Yuva Sai Sagar

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Month: February 2016

DU college principal claims assault by faculty member

The principal of DU’s Swami Shraddhanad College on Monday alleged he was assaulted by a member of its faculty even as the institution’s governing body appointed a new chairman and principal.Some teachers of the college accused former acting principal Praveen Garg of assaulting present principal AN Jha at the college gate. “A meeting of the governing body was convened, but the current chairman claimed there wasn’t any meeting. Jha was at the college gate to tell members there was no meeting when he was attacked by Garg. We have informed police,” said Suraj Yadav, a teacher at the college.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Garg, meanwhile, denied having attacked Jha and said that the Vice Chancellor had sent a letter on February 26 calling a governing body meeting to appoint a new chairman and recommend the name of the senior-most teacher as the principal of the college.VK Bhasin was elected the new chairman while Pankaj Bhan was appointed acting principal, he added. DCP (Outer) Vikramjit Singh said police have received a complaint from the principal’s office and they are looking into it.

Mumbai: Shiv Sena member beats up shop assistant for refusing ‘free vada-pavs’

An office-bearer of the youth wing of Shiv Sena was arrested on Monday for allegedly assaulting a shop assistant for refusing to provide free ‘vada-pavs’. The incident took place in suburban Vile Parle (West) on Saturday but the FIR was registered on Monday. The accused, Sunil Mahadik, allegedly hit Chetan Geveriya (28), who works at Trupti Sweet and Farsan Mart on D J Road in a Mumbai suburb, with a bamboo stick, police said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day ago, Mahadik had sent another person to the shop demanding 100 vada pavs, a popular street-food in Mumbai, free of cost. Chetan told him that they didn’t have so much stock, so the person left.
ALSO READ Watch: Shiv Sena member brutally beats up woman traffic constableThe next day, Mahadik allegedly called Geveriya on his mobile phone and abused him, and said he must hand over 100 vada pavs immediately to a person he was sending. Geveria said Mahadik should speak to the owner of the shop first. Irked, Mahadik himself went to the shop and hit Geveria with a bamboo stick and threatened to kill him, police said.Geveria, though not seriously injured, was taken to Cooper hospital in Juhu, police said.The incident was captured by the CCTV cameras in the shop and Juhu police registered an FIR. The footage was also aired by some local news channels. Mahadik was arrested and a local court sent him to police custody.This incident comes in the wake of another in neighbouring Thane where a Shiv Sena worker was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman traffic constable three days ago. CCTV footage of the incident had gone viral.

PM Modi ‘fails’ in budget examination, says Nitish Kumar

Describing this year’s budget as “disappointing’, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday declared that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed in the “examination” and said the budget promises “acchhe din” (good days) only for those having black money.”There is nothing in the budget for farmers or any other section of society. People got only disappointment from the budget of the BJP government,” Kumar told reporters.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mocking Modi, who had yesterday said he had an exam today with reference to the budget, Kumar said, “The result is out and he failed to pass.”The Bihar Chief Minister also targeted the Centre for the compliance window for blackmoney holders.”The budget promises ‘Acchhe din’ only for holders of black money. By giving amnesty to holders of black money that they could pay only 45% of the total amount and can do ‘mauj’ (enjoy) with rest 55%, the Narendra Modi government has in a way given license to convert black money into white,” he said.Narendra Modi government has in a way given license to convert black money into white,” he said.”Is this what you had promised on black money before 2014 election? After two years your government has come up with an amnesty scheme for holders of black money,” Kumar, whose rivalry with the Prime Minister is an open secret, said.He took a potshot at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too and said, “While presenting budget in Parliament, he did not look like a man knowing well about economics and rather appeared as a lawyer who put a lot of emphasis during his speech on dispute settlement.”Kumar said Bihar felt “let down” as there was neither reference of any allocation of money for the special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore and Rs 40,000 crore of earlier packages nor a mention of BRGF (Backward Regional Grant Fund) in the Annexure which is a bonafide right of the state in the wake of creation of Jharkhand out of it.The Bihar Chief Minister also took a jibe at assertions that the budget plans to double famers’ income in five years, saying “even if this happens, what will they get? Farmers’ monthly income presently stands at about Rs 1,500-2,000. What will they get if it doubles up to Rs 3,500-4,000 in next five years?””What about the poll promise of giving an MSP to farmers after adding 50 per cent on the input cost?” he asked.He said Bihar would lose around Rs 10,000 crore in 2016-17 due to less allotment to the state in accordance with 14th Finance Commission recommendations.Likewise, in rural roads under PMGSY, Bihar had sent a proposal of Rs 4,000 crore for 2015-16 and it got only Rs 2,781 crore in the budget, he said.

Many of Tagore’s statements against cult of nationalism: JNU professor

Many of Rabindranath Tagore’s statements were against the “cult of nationalism” and if it was possible to put someone behind the bars “posthumously” he would have landed there too, JNU professor Ranabir Chakravarti said on Monday.Chakravarti was addressing students during a lecture series on nationalism at varsity’s administration block, which is the venue for the student agitation against imposition of sedition charges on few students for an event against the hanging of Afzal Guru where “anti-national” slogans were raised. “If you could put someone behind bars posthumously the way you can award a Bharat Ratna Rabindranath Tagore, composer of the song that became the national anthem, would have been there. Many of his statements are against the cult of nationalism,” the professor at JNU’s Centre for Historical Studies said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Tagore composed ‘Baul song’ a folk song for the first time from the context of the Partition of Bengal, between 1905 and 1910. Bringing a folk tune was a political act and was followed by a cavalcade of songs on swadesh.”But Tagore was ‘deeply ambivalent’ about nationalism if it meant fighting the colonial oppression, he was for it but opposed in a ‘sustained manner’ the nationalism that spelt parochialism, patriotism that’s directed at hating others, belittling others,” Chakravarti said.”For him, swadesh was not my country, right or wrong but my homeland,” he said noting the irony in Tagore’s position on nationalism and his compositions being directly converted into or influencing national anthems of three countries Indian, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan. The open-air lectures are being organised, in which professors from various universities are participating, in protest of the branding of the university as “anti-national” and the arrest of the JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar.

Will reach out to Congress over GST bill, says Arun Jaitley

Government will reach out to the Congress in the current session of Parliament to resolve the deadlock over the GST bill, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday. “As far as GST is concerned, every political party claims to be in favour of it. The Congress party had put some conditions. I think one condition still remains there. I will try to talk to them in the remaining of the Budget session of Parliament, and try to move ahead with the GST bill”, Jaitley said in a post budget Hackathon. Jaitley said the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the need of the hour and it has the capability to strengthen the Indian economy.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is simple, will help in expansion of revenue, states will get benefit out of it, business will have ease and it will facilitate seamless transfer of goods and services. “GST will help in making the whole country in one single market, it means one-sixth of world market is one market. You won’t get a bigger market than this elsewhere”, Jaitley said.

Delhi HC reserves order on Kanhaiya’s bail, asks tough questions to Delhi Police

Delhi Police on Monday faced tough questions for slapping sedition charge on JNUSU leader Kanhaiya Kumar by the Delhi High Court which asked it to show evidence against him of his “active role” in raising anti- India slogans and why the case was not lodged on February 9 itself.Though the prosecution maintained that Kanhaiya was “not cooperating” with the investigation and even came out with “contradictory” statements in joint interrogation by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Delhi Police, Justice Pratibha Rani wanted answers from the investigators to buttress their claims of having evidence on allegations which included that his speech was “more than political.” “The presence at the spot is different from participation in the anti-national slogans,” Justice Rani said and wanted to know “Whether he played any active role in raising anti-India slogans.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Whether the mobile recording, done at your (police) instance, showed that Kanhaiya had raised any such slogans,” the bench asked the police during the hearing of his bail plea which was witnessed by his father, uncle and an elder brother and the cops assuring that the arrested students leader would “not be victimised” if it was found that he has no role. The family members were present for the second day today after the February 24 hearing. They were brought inside the courtroom under police escort as the Supreme Court has made it clear that it is the responsibility of the Delhi Police to ensure the safety and security of the lawyers and those closely associated with the accused.During the hearing in which there was a restricted entry only for lawyers of the parties and family members of the accused, Justice Rani, who reserved the verdict on Kanhaiya’s bail plea for March 2, sought clarification from investigators as to how the accused was leading the group shouting slogans when other political group of the students were also present. “As per you (Delhi police) there were two (ABVP and AISF) groups. Explain how petitioner (Kanhaiya) was leading the group and shouted anti-India slogans,” the judge asked and added “do the police have video evidence that Kanhaiya was raising anti-national slogans?”Delhi Police, represented through Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, told the bench that they do not have any video in this regard but there was evidence that the JNUSU President was raising slogans and “the speech (by him) was more than political.””If he has no role as claimed by him we assure that he is not victimised,” he said. The ASG also said Kanhaiya denied his role even during his joint interrogation by the IB and Delhi Police. “During the joint interrogation carried by the IB and the Delhi Police it has been found that he has raised anti-India slogans. He is not cooperating in the investigations and giving contradictory statements. He is also denying his role,” Mehta said. He said “there were statements of witnesses including security incharge of campus, a student who is not associated with any of the groups and others, and they have identified Kanhaiya and others raising anti-India slogans alongwith Afzal Guru’s poster in their hand.He submitted the joint interrogation by the IB and Delhi police establishes Kanhaiya’s presence during the incident. At this moment, the court asked several questions to the ASG as the submissions were not backed by video evidence. The bench also asked why police officials who were present in plain clothes there did not take any action when the ASG himself had argued that such statements by the accused did not “sound good in taste”. “When your (Delhi) men were present on the spot there in the campus in civil dress why didn’t they take cognizance when anti-India slogans were raised? Why they did not video record it? Why you waited for a TV news channel video?” it asked.The bench said if there was an independent video of the incident, why the same was not sent for forensic test. It put these questions to police after senior advocate Kapil Sibal submitted that the JNUSU President had reached at the spot after he was informed that there was some clash among students and he never raised any slogans against the nation.Sibal contended that it was “some outsider with covered face who raised anti-India slogans and Kanhaiya was seen in the CCTV footage asking them for their identity card”. “If Kanhaiya was found raising such slogans, why did the police present on the spot did not register any FIR on that day itself? Why it waited for TV recording,” Sibal argued.Kanhaiya also distanced himself from Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, also accused in the sedition case, and are presently undergoing custodial interrogation. He claimed that the application for organising the event in question was filed by Umar and Anirban. Kanhaiya’s counsel also said that the procession was led by Umar.”Nowhere Kanhaiya was seen shouting any slogan. The court can look into the video. There were some people with covered faces, who were shouting slogans. They have not been arrested.Who were they, have they not yet been identified by the police,” Sibal contended. The counsel also referred to Kanhaiya’s speech made on February 11, saying he is committed to the Constitution.However, Mehta said, “the February 11 speech is a defence created, based on the uproar he witnessed on the television after the February 9 incident at JNU campus here. He gave that speech to show he is a patriot.” The ASG opposed Sibal’s defence and said if “he (Kanhaiya) is allowed on bail in this kind of offence, the future generation of this country will be infected”. “It is a very delicate situation. There appears to be a movement and this is beginning of the movement. We have to see who’ financed it,” ASG submitted, adding that if Kanhaiya is released, it can have pan India impact.”Releasing Kanhaiya can be point for anti-India movement,” ASG said, adding that “similar slogans were raised in Jadavpur university after JNU. If he is given bail then such incidents will get a boost”. The AAP government, however, took different stand in which it urged the court to grant him bail.”There is no clear CCTV footage. He is innocent. He is a man who stands by the Constitution. He is a student leader and so he was present there during the event,” the AAP government counsel said. At the fag end of the hearing, the counsel representing Umar and Anirban told the bench that there was threat to them as the case has been transferred to Delhi police’s special cell. The bench, however, said, “as of now, senior officials of police, who has been asked to ensure security of accused, have succeeded in doing so. The same is expected from the officers of the special cell.”

