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3 October 2017

Honeypreet found by India Today, says 'papa' Gurmeet Ram Rahim is innocent, no impure relation with him
New Delhi, October 3, 2017

More than a month after self-proclaimed godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted of rape, his "favourite angel" and allegedly-"adopted daughter" Honeypreet Insaan has finally been tracked down by the India Today Group.
Honeypreet had been absconding for the past 36 days after the police issued a lookout notice against her following the violence by Dera Sacha Sauda followers after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh's sentencing. Honeypreet had been named as one of the 43 most-wanted people by the Haryana Police. She was talking to India Today from an undisclosed location.
Speculations about her complicity were rife ever since her sudden disappearance after Ram Rahim Singh's arrest. Even as the entire nation is hooked on to how her story unfolds, here is an exclusive interview with India Today.
In an exclusive interview with India Today, Honeypreet Insan bares it all:
What do you have to say about the whole issue?
Honeypreet: The Honeypreet about whom the media is talking is not true. They have showed me as someone who is afraid herself after the whole incident. I cannot describe my present mental state. I have been called a traitor, which is absolutely wrong. It is not possible that without permission a daughter can go to court with her father.
You have been accused of plotting riots. Do you consider yourself innocent?
Honeypreet: I want to ask, how can a girl go alone without appropriate permission in the middle of the force? Later, they all said that I was wrong. I just need to say that all the evidence is there for the world to see. They accuse me of being involved in riots, but do they have any evidence against me? I am innocent.
Honeypreet is being portrayed as the big villain. What do you want to say?
Honeypreet: You have seen the whole situation. How am I guilty? I just did what a daughter is meant to do. I have not spoken to anyone. How am I involved in riots? We went to the court believing that everything would be fine and we would be back in the evening. But the outcome was devastating and the verdict went against us. Our brain stopped working only. How can we conspire in such a situation?
What do you have to say about your relationship with Guruji?
Honeypreet: I do not understand how can someone question the holy relationship between a father and daughter? My main concern was the way the media projected me. How can they malign a father and daughter's relationship? Can a father not keep his hands on his daughter? Can a daughter not love her father?
Some people in your camp, including Vishwas Gupta, have also blamed you. What do you have to say?
Honeypreet : Who are these people in the community, are they important? My ex-husband Vishwas Gupta is a nobody. I do not want to talk about them.
Why did you not appear before the police?
Honeypreet: I went into depression. The girl who talked about patriotism with her father went to jail. Then the she was accused of treason. I did not know the legal process. After my father's departure, I became helpless. I did what people guided me to do. I will now go to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. But it will take some time to handle my present mental state.
Did you follow Guruji to become a movie star?
Honeypreet: There was no such thing. I did not want to be a actor. I always wanted to stay behind the camera.
What do you have to say about the sexual harassment of girls in the Dera and other stories about the camp?
Honeypreet: On the basis of one letter, how can anyone be held guilty? My father is innocent and his innocence will be proved. No women were molested at the Dera. They have not considered the opinion of other women from dera.
Do you wish to take legal course?
Honeypreet: My father and I have full faith in justice. I am sure that we will definitely get justice.
Where have you been for so many days?
Honeypreet: I did not understand what to do. Somehow I managed to reach Delhi. Now, I will go to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
So will you surrender?
Honeypreet: I will take legal advice now.

After Yashwant Sinha's Elegy on Economy, Son Jayant Writes an Ode
New Delhi, September 28, 2017

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Thursday said that some "sweeping conclusions" were drawn from a "narrow set of facts", missing the "structural reforms" transforming the economy.

His remarks came a day after his father Yashwant Sinha lambasted the NDA government for “economic mess” and questioned the current methodology to calculate the GDP.

"The methodology for calculation of the GDP was changed by the present government in 2015 as a result of which the growth rate recorded earlier increased statistically by over 200 basis points on an annual basis. So, according to the old method of calculation, the growth rate of 5.7 per cent is actually 3.7 per cent or less."

Jayant, in a blog for The Times of India, wrote that one or two quarters of GDP growth was inadequate to ascertain the long-term impact of the structural reforms underway.

The "New India" requires the structural reforms, according to Jayant, for a "billion-strong" workforce and to enable them to lead better lives.

Yashwant, had in the Indian Express on Wednesday, written that he would fail in his national duty if he didn't speak against "the mess the finance minister had made of the economy".

While Yashwant referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation drive as "an unmitigated economic disaster", Jayant said that GST, demonetisation and digital payments were game-changing efforts to formalise India’s economy.

"In the long term, formalisation will mean (a) tax collections go up and more resources are available to the state; (b) friction in the economy is reduced and GDP goes up, and (c) citizens are able to establish credit more effectively as transaction records are digitised," Jayant wrote.

Jayant reflected on the benefits of innumerable schemes, including the rural electrification scheme announced by PM Modi recently, accruing to the people of the country.

"India is well on course to achieve 100% village electrification by 2018 with the number of villages remaining to be electrified having decreased to only 4,941 villages by 2017 from 18,452 in 2014," he wrote.

Jayant reflected on the benefits of innumerable schemes, including the rural electrification scheme announced by PM Modi recently, accruing to the people of the country.

Jayant opined that "structural reforms" undertaken by the Modi government since 2014 constituted the third generation of reforms - first being the 1991 economic reforms and "second in the 1999-2004 NDA government".

Jayant's father Yashwant had also said that his opinion was shared by a number of people, who are currently part of the ruling party, but they won't "speak out of fear".

In Bid to 'expose' face of Indian Democracy, Pak ends with egg on its own


NEW DELHI, 24th SEPTEMBER 2017
 The photo of a girl -- her face bearing multiple bruises -- which Pakistan's Maleeha Lodhi brandished at the United Nations last evening as an example of "Indian brutality" in Kashmir turns out to be of a resident of Palestine. The photograph was clicked in Gaza in 2014 by award winning photographer Heidi Levine. The girl -- Rawya Abu Joma, who was then 17 years old --had been injured during an Israeli airstrike, the original caption with the photograph said. The photo has been carried by many online photo galleries -- including New York Times and the Guardian. The gaffe by Pakistan's permanent representative to the UN came while she was responding to foreign minister Sushma Swaraj's scathing attack on Pakistan. Waving around a close-up shot of the teen's face, Ms Lodhi said in her "vitriol" Ms Swaraj had "deliberately ignored the core issue" of Kashmir. India did not immediately exercise its right to response to Ms Lodhi's remarks. Earlier in the evening, Ms Swaraj had ripped apart Pakistan in a 21-minute speech, in which she had stressed on how the neighbouring country was exporting terror which India was building the nation through institutions and knowledge bank. "We have marched ahead consistently without pause creating IIMs, IITs, AIIMS and in the fields of education, health, space and across the range of human welfare. We established scientific and technical institutions which are the pride of the world," Ms Swaraj said. Pakistan, in contrast, has only "produced terrorists and terrorist  camps... Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hijbul Mujahideen, Haqqani Network,"  she added. Referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khakan Abbasi's speech, Ms Swaraj said, "A country that has been the world's greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity and Human Rights from this podium."

 

Pakistan is Terroristan: India’s Response to Pak PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at United Nations
New Delhi, September 22, 2017

New Delhi: India on Friday gave a fitting response to Pakistan’s rhetoric at the United Nations, saying the neighbour has now become synonymous with terrorism.

“In its short history, Pakistan has become a geography synonymous with terror. The quest for a land of pure has actually produced 'the land of pure terror'. Pakistan is now ‘Terroristan’, with a flourishing industry producing and exporting global terrorism,” Eenam Gambhir, India’s First Secretary to the United Nations, said at the world body.

Gambhir’s statement came as India exercised its right to reply to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s speech at the UN General Assembly, where he raked up the Kashmir issue and accused India of “terrorism against Pakistan”.

“By now, all Pakistans neighbours are painfully familiar with these tactics to create a narrative based on distortions, deception and deceit,” Gambhir said, asserting that efforts at creating alternative facts do not change reality.

Hitting back, India reminded Pakistan and the United Nations of terrorists, including 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, who continue to enjoy safe havens in the neighbouring country. New Delhi also pointed out that Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar were both found to have been living in Pakistan.

“It is extraordinary that the state which protected Osama Bin Laden and sheltered Mullah Omar should have the gumption to play the victim.... Its current state can be gauged from the fact that Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, a leader of the UN designated terrorist organization Lashkar-i-Taiba, is now sought to be legitimised as a leader of a political party,” Eenam Gambhir said.

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Full text of India's reply at the United Nations General Assembly

India said Pakistan’s counter-terrorism policy is to mainstream and upstream terrorists by either providing safe havens to global terror leaders in its military town, or protecting them with “political careers”.

India also rebuked its neighbour for repeatedly raising the Kashmir rhetoric at international forums, including the UN. “… Pakistan must understand that the State of Jammu and Kashmir is and will always remain an integral part of India,” Gambhir said.

New Delhi also advised Islamabad to first keep its house in order before “lecturing” India on protection of human rights. “The world does not need lessons on democracy and human rights from a country whose own situation is charitably described as a failed state.”

Gambhir said having diverted billions of dollars in international military and development aid towards creating a “dangerous infrastructure of terror” on its own territory, Pakistan is now speaking of the high cost of its terror industry. “The polluter, in this case, is paying the price,” she said.

Moments after India’s reply at the United Nations, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to draw Pakistan’s attention to a Security Council resolution of 1948.

Rapist Gurmeet Ram Rahim a murderer too? Hearing in Panchkula's CBI court today
New Delhi, 16 September 2017
Contingents of Haryana Police and paramilitary troops have been deployed in Panchkula, ahead of today's hearing of Dera chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim in two murder cases . The security has been beefed up to prevent any untoward incident
The disgraced fifty-year-old Dera chief will appear before a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court here through video conferencing from Rohtak jail where he is currently serving his 20 years jail sentence in two rape cases.
The CBI court is hearing the cases of murder of former Dera chief Ranjit Singh and journalist Ram Chander Chhatrapati.
"We have made adequate security arrangements ahead of the hearing in the cases," Haryana Director General of Police BS Sandhu said here on Friday.
Contingents of paramilitary troops and the Haryana Police have been stationed in Panchkula to prevent any untoward incident, he said.
"The hearing in the cases against Ram Rahim, who is lodged in Sunaria jail in Rohtak, will be conducted through video conferencing," Sandhu said.
Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail on August 28 in the two rape cases by the special CBI court.
Several parts of north India including Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan had witnessed large-scale violence following his conviction in the two rape cases on August 25.
While 41 people were killed in Haryana in the violence, no deaths were reported from Punjab and Rajasthan.
CBI counsel HPS Verma said, "The final arguments in the two murders cases will start tomorrow."
Sirsa-based journalist Chhatrapati was shot at in October 2002 after the evening newspaper 'Poora Sach', owned by him, published an anonymous letter narrating how women were allegedly being sexually exploited by the sect head at the Dera headquarters in Sirsa. He later succumbed to his injuries.
The second case relates to the murder of former Dera manager Ranjit Singh who was allegedly shot dead in 2002. He was murdered for his suspected role in the circulation of the anonymous letter, which had made the sexual exploitation allegations, according to the prosecution
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had in November 2003 ordered a CBI probe into the murder of Chhatrapati and Ranjit Singh after the families of both the victims approached the court.
The CBI had filed the charge sheet in the murder cases on July 30, 2007.

Ahead of 2019 polls, Congress, AAP setting up research teams to take on Narendra Modi's BJP

New Delhi, September 7, 2017
Moving beyond political rhetoric and the rigmarole of allegations-counter allegations, Opposition parties Congress and AAP are setting up research teams that are being termed as their 'ammunition factory.'
The 'pol-khol' teams have their role clearly cut out - to expose PM Narendra Modi's 'lies' on governance and to 'arm' their own leaders with ammo at rallies and press conferences.
Eyeing the 2019 parliamentary polls, the research teams are set to be the backbone of the two parties. In January, over three weeks before the Economic Survey was tabled in the parliament, the Congress research department in a massive outreach effort to economists, academics, think tank researchers, former bureaucrats, social activists and journalists collected data and compiled it in a comprehensive report titled, 'Real State of the Economy' with a foreword by former PM and economist Manmohan Singh.
"It was a product of many weeks of intense hard work and was released by Dr. Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram, a day before the Economic Survey. Friends in the bureaucratic circle told us that the PM took note of it and chapters from the report were assigned to senior bureaucrats to verify the figures. There are several press conferences to denounce our figures but we were not shooting from the hip. The data was absolutely correct and caught the Modi government offguard," sitting Rajya Sabha MP and chairman of the AICC Research Department, MV Rajeev Gowda, told Mail Today.
"Initially, our main job was to keep a tab on parliamentary affairs and update our MPs on issues that came up in the Parliament. We also shadow ministerial work to find if anything is going amiss there. Now the focus is on research so that we are able to compare actual data with claims of the BJP leaders," Gowda explained.
"We are not prisoners of breaking news, but have a larger time frame to dig deep into issues. We can be called the ammunition factory in the most non-violent form."
AAP RESEARCH CELL
While the eight-member Congress Research and Coordination Committee has been around for over three years now, changing its form more recently to a fullfledged department with Gowda, a former professor at the helm of affairs, the AAP research cell comprises roughly 30 volunteers from diverse educational backgrounds and is overseen by young leaders Atishi Marlena and MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj.
"The research cell, began with a two-month internship for volunteers, but has now firmed up into a permanent body. I have a team of 30 members, all aged below 26 years, who are history, political science, mathematics and engineering graduates, who compile solid information on where the Modi government is slipping," said Arjun Joshi, head of AAP's research cell.
Both the research teams have been filing heaps of RTI applications to access authentic information and run checks, comparing data provided in the RTI replies with statements of BJP leaders and ministers, facts and figures put out on official websites and social media handles of the leaders.
Any discrepancy is flagged and is then taken up by their social media teams or senior leaders, who confront government through press meets or social media handles.
"Sometimes leaders like Shashi Tharoor or Mani Shankar draw from our data bank to write editorials and several senior leaders call us up for facts and figures before they head out for press conferences," Gowda added.
"We are now building state level teams and have begun with Rajasthan and one in Hyderabad for Telangana and Andhra Pradesh."

Gauri Lankesh murder: Attacker fired 7 bullets, 3 hit her, one on forehead
New Delhi, September 6, 2017

The attacker who targeted senior journalist Gauri Lankesh outside her house in Bengaluru on Tuesday night had made up his mind. He wanted her to die.
The assailant fired seven shots. Four missed Gauri. Two hit her in the chest, one on the forehead. Gauri died at the gates of her house. Police said the shots were fired from a close range.
"A total of seven bullets were fired out of which four missed the target and hit the wall of the house. Three bullets had hit her - two in her chest area and one in the forehead," Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar told reporters.
Sources said she was followed by people in a car after she left her office in Basavanagudi at 7.30PM.
Gauri ran a weekly Kannada tabloid - Gauri Lankesh Patrike and was a known critic of rightwing forces.
WHAT HAS HAPPENED SO FAR
CCTV footage shows a man wearing a black jacket with a helmet closing in on Gauri as she approaches the main gate of her house.
The video shows the attacker waiting for Gauri to reach the entrance of her house. As soon as the 55-year-old journalist reaches the gate, the man opens fire.
Police said the crucial evidence could be of great help to nab that attacker and others involved in the murder.
Cops are also examining CCTV images installed in the vicinity of Gauri's house to obtain more evidence.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has condemned the cold blooded murder. "Absolutely shocked to learn about the murder of renowned journalist Gauri Lankesh. I have no words to condemn this heinous crime," he tweeted.
A prominent Left thinker and a staunch critic of Hindutva politics, Lankesh was convicted last year in a defamation case filed by Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker Pralhad Joshi.
Her siblings Indrajit Lankesh and Kavitha Lankesh are both film-makers in the Kannada film industry.
Indrajit has demanded a CBI probe into the murder of his sister. "She was an activist, she was doing her job, there were no threats as of now as far as we know," said Indrajit Lankesh.
Karnataka police chief R K Dutta said Lankesh had not voiced apprehension about any threat to her life during a couple of meetings he had with her.
The manner in which Lankesh was shot dead was reminiscent of the way Kannada progressive thinker and researcher MM Kalburgi was shot dead in August 2015 at his residence in Dharwad, about 400km from state capital Bengaluru.

