Yuva Sai Sagar

An online news channel

Month: September 2016

Bollywood producer Aggarwal criticises Pakistani actors ban

Rahul Aggarwal says “art is above politics” after leaving the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association over a ban on Pakistani actors working in Bollywood.

Magistrate inquiry in Ghadoli matter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The magistrate court issued a judicial inquiry in the alleged staged encounter of gangster Sandeep Ghadoli on Friday. The order was passed after the deceased’s sister filed an application before the court to look into the matter.Advocate Tanveer Nizaam, who is appearing on behalf of the deceased’s sister, Sudesh Kataria, said that since the accused were police officials, there could be some alleged loop holes in the police inquiry and also in the special investigating team (SIT), which was set up to investigate the matter. The SIT was meant to protect the top cops involved. The reason why the application requested the court to look into the matter.”The five accused have been arrested including Ghadoli’s girl friend Divya Pahuja. Another is yet to be arrested, but is absconding. However Amit Kumar, a Senior police officer who we believe was the head of the encounter team was not named in the FIR. The police claim that Kumar was not present in the Andheri-based hotel room, where Ghadoli was allegedly shot by the police. Kumar was outside the room, according to the police,” said advocate Nizaam.After the court passed an order in the application seeking magistrate inquiry Nizaam said, “After months of legal proceedings the family of Sandeep Ghadoli has finally been given much needed respite under section 176(1-a)CrPc, when the operative order was finally passed on Friday. Further inquiry under section 176(1-A) of CrPC PC has to be conducted by this court.”Nizaam further said that the family thanked the court for diligently hearing them and were grateful that the matter will be further investigated and the guilty brought to book under section 120(B) IPC. The family has filed an application against the SIT for proper investigations and monitoring of the investigation by the Metropolitan magistrate court under 156(3)CRPC.”Sandeep Ghadoli (36) was killed by a police team from Gurgaon in Hotel Airport Metro at Marol on February 7, 2016 around 11.20am. His brother Kuldeep Singh had filed a petition in HC seeking FIR against the police team as well as a judicial inquiry on the entire episode.

GST Council agrees on 5 areas, says Finance Minister Arun Jaitley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In signs of fracture, the Centre and states on Friday disagreed on decisions reached at the first meeting of the GST Council on service tax assessment although they reached a consensus on area based exemption in the new tax regime.The second meeting of the all-powerful GST Council, headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, agreed on five subordinate legislation dealing with issues ranging from registration to invoicing under the new Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime. It also agreed on the treatment of exemption from GST. Currently, the Centre gives exemption to 11 states mostly in North East and hilly regions from excise duty as also many states give the same as incentive for setting up industry.The council decided that under GST, which will subsume excise duty and VAT among other levies, taxes will have to be collected and it can be reimbursed from the annual budgets to the exempted categories. But there were divisions over ratifying or approving the minutes of the first meeting of the Council, held last week, after at least two states disagreed with what was documented as decided on the Centre’s assessing 11 lakh service tax filers in the new dispensation.”Obviously the first item has to be approval of minutes of the last meeting. With regard to one item recorded in the minutes with regard to the service tax assessments in the new dispensation, there was a long discussion on the interpretation on the decision taken in the last meeting and that discussion consumed a lot of time today. That discussion was inconclusive and therefore it will continue in the next meeting on 18th (October),” Jaitley told reporters.Non-ratification of even one item on the minutes means the whole minutes are not agreed. Initially, it was thought that the minutes should be put to vote as those objecting to them were far less than those agreeing but Jaitley wanted to take decisions with consensus and so it was postponed.Uttar Pradesh’s Minister for Vocational Education and Skill Development Abhishek Mishra said the minutes were not approved in entirety. The second meeting of the GST Council finalised rules for registration, rules for payments, returns, refunds and invoices. With this as many as 6 issues have been settled by the Council, that has representatives of all the states, in two meetings in a span of one week.Discussions on service tax assessment and the formula for calculating compensation to be paid to states in case of revenue shortfall as a result of implementation of the GST regime, possibly from April 1, 2017, would be taken up at the next meeting on October 18-20. It will also decide on the all important GST rate, Jaitley said, adding that the government is targeting November 22 for completing major work on deciding tax rate, exemptions and draft legislation by the Council. There were two items regarding draft GST rules on agenda of today’s GST Council meeting, he said.”Now these rules are with regard to registration, rules for payments, return, refund and invoices. These rules are notified once the Act is passed… These 5 sets of rules were taken up for consideration and have been approved. So we are in a state of readiness with the subordinate legislation once the act itself is approved,” he said.The rules approved will form part of the supporting legislations needed to rollout GST. “So once the act is passed by Parliament or by the state legislatures as the case may be, we want the draft rules to be ready so that the rules can be notified immediately,” he said.Stating that the second item on agenda was treatment of existing tax incentives by the Centre, he said, has given some exemptions from excise duty to 11 North-East and hill states.Similarly, states too give out a series of incentives.”It is possible that some of the exemptions may get phased out. But for the exemptions which may remain how will these exemptions fit into the GST system. So the Council took up for discussion the management of these exemptions. And it was agreed that there would be a levy of tax under the GST system on all exempted entities. Once the tax is levied, the central govt or state government, which gets that tax, would then reimburse from the budget, that quantum of tax back to exempted entity,” he said.Under the GST system, everybody will have to pay tax but those exempted would be entitled to be reimbursed the levy they pay. On the issue of service tax assessment, he said the central government’s understanding is that an arrangement as been finalised for continuing with the existing system and transferring it to states when their officers are trained.On services that are taxed partly by the Centre and partly by states, he said experts will examine and report it in next meeting for a final decision.Asked if tax exemptions would be grandfathered, Jaitley said: “It is not necessary to grandfather everything but if you do grandfather it then the process of payment of tax and reimbursement, it will be like a direct benefit cash being returned. Today, we discussed the principle by which exemptions would be dealt with.” There will be a levy under the GST tax on exempted entities, he said.”Once the tax is levied, the central government or the state government which gets that tax would then reimburse from the Budget that quantum of tax to the exempted entity. So you will have the GST system in operation where everybody has to pay the tax but if you are an exempted entity and the state or Centre decides to continue that exempted entity then they would be entitled to that amount being given back to them,” he said, adding that the details in each case will be worked out.Which exempted entities will remain or not will be decided by states and the Centre, he said, adding that states would have to decide on exempted entities as they will reimburse tax to them. Jaitley said there were discussions on interpretation of service tax, division of authority between centre and states, but they were inconclusive.”Now after this, two items remain. The rates would be the big item to discuss and then after we will go to draft rules of GST law,” he added.Explaining how the area-based exemptions would be doled out, Jaitley said the centre gives incentives to North Eastern states. But the tax that comes to the central kitty, 58 % belongs to Centre and 42 % is devolved to the states.”Hence, we (Centre) will reimburse only 58 %. How the remaining 42 % will be reimbursed that arrangement has to be worked out. I can’t get 58 % tax and reimburse 100 %,” he said.The 14th Finance Commission in its report has scaled up devolution to states from the central pool of taxes to 42 % from 32 %. “We are trying to build every decision through consensus. And as far as possible there is no voting because in that way federal spirit is maintained. Wherever possible dissent should not arise and wherever there is dissent it should be taken up in next meeting,” Jaitley said.Asked how the supply contracts, where both goods and services components are there, would be taxed in the GST regime, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said that has been referred to the officers committee.”So the question is what happens to those kind of cases where there is both goods and services. Now it will become supply contracts. Now the officers committee will look into this and come back to GST Council,” Adhia said.

AAP MLA Sarita Singh receives threat calls, files complaint

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AAP MLA Sarita Singh has lodged a complaint alleging that she has been getting “obscene” and threat calls from unknown numbers, police said on Friday. In her complaint to the police in northeast Delhi on September 19, the Rohtasnagar MLA has alleged that she has been getting “obscene” and “threatening” calls that are “highly torturing”, they said.”Investigation has been taken up in the matter,” a senior police officer said.”The calls had been made using the internet so we are facing difficulty tracing the caller,” said the officer, adding that the MLA has given them the permission to access her call details.”After the complaint was filed, she was out of town and without her permission, we couldn’t access her call details,” he added.

FTII council allows 10% hike in fees of various courses

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The academic council of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), at a meeting held in Mumbai on Friday, gave nod for hiking the fees of various courses by 10 % with 2015 as the base year. The council, however, did not approve the proposal of the institute’s administration to fix an upper age limit of 25 years for admission. The meeting was presided over by BP Singh.The administration of the premier film institute had proposed to increase the fee of acting course from Rs 48,000 to Rs 3.40 lakh per annum. It had said that the fees should have been raised by 10 % every year, but no revision was done in the recent years. It had proposed the hike with 2010 as the base year.”The council has decided that there would be 10 % increase in tuition fees for all courses per annum, however, the hike will be done taking 2015 as the base year instead of proposed 2010,” a release by FTII said this evening.”The council has decided to stick to the existing policy where there is no upper age limit to take admission for any course in the institute,” it said.Bhupendra Kainthola, Director, FTII, told PTI that the council had approved the proposal to make the written entrance test as a qualifying entrance examination for short-listing the candidates. Short-listed candidates would undertake orientation programme including written aptitude test followed by an interview, with 50 % weightage each.A psychometric test will be introduced as a part of entrance examination for both TV and Film courses, he said. FTII Students Association claimed that it was only because of its protest and resistance by the students that the council did not hike fees with 2010 as the base year, as was proposed by the administration.

Bombay HC says no to making Surya Namaskar mandatory in municipal schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Friday directed a municipal councillor and a social worker, who had challenged a resolution passed by BMC making ‘Surya Namaskar’ (sun salutation) mandatory in civic schools of the metropolis, to approach the state government first.Samajwadi Party councillor from Mumbai Central, Rais Shaikh, and social worker Masood Ansari had filed public interest litigations earlier this month seeking stay on the resolution passed by the civic body on August 23 this year, contending that it violates fundamental rights and is “malafide and bad in law”.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak directed both the petitioners to make a representation to the state government first. The court said that under provisions of the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, the state government has powers to set aside decisions and resolutions passed by the civic body. The HC directed government to take a decision on the representation within two weeks from when it will be filed. The court said the petitioners should first exhaust this remedy and after that, if required, can approach the court once again and disposed of the two PILs.Rais Shaikh, in his petition, claimed ‘Surya Namaskar’ is opposed to the fundamental concept of Islam and is therefore, a violation of the fundamental religious rights of students studying in Urdu medium schools run by BMC. Shaikh said that of the 1,285 schools civic-run schools in which Suryanamaskar has been made mandatory along with the morning prayers, 400 schools are Urdu medium, in which about one lakh students study. A majority of these are followers of Islam, he added.Earlier this month, the HC had declined to grant an interim stay on implementation of a resolution making yoga and ‘Surya Namaskar’ mandatory in Mumbai’s civic schools, saying it is just a form of exercise which is good for the body. Ansari’s counsel had then argued that minor students cannot be expected to daily perform ‘Surya Namaskar’, which a combination of 12 ‘asanas’. To this, the HC had said it would consider this argument at a later stage and would call for a report to ascertain if the sun salutation exercise can be performed by minors.

SAARC states should create ‘conducive’ environment for summit: Maldives

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maldives asked SAARC member states to create an environment “conducive” for holding the grouping’s summit which has been postponed following a pull-out by five countries, including India.”The Government of Maldives has urged the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to create an environment conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit,” a Maldives Foreign Ministry statement said.It said the appeal by the Maldivian government follows the decisions by some of the SAARC member states who have expressed their inability to attend the summit in Islamabad scheduled for November due to terrorism, and threats to regional and international peace.”The Maldives condemns international terrorism, especially those originating from outside,” the statement said. SAARC Summit can be convened only with the participation of Heads of State or Governments of all of its member states.”The Maldives encouraged states to provide a valuable opportunity for the leaders to discuss critical issues facing the region and expressed hope that the required measures will be taken by relevant member states to convene the summit at an early date,” the statement said.The 19th SAARC Summit was scheduled to be held from November 9 to 10 in Islamabad.Besides India, three other SAARC members — Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan — pulled out of the summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet. Sri Lanka also pulled out of the SAARC Summit today, becoming the fifth country to do so.Citing continuous cross border terrorism by Pakistan, India had announced earlier this week that “in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit in Islamabad.” SAARC member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Cauvery row: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah calls all-party meet tomorrow to discuss SC order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has convened an all-party meeting in Bengaluru on Saturday to discuss future course of action in the wake of fresh Supreme Court order for release of 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day till October 6 to Tamil Nadu.The Chief Minister has convened an all-party meeting of floor Leaders of both Houses, MPs, including central ministers representing the state, and Ministers concerned of Cauvery basin and district in-charge Ministers, CMO officials said.Taking Karnataka to task for its repeated “defiance” by flouting its orders over release of, the apex court today asked it to release 6,000 cusecs water from tomorrow till October 6 to Tamil Nadu, warning “no one would know when the wrath of the law” would fall on it. A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit also directed the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4.After the apex court verdict, sporadic protests were reported from Mandya and Mysuru districts where police have made elaborate security arrangements. Speaking in New Delhi, Karnataka Water Resources Minister M B Patil said the government will decide further course of action after going through the judgment and discussing with the legal team headed by advocate Fali Nariman.Nariman told the bench he has unequivocally said he would not argue for Karnataka till the orders of Supreme Court are complied with.Karnataka has maintained its inability to release water to Tamil Nadu citing low storage in its reservoirs and drinking water needs of Bengaluru and neighbouring districts. Both the Legislative Assembly and the Council on September 23 had also adopted a resolution not to provide water for any other purpose except to meet drinking needs, citing “acute distress” and “alarmingly low levels” in dams.The opposition BJP and JD(S) have expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s order and the stand taken by Nariman, representing the state in the case. Terming court order as “shocking”, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said the order to release 6,000 cusecs till October 6, does not note of the ground realities.Yeddyurappa said BJP has been seeking replacement of Nariman and also that the state government has to go before another bench as it may not get justice from the current bench. “…BJP as a national party suggests Chief Minister not to release water by sticking to the decision taken by both the houses of the legislature, we are with you,” he said.Former prime minister and JD(S) Supremo H D Deve Gowda said, “Whatever might have been his differences over the issue of release of water, Nariman could have said one sentence to the Court when it ordered the constitution of Cauvery Management Board.” He opined that the senior advocate could have said the “issue (where Karnataka has challenged the final order of the Cauvery Tribunal) is coming up before a Supreme Court bench on October 18.”

Surgical strike?

India’s claim of carrying out “surgical strikes” on the Pakistan-controlled side of Kashmir has been rubbished in Pakistani media as a “farce”.

From Modi’s decisiveness to Pak’s conundrum: 5 takeaways from Indian Army’s surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Army’s clinical exfiltration mission carrying out surgical strikes across the LoC inflicting ‘significant damage’ to terrorists and those who protect them has shocked the world. It is not only due to the fact that it comes at a time, when most commentators assumed India will be showing strategic restraint post PM Modi’s speech, but also the manner and language with which the army decided to break the news was striking and emphatic.Indian DGMO Ranbir Singh said that he has informed the Pak DGMO about the strikes once the operation was done and clearly conveyed India’s locus standi vis-à-vis cross-border terror. It was the first time India publicly acknowledged that it had carried out a preemptive strike across the LoC. Pakistan’s reaction so far has ranged from denial, exasperation and finally baying for retribution. If one looks at what has transpired in the last couple of days, some clear points emerge:1. The threshold of tolerance has been loweredDGMO’s statement says that India attacked the terror pads inside LoC as soon as credible information was received about terrorists looking to infiltrate. It indicates that India is ready to make preemptive strikes to shield its citizens rather than waiting for the enemy to attack. Contrast it with post 26/11 response, where Manmohan government decided against any such move fearing escalation. It is certainly a brave new India trying to project a no-nonsense attitude towards terror. Can the army and the upper echelons of the political class keep this level of tolerance for strikes in the future? It may determine the course of the Indo-Pak relationship.2. Pak establishment in a fixThe response to India’s surgical strike from Pakistan is a story in itself. Initially Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned ‘unprovoked aggression’ from India. It was followed up by Pak military playing down the surgical strike story saying it was routine fire-fight at the LOC. On Friday, Sharif warned India that Pakistan can also carry out a ‘surgical strike’, which was followed up by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed practically saying the same thing. For Pakistan, it is a double edged-sword. Acknowledging it was a surgical strike means they will be under the pressure to retaliate and risk massive escalation. On the other hand, not doing anything will give a dour message to the electorate. Modi has essentially put Sharif in a bind by using the first mover’s advantage. It is up to Pakistan now to decide how to play the geo-political game in the near future.3. PM Modi’s Pak policy – A case of leveraging a massive mandatePM Modi invited Nawaz Sharif and other SAARC leaders to his oath-taking ceremony as a goodwill measure. Last year, he took an impromptu detour while coming back from Afghanistan to wish Sharif on his birthday. When Modi did this Pak outreach – it wasn’t the case that situation was extremely conducive for bilateral talks. Yet PM did his bit knowing he had the legroom to handle a hostile reaction from his core constituency. He allowed an ISI team to visit Pathankot after the siege was over. Yet, Pakistan didn’t warm to India’s olive branch and continued to give covert and overt support to terror activities in India. Nawaz Sharif eulogising Burhan Wani in UN was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s broke. In one swoop, India has switched the game against Pakistan and it has been made clear that talks are off the table till they mend their ways. India’s payback to Pakistan post Uri attack is part of the same doctrine. India will like to maintain cordial relations but not at the cost national security. It is time for a more muscular policy without mere posturing. An unsure leader can’t take decisive action. Modi on the other hand, could tinker his Pak policy knowing he enjoys the support of the electorate.4. Global response to surgical attackPM Modi in his speech at Kozhikode highlighted how India will be looking to marginalise Pakistan in the international forum. The India-led pull-out has virtually scuttled the 19th SAARC summit which was scheduled to be held at Islamabad in November but has been postponed. While Pak cried foul post India’s surgical strike, most countries have either taken a cautious stance or openly supported India. Bangladesh and Afghanistan have sided with India. But the most significant endorsement has come from Russia which while calling for talks between the two hostile nations has asked Pakistan to stop sheltering terrorists in their country.US and Pak ally China have reacted in a tempered manner to the surgical strike urging both the countries to aim for de-escalation. Prima facie, India’s stance has been vindicated, the fact that a surgical strike was done to stop imminent terror strikes have received a broad acceptance in the global community. That’s a big win for Modi’s foreign policy.5. India united – A rare political unison Virtually every political party in India has supported the surgical strike and backed the government’s steps to counter Pakistan. Congress VP Rahul Gandhi, went as far as to call this the ‘first time Modi acted like the PM of India’. A back-handed compliment no doubt, but Modi will take it for now. The fact remains that with the Uri payback, PM Modi has managed to silence his critics, charm the neutrals and assuage the core base who were increasingly getting iffy with lack of action on several fronts. Modi is almost midway through his term – a time when the traditional support base of a leader starts depleting. For PM Modi the afterglow of this attack is a golden opportunity to push legislative agendas, when the nation wants its politicians to speak in one voice. It is a time for Modi to reboot his policies and look for greater consensus to implement the mandate people have entrusted him with.All in all, India has played its card right with the decisive blow. The script could have gone horribly wrong. A botched operation would have meant a huge face loss for both the army and civilian leadership. But an aspirational superpower, looking to get its seat at the high-table with other world powers can’t afford to be defensive when its sovereignty is threatened. India has just defined the new-normal to the global community.