Thane murders: Police to enlist help of psychiatrists

The Thane police, yet to ascertain the motive behind the gruesome act of 35 year-old Hasnain Warekar who murdered 14 members of his family including his parents, wife and two children and then committed suicide, today said they would also seek the help of psychiatrists.The macabre killings took place in the early hours of Sunday in Kasarwadvali area of neighbouring Thane city. “Until we record the statement of the lone survivor Subiya Barmar (one of Hasnain’s sisters) we cannot say anything about his motive,” said the joint commissioner of police Ashutosh Dumbre at a press conference in Thane today.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are considering all the angles such as property dispute, psychological disorder, etc,” he said, adding that the investigators would also seek the help of psychiatrists. According to the neighbours, he said, Hasnain and his family enjoyed a good reputation, and nobody thought he “would even harm an ant”. As to property dispute being a possible trigger, Dumbre said police hadn’t yet come across any evidence of the family owning huge assets, but the probe was on.
ALSO READ Hasnain had a golden heart, say neighbours about Thane man who killed 14 family membersIn July 2012, the accused, his wife and their elder daughter were admitted in Thane’s Titan hospital for food poisoning after taking medicines given by some `hakim’, Dumbre said, adding the police would check the record related to this incident too. The investigators were waiting for the autopsy reports of the victims to find out if they had been sedated before the murder, said Dumbre. The reports were expected in a couple of days.Police learnt from the neighbours that Hasnain used to kill goats for the ritual `kurbani’ (sacrifice), and therefore knew how to use butcher’s knife, the weapon used in the macabre crime. Police had noted that among the victims, Hasnain’s father and Subiya had cuts on the two fingers of the left hand, indicating attempt to resist, the JCP said.Hasnain had invited his three sisters and their children for a weekend get-together and feast. He had himself gone to Subiya’s house to bring her. The police however did not know why he did not invite his brothers-in-law for the `dawat’, Dumbre said.Police were examining the cell-phones and laptops of the accused, and had also seized some medicines found in the house. Teams had been formed to speak to various people who knew the family and the accused, the officer said. Subiya was not in the right frame of mind (because of the shock), the JCP said. “After answering some questions of the investigators, she starts asking about her daughter, as she thinks that her daughter is still alive,” the JCP said.”We think by tonight she would be in a condition to talk precisely,” added Dumbre. Of late Hasnain, a commerce graduate who used to file income tax returns for a CA’s firm, didn’t have any permanent job, according to the police

Pak SIT on Pathankot attack likely to visit India soon: Sartaj Aziz

A Pakistani team probing the Pathankot terror attack may visit India in the next few days, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz said on Monday and expressed hope that the Foreign Secretary-level talks will be scheduled very soon after that.”It is unfortunate that the agreement on resuming the dialogue process was disrupted by the attack on Pathankot Airbase on January 2. Pakistan has taken some important steps in the aftermath of the Pathankot incident,” Aziz said in his opening remarks to the US-Pak Strategic Dialogue. “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called the Indian Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) immediately after the attack and assured of Pakistan’s support in the investigation. National Security Advisers are maintaining frequent contacts,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Case has been registered and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) is likely to visit India in the next few days. We therefore hope that the Foreign Secretary level-talks will be scheduled very soon,” Aziz said during the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue which he co-chaired with US Secretary of State John Kerry. As an important part of Sharif Government’s policy of peaceful neighbourhood, Islamabad has reached out to India, he noted.”We believe that the resolution of all outstanding issues – including the Kashmir dispute – is possible through resumption of full-scale and uninterrupted dialogue with India. We had also proposed a mechanism to address our respective concerns on terrorism,” Aziz said.A six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up by Pakistan government for the initial probe into the January 2 attack based on the leads given by India. Three men arrested for their alleged role in the attack were sent to a six-day police remand by an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala city of Punjab on Saturday.The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police has been lodged on the basis of information provided by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that four attackers crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase. The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for the talks.

Bihar: Candidates made to sit in underwear in Army recruitment exam

In a bizarre and shocking incident, candidates appearing for the post of clerk in army recruitment examination in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur District were asked to sit in underwear to prevent cheating.Around 1150 candidates had appeared for the exam on Sunday when they were ordered to take off their clothes and sit in only underwear in an open ground. The examination was being conducted for the recruitment of clerks in the army. The director of the recruitment board has justified such brazen decision saying that they earlier encountered bad experience with cheating. Hence such a radical decision was the need of the hour. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However this step didn’t go down well with the job-seekers who were left shell shocked. They had to remove pants, shirts and vests. The exam was conducted in open air and the students were not even provided desk to write the answers. With ANI inputs

Jewellers to strike in protest over gold tax | Reuters

MUMBAI Indian jewellers will go on indefinite strike from Tuesday in protest over the reintroduction after four years of a sales tax on gold jewellery, their trade body said.

The strike could curb gold imports by the world’s second biggest consumer and put pressure on global prices.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced an excise duty of 1 percent on gold and diamond jewellery on Monday.

“Jewellers across the country will go on strike from tomorrow. We are urging the government to roll back excise duty,” Ketan Shroff, a spokesman for India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA), told Reuters.

Successive governments have struggled to curb appetite for gold in Asia’s third largest economy, despite the imposition of a 10 percent import duty in 2013 and other restrictions.

Annual imports of up to 1,000 tonnes of gold, accounting for about a quarter of India’s trade deficit, have also prompted the government to launch a scheme to mobilise a pool of more than 20,000 tonnes of the metal lying idle in homes and temples.

The government imposed an excise duty in 2012, but was forced to roll it back after jewellers went on a strike.

“Jewellery sales have already been falling due to higher prices. In such (a) situation the government has raised (the) burden of excise duty,” Shroff said.

Jewellery sales in India have fallen in the last two months due to higher gold prices and as consumers delayed purchases hoping for a cut in import duty. This has forced importers to offer a discount of up to $53 per ounce to clear inventory.

But Jaitley surprised the market by maintaining the duty and instead raising the concessional countervailing duty on imports of gold dore bars, an alloy, to 8.75 percent from 8 percent.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Alexander Smith)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Small Library Foundation: Bringing book cheer to all children

The words of British statesman, Lord Chesterfield, ‘If we do not plant knowledge when young, it will give us no shade when we are old’ have been Akiraa PS’ motivation to do something for the world.Born and brought up in Miryalaguda in Telangana, 26-year-old Akiraa PS is trying to promote literacy among students in rural areas by building libraries. He wants every child to grow up to become contributors to the society.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It all began in 2006, on the first day of his engineering college in Hyderabad, Akira was mocked by his teacher for not understanding English. “I told her that my past education was completed in Telugu medium and that I was unable to understand her class,” recalls Akiraa. However, she continued to embarrass him and asked him to write a letter to the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh to conduct classes in his mother tongue. Two years later, when he’d had enough, he decided to take charge and help children like him who get mistreated just because they do not the English language. He then started Small Library Foundation in 2011. As part of their campaigns, they collected books through their volunteers which were then given to the needy for free.“We developed a plan through which we could help children understand English easily. As we all know, books play a very important role in a child’s development. The more books children read, the faster their vocabulary is developed.Reading books also increases knowledge of various subjects,” explains Akiraa.Now, Small Library Foundation has come up with more than 100 libraries and have shipped 120,000 books to underprivileged children not just in India but also to Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, Nairobi and Peru.To further his quest to make the world a better place for children, Akiraa, who is currently a To Do School Fellow in Germany, has also undertaken a new venture called My Dream Toy Store, an online store where he aims to help disadvantaged kids to design their dream toys.This story is one of the participants of Our Better World’s Good Story Pitch.

Delhi Police questions shop owner who made photocopies of posters on February 9

Sleuths of Delhi Police’s Special Cell on Monday questioned the owner of a photocopy shop in connection with the controversial event which led to the arrest of the JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and two others over sedition charge.The photocopy outlet is located in south Delhi’s Ber Sarai area and the owner is believed to have made copies of the posters of the February 9 event. He was taken to Special Cell’s office on Lodhi Road and questioned for several hours, a police source said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, police custody of JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, so far identified as the main organisers of the event, was extended for a day by a city court. They were later transferred to the office of Special Cell which is now looking into the matter, the source said. He further said, the photocopy shop owner was questioned and confronted with Khalid and Anirban in order to ascertain the identities of all those involved in organising the event at which “anti-national” slogans were raised.The sleuths have also questioned another JNU student Ashutosh, who is Kanhaiya Kumar’s predecessor, twice in connection with the event. He has been summoned to Special Cell’s office tomorrow again.Meanwhile, the agitating students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Monday alleged that the photocopy shops in the campus are refusing to print any posters that have not been “verified” by the administration.The campus photocopy shop owners claim that it is due to the “fear factor” that they are refusing to to print posters of protests, but the students alleged that the varsity administration has instructed them to do so, a charge denied by JNU Registrar Bhupinder Zutshi. The students alleged that the response of the photocopy shop owners on the campus is a fallout of the police questioning those running these outlets in nearby Ber Sarai market.A Delhi court on Monday allowed the custodial interrogation Khalid and Bhattacharya, arrested in the sedition case, by one more day. The court extended the police custody of the duo after police contended that they were required for further probe in the case to unearth the larger conspiracy.According to the police sources, the anti-terror unit of Delhi police, Special Cell needed some time to interrogate both the accused. Police has claimed that around 22 people present at the flashpoint JNU event, including some outsiders, have been identified after the joint interrogation of Khalid, Anirban and Kanhaiya Kumar.

Child Awareness Project: Reuniting children through internet

On May 11, 2011, Thamana, a 5-year-old girl was kidnapped from the Marina Beach in Chennai. Her uncle worked at Taha Fathima Khan’s father’s office. Taha, a 15-year-old girl, had never personally met the Thamana but she felt her parents’ pain.After hearing the ordeal of Thamana’s parents first hand, Taha decided to initiate a campaign on Facebook to search for the little girl, the campaign was called ‘Search For Thamana’. The campaigned garnered huge attention online. Thamana was found eight days later abandoned in a hospital, all because of the campaign.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Although Thamana reunited with her parents, Taha decided to keep the Facebook page. Taha who is now 19-year-old is currently a medical student in Malaysia said, “My mind went back to the many stories of missing kids. How they are read and forgotten the next moment for some other piece of more interesting news. I felt that change was necessary and continued Search for Thamana.”Ever since she initiated the campaign, it has garnered more than 2,000 supporters globally. Taha has also began began addressing other related issues like child abuse, labour, bullying and everything else that impinges children’s rights with the help of the campaign.In line with her intention of increasing awareness about children’s rights and campaigning against atrocities faced by children, she has now renamed Search For Thamana as The Child Awareness Project. She is working towards #ChildProofingTheWorld. “The hashtag addresses the irony of how parents or guardians take utmost care to child-proof a child’s surroundings, while little is done to make the world, as a whole, a safer place for kids,”explains Taha, recipient of the Silver Medallion at the 2012 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards and the International Diana Award.While most of CAP’s campaigning takes place on social media, to ensure greater involvement of the public, Taha and her team are planning to conduct offline activities such as awareness drives and talks.Wile Taha recognises the short attention span of internet users, she believes that the swiftness with which Thamana was found bears a resounding statement to the underestimated power of social media and social networking. She plans on using this medium to its full potential for the children of the world.This story is one of the participants of Our Better World’s Good Story Pitch.