Army enters Baba Ram Rahim Dera HQ in Sirsa to flush out sect supporters
Sirsa/New Delhi, August 26, 2017

The Army has moved into the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters in Sirsa to clear the sect's followers from the campus, who are housed there in support of their chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim after he was convicted in a rape case by a Panchkula court on Friday.
The Army conducted a flag march in the campus today. There are lakhs of followers in the building. Rapid Action Force personnel and the police are accompanying the Army in this operation to evict Dera supporters.
A high-level meeting has begun at Home Minister's residence. Home Secretary, NSA Ajit Doval and IB Chief are also present.
Ram Rahim has been lodged in a jail in Rohtak. He started his day in the jail today by doing Yoga and having tea and 2 slices of bread.
Earlier today, DG (Prisons) Haryana KP Singh assured that Ram Rahim was being treated as a normal prisoner and had been provided with attendant or AC in his cell.
Singh was reacting to reports by some channels and papers that special treatment is being given to Ram Rahim. DG (Prisons) Haryana clarified that Rahim was in Sunaria Jail, not in a guesthouse.
The verdict yesterday, which convicted Rahim in a 15-year-old rape case, sparked off violence in Haryana leaving at least 30 dead and over 200 injured. Prohibitory orders have been imposed in all but two districts of Delhi, 9 districts of Uttar Pradesh and one district of Rajasthan.
If official sources are to be believed, no casualty has been reported from Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
According to a spokesperson of the Home Ministry, Section 144 of the CrPC has been imposed in nine districts of Uttar Pradesh namely Meerut, Saharanpur, Samli, Muzaffarnagar, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddha, Bulandshahar, Baghpat and Hapur, which bars the assembly of five or more people at a place. The spokesperson said that the situation in UP was under control.
Section 144 CrPC has been imposed in all districts of the national capital, except central and north districts, according to the command room in Delhi.
In Rajasthan, as per the state DGP control room in Jaipur, prohibitory orders have been imposed in Hanumangarh district.
HERE ARE THE LATEST UPDATES:
Nam Charcha Ghar have been vacated, sticks and rods were received got during search operation, says Ambala range (ADGP) Dr RC Mishra.
Army has entered the Dera headquarters in Sirsa.
Chandigarh: ASG Satyapal Jain and Advocate General of Punjab and Haryana reach the High Court, proceedings to begin shortly.
Ambala piolice caught 4 Dera supporters carrying petrol bottles, intending to set ablaze the tehsil office. FIRs have been registered against all 4 of them.
District administration and police seal two ashrams of Dera Sacha Sauda in Haryana's Kurukshetra.
Ram Rahim Singh is being treated as a normal prisoner. No attendant provided, no AC in the cell he is lodged in, says KP Singh.
Some channels and papers are reporting on special treatment being given to Ram Rahim. I clarify that he is in Sunaria Jail, not in a guesthouse, says DG Prisons (Haryana) KP Singh.
Kurukshetra's Nam Charcha Ghar Ashram has been seized by administration, 2000 lathis found.
Curfew in Punjab's Mansa district has been relaxed for 4 hours.
Ten paramilitary companies have been deployed in Rohtak.
600 people taken into preventive detention, 60 vehicles of Dera supporters impounded.
Chandigarh Police has arrested 6 private security guards of Baba, arms and kerosene oil seized from these guards.
Seven out of the 30 dead in Panchkula clashes are women.
Western Railways cancels 6 trains and partially cancels 2 trains in the wake of the law and order situation in Punjab and Haryana.
According to Panchkula Control Room in Haryana, situation in most parts of the state, particularly in Panchkula and Sirsa, continues to remain tense, but is under control. There are reports of approximately 32 casualties (29 in Panchkula and 3 in Sirsa) and several others injured as of now.
Army conducted a flag march in the morning in Sirsa. Uneasy calm and tension prevail in Dera headquarters in Sirsa.
According to sources, Army has given an ultimatum to the Dera supporters to vacate. Supporters inside Dera HQs are not just armed with lathis, but also swords.
Security has been beefed up in Rohtak, where Ram Rahim is lodged in a make-shift jail at a police training centre.
All trains going towards Rohtak have been cancelled for today.
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Curfew to be relaxed in Punjab's Moga district from 10 am to 11 am.
As many as 661 trains have been cancelled following violence after Ram Rahim Singh's conviction, almost 250 cancelled in Haryana alone, says spokesperson of Northern Railway Neeraj Sharma.
Malout and Balluanna railway stations in Punjab were partially vandalised by angry followers of Ram Rahim as violence spilled over to the adjoining state.
Section 144 imposed in Uttarakhand's Nainital.
In Uttar Pradesh, Baghpat District Magistrate has directed all schools in the region to remain closed today.
Three rifles, pistols, cartridges, narcotics recovered from 65 cars of Dera people during checking, said Haryana DGP BS Sandhu.
We resorted to tear gas, lathicharge, and fired pellet bullets on protesters, where arson was reported: BS Sandhu.

Violence after Baba Ram Rahim conviction: How Khattar failed on three occasions in as many years
New Delhi, August 26, 2017

Large-scale violence has struck Haryana for the third time in three years. All these three incidents have taken place ever since ML Khattar was sworn in as chief minister of the state on October 26, 2014.
At least 10 people had died in the Rampal case in November 2014 while 30 had lost their life in violence during the February 2016 Jat agitation in the state.
Massive violence has followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on Friday by a special Panchkula court, holding the Dera Sacha Sauda leader guilty of rape.
The situation deteriorated soon after the conviction was announced and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was taken into custody.
There have been about 300 incidents of violence reported from across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi. So far, 31 people have died and about 250 have been injured in the violence which ensued after the court verdict.
The Haryana government seems to have failed for the third consecutive time in assessing the situation while allowing the law and order situation to drift.
The date for today's hearing was known much in advance. Besides, there were proofs of Dera Sacha Sauda and Baba Ram Rahim galvanising supporters. They had even been posting their messages on the social media for the last few days.
There were intelligence reports too fearing violence. But the Khattar government did not take adequate measures to ensure that violence did not erupt.
The Haryana government could have imposed prohibitory orders in Sirsa, Panchkula and adjoining regions or areas of Dera Sacha Sauda's influence.
Secondly, the state government should not have allowed Baba Ram Rahim to travel from Dera Sacha Sauda's headquarters in Sirsa to Panchkula as a hero. There were over 100 cars in Ram Rahim's convoy.
The government should not have allowed more than half a dozen vehicles, including those carrying Ram Rahim's relatives, staff and security personnel, to accompany him. The remaining vehicles should have been detained.
Third, the Khattar government should have called more security forces to man Sirsa and Panchkula. It should have made adequate arrangements in other cities as well.
Unfortunately, Khattar apparently had not learned despite the two earlier incidents in which his government had to face major criticism following violence.
The epicentre of violence in the wake of Baba Ram Rahim's conviction has been Haryana. The violence, which started from the state, has spread to adjoining Punjab, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Hence, a large part of the blame for the violence needs to be shared by the Khattar government.
RAMPAL CASE
In the Satlok ashram supremo Rampal's case too, the Haryana government had ample time to make sufficient arrangements to take on the rogue self-declared godman.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Rampal.
Scores of Rampal's followers including militia clashed with para-military forces and the Haryana Police killing 10 people in November 2014, just a month after Khattar government had been sworn in.
Rampal's followers resorted to firing, stone-pelting and hurling of acid and petrol bombs from within the ashram.
There was a 30-hour standoff. In the end the security forces managed to arrest the controversial godman from his ashram.
Security forces arrested at least 200 members of the militia that was guarding the Satlok Ashram.
Three of Rampal's key associates were also arrested. Those arrested included Rampal's son and brother, besides Satlok Ashram spokesperson Raj Kapoor.
About 70 Rampal followers, most of them his 'private commandos', who had indulged in violence, were arrested. According to reports, Home Minister Rajnath Singh was unhappy with the way the Khattar government had handled the issue.
JAT AGITATION
As many as 30 people were killed and property worth crores was damaged at many places in Haryana during the February 2016 Jat stir which had turned violent.
Rohtak and some of its neighbouring districts, including Sonipat and Jhajjar, were the worst hit by the violence last year.
Besides the loss of lives and damage to property - both private and public including roads, canals, railway stations, police stations - illegal felling of trees and violation of human rights took place in Rohtak, Jhajjar, Sonipat, Jind, Hisar, Kaithal and Bhiwani.
The role of state government officials, including police and civil departments, came under the scanner as the government completely failed to stop the violence during the period.
Mass rape and molestation cases were also reported in Sonipat district.
The community had been agitating for according OBC status to them for several years. However, they targeted non-Jats for the first time.
According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the damage was to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore but other industry sources quoted a figure of Rs 34,000 crore.
Reportedly, 33 buses had been set on fire and 99 others were partially damaged. Out of 387 LPG companies, 185 are out of stock. More than 25 petrol pumps had been damaged.
Chevrolet and Hyundai showrooms around Rohtak were burned down and in total, more than 200 cars that were in stock had been set on fire. The Munak Canal was also damaged.
Here too the Khattar government was accused of mishandling the situation, failing to make a correct assessment of the situation and taking adequate measures in order to stop violence from taking place.
Today, in the Ram Rahim case, Khattar has defended himself saying that the Haryana government had made complete arrangements but "the mob was really huge".
This argument is unlikely to be accepted by the Opposition and the people in general. In the days to come, it will not be a surprise if the Opposition demands Khattar's resignation.

Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh rape conviction triggers riots across Haryana, Punjab; 12 dead
New Delhi, August 25, 2017
Massive violence has followed the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh for rape. A special Central Bureau of Investigation court in Panchkula, Haryana held the Dera Sacha Sauda leader guilty of rape.
The situation deteriorated soon after the conviction was announced and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was taken into custody. There have been nearly 300 incidents of violence reported from across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
Violence has spilled over to Delhi with one Delhi Transport Corporation bus and two coaches of a train being set on fire.
An India Today TV crew was among those who came under attack. In Sirsa, Dera men attacked an India Today TV vehicle, injuring a video journalist.
More than 250 Army jawans have been deployed in Panchkula.
Ram Rahim supporters set Malout and Balluanna railway stations ablaze in Punjab, the Northern Railway said.
10 more reserve companies of the CRPF have been sent to Haryana while at least 50 more paramilitary companies have been deployed in Panchukula.
The death toll in the violence that followed Ram Rahim's rape conviction has now reached 11.
In a related development, Central Industrial Security Force personnel deployed within one km radius of Rohtak's Sunariya Jail.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoke to the chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab.
Violence after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty verdict
Burnt remains of a vehicle torched during clashes - location unclear
Click here to Enlarge
Curfew has so far been imposed in Punjab's Muktsar, Bathinda and Mansa.
So far there have been 224 incidents of violence in Haryana. 64 instances of violence have been reported from Punjab.
The death toll of those killed in clashes with police in Panchkula has now risen to five.
Curfew has also been clamped in Panchkula, where the CBI court today found Gurmeet Ram Rahim to be guilty of rape.
Reports also coming in of curfew being imposed in Bhatinda, Punjab.
Meanwhile, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh is being taken to the Western Command Headquarters in Chandimandir. From Chandimandir he will be flown out on a helicopter to either the Rothak Jail or to Gurugram.
Violence after Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh guilty verdict
Smoke can be seen in the skies of Panchkula - it's unclear if the smoke is from tear gas shells or from a fire
Click here to Enlarge
Telephone exchange torched by Dera protestors in Chananwal in Punjab's Barnala.
Reports now coming in that three Dera Sacha Sauda followers have been killed in police firing in Panchkula.
An India Today TV crew was attacked in Sirsa. The TV team's cameraman Pradeep Gupta was injured in the attack.
Reports now coming in of curfew being imposed in Ferozpur, Punjab.
Followers of rape convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh attempted to set a railway station on fire. Punjab Police has reached the spot.
Haryana chief minister Amarinder Singh has issued an appeal for peace on Twitter. In a video posted on the social media network, CM Amarinder said, "I appeal to all Punjabis to maintain peace and harmony in the state. We won't allow anyone to disturb the peace & tranquility of our state."

India Today's OB van attacked by angry Dera supporters in Panchkula.
Reports of tear gas shelling by police, paramilitary forces in sector 3, Panchkula, to control Dera supporters.
Power cut in a few residential areas in Panchkula as precautionary measure.
Dera supporters being evicted from Panchkula and Chandigarh.
Haryana Police to conduct medical test of Baba Ram Rahim before taking him to jail.
Army carries out flag march in Panchkula after the court verdict against Baba Ram Rahim.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim held guilty of rape by special CBI court in Panchukula.
Gurmeet Singh was charged in a sexual exploitation case was registered against the Dera chief in 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court after anonymous letters were circulated about the alleged sexual exploitation of two 'sadhvis' (female followers) by Ram Rahim.

Privacy a fundamental right, says Supreme Court: What the verdict means
New Delhi, August 24, 2017

In a landmark and historic judgment, a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court today unanimously declared right to privacy a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution, setting off far-reaching implications in terms of law and citizenship (LIVE UPDATES).
The contentious issue of privacy had emerged when the apex court was dealing with a batch of petitions challenging the Centre's move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing the benefits of various social welfare schemes.
There has, however, been no ruling on Aadhaar by Supreme Court today. The verdict, however, could derail the world's largest biometric identification programme that the government has been pushing for a while.
HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:
The verdict would have a bearing on the challenge to the validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the grounds of its being violative of the right to privacy.
The verdict is also likely to have a bearing on the challenge to WhatsApp's new privacy policy. The top court is hearing a challenge to the Delhi High Court's September 23, 2016 order by which it allowed WhatsApp to roll out its new privacy policy but stopped it from sharing the data of its users collected up to September 25, 2016, with Facebook or any other related company.
The petitioners, who argued for privacy, had contended that the right to privacy was "inalienable" and "inherent" to the most important fundamental right which is the right to liberty.
They had said that right to liberty, which also included right to privacy, was a pre-existing "natural right" which the Constitution acknowledged and guaranteed to the citizens in case of infringement by the state.
The batch of petitions had challenged the mandatory use of Aadhaar cards as an infringement of privacy. There have also been concerns over data breach.
The Centre had termed privacy as a "vague and amorphous" right which cannot be granted primacy to deprive poor people of their rights to life, food and shelter.
The Attorney General of India had contended that right to privacy cannot fall in the bracket of fundamental rights as there were binding decisions of larger benches that it was only a common law right evolved through judicial decisions.
In a survey conducted earlier this year with over 10,000 people, a majority of citizens had showed concerns about the privacy of their data and said that a law was needed to regulate it.
Those surveyed said they are concerned about the privacy of their data, especially in this digital age and 89 per cent of them voted in favour of a privacy law, according to a survey conducted by citizen engagement platform LocalCircles.
People showed major concern about the leaking of Aadhaar details, duplicate PAN cards being issued, mobile numbers and email addresses being sold by vendors, credit cards being hacked due to personal information being easily available in the market and the like.

US President Donald Trump seeks greater role for India in Afghanistan, toughens position on Pakistan
New Delhi, August 22, 2017
United States President Donald Trump said that the US wants a larger role for India in Afghanistan, even as he overcame his own doubts about a war that his country entered in October 2001 after the 9/11 attacks.
Trump also sharply criticised Pakistan for offering "safe havens" for terrorists, and warned Islamabad that it has "much to lose" if it continues to harbour terrorists.
Trump was delivering a policy statement, offering a glimpse of how the US's war Afghanistan and role in South Asia would like under his presidency. He said that his administration had conducted "comprehensive review" of the US's Afghanistan strategy and decided that the policy will change from a "time-based approach to one based on conditions".
Signalling that the US would send in more soldiers into Afghanistan, a contentious topic in the United States that has lost nearly 2,500 Americans in the war, Trump said, "Our troops will fight to win", but did not offer specifics.
President Trump noted that India, which he called a key security and economic partner for the US, has played an important role in ensuring stability in Afghanistan, but added that his administration wants a larger role in Afghanistan, especially economically.
"We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan, but India makes billions of dollars in trade with the United States, and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development," he said in comments that would be cheered in New Delhi. Washington has traditionally been wary of pitching a greater role for India in Afghanistan out of concerns that the idea might not go down well in Islamabad, its long time ally.
Trump seemed to shed that worry, at least compared to previous US administration, taking Pakistan to task for offering safe havens to terrorists. The US "can no longer be silent" about terrorist safe havens in Pakistan, Trump said, saying that Islamabad, while fighting terrorism itself, often gives sanctuary to "agents of chaos, violence and terror."
Trump went on to warn, "Pakistan has much to gain from partnering with our effort in Afghanistan. It has much to lose by continuing to harbour terrorists."
The US has been gradually toughening its stand on Pakistan, often calling it out for its doublespeak on terrorism and even imposing restrictions, most recently in July this year when the Pentagon withheld military aid to Islamabad.
US IN AFGHANISTAN
Trump in his speech opened the door to an increase in US troops in Afghanistan as part of a retooled strategy for the region, vowing "a fight to win."
Trump said his new approach was aimed at preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for Islamist militants bent on attacking the United States.
The speech came after a months-long review of US policy in which Trump frequently tangled with his top advisers on the future of US involvement in Afghanistan, where Taliban insurgents have been making territorial gains.
US military and intelligence officials are concerned that a Taliban victory over Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's government would allow al Qaeda and Islamic State's regional affiliate to establish bases in Afghanistan from which to plot attacks against the United States and its allies.
"The unfortunate truth is that this strategy is long overdue and in the interim the Taliban has made dangerous inroads," said senior Republican Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Republican president overcame his own skepticism about the war that began in October 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. He said repeatedly on the campaign trail last year that the war was too costly in lives and money.
"My original instinct was to pull out," he said in his speech, but added he was convinced by his national security advisers to strengthen the US ability to prevent the Taliban from ousting the US-backed government in Kabul.

Pakistan National, Plotted Udhampur Attack: 10 Things About Abu Dujana
New Delhi: 1 August , 2017,Security forces in Kashmir killed Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Dujana in an encounter in Pulwama on Tuesday. Dujana, a Pakistan national, was the chief of Lashkar's operations in Kashmir. His death is being viewed as the one of the biggest success stories for security forces this year. - An Intelligence Bureau dossier on Dujana states that he joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba when he was 17. A resident of Gilgit-Baltistan, he operated out of the Pulwama region in South Kashmir. His planning and style of execution had impressed his bosses who appointed him as a deputy to Abu Qasim. Following the death of Abu Qasim, Dujana became the obvious choice to lead the outfit in Kashmir. All his attacks were directed against the armed forces in Kashmir as he believed that it is they who were in the way of their so-called Kashmir struggle. His name featured in several attacks which also include the ones at Pampore and Udhampur. In fact he was the one who had planned the Udhampur attack in which two BSF personnel had died.When Mohammad Naved, one of the terrorists was caught alive, he confirmed to the police that the attack was masterminded by Dujana and Qasim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PM Narendra Modi's Policies Have Created Space for Terrorists, Says Rahul Gandhi
New Delhi,12 july: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the PDP-BJP-led government in Jammu and Kashmir, just two days after a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims came under a terror attack, leading to the deaths of seven people. In a series of tweets, Rahul Gandhi highlighted "India's strategic loss", and "grave strategic blow" due to "PM Modi's policies"."Modi’s policies have created space for terrorists in Kashmir. Grave strategic blow for India," Rahul wrote on Twitter. In another tweet, accusing PM Modi of seeking "personal and political gain", Rahul wrote, "Short term political gain for Modi from PDP alliance has cost India massively." "Modi’s personal gain= India's strategic loss + sacrifice of innocent Indian blood," read another tweet. This is not the first time when Congress Vice President held PM Modi and the PDP-BJP-led government responsible for the prevailing unrest in the valley. On July 10, after the terror attack on the Amarnath pilgrims, Rahul had tweeted, asking the Prime Minister to own up responsibility. "This is a grave & unacceptable security lapse. The PM needs to accept responsibility and never allow it to happen again," Rahul had tweeted. Jammu and Kashmir has been simmering with violence ever since the Indian Army neutralised Hizbul commander Burhan Wani last year.