Govt far from meeting its target of building toilets: Centre for Science and Environment

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government is far from meeting its sanitation target of building a toilet for every household by 2019, a green body on Friday said and claimed its analysis shows that less than 8,000 toilets were constructed in 2015-16 against the target of over 2 lakhs in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a toilet for every citizen of India by October 2, 2019, the year when the country will celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of (Mahatma) Gandhi. Our analysis says that is easier said than done in fact, the NDA government might find it easier to win the election than to fulfil this promise,” said Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of Down To Earth, a magazine run by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).In this first-of-its-kind assessment, Down To Earth Hindi has analysed the toilet building performance over the last two years in constituencies of a number of central ministers, chief ministers and a few opposition leaders.”In 2015-16, a mere 7,327 toilets were built in Varanasi, Modi’s constituency against a target of 2,34,489 (till October 2019). At this rate, the target cannot be met before 2048,” it said.Sunita Narain, director general of CSE said, “This analysis by Down To Earth Hindi is also to remind us that building toilets is only a small part of the movement towards access to sanitation for all.” “Firstly, as we build toilets, we must ensure that they are used, that they are functional. Secondly, we must have clear answers to questions of how can we manage and treat our waste, our excreta,” she said.In the case of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, whose Lok Sabha constituency is Lucknow, the achieved number is 5,332 against a target of 1,86,177. Singh can hope to reach the target only by 2051, it said.Similarly Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s wife Dimple has a target of 5,47,739 toilets to be built by October 2019 in her Lok Sabha constituency Kannauj but managed only 8,309 and at this rate, she will take 66 years to reach his target by 2082. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, Rae Bareli, has a target of 2,87,703, and the achieved number has been 6,581; the expected year of completion is 2060, the analysis said.Other key political figures whose performance has been assessed include External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. The analysis estimates that 82.3 million (or 823 lakh) toilets are yet to be constructed across India by October 2, 2019.”This means the country needs to build 2.3 million (23 lakh) toilets every month or a formidable 56 toilets every minute to meet the target! As per our estimation and going by the prevailing rate, India will not be able to meet its target by 2019 as promised by the Prime Minister but only by 2022,” said Sushmita Sengupta, programme manager-water, CSE, and the lead author of this analysis.

PM Modi holds meeting over Cauvery row

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a meeting to discuss the Cauvery river water sharing issue over which Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads. Some ministers and officials were present in the meeting where various options were discussed to resolve the matter.A meeting convened by the Centre to iron out differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the impasse had failed on Thursday to achieve any breakthrough. At the meeting convened by Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Tamil Nadu refused to accept Karnataka’s proposal that an expert committee be sent to the river basin to assess water availability.Tamil Nadu has been demanding release of its share in the river water which has been rejected by neighbouring Karnataka citing its requirements for drinking and irrigation purposes. The Tamil Nadu government has been insisting on implementing the Supreme Court’s September 27 order to release 6,000 cusecs of water in three days and setting up of a Cauvery Management Board.At Thursday’s meeting, Tamil Nadu accused upper riparian Karnataka of treating with “utter contempt” Supreme Court’s orders on river water sharing and defying them “deliberately and systematically”. It alleged that Karnataka has not released the stipulated annual water quantum of 192 TMC ft, as ordered by Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in its final order in 2007, in any of the years, “except when the reservoirs in Karnataka could not hold the surplus flows”.

Swachh Bharat Mission failed in Delhi, BJP-led MCDs to blame: Satyendar Jain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Swachh Bharat Mission has been unsuccessful in the national capital, which tops the “filth” category list, as all three BJP-led civic bodies failed to clean the city leading to spurt in chikungunya and dengue cases, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain alleged.Responding to discussions in the Delhi Assembly on cleanliness, he alleged that instead of cleanliness, the municipal corporations are focusing on “making money” through “wrongdoings”.”The MCDs have failed to clean Delhi, due to which the Prime Minister’s Swachh Bharat Mission has failed. They (MCDs) are focusing on how to make money. In the wake of the MCDs failing to fumigate across the city, the government started doing fogging on its own, but they tried to scuttle this efforts of our,” Jain alleged.AAP MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam on Friday moved a resolution blaming BJP-controlled MCDs for the spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases and said had the civic bodies fulfilled their responsibilities on time, spread of vector-borne diseases could have been prevented. The health minister said civic bodies have the primary responsibility of cleaning city, but they are not doing so which led to spurt in dengue and chikungunya cases.The government has set up 355 fever clinics this year, Jain said, adding government hospitals have been directed not to refuse any patients.Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta, however, refuted Jain’s allegations and accused the Kejriwal government of “politicising” the prevalence of the vector-borne diseases in Delhi. “The Delhi government has neither any vision nor plan for prevention and control of these dangerous diseases,” Gupta alleged, adding rather than being concerned about these diseases and taking appropriate measures, the government is interested in political one-upmanship.”The Central government issued 12 advisories from February 1 to September, cautioning the city government against these dreaded diseases but it did not take corrective measures in time leading to spread of these diseases on almost epidemic proportions,” he added.

Pakistan postpones Saarc Summit, after India and four other countries pull out

Pakistan on Friday postponed the Saarc Summit to be held here next month after India along with four other member states of the regional grouping decided against attending the meet.

“Pakistan deplores India’s decision to impede the Saarc process by not attending the 19th Saarc Summit at Islamabad on 9-10 November 2016,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement. It claimed that the spirit of the Saarc Charter is “violated” when a member state casts the shadow of its bilateral problems on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation.

File image of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. News18

File image of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. News18

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was looking forward to welcome the Saarc leaders for their participation in the summit. All preparations had been made for “successful” holding of the summit, the statement said. It alleged that decision by India to “derail the summit” effectively “contradicts” Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s own call to fight against poverty in the region.

“India’s decision to abstain from the summit on the basis of unfounded assumptions on the Uri incident is a futile effort to divert attention of the world from the atrocities” by India in Kashmir, the Foreign Office said.

“Pakistan attaches great importance to regional cooperation under the umbrella of Saarc. Therefore, Pakistan remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit in Islamabad at the earliest so that the objectives of regional cooperation under the Saarc umbrella can be pursued more vigorously,” it said.

The Foreign Office said a new set of dates for holding of the summit in Islamabad will be announced soon, through Nepal, which is currently the Saarc Chair. “Accordingly, we have conveyed the same to the Prime
Minister of Nepal,” it said.

Besides India, three other Saarc members — Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan — pulled out of the summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet.

Sri Lanka also pulled out of the Saarc Summit on Friday, becoming the fifth country to do so. Citing continuous cross border terrorism by Pakistan, India had announced earlier this week that “in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed summit in Islamabad.”

Saarc member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

PMLA case: ED questions Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh’s son

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>ED on Friday questioned Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya in connection with its money laundering probe against his father and others.Officials said the Investigating Officer (IO) of the case recorded the statement of Vikramaditya under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and confronted him with various documents seized by the agency during searches conducted in the past. They said he was also asked about certain financial transactions that he had made in the past.The Delhi High Court had yesterday directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to arrest Vikramaditya after he moved the court for protection from arrest. ED had recently filed the first charge sheet in the case at a court here against arrested accused and LIC agent Anand Chauhan.The agency had attached assets worth about Rs eight crore earlier this year. Virbhadra has denied the allegations of any wrongdoing by him and his family. ED had filed a PMLA case after taking cognisance of a complaint filed by CBI in this regard in September last year.The agency is probing allegations against Virbhadra and his family members of having amassed wealth of Rs 6.1 crore, which is alleged to be disproportionate to his known sources of income between 2009 and 2011 when he was the Union Minister of Steel. CBI’s FIR had named Virbhadra, his wife, Chauhan and his brother, who were all accused of violating the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Shiv Sena taunts Salman Khan for his comments on Pakistan artistes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi on Friday welcomed Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s remarks on Pakistani artistes, while there was subdued criticism from the Raj-Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). The Shiv Sena, however, taunted the actor and advised him to take lessons on national pride from his father Salim Khan.Salman on Friday said artistes from Pakistan were not terrorists and art and terrorism should not be mixed. Welcoming his stand, Azmi said, “Our fight is against Pakistan and we are proud of our soldiers for going into Pakistan-occupied territory and killing the terrorists. But, when we are talking about those who are here on valid visas for either work purpose or medical treatment, it is our duty to welcome them with open arms.””When we give these Pakistanis a good treatment, they will go back to their country and condemn the atrocities perpetrated by them on our soil. When Pakistanis say good things about our country, it will be that country which will be embarrassed on the global front,” he told reporters,Maharashtra Industries Minister and senior Sena leader Subhash Desai advised Salman to “take lessons” on national pride from his father and noted scriptwriter Salim Khan. “Pakistan is our enemy and has killed our jawans by crossing the Line of Control (LoC) at Uri. The Sena has always opposed cricketing ties with Pakistan,” he said.Desai said Sena believed that there should be no cultural ties between the two countries when people’s reaction was “strong” over the terror attacks “from Pakistan”.Meanwhile, MNS leader Shalini Thackeray said if Pakistani artistes do not condemn their country’s wrongdoings, Indian actors should also respect the sentiments of Indians. “Filmstars should understand the sentiments of the people under the current circumstances. People are very angry and actors like Salman Khan should respect them,” she said.”If Pakistani artistes do not condemn the wrongdoings of their country, why can our filmstars not respect the Indian sentiment. Bollywood is not bigger than the country,” Thackeray added.

Deendayal Upadhyaya birth centenary: PM Modi to unveil complete works on Sangh Parivar idealogue

It’s fortunate that the birth centenary of Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya (1916-1968) — political ideologue, thinker and progenitor of many innovative ideas that the BJP is now trying to implement — falls in a year when his successors are in government.

Otherwise, it would have been hard to know about a thinker who has not received enough credit for his role in shaping not just a homegrown political party but also ideas which are now culminating in Stand Up India, Startup India and Skill India.

In an important gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release a 15-volume complete works of Deendayal Upadhyaya — former president of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of the BJP — on 9 October that will comprehensively showcase the thoughts, writings and life of the leader.

Deendayal Upadhyaya 02

Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya. Firstpost

Compiled and edited by Mahesh Chandra Sharma, president of Ekatma Manav Darshan Anusandhan Evam Vikas Pratisthan, the 15-volume complete works — Deendayal Sampoorna Vangmay — showcases the relevance of Upadhyaya’s views — social, political and economic in present times, his ideas on entrepreneurship and self-development, perspectives on the Indian way of education and even adoption of all that is good in foreign ideas.

“We collated and compiled the speeches, commentaries, writings, thoughts, anecdotes and various works of Deendayalji over a period of three years and converted it into complete works in 15 volumes,” Sharma told Firstpost.

Sharma, a former Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan and author of Economic philosophy of Deendayal Upadhyaya has been working on Upadhyaya’s life and work for the last 30 years.

“The relevance of Deendayalji’s views — social, political and economic — in present times is evident in the various measures that the Narendra Modi government has tried to introduce through various schemes, such as encouragement to entrepreneurship and schemes like Startup, Stand Up, Skill India, Jan Dhan Yojna, etc. Deendayalji emphasised that India’s economy could be strengthened through decentralisation. He said higher productivity could be achieved by involving larger number of people in the process,” he said.

The complete works to be released in English in 2017 will help readers to know about Upadhyaya’s political philosophy — ‘Integral Humanism’ – the guiding philosophy of the BJP. Integral humanism speaks of synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective.

“The society as a whole has to take steps to work on the principles laid down by Deendayalji. After the book release, it’ll be made available in the all the state libraries. Throughout the year, discussions will be organised,” added Sharma.

The research organisation on Upadhyaya has also prepared a documentary on the 15 volumes, directed by Atul Jain, which will be presented during the release of the written works at Vigyan Bhawan on 9 October.

“Contrary to general perception that Deendayalji’s works were in Hindi, nearly 50 percent of his works were in English. He penned Political Diary — a regular column in English in the Organiser magazine, when KR Malkani was its editor; but he laid down a condition that he wouldn’t write anything related to himself. This compilation provides an insight on revival of Indian economy, with a major thrust on skill-based education system. He welcomed modern technology but wanted it to be adapted to suit Indian requirements. He believed that the core strength in economic development lay in entrepreneurship in the small-scale sector,” said editor of Organiser magazine, Praful Ketkar.

Several anecdotes and incidents mentioned in the 15-volumes highlight Upadhyaya’s multi-faceted personality and his thoughts on politics and policy-making.

One such incident is related to the only election (by-election from Jaunpur) he contested in 1963. Upadhyaya opposed the use of caste politics in election and told his party (Bharatiya Jan Sangh) workers that it would defeat the party’s core ideology. “Deendayal may win (the election), but Jan Sangh’s ideology will get defeated,” Upadhyaya had told his party workers.

Recalled Ketkar, “Another incident shows how Upadhyaya, who was the president of Bharatiya Jan Sangh (1967-68) expelled seven of the nine Jan Sangh MLAs in Rajasthan for opposing the Zamindari Abolition Act. He was capable of bold, principled decisions.”

“Deendayalji, also the editor of Panchjanya and Swadesh was a true national thinker and was above partisan politics. He believed that politics was not the ultimate goal, but one should work for the larger national interest. This is important in the present political context for the BJP,” added Ketkar, one of the members of the editorial board that prepared the complete works.

Nitish Kumar to ratify notification for continuation of liquor law despite Patna HC’s order

Patna: The Patna High Court on Friday quashed a notification banning liquor in Bihar, but hours later, a high-level meeting called by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decided to summon the state Cabinet on 2 October to ratify a notification on an amended liquor law for continuation of prohibition.

File image of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

File image of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

The meeting also deliberated on the option to knock on the doors of the Supreme Court against the High Court order, quashing the 5 April notification on liquor ban, saying it was ultra vires to the Constitution.

In a judgment, a bench of Chief Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari and Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh quashed the 5 April notification of the state government banning consumption and sale of alcohol in the state. The 5 April notification is ultra vires to the
Constitution and hence, not enforceable, the court said.

The same bench had, on 20 May, reserved its order on a batch of writ petitions filed by Liquor Trade Association and numerous individuals, challenging the liquor law in Bihar brought by the Nitish Kumar government with stringent penal provisions.

The Grand Secular Alliance government had first banned manufacture, trade, sale and consumption of country-made liquor since 1 April but later, imposed a blanket ban on all types of liquor, including foreign liquor, in the state. The Chief Minister has now called the meeting of the state Cabinet on 2 October in which an amended liquor law, passed by both Houses of the state legislature and consented to by the Governor, is likely to be approved for notification with an aim to continue with prohibition in the state.

Friday’s meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary, Excise and Prohibition Amir Subhani and Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore among others. Anjani Kumar Singh confirmed that the Cabinet would be meeting on 2 October.

JD(U) state president Basistha Narayan Singh and senior minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan also attended the meeting. “We are not satisfied with Friday’s court order…the option of going to the Supreme Court against it is available to us,” Lalit Kishore told PTI after the meeting. “We will study the 150-page judgment to decide on the next course of action, including the option to move the apex court,” he added.

Surgical strikes: Army Chief Dalbir Singh compliments Northern Command for successful operation

New Delhi: Army Chief Dalbir Singh on Friday complimented all ranks of Udhampur-based Northern Command for successfully conducting the “surgical strike” on terrorist launchpads across the LoC in which “significant casualties” were inflicted on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.

File image of Army chief Dalbir Singh. PTI

File image of Army chief Dalbir Singh. PTI

Sources said the army was ready to deal with any possible attack from Pakistani side in response to the “clinical strike” carried out by para commandos of the army. The Additional Directorate General of Public Information (Army) in Ministry of Defence said the army chief complimented the Northern Command for successfully planning and implementing the strike, seen as a reprisal for the Uri attack.

The sources said the decision on the “surgical strike” was taken soon after the attack on the Uri army base on 18 September. They said India was ready with contingency plans considering the possibilities that Pakistan may retaliate in the wake of the surgical strike.