Both Left and TMC slam Budget

Picking flaws in the Union Budget 2016-17, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday said it lacked vision and was full of “hollow promises”.It also burdened commoners by way of “inflationary” indirect taxation, he said. “As with the previous two budgets, this budget of the Modi govt is again full of hollow promises and slogans. The numbers just don’t add up. “FM says Budget is about fulfilling ‘desires & dreams’ but it has no vision. The dead certainty from it is of a shrinking economy,” Yechury said in a series of tweets.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rajya Sabha member observed that the schemes announced/supported by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget were the ones opposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi before elections, adding increasing cess will hurt common man.”Increasing cess hurts the common man, with indirect tax collections proposed to be up by Rs 20,600 cr. Direct tax proposals are down by Rs 1,060 cr. This means more burden on common people as indirect taxes are inflationary. So there will be no expansion in domestic demand,” he stated. Trinamool Congress on Monday dubbed the General Budget 2016-17 as “hopeless,” saying it does not offer any solution to the economic problems. “This budget is not constructive, nor is it creative. It is stereotype and routine. We are left with no option, but to call it a hopeless budget,” TMC, which rules West Bengal, said in a statement here. The party headed by Mamata Banerjee said the budget does not offer any hope for the farmers, downtrodden or even for industry.”There is no hope for industry, no hope for the farmers, no hope for the poor, no hope for the middle class, no hope even for the Sensex,” TMC said, adding “no major tax reforms to benefit the middle class. Lots of big words. No real big solutions.” Taking on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, TMC said “The FM made an attempt to emphasize on social sector schemes. But the reality is different. Almost 40 social sector schemes have been stopped and states have been burdened for funding new schemes.”While giving an example of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sevak Yojana, TMC said “Instead of the Centre, which is now funding 100 per cent, it will only fund 60 per cent and the states have to bear 40 per cent. So in West Bengal where Rs 3000 crore was spent, the state would now have to shoulder a burden of Rs 1200 crore. Is this cooperative federalism?” The TMC was also critical of the FDI policy.”We believe in total transparency. Why has the FM not mentioned the details of the changes in the FDI policy in his budget speech? It is shrouded in an annexure and opens up 100 per cent FDI in many sectors. Why can’t the government be transparent?,” it asked.

Indian-origin minister Priti Patel at centre of ‘Brexit’ protest

Britain’s senior-most Indian-origin minister Priti Patel on Monday complained over the government’s decision to block out ministers in favour of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), the so-called “Brexit”.UK’s employment minister and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion, who is in favour of Brexit, protested that the “Vote Leave” campaign group of ministers were being kept in the dark about propaganda operations being drawn up by civil servants within their own departments in the lead up to the June 23 referendum.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is important that the civil service maintains impartiality during the EU referendum. Cabinet Secretary Jeremy Heywood’s unconstitutional act threatens the reputation of the civil service,” 43-year-old Patel said.”Secretaries of State ministers are responsible for their departments. For an unelected official to prevent them being aware of the information they need for their duties is wrong,” she said. But Downing Street dismissed claims that the move was “unconstitutional”.”The role of the civil service is to support the government’s policies and position of the day. Ministers who choose to take a different view are opposing that government position,” a spokesperson for Cameron’s office said. The issue of the EU referendum has divided the Cameron-led Conservative party and the Cabinet with 17 members in favour of staying in the EU but five wanting to leave.

JNUSU Vice President Shehla Rashid receives yet another hate letter

JNU Students Union Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora who had earlier received a hate letter for opposing Ramdev’s visit to the university has now received a similar communication over her agitation against imposing of sedition charge on few students.Shehla who is leading a movement against arrest of student union president Kanhaiya Kumar over an event against hanging of Afzal Guru, is planning to approach the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to complain against the hate letter. The letter received from an anonymous sender at JNUSU office is full of abuses and targets Shehla as an “anti-national” for supporting those accused of sedition. The communication also mentions political leaders Sitaram Yechury and Rahul Gandhi in the same “category” for having visited the campus to express solidarity with students.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This is the second time I have received such a blasphemous letter which is an insult of mine not only as a JNU student but also as a women. Last time I had approached the National Commission for Women (NCW) over the same and have not heard from them about my complaint for over a month,” Shehla said. “I will now approach Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) about the letter. This is the best thing the right-wing opponents can come up with,” she added.Shehla had last month approached NCW saying she had opposed the invite to Yoga Guru Ramdev to be a keynote speaker in an academic conference at JNU and in return, she had received a letter “hurling abuses” at her.Jawaharlal Nehru University is caught in a row over an event on the campus to commemorate the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, where “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.The varsity’s students union president Kanhaiya Kumar is in judicial custody in a sedition case in connection with the February 9 event. Two other students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya are in police custody in the same case.

Budget 2016: More than half of Kashmiri migrant relief fund unused

More than half of the Rs 580 crore in funds allocated for the rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants remained unutilised during fiscal 2015-16.According to the Union Budget presented on Monday by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Rs 580 crore was allocated during 2015- 16 but as per revised estimates, only Rs 280 crore was provided, leaving Rs 300 crore unutilised.This year, a consolidated budget of Rs 849.12 crore has been allocated for “relief and rehabilitation of migrants and repatriates”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It covers reimbursement to Jammu and Kashmir government for Kashmiri migrants and border migrants, refugees from Sri Lanka, Tibet and former West and East Pakistan, relief and rehabilitation to North Eastern states ofTripura, Assam and Mizoram as well as enhanced compensation for 1984 anti-Sikh riot victims.The government had recently announced an additional Rs five lakh to about 3,325 victims of the 1984 riots.There are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families in the country which left Kashmir Valley due to the start of militancy/terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir in the early 1990s.

Four killed, 10 injured in road accidents in Rajasthan

Four persons were killed and ten others injured in two road accidents in Rajasthan, police said. Two persons were killed and five students injured when a car and a school bus collided in Jhunjhunu.Deepak Dudi (28) and Ajit Mann (34), both travelling in the car, were killed in the mishap which occurred in Surajgarh area.Four of the injured children were discharged after being administered first aid at a local hospital, while one was admitted to a district hospital, police said. A case has been registered against the bus driver, who is absconding, they said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In another accident, two persons were killed and five injured when a SUV they were travelling in turned turtle in Malakhera area in Alwar.The duo and others were going to a nearby place for outing when the mishap occurred. The victims have been identified as — Rahul Mev (19) and Junaid Mev (20). The injured have been admitted to a district hospital, police said.

German woman’s rape case: DCW defends its action of not acting upon rape complaint

Amid allegations of sitting over a rape complaint for 15 days filed by the German national, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Monday said that it was verifying the veracity of the complaint before forwarding it to the police as the email it received was unsigned and did not have the phone number of the victim.The Commission, instead, has now issued a notice to Delhi Police seeking to know the reason for the delay in registering an FIR which it claimed was leading to harassment of the victim as she was having to continue her stay in Delhi to ensure the same.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The Commission had received a brief email from the victim on February 5, 2016 and the email was unsigned and did not have the phone number of the victim. In order to verify the veracity of the complaint, the Commission with great effort was able to identify the mobile number of the victim,” said the Commission Chairperson Swati Maliwal.The Commission further said that a DCW Counsellor then spoke to the victim and made efforts to clear her apprehensions and encouraged her to report the facts to the Commission and the Delhi Police.After several calls, the victim finally informed the Commission that she would come to the Commission on February 19 and requested the Commission that her complaint be registered with the police…and reveal the complete facts to the Commission, said Maliwal.”Immediately, the Commission sent the girl to the police station along with a DCW Counsellor. The girl’s medical examination was also done. However, the police did not register an FIR and instead, on the third day after reporting the incident to them, the police handed over a long questionnaire consisting of around 150 questions to the victim,” said Maliwal.”Registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 of the Code if the information discloses commission of a cognizable offence and no preliminary inquiry is permissible in such a situation,” she said.The Commission issued a notice to the police to explain why an FIR was not being registered.”Delay in registering an FIR was leading to harassment of the victim as she was having to continue her stay in Delhi to ensure the same. It was sad that the Commission is being blamed for ‘sitting on a complaint’ when it is because of the persistence of the Commission that the victim was able to properly and comfortably report her case to the Police,” Maliwal said.

Missing Dutch woman traced in Rishikesh: Sushma Swaraj

A Dutch woman, who had gone missing in Rishikesh last week, has been found there and is being brought to Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.On Sunday, family of Sabine Harmes, 32, had requested Swaraj to help them locate her, four days after she went missing. “My officers have located the missing Dutch girl Sabine Harmes. She is presently in Swatantra Ashram, Rishikesh. Our Regional Passport Dahradun has met her. She appears to be mentally disturbed,” Swaraj tweeted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister on Sunday had asked the Uttarakhand government to trace the woman. “She received treatment at the Nirmal and Jolly Grant hospitals for injuries on her legs. We are informing her family/Embassy about this,” said Swaraj.Sabine’s sister Suzanne Lugano, in a tweet to Swaraj, had sought her intervention in the case. Responding to a tweet by Sabine on Monday, the External Affairs Minister said Indian Embassy in Netherlands will contact her and give her a visa to visit India.Suzanne, who lives in Nijmegen in The Netherlands, said Sabrina had attended a gathering of a ‘guru’ named Mooji and, when she did not return to the hostel on Wednesday, her roommates contacted the police.

One doesn’t become anti-national by holding honest opinion: Chidambaram

Continuing the ‘anti-national’ debate, former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said that if someone holds an honest opinion then he doesn’t become an anti-national.”If someone holds an honest opinion, he doesn’t become an anti-national or that is not seditious. I was part of the government, how can I distance myself from the government’s position”, Chidambaram told the media here while voicing his opinion on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) row.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, the Delhi Police opposed the bail plea of JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar arrested in a sedition case for allegedly raising anti-India slogans in the campus.The police stated that Kanhaiya was part of the gathering on February 9 and was leading the protest.The Delhi Police further said the video footage is just a corroborative evidence, adding there is more evidence against Kanhaiya to prove his offence.

Budget 2016: Tech industry cheers Arun Jaitley’s nine-point agenda

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the Union Budget for FY 2016-17 on Monday, bringing with it a raft of reforms and changes. The changes will significantly impact our lives in the times to come and we all have our take on the final result. Here are the reactions of some of the biggest names in the industry:

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. PTI

Mr Sudhin Mathur, Director, Smartphones, Lenovo Mobiles Business Group:
“The Union Budget for FY 2016-17 is a big step in terms of aiding the common man, small entrepreneurs and companies looking to invest in India. Ease of doing business and financial sector reforms being two of the Nine pillars that the Government will look towards to transform India, is a welcome move.
In addition, the rationalisation of custom duties and excise duties for raw materials, manufacturing for the IT and Hardware sector apart from various sectors to boost the Government’s ‘Make In India’ sector are definitely going to boost the manufacturing sector and lower costs for firms looking to do business in India.”

Partha Iyengar – VP & Gartner Fellow, Country Manager Research (India), Gartner:
• “The budget has a number of positives in it – though in some cases they are ‘baby steps’:
• Focus on rural skills development and improvement of rural digital literacy
• Incenting the creation of domestic IP, driving domestic innovation
• Creating a favorable environment for startups
• Focus on infrastructure outlays
• Continuing the ‘Make in India’ focus with a few more specific ‘catalysts’ announced in the budget
• The focus on ‘Quality of Education’ as a specific initiative
As always though, the devil is in the implementation of these schemes. It is good to see a mention of review of program effectiveness as one of the goals in the budget, but till we see that followed up religiously it is hard to give it credence.”

Vibhor Jain, CEO, Atlanta Healthcare:
“Last was the year of planning and indications are that 2016 will be the year of action for ‘Startup India’. With the announcement made by the Hon’ble Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, the Government has underscored its focus on the Indian startup ecosystem. A Tax holiday for startups for three of five years of setting up the company and lowering of Corporate IT rate to 25% are welcome and are steps in the right direction. In addition to tax relief, we are looking forward to ease of regulations around start-up capital, registration and closure processes for entrepreneurs in the country.”