 

 

Subramanian Swamy Tweets Photo of Rajinikanth 'Gambling' in Casino, Wants Probe by Enforcement Directorate
New Delhi,6 july: Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy tweeted a photograph purportedly of superstar Rajinikanth “gambling” in a US casino and demanded an Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into the actor’s wealth. ‘RK 420’ is how Swamy refers to Rajinikanth in his tweets. The tweet marks the senior BJP leader’s sharpest attack on Rajinikanth since the latter dropped strong hints of joining politics. Earlier, Swamy had questioned Rajinikanth’s credentials as a “Tamizhan”, saying his political debut would “spell disaster”. "He has no future in politics. A new generation of very educated Tamilians who are assertive, influential now want national politics to come to Tamil Nadu. He is unsuitable for becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu," Swamy had said. Over several interactions with his fans in May, Rajini had said the political system needed “cleansing” and that he would not allow "wrong people" to join him if he took the political plunge. Despite frequent speculation, the 66-year actor has avoided making any explicit commitment on entering politics.

 

 

Amid Doklam Stand-off, China Cancels Indian Journalists' Trip to Tibet
New Delhi/Beijing,3 july: A trip by Indian journalists to Tibet has been cancelled by China following a standoff between the two countries in the Doklam area near Sikkim. The trip was scheduled to take place from July 8th to 15th. The decision was conveyed to the batch of journalists by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, PTI reported. China organises a sponsored visit for select Indian journalists to Tibet every year. A stand-off erupted between the two militaries after the Indian Army blocked construction of the road by China in the Doklam area, a disputed territory between China and Bhutan. India on Friday expressed deep concern over China constructing the road in the disputed area and said it had conveyed to Beijing that such an action would represent a significant change of status quo with "serious" security implications for India. The stand-off between the Indian and Chinese troops led to the cancellation of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim. India has pushed in more troops in a “non-combative mode” to strengthen its position in the area. This is the longest standoff between the two armies since 1962. The last one, which carried on for 21 days, occurred at Daulat Beg Oldie in the Ladakh division of Jammu and Kashmir in 2013, when Chinese troops entered 30 km into Indian territory till the Depsang Plains and claimed it to be a part of its Xinjiang province. They were, however, pushed back. China's official news agency has asked New Delhi not to “deviate consensus on developing bilateral relations”. Asking India to withdraw its troops from the area to end the current standoff, Xinhua news agency in a commentary said, "It is well known that the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary has been demarcated by the 1890 Sino-British treaty.”

 

 

It's official. Nitish Kumar's JD-U to support BJP's Ram Nath Kovind for President
New Delhi, June 21, 2017

Bihar's ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has officially declared support for NDA's pick for President Ram Nath Kovind.
Nitish Kumar all his MLAs and senior party leader Sharad Yadav in Patna and told them that the JD-U would not support the Congress-led Opposition if it fields a candidate against NDA's Ram Nath Kovind.
JD-U MLA Ratnesh Sada, who represents Sonbarsha in the state Assembly said that the party has decided to support Kovind. "The decision was taken at a meeting of our legislators," Sada said.
Nitish Kumar told his MLAs that Kovind, who was the Bihar Governor before he was picked by the Bharatiya Janata Party for the top post, was 'a good man', he added.
The Bihar CM has reportedly told Congress chief Sonia Gandhi about his decision. The Congress is in alliance with the JD-U and Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Bihar.
Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to meet Opposition party leader in New Delhi on Thursday to decided whether the UPA contest the July 17 presidential election or support Kovind.
Nitish Kumar had dropped hints on his support to Kovind soon after his name was announced as NDA's nominee for President by BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday. Nitish was among the first leaders who reached the Governor House and congratulated Ram Nath Kovind.
"It's a proud moment for Bihar that the Governor of the state has been picked up as NDA's President choice," Nitish Kumar had said on Monday.

OPPOSITION STUMPED BY BJP'S DALIT NOMINEE MOVE
While the Left is keen to put up a symbolic fight for the poll on ideological differences with the BJP, the fact that the NDA candidate is a Dalit has put the Congress in a fix.
Sources said the Congress may now go in for a Dalit candidate, too, to match the NDA on the issue. Some of the names doing the rounds now are those of former Speaker Meira Kumar, B R Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar and former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.
If there is an election, Kovind is likely to win it, with the Shiv Sena and some other regional parties also announcing their support to the NDA.

As OPS-EPS Merger Talks Break Down, Four Truckloads of Affidavits Reach EC
New Delhi,12 june: Armed with four truckloads of affidavits, Tamil Nadu Law Minister CV Shanmugham reached the Election Commission office on Monday morning to stake claim to the AIADMK’s ‘two-leaf’ symbol as merger talks broke down between the rival party factions. “The Election Commission asked us to submit these documents. As many as 123 MLAs are with EPS. These are affidavits of the office bearers,” Shanmugham told CNNN-News18.
ALSO READ | Jaya's Niece Deepa Denied Entry at Poes Garden, Alleges Her Brother Set Her up
Shanmugham also termed the statements by Deepa Jayakumar, niece of the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, as “irresponsible”. Deepa, who has floated a political outfit of her own, had alleged on Sunday that her estranged brother Deepak “plotted Jayalalithaa’s death” with VK Sasikala. Shanmugham’s visit to the EC headquarters came a day after former chief minister O Panneerselvam, who leads the rival faction, dissolved a seven-member panel set up to hold merger talks Palaniswami. “We dissolved the committee because the merger failed. We didn’t want to be part of the drama that the EPS camp created. We have the support of the party cadre. We are sure we will get the two-leaves symbol,” Panneerselvam, fondly called OPS, said on Monday.
Last few weeks saw no visible progress in the proposed talks between the panels set up by the respective factions. The OPS panel, called the Puratchi Thalaivi Amma camp, was led by KP Munusamy, while EPS’s AIADMK (Amma) panel was headed by R Vaithilingam. Though both sides publicly announced their willingness to hold talks, the Panneerselvam faction remained firm on its demand for a CBI probe into the death of Jayalalithaa and the removal of AIADMK chief VK Sasikala and her family members, including Deputy General Secretary TTV Dinakaran, from the party as a precondition for talks. None of the demands had been met, though a section of ministers revolted against Dinakaran in April, asking him to stay away from party affairs. He had also announced then that he was stepping aside. On Sunday, Panneerselvam took a dig at the Palaniswami camp, saying MLAs were gifted "gold, diamond and cash" during their stay at a resort at Koovathur near here, prior to the February 18 trust vote faced and won by Palaniswami. Panneerselvam had revolted against Sasikala in February, alleging he was forced to make way for her elevation as chief minister. He later led the breakaway faction of some MPs and MLAs besides senior functionaries. The faction has since challenged the election of Sasikala as AIADMK general secretary before the Election Commission, while also staking claim for the party's two leaves symbol.
Sasikala is currently lodged in a Bengaluru jail in a disproportionate assets case.

 

 

Jyotiraditya Scindia to Counter Shivraj Singh Chouhan's 'Peace Fast' With 72-hour 'Satyagrah'
Bhopal,11 june: Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia will launch a 72-hour ‘satyagraha’ in Bhopal from June 14 to protest for the rights of farmers — a move aimed at countering the ‘fast for peace’ by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Scindia, MP from the state’s Guna constituency, will also meet the family members of six farmers who were killed in police firing during a protest earlier this week in Mandsaur district. Congress leaders, including vice-president Rahul Gandhi, were stopped from visiting the district on Thursday.
ALSO READ | Shiv Sena, Congress Slam Shivraj Singh Chouhan Over Fast 'Drama'
The Congress has demanded the imposition of President’s Rule in the state, saying Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has no right to continue as he is “evading” his constitutional duties. "One of the killed farmers was father of a 40-day- old child. Chouhan should have gone to meet his wife and the child and family of other farmers, who were killed. CM has been evading constitutional responsibility. We demand imposition of President's Rule in the state," said Leader of Opposition in MP Assembly Ajay Singh. Singh’s views were echoed by BJP ally Shiv Sena which said Chouhan should have visited the deceased farmers’ families instead of sitting on fast. Sena's media in-charge Apoorva Dubey, who reached Chouhan’s fast venue in Bhopal’s Dusshera Maidan, said, "Instead of sitting here, he should have gone to Mandsaur to comfort and help the farmers. Chouhan should sit indefinitely on the fast till the farmers' woes are mitigated, or we else will launch an indefinite fast in support of the farmers." ALSO READ | Rahul Mocks CM Chouhan's Fast, Blasts BJP Over Farmer Crisis in MP Chouhan’s fast coincided with the 10th day of farmers’ protests in the state. Meeting delegations of farmers’ units, Chouhan has reportedly promised them profitable prices for their produce.

 

 

As Chouhan Tries to Pacify Farmers, His Agri Minister Rules Out Loan Waiver
Bhopal,10 June : As Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan began his fast to placate angry farmers, the agriculture minister in his government, Gaurishankar Bisen, surprised many by claiming that the state government won’t waive off farm loans. “Why would we waive off farm loans if we are not charging the farmers any interest,” Bisen told reporters.His comment contradicts Chouhan’s statement a day before wherein the CM had said he was open for a dialogue with farmers. It is likely to fuel the anger among farmers a day after a debt-ridden farmer from Raisen committed suicide. The state government is under fire over the death of six people in police firing during the farmers’ protest in Mandsaur district. The deaths and the eventual flip-flop over the police action has fuelled farmers’ protests in several other states as well. ALSO READ | Another Farmer From Mandsaur Succumbs to Injuries From Police Lathicharge Chouhan had announced his ‘peace fast’ at a hurriedly convened press conference at his official residence on Friday evening. The Congress has dubbed the fast as a farce, with senior party leader Mukesh Nayak calling Chouhan “another Kejriwal”. ALSO READ | The Past, Present, and Future of Farmer Protest in Madhya Pradesh State Congress chief spokesperson KK Mishra said Chouhan should tell people whether his so-called fast is a "nautanki" (drama), an event or an act of repentance for his misdeeds that "set the state on fire".

 

 

Rahul Gandhi agrees for bail after arrest, state govt allows him to meet farmers at MP-Rajasthan border
New Delhi: June 8, 2017

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was arrested on his way to violence-hit Mandsaur, has agreed to seek bail after the administration allowed him to meet the agitating farmers at the Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border.
"After a long struggle, the administration has finally agreed to allow Rahul Gandhi to meet the families of those who were killed in police firing," former Congress MP Meenakshi Natarajan told reporters outside the guesthouse in Meemuch where scores of Congress leaders and workers were being kept after their arrest.
"We will try and meet them near the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border," she said.
LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN MANDSAUR
After his arrest for "breach of peace" under Section 151, Rahul initially had remained defiant and said he will not seek bail till he is allowed to meet the protesting farmers.
Families of the farmers who were killed by the Madhya Pradesh police in firing two days ago were waiting at the gate to meet Rahul but the police refused to allow them meet. Later on an agreement was reached for the two parties to meet near the inter-state border.
"Narendra Modi waived loans worth Rs.1,50,000 crore for the richest people in India...," Gandhi said shortly before he was detained by Madhya Pradesh police in Mandasur where five protesting farmers had been shot dead on Tuesday. "But they can't give right rates to the farmers, they cannot give compensation, or bonus, they can give only bullets to the farmers," he said.
"Spoke to families of deceased farmers on phone and conveyed my condolences. I am here to meet them and will not be deterred from voicing their concerns," Rahul said.
Rahul Gandhi was arrested when he was trying to go to Mandsaur, ground zero of the farmer protests, from Rajasthan. Along with him were other Congress leaders including former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh, Kamal Nath, and Sachin Pilot.
Prevented by the administration from entering violence-hit Mandsaur, Rahul had accused the Narendra Modi government of favouring the rich and giving farmers "only bullets".
Asked who was responsible for the killing of farmers, Rahul Gandhi said: "Narendra Modi and Chief Minister (Shivraj Singh Chauhan)".
In a tweet, the Congress leader said: "I just wanted to meet the farmers' families. They did not give any reason, just arrested me."
Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar accused the Congress of conspiring to instigate violence in Mandsaur. He dubbed Rahul Gandhi's decision to visit the state as part of his "irresponsible behaviour".
As the situation after farmers' protest improved, curfew was relaxed in Mandsaur from 4 pm to 6 pm today.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh sought to put the blame of the situation in Mandsaur on the Congress saying that the Congress should not forget that they are primarily responsible for the situation of farmers in the country.

ISIS Failed in India Despite Our Large Muslim Population: Rajnath Singh
New Delhi,3 June: Talking about his ministry on completion of three years of the Narendra Modi government, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said ISIS has been unable to establish itself in India despite the country having the second highest Muslim population in the world.
“India is the second largest country as far as Muslim population in the world is concerned. I can say with full responsibility that despite such a large population (of Muslims), the ISIS has not been able to set foot,” he said.
Barring two terror attacks in Punjab in 2015-16, the security situation in the country had by and large remained under control, the minister said at a press conference. "We have strived to provide security for the nation, with full responsibility."
He also added that about 90 ISIS sympathisers had been arrested across the country. “ISIS and Ansar Ul Ammah have been included in the list of terrorist organisations,” said Singh.
Five terrorists of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) group were given capital punishment as part of the government's focused efforts to check terrorism, Singh said.
According to the Union Minister, there had been a 25% reduction in Naxal attacks in 2014-17 as compared to 2011-14 (UPA tenure). He also said that the three years of NDA government had seen a 42% reduction in deaths in Naxal attacks as compared to last three years of the UPA.
Singh said there was 45% reduction in infiltration from Pakistan in the six months post the 2016 September 29 surgical strike at the Line of Control as compared to the corresponding period previous year.
The minister said the government would put an end to Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh also mentioned special initiatives being taken by the NDA government to provide skill and job opportunities to youths in Kashmir.

 

 

Former Justices Pan Rajasthan Judge's 'Gimmickry' on 'Impotent' Peacocks
Kolkata:1 June 2017

It started as a debate on cow. But the burning question now seems to be whether peacocks have sex.
A day after Rajasthan High Court judge Mahesh Chand Sharma said peacock was the national bird as it was bramhachari (celibate), former judges have panned him for the comments.
Former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguli said the claim was “uncalled for” and not “scientifically correct”.

“I have heard the mating calls of peacocks in Delhi’s Tuhglaq Road when I was an SC judge,” Ganguli, who has also served as the chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission, said.
Justice Ganguli also shot down Justice Sharma’s suggestion to make cow the national animal. “It’s his own imagination. Making the cow national animal would not mean they are protected. This is not the way to stop slaughtering of cows. A comprehensive view needs to be taken and not guided by sentiments,” he said.
Former Delhi High Court judge RS Sodhi said he was shocked and surprised by Justice Sharma’s comments. “I thought gimmickry was only for the politicians. There must be some sense somewhere. I am sure this judge is product of collegium system.”
“I am sorry for the peahens, they never had sex. Poor girls. The peacocks, they are all impotent in this country. I thought they are having a ball of a time dancing around with their feathers. Thought they dance to attract females but only to put a tear into her. What nonsense,” he added.
Justice Sodhi also has some choicest words to say on Sharma’s comments on cow and making it the national animal. “I am getting worried about this country. I can't smoke, I can't drink. I can't have my meat. I thought we were a free country and we have all our rights. If animals have rights, we have rights too. Next time I go to the club, I will have to order a peg of urine?”
“…No Indian is entitled to be the citizen of this country. Make cow the national animal and the next time please elect a bull or an ox as the Prime Minister,” the judge added.
Justice Sharma had suggested in his courtroom on Wednesday that cow should be made the national animal and the punishment for cow slaughter should be increased to life imprisonment.
His comments to CNN-News18 outside the court also raised eyebrows when he claimed that peacock is the national bird because it is "celibate".
“Peacock is a Bramhachari and it does not have sex with a peahen. The peahen gets pregnant drinking the tears of the peacock. Even lord Krishna carried the feather of a peacock on his head.”
Justice Sharma further said that in his 140-page verdict, he has quoted all the Vedas — Rigveda, Atharvaveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda — as well as Mahabharata and Ramayana, to show the significance of the cow.
“I have cited all these holy books to show how important cow is in our ancient literature. I have even quoted the Gita. This verdict is a call of the soul and even though it is not binding on all the other states except Rajasthan, I hope other states follow this verdict,” said Justice Sharma.
Sharma’s comments fuelled social media humour with the issue trending on Twitter.