The Army also trashed reports in Pakistan about Indian casualties during the operation, saying one member of the special forces received minor injury while returning but it was not due to any enemy or terrorist action. It has been estimated that casualties was at least 40 on Pakistani side but there was no official confirmation.

The operation was “clinically” planned and the attack on each of the seven launch pads located in Leepa, Tattapani, Kel and Bhimbar were carried out simultaneously, sources said. The sources said it was a moonless night and total darkness helped the special forces bring the element of surprise with total effectiveness.

It has been estimated that casualties were at least 40 on Pakistani side but there was no official confirmation. Choppers also hovered over several sectors on the Indian side of the LoC to divert attention of the Pakistani security forces guarding various post.

There were unconfirmed reports that the operation has been videographed using drones. There have been satellite images of the operation, the sources said. Meanwhile, one more soldier, who was critically injured in the terror attack on Army’s Uri base 12 days ago, on Friday died of his wounds, taking the total number of army personnel killed in the strike to 19.

Naik Raj Kishor Singh was undergoing treatment at Army’s Research and Referral Hospital here. “Gen Dalbir Singh #COAS & all Rks #IndianArmy pay homage & salute the supreme sacrifice of braveheart Nk Raj Kishor Singh, #UriAttack,” the ADG PI (Army) tweeted.

Indian Newspaper Society raises concerns over proposed Press and Registration of Books and Publications Bill 2013

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Newspaper Society on Friday voiced concern over certain provisions of the proposed Press and Registration of Books and Publications Bill 2013, saying the government was seeking to regulate “content” of newspapers with a special clause “in the guise of paid news”.The proposal to bring in regulation with stringent punishment leading to stoppage of DAVP advertisements and even cancellation of registration of newspapers to rein in so-called “paid news” was “draconian and not justifiable by any stretch of imagination”, INS outgoing President PV Chandran said at the 77th Annual General Meeting.”I strongly feel such regulation will have far reaching consequences to the smooth functioning of the Fourth Estate of our vibrant democracy,” he said.Chandran also termed as “arbitrary, unjustified and discriminatory” the new Print Media Advertising policy announced by the government, saying it was against the interests of small and medium newspapers, as also language newspapers. He said the government had not consulted the stakeholders at all on some provisions.Noting that several Public Sector Undertakings and autonomous bodies which were commercial and profit making establishments were releasing advertisements at DAVP rates, he said INS saw no justification in PSUs and autonomous bodies getting the benefit of DAVP rates.”We are therefore strongly opposed to application of DAVP rates for advertisements by PSUs and autonomous bodies,” he said, adding all PSUs and similar bodies should release advertisements at the prevailing card rates only.Chandran also appealed to the government not to consider constituting any further wage board for journalists and non-journalists employees in newspaper establishments. On the new GST dispensation, he said newspapers should continue to be exempted from the levy of any Sales Tax, Excise Duty and or similar indirect levies so that there is no tax burden on the common man.Any tax on newspapers was a tax on knowledge and militates against the spread of literacy and dissemination of news, he added. INS ELECTS NEW OFFICE BEARERSThe Rajasthan-based Rashtradoot group of newspapers, publisher Somesh Sharma (57) is the new President. Ms Akila Urankar of the Business Standard, the only woman in the 45-member executive committee, is the Deputy President. K Balaji of the Hindu is the vice-president and Sharad Saxena of the Hindustan Times is the honorary treasurer of the society for the year 2016-17.The members of the executive committee include former presidents Hormusji Cama (Bombay Samachar), Kiran B Vadodaria (Sambhaav Metro, Ahmedabad), Bahubali Shah (Gujarat Samachar), Kundan Vyas (Vapar, Mumbai), Vijay Darda (Lokmat), Vijay Kumar Chopra (Punjabi Kesari, Jalandhar), Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Dainik Jagran), Pratap Pawar (Sakal), MP Veerendrakumar (Mathrubhumi), Jacob Mathew (Vanitha), Ashish Bagga (India Today), K N Tilak Kumar (Deccan Herald), Ravindra Kumar (The Statesman), and P V Chandran (Grehalaksmi).Also elected to the executive committee are: Vivek Goenka (Indian Express), Manoj Santhalia (New Indian Express), Jayant Mammen Mathew (Malayala Manorama), Vilas Marathe (Dainik Hindusthan, Amravati), Kiran Thakur (Tarun Bharat, Belgaum), and V K Chopra (Dainik Assam).

Indus Waters treaty must not be violated, says activist Medha Patkar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar on Friday said she was not in favour of India unilaterally scrapping the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan. In the wake of terror attack on Army base at Uri, some strategic thinkers have demanded that India scrap the water-sharing treaty to pressurise Pakistan.”We are not in favour of breaking the Indus Water Treaty with the neighbouring country and launching a water war with it. We don’t want to turn rivers into a battle-field,” Patkar said.”Whether the issues related to sharing of water are international or inter-state, they should be solved through dialogue. These problems cannot be solved through politics,” she said. Patkar was in Indore to take part in a seminar on utility of large dams in India.”Government constructs large dams saying that they would produce hydro-power for supplying electricity to villages and provide water to the rural areas and agriculture. But in reality benefits go to the capitalists,” she said. She demanded a review of the policy which favours big dams and immediate stoppage of ongoing construction of such projects.”We are not saying that big dams are not useful for the country. But alternatives to them should be considered so that there is minimal displacement of people and least damage to the nature.” She also opposed centralised system of water management and said the decision-making should be left to the common people.

Cauvery dispute: Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah convenes all-party meeting on Saturday

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has convened an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss future course of action in the wake of fresh Supreme Court order for release of 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water per day till 6 October to Tamil Nadu.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

The Chief Minister has convened an all-party meeting of floor Leaders of both Houses, MPs, including central ministers representing the state, and Ministers concerned of Cauvery basin and district in-charge Ministers, CMO officials said. Taking Karnataka to task for its repeated “defiance” by flouting its orders over release of, the apex court today asked it to release 6,000 cusecs water from Saturday till 6 October to Tamil Nadu, warning “no one would know when the wrath of the law” would fall on it.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit also directed the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board by 4 October. After the apex court verdict, sporadic protests were reported from Mandya and Mysuru districts where police have
made elaborate security arrangements.

Speaking in New Delhi, Karnataka Water Resources Minister MB Patil said the government will decide further course of action after going through the judgment and discussing with the legal team headed by advocate Fali Nariman. Nariman told the bench he has unequivocally said he would not argue for Karnataka till the orders of Supreme Court are complied with.

Karnataka has maintained its inability to release water to Tamil Nadu citing low storage in its reservoirs and drinking water needs of Bengaluru and neighbouring districts. Both the Legislative Assembly and the Council on 23 September had also adopted a resolution not to provide water for any other purpose except to meet drinking needs, citing “acute distress” and “alarmingly low levels” in dams.

The opposition BJP and JD(S) have expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s order and the stand taken by Nariman, representing the state in the case. Terming court order as “shocking”, BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa said the order to release 6,000 cusecs till 6 October, does not note of the ground realities.

Oil slump causes Indian workers to leave Saudi Arabia

The closure of companies in Saudi Arabia has left thousands of Indian workers without jobs.

India’s surgical strikes across LoC unlikely to bring Pakistan-backed terrorism to cohesive end

Where do we go from here? The surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) is a remarkable, though not unique, achievement for the Army (there have been many cross-LoC/IB operations in the past, though without the present publicity), but it is unlikely to bring Pakistan-backed terrorism to an abrupt and conclusive end.

It is useful to recognise that, despite 3,520 soldiers of the international coalition, including 2,285 Americans (as well as tens of thousands of Afghan soldiers and civilians), having been killed as a result of Pakistan-backed terrorism in Afghanistan, and numerous leaders and cadres of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda successfully targeted by the US on Pakistani soil (most prominently including Osama bin Laden in the heart of the Abottabad Cantonment) Pakistan has not abandoned its support to terrorism directed against Kabul, even a decade and a half after America re-entered the Afghan conflict.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

There are many among India’s partisan jingoists who were demanding that Pakistan be ‘taught a lesson’ in the wake of the Uri attack, and believe that this is the principal yield of the surgical strike. This is nonsense. It is not India’s purpose to educate Pakistan and, in any event, despite all the ‘lessons’ it has been taught by India in the past, and by the US in a more proximate time frame, Islamabad remains quite uneducable.

Moreover, there are many who think that Pakistan can be ‘shamed’ into terminating its association with Islamist terrorism, and consequently emphasise the continuous sharing of intelligence and evidence with other nations of the world. But India has tried to do this for decades, with little or no effect. It is only now that the West is suffering repeated harm at the hands of Islamist terrorism that is squarely linked up with Pakistan that they are beginning to take cognizance of the problem – evidence or no evidence. Crucially, Pakistan is not a country that can be ‘shamed’ into anything; its leadership has demonstrated a complete lack of any sense of honour or adherence to principles of civilised behaviour. Pakistan will change direction only under the influence of fear, or the complete erosion of its capacities to continue support to terrorism without risking its own survival.

What does this mean for India in the immediate aftermath of the surgical strike? First, despite the general opprobrium Pakistan now attracts, and despite the fact that not a single country in the world has directed even the slightest criticism against India for this operation (even China has chosen to sit on the fence, exhorting both countries to resolve their difference through “dialogues”), there is likely to be some retaliatory action. Present indications, including Islamabad’s efforts to deny or downplay the surgical strike, do not, however, suggest disproportionate escalation. Pakistan will also seek to inflict harm by escalating street and ‘indigenous’ terrorist violence in Kashmir – though it may find some reluctance among its allies and affiliates to go along with its plans now.

For all the satisfaction the surgical strikes have rightly given Indians – frustrated by long decades of Pakistan-backed terrorism and the Indian state’s paralysis in response – it is best treated as no more than an incident; an important, incident, no doubt, but nonetheless transient in its impact unless it is integrated into a coherent and sustained strategy, pursued with unflagging attention certainly over the coming years, and possibly decade and more.

A polity obsessed with electoral cycles will find it difficult to sustain both will and attention for long, and there would likely be intervening changes of government as well. Worse, Pakistan has a long experience as a ‘minimal satisfier’; indeed, despite the fatalities it has inflicted in Afghanistan, despite unambiguous condemnation by a string of American and Nato military commanders of its support to terrorism in that theatre, and despite Pakistan’s visible footprint in an overwhelming proportion of terrorist attacks across the world, Islamabad continues to receive billions of dollars in US and Western aid even today (though this gravy train looks like it is slowing down drastically). Pakistan’s capacity for deceit and manipulation has been extraordinary, and it will quickly be turned to India if any sustained regime of discriminatory sanctions or sustained non-military penalties is imposed.

Indeed, this process already appears to have commenced just a day after the surgical strike. After his crass and offensive speech at the UN General Assembly, Nawaz Sharif has already shifted gear and, virtually lifting the language of Narendra Modi’s Kozhikode speech, declared that he sought peace in the region “to make economic progress and to battle poverty and unemployment.”

As time passes and the sting of the surgical strike diminishes, Pakistan will try to mollify India by talking about partnerships to fight poverty and backwardness; but terrorism will persist, calibrated to suitable levels given changes in the domestic, regional and global situation. It would be utter folly on New Delhi’s part if it is seduced by this deception as long as any trace of the terrorist infrastructure remains on Pakistani soil. Pakistan will not yield its only instrument of leverage in the region and in the world unless unbearable costs are imposed, or a sheer lack of capacity is inflicted through processes of gradual attrition, in what is clearly conceptualised, planned and implemented as a strategy of protracted war.

(The author is the executive director of Institute for Conflict Management & South Asia Terrorism Portal.)

Delhi CM Kejriwal says it is time to stand with Centre, differences can be sorted out later

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the wake of escalating tension between India and Pakistan, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said it is time to stand with the Centre and the differences can be sorted out later.”As there is tension along the LoC it is the responsibility of the entire country to stand with the Centre. We can sort out differences between the Delhi government and the Centre later,” he said at a special session of Delhi Assembly. The one-day special session was convened to expose the “conspiracy” behind the FIRs against him, ministers and AAP MLAs.On the request of the Chief Minister, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel postponed the discussion on the issue for a date yet to be decided. He alleged that 16 AAP MLAs have been booked in “false” cases and even he was named in an FIR, but the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) later clarified it was typographical error.Kejriwal was named in an FIR by the ACB in alleged irregularities in Delhi Commission for Women even as the anti-graft body said that he would not be questioned. He had alleged that the FIR had been registered against him at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Claiming that ACB chief M K Meena had said he did not know about the Chief Minister being named in the FIR, Kejriwal alleged, “Has the FIR against me been made in the PMO? It was done as part of a very big conspiracy which we wanted to expose in the Assembly.” The Delhi government is doing a good work which is being appreciated not only in India but across the world, he said.”However, hurdles are being created in our work,” the Chief Minister said.Slamming BJP for appointing B S Yeddyurappa as its national vice-president, Kejriwal alleged, “When they got to know that Yeddyurappa took money, they (BJP) appointed him as vice-president of his party.” “But in our party, when we came to know that our minister was involved in irregularities, we threw him out of the government,” he said, and claimed that after Independence, AAP is perhaps the only party which has taken strict action against wrongdoings.On Tuesday, Kejriwal had tweeted, “False cases against AAP MLAs n ministers, FIR against me, CBI raid on me – why? A v big conspiracy. Will expose in Del Assembly on Fri (sic)”.

The Uri aftermath: A game of snakes and ladders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In June 2015, Indian Special Forces, evidently, conducted a cross-border raid in Myanmar against hideouts of insurgent groups operating in the North East states, neutralizing several terrorists. This was in retaliation against the ambush on a military column which resulted in 18 soldiers being martyred earlier that month. The action reflected a more pro-active policy on the part of the Indian government. It had then been welcomed by Union Minister of State, Rajyavardhan Rathore, and several of his colleagues. They went so far as to suggest it was a message that neighbours who harbour terrorists would do well to heed. The Pakistan military and political establishment had then belligerently responded; the country’s Interior Minister, Nisar Ali Khan, unequivocally warned against any such misadventure, stating that “Pakistan is not Myanmar and India should not think of repeating such an exercise within Pakistani territory.”Given Pakistan’s unadulterated support for terror groups and their efforts at fanning separatist flames in the Kashmir Valley, it was only a matter of time before some serious enough provocation forced the Modi Government to explore more robust solutions. Pakistan engineered the Uri incident and also, possibly, timed it with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s appearance at the United Nation General Assembly. However, it is unlikely that Pakistan wanted the incident to be seen as anything other than a showpiece of reactions by locals against gross human rights violations committed by Indian security forces. Unfortunately, the unexpectedly large number of casualties had upset all calculations. Though Pakistan continued to stick with its narrative, the event forced the Modi Government to act so as not to lose all credibility. Despite Narendra Modi’s earlier rhetoric against the UPA government’s lackadaisical response to Pakistan in face of terror attacks in the past, the prime minister must be complimented for resisting pressure and not indulging in a purely knee-jerk reaction, which is devoid of substance.The targeted cross-border raids which were conducted on Wednesday night by elements from two of our Parachute (Special Forces) battalions, reportedly against seven terror launch pads within 2-3 km from the LoC in Pakistan Occupied territory in the Valley and the Rajouri-Poonch Sector was, therefore, not unexpected. Much has already been written about these raids, most in the realm of speculation, to bear repetition. Despite Pakistan’s denials, it is no longer in doubt that these raids happened, and militants along with some Pakistan army personnel were killed. Contrary to popular perceptions, it suffices to say that the Indian army has had a robust special operations capability since independence that has been used on several occasions, even abroad. One may recall their employment in Sierra Leone when our Parachute (Special Forces) elements led rescue operations to free our troops held hostage while serving on a UN Mission. Therefore, it can be clearly stated that despite the hoopla, this was a routine task for which they have been trained over the years. Having said that, such high-risk missions are always fraught with danger and success is never guaranteed.What has been different in this case is the political will displayed by the Indian government, not just in the matter of permitting the military to conduct these high-value raids, but also the preparation that has gone into organising them and the media blitz that has followed. Its selection of targets was clearly restricted to so-called “non-state actors” and not the military and the operation took place in territory that India claims is illegally occupied by Pakistan. By stating that this show of force was a preemptive defensive action against terrorists preparing to infiltrate, the government is clearly suggesting it was not keen to escalate the situation further. The coordination and assistance provided by the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) and the Research and Analysis Wing(R&AW) in providing real-time intelligence on the chosen targets have been unprecedented. These factors have played a major role in the successful completion of the attack.Most importantly, despite its stated objective of not wanting to escalate the situation further, the government has taken precautions by evacuating villages along the international border in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. This clearly indicates its willingness to hang tough and, if required, up the ante and launch a counter-strike in the event Pakistan decides to respond. The government may even be signaling that in the case of escalation, it would be willing to put in motion the military’s Cold Start Doctrine that envisages capture of territory in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan.So where does all this leave Pakistan? For one thing, it suggests that Pakistan’s policy of nuclear blackmail and threats to deal with any Indian provocation by using tactical nuclear weapons appears to have run its course. As does its untrammeled and open support for militants working in tandem with the army. With the use of terror as state policy over the past few decades, Pakistan finds itself isolated on this issue by large sections of the international community. Thus, any escalation on its part is unlikely to be viewed kindly and can only make matters more difficult for it. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to suggest that the strikes are a figment of the Indian imagination, the credibility of its own denials have been greatly damaged, given the different voices emanating from the military and political establishment. There is a distinct possibility that public opinion may force Nawaz Sharief’s hand, in which case he may find himself between a rock and a hard place. The next few weeks will reveal whether this subcontinent finds itself plunged into another futile war or focuses on the more pressing challenges of countering endemic poverty and hunger that haunt both the nations.