Dinesh Agarwal, Founder and CEO, IndiaMART:
“There are all the right key words, in the Finance Minister’s 9 Point agenda in this budget. Governance and Ease of Doing Business, Education and Skills, Infrastructure, Financial Sector and Tax reforms reflect dedication towards a pro Technology, Infra and Trade oriented year ahead. The budget intends to build robustly Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Social Sector and Rural employment to further bridge the gap between Bharat and India.
Lowering of Corporate IT rate for companies (for new manufacturing companies and SMBs) not exceeding Rs. 5 crore turnover to 25% plus surcharge, tax holiday for startups for three of five years of setting up the company, the massive investment in the road infrastructure would provide support and boost to the MSMEs, startups and our overall ecommerce industry.
The Budget further strengthens the Financial System starting with the recapitalization of Banks. Since, Capital is the biggest woe for any entrepreneur, disbursement of MUDRA funds to 1,80,000 crore would add the apt backing.
What makes me particularly happy is the impetus being given to Skill Development. It assures the creation of a developed ecosystem where the Young Demographic Dividend of India has ample avenues of enterprise and means of excellence.
The Budget, however, lacks on simplicity quotient by initiating varied cesses this year unlike last year. Cess and surcharge on clean energy, for Infra and Agri, and even in Corporate tax shall prove to be raising complexities and hindrance overall.”

Prafulla Mathur, Founder and CEO, WudStay:
“I see this as a promising budget for entrepreneurs and startups. I am glad that the government has relaxed its taxation policies for startups. It will be a great opportunity for startups to utilise these funds into further scaling its business and operations. Also, the Finance Minister’s decision to relax taxes on capital gains for investors will generate a positive sentiment amongst the VC community which could help entrepreneurs looking to raise funds.
From a travel perspective, the revival of 160 airports should see a slight increase in domestic travel. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for these airports to be fully functional. Overall, I believe this is a decent budget with no negative implications for the startup community.”

Pramod Saxena, MD and Chairman, Oxigen Services Pvt Ltd:
“We are happy with the general direction of the budget as it lays emphasis on development of the rural sector, digitisation and reforms in banking. The digital literacy mission that has been announced which will target 6 crore households with financial literacy, with this the digital connect and payments connect will play an important role. Also, statutory status to Aadhaar will play a very big role in promoting digital payments, social benefit transfers and allowing several services beyond banking & insurance to be also be brought into its fold, whether it is government subsidies or government payments it will open a way for more government payments and subsidies to flow into the financial inclusion program.”

Manish Sharma, President CEAMA and Managing Director Panasonic India and South Asia:
“The Indian economy is growing at a rapid pace despite the global slowdown. The Finance Minister has clearly highlighted the growth pillars of the Indian economy in Agriculture, Rural, Social sector, Skills, Ease of Doing Business and Tax and Compliance reforms. We are happy with the government impetus on Make In India by providing tax and duty benefits and these will go a long way in strengthening the manufacturing capabilities of India. Another important milestone has been the use of technology to increase accountability of the government, authorities, and courts is a welcome step and will provide the right fillip to fast track procedures and will become the growth engine of the country. Skilling of youth of India by way of multi-skilled training institute and MOOCS will go a long way in tying the India growth story with the demographic advantage of India. Like always, we will continue supporting the government in its endeavour to fast track growth.”

Irom Sharmila vows to continue hunger strike even as Imphal court releases her from custody

Imphal: A court in Imphal on Monday released Irom Sharmila, who has been on a 15-year-long hunger strike to press for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, from custody.

“Sharmila was charged with attempting to commit suicide under Section 309 of IPC. However the court found no evidence to establish that she is trying to commit suicide and accordingly ordered her release,” C Momon, Sharmila’s advocate, told reporters.

Given Sharmila’s condition and her resolve to continue her fast unto death, she may be re-arrested as soon as Tuesday, a police officer told IANS.

Irom Sharmila in a file photo. AFPIrom Sharmila in a file photo. AFP

Irom Sharmila in a file photo. AFP

She has been arrested, tried and released several times on the charge of trying to take her own life.

Sharmila is also undergoing trial in the Patiala House court in Delhi on the same charge.

“I shall continue the fast at the footsteps of the Shahid Minar in Imphal town. I will not eat anything till my goal is achieved,” she said while coming out of the court room on Monday.

Sharmila had started her hunger strike on 4 November, 2000. Her main demand is the repeal of the AFSPA, 1958.

She expressed regret over the declining support to her cause, particularly from women activists.

“I am sorry that women activists and civil society organisations have distanced themselves from me and my cause. If they had extended support to my campaign, perhaps by now the AFSPA, which gives carte blanche to the security forces, might have been repealed,” she said.

She further said, “I am not discouraged by the lack of support since I know that victory will be there at last.”

In view of the declining support, however, she has said several times that there should be a public debate on whether she should continue her fast.

She also said that at least one representative each of the numerous civil society organisations should join her in the campaign.

There has been virtually no response to her appeal.

Until her release on Monday, Sharmila was lodged in a security ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.

She is guarded round-the-clock by jail, police and hospital staff. The government is spending about Rs 70,000 a month on her medication and feeding her through the nose.


Irom Sharmila ordered to be released from judicial custody

A court in Imphal on Monday ordered the release of Manipuri rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila, who is on a fast for 15 years demanding repealing of Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), from judicial custody.The CJM, Imphal East, ordered release of Sharmila, who had been charged under Section 309 of IPC (attempt to commit suicide) by launching an indefinite hunger strike to press for repeal of AFSPA, observing that there was no evidence for attempt to suicide by the lady and ordered her release.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking to the media in the court compound, Sharmila said she is hopeful to secure her demand for repeal of AFSPA with the support of the people. She further vowed to continue her fast to press her demand.From the court, Sharmila was taken back to the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences here amid 24-hour security by police. Sharmila had started her fast in 2002 demanding the repeal of the Act which she termed draconian.

Budget lacks both vision and conviction, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday said that the General Budget lacks both vision and conviction.”Modi ji spent the first 2 years mocking the Congress Party’s focus on farmers, MNREGA, Rural dev and social spending. Now mere rhetoric, without vision or action, will fool neither farmers nor the poor of this country. Budget2016 lacks both vision and conviction,”he said in a series of tweets. He said that the budget is full of new promises without any account of tall promises made in last two budgets. The Congress vice-president, however, thanked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for accepting his recommendation on removing import duty on Braille paper to help the visually impaired persons.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The grand old party criticised the General Budget tabled in the Parliament saying there is no big idea in it. Briefing media here in the national capital, former Finance Minister and senior party leader P Chidambaram said there is no relief for the tax payer or for the middle class in the budget. He said little has been done to encourage private investments which leave many projects stranded.Presenting his third successive Budget in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Finance Minister Jaitley listed nine thrust areas of tax proposals to transform India. To provide relief to small tax payers, he proposed to raise the ceiling of tax rebate under section 87A from Rs. 2,000 to five thousand for income not exceeding Rs. 5 lakh.Two crore tax payers will get a relief of Rs. 3,000. Additional deduction of Rs. 36,000 a year is proposed for those who do not own any house or get any house rent allowance. They will get an exemption up to Rs 60,000 now. Presumptive taxation extended to professionals with gross receipts up to Rs. 50 lakh.

Amid criticism over JNU row, Alok Kumar Verma takes over as Delhi police chief

New Delhi: Senior IPS officer Alok Kumar Verma on Monday took charge as the new Commissioner of Delhi Police at a time it is battling mounting criticism over handling of the JNU row.

Verma (58) succeeded B S Bassi, who was at loggerheads with the AAP government on a range of issues in the last one year, to become the 20th police commissioner of the force with a strength of over 80,000 personnel.

Verma, a 1979 batch IPS officer of the AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory) cadre, was serving as the Director General of Tihar jail till date. He assumes charge of Delhi Police when it is battling mounting criticism over handling of the JNU row.

In his first addressal speech to the entire police force over wireless, Verma said that ensuring security to senior citizens, women and weaker sections of the society will remain his priority areas and he expects the force to focus not only on grievous offences but also on petty crimes, which troubles the common man on a daily basis.

Image courtesy: Twitter/@CPDelhiImage courtesy: Twitter/@CPDelhi

Image courtesy: Twitter/@CPDelhi

He also said that the doors of his office are always open for the common man to come and seek solutions for their problems.

“I am proud to be given the opportunity of working with Delhi Police. Together, we will work towards betterment and strengthening of Delhi Police.

“Factors like community, caste and religion should never obstruct our functioning and I expect from my force to focus not only on grievous offences but also on petty crimes which troubles the common man on a daily basis.

“I expect that every Delhi Police personnel stays away from corruption, rudeness and barbarism…Ensuring security to senior citizens, women and weaker sections of the society will remain our priority areas,” the new police chief said.

Calling constable “spine” of the police force, Verma said that the supervisory authority should ensure better communication with their subordinates to make sure that all problems they confront on the field are dealt with at the earliest.

He also said that he would put untost efforts accommodation, barracks and mess facilities of police officials.

“The doors of my office are always open for the common man to come and seek solutions for their problems,” he added.


Kejriwal narrowly escapes attack in Punjab; holds Akali Dal responsible for act

Ludhiana: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had a narrow escape on Monday when the vehicle he was travelling in was attacked with stones and sticks by some men near Ludhiana in Punjab. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal ordered a probe into the incident.

Pointing an accusing finger at the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the attack was a “conspiracy hatched by the Akalis to kill Kejriwal”. The AAP held  Badal responsible for the attack.

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFPFile photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

File photo of Arvind Kejriwal. AFP

Kejriwal, who ended his five-day tour of Punjab on Monday, tweeted that his car was attacked with batons and stones, shattering its windscreen.

Police said the chief minister, who enjoys Z-plus security cover, was safe and escorted from the spot.

Kejriwal was seated alongside the driver in an Innova multi-utility vehicle when the attack took place. He was immediately shifted to another car and driven away.

“The attack lasted for 3-4 minutes. There were about 30-40 people who carried out the attack,” a police official present at the spot told IANS.

Senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh demanded a high-level probe by a high court judge into the attack.

“It was a well-planned conspiracy hatched by Akalis to eliminate Kejriwal, who has emerged as ‘masiha’ for the people of Punjab,” he said.

He alleged that the attack took place at Sukhbir Badal’s behest.

“The presence of Harkinder Singh, younger brother of Ludhiana MLA Manpreet Singh Ayali, apart from Youth Akali leaders Amandeep Singh Aulakh and Prabhdeep Singh Mangat, is enough indication for the conspiracy by Akalis to ‘kill’ Kejriwal,” the AAP leader said.

He accused the Punjab Police of being “hand-in-glove in the conspiracy”, saying they “deliberately guided the convoy to an unscheduled route on the pretext of safety where more than 100 goons were waiting for the attack”.

On his part, Kejriwal tweeted earlier: “Badals and Congress nervous? They can’t break my spirits.”

AAP leader Ashish Khetan called it a “well orchestrated attack” and said the “goons sent by the Badals attacked Kejriwal’s car with stones and rods as the police stood by”.

“The attackers came within an inch of grievously injuring Kejriwal. It was only by god’s grace that he escaped unhurt.”

Condemning the incident, Sukhbir Badal, who is also Punjab’s home minister, said due action would be taken against the attackers.

“I have directed the police to register a case against the stone pelters and take action immediately,” he said in a statement.

Badal directed the Punjab DGP to inquire if there was any lapse on the part of the security apparatus provided to the AAP leader.

“The Punjab government is committed to providing adequate security to Kejriwal during his visits to Punjab,” he said. He denied that the Akali Dal was behind the attack.

Kejriwal was on a five-day tour of Punjab, where the AAP has emerged as a major player. The Punjab assembly polls are scheduled for February next year.

The AAP leadership pointed out that BJP supporters held a protest at the venue while the Akali Dal workers attacked Kejriwal’s motorcade.

Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh said the Congress had nothing to do with the attack.

During his visit to Punjab last month, the Punjab government did not provide security to Kejriwal while he was travelling back to Delhi.


Indian government aims to cut defence imports, hold spending steady | Reuters

NEW DELHI India plans to focus defence spending more on the domestic market instead of importing combat planes, ships and submarines, after saying on Monday it will leave military spending for 2016/17 largely unchanged following years of increases.

Major global defence companies have been circling over the Indian market, buoyed by the military’s modernisation plans worth more than $100 billion.

