, Trilok Nath (37) was admitted to the hospital. He had been complaining of a headache for five months and had vomiting bouts 10 days prior to the admission. He had been brought from state-run GB Pant Hospital. A former Pant surgeon was heading the neurosurgery at Lions. A brain surgery was conducted on November 20. Trilok’s condition worsened. He became drowsy, and slipped into a coma. Five days later, he died.A resident of West Delhi’s Najafgarh, Saini had been billed approximately Rs 1 lakh. He had no insurance cover. Dr Brahm Prakash, who performed the operation, was insured for professional risks — if a botch up is proved, the insurance agency will pay for the doctor. And records show that the hospital had botched up the case.An expert medical opinion was sought from RML Hospital, which said, “The surgery was uneventful. The patient was conscious and oriented, and obeyed verbal commands in the immediate post-op period. Vitals were normal. However, in the evening, the patient became drowsy. At the first sign of deterioration, an immediate NCCT (Non-Contrast Computerised Tomography) of the head should have been done for an appropriate management, which was not done in this case.”Saini moved the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2003. He spent thousands of rupees and made numerous visits to the Commission. In 2017, the Commission asked the hospital to pay Rs 24,56,000. The judgement says, the hospital conducted neurosurgery without CT scan/NCCT facilities. In response to an RTI application filed by Saini, RML Hospital confirmed, “A neurosurgical centre should have all the required facilities, including CT scan, for diagnosing as well as follow-up.””The hospital has now moved the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. A fresh battle has started. I am not sure if I will live to see justice,” rues Saini, a former Central government employee, who has submerged himself in papers despite his poor health.’What EWS quota? Pay Rs 10 lakh’While Saini has been fighting a losing battle, the healthcare scene in India is plummeting. “National Sample Survey findings show a decline in the share of public hospitals treating patients,” says Denny John, a Delhi-based health economist. In India, 64.21 per cent of patients end up paying through their nose at private facilities because government systems fail them at each step, as is the case with 49-year-old Mandawali resident Subhash Chand. On the night of October 19, he met with a road accident. The police took him to two government centres and finally admitted him to Max Hospital in Saket. Less than a week ago, Max discharged him because bills soared to Rs 10 lakh in a month.Items such as gloves, tubes and syringes alone cost over Rs 1 lakh. Drugs, lab tests meant another Rs 1.5 lakh; the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rent was Rs 1.76 lakh. And then there were ambulance, blood bank, surgery, physiotherapy, radio diagnosis and consultation charges. Chand, who is a driver, earns Rs 8,000 a month but has a family of four to feed. He was certified an “Economically Weaker Section (EWS) member by Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain’s office. “We asked for free treatment mandated under a Delhi High Court order but the hospital refused,” says his wife, Rama.Chand had suffered extensive brain damage, is in a semi-conscious state and does not recognise anyone. Now at Bal Kishan Memorial Hospital, he has a feed tube in his mouth and an air pipe in the throat. “The hospital made me sign an undertaking that I must pay the bill otherwise legal proceedings would be initiated. Should I take care of him or fight the system?” Rama asks. DNA’s questions to Max Hospital remained unanswered.Unending court battleDwarka resident and former Delhi University professor KC Malhotra (83) is a man with slow movements but a strong voice. He has spent a decade seeking justice for his dead wife. Krishna was admitted to Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre in 2006, and diagnosed with diabetes and coronary artery disease, for which she was operated upon. Soon, she developed a diabetic foot and the hospital amputated her left leg up to the thigh. This led to a total handicap, as the veins from the right leg had been removed for a bypass surgery.Malhotra filed a complaint in 2008 at the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. She died in 2010. He paid a bill of Rs 4 lakh. After seven years, the Commission has held the hospital guilty of medical negligence and asked it to pay Rs 20 lakh in damages to Malhotra, and Rs 75,00,000 to a consumer welfare fund. The case is in the High Court now. “So many years and I am still running around at this age. At 83, a man breaks down, but this is for my wife and I will fight till the end. As of now, there has been no conclusive decision but I am hopeful,” says Malhotra.Complaints aboundAt least three private hospitals — BL Kapoor, Rockland and Gupta Multi-speciality Hospital — in Delhi have been indefinitely barred from providing services under the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) after complaints were received against them. In 2016-17, 143 complaints were received across India against CGHS-empanelled private hospitals for denying admissions and cashless facilities, inflated bills and medical negligence. The CGHS was started under the Union Health Ministry to provide comprehensive medical care to Central government employees, pensioners and their dependents at fixed subsidised rates at empanelled private hospitals.Of the 1,114 private hospitals, diagnostic centres and clinics empanelled with CGHS, 300 are in Delhi. “So many pensioners complain that they did not get beds, they were forced to take loans or sell their property. They are overbilled or are discharged against their wishes. Often the hospital staff have been rude to them,” CGHS director Dr DC Joshi tells DNA.In December 2016, a CGHS beneficiary patient died in an empanelled hospital in Kanpur. “A death certificate was issued and his details were updated in our records. A month later, we received a fraudulent bill raised by the hospital in his name. Private hospitals don’t even spare the dead for their greed,” he says. This, despite Rs 600 crore being disbursed towards settling bills of private hospitals since April 2017.This is exactly what happened in Adya’s case. Fortis hospital procured 21 vials of the costlier brand of Meropenem injection —Merocrit— by Cipla, per vial priced at approximately Rs 3,100 billed at Rs 65,362, and 9 vials of cheaper brand of the same Meropenem injection — Merolan —by Mylan, per vial costing approximately Rs 500 billed at Rs 4,491. “Both the brands were pumped into my baby’s body. Clearly, more vials of the expensive injection, up to seven times the price but said to have the same effect, were administered. We were not even asked our preference for drugs which is an essential right of the citizen,” Jayant Singh, deceased’s father told DNA.Centre cracks the whipThe Health Ministry has asked the Haryana government to launch an urgent inquiry and submit an action taken report in Adya’s case and written to all states to implement the provisions of the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act under which effective action can be taken against healthcare establishments for fraudulent and unethical practices.The Centre has advised that lessons be learnt from widespread cases and a meeting with all important healthcare establishments, including private hospitals, of each state be held, and they be clearly warned against any such practices, failing which strict action will be taken.The government has said exorbitant charges, deficiencies in service, violation of standard treatment protocols resulting not only in compromised patient safety but also concerns about transparency and accountability in healthcare costs have an extremely deleterious impact on the faith of general public of the country.”It is our duty to ensure that such incidents don’t recur, quality care and treatment is provided to persons in need and that it is provided at a fair and affordable price,” a ministry letter has told states.CASES REGISTERED IN THE LAST 3 YEARS68 cases against hospitals before Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
19 cases against private doctors before the Commission
156 cases against private hospitals in Delhi’s 10 district consumer forums
57 cases against private doctors in Delhi’s 10 district consumer forums

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