SAARC 2016 in Islamabad postponed, Pakistan blames PM Modi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan postponed the SAARC Summit to be held here next month after India along with four other member states of the regional grouping decided against attending the meet.”Pakistan deplores India’s decision to impede the SAARC process by not attending the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad on 9-10 November 2016,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.It claimed that the spirit of the SAARC Charter is “violated” when a member state casts the shadow of its bilateral problems on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was looking forward to welcome the SAARC leaders for their participation in the summit. All preparations had been made for “successful” holding of the summit, the statement said.It alleged that decision by India to “derail the summit” effectively “contradicts” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s own call to fight against poverty in the region.”India’s decision to abstain from the Summit on the basis of unfounded assumptions on the Uri incident is a futile effort to divert attention of the world from the atrocities” by India in Kashmir, the Foreign Office said.”Pakistan attaches great importance to regional cooperation under the umbrella of SAARC…Therefore, Pakistan remains committed to hosting the 19th SAARC Summit at Islamabad at the earliest so that the objectives of regional cooperation under the SAARC umbrella can be pursued more vigorously,” it said.The Foreign Office said a new set of dates for holding of the summit in Islamabad will be announced soon, through Nepal, which is currently the SAARC Chair.”Accordingly, we have conveyed the same to the Prime Minister of Nepal,” it said.The announcement came after Sri Lanka pulled out of 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad, becoming the fifth country to do so after India expressed its inability to participate in the summit. “Sri Lanka regrets that the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement here. The General Provisions of the SAARC Charter require that decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well, it said in the brief statement.The statement made no reference to the current tension between India and Pakistan, but it “condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”. It stressed on the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner. “Peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia. “As a founding member of SAARC, committed to regional cooperation, Sri Lanka hopes that the steps required to ensuring our region s peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation,” the statement added.Besides India, three other SAARC members – Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan – have pulled out of the summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment which is not right for the successful holding of the meet.That development came after tensions ran high between India and Pakistan after militants stormed an Indian Army base in Uri on September 18, killing 18 soldiers. The militants belonged to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group. Founded in 1985, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) currently has Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka as its members.

Islamabad Saarc Summit cancelled, announces Pakistan

Islamabad: Pakistan on Friday formally announced that the 19th Saarc Summit which was to be held in Islamabad in November this year has been cancelled.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

A statement form the Foreign Office said that “the spirit of the Saarc Charter is violated when a member state casts the shadow of its bilateral problems on the multilateral forum for regional cooperation”.

“Pakistan attaches great importance to regional cooperation under the umbrella of Saarc and remains committed to hosting the 19th Saarc Summit at Islamabad at the earliest,” it added.

In the wake of 18 September terrorist attack in Uri town of Jammu and Kahsmir, India decided not to participate in the Summit, which was followed by the boycott of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangaladesh and on Friday, Sri Lanka too expressed its reservations.

The statement also said that Pakistan deplores India’s decision to impede the Saarc process by not attending it, which was slated for 9-10 November.

“The decision by India to derail the Summit effectively contradicts Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s own call to fight against poverty in the region,” the statement said.

The Foreign Office said that a new set of dates for holding of the Summit in Islamabad will be announced soon, through the Chair of Saarc (Nepal).

‘It is time to stand with the Centre, differences can be sorted later,’ says Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: In the wake of escalating tension between India and Pakistan, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said it is time to stand with the Centre and the differences can be sorted out later. “As there is tension along the LoC it is the responsibility of the entire country to stand with the Centre.

File image of Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

File image of Arvind Kejriwal. PTI

We can sort out differences between the Delhi government and the Centre later,” he said at a special session of Delhi Assembly. The one-day special session was convened to expose the “conspiracy” behind the FIRs against him, ministers and AAP
MLAs.

On the request of the Chief Minister, Speaker Ram Niwas Goel postponed the discussion on the issue for a date yet to be decided. He alleged that 16 AAP MLAs have been booked in “false” cases and even he was named in an FIR, but the Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB) later clarified it was typographical error.

Kejriwal was named in an FIR by the ACB in alleged irregularities in Delhi Commission for Women even as the anti-graft body said that he would not be questioned. He had alleged that the FIR had been registered against him at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Claiming that ACB chief MK Meena had said he did not know about the Chief Minister being named in the FIR, Kejriwal alleged, “Has the FIR against me been made in the PMO? It was done as part of a very big conspiracy which we wanted to expose in the Assembly.”

The Delhi government is doing a good work which is being appreciated not only in India but across the world, he said. “However, hurdles are being created in our work,” the Chief Minister said. Slamming BJP for appointing BS Yeddyurappa as its
national vice-president, Kejriwal alleged, “When they got to know that Yeddyurappa took money, they (BJP) appointed him as
vice-president of his party.”

“But in our party, when we came to know that our minister was involved in irregularities, we threw him out of the government,” he said, and claimed that after Independence, AAP is perhaps the only party which has taken strict action against wrongdoings. On Tuesday, Kejriwal had tweeted, “False cases against AAP MLAs n ministers, FIR against me, CBI raid on me – why? A v big conspiracy. Will expose in Del Assembly on Fri.

93 flats of Adarsh society still locked: Centre to SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that 93 flats in the controversial 28-storey Adarsh Cooperative Society in Mumbai were still locked and it did not know what was inside those flats. A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre asked Adarsh Society to write letters to the owners of these flats and open the locks.Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Centre, said out of the 104 flats, 93 were locked and they have got only 11 open flats which were taken into possession as per the apex court’s order.”We don’t know what is inside these 93 flats and if tomorrow anyone comes and says that their belongings were there and it was damaged, then we should not be held accountable,” Kumar said.Counsel appearing for Adarsh Society said by October 3, some furniture lying in the premises will be vacated and some construction material lying will be removed. He said the building was vacated and no one has been staying there and the 93 flats belonged to those who have got the allotment papers.The counsel further said they will write to these flat owners to open the locks, so that it can be handed over to the Centre as per the court’s direction. The bench posted the matter for further hearing along with the petition challenging the Bombay High Court order directing demolition of the building.On September 9, the apex court has asked the Centre to respond to the plea of the Adarsh Cooperative Society on maintenance of the scam-tainted building. The housing society has sought a direction to the Military Engineering Services (MES), the custodian of the building, to ensure proper maintenance of facilities like lifts, generators and fire fighting equipments of the building as the office bearers of the society and flat owners have been barred from entering the premises by the apex court.The apex court had earlier asked the society to consider bearing the expenses to be incurred on maintenance of the 28- storey building whose possession has been handed over to the Centre in pursuance to the apex court’s order.The apex court had on July 22 asked the Centre to secure possession of Adarsh apartments at the posh Colaba area of South Mumbai for Kargil heroes and war widows, after taking its possession from the housing society by August 5.The bench had also said that the word “secure” meant that there will be no razing of the building. It had also issued notices on a batch of pleas, filed against the Bombay High Court decision ordering demolition, by the housing society and some allottees.Earlier, the High Court had ordered demolition of the apartments and sought initiation of criminal proceedings against politicians and bureaucrats for “misuse” of powers, holding that the tower was illegally constructed.The High Court, while ordering demolition, had stayed the operation for 12 weeks of its order to pull it down to enable the society to move the apex court with the appeal. In its order, the HC bench had asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest to carry out the demolition at the expense of petitioners (Adarsh Society). It had also asked the Centre and Maharashtra Government to consider initiating civil and criminal proceedings against bureaucrats, ministers and politicians for misuse and abuse of power to get plots under the scheme, originally meant for Kargil war heroes and war widows.The Adarsh scam kicked up a huge political storm after it surfaced in 2010, leading to the resignation of then Congress Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

Government approves Rs 1,660 crore highway projects across 8 states

The 454 km highway project will cover Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government, on Friday, approved Rs 1,660 crore worth of highway projects in eight states including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam. “The standing finance committee (SFC) on Friday cleared eight projects worth Rs 1,659.96 crore for 454 km length for eight states,” a road transport and highways ministry official said.Of the eight projects, five will be undertaken on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) mode.The other states covered by the projects cleared are in Andhra Pradesh, Tripura Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland. The project for Uttar Pradesh pertains to upgradation of 37 km stretch of Allahabad-Mirzapur section of NH 76E at a cost of Rs 219 crore, while Rs 323 crore Maharashtra project involves upgradation of Malewada to Chimur stretch on NH-353E.The Andhra Pradesh project covers widening of Machilipatnam to Avanigadda section on NH- 214A under National Highways Development Project (NHDP). In Tripura the Rs 172 crore project pertains widening to two lane with paved shoulder on Churaibari Agartala section of NH-44 while Sikkim will see construction of 1000 metre length viaduct at Rangpo on NH-31A. There will be two-laning of Nongstoin – Shillong Section of NH-44 and Nongstoin – Rongjeng – Tura road while in Nagaland the project aims at four-laning of Dimapur to Kohima Section of NH-39.The Assam package contains shifting of Electrical line and operational cost for compensation trees for construction of Dhola – Sadiya Ghats Bridge.

Spot the difference: After Nawaz Sharif, Hafiz Saeed promises to teach India about ‘surgical strikes’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JuD chief and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack warned India of a “befitting response” for its military operation in PoK, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now know what is meant by “surgical strikes”. “We will tell you what is a real surgical strike…and you will get the deserved response soon,” Saeed said in a public address in Faisalabad. “I want to tell Indian media to see soon how Pakistani Jawans conduct surgical strikes. Let me tell you…the United States will not be able to help you,” he said, a day after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. “Now it is Pakistan’s turn to give a befitting response to India. Narendra Modi will now know what is meant by surgical strikes,” Saeed said.The JuD chief’s statements are remarkably similar to Nawaz Sharif’s who said t that even Pakistan was capable of ‘surgical strikes’. Terming “Indian aggression” as a threat to the entire region, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned that Pakistan is also capable of executing surgical strikes and will not allow anyone to “cast an evil eye” on it.Chairing a special Cabinet meeting to review the security situation in the country, Sharif said that Pakistan will take all necessary steps to protect its people and territorial integrity in case of any aggression or violation of the Line of Control (LoC).He said that Indian aggression constituted a threat to the entire region and Pakistan would take all measures to protect its territorial integrity, The Express Tribune reported. “No one will be allowed to cast an evil eye on Pakistan,” Sharif said, adding that Pakistan was fully capable of executing surgical strikes. “The nation is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the valiant armed forces to defend the motherland.” His comments came a day after India conducted surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.Pakistan has dismissed as “fabrication of truth” India’s claim and termed it as a “quest” by India to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as surgical strike.Sharif said that all steps would be taken to prevent LoC violations or aggression and added that Pakistan s resolve to establish peace remained strong. He said the leadership and people of Pakistan are united in their resolve to counter any aggressive Indian designs, adding that Pakistan’s commitment for peace must not be construed as weakness. Sharif also raised Kashmir issue said that it was the “unfinished agenda of the partition”. He said that atrocities in Kashmir could not crush Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. “Indian atrocities” there are “unacceptable”, he said. Calling for a probe into the September 18 Uri attack, Sharif said blaming Pakistan for orchestrating the attack was beyond comprehension.The Cabinet also joined the Prime Minister in completely rejecting the Indian claims of carrying out “surgical strikes”, Radio Pakistan reported. It condemned “Indian accusations in the wake of the Uri attack and pledged to expose India before the international community”. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan does not want escalation of tension but is ready to meet any eventuality.Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said India is creating artificial tension in its attempt to divert attention of the world from its atrocities against Kashmiris. He said Pakistan’s defence is in strong hands and the country would continue to raise voice for rights of Kashmiris.Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada regretted that instead of giving right of self-determination to Kashmiris, India is resorting to terrorism against Pakistan. He said the world community should take notice of India’s belligerence.Pak will give befitting response to any misadventure: General Raheel Sharif Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif today warned that any “misadventure” by any “adversary” will meet the “most befitting response”, a day after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC.”The highest state of vigil is being maintained along the Line of Control, Working Boundary and the international border,” General Raheel said.”Any misadventure by our adversary will meet the most befitting response,” he said while talking to troops at a newly developed Combat Reaction Training facility near Lahore Garrison.He asked all commanders to lay more emphasis on combat readiness and said the training in peacetime is the only guarantor of averting and winning a war if imposed.”Pakistan cannot be coerced through any amount of malicious propaganda,” he said.He expressed his complete satisfaction over operational preparedness of the Army. With agency inputs

Chikungunya outbreak: SC asks AAP govt to give names of non-cooperating officials

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Friday took strong exception of Delhi Health Minister’s allegation that officials were not cooperating and taking responsibility to check vector- borne disease like dengue and chikungunya in the national capital and asked him to give names and evidence of those officials by October 3.”You have made a serious allegation in your affidavit. Who are the officials disobeying you? People in Delhi are suffering from dengue and chikungunya. You cannot treat them like this,” a bench headed by Justices M B Lokur said.An affidavit filed by Delhi health minister Satyendra Jain in response to notices issued to Delhi government on a PIL which was taken suo motu cognisance of by the apex court said officials have not been cooperating to curb the diseases. Jain, in the affidavit, has said that officials were not taking responsibility and all files pertaining to diseases like dengue and chikungunya were being sent to LG for clearance.On September 26, the apex court had sought response from Delhi government on steps being taken to check vector-borne diseases dengue and chikungunya in the national capital.”Give the names and evidences of the officials who have been disobeying by Monday. It is a serious matter,” the bench told the counsel appearing for Delhi government.The counsel sought some time to file the names and evidences and said he would file the names of officials who were not cooperating in a sealed cover. To this, the bench said “since you have made the allegation on affidavit, the names and evidences of officials should not be filed in sealed cover”.Senior advocate Ajit Sinha appearing for Lieutenant Governor refuted the charge that officials were not cooperating to fight the diseases as alleged by the Delhi Health Minister. On September 26, Centre told the apex court that it was the duty of Delhi government to ensure that the national capital remained clean and free from diseases like chikungunya and dengue.The apex court had sought response from Delhi government on a suo motu plea relating to the death of a 7-year-old boy in the city due to dengue after allegedly being denied treatment by five private hospitals and subsequent suicide by his parents.

26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed warns India, says Pakistan jawans will soon conduct surgical strikes

26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed warns India, says Pakistan jawans will soon conduct surgical strikes

‘);
FB.XFBML.parse();
*/
});

Lahore: JuD chief and mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai attack on Friday warned India of a “befitting response” for its military operation in PoK, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now know what is meant by “surgical strikes”.

File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP

File image of Hafiz Saeed. AFP

“We will tell you what is a real surgical strike…and you will get the deserved response soon,” Hafiz Saeed said in a public address in Faisalabad on Friday. “I want to tell Indian media to see soon how Pakistani Jawans conduct surgical strikes. Let me tell you…the United States will not be able to help you,” he said, a day after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“Now it is Pakistan’s turn to give a befitting response to India. Narendra Modi will now know what is meant by surgical strikes,” Saeed said.

Pak should take effective steps against terrorists: Russia backs India after surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It seems like Pakistan is running out of friends fast. The latest to hit out is Russia whose foreign ministry blasted Pakistan in a strongly worded statement. Speaking about the LoC incident, the Russian Foreign Ministry put out a statement saying: “We are concerned with the aggravation lately of the situation along the line of control between India and Pakistan. We are calling on the parties not to allow any escalation of tension and to settle the existing problems by political and diplomatic means through negotiations. We stand for decisive struggle against terrorism in all its manifestations. We expect the government of Pakistan to take effective steps in order to stop the activities of terrorists’ groups in the territory of the country.” Other world powers, who seem to side with India over the surgical strike include the USA who said terrorist attacks like Uri obviously escalates tensions. “Obviously, an (terrorist) attack like that (in Uri) escalates tensions. What I don’t want to do is try to get into, you know, some sort of broad characterisation one way or the other but obviously an attack like this is horrific and…”, the State Department Spokesman, John Kirby, told reporters.The spokesperson was interrupted by a reporter mid-way that her question was about India’s response to the September 18 Uri attack. “But the Indian response is that — is that the kind of escalation that Secretary Kerry was warning against?” the journalist asked referring to the telephonic conversation between the Secretary of State John Kerry and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier this week.Kirby was quick to clarify that he was referring to the Uri terrorist attack. “Oh, I thought you were talking about the Uri attack,” the spokesman said.On September 27, Kerry spoke with Swaraj. For technical reason, the conversation was spread over two separate calls. “I can confirm for you that the secretary spoke with — on the 27th, so earlier this week, with Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj and reiterated his strong condemnation of the September 18 Uri attack. He condemned terrorism in all its forms and he cautioned against any escalation intentions,” he said.Responding to questions, Kirby called for de-escalation of tension between the two countries. “We’ve seen those reports (of Indian surgical attack), we’re following the situation closely as I think you can understand. We also understand that the Indian and Pakistani militaries have been in communication,” he said. “We believe that continued communication is obviously important to reduce tensions. We’ve repeatedly expressed our concerns regarding the danger that terrorism poses to the region and we all know that terrorism in many ways knows no border,” Kirby said.”We continue to urge actions to combat and de-legitimise terrorist groups like LeT, and Haqqani Network, Jaish-E-Mohammed. So, this is something that we’re obviously keenly focused on,” Kirby said in response to a question.Counter-terrorism co-operation, he said, is something that the United States is always working at with its partners in the region. “We’re always trying to get better at combating terrorism in the region. There are many ways you can do that, you know, through information sharing regimens and increasing communication between all parties involved,” he said.But he refused to entertain question on if there was any co-operation between India and the United States on the latest Indian operation. “I don’t have a specific laundry list here to read out to you because, frankly, it’s something that we’ve been constantly working at with our partners in the region,” he said. Kirby said America’s message to both sides has been the same in terms of encouraging them to increase communication to deal with this threat and to avoid steps that escalate the tensions.”I think I’m not going to get into characterising each and every step along the way there. “But obviously, what we want to see is increased cooperation against what is a very shared common threat for both countries, and to see steps being taken to deal with it by all sides,” Kirby said. Meanwhile the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, who was in Washington DC has rushed back to New Delhi.”As far as I know, he’s returning to New Delhi. My understanding is that he believed that it was, appropriate for him to go back.”He has got a big job. There a lot of responsibilities that come with it. And, obviously it’s a very dynamic situation and he felt it was prudent to go back. We support that,” Kirby said.Earlier, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to India, Shaida Mohammad Abdali applauded New Delhi for ordering counter terrorism operations across the Line of Control (LoC) on Wednesday and Thursday. ‘I applaud Prime Minister Modi for his boldness and his seriousness to fight terrorism more effectively, and all other countries should support him, so that we can be free from terrorism,’ Abdali said. Condemning the countries giving refuge and support to terrorist organisations, the Afghan envoy said should be should be dealt with strongly and taken out from wherever they exist.On Islamabad’s consistent rejection of the charge that it was harboring terrorists, Abdali said ‘Deniability has a limit. This cannot be denied if there are facts on the ground on how they exist and how they operationalise their activities.’ South Korea also supported India’s stance against terrorism emanating from Pakistan as Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan apprised its President Park Geun Hye about the surgical strike carried out by the Indian army at the terror camps across the LoC. The issue came up when Mahajan, who is leading a Parliamentary delegation, called on the President.During the discussions, the Speaker informed the Korean President about the “strong action” taken by India against terrorism, said a statement issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat, referring to the cross-LoC surgical strike.Apprising Park about the continuous terrorist activities being carried out from the territory of Pakistan, Mahajan told her that “India believes in non-violence and peace, but it will not hesitate to use its retaliatory power to safeguard its interests,” the statement said. “While supporting India’s strong views on terrorism, Park condemned terrorism of every type,” it added. The President said India and South Korea stand together against terrorism.With agency inputs

BJP targets Nitish Kumar over Shahabuddin’s bail, says rule of law doesn’t exist in Bihar

New Delhi: Seeking to take credit after RJD strongman Mohd Shahabuddin’s bail getting cancelled, BJP on Friday said Bihar government was forced to move the apex court due to its public agitation and targeted Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, claiming the rule of law “no longer exists” in the state.