But the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to end the military’s dependence on imports that have made it the world’s largest buyer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“For the first time this government is having a look at our procurement policies and they are telling the military we are not interested in your outright purchases anymore,” said Deba R. Mohanty, chairman of Indicia Research and Advisory, a consulting firm on defence affairs.

India’s military is deployed on the border with China as well as Pakistan and says it has to plan for a “collusive threat” from them both. For decades it relied on the former Soviet Union to supply planes, ships and artillery.

Then it turned to Western manufacturers including France, United Kingdom and in recent years Israel and the United States for expensive combat planes, missiles and surveillance planes.

In his federal budget presented to parliament on Monday Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated 2.49 trillion Indian rupees ($36.5 billion) for defence, a 0.96 percent increase over the 2015/16 allocation of 2.46 trillion rupees.

Amit Cowshish, who handled defence accounting in the ministry, said more than funds, the bigger problem was lack of clarity on the defence procurement policy.

“It’s not that the money is not there, it’s that there’s no still no clear-cut policy on indigenous manufacture, the procedures etc. That is why even the money that has been allocated ends up not being spent.”

The budget papers showed that the military didn’t spend the full amount given to it last year. The revised estimate for spending for the fiscal year ending in March was 2.24 trillion rupees.

Defence wages and pensions have also risen this year, making even less money available for modernisation, Cowshish said.

China is expected to announce a large rise in defence spending next month, as the ruling Communist Party seeks to assuage the military’s unhappiness at sweeping reforms and as worries over the South China Sea and Taiwan weigh on Beijing.

At 886.9 billion yuan ($136.4 billion), China’s budgeted defence spending last year was more than three times that of India’s expenditure announced on Monday.

($1 = 68.2895 Indian rupees)

(Editing by Hugh Lawson)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Ishrat Jahan case files to be examined by Home Ministry

The Home Ministry is all set to examine files relating to the controversial Ishrat Jahan case after former Home Secretary G K Pillai said ex-Home Minister P Chidambaram had changed an affidavit, which originally described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives.”We are trying to locate files relating to Ishrat Jahan case. We are yet to get all files as some of these are yet to be traced,” a senior Home Ministry official said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The official said re-look of the Ishrat Jahan files was necessitated following the statement of the former Home Secretary.”We are looking at the files keeping in view that new facts have come to light,” he said.Pillai on Sunday claimed that as Home Minister during UPA government, Congress leader Chidambaram had recalled the file a month after the original affidavit, which described Ishrat and her slain aides as LeT operatives, was filed in Supreme Court.”Only after the affidavit was revised, as directed by the minister, did the file come to me,” Pillai is quoted as saying by a media report.The then UPA government had submitted two affidavits – one that the four, who were killed in an alleged fake encounter, were terrorists and the second saying there was no conclusive evidence – within two months in 2009.

Satyajit Ray is now an address: Kolkata names road after legendary filmmaker

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday inaugurated a revamped Bishop Lefroy Road, on which stands the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s house and renamed it as Satyajit Ray Sarani.

The 150-m stretch of the iconic road has been beautified keeping in mind Ray’s works with the pavement been re-laid with designer blocks.

Special benches adorn both sides of the pavement along with designer street furniture installed, keeping in parity with Ray’s residence which is a grade-I heritage building.

Satyajit Ray. File photo. IBNLiveSatyajit Ray. File photo. IBNLive

Satyajit Ray. File photo. IBNLive

“As a token of our humble dedication to the memory and phenomenal contribution of legendary personality Satyajit Ray, we have decided to rename Lee Road, near Bishop Lefroy Road where his house stands, as Satyajit Ray Sarani,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote on her Facebook wall soon after inaugurating the street.

“Kolkata Municipal Corporation has beautified the area near Satyajit Ray’s house in a unique way, which has been inaugurated today. It is only our small tribute to the iconic man who took Bengal to a distinctive place in the world in the field of cinema and more,” she further wrote.

And for touch of Ray, replica of the original posters of the Oscar-winning director’s films including ‘Pather Panchali’, ‘Joy Baba Felunath’ and ‘Goopi Gyen Bagha Byen’ have been displayed on both sides of the road.


Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s aide asked to join probe immediately in sedition case

Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s close aide Virender, who failed to appear before Rohtak police on Sunday in connection with sedition charge, has been directed to join investigation immediately.”We have told his (Virender) lawyer to join investigation immediately as the matter is quite serious,” Rohtak SP Shanshak Anand said on Monday.”He (lawyer) gave us assurance that Virender will soon join,” the SP said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Virender, a Congress leader, was booked by Rohtak Police on February 24 on sedition charges after surfacing of a 90-second audio clip of a purported conversation between him and another person, allegedly to incite violence during Jat agitation.Police had asked him to join investigation by Sunday but he failed to appear. Lawyer of Virender has requested seven-day time for joining the investigation.The FIR against Virender and Man Singh Dalal was registered under various sections of the IPC, including Section 124-A (Sedition) and Section 120-B (Conspiracy), Section 153-A (promoting enmity between classes) and Section 153-B (imputation, assertion prejudicial to national integration). The FIR against the duo was registered on a complaint of a Bhiwani resident Pankaj Kumar.Virender, advisor to Hooda, had earlier accepted that the voice in the clip was his but alleged the conversation had been doctored.Meanwhile, police said more than 75 persons have been arrested in Rohtak alone in connection with the incidents of arson and violence during Jat agitation.”Over 350 FIRs have been registered so far,” the SP said.Asked about recovery of “stolen” articles, he said police had recovered kitchen appliances, Ray Ban sunglasses, liquor bottles, branded shoes which were “looted” by arsonists during Jat agitation.Asked about sons of two Haryana cops who were booked for allegedly “storing” stolen goods during Jat agitation, he said one of the accused identified as Ajay had been arrested while another one Mandeep had been asked to join investigation.Police had, last week, conducted a raid at shop which was taken by both accused on rent in Rohtak and had recovered liquor bottles, branded jackets, shoes among other material from the shop. The SP said the raids were being conducted to recover more “stolen” goods and materials by arsonists from shops and commercial establishments.Shops and commercial establishments belonging to non-Jats were first looted and then set on fire, traders had said. Business community in Rohtak alone had claimed financial loss of about Rs 1,000 crore during property damage and looting incident during Jat stir.

PM Modi has passed budget test with flying colours, says Rajnath Singh

Terming the Union Budget 2016-17 as “excellent”, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said it outlines the priorities of the NDA government and the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who passed the budget test with “flying colours”.His ministerial colleague Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the budget was the “practical vision document” of the Modi government’s commitment to empowerment of villages, farmers, women, youth and the poor. “If the Union Budget were like annual exams for our Prime Minister, then I must say he has passed the exams with flying colours,” Singh said. Congratulating Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on presenting an “excellent” budget, the Home Minister said it was a “pro-farmer, pro-poor and pro-reform budget”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The budget has certainly outperformed people’s expectations on almost all fronts and it will have a multiplier effect on our economy,” he said. Singh said the budget gives the government an opportunity to deepen the economic foundation and widen the infrastructure network. “Strengthening rural economy and providing income security to the farmers have been given top priority in this year’s budget,” he said. In his monthly radio programme ‘Mann Ki Baat’ yesterday, Modi, while giving a pet talk to students, said they should appear for exams with a “positive approach” having free and calm mind without any anxiety. In this context, Modi had referred to budget presentation and said, “Friends, your exams are starting. I too have exam tomorrow. The country’s 125 crore people are going to test me.”Describing it as a “perfect, progressive and prosperous people’s budget”, Naqvi said it is a “mirror” of the economy which is based on commitment to transparency and development and a system free from “power brokers and middlemen”. “Indian economy is safe and strong even amid a global economic slowdown only due to lockout and blockade of ‘loot lobby’ by the Modi government. Each and every paisa of public money is dedicated to the welfare of the poor, needy, weaker sections, farmers, labourers and the youth.”This atmosphere of trust and development has sent those people into depression who considered loot of public money as their birth right. Such people are engaged in a destructive political propaganda over the nation’s development,” Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Naqvi said in a statement.

four killed, 10 injured in road accident in Jaipur

Jaipur: Four persons were killed and ten others injured in two road accidents in Rajasthan, police said. Two persons were killed and five students injured when a car and a school bus collided in Jhunjhunu. Deepak Dudi (28) and Ajit Mann (34), both travelling in the car, were killed in the mishap which occurred in Surajgarh area.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Four of the injured children were discharged after being administered first aid at a local hospital, while one was admitted to a district hospital, police said. A case has been registered against the bus driver, who is absconding, they said. In another accident, two persons were killed and five injured when a SUV they were travelling in turned turtle in Malakhera area in Alwar. The duo and others were going to a nearby place for outing when the mishap occurred.

The victims have been identified as — Rahul Mev (19) and Junaid Mev (20). The injured have been admitted to a district hospital, police said.


Valson Thampu’s farewell message: Controversies are necessary stimulation

“Controversies are a necessary stimulation and help a person in not being complacent” was the farewell message by St Stephen’s principal Valson Thampu whose tenure was marred with controversies.The farewell activities lined up for Thampu also had their share of controversies with a section of teachers and staff members boycotting his celebrations of “festival of retirement”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Controversies are necessary stimulation for any person. Manufactures of those dramas did not know they were doing me a favour and helping me in not being complacent. Everything I did was by design and nothing was an accident,” Thampu said in his farewell address.”When I took over the post of the principal I knew the cost I was going to pay and I was warned against it by my well wishers but I give credit to all those who created controversies around the college as they only motivated me and brought out the best in my administration,” he added.Thampu, who studied at St Stephen’s and later served the college as a lecturer and officiating principal, took over as the college principal in 2008. His tenure as the 12th principal of the prestigious college ended today and his successor John Varghese will take charge of the post on Tuesday.Meanwhile, the group of teachers who made repetitive demands for his removal in wake of the controversies, boycotted the farewell terming his tenure to be the “darkest period” in college’s history.”The college has been battered and bruised during his tenure but institutions are greater than individuals. The past seven years were darkest years in history of Stephen’s,” a senior professor of the college and former member of the Governing Body said.DUTA President Nandita Narain who has always been at loggerheads with Thampu said, “he has always been making derogatory remarks against teachers hence we all decided to give his farewell a miss”.Another farewell meeting was held on Monday in the college preceded by Farewell Chapel Service. The celebrations ended with an “Adieu Walk”.The principal designate also addressed the students and adviced them to run away from “temptation of popularity” and keep working irrespective of any controversies.Allegations of forced conversion of an administrative officer to Christianity, fake degree used for his appointment, banning of e-zine for not seeking permission on content, shielding a professor accused of sexual harassment of a research scholar and proposing amendments to the college’s 102-year-old constitution marked Thampu’s stint at St Stephen’s helm.

No reported cases of rape or molestation during Jat riot: Haryana govt to HC

Chandigarh: Submitting a status report on the alleged Murthal gang rapes, the Haryana government on Monday told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that no such rapes or incidents of molestation were reported from Haryana’s Sonipat district during the recent Jat agitation.

The preliminary status report was submitted following investigations into the matter by an three-member all-women special investigation team (SIT) constituted last week by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s government.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The SIT report said no woman had come forward to lodge a complaint of gang rapes in Murthal on 22 February.

The high court, taking suo motu notice of a media report about the gang rapes, had asked the government and the state police to submit a status report on the issue by Monday.

The high court appointed lawyer Anupam Gupta as amicus curie in the matter.

A woman from Delhi’s Narela area on Sunday complained that she was gang-raped by seven men on 22-23 February night near Murthal. However, the SIT and other police officers said that preliminary investigations indicated this case was not linked to the Jat agitation.

The high court told the SIT to submit a complete report by 14 March.

As many as 30 people were killed and over 200 injured in the nine-day violent agitation by members of the Jat community to press their demand for reservation in jobs and educational institutions.