CBSE Class 12 Results 2017 Declared: Raksha Gopal of Amity Noida Tops
New Delhi,28 May : Raksha Gopal, a student of Amity International School, Noida (UP) has topped the Central Board of Secondary Education CBSE Board Class 12 exams 2017 with 99.6%.
Bhumi Sawant De from DAV Public School Chandigarh stood second with 99.4% and Aditya Jain from Bhawan Vidyalaya Chandigarh tied third with Mannat Luthra at 99.2%.The much-awaited CBSE Class 12 board results were declared with moderation policy on May 28 at 10:20 am. The students can check the results on the board's website and the CBSE has advised them not to visit its office, reported PTI. The passing percentage in CBSE Class 12 exam falls to 82 percent from 83.05 percent last year. ALSO READ | Delhi University Cut-offs to be Same as Last Year. Here's You Need to Know
HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar spoke to CBSE Class 12 toppers in all three streams of Science, Commerce and Humanities. A total of 10,98,891 candidates — 6,38,865 boys and 4,60,026 girls — from 10,678 schools had registered for the Class 12 exams, which is a 2.82 percent increase from 2016. Delhi regions have the highest number of candidates (2,58,321), followed by Panchkula with 1,84,557 and Ajmer with 1,31,449 candidates. The exams were conducted from March 9 to April 29. ALSO READ | CBSE Class 12 Results 2017: Scored Below 80%? Here Are Your Options Students need to score at least 33 percent in each subject to pass. They must clear the 33%-mark in both practicals/internals and the main examination. For instance, if the total marks required in the written paper for Biology are 70, then the student needs to obtain at least 23.1 in order to pass.
ALSO READ | CBSE Class 12 Results 2017: Where You Stand in Delhi University Race
If the total internal marks are 30, students need to obtain 9.9 in order to pass the internals/practicals. Overall, a student should score 33 out of 100 in each subject.

 

 

Devendra Fadnavis' Chopper Crash-Lands in Latur, Chief Minister Safe
New Delhi,25 May :Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had a narrow escape on Thursday when his helicopter crash-landed in Latur. The Chief Minister tweeted that he and his team are absolutely safe. “The Sikorsky helicopter VT-CMM took off from Nilanda, Latur, at 12 pm. There were six people, including the Maharashtra CM. All six are safe. The pilot decided on emergency landing due to variable wind pattern. The helicopter was damaged during landing,” said a statement by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Chopper with Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis onboard crash-lands in Latur, CM and team escapes unhurt pic.twitter.com/1tQ4NXqeoo Fadnavis had gone to Latur in Marathwada for the BJP's 'Shivar Samwad Sabha', a statewide campaign to reach out to farmers. "I am safe. There was a minor accident involving the helicopter. People shouldn't believe in rumours," Fadnavis later told media persons. "My media advisor Ketan Pathak has suffered minor injuries. With the blessings of 11 crore people of Maharashtra, I am safe," Fadnavis added. "This is a new helicopter. We will seek information from police on this incident," the chief minister said. Recently, on a tour to Gadchiroli in Vidarbha region, his helicopter had suffered a technical snag, following which he had travel by road to Nagpur

 

 

Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave Passes Away at 60
NEW DELHI:18 May 2017

Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passed away on Thursday morning soon after he was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted the news on his verified account.
Dave, whose interests included working for the conservation of Narmada River and being an amateur pilot, was 60 years old.
He was born in Ujjain and joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in his youth. He was deputed to the Bharatiya Janata Party before the Madhya Pradesh elections in 2003. He was appointed the Minister of State (MoS) independent charge of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on July 5 last year.
A prolific writer, he penned nine books in Hindi that reflected his varied interests, including conservation of the Narmada River and freedom fighter Chandrasekhar Azad. His books have been translated to Marathi, Malayalam, Gujarati and Kannada. He also wrote a book in English named Beyond Copenhagen.
Some of his other books are: Yes I Can, So Can We; Creation to Cremation; Rafting Through a Civilization: A Travelogue; Shatabdi ke Paanch Kaale Panne; Sambhal Ke Rehna Apne Ghar Me Chhupe Hue Gaddaron Se; Mahanayak Chandrashekhar Azad; Roti Aur Kamal ki Kahani and Samagra Gram Vikas.
Dave was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2009 and was currently in his second term in the Upper House of Parliament. Beyond party politics, Dave was a multifaceted personality. He expressed an opposition to big dams and an admiration for Tripura’s CPI (M) chief minister Manik Sarkar for his “simplicity”.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi condoled the news of his death. “Shocked by his sudden demise,” Gandhi said adding that Dave was a soft spoken and gentle human being. “He will be fondly remembered for his humble personality,” she added. Gandhi also conveyed her condolences to members of Dave’s family as well as his admirers and supporters.
Dave was as much an activist as a politician — he once walked the length of the Narmada river in the memory of Chandrasekhar Azad from its source to its mouth — and flew a Cessna plane over it. As an MP he was part of several Parliamentary Committees, including Chairmanship of the Select Committee on The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, Select Committee on The Real Estate (Regulations & Development) Bill and the Select Committee on The Coal Mines (Special Provision) Bill.
“His smiling demeanour, pat on the back when things got rough, his encouraging words will be sorely missed (sic),” Irani said.

Opposition Disrupts House in Stormy First Session of UP Assembly
Lucknow:,15 may: The Uttar Pradesh Assembly witnessed chaotic scenes on Monday after the Opposition disrupted the House during the Governor’s address. Legislators of the Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party started protesting inside the Vidhan Sabha as soon as Governor Ram Naik started his address during a joint session of both houses. They raised banners and posters while constantly whistling which drowned out the address. Paper balls was also thrown at podium as the protestors occupied the well of the House. They were allegedly protesting against the state of law and order in the state. SP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Ram Govind Chowdhary, said, "Senior leaders of all the opposition parties (including SP and BSP) need to sit and talk about how to make a common strategy. In order to fight the communal forces, opposition should think of coming together or else communal forces will destroy everything." Echoing similar sentiments BSP’s leader of legislative party, Lalji Verma said, “In opposing the BJP, it's anti people policies, BSP is willing to work in common opposition inside the Assembly.” This occurred despite Speaker Hridaya Narain Dixit's appeal at an all-party meeting to ensure smooth proceedings. The governor was flanked by Dixit and Chairman of the Legislative Council Ramesh Yadav. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was present when the governor read the address despite the bedlam.

 

 

No Request Yet to Extradite Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed, Says Govt
New Delhi,14 may: Agencies investigating the 26/11 Mumbai attacks and the 1993 serial blasts in the country’s financial capital have so far made no requests for the extradition of Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim, the External Affairs Ministry has said in its reply to an RTI query. The query, PTI reported, seeks to know the action taken by the government to bring back fugitive gangster Ibrahim and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Saeed, the masterminds of the 1993 blasts and the 2008 attacks, respectively. ALSO READ | US Imposes Sanctions to Disrupt Funding of Hafiz Saeed's JuD, Lashkar "The ministry of external affairs has not received any request for extradition/deportation/return in respect of Hafiz Sayeed and Dawood Ibrahim from the investigating agency concerned in India," the ministry said.
Ibrahim is the main accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case in Mumbai in which around 260 people were killed, and more than 700 suffered injuries. He fled the country post the bombings and is understood to be hiding in Pakistan at present.
Saeed, also the co-founder of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror group, is accused of plotting the militant attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, in which 166 people were killed by a group of terrorists who had entered the city through a sea route.
In April, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had stated that there was no doubt that Dawood was still in Pakistan. During the last 10 years, India has sent several dossiers to Pakistan in this regard, saying Ibrahim is accused in the serial bomb blasts case.
In 2011, P Chidambaram, the then home minister in the UPA government had also stated that Ibrahim was based in Karachi. He had also said that India would continue to push its case to bring to justice the people who had planned the 2008 attack.
India has for long been advocating an extradition treaty between SAARC countries in order to ensure quick action against those involved in terrorist activities.

 

 

 

5 judges of 5 faiths on Supreme Court's triple talaq bench

NEW DELHI 11 May:2017

A unique combination of five Supreme Court judges belonging to different faiths will start hearing final arguments on the constitutional validity of triple talaq from Thursday, the first day of the SC's summer vacation.
For a sensitive issue like this, the lead petition is aptly titled "Quest for Equality vs Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind". And hearing the case will be five judges from five different communities — CJI J S Khehar (Sikh) and Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), R F Nariman (Parsi), U U Lalit (Hindu) and Abdul Nazeer (Muslim).
However, it needs to be mentioned here that a judge decides a case only on the consideration of merit and nothing else as s/he takes oath that "I will bear true faith and solemnly affirm faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment perform the duties of my office without fear or favour, affection or ill will and that I will uphold the Constitution and the laws."
Tagged with the case are six petitions by Khuran Sunnath Society, Shayara Bano, Aafreen Rehman, Gulshan Parveen, Ishrat Jahan and Atiya Sabri.

Fodder Scam: No Double Jeopardy, Lalu to Stand Trial for Conspiracy, Rules SC
New Delhi:8 May: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav suffered a major setback on Monday as the Supreme Court ruled that the former Bihar CM would stand trial for conspiracy charges in the fodder scam case.
The top court overturned an order of the Jharkhand High Court to allow a plea by the CBI which had opposed the dropping of the conspiracy charge. It said the High Court should have been consistent in its findings and should not have given different views for different sets of accused in the case. The top court also pulled up the CBI for delay in appealing against the high court order in the case. It said the CBI director should have looked into “this important matter” and deputed an officer to pursue the case. Speaking to CNN-News18, BJP leader and former Bihar deputy CM Sushil Modi said the Supreme Court has asked for the trial to conclude in the case in nine months. "(Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar has to take a call now," he added. Nitish Kumar's JD(U) is in alliance with the Lalu-led RJD in the state. Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted in the fodder scam case and awarded five-year sentence in October 2013, disbarring him from electoral politics. Lalu is currently out on bail. The Jharkhand High Court had, however, dropped the conspiracy charge against him in one of the cases in 2014, following which the CBI appealed against the move. The charges are in connection with the case pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 96 lakh during Lalu’s chief ministerial tenure. The High Court had dropped IPC 120, 120B, 409, 420, 471, 477, 477A and 13(2) under Prevention of Corruption Act against Prasad, giving him relief under section 300 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act and Article 22 of the Constitution which states that a person once convicted or acquitted cannot to be tried for the same offence again. A special CBI court in Ranchi had convicted Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad and 44 others in the case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 37.70 crore from Chaibasa treasury in 1994-95 in the fodder scam.

 

 

 

Pakistan Violated Ceasefire Every Single Day in 2015 and 2016, Says MHA
New Delhi: May 7, At least one ceasefire violation was reported daily along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 and 2016, the Home Minister has said in its reply to an RTI query, adding that 23 security personnel were killed in two years. The Home Ministry also said that 1,142 terror incidents were reported in J&K between 2012 and 2016 in which 236 security personnel and 90 civilians were killed, PTI reported. In the same period, 507 terrorists were killed in encounters, the ministry said. Compared to 220 terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir in 2012, there were 322 incidents in 2016 in which 82 security personnel and 15 civilians were killed, the RTI reply said.
It said in 2015, 39 security personnel and 17 civilians were killed in 208 terror incidents while 108 terrorists were killed in encounters. While 47 security personnel and 28 civilians were killed in the state, 110 terrorists were killed in encounters in 2014, the reply said.
ALSO READ | Five Ways India Can Avenge Mutilation of Its Soldiers by Pakistan
The Home Ministry said that in 2012, 15 security personnel and as many civilians were killed in 220 terror incidents, and 72 terrorists were killed in encounters. In 2013, 53 security personnel and 15 civilians were killed in 170 terror incidents in J&K with security forces killing 67 terrorists in encounters."There is a new trend these days. Whenever the army surrounds militants in an area, messages are sent on social media platforms and residents from nearby places gather there, slowing down operations," Major Gen (retd) GD Bakshi said.
On May 1, the bodies of two Indian soldiers were mutilated by Pakistan’s Border Action Team in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district. The team had infiltrated 250 meters into the Indian territory to target a patrol party, while the Pakistan army provided it cover fire from across the border.

 

 

 

South Asia' satellite launched successfully
Banglore, 5th May. The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-F09 (GSLV-F09) on Friday successfully launched India's gift to South Asia - the Geostationary communication satellite-9 (Gsat-9) + - into a Geostationary orbit, also making the it the first Indian satellite to use an electric propulsion. The launch took place from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR) in Sriharikota and the achieved orbit is very close to the intended one. This was only the second operational flight of the GSLV- which had earned the dubious nickname 'Naughty Boy' for its poor track record- with Cryogenic Upper Stage(CUS). The Gsat-9, which will have a footprint that extends all over South Asia, marks India's first 'space diplomacy' endeavour allowing six neighbouring countries to use the benefits of the satellite without having to spend anything on the project. India has incurred the entire cost - estimated to be Rs 450 crore (including launch costs and other variables), of which just the satellite cost is Rs 235 crore. India will now have a secure hotline with the six nations that can be used during disaster management and other emergencies. The 12 transponders in the Ku band that the satellite has put into space will provide an array of applications and services-television, Direct-to-Home (DTH), tele-education, telemedicine, Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) and disaster management support-to India's neighbours. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, just weeks after he took the office in 2014, had announced this major project that was initially conceived as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) satellite. He had said that this was India's priceless gift to her neighbours. However, Pakistan, whose proposal to invest and be part of the project from the planning stage was turned down by India as it was PM Modi's brainchild, opted out of the project citing security concerns.

 

Will Form Grand Alliance to Stop BJP in Lok Sabha Elections: Lalu Yadav
Bihar : 3 May 2017

RJD Chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has vowed to form a grand alliance against the BJP to stop the ‘saffron brigade’ in the next Lok Sabha elections.
In an exclusive interview to Etv, on the sidelines of RJD workers’ meet in Rajgir, Lalu elaborated on his plans to counter the Modi-wave and denied any rift with current Bihar Nitish Kumar.
“I will form a Bihar-like Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) for the next Lok Sabha elections. To counter communal forces, the RJD will hold a huge rally in August this year. I invite Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav, Sonia Gandhi, Nitish Kumar, Biju Patnaik and others who have secular credentials to join us. Bihar has been an example in defeating communal forces and we will succeed again if we overcome our internal differences,” said the former Railway Minister.
Training his guns on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the RJD chief accused Modi of befooling people and claimed that the PM was not doing anything for the development of the poor.

Main Modi aur Yogi dono ka patta saaf kar dunga (I will finish political prospects of both Modi and Yogi),” he said.
The RJD leader also alleged that Modi and Yogi were only following the RSS agenda of creating a Hindu Rashtra. Taking a jibe at RSS and BJP top brass, Lalu challenged them to reveal the ‘real leaders of their dream Hindu Rashtra’ – Brahmins or Dalits.
Lalu also urged Nitish Kumar and the Congress to bury their differences in the larger interest, before denying any division within the ruling grand alliance in Bihar.
When asked about the series of corruption allegations levelled against him by leader of opposition Sushil Kumar Modi, Lalu accused the BJP of conspiring to create fissures in the RJD-JDU alliance.

 

Delhi MCD Elections: Clean Sweep For BJP in All 3 Corporations, AAP Decimated
New Delhi,26 April: The BJP was sailing well above the halfway mark in all the three corporations in the MCD elections with the Aam Aadmi Party ahead of the Congress in the fight for a distant second spot.Three hours into counting, the BJP was ahead in over 70 each out of the 104 seats in the North and South and close to 50 in the 64 seats in the East. AAP was coming in a distant second in the South and East while it was in a close fight with the Congress for the runner up spot in the North. Delhi BJP unit chief Manoj Tiwari thanked Delhiites for the victory. “We dedicate this win to the martyrs of Sukma. For the next few months, a clean and healthy Delhi is our mission.” The party has said it will not celebrate the win in view of the Sukma attack in which 25 CRPF jawans were killed. ALSO READ| Delhi MCD Elections: 7 Reasons Why BJP is The Winner AAP has asked questions over the election results saying the electronic voting machines were rigged - a charge it had first raised after the recent state elections which were swept by the BJP. "This is not a Modi wave, this is an EM wave," Delhi Rural Development Minister Gopal Rai said. In 2012, the BJP all the three corporations - North, South and East- were won by the BJP. Exit polls this time had predicted a win for the party in more than 200 out of the 270 wards, going by latest indications it was set to meet that target. The elections, which witnessed a fierce battle of ballots among the ruling BJP, the Congress and the AAP, were held on Sunday and the results and are likely to have political ramifications beyond the national capital's borders. It was a high-octane campaigning by the three major players and various other smaller parties and the voter turnout was 53.58 per cent, a shade higher than the 2012 MCD elections. The verdict is expected to reshape the political equations in the country's power capital. The result could be an indicator on whether the sway of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which had stunned all by bagging 67 seats out of 70 in the Delhi Assembly polls, still holds.

 

 

College Cut Offs to Fall Next Year as Boards Scrap Marks Moderation Policy.
New Delhi: 25 april 2017
Doing away with disparity in marking system of various education boards, Union Human Resources Development Ministry has asked the boards to scrap the marks moderation policy, under which extra marks were awarded to students in certain papers considered to be difficult.
In a meeting called by the HRD ministry, Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), Indian School Certificate (ISC), Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) and state boards unanimously agreed to do away with the marks moderation policy.
This, in turn, will bring down the high cut offs for admission at prestigious colleges and universities.
As per the marks moderation policy, up to 15% extra marks were awarded to students in certain papers, which were considered difficult. CBSE will do away with this policy starting this academic session.
The move comes after CBSE, last year, had requested the HRD ministry to create consensus on phasing out of marks moderation policy, which inadvertently led to spike in marks obtained by students of certain boards.
“There were 32 representatives from the state boards, along with the representatives of ICSE and ISC. Schools affiliated to CBSE from the Union Territories and Arunachal Pradesh were also present at the meeting chaired by education secretary Anil Swarup. All stakeholders agreed to scrap the marks moderation policy,” said a source at CBSE.
The discussion revolved around removing disparity in scores “so that commonality is achieved in the declaration of results.”
The secretaries present also agreed on giving “grace marks for students falling short by a whisker”.
“Such cases will be reflected on the website, thus making the entire procedure transparent. The discussion also included the formation of a common curriculum across the country,” said the source at CBSE.