File image of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

File image of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. PTI

BJP ally and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan also attacked Kumar saying the apex court’s observations on his government’s conduct is a matter of shame and added that the manner in which the murder convict was welcomed in the state showed that the “law of jungle” prevails there.

Both the parties also hit out at Kumar over the Patna High Court decision to quash prohibition law, saying it was more of a “tuglaqi farman” (dictatorial order) as it envisioned jailing all adult members of a family for an individual’s alleged crime.

“BJP is happy that the victims of Shahabuddin’s crimes have got justice and he has been sent to jail. There was a lot of anger among the masses and we understood it. “BJP held protests at block levels and forced the state government to move the highest court after it facilitated his bail earlier by not contesting it strongly,” its spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.

“The party welcomes the apex court’s order,” he said adding that the way Shahabuddin was felicitated by leaders of the ruling alliance proved its apprehensions that his release will lead to “jungle raj” in the state. The Chief Minister decided to move the apex court as he was also angry with Shahabuddin for his jibes at him, Hussain said. The RJD leader had called Kumar a “chief minister of circumstances”. Kumar’s JD(U) and RJD are in alliance in Bihar.

Attacking Kumar, Paswan, who is a Union Minister, said the Bihar government slept as the underworld don convicted in a case of murder was granted bail in all the cases. He also targeted the JD(U) chief over the prohibition law, alleging it was a political stunt as he had in his previous terms paved the way for opening liquor shops across the state.

“His intentions were never clean. More people are dying of drinking spurious liquor than they did by consuming liquor,” he said. Hussain said the Nitish government on the one hand banned consumption of liquor while on the other helped its manufacturers in the state by waiving taxes.

“And then he went preaching prohibition in other states. He was doing politics in its name,” he said, adding that BJP in principle supported prohibition but was against the draconian law.

Kochi: Journalists prevented by lawyers from covering legal proceedings at Kerala HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of lawyers on Friday prevented eight legal correspondents from covering Kerala High Court proceedings in Kochi, forcing the law enforcement agencies to throw a ring of protection around the scribes and lead them to safety. The incident occurred on Friday afternoon when the correspondents, including three women journalists, were covering proceedings in the court of Chief Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar.Sensing the presence of media persons, a group of lawyers who assembled outside the court hall called two correspondents and informed them that journalists were not allowed to enter High Court premises, a journalist said. Scribes alleged that they were even threatened by some lawyers who were part of the team. When the scribes informed the matter to the Chief Justice, he directed them to meet the High Court registrar.Media persons who reached the registrar’s room under police security filed a written complaint against the lawyers, saying they had been threatened and prevented from carrying out their professional duty. The journalists were later safely taken out of the court premises under police protection. The legal correspondents said they went to cover the court proceedings following a safety assurance offered by the High Court authorities yesterday.Earlier in July, a group of advocates had attacked media persons outside the Kerala High Court complex in Kochi, leaving some journalists injured. The lawyers had hurled abuses and threatened that they would not allow the reporters to cover the court proceedings. A section of them even had locked down the media room in the court complex. Kerala Union of Working Journalists had alleged that the advocates resorted to violent protest against the media as they were provoked by its coverage of an alleged attempt by a government pleader to molest a woman in Kochi.

Do away with handwritten passports: RPO tells citizens

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Regional Passport Office (RPO) in Mumbai has asked citizens to immediately do away with their handwritten passports, saying not switching to machine-readable ones will cause them problem in getting visas. The move comes following a directive issued by the Joint Secretary and Chief Passport Officer in New Delhi. A toll free National Call Centre at — 1800-258-1800 — has also been set up for the purpose, the RPO said.According to the passport office in Mumbai, as of Friday, 2.5 lakh handwritten passports with 20 years validity are in the circulation across the country which need to be converted into machine-readable ones.Harish Fulpadia, Deputy Passport Officer of Mumbai region, told PTI: “In accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) guidelines, member countries had been advised to phase out these non-machine readable passport by November 24, 2015.” The details for conversion of the passports are available on www.passportindia.gov.in.Fulpadia said that converting the passport into machine-readable ones is in the line to implement the rules of the ICAO, which has decided to do away with non-machine readable (handwritten) passports globally, and since India is part of the ICAO, therefore the citizens have been asked to get their passport converted in new one that can be read by machines.Handwritten passports were issued before 2001 and are being phased out in many countries.According to another official at RPO, those who fail to renew or convert their passports into machine readable one may be denied visas henceforth. Mumbai’s Passport Office, being the only one in the region, caters to the residents from Greater Mumbai, over and above districts of Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Aurangabad and Beed in Maharashtra.

Eat, drink and dance at Meghalaya’s Shillong Beer Festival

Shillong: Come Saturday, and all roads in Meghalaya’s capital will lead to the cosy Orchid Lake resort overlooking the Umiam lake for the third edition of Shillong Beer festival on 1 October.

“Our festival provides an open forum for beer brands — international and local. We want to win our consumer’s hearts and burps equally, and give Shillong its rightful place on the festival map,” said Peter Mawlong, one of the pioneers of the festival.

Over 18 brands of international and local brews will be participating.

Representational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

Arjun Sen and 4th element, Reverse Tragedy (winners of Hornbill festival 2015), Dew Drops and Riddem Funktion Collective from Mumbai, DjGrath Adam (Mumbai) and Elton are all set to entertain the Shillong fest.

The festival will usher in an entertainment-filled weekend with sampling of beers from a range of brewers coupled with enticing food, music, art and games.

The other popular beer fests around the globe are the Munich Oktoberfest (Germany) and the Winter Ales Festival (Britain), besides various other European beer festivals. Then there are the ones in Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Latin America.

Despite a sizeable population of beer lovers in India, not much action is seen in the form of celebration — there’s a whole bubbly horizon that begs to be explored.

It was in 2014, when two like-minded individuals — Peter Mawlong and Dominic Sutnga took it upon themselves to bring to life a festival that was just waiting to be tapped. Thus, The Shillong Beer Festival was born.

The first edition attracted a crowd of 800, and 2015 saw it rise beyond 3,000 — the organisers are hoping to get even larger this time.

“On Thursday, we saw the participation of over 12 international and Indian brands — the whole day was a picnic-style festival,” said Mawlong.

In an effort to recognise traditional local beer brewing, the festival organisers have encouraged local people to allow consumers to sample their products which explains the participation of local beer brews from five north-eastern states in 2015.

Likewise, right from its inception, Mawlong said their efforts were always to promote local food — prepared by individuals who had the skill galore but not the luxury of an outlet. He promised some finger-licking recipes featured at the fest.

This year’s edition will also see the participation of local artistes. “No money was charged from these young artistes to participate,” said Mawlong.

Shillong had a beautiful culture of fetes during the 1970s and 1980s. These fetes dotted the entertainment scene in the city but all that has died out, much to the dismay of many here.

The Shillong beer festival wants to revive this culture so various games have also been organised.

Kulgam: Militants attack security forces’ picket, no one hurt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Militants on Friday attacked a security forces’ picket in Kulgam district of south Kashmir but no one was hurt in the incident, police said.”Militants opened fire on a joint picket of Police and CRPF at Behibagh in Yaripora area of Kulgam district at around 5.00 pm,” a police official said. He said no one was hurt in the attack carried out by militants, who fled from the scene after firing.Security forces have cordoned off the area and launched search operations to track down the assailants, he said.

High On A Mushroom Cloud: India, Pakistan and public discourse around nuclear conflict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The recent attack in Uri, Jammu & Kashmir, on an Indian Army base, where the death toll has now risen to 19 Indian soldiers, was a game changer. After Pathankot, pressure already existed to make sure some sort of reply is given to Pakistan. Uri was the straw where many reached that line where crossing over from ‘strategic restraint’ to a reaction was acceptable. However, even as India has confirmed that its special forces crossed over the penciled in status quo that is the Line of Control (LoC) in the fraught state of Jammu & Kashmir, the public narrative that is often led by the jingoistic media output around Indo–Pakistan affairs quickly moved towards the usual plausibility: Nuclear War. Even as I entered my home last evening, one could hear loud television sets from the streets, blaring in many homes as most in the public celebrated India losing its self-restraint against Pakistan’s audacious support for terror groups against India. Articles and debates on potential nuclear conflict between these two nuclear-armed states are neither new or unexpected. In fact, theoretically speaking, a nuclear war between India and Pakistan in probability is more likely than between any other two nuclear-armed states at this point of time. Nonetheless, in public discourse in both India and Pakistan, nuclear weapons hold some sort of chimera like fantasy-laden rhetoric as if they’re not weapons of mass destruction but fairy-dust that will solve everything. There have been various studies done on what a nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan will achieve, and there have been various articles in the media over many years on how a nuclear conflict will affect populations of both the countries (general consensus was that it will not be very nice). Yet, actual knowledge of nuclear weapons, how they are used more as strategic tools of deterrence than WMDs and are weapons that could perhaps bring warring parties to the negotiating table faster than anything else is very limited. In general, I have found our people have this utopian-dystopian take on nuclear weapons that if we launch warheads towards Pakistan they can sit on their roofs and watch it as if it is some sort of a festivity. These are WMDs after all, and not sutli bombs that one gets in packets for Rs 100 on Diwali. But again, this is not very surprising at least from an Indian discourse context. We are, after all, people who would feel much more comfortable knowing that there are nuclear weapons based in our backyard pointed towards our adversaries than having a nuclear plant in our backyard which will give us clean, green energy. If the latter happens, most run around screaming bloody murder, but an Agni missile under the local park will possibly make most people feel ‘safe’. So, does one blame people for such a thought process? Seeing our neighbourhood, maybe not entirely at least. The strange halo of nuclear conflict being some sort of end game to geo-political troubles is bizarre at best. The fact that this sort of bravado sells to domestic audiences is highlighted by Pakistani Defense Minister Khawaja Asif saying on a televised interview that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons can be used against India in wartime (India maintains a no-first use policy for nuclear weapons). Information flow these days also helps spread such fear mongering, with unsolicited, uninformed, jingoistic and factually wrong messages being circulated on social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp being taken literally by even the best educated people. Such chest-thumping, which includes promoting the idea of a nuclear conflict, is easy to orchestrate sitting at home and being oblivious to what a nuclear conflict entails, what such a conflict will never achieve or even how a nuclear weapon works. That wish to see the mushroom cloud over Pakistan, and some Pakistanis’ wish to see the same here, is difficult to fathom, and can be best explained by pure, unadulterated dumbness of people promoting such ideas in public discourse as if the mushroom cloud is some sort of imagery of vindication. Perhaps, for anyone who thinks that way, it will be a wise idea to sit them down and make them watch what erstwhile nuclear weapons of much less power than what we have today did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And follow this up with testimonies of survivors of these bombings. How Japan changed thereafter, is sobering to know. Furthermore, covert strikes across the LoC escalating into a nuclear conflict has absolutely minimal probability, it is an outcome neither India nor Pakistan would work towards (barring the small margin of error on such probabilities). Beyond that, it is vital to remember, this is not the first time cross-LoC ops have taken place, but this is only the first time you have been told about it. This alone, should put things in perspective. The theatre of nuclear deterrence is in-fact a much more wholesome and solid-bodied theory than people may realise. The consequence of nuclear conflict is not a regional outcome, but a global one. During the height of the Cold War, situations around nuclear activities were much closer than what they are with India and Pakistan today, but even then, both the US and USSR did not severe diplomatic ties. So, if you are from India or Pakistan, and people around you seem to be thinly apprised about nuclear conflicts, do make it a point to tell them that a few packets of MTR pre-cooked meals and a ditch masquerading as a bunker behind their house is not going to be a fool-proof plan to survive such an eventuality. And it is perhaps best they think thrice, or as many times more as they need according to their personal thought capacity requirements, before loosely talking about a nuclear confrontation being some sort of end-game for the conundrums faced by India and Pakistan over their evening cup of tea.

Hindustan Unilever refutes rapper Sofia Ashraf’s claims that it dumped toxic waste in Kodaikanal

This is with reference to the article published on 28 September 2016 in FirstPost titled Watch: Kodaikanal Won’t rapper Sofia Ashraf serves some facts to Unilever’s Paul Polman.

It is disappointing that Firstpost has chosen to publish the article based merely on claims rather than verifying the facts, thus lending credibility to misinformation being spread on this matter.

Caught up with an environmental challenge. ReutersCaught up with an environmental challenge. Reuters

Caught up with an environmental challenge. Reuters

The article makes grossly erroneous conclusions on the basis of these claims. It states and we quote, “dumping of toxic waste by Unilever’s now-shut thermometer factory is one of the most infamous cases of shirking of corporate social responsibility in India”. This is contrary to facts:

Since this issue first came to light, HUL has actively sought to address it in a responsible and transparent manner. HUL did not dump mercury in Kodaikanal. HUL closed the factory in 2001, immediately after becoming aware of an environmental breach, wherein glass scrap with residual mercury had been sold to a scrap dealer, about three kilometres away from the factory, in breach of our guidelines. HUL has taken several steps to secure the environment. All glass scrap along with the soil was retrieved from the scrap yard in 2001 itself, for safe storage in factory premises. In 2003, all mercury-bearing material was safely disposed of including the glass scrap from the scrap yard to a recycler in the US. Subsequently, in 2006, all plant, machinery and materials were decontaminated and disposed of. The only remaining work is the remediation of soil in the factory premises.

We are fully committed to cleaning up our former factory site in Kodaikanal. We submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) in August 2015. We will commence the clean up as soon as we receive the consent from TNPCB. We believe it is in the interests of all concerned to begin this work as soon as possible.

Independent studies by eminent national institutions, conducted on the directives of TNPCB, have shown that no environmental harm has been caused to the Kodaikanal environment beyond some spots in the factory site which require remediation. This has been confirmed in a study conducted in October 2015 by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) as per the directives of the TNPCB. The only exception is a small area on the perimeter of the factory, which HUL has already committed to remediate and has included in the DPR.

Detailed factual clarifications

1. Incorrect statement: “The viral video had such an impact that Hindustan Unilever finally bowed down and agreed to compensate 591 ex-mercury factory workers.”

Factual clarification: This is not correct. In March 2016, HUL signed a settlement with former employees of our factory in Kodaikanal. The agreement was signed on humanitarian grounds in keeping with the suggestion of the Hon’ble Madras High Court where the former employees had filed a petition in 2006 seeking economic rehabilitation.

2. Incorrect statement: “…the ecologically sensitive area around Kodaikanal hasn’t been cleaned up to acceptable standards by Polman and co. and that they have released ‘independent reports’ and they’ve worked hand in glove with the Central Pollution Control Board to shirk away responsibility.”

Factual clarification: As clarified above, HUL has actively sought to address this matter in a responsible manner since the issue first arose in 2001. After becoming aware of an environmental breach at our former factory in Kodaikanal, we immediately closed the factory and commissioned an environmental and risk assessment by independent consultants URS Dames and Moore.

As required by law, HUL informed TNPCB, which is the local regulatory authority, as soon as we became aware of the issue. Since then all remedial measures have been taken as per the directives of TNPCB and with all necessary approvals. Over the years several studies have been conducted by eminent national institutions as per the directives of TNPCB. These include a risk assessment study by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in 2007 and a Site Specific Human Health & Ecological Risk Assessment study by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi in 2010:

It is pertinent to mention that independent studies by eminent national institutions, conducted on the directives of TNPCB, have shown that no environmental harm has been caused to the Kodaikanal environment beyond some spots in the factory site which require remediation. This has been confirmed in a study conducted in October 2015 by NEERI as per the directives of the TNPCB. The only exception is a small area on the perimeter of the factory, which HUL has already committed to remediate and has included in the DPR.