Hate speech: Centre opposes Subramanian Swamy’s plea in Supreme Court

The Centre on Monday termed as “not maintainable” and opposed in the Supreme Court the plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging constitutional validity of certain IPC provisions on hate speech and writing.Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, told the bench comprising justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel that the plea is not a “writ petition but a personal interest litigation” as NBW has been already been issued against him with regard to alleged hate speeches. “He is aggrieved because a non-bailable warrant (NBW) has been issued against him by a court with regard to his hate speeches. He is being personaly prosecuted for an offence and, hence his plea is infact a personal interest litigation,” he said, noting that the plea was not maintainable.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench then asked Swamy whether converting the warrant from non-bailable to bailable one would suffice his cause or not. Swamy vehmently opposed the contention of the Solicitor General and said that his plea has already been considered by the previous bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi which has agreed to examine the constitutional validity of 156(3) of IPC and he is not on the issue of bailable warrant. “The previous bench of the Supreme Court had in its last order asked all the parties to file their affidavits with regard to the matter and it has agreed to examine the provision of IPC constitutionally,” he said.He argued that his plea for quashing of NBW was already before the Gauhati High Court. The Solicitor General intervened and contended that Swamy can also raise the same issue of constitutional validity before the high court which is seized of his NBW issue. To this, the bench asked Swamy whether he has challenged the provisions before the high court or not and asked, “Why can’t you raise the issue there.””How many high courts should I go to. Across the country, FIRs are being lodged against me by several state governments.This is a question of my fundamental right. This court is an appropriate forum to examine the validity of the provisions of the IPC,” Swamy said, adding that he has not challenged the validity before the high court. Swamy also sought transfer of matter to the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, saying the previous bench headed by him was ready to examine the constitutional validity of the provisions.The apex court was hearing Swamy’s plea against the order of an Assam trial court which issued an NBW against him for failing to appear before it on March 19, last year in a case of alleged hate speech. To this, the bench said that due to change of roster the matter has come before it and granted time to Swamy to think over the issue of raising it before the high court while posting the case for further hearing on July 11.On July 2, last year, the apex court had stayed the execution of a non-bailable warrant issued against him by the Assam court for allegedly delivering a hate speech at a university there. Swamy, who is facing a court case in Karimganj in Assam for allegedly delivering an inflammatory address at Kaziranga University, had sought relief from the apex court in the case.He has also challenged the constitutional validity of Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code. Swamy has alleged that in the “past few years”, these sections have been invoked against him, “sometimes malafide and maliciously, by various authorities to penalise him for his clearheaded extensive research and his ideological beliefs and thereby make him conform to the norms of certain special ideological and religious groups”.At least five recent FIRs or summons have been issued against him from Delhi, Mumbai, Karimganj, Mohali in Punjab and Thrissur in Kerala, for “presumed hate speech”, he has said.

Jat agitation: 14 arrested for rioting, damaging govt property

Fourteen people were arrested on Monday from Jind district for allegedly damaging government property and indulging in rioting during the Jat agitation.”We have arrested 14 people for rioting and damaging government properties during the Jat agitation,” Jind SP Abhishek Jorwel said.Nine persons were arrested from Uchana, three from Julana and one each from Safidon and Sadar Jind, he said. However, no fresh complaint was received by the team of three women officers set up to go into alleged incidents of rape and molestation of several women by Jat protesters near Murthal.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have not received any complaint today,” DIG of Haryana Police Rajshree Singh, who heads the team, said.A woman had come forward on Sunday and registered a case of gangrape against seven people, including her brother-in- law, in connection with the incident at Murthal’s women police station.”A probe in the case is underway,” the DIG said.Meanwhile, the Haryana government on Monday released an interim assistance of Rs 3.44 crore to 152 more people whose properties were damaged in the incidents of violence and arson during the agitation. It had released an interim assistance of Rs 1.12 crore to 203 people yesterday.A government spokesman said this amount is being sent directly in the bank accounts of the claimants.Having suffered massive financial loss during the agitation for inclusion of Jats in the Other Backward Classes list, the business community in worst-hit Rohtak demanded tax relief and electricity bill waiver.

How you perceive and react to stress decides your overall health

New York: How you perceive and react to stressful events in life is more important to your health than how frequently you encounter stress, says a study.

According to the researchers, the more negatively an individual reacts to a situation the more he/she may be at risk of developing heart disease.

Representational image

Representational image

The team wanted to find out whether daily stress and heart rate variability – a measure of autonomic regulation of the heart – are linked.

A potential pathway that links stress to future heart disease is a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system — a case of a person’s normally self-regulated nervous system getting off track.

“Higher heart rate variability is better for health as it reflects the capacity to respond to challenges,” said Nancy L Sin from Pennsylvania State University.

“People with lower heart rate variability have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death,” Sin added in the paper published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Depression and major stressful events are known to be harmful for health, but less attention has been paid to the health consequences of frustrations and hassles in everyday life.

The team analysed the data collected from 909 participants between the ages of 35 and 85, including daily telephone interviews over eight consecutive days and the results from an electro-cardiogram.

During daily phone interviews, participants were asked to report the stressful events as well as negative emotions they had experienced that day.

The researchers found that participants who reported a lot of stressful events in their lives were not necessarily those who had lower heart rate variability.

No matter how many or how few stressful events a person faces, it was those who perceived the events as more stressful or who experienced a greater spike in negative emotions had lower heart rate variability – meaning these people may be at a higher risk for heart disease, the authors noted.


JNU row: SC asks lawyer to get Attorney General Rohatgi’s view on contempt plea

The Supreme Court on Monday asked a lawyer to get the opinion of the Attorney General before it accords hearing to his plea seeking contempt action against jailed JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, former DU lecturer SAR Gilani and few others on the ground that they allegedly termed the execution of Afzal Guru as “judicial killing”.”You will have to get the opinion of the AG (Mukul Rohatgi) because that is the legal requirement. You please go to the AG again,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The remarks came when Pune-based lawyer Vineet Dhanda sought an urgent hearing of his plea saying that the terming hanging of Afzal Guru as “judicial killing” amounted to contempt of the highest court of the land which had delivered the verdict.The contempt plea has referred to the apex court verdict, pronounced on August 4, 2005 in the case, by which Guru was handed down death penalty for being part of the conspiracy in the attack on Parliament.”The so-called cultural event’s pamphlets spoke about the judicial killing of Afzal Guru. The main topic of the ‘cultural event’ organized was judicial killing of Afzal Guru which outright tantamount to criminal contempt as the respondents are calling the judges of the apex court as killers who have been projected to have committed judicial killing of Afzal Guru,” the plea said.”Afzal and Yakub Memon were no martyrs as projected by the group of students of JNU. The Supreme Court has already passed a detailed judgement in both cases after giving due consideration as per law after going through the evidence,” it further said.Pamphlets were allegedly distributed during the “so- called” cultural event held at JNU on February 9 that termed death sentence to Guru and Maqbool Bhatt as “judicial killing”, the plea said. The students, who organized the event, also used social media platforms and “tarnished” the image of Supreme Court, it alleged.Besides Kanhaiya and Gilani, the plea has sought contempt action against Umar Khalid, Lenin Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, Shehla Rashid Shora and Ali Javed.

Ishrat Jahan Case: Chidambaram disappointed with Pillai for distancing himself from second affidavit

Taking responsibility for the second affidavit in the Ishrat Jahan case, former finance minister P. Chidambaram on Monday said that it was disappointing that the then home secretary G.K. Pillai is distancing himself from it.”Which part of the second affidavit is wrong? I accept the responsibility for this affidavit. It is disappointing that the Home Secretary, who is equally responsible, wants to distance himself from that,? Chidambaram told the media here. “It was brought to my notice that the first affidavit was filed without my approval and it was being misinterpreted. It was my duty to correct the first affidavit. So we filed a supplementary affidavit after consulting the Home Secretary, the Director of Intelligence Bureau and other officers,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chidambaram further stated that the Central Government in the said affidavit did not address any issue relating to the merits or otherwise in the police action. “It was essentially concerned with dealing with the allegations relating to the intelligence inputs which were available with the central government and that was shared on a regular basis with the state government,” he said. Pillai served under then home minister P. Chidambaram in 2009 when the government filed two affidavits in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case.Chidambaram had earlier told a leading English daily that he felt it was possible to hold an ‘honest opinion’ in the Afzal Guru case and that the case was ‘perhaps not correctly decided’ and that there were ‘grave doubts about the extent of his involvement’ in the 2001 Parliament attack. Ishrat Jahan, who was a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai, was shot dead along with three men on June 15, 2004, by the Gujarat Police in an encounter.

JNU row: Why was FIR not registered if officials were present at the event, Delhi HC asks police

The Delhi High court on Monday reserved its verdict on the bail plea of JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar, who refuted the allegation of police that he was raising anti-India slogans at an event on February 9 at the campus.Justice Pratibha Rani, before whom the Delhi Police claimed that they have witnesses who have identified Kanhaiya and others raising anti-India slogans, will pronounce the order on March 2. Kumar, who is in the judicial custody, submitted through senior advocate Kapil Sibal, that anti-India slogans inside the campus were raised by people with covered face.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The senior advocate also questioned the conduct of the Delhi police on registering the FIR on the basis of a TV video. He asked why the FIR was not registered on that day itself if Kanhaiya and others had raised anti-India slogans as police personnel were present in plain cloths during the event and had witnessed the incident.The High Court was told by him that the application for organising the event in question was filed by Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, also accused in the case and are presently undergoing custodial interrogation.”Obviously, Kanhaiya had no part to play as he had not applied for the event. There itself the case against Kanhaiya goes,” the counsel said.Sibal, who was assisted by another senior advocate Rebeca John, submitted that the court can itself find from the video that Kanhaiya himself was seen asking people with muffled face, also accused of raising anti-India slogans, for their identity cards.Sibal claimed that there was no forensic report of the recording which could establish that Kanhaiya had raised anti-India slogans which attract the sedition charges.Taking note of Sibal’s submissions, the court questioned the investigating agency whether there was any CCTV footage or mobile recording which could establish that Kanhaiya raised such slogans.”Whether there is contemporaneous recording where the slogans were raised, pre and post the event,” the court asked.What the Delhi High Court said:The court also questioned Delhi police as to why they did not register the FIR when its officials were present during the event and must have noticed the alleged incident.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Delhi police, defended its stand on arresting Kanhaiya, saying there was evidence, including pamphlets and statements of the witnesses, which clearly state that Kanhaiya and others were shouting anti-India slogans and were holding Afzal Guru’s posters. Mehta also submitted that there was a joint probe of the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi police in which the arrested accused are found raising slogans.”In the light of these evidences, he (Kanhaiya) was very much there on the spot, along with other accused,” ASG said, adding that the investigating agency is also probing into the financial aspect behind this incident which is part of a larger criminal conspiracy. He contended that this case has been transferred from Delhi police to its anti-terror cell (Special cell).However, the ASG’s claim was opposed by AAP government appointed senior standing counsel, Rahul Mehra, who said Kanhaiya is a student and he cannot be involved in anti-India movement.”He is innocent. He is a man who is standing by the Constitution, which also reflects from his speech given on February 11, that he loves his country,” Mehra contended.He further said, “Though Kanhaiya was present, there is no direct evidence and nothing to establish that he raised anti- India slogans.””As a state (Delhi), I pray the court to grant him bail,” Mehra said.Kanhaiya’s father, uncle and elder brother were present during the hearing, which started at 2.15 pm and concluded at 5.30 pm. After the counsel concluded the arguments, the court said, “The order is likely to be pronounced day after tomorrow (March 2).”