Setback for CM Pinarayi as SC Orders Him to Reinstate Sacked Police Chief Senkumar
New Delhi,24 April : The Supreme Court has ordered the Kerala government to reinstate ousted DGP TP Senkumar causing a major embarrassment to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
This would mean present incumbent Loknath Behera would have to be removed from the post. The court held Senkumar's removal was arbitrary and not as per established law.
A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta delivered its judgment on a plea filed by Senkumar seeking his reinstatement.
Speaking to CNN-News18 after the verdict, Senkumar said: “This verdict will help other police officers who face similar problems. I want to thank the legal team that backed me.”
Senkumar was shifted out by the newly elected Vijayan government in May 2016 citing lapses in the probing the Jisha murder case and the firework tragedy at the Puttingal temple. Senkumar, who was transferred as head of the Police Housing Construction Corporation, did not take charge and challenged the decision in court.
The apex court set aside the order of the Kerala High Court which had upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal's (CAT) decision that had not found fault with the state government's decision to transfer Senkumar from the post of the state police chief.
The Kerala government had on April 11 defended in the apex court its decision to transfer Senkumar, saying he had protected "erring" police officials in the 2016 Puttingal temple fire tragedy in which 110 people were killed.
The state government had told the court that Senkumar's transfer was not a punishment for the "lapse" which had led to the April 10, 2016 incident but it was for how he had handled the fallout of the tragedy.
On April 10 last year, when Senkumar was Kerala's DGP, there was an explosion leading to a blaze after a fireworks display went awry at Puttingal Temple in Kollam district. As many as 110 people had died while over 300 were injured in the incident

 

 

North Korean Missile Explodes on Launch Day After Military Parade
Seoul,16 April : A North Korean missile exploded during launch Sunday, US and South Korean officials said, a high-profile failure that comes as a powerful US aircraft super carrier approaches the Korean Peninsula in a show of force.It wasn't immediately clear what kind of missile was test-fired from the east coast city of Sinpo. But the failure will sting in Pyongyang because it comes a day after one of the biggest North Korean propaganda events of the year— celebrations of the 105th birthday of late North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, the current leader's grandfather. The North's test firing can be seen as a message of defiance to the Trump administration in Washington, coming as it does on the day U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is set to arrive in Seoul for talks on North Korea. President Donald Trump was uncharacteristically quiet about the failed launch. In a statement, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Trump and his military team "are aware of North Korea's most recent unsuccessful missile launch. The president has no further comment."
Washington and Seoul will try hard to figure out what exactly North Korea fired. This matters because while North Korea regularly launches short-range missiles, it is also developing mid-range and long-range missiles meant to target U.S. troops in Asia and, eventually, the U.S. mainland. The ultimate goal is to have a full array of nuclear-tipped missiles in response to what Pyongyang says is hostility by Washington and Seoul meant to topple its government. North Korea is thought to have a small arsenal of atomic bombs and an impressive array of short- and medium-range missiles. Many outside analysts believe that North Korea has not yet mastered the technology to build warheads small enough to place on long-range missiles, though some civilian experts say North Korea can already build nuclear-tipped shorter range missiles that have South Korea and Japan within its striking range. The U.S. Pacific Command said in a statement that Sunday's missile exploded on launch. South Korea's Defense Ministry said it was analyzing exactly how the North Korean launch failed. Neither military knew what kind of missile was fired.In Seoul, South Korea's presidential office convened a national security council meeting to examine security postures. Always high animosity has risen on the Korean Peninsula in recent months, as the United States and South Korea conduct annual war games that North Korea claims are invasion preparation and the North prepared for Saturday's anniversary celebrations. A

 

 

 

India to Wait and Watch on Jadhav, Banks on Diplomatic Channels.
New Delhi: 12 April 2017

India will wait for Pakistan government's response to its protests over death penalty to alleged spy Kulbhushan Jadhav and not react in a hurry, sources have told CNN-News18.
That is because New Delhi is certain that Pakistan will not carry out the hanging sentence immediately as it would exhaust all options available to the neighbouring country.
In the meanwhile India will explore all diplomatic options for saving Jadhav from the death row, sources said, adding that this was also the suggestion given to the government by security agencies.
In a bid to ramp up pressure through mutual friends, India is likely to raise the issue with US National Security Advisor H R McMaster who is visiting New Delhi and Islamabad next week.
Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit has been apparently told to provide the evidence against Jadhav and give him a fair trial following the rules of diplomacy.
The government is also trying to understand the real reason behind the hurry in which a Pakistan military court sentenced Indian national Jadhav to the gallows for "espionage and subversive activities" and the urgency with which Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa confirmed it.
Security agencies are also learnt to have suggested to the government not to deal with the issue through backchannels but to keep pressurising Islamabad through official channels. That is because they feel opening up of backchannels may undermine the Indian position.
Jadhav was arrested reportedly from Balochistan after he entered from Iran in March 2016. He was accused by Pakistan of being a "R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing) agent” and planning "subversive activities" in the country.
The Indian government, on the other hand, believed that he was picked up from Iran.
The case took a turn In December 2016, when Pakistan Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz told the Pakistan Senate that there was not enough evidence against Jadhav.
However, in March, Aziz retracted his statement and ruled out any possibility of extraditing Jadhav back to India.
Aziz told the Senate that Pakistan never said there was any lack of evidence against him. "We have filed an FIR and prepared a case to prosecute Indian state actor for his subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan," he said.
Aziz said Islamabad had shared a dossier with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on New Delhi's involvement in internal affairs of Pakistan, and in subversive and terrorist activities in the country.

Two Voices in Pak? Army Sends Jadhav to Gallows, But Sharif wants Peace With India
New Delhi, April 11, 2017, slamabad: Pakistan is a peace-loving country which wants good relations with neighbours, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday amid rising tensions over the death sentence handed to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.
“Pakistan is a peace loving country. It has maintained good relations with its neighbours. We want cooperation, not conflicts. Pakistan will not hesitate to extend a hand of friendship,” he said, indicating that the civilian leadership was not fully on board the decision of the military courts to sentence Jadhav to death. Sharif, however, added that Pakistan’s armed forces “were fully capable of and prepared” to respond to any threat. The Pakistani military had on Tuesday announced that an army court has sentenced Jadhav to death after finding him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" and the army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has approved his execution. Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said the death sentence should serve as a warning to those "plotting" against the country. The defence minister further said that Jadhav's "confession" was a public document and if India raises the issue of his death sentence, Islamabad will reply to New Delhi. Reacting strongly, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar in New Delhi summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit and gave a demarche, which said the proceedings that have led to the sentence against Jadhav are "farcical in the absence of any credible evidence" against him. New Delhi has said it will regard as "premeditated murder" if Pakistan carries out the death sentence against Jadhav "without observing basic norms of law and justice".

 

 

Schools Picked to Hold Anantnag Bypoll Torched in Valley's Violent Weekend.
Srinagar: 10 April, 2017

Two schools that were to serve as election centres in the bypoll to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat on Wednesday were torced by anti-India protesters overnight, capping a violent weekend in the Valley that saw eight deaths.
The incident was the fourth arson attack reported in the Valley where bypolls to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat were held on Sunday. The bypoll saw dismal turnout of 6.5% as sporadic violence, clashes and attacks on polling booths kept voters away.
Eight protesters were killed when the security forces opened fire during the voting process. While two people each were killed Pakherpora in Chrar-e- Sharief and Beerwah areas of Budgam district, two more deaths were reported from Chadoora area of the same district and another in Magam town, which is known as the gateway to Gulmarg. Another person was killed in Barsoo in Ganderbal district.
Mobs attacked the polling stations, damaging the EVMs and ransacking the polling stations, at nearly 100 places in Budgam.
Separatists have called a two-day shutdown and protest against the civilian deaths.
Late on Sunday, security forces also foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir and killed four terrorists. "A major infiltration bid from across the LoC was foiled by the Army troops in Keran sector yesterday (Sunday) evening," Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia told IANS.
"A search operation is going on in the area," he said.

Indian, Chinese navies rescue hijacked merchant ship in Gulf of Aden
NEW DELHI,9 april : Notwithstanding the strain in ties, the navies of India and China carried out a well coordinated operation to rescue a merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden which was hijacked by Somali pirates last night.
After getting a distress call about the attack on the cargo vessel OS 35, Indian Navy sent warships INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash while the Chinese Navy also responded to the call for help by moving in its missile frigate Yulin.
The merchant ship, with 19 Filipino crew members, was travelling from Kelang in Malaysia to the port city of Aden in Yemen when it came under attack from Somali pirates.
While the Indian Navy deployed a helicopter that provided air cover, the Chinese side sent in a team of 18 personnel to sanitise the merchant ship registered in the Pacific island of Tuvalu. The two Indian warships were in the region as part of an overseas deployment.
"In a show of international maritime cooperation against piracy, a boarding party from the nearby Chinese Navy ship went on board the merchant ship, while the Indian Naval helicopter provided air cover for the operation. It has been established that all 19 Filipino crew members are safe," Navy spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said.
The well coordinated operation by navies of India and China comes amid strain in ties between the two Asian giants over a range of issues including the Dalai Lama's visit to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh, China's opposition to India's NSG membership and Beijing blocking India's effort to get JeM chief Masood Azhar declared as global terrorist by the UN.
At the end of the operation, the Chinese Navy thanked the Indian navy for its role in successful operation. The Indian Navy also complimented the Chinese side.
The Indian Navy had swung into action after getting a call from UK's Maritime Trade Organisation UKMTO that keeps a vigil on movement of the ships in the region. Pakistani and Italian warships had also responded to calls for help and reached the spot.
The Indian warships established contact with the captain of the merchant vessel who along with the crew had locked themselves in a strong room on board as per standard operating procedure.
An Indian Navy helicopter undertook aerial reconnaissance of the merchant vessel at night and at sunrise to sanitise the upper decks of the merchant ship and ascertain the location of pirates, if still on board.
The pirates had fled from the ship after warships of India and China moved in.
"Indian Navy's helicopter cover, and on receiving the 'all clear signal' that no pirates were visible on the upper decks, some crew members gradually emerged from the strong room and carried out a search of the ship and ascertained that the pirates had fled the ship at night," the navy spokesperson said.
The captain of the merchant vessel profusely thanked the Indian Naval ships for their response and for providing air cover, he said.

 

 

 

Mitchell Starc Ends Up Sending Messages to 'Wrong' Virat Kohli
New Delhi,2 april Australian pacer Mitchell Starc has, inadvertently, left a message meant for Virat Kohli on a parody account of the India captain.
Starc, who was congratulating Kohli for the series win, mistook the parody account to be the real one.
He wrote on Twitter, "Hey friend :) Hopefully I don't have to look for a new ipl team?? Haha media hey!
"Didn't get a chance to have a proper catch up mate but Congrats on the series win and on your summer personally I hope that shoulder is on the mend and not too bad. Good luck for the ipl, here s hoping to an RCB win. Cheers mate."
The tweet soon went viral, leaving Starc a bit embarrassed. The Australian later deleted his tweets.
The parody account holder named @imVkohlli shared the screenshots of Starc's tweets from his Twitter handle.
View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
Starc left the recently concluded India-Australia series mid-way after sustaining a stress fracture on his foot. He played in the first two Tests and picked up five wickets.
Starc had pulled out of this year's Indian Premier League season, ending his association with his franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore to focus on his rehabilitation ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in June.

 

 

In Massive ED Crackdown, 700 Shell Firms Found at One Mumbai Address.
New Delhi, 1 April 2017:

The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday launched a nationwide crackdown against shell companies and conducted searches at 100 locations across 16 states to check the circulation of black money.
Multiple teams, comprising 300 officers, visited these locations and raided the premises of firms in prominent places like Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Patna, Ranchi, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Bengaluru among others.
The agency reportedly found more than 700 shell companies at one address in Mumbai.
It has also reportedly looked into shell companies allegedly linked to YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and former chief engineer of Noida, Yadav Singh.
The action is being carried out under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to check money laundering and illegal foreign exchange transactions.
The action is part of the mandate given to the ED under a Special Task Force (STF) that was recently created by the government on the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The agency had recently attached assets worth crores of such firms.
Shell companies are defined as those firms which are set up by nominal paid-up capital, high reserves and surplus on account of receipt of high share premium, investment in unlisted companies, no dividend income, high cash in hand, private companies as majority shareholders, low turnover and operating income, nominal expenses, nominal statutory payments and stock in trade and minimum fixed asset.

TIMES NOW Investigation: Watch how merit is murdered.
Mathura, March 28, 2017

Mafia has infiltrated into education system across the state of Uttar Pradesh, and is killing the future of honest, sincere and hardworking students.
Answer sheets are being supplied to students writing exams in government and private colleges in Mathura. Police, teachers, parents, students, their friends and their relatives are all involved in the cheating racket.
The Principals of these colleges are either in denial about the racket or are conspiring secretly with the mafia.
TIMES NOW has found that walls and windows of a particular college in Raya, 20 kms from Mathura, that it visited are broken by the mafia so that relatives and touts can throw pieces of paper to students writing exams.
TIMES NOW has also found that police is in connivance with the touts and money is exchanging hands at different levels so that the malpractice continues.
TIMES NOW tracked these cheats in Raya, Mathura.
Tap to watch Part 1 of the TIMES NOW investigation .
After their officers were found to be snoozing when students were openly cheating in school exams, the state police have taken note of the TIMES NOW investigation.
Open cheating in Haryana schools
Schools in Haryana have turned into a cheating den for corrupt children. Open cheating is going in government schools in the state.
During the exams, friends of students are seen climbing the wall and throwing chits into classrooms.
Opposition leaders across parties have blamed the BJP for not ensuring such incidents don't occur.
Meanwhile, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar has assured that state governments need to ensure that this does not continue.
"We will be in coordination and meeting with them. We will assure that such actions will not continue," Javadekar told TIMES NOW.

In Western UP, Yogi's Hindu Yuva Vahini Cadre Base Swells Overnight
Meerut, March 26, : Almost 15 years ago, in April 2002, right after the devastating Godhra riots in Gujarat, the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Adityanath Yogi created a right-wing Hindu force with a handful of youth, which he named Hindu Yuva Vahini.
His private army, with its own constitution, gradually grew into several thousand, even edged out the Sangh from East UP, and established its primacy, and the supremacy of Adityanath, over every other Hindu outfit and leader.
Over last 15 years, with successive electoral victories, the attraction for Adityanath and his ‘fringe’ outfit kept increasing.
So it is only natural that with its chief patron now having taken oath as the chief minister of the state, the ‘fringe’ outfit, which may possibly be the biggest non-Sangh Hindu group in the state, has now been mainstreamed.
In Meerut alone, as News18 found out after spending time with HUV’s district president and his new recruits, the cadre has grown from a few hundred to thousands in just one week. “At this rate, we would have enlisted at least 4000 members by the end of this month from just Meerut alone,” says Sachin Mittal.
Sachin Mittal’s house in Meerut’s Mangal Pandey Nagar doubles up as the official district headquarters of the Hindu Yuva Vahini. Mittal has been holding the flag of the Vahini in Western UP for a while now.
At the “office”, a huge poster of a smiling Yogi Adityanath greets you. Inside the office sits Mittal surrounded by a large group of 20-somethings. Over him hangs the poster of Bharat Mata. They have come from far-off districts to join Yogi’s outfit.
Mittal explains to them, “We have to be very careful. With Yogi Ji in power, we are being watched very carefully by the opposition and the media. We must not give them cause to attack us. Please, don’t do anything to embarrass the chief minister,” a 25-year-old from Shamli nods attentively.
A 17-year-old interjects him and says, “Bhaiya, Hapur se 50 ladke judna chahte hain. Yahan bula loon unko? (50 boys from Hapur want to join the outfit. Should I call them here?)” Yogi Adityanath’s appointment has brought a massive change in Mittal’s life too. Earlier, he would spend hours on his farm in Abdullahpur village.
But lately, he has had to spend most of his day flooded with phone calls and drop-in requests from those who want to join. Based on the enthusiasm he’s witnessed in just his district, and the information he’s obtained from his colleagues spread across the state, Mittal claims that lakhs of youth would have joined their organisation from across the state by the end of the month.
Though Mittal says the RSS is their “parent outfit”, the growth of the Hindu Yuva Vahini will have even some Sangh Parivar outfits worried.
Yogi’s personal popularity, says Mittal, has driven membership up. “I have been with Yogi Ji for seven years. In the old days, whenever I used to take people to meet him in Delhi, only a few people would come. Now, people come to me every day and ask me if I can set up a meeting. People have recognized that he is a man of action. That is why they want to join him,” he says.
Adityanath’s ascent to the top was on the back of his hardline Hindutva stances. From the “purification drive” to “re-convert” Christians to Hinduism to the ‘Love Jihad’ bogey in 2014 to the polarising statements after the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri in 2015 – where Adityanath went, Hindu Yuva Vahini followed.
In 2007, during the Gorakhpur riots, the outfit was accused of setting fire to a local mazaar and inciting communal hatred. But what role will they play now that their leader is the CM? The newly-made anti-Romeo Squads in UP have officials worried about the rise of vigilante groups. Ashish Kapoor, a Hindu Yuva Vahini worker, assures us that it will not be the case.
“Sachin Bhaiyya has given us strict instructions that we are not to take the law into our own hands. We had to go out on the streets earlier because the government did nothing. Now, we have a hardworking CM. There is no need for us to interfere with the administration’s work,” he says.
“However,” says Mittal, “our job will be to become watchdogs. The police have been doing a stellar job for the last few days but sometimes, they may miss something. It will be our job to tell them if something wrong is going on.
Apart from the anti-Romeo drive and cow protection, we will also use our network to find out about illegal activities taking place anywhere. For example, we all know that Sotiganj in Meerut is infamous for stolen bikes and cars being cut into pieces and sold for scrap. We will ensure that any such activity is brought to the notice of the police.”
Sotiganj, incidentally, is a predominantly Muslim area. Mittal himself has met Adityanath on several occasions. “Yogi Ji has come to Meerut several times. In 2011, 2013 and 2015, during his visit here, he made it a point to stop at my house for lunch. He met me, an ordinary worker, before he even met the local MP,” he says proudly.
During lunch, Mittal boasts about how the Gorakhnath Math in Gorakhpur has a Dalit head cook and Muslim servants. He then sets out in his car to take a round of the city. He stops at a local shop and is greeted with a cheery “Jai Yogi!” (Hail Yogi!) by the shopkeeper. Mittal smiles and says, “People have been saying this to me for the last seven years. But now the enthusiasm is different.”
As he heads back into his office, another group of young boys await him, ready to be absorbed into the outfit. “Ab sangathan badhega (now the outfit will grow),” he says.