3. Incorrect statement: “….why the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) proposal to clean the mercury contamination in Kodaikanal to level of 20 mg/kg was not up to par. Besides being toxic for residents, it also continues to cause damage to the ecologically sensitive Pamper Shola forest area.”

Factual clarification: This is not correct. It is pertinent to note that TNPCB in consultation with the Scientific Experts Committee (SEC), constituted by the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee (SCMC), has set the remediation standard of 20 mg/kg based on site-specific risk assessment study in line with international best practice. Even the guidelines issued by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in 2016 require a site specific risk assessment to take place in order to decide upon a clean-up standard for remediating contaminated sites.

The standard has been set by TNPCB after the review of extensive studies by eminent Indian national institutions, which include:

• A risk assessment study was done by NEERI in 2007 as directed by the SCMC

• A Site Specific Human Health & Ecological Risk Assessment study conducted by IIT Delhi in 2010

• A study on the impact on soil and soil erosion by Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation Research Centre, Ooty, in 2010

• A study on the impact and preservation of trees by National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, in 2011

The soil remediation standard had been confirmed by the CPCB – the foremost organisation that deals with issues concerning pollution control under the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India – to whom TNPCB had referred the matter. The environment ministry has endorsed the remediation standard of 20mg/kg. The Madras High Court has also taken note of the same. The standard set by TNPCB is fully protective of human health and the environment.

Over the last 15 years, several studies by independent experts have confirmed that there has been no adverse impact on the environment outside the factory premises. In fact, all the samples taken by NEERI in 2015 from streams in Pamper Shola forest were found to be safe from a human health and ecological perspective. The sediment samples are within the general screening ranges developed by either United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) or Canadian authorities.

4. Incorrect statement: “To put it in perspective, she compares the CPCB verdict to the United Kingdom soil guideline value for residential areas, which puts the limit at 1 mg/kg!”

Factual clarification: The article incorrectly refers to the United Kingdom ‘Guideline Value’ as a soil remediation standard. The activists are confusing the issue by mixing up ‘screening criteria’ with ‘remediation standards’.

There is no single remediation standard for the clean-up of mercury contamination either in India or any other country. Some countries have established preliminary screening criteria [called by various terms, depending on the country: Intervention Value (Netherlands), Guideline Value (UK), Soil Quality Guideline (Canada), Regional Screening Level (US)], which are used by regulators to determine whether a site is potentially contaminated or not and whether a site-specific clean-up standard should be established.

These criteria vary from country to country and are different to the standards which regulators set when remediation is required. Remediation standards are based on a risk assessment study of the site in accordance with international best practice. The US Environmental Protection Agency, UK Environment Agency and European environmental protection agencies follow this approach. The guideline notified by the CPCB, in January 2016, also recommends site-specific risk assessment to determine the clean-up standard for a contaminated site. This is the same approach that has been followed by TNPCB for remediation of soil in our former factory in Kodaikanal.

The remediation programme as envisaged in the DPR submitted by HUL to TNPCB would be fully protective of human health and the environment. In fact, after the work is completed the site will be safe for children to play in or to eat root vegetable grown from the soil.

An arbitrary reduction in the standard, as being demanded by activists, would not only undermine the mandate of the SCMC but would also not be based on science or facts. In fact, it can result in risks to the local ecology and not provide any additional benefit.

The author is Head, Corporate Communications, Hindustan Unilever Limited.

Firstpost has offered Sofia Ashraf the opportunity to respond to this article.

Mayawati calls surgical strike a right but late move, cautions BJP against taking electoral advantage

Lucknow: Congratulating the Army for carrying out a successful anti-terror operation across LoC, BSP supremo Mayawati on Friday said the government should have given a go-ahead for it soon after the Pathankot attack. She also cautioned BJP against trying to go overboard in celebration or taking “electoral advantage” on the issue, saying the situation has also led to new security challenges for the country.

“By demolishing terror camps in LoC, the army has fulfilled the promise made by it to the people of the country after the Uri attack,” Mayawati said in a statement in Lucknow.

BSP chief Mayawati. ReutersBSP chief Mayawati. Reuters

BSP chief Mayawati. Reuters

“Giving a go-ahead for army action by the Modi government is a right but late move … it should have been done soon after the Pathankot attack in January this year … perhaps it could have saved the lives of 19 jawans in Uri,” she said. The BSP chief also cautioned the Modi government not to get carried away by this.

“This is not the time for the Modi government to either celebrate in over-excitement or make the wrong attempt to take political and electoral advantage on the issue as the present situation has also posed many challenges before the country… there is a need to remain vigilant for security of the country and its citizens,” she said.

“There is an immediate need to secure all international borders especially with Pakistan. This issue has been given very little importance in past two-and-half years resulting in continued terror activities causing loss of lives of civilians and jawans,” she stressed.

The four-time UP chief minister also called for shunning the inconsistent policy of the past in this regard and allowing the army to continue its good work in national interest.

Criticising BJP president Amit Shah’s claims of the present scenario as ‘the dawn of new age’, she said it was “politically motivated”.

“A lot needs to be done to secure the borders and lives of people … BJP should not start patting its own back over the developments,” she said. “Is it not the wrong thinking of the NDA-BJP led central government and PDP-BJP led state government that instead of effectively deploying the army on the borders to check infiltration it was used to keep a watch on its own people in
Kashmir,” she asked.

The BSP president called for equipping the army with all kind of modern equipment for securing international borders.

dna Evening Must Reads: Cauvery row, fake Pak videos of Indian Army and more…

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1) Cauvery row: Karnataka dented majesty of law, says SC; directs state to release 6,000 cusecs of water for 6 daysA day after the meeting convened by the Centre to iron out differences between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on the impasse over Cauvery dispute failed to achieve any breakthrough, the Supreme court on Friday pulled Karnataka for its defiant stand and directed it to release water to Tamil Nadu.Coming down heavily on the state’s actions, the top court warned Karnataka that the wrath of law will fall upon them in case the Cauvery order was defied. Read more…2) Home Ministry issues high alert over possible attacks in Punjab, J&K, Rajasthan, GujaratThe Centre on Friday issued a country-wide alert asking the states to heighten vigil to foil any attempt by Pakistan-based terror groups to carry out attacks amid apprehensions of backlash by terrorists after the surgical strike on their launch pads in PoK.In an advisory, the Home Ministry conveyed to the states that additional forces should be deployed in all sensitive places, strategic installations, markets, religious places and other key places to ensure security, an official source said. Metro cities were particularly asked to be extra vigilant. Read more…3) Shahabuddin to go back to jail as Supreme Court cancels ex-RJD MP’s bailThe Supreme Court on Friday cancelled the bail granted to former Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Member of Parliament Mohammad Shahabuddin. The latter is facing criminal charges in around 50 cases.”He will be taken to jail forthwith,” said Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan. The top court directed Shahabuddin to surrender, and asked the Bihar government to take steps to take him into custody forthwith. The court also asked trial court to expeditiously conclude Rajiv Roshan murder case allegedly involving Shahabuddin. Read more…4) All attempts being made for release of Indian soldier held captive in Pakistan: Rajnath SinghAll attempts are being made to secure the release of an Indian soldier, who inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday.Singh said the government has taken note of the reports which stated that an Indian soldier is in Pakistan’s captivity. Read more…5) Pak videos of Indian Army casualties fake & morphed; example of ‘Black Propaganda’, say Army sourcesArmy sources on Friday clarified that the videos of the Indian Army casualties shown by Pakistani media were morphed and doctored and called it ‘black propaganda’.Reports on Thursday said that Pakistan military claimed to have killed eight Indian soldiers and captured one while retaliating to India’s firing at the first line of defence at the Line of Control (LoC) at Tatta Pani. However, the Indian Army had immediately rejected reports in a section of Pakistani media as ‘false and baseless’ Read more…

Delhi court issues NBW against Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Shakeel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court has issued open non-bailable warrant against underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel for allegedly hiring goons to kill a leader of a right-wing outfit. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sumit Dass passed the order on a plea of Special Cell of Delhi Police seeking issuance of NBW against the duo who had allegedly hatched a conspiracy to eliminate Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha leader Swami Chakrapani.According to the police, Chakrapani had bought a car owned by Dawood Ibrahim in an auction held by the government in Mumbai last year and later set it on fire in Ghaziabad. In June this year, four persons — Junaid, Roger, Yunus and Manish — were arrested as they were allegedly planning to eliminate the right wing leader.Police claimed that during interrogation, Junaid had disclosed that Shakeel had given them money, asking them to eliminate Chakrapani to teach him a lesson for setting Dawood’s car on fire. Two pistols and ten live cartridges were recovered from their possession, police said.

Ratan Tata joins chorus supporting Army surgical strike

New Delhi: Joining industry peers in supporting Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control, veteran industrialist Ratan Tata has congratulated the armed forces over their ‘successful retaliatory action’.

Ratan Tata. AFPRatan Tata. AFP

Ratan Tata. AFP

“Hearty congratulations to India’s armed forces and Intel agencies for successful surgical retaliatory action against Pak terrorist camps,” Tata said in a tweet.

Yesterday, India Inc had rallied behind the Army’s move to conduct surgical strikes across the Line of Control and saying it was time to act tough while ruling out any negative impact on the country’s economy and trade.

“Our civil n (sic) decent response in the past hasn’t been met with reciprocity so it’s time to act tough,” Biocon CMD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw tweeted.

Recalling an earlier tweet in which he had said “I trust our army. They know how to pursue & retaliate” in the wake of the Uri attack, industrialist Anand Mahindra said: “I don’t need to add anything more today…”

The action by the Army came 11 days after the attack by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on an Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir.

Adding ‘spine’ to Pakistan policy: How political cartoons depicted Indian Army’s surgical strikes

Thursday was a very important day for India. It was when the central government made public the details of the surgical strike conducted by the Indian Army against the terror launch pads across the Line of Control. With the Modi government facing a lot of pressure from both, Opposition parties and the people to give an appropriate response to the Uri terror attack, this strike also had huge political implications.

After a long time, major political parties came together and were on the same page with the Narendra Modi government. The nation witnessed an united political fraternity in India which supported the central government and the Army for a successful strike.

Sometimes, the best way to understand an event or an issue is through political cartoons, which often say more than a thousand words, especially on an event as important as this.

Here are some of the most wittiest political cartoons on India’s surgical strikes:

This brilliant cartoon by Sandeep Adhwaryu, chief cartoonist of The Times of India, summarises what most of the people in India feel has happened with the surgical strikes. After the ‘surgical operation’, the central government and the Indian Army have finally managed put to some ‘spine’ back into India’s foreign policy on Pakistan.

This cartoon by Satish Acharya is significant because it perfectly exposes Pakistan’s contradictory stand on the surgical strikes. While Pakistan denies that the surgical strike ever took place, it still says that it will take revenge for the attack. Pakistan has always maintained that India just engaged in “cross-border firing” and called it a surgical strike.

This rather flamboyant cartoon by Neelabh Banerjee clearly suggests that the intention of Pakistan to harm India with the Uri terror attack came back to haunt Pakistan itself. India has alleged that Pakistani-sponsored terrorism was responsible for the Uri terror attack.

The Hindu published a simple yet powerful cartoon in its newspaper (link provided in the tweet) which shows the PM walking into the ‘surgical theatre’ looking like a passivist with what looks like a paunch and then walking out with the paunch gone and ’56-inch chest’ back.

Cartoonist Manjul perfectly captures the massive rise in the popularity of the central government which the surgical strikes must have caused because now, every ‘common man’ wants to have a 56-inch chest. Also, brownie points for atply depicting the DGMO’s press conference on Thursday which made public the information about the surgical strikes.

Following India’s lead, Sri Lanka becomes 5th country to pull out of SAARC summit in Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asserting that it condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, Sri Lanka on Friday pulled out of the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, scheduled to take place in November. Sri Lanka is the fifth country after India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan to pull out of the summit. In an official communication, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry told SAARC chair Nepal, ‘Sri Lanka regrets that the prevailing environment in the region is not conducive for holding the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad on 9th and 10th November 2016.’The statement added that the general provisions of the SAARC Charter require that decisions at all levels shall be taken on the basis of unanimity, and this applies to the convening of meetings of Heads of State or Government of SAARC Member States as well.Maintaining that peace and security are essential elements for the success of meaningful regional cooperation for the benefit of the people of South Asia, the statement said that ‘ As a founding member of SAARC, committed to regional cooperation, Sri Lanka hopes that the steps required to ensuring our region’s peace and security will be taken to create an environment that is conducive for the pursuit of regional cooperation.’The statement said that Sri Lanka condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stresses in this regard, the need to deal with the issue of terrorism in the region in a decisive manner.The SAARC summit cannot take place even if one of the eight members withdraws.India on Tuesday announced that it would not attend the summit conveying the current SAARC Chair Nepal that in the prevailing circumstances, the Government of India is unable to participate in the proposed Summit. ani

PIL in Delhi HC over increasing size of warning on liquor bottles; court seeks Centre, state govt’s response

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response from the Centre and Delhi government on a PIL seeking directions to increase the size of ‘statutory warnings’ on liquor bottles and packaging.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked both governments to file their response by 7 December.

The PIL filed by Delhi resident Ved Pal also sought direction from the government to come up with a policy and plan about the nature, size and contents of the mandatory statutory warnings on liquor bottles and packaging.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The plea, filed through advocate Anju Jain, said statutory warning of a larger size when visible shall be more effective in discouraging people from consuming alcohol.

It said the larger format would work better in preventing health-related issues and even leave a positive impact by reducing addiction and dependency on alcohol thereby positively impacting family life.

The petition stated that “the manner in which it is written is … unreadable and … is not prominent … due to which the purpose of writing … become meaningless and hence needs to be increased … prominent to obtain and achieve the purpose”.

“The warning — Consumption of liquor is injurious to Health — is a mere formality and there exist no set rules, prescription as to colour, size or specific directions to prominently display it to obtain the desired objective,” the plea added.

It further said that a set policy/guideline regarding the same is required which needs to be urgently framed by the respondents.

It said governments cannot merely seek the sale of alcohol for the purpose of earning revenue to the exchequer at the cost of health and life of its citizens.

It said that it was the government’s moral responsibility to promote and educate the citizen about the adverse effects of alcohol.

The petition also sought direction for governments to increase amount of expenditure on prohibition and welfare programmes for alcohol addicts in proportion to the revenue earned in the form of excise duty from the sale of liquor.

Pakistan will give befitting response to ‘misadventure’ by adversary, says Army chief Raheel Sharif

Pakistan will give befitting response to ‘misadventure’ by adversary, says Army chief Raheel Sharif

‘);
FB.XFBML.parse();
*/
});

Lahore: Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif on Friday warned that any “misadventure” by any “adversary” will meet the “most befitting response”, a day after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC.

Pakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif. ReutersPakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif. Reuters

Pakistan Army chief Raheel Sharif. Reuters

“The highest state of vigil is being maintained along the Line of Control, Working Boundary and the international border,” General Raheel said.

“Any misadventure by our adversary will meet the most befitting response,” he said while talking to troops at a newly developed Combat Reaction Training facility near Lahore Garrison.

He asked all commanders to lay more emphasis on combat readiness and said the training in peacetime is the only guarantor of averting and winning a war if imposed.

“Pakistan cannot be coerced through any amount of malicious propaganda,” he said.

He expressed his complete satisfaction over operational preparedness of the Army.

Pak also capable of ‘surgical strikes’: Nawaz Sharif talks tough after Indian Army incursion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Terming “Indian aggression” as a threat to the entire region, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned that Pakistan is also capable of executing surgical strikes and will not allow anyone to “cast an evil eye” on it.Chairing a special Cabinet meeting to review the security situation in the country, Sharif said that Pakistan will take all necessary steps to protect its people and territorial integrity in case of any aggression or violation of the Line of Control (LoC).He said that Indian aggression constituted a threat to the entire region and Pakistan would take all measures to protect its territorial integrity, The Express Tribune reported. “No one will be allowed to cast an evil eye on Pakistan,” Sharif said, adding that Pakistan was fully capable of executing surgical strikes. “The nation is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the valiant armed forces to defend the motherland.” His comments came a day after India conducted surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC with the Army inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.Pakistan has dismissed as “fabrication of truth” India’s claim and termed it as a “quest” by India to create media hype by rebranding cross-border fire as surgical strike.Sharif said that all steps would be taken to prevent LoC violations or aggression and added that Pakistan s resolve to establish peace remained strong. He said the leadership and people of Pakistan are united in their resolve to counter any aggressive Indian designs, adding that Pakistan’s commitment for peace must not be construed as weakness. Sharif also raised Kashmir issue said that it was the “unfinished agenda of the partition”. He said that atrocities in Kashmir could not crush Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. “Indian atrocities” there are “unacceptable”, he said. Calling for a probe into the September 18 Uri attack, Sharif said blaming Pakistan for orchestrating the attack was beyond comprehension.The Cabinet also joined the Prime Minister in completely rejecting the Indian claims of carrying out “surgical strikes”, Radio Pakistan reported. It condemned “Indian accusations in the wake of the Uri attack and pledged to expose India before the international community”. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan does not want escalation of tension but is ready to meet any eventuality.Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said India is creating artificial tension in its attempt to divert attention of the world from its atrocities against Kashmiris. He said Pakistan’s defence is in strong hands and the country would continue to raise voice for rights of Kashmiris.Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada regretted that instead of giving right of self-determination to Kashmiris, India is resorting to terrorism against Pakistan. He said the world community should take notice of India’s belligerence.Pak will give befitting response to any misadventure: General Raheel Sharif Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif today warned that any “misadventure” by any “adversary” will meet the “most befitting response”, a day after India conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the LoC.”The highest state of vigil is being maintained along the Line of Control, Working Boundary and the international border,” General Raheel said.”Any misadventure by our adversary will meet the most befitting response,” he said while talking to troops at a newly developed Combat Reaction Training facility near Lahore Garrison.He asked all commanders to lay more emphasis on combat readiness and said the training in peacetime is the only guarantor of averting and winning a war if imposed.”Pakistan cannot be coerced through any amount of malicious propaganda,” he said.He expressed his complete satisfaction over operational preparedness of the Army.