Jat agitation: Can’t order military to shoot at crowd, says Supreme Court

Supreme Court on Monday said that ‘it can’t order the military to shoot at the crowd,’ while dismissing a plea seeking giving free hand to Army to control “unruly mob” during the Jat agitation in Haryana.A bench headed by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said that Army was capable enough to deal with any situation and as and when the situation arises things will be taken care of.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”You want us to issue direction to Army to shoot at the mob. We can’t issue such directions. We can’t allow the army to open fire at the mob. As and when the situation arises things will be taken care of. Army is capable enough to deal with any situation,” the bench also comprising justices R Bhanumathi and U U Lalit said.It said that whoever will take law in his own hand will be prosecuted as per the law and dismissed the petition as withdrawn.The bench observed that had the petitioner advocate Ajay Jain sought compensation to the victim of the violent agitation, it would have thought of considering it.”Had you asked for compensation to the victims of the agitation, we would have thought of considering it,” the bench said.Petitioner then sought court’s permission to amend the prayer in his petition which the bench denied, saying it can’t allow him to do so. The bench also refrained itself from imposing the cost on petitioner after he kept on insisting for consideration of his plea. He, however, later agreed to withdraw his plea.The petitioner in his plea has sought direction for Haryana government to give complete free hand to the Army/Para Military forces to control the situation which includes inter alia to fire at the mob to bring the situation under control. He has also sought direction to local administration of Rohtak, Haryana to hand over the administration to Army and not to interrupt in any manner whatsoever in the Army’s affair in dealing with the situation.”Direct the Union of India to provide adequate number of Army/Para Military forces as is required to deal with mob of 20,000 people roaming in or around district Rohtak,” the plea had said.

Close shave for Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh after helicopter suffers technical snag

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Monday had a close shave after his helicopter experienced a technical snag in the air while returning from Sukma in Kanker District.The helicopter was 4000 feet up in the air when it faced a technical snag which made it plummet around 100 feet but pilot controlled the situation.”An equipment, named Flight Director, had a failure because of which there was a jerk and we had plummet around 50-100 feet. But me and my co-pilot had by then controlled the helicopter and then we flew it manually,” pilot of the helicopter G.K. Panda told ANI. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, Kerala CM Oommen Chandy had a miraculous escape when his car lost control and fell into a drain.

Govind Pansare murder case: Bombay HC asks Maharashtra govt to expedite probe

The Bombay High Court on Monday asked Maharashtra government to expedite further investigations by the state CID into the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare.A division bench of Justices Ranjit More and V L Achilya has been hearing petitions seeking probe by independent agencies into the murders of Pansare and another rationalist Narendra Dabholkar. The CBI is probing the role of right wing organisation Sanatan Sanstha in the murder of Dabholkar while the state CID is investigating the killing of Pansare.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There appears to be a good coordination between the investigating agencies probing the murder of Pansare and rationalist Narendra Dabholkar,” the bench observed on Monday while asking the authorities to speed up probe in Pansare murder case.Arguing on behalf of Pansare’s family, lawyer Abhay Nevgi informed the court that charges are likely to be framed against the accused, Sameer Gaikwad, on March 8. Gaikwad, an activist of right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha, was arrested in September last year in connection with the murder of Pansare.Maharashtra CID had earlier told the court it had filed charge sheet against Gaikwad, the only arrested accused in the Pansare murder case, and further probe was underway as other accused were yet to be arrested.The high court judges on Monday asked how can charges be framed if investigations are still going on. The bench asked the prosecution to make an application in the trial court praying to defer the framing of charges, as investigations were in progress.Earlier, dissatisfied by the probe, the family of Pansare had moved the High Court following which it had ordered a CID investigation into the murder. The high court is also hearing another petition filed by Dabholkar’s family and had earlier ordered a CBI probe into the rationalist’s killing. Both the petitions are being heard jointly by the bench.The CBI had earlier this month informed the high court it was considering to take a third opinion on the weapon used in the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi and Pansare, after Bengaluru and Mumbai forensic labs differed on the issue.While the Bengaluru-based forensic science laboratory (FSL) was of the opinion that different weapons were used in the murders, the Kalina FSL in Mumbai said that the weapon used in all the three cases were the same.Advocate Nevgi, appearing for the kin of both Dabholkar and Pansare, had on last occasion sought the probe in both the cases to be transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The court, however, noted that CBI was in touch with NIA, and hence there was no need to hand over probe to the latter at this stage.Dabholkar was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013. Pansare was shot at in Kolhapur by assailants on February 16, 2015. He succumbed to his injuries three days later in Mumbai.

High security in Agra after infammatory speech at condolence meeting of slain VHP leader

Authorities have stepped up security in Agra which has been gripped by tension following the murder of a local VHP leader four days ago.Additional companies of police and Rapid Action Force teams have been deployed in Mantola and Nai ki Mandi areas, official sources said. BJP, VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders allegedly made inflammatory speeches yesterday at a condolence meeting for 50-year-old Arun Mahaur, VHP’s city vice president who was shot dead while returning from a temple Thursday morning.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A close vigil is being kept on the activities of BJP leaders as well as members of other saffron outfits like Bajrang Dal, the sources said. After the district authorities refused permission for a condolence meeting in Mantola area at the residence of Mahaur, the BJP shifted the venue to Jaipur House colony, Ramlila ground where Sadhvi Prachi, Union minister of state for HRD Ram Shankar Katheria along with local MLAs of the party were present.Police said the accused in the murder case has already been arrested.According to The Indian Express, many Hindu leaders gave inflammatory speeches where Muslims where called traitors and demons. Local BJP MLA said that elections are coming and the community has to show its strength. The report also mentions BHP General Secretary Surendra Jain saying, ” Don’t convert Agra to Muzzafarnagar’. Union Minister Katheria said that they have to launch a movement, have to make themselves strong so that similar incidents don’t happen anymore. He said that the fact that he has become a Minister will not deter him from being part of the movement. Uttar Pradesh has seen several communal incidents in last couple of years including the Dadri lynching incident, which shook the collective conscience of the nation. With PTI inputs

Budget 2016: Govt adopted old policies of UPA, says Shashi Tharoor

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor on Monday said that the BJP-led NDA Government had adopted many of the old policies of the UPA regime in the 2016-17 General Budget, which was presented today by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Parliament, adding that there was no clarity in some areas.”Implementation can be more important than speeches. It was good seeing the government has actually taken some schemes that they had opposed against the UPA in the past like the aadhar scheme and the FDI. They have now embraced them. So I think we should applaud them for learning the right lesson, even if they have learnt it late,” Tharoor told ANI.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further stated that the BJP-led NDA Government seemed to have learned from their own experiences and some of the criticism they had voiced in previous years.”There are also areas in which there is not much clarity. I think we will have to wait and see once we study all the numbers,” he added.Meanwhile, the BJP-led NDA Government lauded the General Budget, calling it a ‘perfect progressive budget’.However, the Congress gave thumbs down to the Budget saying it was ‘high on rhetoric’ and lacked any imagination.Earlier on Monday, Jaitley presenting the Budget for the next fiscal in the Parliament listed out the nine priority areas for the government: farmer welfare, rural sector, social sector, education skills, infrastructure, financial reforms, ease of doing business, fiscal discipline and tax reform that will transform the country.

Alok Kumar Verma: All you need to know about BS Bassi’s successor

Senior IPS Officer Alok Kumar Verma took over as the new Commissioner of Delhi Police on Monday. Verma succeeds BS Bassi. This comes in the middle of Delhi Police handling the JNU row. Verma assumes charge when Delhi Police is at loggerheads with AAP government. Here is what all that you need to know about the new Delhi Police Commissioner.-Verma is a 1979 batch IPS officer of the Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>-Verma was serving as the Director General of Tihar Jail since August 2014. -Before that he was serving as the Special Commissioner of Police (Administration).-Verma has served in the Delhi Police in number of positions, including Deputy Commissioner of Police, South District, Joint Commissioner of the Crime Branch, Joint Commissioner of Police, New Delhi Range, Special CP (Intelligence) and Special CP, Vigilance. -Verma had served as the Inspector General of Police in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.-Verma also served as the director General of Police (DGP) of Puducherry-Verma is set to retire in 17 months. (With Agency Inputs)

Kerala gives Ustad Amjad Ali Khan land to build music academy

Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan had a dream of building an International Music Academy in Kerala. The New Indian Express reports that the Kerala government has now sanctioned two acres of land at Veli Tourist Village in the state. It reports that the District Collector has been asked to demarcate and allot the land.The daily adds that the Kerala government has in principle sanctioned the two acres. This would be part of the 25 acre Veli Tourist Village which is being developed by the Tourism Department. The Revenue and Tourism Departments will now survey and demarcate the land for the proposed music academy. The final order will come through when the Revenue Department gets the formal land transfer proposal from the Land Revenue Commissioner.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reportedly, the government had looked at Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Thrissur for the required land. The onus to raise funds and build the international music academy now lies with the sarod legend. In April 2015, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan had visited Kerala and stated that he would build the academy within two years of receiving the land. Students from all over the world are expected to study here. He wanted to make it a gurukul system with the motto -‘To practise and popularise music beyond all castes, religions and creeds’ and a space where students can learn Carnatic, Hindustani and western music as well as various instruments.

Puducherry: BJP seeks IT probe into income sources of political parties

BJP functionaries led by party Puducherry unit President V Saminathan on Monday held a demonstration infront of the Income Tax office seeking a probe into the source of money for freebies distributed by political parties in various pockets in poll-bound places in Puducherry.Saminathan alleged in a release that leaders of some political parties and those seeking to contest the polls were distributing rice cookers, induction stoves, rice, dhotis and saris to attract voters, ahead of forthcoming assembly polls.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They sought the Income Tax authorities to conduct an inquiry into the income and expenditure sources of the parties indulging in such activities. He said the Election Commission was keen on conducting free, fair and honest elections and hence, the current activities of some parties would only tarnish the image of democracy and an immediate probe by the Income Tax machinery is necessary, he added.

Pakistan expects PM Narendra Modi to visit in November

Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi has said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Islamabad in November this year.”Dates for the upcoming SAARC summit in Islamabad are being worked out in consultation with member states said Fatemi. The summit will probably be held in November, reports Dawn. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to attend the summit,” he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan has proposed to host the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016. Further, Fatemi said a five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed to probe the January 2 terror attack on Pathankot airbase will complete its work this week. The Punjab government had last week formed the JIT to investigate the Pathankot airbase attack case, which was registered a week earlier in Gujranwala.

Just before Alok Kumar Verma takes over from BS Bassi, woman creates drama in Commissioner’s office

Minutes before Alok Kumar Verma took charge as Delhi Police chief, the Commissioner’s office on Monday witnessed high drama as a woman alleging corruption by police officials scurried into a lobby full of media representatives waiting for a briefing by the new top cop.The woman, carrying a two-month-old child in her lap, apparently unaware of what was going on in the police headquarters on Monday, made her way into the lobby outside the Police Commissioner’s office, screaming that her in-laws were trying to kill her and the child. She told security officials there that she wanted to meet the police chief and report how officials in southeast Delhi’s Jamia Nagar allegedly took bribe and gave a clean chit to her husband.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The woman, who identified herself as Arifa, is a native of Bangladesh and lives here with her in-laws in southeast Delhi’s Batla House area. She waved a police complaint as she screamed, alleging corruption by police officials. In no time, security officials whisked her away. She later approached the media and narrated her ordeal on camera.Around 12.15 PM, new commissioner Alok Kumar Verma and his predecessor Bhim Sain Bassi came to the lobby, where the latter addressed media persons and left the police headquarters with the entire top brass bidding him farewell near the front lawn.Special Commissioner of Police (General Administration) Vimla Mehra, who is Verma’s predecessor as DG Delhi Prisons, also retired today. She left the premises minutes before Bassi. In another 15 minutes, Verma chaired a meeting with the top brass of the force and the woman could not get a chance to meet the commissioner.