 

 

Fire in factory in Narela, one worker injured; several feared trapped
New Delhi, March 25, 2017

A fire broke out in a plastic factory in Delhi's Narela on Saturday morning.
One factory worker has been injured and several others are feared to be trapped inside.
As many as 25 fire tenders have been rushed to the spot.

Yogi Adityanath makes surprise visit to Hazratganj station, says police should be people friendly.
Lucknow, March 23, 2017

Yogi Adityanath, the new Uttar Pradesh chief minister, made a surprise visit to the Hazratganj police station in Lucknow.
Following an inspection of the police station, Yogi Adityanath said police should be people-friendly and steps will be taken to maintain law and order in the state.
The BJP fought the election in Uttar Pradesh on the development plank and promised to improve the law and order situation in the state.
Hours after taking charge, Yogi Adityanath directed the state police to adopt a zero tolerance towards crime and take immediate steps towards improving law and order in the state.
Yogi Adityanath, in less than a week since assuming office, has taken several big decisions in line with the promises made by the party in its election manifesto.
The chief minister ordered the state police to form anti-Romeo squads to check eve-teasing. These squads, to be deputed near schools and colleges, are carrying out awareness drives across cities. In Lucknow zone, the IG will monitor these squads.
Yogi Adityanath also ordered a blanket ban on cow smuggling and said zero tolerance would be exercised against offenders. This in in addition to the government's crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses--the BJP had promised to close illegal slaughterhouses in the state in its election manifesto.
Since Yogi Adityanath took oath as the chief minister on March 19, several illegal slaughterhouses have been sealed in Meerut, Ghaziabad, Allahabad among other places.
On Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister banned consumption of gutkha, pan masala in state government offices. While visiting the old CM's office in Lucknow, Yogi Adityanath was furious to see paan stains all over the office.
On Tuesday, Yogi Adityanath met Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma and is learnt to have discussed the construction of a huge Ramayana museum in Ayodhya. The Centre has already allocated a fund of Rs 154 crore for the ambitious project.

Waitlist Passengers to Get Confirmed Seats in Premier Trains From April 1.
New Delhi, March 22, 2017

New Delhi: Come April and a passenger can avail the opportunity of travelling in Rajdhani or Shatabdi trains even if he or she has booked tickets in other mail/express trains for the same destinations.
Railways is launching a new scheme from April 1 under which waitlisted passengers can get confirmed accommodation in the next alternative train if they opt for the option while booking their tickets.
As per the scheme, there would be no extra charges taken from the passenger or any refund provided for the difference of fare.
Known as 'Vikalp', the alternative train accommodation scheme aims to utilise vacant berths in many premier trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and other special services such as Suvidha trains in all major routes.
Railways has to forgo about Rs 7,500 crore in a year in a refund to customers for cancellation of tickets for various reasons.
Describing the scheme as a "passenger friendly" move to provide confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers in alternative trains, a senior Railway Ministry official said, "We aim to achieve the twin objectives of providing confirmed accommodation to waitlisted passengers and ensure optimal utilisation of available accommodation by this scheme."
After the introduction of the flexi-fare system in premier trains, some berths are going vacant while at the same time many passengers could not be accommodated in other Mail/Express trains due to huge demand.
"In any case, these berths are running vacant. So whatever we can save in refund is going to be a neat save for us. No additional cost is involved to railways so anything we save will be earnings for railways," the official added.
Currently, railways are running the scheme in six routes including Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Jammu and Delhi-Mumbai sectors since November 1, on a pilot basis.
The system is available for online ticketing now but it will be extended to over the counter sale also as the required software is being readied for the purpose.
As per the scheme, waitlisted passengers of a train would be given an option of getting confirmed accommodation in the next train running on the route.
While there is a huge demand for train berths in certain sector round the year, some routes witness increased rush during the festive season.
The passenger, if opts for the 'Vikalp' scheme while booking tickets, will get SMS alert on his/her mobile phone about getting confirmed accommodation in the alternative train.
The name of the passenger who has been provided accommodation in the alternative train will not figure in the waitlisted charts of their original train, the official said, adding that a separate list of passengers transferred in alternative train will be pasted along with the confirmed and waitlist charts.

Ram temple a 'sensitive issue', solve it outside court, says Supreme Court
New Delhi, 21st March 2017.
 After BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy sought urgent hearing of Ayodhya Ram temple dispute in the Supreme Court, the court has asked the parties concerned to sit together and arrive at a consensus. The apex court has said that it is a sensitive and sentimental issue and it should be settled amicably. The court also asked Swamy to consult the parties and inform them about the decision on March 31. "Sort out the issue through negotiations and come to a conclusion which could be agreed upon by all petitioners and repsondents," Supreme Court told Swamy. The Supreme Court ensured that if the negotiation break down then it will intervene and ppoint a mediator for resolution.  Subramanian Swamy said, "Ram temple should be made where Lord Ram was born. The Saudi Arabian clerics have told me very clearly that mosques can be made anywhere," Swamy said. The case has been pending for the past six years as the court froze the judgment by the Allahabad High Court that said that lord Ram was born under the dome of the mosque and Hindus have a right to worship there.The mosque that is believed to be built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Babar was pulled down by Kar Sevaks and a makeshift temple was made in its place.  Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted a few minutes later and said, "I hope Supreme Court decides the Contempt petition which is pending since demolition of Babri Masjid 1992." 

 

 

Idea and Vodafone India Merge to Form Country's Largest Telecom Company.
New Delhi, 20 March 2017

Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone India announced a merger on Monday to form the largest telecommunication company in India.
Apart from the two, AB Group will have the right to buy 9.5 percent stake at Rs 130 per share, according to the filing.
According to an earlier report by brokerage firm CLSA, the merged entity will have revenues of over Rs 80,000 crore. The combined entity will have 43 percent revenue market share and a 40
percent active subscriber base. The behemoth will account for over 25 percent of allocated spectrum and will have to sell about 1 percent to comply with spectrum cap norms.
It will be an all-share merger of Vodafone India (excluding Vodafone's 42 percent stake in Indus Towers) and Idea. The merger will be effected through the issue of new shares in Idea to Vodafone and would result in Vodafone deconsolidating Vodafone India.
This comes as the latest entrant in the telecom sector, Reliance Jio, is fast acquiring subscribers on the back of free voice and data services under its Happy New Year offer.
Last week, India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel informed the bourses on Thursday that it will acquire Norwegian telecom company Telenor India’s assets.
Rumours of consolidation have been doing the rounds following a poor response to the spectrum sale last year which earned the government only a fraction of Rs 5.63 lakh crore it had envisaged. Reliance Jio’s aggressive push to gain market share is also seen as a major trigger for consolidation in the sector.

Yogi Adityanath to be next chief minister of Uttar Pradesh

NEW DELHI, 18th March 2017.
 The BJP today named Yogi Adityanath as the next chief minister ofUttar Pradesh. State unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya and Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma were nominated as deputy chief ministers. At a meeting in the state capital Lucknow, BJP legislators elected Adityanath after a close race among several chief ministerial candidates. He will take oath as UP chief minister tomorrow. Over the last few days, reports suggested that the BJP top brass may pick Minister of State for Telecom Manoj Sinha for the coveted post, owing to his large experience in the party operations.
Keshav Prasad Maurya, union ministers Kalraj Mishra and Lucknow mayor Dinesh Sharma were also said to be in the running for the top post. Yogi Adityanath, 44, is a five-time member of Parliament and has represented Gorakhpur in the Lok Sabha since 1998. The firebrand leader held a meeting with UP BJP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, Bhupendra Yadav, Om Mathur and Sunil Bansal ahead of the legislators meeting in Lucknow, ANI reported.The BJP, which won three-fourths majority in the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, is returning to power after 14 years.

 

MS Dhoni, Jharkhand teammates rescued from fire at Delhi 5-star hotel.
New Delhi, March 17, 2017

A fire broke out at Welcome Hotel in Delhi's Dwarka on Friday early morning. Cricketer M S Dhoni along with his Jharkhand teammates too were present at the hotel when the fire broke out.
Dhoni along with others were rescued from the hotel moments later. A call was made to the Delhi Fire Service at around 6.30 am following which fire tenders were rushed to the spot.
Nearly 30 fire tenders were sent to the spot. No casualties have been reported so far.
The fire was brought under control by around 7.30 am.
The cricketer was in Delhi to play in the Vijay Hazare Trophy semi-final.
Sources said that the team's kit was charred in the incident. The match has been reportedly postponed to Saturday.
The Jharkhand team had entered the semi-final after defeating Vidarbha by six wickets at the Palam Ground in Delhi.
Dhoni is an active member of the Vijay Hazare sqaud and has captained all six matches so far.
Dhoni's participation in Jharkhand team has been drawing huge crowds to the matches.

Amarinder Singh takes oath as Punjab CM, no deputy CM post for Navjot Sidhu
New Delhi, March 16, 2017

After a thumping victory in Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh takes oath as Punjab chief minister at Chandigarh's Raj Bhavan. Nine other ministers including Navjot Singh Sidhu and Akali rebel Manpreet Badal are also expected to be sworn in. WATCH LIVE
It's a day of consolation for the Congress, which is forming government in Punjab amid the decimation in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and the debacles in Goa and Manipur.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and PM Manmohan Singh attended the swearing-in ceremony. Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has also been invited. Manpreet Singh Badal sworn in as Cabinet minister of Punjab government.
No deputy chief minister post for Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Despite speculation, the Congress hasn't confirmed whether Sidhu will be made the Deputy chief minister.
According to sources, Manpreet Badal will be given the Finance Ministry.
The ceremony is expected to be low-key as the new administration wishes to project its commitment to austerity in view of the financial troubles plaguing the state. The oath-taking ceremony, scheduled to take place at the Punjab Raj Bhavan at 10 am.
Brahm Mohindra, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Rana Gurjit Singh, Sadhu Singh Dharmant, Charanjit Singh Channi, Aruna Chaudhary and Razia Sultana are also in the proposed Cabinet. Chaudhary and Sultana have been recommended for Minister of State positions.
This will be Amarinder Singh's second stint as chief minister.
Amarinder Singh led the Grand Old Party to a thumping win in Punjab, where it bagged as many as 77 seats. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine won 18 seats, the AAP won 20, and two seats went to the newly-floated outfit and AAP ally, the Lok Insaaf Party.

Narendra Modi Ends BJP's 15-Year Exile In Uttar Pradesh.
New Delhi, March 11, 2017

The Narendra Modi wave seems to have swept the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh with the BJP and its allies past the 290-mark. In the three-cornered contest in the state, Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance and Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party have failed. The BJP is also set to win Uttarakhand with a comfortable majority. In Punjab, the Congress leads against debutant AAP. Scroll down for latest updates.
Click and slide the changing colours in Uttar Pradesh, thanks to the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Now let us bring something interactive for you all.
Good news for Goa's MGP! Deepak Pauaskar of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party has won in Savordem.
Bharatiya Janata Party takes lead over Congress in Manipur.
Sanjay Jha of Congress tells India Today that Congress is disappointed with the outcome of Assembly Elections 2017 in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
Congress ahead in third round of counting with 3,008 votes, BJP at 2,838 and BSP 868 in Uttarakhand's Bhagwanpur.
Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah has been tweeting about the saffron wave in Uttar Pradesh.
Saffron wave in Uttar Pradesh | Leads available for 402 seats, BJP ahead on 285 | Samajwadi Party-Congress on 76 seats | BSP 24 seats
Uttarakhand too has voted for a change opting for BJP | BJP ahead on 53 seats of 70 Assembly seats | Congress 13
It is a tectonic shift in country's politics, Ravishankar Prasad of BJP tells India Today.
BJP man Michael Lobo wins by 4460 votes, keeping his seat in the Calangute constituency.
Modi fans in Delhi clearly can't control their happiness.
Goa Forward Party's Vinoda Paliencar leads ahead of BJP leader Dayanand Mandrekar in Goa by 1200 votes in Siolim.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh leading in Thoubal with 10419 votes.
In Manipur, Irom Sharmila gets only only 51 votes which is even less than the NOTA figure at Thoubal seat so far.
Saffron holi this time, BJP celebrations galore. It's BJP everywhere in UP. Rahul Kanwal shares the latest numbers from UP assembly polls.The BJP lead has dropped by two figures in Uttarakhand. Bharatiya Janata Party now has 53 seats, Congress has 12.
Despite Congress leading in Punjab, jokes on Rahul Gandhi do not end. Who will be the chief minister of Uttarakhand?
And this Twitter user has a legit question to ask. This! Here is a photo of Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Delhi celebrating the success. BJP's Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh wins Konthoujam seat in Manipur.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Francis D'Souza leads with 9971 votes in Mapusa after Round 3 of Goa Assembly election 2017 vote-counting.
Independent candidate Govind Gawde wins in Priol, beating Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party's Deepak Dhavalikar.
We came across this cartoon on Twitter. True? In Uttarakhand, the BJP has secured 55 seats out of 70, and the Congress has got 9.
In Goa, Congress is in the lead, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Election results show we have got the Exit Polls bang on when it comes to Congress. Firstpost tweets saying the BJP emerges a clear winner. Their figures are a bit different from the figures India Today Television. With just one more constituency to be counted in Uttarakhand, it is clear that the BJP has the majority.
In UP, the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading with 270 seats, the SP-Congress alliance won 75 seats and the BSP won 28 seats.
The BJP has won 7 seats in Goa, Congress has won 6 seats.
Congress' Okram Ibobi Singh defeated 'Iron Lady' Irom Sharmila in Manipur's Thoubal.
In Uttarakhand, the BJP has a strong lead. BJP has secured 57 seats until now and the Congress could manage only 09 as of yet. The SAD-BJP alliance has won 27 seats in Punjab. Congress leads with 54 seats and the Aam Aadmi Party has got only 21 seats.
If the trends in Punjab and Goa continues, there would be nothing for the Aam Aadmi Party to celebrate.
Twitter users are sharing images to show how Aam Aadmi Party is ready with victory posters. BSP has got 32 seats in Uttar Pradesh, the SP-Congress alliance has won 69 seats until now.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is leading in Uttarakhand with 55 seats. The Congess has won only 10 seats in Uttarakhand till now.
Kejriwal's residence is all decked up before results. Congress has an early lead in Manipur.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has won 243 seats in Uttar Pradesh until now.
Goa CM Laxmikant Parsekar loses from Mandrem constituency.
Congress is leading in Punjab with 46 seats but the chief ministerial candidate of the Aam Aadmi Party Bhagwant Mann is trailing.
The SP-Congress alliance has gotten 59 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP has won 232 seats until now.
Congress is leading in Goa with 6 seats.
BJP candidate from Lucknow Cantt, Rita Bahuguna Joshi, was spotted offering prayers at Hazratganj's Hanuman Temple before counting of votes for Uttar Pradesh got underway. In Punjab, the Congress is leading with 25 seats. Aam Aadmi Party
How excited are you? We are, very. Goa is not, though. Counting seems to be too slow.
The BJP has won 164 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Bharatiya Janata Party has a clear lead in Uttarakhand with 44 seats.
The BJP has a strong lead in Uttar Pradesh with 134 seats as of now. The SP-Congress alliance stands at 32 seats and the BSP at 20.
Deputy CM of Manipur Gaikhangam Gangmei from the Congress Party is leading in Nungba.
Congress ahead in 3 seats in Manipur.
Uttarakhand CM Harish Rawat is trailing from both the seats he contested from.
The BJP is slaying it in Uttar Pradesh. The Bharatiya Janata Party has won 114 seats till now.
In Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow Cantt constituency, Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav is trailing.
The Aam Aadmi Party is giving tough competition to the Congress in Punjab.
In Punjab's Jalalabad, the Aam Aadmi Party chief ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann is leading.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has now gotten a clear lead in Uttar Pradesh with 56 seats. The SP-Congress alliance has gotten only 17 seats in comparison, and the BSP stands at 11.
Congress' Okram Ibobi Singh is leading from Manipur's Thoubal. Irom Sharmila trailing.
Azam Khan's son Abdullah is trailing from Uttar Pradesh's Swar in Rampur, reported ANI.
In Punjab, both the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress won 3 seats each.
The BJP has won 36 seats in Uttar Pradesh. The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance comes second with 17.
SP's Rafeeq Ansari leading at Meerut City constituency reports the Hindustan Times. He is contesting against BJP's former state president Dr Laxmikant Bajpai.
ANI reports Parkash Singh Badal is leading from Lambi. Capt Amarinder Singh second and AAP's Jarnail Singh third.
LIVE UPDATES FROM GOA HERE. Except there are no significant updates as of now.
All India Radio News reports that vote-counting of Goa Assembly election 2017 has kick-started in Panaji.
Goa? Goa?
23 of 690 seats (all five states combined) were reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates
In Uttar Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party has secured 21 seats until now, the BSP has secured 9 seats, and the SP-Congress alliance has 12 seats.
No inputs yet from Goa. The entire state is too chill.
Samajwadi Party's Shivpal Yadav has said, "Counting shuru ho gayi hai, humari badi jeet hogi".The BJP is leading with 13 seat win now.
Mayawati could be worried, the BSP stays at 2 seats.
The SP-Congress alliance is neck-to-neck with the BJP. Former has won 10 seats, and the latter 11.
Will Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party beat the Congress in Punjab?
In Punjab, Congress has won 2 seas, the Aam Aadmi Party has won 2, and the SAD-BJP alliance secured 1 seat until now.
The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance has won 7 seats now, the BJP leads with 8 but Mayawati's BSP stays at 2.
But Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi are giving a tough competition.
Narendra Modi-wave still is a thing, it seems.
Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election results are coming in. The BJP has won 7 seats till now, SP-Congress stands at 3 and the BSP still at 2.
The Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance won 3 seats until now, the BJP leads with 5, and the BSP has won 2.
India Today Television says the BJP is leading with 3 seats in Uttar Pradesh. SP-Congress has won 2 seats till now.
SP-Congress has won 1 seat, the Bharatiya Janata Party has won 1, and the BSP has won 1 in Uttar Pradesh.
AND IT BEGINS...
An NDTV reporter tweeted saying drones are being used at a Lucknow counting centre. Assembly Election results 2017 is nothing short of a festival, eh?The coastal state of Goa went to polls on February 4. Election results 2017 will be announced by 10 or 11 AM.
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur combined, 690 assembly constituencies went to polls.
Postal ballot counting begins.
If you wish to read all what she said to ANI, here is their tweet.
View image on Twitter
She said if she loses this time, she will try again in the 2019 General Election.
'Iron Lady' of Manipur and PRAJA (Peoples' Resurgence and Justice Alliance) chief, Irom Chanu Sharmila said the Exit Poll result did not affect her much.
Manipur Assembly election results will be out today. Manipur Assembly saw a tough fight between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
All India Radio News tweets there is a sharp decline of temperature in Uttarakhand, thanks to the rain. Will the Assembly Election results warm the state?
ABP News tweets Samajwadi Party accused the Election Commission of being biased.There are 403 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. Are you looking forwards to the Assembly Election results?
Security arrangements are in place outside counting centres in Moradabad. That's quite some men out there!
India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll has predicted that the Modi magic has worked wonders for the Bharatiya Janata Party which is expected to win a whopping 251-279 seats, while the Samajwadi Party-Congress combine has failed to stop the BJP juggernaut managing only 88-112 seats and Mayawati's BSP beign decimated with 28-42 seats.
India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll predicted 62-71 seats for the Congress in the 117-member Punjab assembly, and 42-51 to Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP. The Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine is projected to be voted out as the alliance's tally may be reduced to single digits.
The BJP is set to return to power in Uttarakhand by winning 46-53 seats in the 70-member state Assembly, reducing the incumbent Congress to an embarrassing 12-21 seats, the India Today-Axis My India exit poll has predicted. The Congress is expected to get 30-36 seats in the 60-seat.
The India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll said BJP is likely to win 16-22 Assembly seats in the Manipur Assembly. Even though BJP's tally has improved since the last Assembly election, it's not coming to power can be attributed to Centre's so-perceived non-cooperation to Manipur in lifting the blockade.
The India Today-Axis My India Exit Poll for Goa had predicted BJP to be the winner with 18-22 seats in its kitty. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party may just manage to open its account with 0-2 seats in the state. Congress will have to continue to be in Opposition, as it is likely to win between 9-13 seats.

Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election Results 2017: BJP eyes two-third majority; SP-Congress, BSP decimated.
New Delhi, March 11, 2017

The counting of votes for all the 403 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats is underway. A saffron holi likely in Uttar Pradesh as trends put BJP in power with a massive lead. Samajwadi Party-Congress experiment fails to deliver the political punch in the heartland state.
With this election, not only Prime Minister Modi's prestige is at stake, a victory in Uttar Pradesh elections will also give a much needed boost to the government in the Rajya Sabha.
The Uttar Pradesh election results will also decide the fate of Samajwadi Party party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati. The Bharatiya Janata Party is also waiting for the lotus to bloom in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh after nearly 15 years. ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS 2017: FULL COVERAGE
HERE ARE THE LIVE UPDATES:
BJP leading on all five seats of Ghaziabad.
Holi celebrations kick off at BJP headquarters in Lucknow, reports India Today's Gaurav Sawant.
No decision yet on CM face, now is the time to celebrate, says BJP UP chief Keshav Prasad Maurya.
UP is a bad loss, it hurts, Congress's Abhishek Singhvi tells India Today.
BJP takes massive lead in Uttar Pradesh, ahead on 250 seats | Samajwadi-Congress on 66 seats | BSP 30
Uttar Pradesh: Trends/Leads of 301 seats - BJP ahead on 216 | Samajwadi Party, Congress on 55 seats | BSP 23.
Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan leading by 1800 votes from Rampur seat in Uttar Pradesh.
Mayawati's BSP leading on 21 seats.
BJP surges ahead in Uttar Pradesh, leading on 170 seats | Samajwadi Party,Congress combine ahead on 41 seat.
BJP leading on 200 seats in Uttar Pradesh, headed for landslide victory in the crucial state.
Uttar Pradesh: Samajwadi Party's Shivpal Yadav leading from Yashwant Nagar seat.
53 out of the 133 leads for BJP coming from eastern Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh leads: BJP 133 | SP, Congress 30 | BSP 18 | Others 8
Mulayam Singh Yadav's daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav trailing from Lucknow Cantt seat.
Congress's Srikant Sharma leading from Mathura.
Uttar Pradesh: BJP's Lakshmikant Vajpayee leading from Meerut .

Uttar Pradesh trends: SP, Congress 17 | BJP 36 | BSP 9
Azam Khan's son Abdullah trailing from Swar, Rampur.
Rajnath Singh's son Pankaj Singh leading from Noida seat.
Congress's Rita Bahuguna Joshi leading from Lucknow Cantt, SP's Aparna Yadav trailing.
Early leads favour BJP in Uttar Pradesh, ahead on 24 seats | SP, Congress on 13.
BJP leading in Lucknow - East, West and North.
Uttar Pradesh trends: SP, Congress 12 | BJP 16 | BSP 6.
Wait for some time, Samajwadi Party will form the govt again in UP, says Shivpal Yadav .
Uttar Pradesh: Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan trailing in Rampur, BJP's Sangeet Som leading in Sardhana.
Mukhtar Ansari of BSP leads in Mau, Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh early trends: SP, Cong 04 | BJP 5 | BSP 2
Uttar Pradesh: BSP leading from Bulandshahr
First trends - Uttar Pradesh: SP, Congress 2 | BJP 3 | BSP 2
First trends in for Uttar Pradesh: BJP-1, BSP-1.
Akhileshji will become new CM with full majority, says Samajwadi Party's Ravidas Mehrotra.
Counting of ballots begins in Uttar Pradesh.
Samajwadi Party-Congress alliance will win today, and we will expose the people who were conspiring against CM Akhilesh, says Samajwadi Party's Rajendra Chaudhary.
First trends on Uttar Pradesh elections to start pouring in by 8am.
The Samajwadi Party-Congress combine could get something between 88 to 112 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh wants the BJP to lead the state as they are fed up of 'exploitative politics', says Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
While Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav will be looking to retain power in the state. For the Congress, it's a matter of survival and relevance in the national politics.
In Uttar Pradesh, a lot is also at stake for newly united Uttar Pradesh leaders Akhilesh Yadav and Rahul Gandhi.
The Election Commission has issued strict guidelines on security arrangements for counting of votes.
A total of 78 counting centres have been set up in the state. In three districts of Amethi, Azamgarh and Kushinagar two counting centres each have been set up and in remaining all 72 district counting will be held at one place.
Three-tier security arrangements have been made to ensure full proof security in and around the counting centres.
"Counting of votes for 403 Assembly seats will start at 8 in the morning. Counting of ballots will take place in all the 75 districts," state election office said.
Uttar Pradesh elections are being seen as a virtual referendum on PM Narendra Modi's demonetisation decision.
Of the total contestants in Uttar Pradesh polls, 4,370 were men and 482 women.
A total of 4,853 contestants tried their luck at the hustings in the 2017 state assembly elections.
Counting of the ballots for the 403 Uttar Pradesh Assembly seats will begin at 8 a.m today.

Budget session from today, Rajnath to speak in Parliament on Lucknow terror operation, Bhopal train blast.
New Delhi, March 9, 2017

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to make a statement in Parliament today on Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train explosion, and the operation in Lucknow in which suspected terrorist Saifullah was killed.
The resumption of Budget session is likely to witness stormy scenes in Parliament with the Opposition all set to take on the government over the counter-terror operation in Lucknow, and over the recent hate crimes against Indians in the United States.
Yesterday evening, Uttar Pradesh Police clarified that there was no evidence linking the slain Mohammed Saifullah to the global terror outfit ISIS, implying that it was premature to suggest that the group was behind it.
NO PROOF OF ISIS LINK WITH LUCKNOW OPERATION: TOP COP
"We have no such evidence yet of any ISIS link", Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Daljit Chaudhary had told journalists. Authorities are yet to find clinching evidence linking Saifullah directly to ISIS.
The police had earlier said that Saifullah and two others arrested in this connection were allegedly affiliated to ISIS. The cops had found substantial literature in Urdu and English related to ISIS.
Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, said, "Till now, the central government said ISIS isn't an issue. Now what we saw in UP, MP raises questions. It shows government's negligence in this matter. PM should make a statement."
Kharge was referring to the over 10-hour-long siege at a house in Lucknow's Thakurganj locality where a suspected terrorist was holed up inside and to the IED blast on the Ujjain Express in Madhya Pradesh. The suspected militant, identified as Saifullah, was killed in the Lucknow siege.
He, along with six other people arrested in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, are believed to be linked to the train blast.

Lucknow encounter ends, ISIS terror suspect killed: What we know so far.
New Delhi, March 8, 2017

After 11 hours, the Lucknow siege has finally come to an end with the suspected terrorist Saiful killed in the encounter.
The target of the operation was a house in Haji Ali Colony in Thakurganj, on the outskirts of Lucknow. Early on, the operation seemed limited in its scope, with the police using chilli bombs and stun grenades to flush out the militants.
The standoff began early Tuesday evening, hours after at least ten people were injured in a blast on the Ujjain Express. Suspected ISIS terrorist Saiful from the Lucknow siege is believed to be linked to the blast.

The operation and the blast both came a day before today's seventh phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, but there have been no indications that the developments are linked to the five-state Assembly elections, the results for which will be announced March 11.
A TIMELINE OF EVENTS
At around 9 am on Tuesday, March 7, a blast takes place in a compartment of the Bhopal-Ujjain Express. The explosion occurs near Jabri, 60 kilometres west of Bhopal.
At 1.30 pm, a bus is intercepted near Pipariya in Madhya Pradesh's Hoshangabad district, 145 kilometres east of Bhopal. Three people are detained in connection with the morning's train blast.
The three are brought to Hoshangabad city and are interrogated. One of the arrested suspects is identified as Atif Muzaafffar and Centre is alerted with the information revealed by the three during questioning.
Early Tuesday evening, Uttar Pradesh Police carries out raids, arresting two men in Kanpur and one from Etawah. The third raid targets the Thakurganj, Lucknow home.
At around 4 pm, the Uttar Pradesh Police says in a since-deleted tweet that one suspected militant is involved in a standoff with the state's Anti-Terrorism Squad.
The siege drags on and the militant is identified as Mohammed Saiful. Officials speaking to media reiterate that their efforts are to nab Saiful alive.
A few hours into the Lucknow siege, the Madhya Pradesh Inspector General of Police confirms that the Bhopal-Ujjain train blast was an IED explosion and that it was an act of terrorism.
Meanwhile, intermittent firing is heard through the day from the site of the Lucknow siege. The UP Additional Director General of Police reveals they have made Saiful speak to his brother in order to convince him to surrender.
Firing intensifies towards the end of Tuesday, with officials saying at around midnight that the operation is in its final stages.
Siege ends around 3 am on Wednesday after 11 hours. ATS IG Asim Arun confirms that Saiful has been killed.
Investigation is going on to trace the links of terrorists after the siege in Lucknow, UP DGP Javeed Ahmed has said.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, "The three accused arresteed by Madhya Pradesh ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad) had come to Bhopal by train and executed the pipe bomb blast in Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train. All three had come from Lucknow."
ISIS MODULE AT WORK?
Saiful lived at the Thakurganj home with two other youngsters. The trio moved into the home, which belongs to a Saudi Arabia-based person called Badshah, around three months ago.
They were known to keep to themselves and seldom stepped out of the house except for early morning jogs and to buy essentials.
Saiful is believed to be part of a larger ISIS-inspired module that is suspected to be behind the Tuesday morning train blast.
The module is believed to include Saiful, the two men arrested in Kanpur, the one nabbed in Eatawah and the three detained in Madhya Pradesh.
Atif Muzaafffar, one of the three men arrested in Madhya Pradesh, is believed to be the leader of the module.
A forensic team will be visiting Lucknow soon to compare the explosives used in the Ujjain train blast and those recovered from Haji Colony house where the ISIS terror suspect was killed.
Police have also launched a massive manhunt to nab the other roommates of the killed terror suspect Saiful.

INS Viraat, Indian Navy's Grand Old Lady, to retire today after 30-year service.
New Delhi, March 6, 2017
INS Viraat, Indian Navy's flagship aircraft carrier, will retire from service today. The aircraft carrier which holds the Guinness Record for the oldest carrier in service was inducted into the Indian Navy on May 12, 1987.
The ship, famously known as the 'Grand Old Lady', was with the British Royal Navy since 1959 before the Indian government bought it for Rs 6.5 crore in 1987.
It was known as HMS Hermes before being rechristened as INS Viraat. The motto of INS Viraat was 'Jalamev Yasya, Balmev Tasya' (meaning - One Who Controls the Sea is All Powerful), which was first adopted by the great warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the 17th century as the guiding principle of his naval-military strategy.
It housed the fighters 'White Tigers' - the Sea Harriers of INAS 300, which were decomissioned in Goa in May 2016, anti-submarine aircraft Sea King MK42B, Sea King MK42C or Harpoons, SAR helicopter Chetan, besides ALH Dhruv and Russian twin rotor Kamov-31.
INS Viraat played a major role in the Operation Jupiter in 1989 in Sri Lankan Peace Keeping operations, Operation Parakram in 2001-2002 when India and Pakistan were in a stand-off post-terror strikes on Indian Parliament, among others.
With a full load displacement of 28,700 tonnes, the 226.5 metres long and 48.78 metres wide ship was manned by 150 officers and 1,500 sailors.
While the final fate of the warship is yet to be decided, the Andhra Pradesh government had announced that it will turn the warship into a museum.
As per the earlier reports, talks were underway with the Andhra Pradesh government to convert INS Viraat, into a luxury hotel-cum-museum after its decommissioning. The carrier is expected to berth on the coast of Visakhapatnam by mid-2017.
At present, INS Vikramaditya is the only serving aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy and the second one, named Vikrant, is under construction at Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

Kerala priest arrested for raping 17-year-old, survivor delivered a child last week

New Delhi, March 1, 2017

A 17-year-old teenager in Kannur has given birth to a baby after being allegedly raped by a priest in a church. The accussed father has been arrested.
The incident came to light after the police was informed by childline activists on Monday following an anonymous complaint that a girl gave birth last week. Childline is a telephone helpline for children in distress.
On enquiry, the teenager, who is in standard eleventh, stated that she was raped by the priest at a church.
Father Robin Vaddakumchiryil (48), the bishop of St Sebastian church has confessed to the crime. He is the manager of the school where the girl studies.
The Father has been charged under stringent provisions of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (Pocso) and IPC.

ABVP suspends 2 members for violence against AISA supporters, says is committed to peace.
New Delhi, March 1, 2017

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) suspended its 2 students from the organisation's primary membership for violating the outfit's discipline and indulging in violence.
The two have been identified as Prashant and Vinayak.
This after the duo (both Delhi University students) and a JNU student, identified as Aman Sinha of the All India Students' Association (AISA) got into a scuffle on Tuesday evening following a heated argument on social media. Earlier in the evening, Left parties had held protest march against the violence on Ramjas College campus by ABVP workers.
ABVP has said it condemns violence and is committed to ensuring a peaceful atmosphere in the campus. The ABVP has also promised that it will conduct an internal inquiry into the matter and based on its report, further action will be taken.
In a statement, ABVP said, "We demand that the police thoroughly investigate the matter and take appropriate action against those found guilty from both the factions."
This comes amid a heated week for Delhi college campuses. Last week's violence on the Ramjas campus has been followed by several protests and counter protests. The ABVP has rejected allegations that it was responsible for the Ramjas fracas, saying the violence was perpetrated by "outsiders". The RSS-affiliated group has called for a massive rally on March 2 to protest the presence of "outsiders" on DU campuses.
Meanwhile, another DU student, Gurmehar Kaur, has attracted controversy after she started a social media campaign against the ABVP. She also suggested that India should not wage war against Pakistan. Kaur, who is the daughter of a Kargil war martyr, received rape threats following her social media post and has left Delhi for now.