Put an end to rumours on Jayalalithaa’s health: Karunanidhi tells govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>DMK President M Karunanidhi on Friday urged the Tamil Nadu government to “put an end to rumours” regarding the health of AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa by providing proper information to the people, while wishing his arch rival a speedy recovery.”As I had already mentioned, though I differ with her ideologically, it is my desire that she recovers soon and take up official duties as usual,” he said and wished her a speedy recovery.Karunanidhi said although Apollo hospital, where the Chief Minister is recuperating from fever and dehydration, was issuing bulletins about her health, “some unwanted rumours” were deliberately being floated by “some persons.””Some persons are spreading unwanted rumours about her health on the social media and to put an end to these, proper information about the Chief Minister’s health must be made available to the people,” he said in a statement.Karunanidhi suggested that photographs of the Chief Minister be released through the media to quell any kind of rumours being circulated about her health. Jayalalithaa (68) was admitted to the hospital on September 22 after she complained of fever and dehydration. She has been advised to stay for a few days at the hospital.Meanwhile, AIADMK slammed the rumour mongers and said efforts were being made to confuse people and party workers.”Some persons are trying to create confusion among people and party workers by spreading rumours,” party spokesperson C R Saraswathy said. She pointed out that Jayalalithaa has been, among others, monitoring the Cauvery situation from the hospital while also announcing festive bonus for state government employees on Wednesday.Expressing concern over rumours being spread through social media, the spokesperson said such platforms should be used in a constructive way.

India may host investors’ summit for Chabahar port as govt keen on expediting project

New Delhi: A major economic summit will likely be held in India within the next two months to attract investment from across the globe for the strategic Chabahar port in Iran which would give India access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan, Afghan Ambassador to New Delhi said on Friday.

Referring to the meeting between Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi and Afghanistan’s Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Mohamadullah Batash on Wednesday, Afghan Ambassador to India Shaida Abdali said its purpose was to expedite the implementation of the Chabahar transit and trade agreement and there were some “very good decisions” taken within that framework.

Oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar. ReutersOil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar. Reuters

Oil docks at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar. Reuters

“We are going to address some of the technical issues involved in the Chabahar agreement and within the next two months we will — in India or Iran, but more likely India — call a major economic summit where all the industries will participate from India, Afghanistan, Iran and from beyond,” the Abdali told reporters here at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia.

Abdali said the ministers met in order to deal with the technical issues that are still left to be addressed and the decision was made that India, Afghanistan and Iran will have a secretariat each to deal with those.

“Within a month, the three secretariats will meet again and we will have a technical team sitting again before the major summit that we have. All issues pending will be resolved. Proceduresfor others to invest will be made clear. We will be fully ready for foreign investers…to start business,” he said.

Abdali’s remarks came after Gadkari, following the meeting on Wednesday had said India, Iran and Afghanistan are keen on expediting the tripartite transit agreement on Chabahar port, which will give India access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

Abdali, while talking about the ambitious project, said, “Our purpose is not to concentrate on the three countries’ business and economic relations but to involve and engage all other neighbours, especially the neighbours in Central Asia and South Asia.” “We would like to give this a much more expansion beyond these countries. We need more investments for the Chabahar port and we need international investments. We hope that the major summit that will be called (possibly) in Delhi will have participation from many countries in the region and around the world to attract more investment to the Chabahar port,” Abdali said.

Expressing optimism, the Afghan envoy said the conference will be a “major step forward” to making Chabahar agreement a “grand success” for the use of many countries in the region.

“Of course, the three countries will be the biggest beneficiaries, but others will be stakeholders as well in terms of the outcome of the Chabahar agreement. But let me emphasise that the Chabahar agreement… we would like (it) to act as a complementing transit route… for the benefit of everyone,” Abdali said.

A “milestone” pact on the strategic Chabahar port in southern Iran was signed in May this year. Besides the bilateral pact to develop the Chabahar port, in which India will invest $500 million, a trilateral Agreement on Transport and Transit Corridor was also signed by India, Afghanistan and Iran.

Home Ministry issues high alert over possible attacks in Punjab, J&K, Rajasthan, Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Friday issued a country-wide alert asking the states to heighten vigil to foil any attempt by Pakistan-based terror groups to carry out attacks amid apprehensions of backlash by terrorists after the surgical strike on their launch pads in PoK.In an advisory, the Home Ministry conveyed to the states that additional forces should be deployed in all sensitive places, strategic installations, markets, religious places and other key places to ensure security, an official source said. Metro cities were particularly asked to be extra vigilant.States touching the border with Pakistan — Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat — were also directed to remain vigilant, sources said. The advisory has been sent in the wake of yesterday’s surgical strike by Indian army in terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Sources said there is high probability that Pakistani agencies may try to use the terror groups to carry out strike in Indian soil to avenge yesterday’s attack.India carried out ‘surgical strikes’ on terror launch pads across LoC on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists and those who are trying to support them.The announcement of the sudden action by the Army was made yesterday by DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, 11 days after the terror strike by Pakistan-based JeM on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Kashmir which left 19 Indian soldiers dead.

Cauvery row: Don’t know when the wrath of law will fall upon Karnataka, says Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking Karnataka to task for its repeated “defiance” by flouting its orders for release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Supreme Court on Friday asked it to discharge 6,000 cusecs water from Saturday till October 6, warning no one would know when the “wrath of the law” would fall on it. The apex court gave the last opportunity to the Siddaramaiah government to release 6,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from October 1-6, despite a unanimous resolution passed by both house of Assembly.”Karnataka despite being a state is flouting the order and creating a situation when the majesty of law is dented. We would have proceeded to take steps for strict compliance of the order but we have directed Cauvery Water Management Board to first study the ground realities and submit a report,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit said.”Karnataka shall not be bent upon to take an obstinate and stand of defiance as one does not know when wrath of the law will fall upon them,” the bench said while directing the Centre to constitute the Cauvery Water Management Board by October 4. It ordered all the stakeholders – Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puduchery – to give names by 4 pm tomorrow of their representatives to be included in the board which would be chaired by the Union Water Resources Minister.”We assume that Karnataka being a part of the federal structure of the country shall live upto the occasion and not show any deviancy till report of ground reality is submitted by the Cauvery Water Management Board,” the court said. The bench reminded Karnataka that it is bound by Article 144 of the Constitution and “aid in compliance” of the order of the Supreme Court.”On plain reading of Article 144, it is clear as crystal that all authorities are bound to work in aid of Supreme Court and they are bound to obey the orders of Supreme Court but unfortunately Karnataka being a state is flouting the orders of the court,” the bench said.At the outset, senior advocate F S Nariman, representing Karnataka, referred to the communications between him and the Chief Minister Siddaramiah. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, expressed anguish on behalf of the state saying Karnataka has already made up its mind that it is not going to comply with the apex court directions. Naphade said “they (Karnataka) have consciously decided to defy the orders of Supreme Court. We have been treated shabbily in this matter. We don’t want to say anything and the court may pass any order it wants”. On other hand, Nariman said Karnataka Chief Minister has called an all-party meeting after the Supreme Court passed its order on September 27. The meeting reiterated that the “will of the people of the state should be respected” and no water can be released, he said.Referring to the contents of his letter to the Chief Minister, Nariman told the bench that he has unequivocally said he would not argue for Karnataka till the orders of Supreme Court are complied with. He said today he will not make any submission on behalf of Karnataka, a move which was hailed by the bench which said Nariman’s stand of “unhesitatingly beholds the right tradition of the bar”.During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Centre, gave details of the meeting between Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaia and Tamil Nadu PWD Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy. He said no consensus was arrived as Tamil Nadu stuck to their stand that they needed water, while Karnataka said they were helpless in this matter. The bench asked the AG how far the Centre has proceeded in setting up the Cauvery Water Management Board as directed by the court. AG said it could be constituted in 4-5 days and the apex court orders will be complied.”The management of Cauvery water has to be done by the Board. We are doing some arithmetic calculation on how much water to be released and when to be released with the regard to the award of tribunal,” the bench said.The apex court directed that once the Cauvery Water Management Board is constituted by the Centre, a team shall visit the sites to take a prima facie view of the ground reality and submit a report. It directed that communication to the three states and the Union Territory should be sent by today so that they send the names of their representatives by tomorrow.On September 27, the apex court had asked Karnataka to release 6,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till today despite its assembly resolution, but had called for a political solution to the impasse by convening of a meeting of Chief Ministers of the two states and the Centre.

Shahabuddin jailed, alcohol ban lifted: Win-lose situation for Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has reasons to celebrate and, at the same time, sulk today. A day after the Indian Army made their covert surgical strike in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir public, one would expect the topic would be the talk of the town on every channel and newspaper. But, on Friday, cameras shifted focus on Bihar as two important newsbreaks took away the thunder from the Narendra Modi government.

Newsbreak #1: The Supreme Court on Friday cancelled the bail of controversial RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin. The SC directed Shahabuddin to surrender and asked the Bihar government to take steps to take him into custody forthwith.

Newsbreak #2: The Patna High Court struck down the liquor ban imposed by the Nitish Kumar administration in April. A high court bench, after hearing a petition against the ban, termed it “illegal”.

The two developments come as good and bad news for the Bihar chief minister. Here’s why:

Liquor ban quashed

The Patna High Court, in a rather surprising ruling, struck down the blanket ban on alcohol in Bihar imposed by the Nitish Kumar government and termed it “illegal”. This is a huge blow to Nitish. The chief minister’s pet project, the plank that made him sail through the doubled-edged Bihar Assembly election, prohibition in Bihar was both criticised (by Opposition and tipplers) and applauded by several across the nation.

Liquor prohibition has been a major poll plank among political parties and their leaders, especially in 2015 and 2016 during the Assembly election season. After Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Bihar, now Uttar Pradesh (set to go to the polls early in 2017) is gearing up for many rallies promising a ban on alcohol. Since the rural population, especially the women, are so sick and tired of a drunk man in the family, it works when a politician comes bearing the good news of a sober household. Nitish made this a reality in Bihar. In fact, detractors were critical of his decision saying that the move, which was dubbed as a political one, will drain the state coffers.

When Nitish first placed ban on alcohol as a poll agenda in the run up to the Bihar election, speculations were abound. How is total prohibition possible? How will the chief minister manage to fill the huge gap created by the lack of liquor revenue? How will Nitish prohibit the sale of illegal or spurious liquor (it’s a fact that when you ban the sale of something, the illegal replacement floods the market)? But the Nitish Kumar government was able to tide over all the hardships and doubts and prohibition was successfully imposed that eventually showed results.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The police crime statistics in Bihar backs Nitish’s claim that crime rate has come down by about 27 percent since imposition of total prohibition in the state in early April. Crime figures compiled by state police headquarters reflect slide in heinous crimes like murder, kidnapping for ransom, rape, dacoity, arms act, atrocities against women and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and riots among others during as compared to last year’s data.

Murder cases fell from 276 in April 2015 to 206 in April 2016, a decline of 25.36 percent, Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Alok Raj, who is the nodal officer for enforcement of prohibition, told PTI. The police headquarters have compiled the figures on the basis of reports submitted by respective SSPs and SPs of districts following the prohibition. As per the data, a total of 12 persons were kidnapped for ransom in April 2015, while the number declined to one in April this year. The number of rape cases fell from 112 to 59 in April this year, a decline of 47.32 percent.

Asked whether prohibition alone was the reason for decline in the crime graph, the ADG said, “Prohibition and pro-active policing have been major contributors for decline in the number of criminal cases in April this year.”

Nitish got an extra pat on his back for daring to make prohibition a reality with its main ally in the state — Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD — a party that never supported the blanket ban on liquor. The Telegraph in this article, dated 5 May, 2016 said:

“RJD boss Lalu Prasad, who has officially supported prohibition, misses no opportunity to oppose it in private conversations. He revealed on the condition of anonymity that he had advised Nitish and his aid, Prashant Kishore against prohibition when the duo met him ahead of imposing it.”

The prohibition plank was not just a good governance tool. It was a politically calculated and calibrated move. The liquor ban would also push Nitish as a front-runner for the 2019 Lok Sabha battle. An ideology-driven, old-school politician, Nitish probably does not want to ride on a media-driven campaign, like Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Nitish rather chose a more conventional method. In search of an ideological plank, the JD(U) chief wanted an issue that would hammer his way all the way to the 7 RCR. Sreemoy Talukdar argued in this Firstpost piece that Nitish’s prohibition on alcohol was driven by ambition:

“He has a two-pronged strategy. In calling for a RSS-mukt Bharat, he wishes to generate heat by challenging India’s currently dominant politico-ideological force. This is an interesting move but still at a very early stage. Two, to position himself as a social reformer he has sought to make Bihar a dry state, jumping on to the bandwagon of prohibition — an idea of dubious effectiveness that still retains immense currency.”

Nitish’s plan was perfect till he overdid it.

In August 2016, the chief minister amended the existing Bihar Prohibition and Excise Bill, 2016, and proposed that the state government could prosecute a woman if her husband secretly consumed alcohol — even without her knowing it. The amended bill said that it must be presumed that every adult member of the family is in the know if someone is drinking, making, selling or distributing alcohol in “one’s premises”.

According to reports, the draconian changes in the new bill was circulated before the opening day of the five-day Monsoon Session, for feedback, and has already been cleared by the Nitish Kumar Cabinet. The bill also sought punishment for liquor advertisements in the media and social media with a jail term of five years, a Rs 10-lakh penalty or both.

“Charity begins at home. If we are making a law, then we should unanimously pass a resolution from here itself. The message of unity in the form of a resolution that we will neither drink and nor promote drinking should go out to the people,” Nitish reportedly said.

This was a bad move. Let’s give Nitish the benefit of the doubt and presume that he had an honest intention at heart when he proposed and imposed prohibition. It even did some good to the society at large. But penalising on presumption was draconian and excessive. In the new bill, all sections were made non-bailable, where only courts can grant bails and not police stations. If the bill were to come into effect, only special courts would have had the authority to try cases related to violation of the Bihar Prohibition Law.

The high court didn’t just strike down the law, it termed it “illegal.”

Shahabuddin sent back to jail

On 7 September, RJD leader and former MP Mohammad Shahabuddin with a string of convictions to his name was granted bail by the Patna High Court in a murder case. Three days later, the tainted leader walked free from prison after 11 years, staging a massive show of strength and also challenging Nitish, who was credited with ending the gangster-turned-politician’s reign of terror.

However, on 16 September, Chandrakeshwar Prasad of Siwan, whose three sons were allegedly murdered at the behest of Shahabuddin, moved Supreme Court seeking cancellation of bail. Bihar government also moved the Supreme Court.

On 30 September, Supreme Court set aside Patna High Court order, and cancelled Shahabuddin’s bail in the 2014 murder case of Rajiv Roshan, sending the Siwan MP to prison again.

This could brighten Nitish’s day. On the day that the Bihar chief minister’s pet project was stayed, another court gave a reason to the chief minister to rejoice. And here’s why:

The bench said Shahabuddin shall be taken into custody forthwith and be sent back to Bhagalpur jail. “The state government shall take all steps to comply with the orders of the court,” it said. The court has also asked for speeding up the murder trial against the gangster-turned-politician.

Forty-nine-year-old Shahabuddin, whose crime record goes back to 1986, was hand-picked by Lalu in 1990 to tap Muslim leaders and escalate a Muslim-Yadav combination. MLA in 1990 and 1995, four times MP between 1996 and 2004, Shahbuddin won on RJD and Janata Dal tickets till he was barred from contesting elections following his conviction in the 2007 murder case.

Former Siwan MP and RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin. PTI

Former Siwan MP and RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin. PTI

With Nitish coming to power and his obsession with restoring law and order situation in Bihar, Shahabuddin’s wings were clipped. In November 2005, Shahabuddin was put behind bars for 18 cases of murders, extortion and under the Arms Act. After his release earlier in September, Shahabuddin made it clear, that just because Lalu and Nitish have forged an alliance despite their differences, he will still not consider the latter as his boss. “My supporters will teach (Nitish Kumar) a lesson in the next polls,” Shahabuddin had told reporters after his release.

Shahabuddin’s release deepened fault-lines between Lalu and Nitish, who spent months convincing their detractors that the RJD-JD(U) combine was not an alliance of compulsion (even though the truth was something else). Shahabuddin called Nitish, “a chief minister of circumstances”. Before that the Siwan MP lampooned the chief minister by saying that Nitish cannot get more than 20 seats on his own. “Mandate to Madhu Koda ko bhi public ka mandate tha (Even Madhu Koda had public mandate).”

Talking to reporters from his residence, the Siwan strongman, according to The Times of India, said: “Nitish has never been a mass leader; he cannot win even 20 seats on his own. My party is definitely a part of the government, but RJD boss Lalu Prasad was, is and will remain my leader. Madhu Koda (also) became the CM because of circumstances, and so is the case with Nitish.”

Only after such intrepid public barbs, Nitish understood the full import of his mahagathbandhan of convenience with Lalu. The speculation just after Shahabuddin’s release was if Nitish couldn’t pressurise Lalu to rein in Shahabuddin, it would send an unmistakable message that he has been held to ransom by a rogue ally. With Shahabuddin’s release, Nitish’s hold on the current government was questioned. Can a chief minister, who cannot be his own man, in his own state, hope to play a prominent role outside it?

The Supreme Court order of Friday just made Nitish’s day.