Budget 2016: Have seen many budgets, this is one of the best, says LK Advani

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran Lal Krishna Advani on Monday dubbed the General Budget for 2016-17 presented by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament as the best ever, saying it has the potential to boost India’s economic growth with employment generation while reducing social imbalances.”Have seen many budgets being presented in Parliament, the one presented by Finance Minister Jaitley today is certainly one of the best budget so far. Budget 2016 has potential to boost India’s economic growth with employment generation, while reducing social imbalances. ,” Advani said. “Budget 2016 has made unprecedented provision for accelerating and modernising infrastructure in critical areas such as highways, railways. At a time when global economy remains weak, India’s growth is laudable. It looks to become even brighter in the coming years,”he added.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP veteran further said the most heartening of the Budget is its strong emphasis on the neglected task of revitalisation of agriculture and rural development. “Prime Minister and Finance Minister adopted approach that promises to make India stronger and more prosperous, while making ‘Antyodaya’ central theme of economic growth,” he added. Presenting the General Budget proposals for 2016-17 in Parliament today, Jaitley said that the government’s agenda is to transform India, with incentives for agriculture and farmers’ welfare, rural employment and development of infrastructure, covering all welfare and health services as well as making India as a knowledge based and productive society.Jaitley said that government will reorient its intervention in the farm and non-farm sectors to shift focus beyond the country’s food security to farmers’ income security. He said that a total allocation of Rs.35, 984 crore is proposed for this purpose in order to double the income of farmers by 2022.He said that a Unified Agricultural Marketing E-Platform will be dedicated to the nation on the birthday of Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar on April 14 this year to help the farmers in accessing markets, which is critical for enhancing their income.

Viewpoint: Why Narendra Modi’s budget looks strangely familiar

India’s new budget aims at appealing to the rural poor and looks similar to his predecessor Manmohan Singh’s initiatives, writes Vivek Kaul.

Sri Lanka north CM asks for Indian help for a federal solution

India might ‘intervene’ again in Sri Lanka to help the Tamil minority and provide a federal solution to the ethnic reconciliation problem, a media report quoted the country’s Northern Province chief minister as saying.The BBC’s Sinhala service reported that CV Wigneswaran, who is himself a Tamil, made the remarks in Jaffna on Sunday while addressing a group of academics, who had returned to the north after their educational pursuits in India.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Wignewswaran said he believed that India would intervene again in Sri Lanka as they had come to the assistance of the Tamils in politically sensitive situations in the past as well, referring to the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987.He said as a direct result of that intervention two provincial councils were created in the north and east. The Tamils are currently caught in political turbulence once again since the end of the military campaign of the LTTE in 2009 and a federal solution is best to address the issue, the northern chief minister was quoted as saying by the BBC.Wigneswaran, who was elected in 2013 with over 80 per cent of the vote as the northern chief minister, has been towing a hardline and his government had even passed a motion in 2014, calling for an international probe into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

JNU row: Delhi court extends Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya’s police custody

Police custody of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya was extended by Delhi court by one day on Monday.Khalid and Bhattacharya are facing sedition charges. Last week, Delhi court had sent the duo to three-day police custody, which was extended by the court on Saturday by two days. Khalid and Bhattacharya had moved the High Court last week seeking protection in order to surrender but the court, while directing the students to surrender, adjourned the hearing for protection till Wednesday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar is already behind bars in Tihar Jail, again for sedition.The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the plea seeking criminal contempt proceedings against Kanhaiya Kumar and five other varsity students facing sedition charges and former professor SAR Geelani. The apex court asked the petitioner to take consent of the Attorney General before hearing.The contempt petition had been filed in the Supreme Court seeking action against the students, who allegedly raised anti-India slogans during an event and also condemned the judiciary for the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.The petition states the students have crossed every limit of freedom of speech and expression by calling the Epitome of Justice as judicial killers.(With Agency Inputs)

Budget 2016: Arun Jaitley has cleverly made opposition’s job ‘bit tougher’: Omar Abdullah

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday listed ‘nine pillars’ including tax reforms, promoting ease of doing business and ensuring fiscal discipline, that will transform India. Unveiling the Budget 2016-17, he said the pillars also include an emphasis on governance reforms.However, the Congress party criticised the Union budget saying it has failed to create an ‘immediate stimulus’ to address the challenges of employment generation and the agriculture sector. On the other hand, terming the Union budget as ‘visionary and progressive’, BJP said that it gives priority to farmers and weaker sections and will also lead to the empowerment of the youth.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here is what politicians have to say about the budget.
ALSO READ All you need to know about Budget 2016 in under 60 points Omar Abdullah By not focusing the benefits of Union Budget 2016 on the suit boot people Arun Jaitley has cleverly made the opposition’s job a bit tougher. Yashwant Sinha This budget has clearly passed and if you look carefully, the Finance Minister has managed to comprehensively include all the aspects which were necessary, keeping the current economic situation in mind. I have no doubts that when people see and understand the budget, then they will discover that there is something for everyone in all aspects. Kamal Nath Congress leader This is a budget of future clarifications; there is no immediate stimulus to create disposable incomes in the hands of the people or to generate employment. What needed to be done has not been done, something which provides greater incentives to the employment generation. Because the biggest challenge we face today is in employment and the agriculture sector. Lal Krishna Advani Have seen many budgets being presented in the Parliament; the one presented by Finance Minister Jaitley today is certainly one of the best budgets so far. Budget 2016 has the potential to boost India’s economic growth with employment generation while reducing social imbalances.Dinesh Trivedi, TMC Its not a budget which will boost growth, neither one which will have ease of doing business. Virbhadra Singh Few points in the Budget are good like more money allocated under MNREGA, Swachch Bharat and roads. Other than that, I think its a very simple budget. Had expected a revolutionary budget. Nitish Kumar They have been talking about development of agriculture, farmers but nothing concrete seen in the Budget. Shatrughan Sinha I am not a budget expert, but do agree it’s a good budget. Haven’t seen a focus on education, defence so far. From whatever I have understood, budget seems to be good. However, I have to go through its fine print before commenting. Lalu Yadav PM Modi said he will double the income of farmers by 2022. What is the guarantee? Promise of doubling farmer income to 2022, want to secure their ‘berth’ till then, government will fall in 2019. Shashi Tharoor Government has painted a very general picture, have adopted many old policies of UPA.With ANI/PTI inputs.

PM Modi hails Budget 2016, calls it is pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Budget is pro-village, poor and farmers with focus on bringing about qualitative change in the country and alleviate poverty through a slew of time-bound programmes.Commenting on the Budget 2016-17, he said special attention has been paid to agriculture, village infrastructure, healthcare, employment generation and Dalit entrepreneurship.”This Budget is pro-village, pro-poor, pro-farmer. The main focus is to bringing about qualitative change in the country,” Modi said, adding “there will be a big change in the lives of common people.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the Budget has laid a roadmap to alleviate poverty in a time-bound manner.Also read: Budget 2016: Income tax slabs unchanged; relief for small tax payers, first time home buyers from Jaitley”Several steps have been taken for the farmers. The most important is Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana,” he said.Noting that electricity and roads are crucial for villages, the Prime Minister said by 2019, all villages of the country will be connected by roads, while all of them will be electrified by 2018.For MNREGA, there has been the biggest allocation, he said.Talking about housing, Modi said every poor man dreams of owning a house and efforts will be made to strengthen this sector to ensure that the poor people realise their dreams.At the same time, exemptions have been given to those living in rented accommodations, he noted.

Pakistan team to complete Pathankot probe this week: official

The Pakistani team investigating the Pathankot terror attack will complete its probe this week, a top official said on Monday, days after three suspects in the high-profile case were remanded to police custody. “The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) will complete probe into Pathankot incident this week,” Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi was quoted as saying by Radio Pakistan. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan last week set up a five-member JIT to probe the terror attack on the Pathankot airbase, a week after it lodged an FIR over the assault without naming Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar who India has accused of having masterminded the strike. Earlier, a six-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was set up by the federal government for the initial probe into the January 2 attack based on the leads given by India.Three men arrested for their alleged role in the attack were sent to a six-day police remand by an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala city of Punjab on Saturday. The FIR by the Counter-Terrorism Department of Punjab police has been lodged on the basis of information provided by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval that four attackers crossed from Pakistan into India and attacked the airbase. The attack led to the postponement of a scheduled meeting between Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India in January in Islamabad. Since then, no date has been fixed for the talks. Meanwhile, Fatemi also said the dates for the upcoming SAARC Summit in Islamabad are being worked out in consultation with member states. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also expected to attend the summit.

India, US closer to pact to share military logistics – officials

India and the United States are closing in on an agreement to share military logistics after 12 years of talks, officials said, a sign of strengthening defence ties between the countries as China becomes increasingly assertive. The United States has emerged as India’s top arms source after years of dominance by Russia, and holds more joint exercises with it than any other country. It is in talks with New Delhi to help build its largest aircraft carrier in the biggest military collaboration to date, a move that will bolster the Indian navy’s strength as China expands its reach in the Indian Ocean. After years of foot-dragging by previous governments over fears that the logistics agreement would draw India into a binding commitment to support the United States in war, PM Narendra Modi’s administration has signalled a desire to move ahead with the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That would allow the two militaries to use each other’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest, officials said. Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Navy’s Pacific Command, said the two sides were working on the LSA, another agreement called the CISMOA for secure communications when the militaries operate together, and a third on exchange of topographical, nautical, and aeronautical data. “We have not gotten to the point of signing them with India, but I think we’re close,” Harris, due in India this week, told the US House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.The progress comes as the countries consider joint maritime patrols that a US official said could include the South China Sea, where China is locked in a territorial dispute with Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan among others. Both sides, though, said there were no immediate plans for such patrols, which drew strong condemnation from Beijing. An Indian government official said the main impediment to signing the LSA had been cleared, after Washington gave an assurance that New Delhi was not bound by it if the US went to war with a friendly country or undertook any other unilateral action that New Delhi did not support. “It has been clarified that it will be done on a case-to-case basis; it’s not automatic that either side will get access to facilities in the case of war,” the official familiar with the negotiations said.India’s previous centre-left government was worried the agreements would undermine India’s strategic autonomy and that it would draw it into an undeclared military alliance with the United States.Concerns linger over the proposed communications agreement, with some branches of the military including the air force fearing it would allow the United States to access their communications network. US officials said they hoped that once the logistics agreement was signed, the others would follow. A US defence industry source engaged in business in India said there were expectations the LSA could be sealed by the time US Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited New Delhi in April. The source said Modi’s office was directly involved in the matter and actively considering the agreements as a key for enhanced cooperation. India has been alarmed by Chinese naval forays into the Indian Ocean and its involvement in maritime infrastructure on island nations that it traditionally considered its back yard. It has moved to shore up naval forces and build defence ties with Japan and Vietnam, besides the United States. “There is growing convergence between Obama’s Asia pivot and Modi’s Act East policy,” said Saroj Bishoyi, an expert on the proposed India-U.S. collaboration at the government-funded Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.”The LSA currently appears to be a doable agreement.”

Aircel-Maxis scam: Raids by IT-ED reveal Karti Chidambaram amassed huge wealth, built massive empire overseas

Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram’s son Karti Chidambaram built a massive empire for himself through investments in real estate and other financial dealings across the world, according to documents recovered in the recent joint raids carried by the Enforcement Directorate and Investigation Wing of Income Tax in relation to the Aircel-Maxis scam.According to a report in The Daily Pioneer, the documents detail his business deals in 14 countries – London, Dubai, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, France, USA, Switzerland, Greece and Spain​. Karti ​reportedly acquired a huge amount of wealth through his dealings between 2006-2014, when his father P Chidambaram was the Finance Minister and Home Minister.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The investigation agencies are said to be probing the dealings by Karti’s company Advantage Strategic Consulting which was involved in the Aircel-Maxis deal. Most financial transactions were reportedly done by the company’s Singapore-based subsidiary Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pte Ltd. These are said to have been carried out by Advantage after the Aircel-Maxis deal in 2006.The investigative teams will contact the 14 other countries for more information, as per the United Nation’s Convention on prevention of money laundering, the report said. I-T and ED officials swooped down on many firms owned by Karti in December 2015, for allegedly laundering black money through his firms in the Aircel-Maxis case. Officials had raided 12 places, including Karti’s Advantage Strategic Ltd (ED) and Vasan Eye Care (I-I) in Chennai.The probe team has sent the information to the Supreme Court which is monitoring the investigation in the Aircel Maxis scam. ED and CBI had said in their chargesheets that the FIPB clearances received by Maxis for the Aircel deal by then Finanace Minister P. Chidambaram was illegal.

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