Oscars 2017 LIVE: 5 Oscars for La La Land including Best Direction!
New Delhi, February 27, 2017

The 89th Academy Awards are underway. As Hollywood soaks in its biggest night of the year, we bring to you all the action from the star-studded ceremony, live.
We Indians obviously have three reasons to look forward to the Oscars 2017, desi girls Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone (who is probably not attending the awards), and Dev Patel. Patel, who shot to fame with his 2009 film Slumdog Millionaire, was nominated for Best Actor In A Supporting Role for his work in Lion.
The ceremony is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel this year, his first stint on the Academy Awards' stage. The Oscars favourite of this year is the film La La Land, which swept the Golden Globes 2017 with all seven awards in the categories it was nominated in. The film created history with 14 Academy Awards nominations this year, and it remains to be seen how many of the 14 categories Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone-starrer La La Land is able to pick up Oscars in.
10.11am: The Best Directing Oscar is for Damien Chazelle for La La Land. With that, La La Land has now picked up five Oscars!
10.03am:Best Adapted Screenplay goes to Moonlight.
9.59am:Best Original Screenplay Oscar goes to Manchester By The Sea.
9.53am: A tribute to the stars we lost this year. Om Puri gets a mention alongside Carrie Fisher, Abbas Kiarostami and others.
9.47am: The Best Original Song goes to City Of Stars, La La Land.
9.43am: Samuel L Jackson presents the Best Original Score Oscar to La La Land.
9.28am:Best Cinematography Oscar goes to La La Land.
9.16am: The Best Live Action Short Film Oscar goes to Sing.
9.14am: Best Documentary (Short) Oscar goes to The White Helmets.
9.05am: The Best Film Editing Oscar goes to Hacksaw Ridge.
9.00am: The award for Best Visual Effects goes to The Jungle Book!
8.43am: The Best Production Design Oscar goes to La La Land. This is the first Oscar for La La Land!
8.40am: The Best Animated Feature Film Oscar goes to Zootopia.
8.37am: The next award is for the Best Animated Short Film. The Oscar goes to Piper.
8.24am: The award for the Best Foreign Language Film goes to The Salesman by Asghar Farhadi.
8.10am: Up next is the Best Supporting Actress Oscar. The award goes to Viola Davis for Fences.
7.54am: The next awards are for Sound Mixing and Sound Editing. Sound Editing Oscar is for Arrival, Sound Mixing Oscar is for Hacksaw Ridge.
7.44am: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson on the Academy Awards' stage!
7.38am: The Best Documentary Feature award goes to OJ: Made In America.
7.30am: Up next, is best Costume Design. The award goes to Colleen Atwood for Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
7.27am: The next award is for Makeup and Hairstyling. The award goes to Suicide Squad.
7.16am: The first award of the night is here! Best Actor in A Supporting Role Oscar goes to Mahershala Ali for Moonlight. Dev Patel doesn't make it this year.
7.11am: "We don't discriminate people on the basis of their country, here in Hollywood. We discriminate on the basis of age and weight.": Jimmy Kimmel.
7.07am: Jimmy Kimmel is on a roll! So is his hatred for Matt Damon.
7.05am: Jimmy Kimmel takes the stage. "Oh, good, I got a sitting ovation!"
7.00am: Justin Timberlake kicks off the 89th Academy Awards with a performance.
6.47am: We're about 12 minutes away from the 89th Academy Awards. Bollywood beauty Priyanka Chopra made her second Oscars appearance. She was a presenter last year.

US President Donald Trump's revised travel ban: Millions targeted for possible deportation
Washington, February 22, 2017

Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation - including people simply arrested for traffic violations - under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration.
Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses - or simply having crossed the border illegally.
The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.
Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.
CRIMINAL OFFENCE
Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offence, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.
Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.
The new enforcement documents are the latest efforts by President Donald Trump to follow through on campaign promises to strictly enforce immigration laws. He's also promised to build a wall at the Mexican border - he insists Mexico will eventually foot the bill - and Kelly's memos reiterate calls for Homeland Security to start planning for the costs and construction.
Trump's earlier immigration orders, which banned all refugees as well as foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries, have faced widespread criticism and legal action. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.
Kelly's enforcement plans call for enforcing a longstanding but obscure provision of immigration law that allows the government to send some people caught illegally crossing the Mexican border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from. Those foreigners would wait in that country for US deportation proceedings to be complete. This would be used for people who aren't considered a threat to cross the border illegally again, the memo says.
That provision is almost certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and Mexican officials, and it's unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. But the memo also calls for Homeland Security to provide an account of US aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners.
Historically, the US has quickly repatriated Mexican nationals caught at the border but has detained immigrants from other countries pending deportation proceedings that could take years.
Mexico's new ambassador to the US, Geronimo Gutierrez, called the policy changes "something very serious." In a hearing Tuesday with Mexican senators, he said, "Obviously, they are a cause for concern for the foreign relations department, for the Mexican government, and for all Mexicans."
The memos do not change US immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.
One example involves broader use of a program that fast-tracks deportations. It will now be applied to immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States longer than two years. It's unclear how many immigrants that could include.
Since at least 2002 that fast deportation effort - which does not require a judge's order - has been used only for immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border, within two weeks of crossing illegally.
The administration also plans to expand immigration jail capacity. Currently Homeland Security has money and space to jail 34,000 immigrants at a time. It's unclear how much an increase would cost, but Congress would have to approve any new spending.
FRESH OPPOSITION
The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the directives.
"These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.
However, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the Trump effort, saying the memos "overturn dangerous" policies from the Obama administration.
The directives do not affect President Barack Obama's program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department.
During the campaign Trump vowed to immediately end that program, which he described as illegal amnesty.
The directives indicate that some young people caught crossing the border illegally by themselves may not be eligible for special legal protections if they are reunited with parents in the United States. And those parents or other relatives that the government believes helped the children would face criminal and immigration investigations.
Under the Obama administration, more than 100,000 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were caught at the border. Most were reunited with parents or relatives living in the United States, regardless of the adults' immigration status.
NEW STAFF TO BE HIRED
The enforcement memos also call for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, but it's unclear how quickly that could take place. Currently, two of every three applicants for Customs and Border Protection jobs fail polygraph exams and there are about 2,000 vacancies.
The government also plans to review a program that allows local police and jailers to act as immigration agents and a program that used fingerprint records from local jails to identify immigrants who had been arrested.

Malayalam actor Bhavana abducted and molested. Driver arrested, others absconding
New Delhi, February 18, 2017

Bhavana, best-known for her appearances in Malayalam films, was abducted by a group of unidentified men and molested last night in Kochi.
As of now, one man has been arrested and police has begun search for the remaining culprits.
Kochi, Kerala: Malayalam actor Bhavana?? allegedly molested after being abducted last night in Ernakulam. One held, search on for others
The gang stopped and forced themselves into Bhavana's car near Athani and Angamaly. Then they molested her till the car reached Palarivattom. The police have taken Bhavana's driver into custody. The actor reported that her former driver was a part of the gang that entered her car.
The culprits reportedly took videos and photos of the young actor as well. After getting off at Palarivattom, the gang escaped in another car. According to Manorama News, Sunil Kumar AKA Pulsar Suni is the main culprit in this case.
Bhavana then took shelter in a film director's house in Kakkannad. The director informed the police after which the cops arrived at the place and took down the actor's statements. The police reportedly have got a lead on those absconding.

Governor Vidyasagar Rao meets teams Palanisamy, Panneerselvam. Decision on CM likely today
New Delhi, February 16, 2017

All eyes are on Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao who met both the camps, AIADMK's legislature party leader Edapadi K. Palanisamy and caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, at his residence on Wednesday. Both the factions met the governor to stake claim to form the government.
However, if sources are to be believed, the governor may invite Palanisamy to form the government before noon.
Palanisamy, who was named as AIADMK legislative party leader by Sasikala, met Rao claiming support of 124 of the party's 134 MLAs.

Addressing reporters after the Governor met Palanisamy and others, Fisheries Minister Jayakumar said: "We have submitted to the Governor the list of legislators supporting Palanisamy. We also requested Rao to call Palanisamy to form the government."
The Governor later met the rival party faction of caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam.
Panneerselvam gave a representation to the Governor claiming "majority" support and seeking an opportunity to demonstrate it. The Panneerselvam camp has alleged AIADMK MLAs were held at a resort on Chennai's outskirts against their wish.
While O Panneerselvam has managed to win over 10 odd MPs and some MLAs, Sasikala has been able to rally the support of an overwhelming majority of AIADMK MLAs.
Though Panneerselvam does not have the explicit support of a very large number of MLAs, he has been insisting he would prove majority on the floor of the House if asked to do so.
The Governor had earlier kept his decision pending as the verdict in the disproportionate assets case against AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala, a claimant for chief ministership, was due to be announced by the Supreme Court restoring her conviction and sentence, which shattered her hopes of occupying the top seat.
It remains to be seen whether the Governor goes by the AG's advice for a floor test by the two competing claimants for chief ministership or invites Palaniswami to form the government.

From 3 satellites in one launch to 104: All you need to know about ISRO's historic PSLV rocket
New Delhi, February 15, 2017
The Indian Space Research Organisation's most bankable rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has created history today by carrying 104 satellites to space in a single launch.
The launch vehicle, lovingly known as 'the Workhorse of ISRO', has put some of India's most celebrated missions like Chandrayaan-1, Mars Orbiter Mission and Space Capsule Recovery Experiment to space.
So, here's all you need to about ISRO's very special PSLV rocket:
1. The PSLV -- 44m in height and 2.8m in diameter -- made its first flight on September 20, 1993, and has since put 122 satellites successfully in orbit, apart from the 104 it carried to space today.
2. It's not just India that has employed PSLV's masterful capabilities -- 19 other countries have used it to launch more than 40 satellites. Even in today's mission, the PSLV carried 101 foreign satellites -- which in turn helped with the total cost of the project.
3. This is also not the first time that the PSLV has carried multiple satellites -- it has achieved this feat 18 times. Before today, PSLV's personal payload record was in June 2016 when it carried 20 satellites to space at once. The first time it carried a multiple satellite payload was in 1999, when a satellite each of South Korea and Germany along with an Indian satellite.
4. The PSLV is responsible for putting a whole range of Indian satellites in orbit -- like the advanced weather satellite SCATSAT-1. Of the 3 Indian satellites it carried today, one was Cartosat-2 -- ISRO's own earth imaging spacecraft -- which is capable of advanced remote sensing and "providing scene-specific spot imageries for cartographic applications."
5. It is interesting to note here that the PSLV's first launch wasn't successful as a result of a software error. But ISRO learnt quickly from its mistakes and the next launch -- that came just the next year in 1994 -- was a successful "textbook launch".

6. In fact, the PSLV has had to face more than one failures in its course. In 1997, it carried the Indian Remote Sensing Satellite (IRS 1-D) to space and what seemed like an initial success turned out to be a subsequent failure. Due to an anomaly, the IRS 1-D got placed in a lower orbit which turned its powerful stereoscopic cameras, almost myopic. The failure also led to problems with the South Koreans, who needed some convincing before they let their satellite piggybank India's IRS-P4 in a subsequent launch in 1994.
7. The PSLV's payload capacity didn't always support multiple launches, but steady enhances over time have made it steadfast enough to carry 104 satellites like today.
8. All of PSLV's successes are a result of ISRO scientists carefully coding certain manoeuvres into the rocket's flight software pre lift-off. These manoeuvres require careful and accurate calculations and a deep understanding of all things that can possibly go wrong. Once PSLV lifts off, these manoeuvres, and their
outcomes, are beyond any scientist's control.

Sasikala breaks down at Jayalalithaa memorial, leaves for Bengaluru to surrender before trial court

New Delhi, February 15, 2017

The Supreme Court today rejected a plea by AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala seeking more time to surrender after it upheld her conviction in a disproportionate assets case by a trial court.
A bench headed by Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose declined the plea as senior counsel KTS Tulsi mentioned it before the court.
The apex court on Tuesday while holding Sasikala and two others guilty of amassing disproportionate assets had directed her to surrender to the trial court forthwith to undergo her remaining sentence.
HERE ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS
Sasikala slaps Amma Memorial, a gesture denoting that she swears an oath on Jayalalitha's name.
Sasikala leaves Poes Garden, to visit Jayalalithaa memorial at Marina Beach.
Sasikala lawyer to India Today: She will surrender today before end of the day and will request for 2 weeks time on health grounds.
Supreme Court has refused to grant any relief to Sasikala asking her to surrender immediately.
DMK MLAs likely to boycott Assembly floor test if Governor orders one, say party sources.
DMK summons all MLAs to Chennai.
Sasikala appoints her nephew TTV Dinakaran as deputy general secretary of AIADMK.
Thambidurai has left for Bengaluru. He took the early morning flight from Chennai.
Sasikala is expected to travel to Bengaluru by air today to surrender and then go jail.
In a late nght press conference, Sasikala said her thoughts will continue to remain with the party even from inside the jail. "Only I can be jailed, not the care or concern I have for this party. Wherever I will be, my thoughts will be here," said an emotional Sasikala.
AIADMK leaders V Maitreyan and PH Pandian also met Rao on behalf of Panneerselvam.
By Tuesday evening, Public Works, Highways and Minor Ports Minister E. Palanisamy - elected the new AIADMK legislature party leader in place of Sasikala - met Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao and staked claim to form a new government.
TN GOVERNOR LIKELY TO TAKE CALL ON BASIS OF LEGAL OPINIONS
Tamil Nadu Governor C Vidyasagar Rao is expected to take a decision on formation of a new government in the state on the basis of recommendations by three legal luminaries, including Soli Sorabjee.
In his only report sent on Sunday to the central government, ever since O Panneerselvam resigned as chief minister on February 5, the governor conveyed that he had taken legal opinions from Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, former Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran and constitutional expert Sorabjee.
Two of the three experts suggested that composite floor test like the one conducted in Uttar Pradesh in 1998 could be done in Tamil Nadu, a Home Ministry official said quoting the governor's report.

Sasikala convicted in DA case, she must serve remaining jail term, rules Supreme Court

New Delhi, February 14, 2017 

AIADMK General Secretary VK Sasikala

AIADMK general secretary VK Sasikala suffered a major jolt with the Supreme Court upholding the trial court’s judgment convicting her in the 21-year-old disproportionate case against her. With this, Sasikala stands disqualified to take over as Tamil Nadu chief minister.

The apex court set aside the Karnataka High Court judgment of May 11, 2015 which had acquitted Sasikala and former chief minister late J Jayalalithaa in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case. Besides being disqualified to contest elections for 10 years. Sasikala will have to surrender after the top court's verdict serve the jail term awarded by the trial court.

The two-judge bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy directed Sasikala and the two relatives - VN Sudhakaran and Elavarasi - to surrender forthwith to the trial court in Bengaluru and serve the remaining part of four year jail term. The AIADMK General secretary had served close to 6 months in jail earlier. 

"According to the materials and evidence place on record, we set aside the judgement and the order of the high court and affirm in toto the judgement and order the trial court convicting the accused persons," the Supreme Court bench said reading out from the 2000-page judgment.

"Nevertheless, we reiterate that having regard to the facts, the charge framed against them by the trial court is restored," the bench said. The bench said since Jayalalithaa is no more, the proceeding against her is abated.

AIADMK REACTS

"Traitors have insulted Amma's soul. Amma will win" the AIADMK tweeted soon after the Supreme Court's verdict which came after a week-long bitter battle between Sasikala and O Panneerselvam over CM's chair.

As a consequence, decks are now clear for Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who has been locked in a bitter battle with Sasikala since last week over the CM's chair, to take over on the post.

The Bengaluru trial court had sentenced Jayalalithaa to four years in jail and imposed a Rs 100 crore fine in the disproportionate assets case. The trial lasted for 18 years.

WHAT IS THE DA CASE AGAINST SASIKALA

Sasikala and her relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi are accused of allegedly amassing disproportionate asserts to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during Jayalalithaa's first term as Chief Minister from 1991 to 1996. Jayalalithaa was also an accused in the case.

In May 2015, Sasikala was acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in the disproportionate case. Jayalalithaa and two other accused were also acquitted in the case.

The Karnataka government then moved the Supreme Court against the high court's ruling.

The Supreme Court had reserved the verdict in the 19-year-old illegal wealth case after 20 days of arguments in the case last year.

The apex court had sought replies from all the accused including Sasikala before the it took a break to study the records pertaining to the disproportionate assets case.


Gwalior Hulchal is one of the leading newspaper in Madhya Pradesh. Latest news updates can be viewed/read via it's 24x7 online portal www.gwaliorhulchal.com. The News Paper covers the material for all age groups likeYoungesters, Aged people, Children etc. It also covers news from all areas likePolitics, Health, Education, Science & Technology, Film etc. Breaking News are displayed on it's website immediately after getting & verifying. Common public may also call us at our contact no's for news & updates.
Gwalior Hulchal is one of the leading newspaper in Madhya Pradesh. Latest news updates can be viewed/read via it's 24x7 online portal www.gwaliorhulchal.com. The News Paper covers the material for all age groups likeYoungesters, Aged people, Children etc. It also covers news from all areas likePolitics, Health, Education, Science & Technology, Film etc. Breaking News are displayed on it's website immediately after getting & verifying. Common public may also call us at our contact no's for news & updates.
Gwalior Hulchal is one of the leading newspaper in Madhya Pradesh. Latest news updates can be viewed/read via it's 24x7 online portal www.gwaliorhulchal.com. The News Paper covers the material for all age groups likeYoungesters, Aged people, Children etc. It also covers news from all areas likePolitics, Health, Education, Science & Technology, Film etc. Breaking News are displayed on it's website immediately after getting & verifying. Common public may also call us at our contact no's for news & updates.
Gwalior Hulchal is one of the leading newspaper in Madhya Pradesh. Latest news updates can be viewed/read via it's 24x7 online portal www.gwaliorhulchal.com. The News Paper covers the material for all age groups likeYoungesters, Aged people, Children etc. It also covers news from all areas likePolitics, Health, Education, Science & Technology, Film etc. Breaking News are displayed on it's website immediately after getting & verifying. Common public may also call us at our contact no's for news & updates.
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