The Shahabuddin spectacle robbed Nitish of even “the fig leaf of morality that he had tried to retain.”

We cannot yet say what this mix of news will mean for Nitish. The day his pet project was tanked and temporarily his 2019 dreams dashed, another court gave the Bihar chief minister a reason to be happy. Nitish can still hold his head high and cruise ahead with his 2019 ambitions as the leader who does not compromise on law and order. For a seasoned and an astute politician like Nitish, finding a poll plank is not very difficult.

We, however, are being presumptuous in commenting that the alcohol prohibition is done and dusted. Nitish could just revive it.

With inputs from agencies

Release Jayalalithaa’s image, end rumours, Karunanindhi tells AIADMK

Chennai: On Friday DMK President M Karunanidhi urged the Tamil Nadu government to “put an end to rumours” regarding the health of AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa by providing proper information to the people, while wishing his arch rival a speedy recovery.

“As I had already mentioned, though I differ with her ideologically, it is my desire that she recovers soon and take up official duties as usual,” he said and wished her a speedy recovery.

A file photo of Karunanidhi. PTIA file photo of Karunanidhi. PTI

A file photo of Karunanidhi. PTI

Karunanidhi said although Apollo hospital, where the Chief Minister is recuperating from fever and dehydration, was issuing bulletins about her health, “some unwanted rumours” were deliberately being floated by “some persons.”

“Some persons are spreading unwanted rumours about her health on the social media and to put an end to these, proper information about the Chief Minister’s health must be made available to the people,” he said in a statement.

Karunanidhi suggested that photographs of the Chief Minister be released through the media to quell any kind of rumours being circulated about her health.

Jayalalithaa (68) was admitted to the hospital on 22 September after she complained of fever and dehydration.

She has been advised to stay for a few days at the hospital.

Meanwhile, AIADMK slammed the rumour mongers and said efforts were being made to confuse people and party workers.

“Some persons are trying to create confusion among people and party workers by spreading rumours,” party spokesperson C R Saraswathy said.

She pointed out that Jayalalithaa has been, among others, monitoring the Cauvery situation from the hospital while also announcing festive bonus for state government employees on Wednesday.

Expressing concern over rumours being spread through social media, the spokesperson said such platforms should be used in a constructive way.

Beyond surgical strikes, why India should go ahead and wipe out Pakistan’s Jihadi facilities

If anything that the surgical strikes of Thursday have reemphasised, it is this: Narendra Modi remains the master of surprises. Perhaps since Independence, no prime minister has mastered the art of keeping all cards close to the chest and showing his hand only after the predetermined outcome has been achieved. Everything that then follows is simply analysis in hindsight. In an age of the nonstop and unremitting churning out of opinion and criticism at the rate of Gigabytes per second, it’s hard to do what Modi continues to do with aplomb: bypassing and blocking the media and keeping calm under pressure even from the legions of his loyal admirers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. APPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AP

Indeed, Modi’s Kozhikode speech was in many ways, a masterstroke at lulling the enemy even as some sections of his hardcore supporters and others were lashing out at him for doing nothing in the wake of the tragic terrorist strike at Uri.

As some analysts have correctly observed, that by abandoning the silly “strategic restraint,” which is “a euphemism for doing nothing and stoically adopting a defensive posture against Pakistan-backed jihadis,” Modi has introduced a courageous new doctrine in dealing with a rogue state. Indeed, this is in many ways a real-life implementation of Modi’s own response to an old Aap ki Adalat question about dealing with Pakistan: “We must talk to Pakistan in its own language…and stop writing love letters to it.”

Both at the root and the heart of yesterday’s surgical strikes lies a fundamental conception of statecraft and warfare of all nations from the most ancient times: territorial integrity is sacrosanct, and no measure is invalid, insignificant or unworthy to maintain it intact. And as history shows us, India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru abandoned this elementary tenet in the case of Jammu and Kashmir to our continuing misfortune. While Sardar Patel seemingly effortlessly united more than 550 Princely States into the Indian Union, Nehru made a permanent mess of the only state whose “problem” he said he’d solve.

On the other hand, a terrorist state like Pakistan interprets territorial integrity to mean not only the sanctity of its own borders but the infringement of other nations’ territories. And to consciously adopt a state policy of crying victim in the face of retaliation. However, this time, that door seems to have slammed shut. Perhaps for the first time, not a single nation is willing to condemn India for retaliating — a routine practice for nearly three decades.

And this outcome didn’t happen by accident.

Let’s hear it from the mouth of Zaid Hamid, a commentator and analyst on the Pakistani news channel, Zem TV. In July 2016, he perceptively observed that Modi has spent considerably less time on Indian soil and that his marathon globe-trotting has systematically succeeded in “hijacking all of Pakistan’s former friends” to the extent that Pakistan has no buddies in its immediate neighbourhood apart from an undependable China. And that Pakistan neither has a foreign policy nor a government that thinks in terms of national interest.

And now, two months later, in the aftermath of the surgical strikes, it’s no surprise that the general mood is one of respect for India standing up for itself.

But mere surgical strikes are not enough. Members of the military establishment that this author has spoken to are still smarting under the humiliation and tragedy of the Pathankot attacks, and generally aver that Pakistan might lie low for a while before it launches its next counter-offensive. Equally, they advocate a strategy to keep Pakistan continuously on its toes, to preempt fresh strikes and to make it expensive to carry on its time-tested strategy of bleeding India by a thousand cuts.

Given the physical, tactical and psychological upper hand India currently has, apart from eliminating the launch pads, it must also work to completely dismantle the anti-India Jihadi terror infrastructure that Pakistan runs in the neighbourhood. With the surgical strikes, India has taken the first step in calling Pakistan’s nuclear bluff, something that analyst Rakesh Simha provided a hint last year:


What if Pakistan uses tactical nuclear bombs against the Indian Army’s Battle Groups the moment Cold Start is initiated? In Kapila’s view, Pakistan’s low nuclear threshold is a myth – perpetuated and planted by Western academia and think tanks. This suits the needs of the conservative American establishment in whose eyes India is a long-term rival and Pakistan a useful, if unreliable, ally. Unfortunately, India’s political leadership and its uncritical media have been brainwashed into believing that Cold Start has apocalyptic consequences.

“Nuclear warfare is not a commando raid or commando operation with which Pakistan is more familiar,” says Kapila. “Crossing the nuclear threshold is so fateful a decision that even strong American Presidents in the past have baulked at exercising it.

Although the Indian establishment has officially declared that no further strikes have been planned, knowing Pakistan’s record, India needs to tighten the squeeze, and not just sit back. Some steps would include shutting down the Pakistani Embassy here, moving aggressively on the Indus Waters Treaty — another Nehruvian Himalayan blunder — and lobbying harder with the US to get Congress to officially designate Pakistan as a terrorist state.

Indeed, the political rhetoric — if not vision — of making India a superpower in the coming decades will ring meaningless unless accompanied by the building up of and displaying deterrent strength against rogue states. In the words of Arun Shourie, for long India, the country has become a wastepaper basket inhabited by all sorts of illegal immigrants and terror-infiltrators.

And I tend to agree with Rakesh Simha when he invokes Walter C Ladwig’s Harvard paper on India’s Cold Start Doctrine as saying:


“As the Indian military enhances its ability to implement Cold Start, it is simultaneously degrading the chance that diplomacy could diffuse a crisis on the subcontinent. In a future emergency, the international community may find the Battle Groups on the road to Lahore before anyone in Washington, Brussels or Beijing has the chance to act.”

The surgical strikes have vividly demonstrated the said diplomatic victory not to mention the Balochis openly congratulating India, among others, or Iran shelling Pakistan’s Balochistan border.

The ensuing Pakistani verbal bravado, a disguised attempt at face-saving, only reveals its desperation and failure at being caught unawares.

For now, the price for the Pathankot and Uri attacks has been extracted in the nature of a tooth for a tooth. The whole jaw remains intact.

And as a shameless footnote to this episode, a Congress rally on 28 September in Moradabad became the theatre that witnessed its workers sloganeering, “Pakistan Zindabad.”

Pakistan’s reaction after surgical strikes: Chief Justice skips India summit, theatres ban Indian films,

The Indian Army’s surgical strikes on Wednesday night along the LoC in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) has set-off a series of reactions from the Pakistani side, even as its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif claimed that Islamabad is all for peace. After a series of soft push backs, New Delhi had upped its anti-Pakistan narrative following the Uri terror attack.

While the Indian government sought to isolate its neighbour on the international platform, with moves like pulling out of the Saarc Summit, the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA), an artists’ body, banned Pakistani artistes and technicians from working in India.

Representational image. News 18Representational image. News 18

Representational image. News 18

Now reports have surfaced that Pakistan’s theatre owners have decided to withdraw and ban screening of Indian movies until bilateral tensions between the two countries subside.

“We will suspend the screening of Indian films till normalcy. No Indian movies will play in my cinemas from Friday onwards,” said Nadeem Mandviwalla, owner of Mandviwalla Entertainment which runs Atrium Cinemas in Karachi and Centaurus in Islamabad, according to PTI.

In the past week, Bollywood films Pink and Banjo had released in Pakistan. Though MS Dhoni: The Untold Story too was supposed to release, Pakistan film distributor IMGC Global Entertainment withheld it, citing reasons like the movie could have anti-Pakistan elements in its narrative about cricket, the company’s head Amjad Rasheed told IANS over phone from Dubai.

Another cinema owner added that this ban should continue until the Indian government offers Pakistani films a level playing field and Pakistani artistes complete protection. However, the Pakistani government has not yet issued an official directive in this regard.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar Zaheer Jamali also cancelled his visit to India next month, citing the “present conditions”, according to Pakistani media reports. Jamali has refused to attend the global conference slated to be held in India from 21-23 October, Radio Pakistan reported.

In July, Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale had personally invited Jamali to the conference on national initiative to strengthen arbitration and enforcement. In a letter to the Indian Supreme Court, Jamali said that in the “present conditions” he could not attend the meeting, the News International reported.

The decision was made due to tense situation between the two countries, the report said. A senior official of the Pakistan Supreme Court said that though the Pakistan Foreign Office recommended that the CJP may attend the conference, Jamali refused to visit India in light of the prevailing circumstances, the Express Tribune reported.

Jamali’s decision can be seen as a meltdown to the long-standing peace efforts between the two nations.

Trade relations could not remain untouched as Pakistan scuttled India’s participation in the Asian Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) CEO meet held this week by withholding travel permission of an Indian High Commission official to Lahore. The 29th ATPF CEO meet was held in Lahore from 24 to 26 September and the trade counsellor of the Indian mission was scheduled to attend the event. However, he was denied permission to travel. The ATPF, comprising 24 member countries including Australia, Japan and China, aims to enhance trade in the region through information exchange, implementation of cooperative projects and strengthening networks among members.

Meanwhile, the usual political rhetoric also stayed in place as Sharif chaired a Cabinet meeting to “to put across collective response of the nation to the challenge thrown by the latest events,” Radio Pakistan reported.

According to PTI, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said support to the “just struggle of the Kashmiri people would remain priority of Pakistan and it would not back down on this account” while he blamed India for indulging in “diversionary tactics” in a bid to deflect attention of the international community from its “brutalities” against Kashmiris. Pakistan’s Defence Minister also said that India is displaying “irresponsible attitude” and trying to play to the gallery in a bid to “hoodwink” its public opinion.

Also, retaliating on the diplomatic level, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi has said that she is due to meet UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday to discuss the existing situation between India and Pakistan. She also met New Zealand’s UN Ambassador Gerard van Bohemen, who is the current president of the 15-member UN Security Council, and urged him to informally brief the world body on the escalating tension along the border.

Pressing further the escalation ceiling between the two nuclear armed neighbours, India had carried out a surgical strikes at seven terrorist launch pads in PoK. The attack is being termed as New Delhi’s retaliation to the 18 September terror attack on Indian Army Base in Uri where 19 soldiers lost their lives. The attack is also being largely seen as an attempt to quell the handful incidents of cross-border skirmishes and crossfire violations from the Pakistani side. According to PTI, including Friday’s firing in Akhmoor district in Jammu, Pakistan has violated the ceasefire five times in September and three times in past 36 hours.

With inputs from agencies

Surgical strikes: Our dailies offered prudence, balanced caution and chest-thumping

After the surgical strikes against Pakistan across the Line of Control (LoC), there is one similar theme running across the editorials published in newspapers on Friday — that of silent jubilation, if not effusive.

Across leading national dailies, the tone was not only congratulatory, but also one of looking ahead: What will be the Centre’s plan after its military success, what is Delhi’s objective — escalation or restraint, what are the standard operating procedures after such routine strikes, how long will India’s border towns and villages be on high alert? These are just some of the questions voiced by India’s dailies. There were some cautious answers too on offer.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Hindu, as it always does, took a sombre approach to the entire affair with its editorial simply titled Crossing the Line of Control. The piece looks at how India’s next steps after Uri are stuck at “uncharted terrain”, especially with Delhi shedding its favoured policy of restraint and taking on a new coat of aggressive approach (as seen by the surgical strikes). But in its sobriety, The Hindu‘s editorial also offers prudence: It heeds the Centre to spell out — and soon — what it will define as “new normal” the relations between India and Pakistan and how it aims to approach the situation, and Pakistan in particular, to avoid it being escalated. In addition, The Hindu editorial also comes to the conclusion that the operation took place as a result of pressure on the Narendra Modi-led BJP government to shoot back a meaty powerful response to the 18 September Uri attack.

This is in rather stark contrast to The Times of India‘s editorial, if you only go by its headline, Avenging Uri: Modi has sent a message of resolve, but India must be on high alert. A lot has been said and written about the contrasting viewpoints of both the newspapers — colloquially known as Old Lady of Bori Bunder vs Mount Road Mahavishnu — perhaps it holds good for this case as well. But besides the headline, the editorial does keep a straight head on its shoulders keenly observing that “there is little scope for triumphalism or even unwarranted optimism at this stage”. It advises India’s political parties to come together for the nation’s cause and find a joint solution to the constant threats of terror. The Times of India editorial also cites the example of what happened post Kargil as a warning of what might come after Wednesday’s strike: Pakistan responded by hijacking an Indian Airlines flight and getting in exchange Masood Azhar, who went on to form the Jaish-e-Mohammad. It postulates that (this time around) Pakistan could “activate terror cells inside India” and perhaps also move terror launchpads away from LoC. India should be prepared, it details, with standard operating procedures and equipment ready just in case Pakistan decides to strike back. Interestingly, the editorial also signals a warning to Pakistan — that it would be better off “to head off the path of confrontation”, and it would find a willing Delhi ready to talk on any issue.

The Indian Express‘ editorial — Defining Moment — focuses on how the Centre must look to control the script “it so dramatically redrew”. It writes about India’s multi-tiered strategy to isolate Pakistan from the rest of the world, through calling for a review of Indus Waters Treaty, calling off its participation in Saarc and finally a military strike; the last option that has taken Pakistan by surprise. On a final note, The Indian Express‘ editorial implores Delhi to keep its head in the game and to be clear in its objective to “raise the costs for Pakistan” and be careful that the situation is not escalated keeping in mind the temporary triumph it tasted during the surgical strikes.

Writing for Mint, its executive editor Anil Padmanabhan is all praise for the Narendra Modi government’s actions. Titled Narendra Modi walks the talk with surgical strikes against Pakistan, he writes that the government has sent a strong and clear message to Pakistan that “it can no longer be business as usual”. Padmanabhan is of the opinion that these surgical strikes are a measured response befitting the status of an “advanced, modern nation” and that the nation can no longer be taken for a sitting duck. He further argues that by responding in such a way, the NDA government has shown that “nothing is off the table”, be it a military strike or a diplomatic one, as seen by the pulling out of the Saarc summit. This strike has seen India come a long way from its days of so-called soft responses to terror: Padmanabhan, who opines that Pakistan and China used to interpret India’s passive resistance as the “lack of a stomach for a fight”, drives home the point of a surgical strike in the penultimate paragraph: That a surgical strike is easier to undertake, costs less and is not as risky as a full-blown war.

Op-ed_collage_listicleOp-ed_collage_listicle

It’s no surprise that, on reading Hindustan Times‘ editorial Surgical strikes: A fitting reply to Pakistan, the newspaper fully backs the government’s surgical strikes. In fact, it only stops short of chest-thumping. Sample this.

The death of 18 Indian soldiers in the Uri attack meant there had to be a cost imposed on the terrorist groups, not only on their patrons. This has now been achieved through the surgical strikes. Given where the launch-pads were located, close to the line of control, it is a safe assumption that the terrorists amassed there were highly trained and motivated, the best of their breed. Taking them out of the equation alters the security calculus, at least until their masters have found adequate replacements.

The Hindustan Times‘ editorial also attempts to put into perspective this operation: that India did indeed display “strategic patience” by not retaliating immediately after the Uri attack, instead waiting for two weeks and using those two weeks to strategise diplomatically to gain international sympathy. The editorial also examines Pakistan’s response, which it terms “predictable” and “smart”, because it gives them the advantage of pompous self-assertion without the undertaking of actual military operations. And that India should expect Pakistan to proclaim vengeance and appeal to the international community to interfere and also expect hackneyed statements on the two countries to exercise restraint. It does end the same way it started: how India’s leaders should guard the country against future threats while reveling in the “satisfaction from the revenge, served cold and in good measure, for Uri”.

However, this much can be said: that the opinions and analyses offered by the newspapers far trump the jingoistic messages and salvos fired by television channels, who played both judge and jury, on the same. It’s at this time that we must — as Indians and journalists — look at where we draw the line when we report matters of national and international importance; to be over cautious would only mean exercising restraint and to be sober in our celebrations would only mean being clear-headed when we might easily be tempted to go overboard.

© 2017 Yuva Sai Sagar. Theme by Anders Norén.